Vintage baseball league eyes Chattanooga expansion

Authored By seanphippster

Chattanooga’s first vintage baseball doubleheader will take place Sunday, June 15 at historical Engel Stadium.

The Father’s Day event will feature teams from the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball, a league designed to “entertain and educate our communities by recreating the civility of 19th-century baseball.”

Admission is free, and games begin at noon.

The TaoVBB has grown from just two teams in the Nashville area to an eight-team league throughout Middle and East Tennessee.

A living history of sorts, the games-though actual contests-serve as a snapshot of baseball in the 1860s. The league uses rules, equipment, costumes and culture to provide both entertainment and education to the community.

Justin Brown, chief communications officer for the TaoVBB, said the differences between vintage baseball and Minor League baseball are apparent when attending.

“You’re still going to recognize it as a game of baseball,” he said. “There’s still nine innings, nine players on the field.”

The major difference is the overall attitude of the game. It’s much more relaxed than a professional contest.

A gentleman’s game, there is no spitting, swearing or animosity present.

“It’s just something we try to offer the community-something lacking in modern-day sports, a change of attitude,” he said. “There are no egos involved.”

All pitching is underhanded, and fielders don’t wear gloves. The game invites fans to set up lawn chairs and blankets in the outfield for a more “pastoral” experience.

The Oak Hill Travelers will face the Franklin Farriers at noon. The Highland Rim Distillers will take on the Nashville Maroons at 2:30 p.m.

Gates open at 11 a.m.

Expansion in Chattanooga
A major aspect of the Father’s Day event involves the consideration of a Chattanooga expansion of the league as soon as 2015.

Preceding the game will be a ceremony that will include club introductions and an overview of rules and customs.

“We’re working with the folks at Engel and exploring the interest to try to get some teams in Chattanooga,” Brown said. “We’ll bring all of our backstops and benches to make it a good experience.”

A complete list of rules is available here. The list was adapted in an 1864 meeting of the National Association of Base-Ball Players in New York City.

All proceeds from concession sales will benefit the restoration of Engel Stadium.