Sometimes, Newer Really Is Better

I guess if we can ask that Wiffle Ball be put on television, that we have to go along with the Vintage Base Ball Federation. Jim Bouton, former major league pitcher and author of Ball Four, is starting up a league that simulates the way baseball was played in the 1800s, from the uniforms to the equipment to the way players talk to umpires.

"The game the way it was meant to be played," Bouton said during a news conference at Delmonico's, a restaurant that opened in 1836. "No batting gloves, helmets, wristbands, elbow pads, shin guards, sunglasses. No arguing with the umpire. No stepping out of the batter's box. No charging the pitcher or posing at home plate. No curtain-calling, chest-thumping or high-fiving. Just baseball."

Every now and then, it's refreshing to see someone just brazenly say, "Hey, screw progress." I've been waiting for a courageous fellow like Bouton to come along and say, yes, you can bean a helmetless batter in his head, and he won't even get a free trip to first base out of it. And I love that he isn't afraid to take a stand against the scourge of high-fiving. It has sullied America's game for far too long.

You can get in on the fun, if you'd like. Amateuer baseball and softball teams are invited to join the league. I don't know how strict they're going to be about the 19th century rules, but I think they're letting black people play this time.

Believe it: Deadball era's not dead yet [Associated Press]
Vintage Baseball Association [VintageBBF.com]