Take me out to the ballgame…

The game of baseball is believed to have originated in England. Both baseball and rounders were played in England and are thought to be regional variations of the same thing – the name, I guess, depending on which part of England you were playing in. Whether you referred to it as rounders or baseball, the game is thought to have derived from a fifteenth century English sport known as “Stoolball”. This somewhat scatological term is nothing to do with number twos (!) – it’s actually a reference to the milking stools that were used as wickets, because stoolball was traditionally played by milkmaids. (By this point in my research I was laughing out loud. Stools, milkmaids…I think I would pay good money to see that!!)

Unfortunately this was the best image of stoolball I could find - apologies for the lack of buxom milkmaids.

Unfortunately this was the best image of stoolball I could find – apologies for the lack of buxom milkmaids.

The early form of baseball was brought to North America by English immigrants, where it is first officially referred to in a 1791 bylaw from a town in Massachusetts – the game was not allowed to be played near the town’s new meeting house. By the early 1830s, games of baseball were popping up all over North America, but it wasn’t until 1846 that the first officially recorded baseball game was played in the United States. On June 19th in Hoboken, New Jersey, the New York Nine defeated the New York Knickerbockers 23 runs to 1. The Knickerbockers were responsible for putting some structure around the game – establishing rules around the number of innings, types of pitches allowed and type of ball that could be used.

New York Knickerbockers

New York Knickerbockers

In the mid 1850s, New York went baseball crazy and the game started to be referred to as the “national pastime” or “national game”. Leagues and associations were formed and admission was charged at the big games. Today, I’m told, it’s NFL or American Football which holds the title of national sport or game, but baseball is still very popular, based on the crowds we witnessed at Nationals Park last Sunday.

Our neighbours invited us to watch the Washington Nationals play the Texas Rangers. This was a pretty big deal as our neighbour is from Texas and it’s not often that the Nationals meet the Rangers on the field. This is due to one of the many confusing aspects of baseball. In the US there are two leagues – the National League and the American League and each of these leagues is split into East, West and Central divisions. Because the Nationals are in the National League and the Rangers are in the American League, it’s rare that they face off against each other, so it was a particularly good game to see. Plus they didn’t just play one game – they played Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Another confusing aspect is just how many games there are…I won’t go into that because I’ve probably lost many of you!! I’ll just get back to the game we watched!

Nationals Park...home of the Washington Nationals...who up until five years ago used to be the Montreal Expos and were based in Canada...I promise that's the last confusing thing!!

Nationals Park…home of the Washington Nationals…who up until five years ago used to be the Montreal Expos and were based in Canada…yet more confusing things!!

We made sure we donned appropriate Nationals attire.

We made sure we donned appropriate Nationals attire.

Baseball sculpture thing inside the stadium.

Baseball sculpture thing inside the stadium.

First pitch of the game.

First pitch of the game.

"Mmmm...not a patch on an All Blacks test!"

“Mmmm…not a patch on an All Blacks test!”

The Ranger's secret weapon is their Japanese pitcher. Baseball is one of the most popular sports in Japan - the first team was established in 1878.

The Ranger’s secret weapon is their Japanese pitcher. Baseball is one of the most popular sports in Japan – the first team was established in 1878.

Keeping the crowd entertained is an important part of a baseball game. This is called the President's race!

Keeping the crowd entertained is an important part of a baseball game. This is called the President’s race!

Thomas Jefferson was the winner and he strolled around showing off his winner's belt.

Thomas Jefferson was the winner and he strolled around showing off his winner’s belt.

Edie indulging in some ice cream dippin' dots. Other important baseball snacks are peanuts and Crackerjack - kind of like caramel popcorn.

Edie indulging in some ice cream dippin’ dots. Other important baseball snacks are peanuts and Crackerjack – kind of like caramel popcorn.

The Nationals mascot wasn't too happy. After nearly three hours, the Rangers were victorious - two home runs to nil.

The Nationals mascot wasn’t too happy. After nearly three hours, the Rangers were victorious – two home runs to nil.

I have to say that my personal highlight came halfway during the seventh innings. This is when what is referred to as “the seventh innings stretch” takes place. Everyone stands, stretches and then sings Take Me Out To The Ballgame…felt like I was in a movie!! We sounded nothing like this…

So all in all it was a very fun afternoon. I don’t think we’ll be rushing out to buy season tickets but I’m sure if the opportunity presents itself we’ll be happy to venture out again to the old ballgame!

Special thanks to Tim, Corene, Madison and Chase for being such wonderful hosts and for patiently answering all my dumb questions :)

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Take me out to the ballgame…

  1. Hello loved family. Well another national pastime/adventure to check off your list! So Richard is not planning to take this sport up then! I hope this finds you all well and chipper. I cant tell you how blessed I feel having the opportunity to take care of Nancy and Johns apartment Chrissy. I trust their adventure is gonig fabulously and you are all counting down the days until you see them. Extra big hugs and kisses for my adorable nieces. All my love Jen xxx

    • Hi Jen. No chance of Richard taking up baseball!! We are all good, school finishes tomorrow – long summer ahead of us. Glad to hear you are enjoying the apartment. Mum and Dad very happy it is in such good hands xxx

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