2017-04-19 / Sports

Organizers are making a pitch to revive old-time baseball play

Mtn. Athletic Club looking for players to restart action

Fleischmanns – After a six-year hiatus, the Mountain Athletic Club (MAC) has begun a rejuvenation and is actively recruiting additional players, umpires, sponsors, and other ballists willing to join or form other teams to compete with in 2017.

“The MAC has a rich history and tradition on Wagner Avenue in the Village of Fleischmanns,” states Collin Miller a former MAC player from Hobart. “It’s a great thing for the community’s pride and supports the summer tourism-based economy,” says Miller. “But more than anything, it’s really a lot of fun!”

Spectator sport

From 1895 to 1913, thousands of spectators would gather at the MAC Grounds to watch semi-professional and local ball players compete at the leisure of hoteliers Max and Julius Fleischmann then owners of the Cincinnati Reds. Notable players from those early days included Honus Wagner, Miller Huggins and according to local lore, even Ty Cobb. All are now enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Miller says that Fleischmanns resident Todd Pascarella first revived the MAC in 2007 with financial help from the MARK Project and local donors. “He did a lot of work to bring oldtime base ball back to life here. I was drawn to it and have been playing vintage ball ever since.”

Pascarella drew inspiration from other Delaware County 19th-century baseball clubs that were playing in Roxbury and Hancock at the time. Highlights of the MAC revival included a win over hosts Roxbury Nine to claim the 2009 Harry M. Keator Cup and a 24-hour marathon baseball game in 2010 featuring players from the MAC, Roxbury Nine, Bovina Dairymen and others that raised over $6,000 for the building of an accessible playground that now exists in the village park.

Stormy ending

In 2011, the MAC season ended and the team folded abruptly following a road game versus the Washington National Guards in Kingston. That night, and the few days that followed, heavy rains from Tropical Storm Irene caused Vly Creek to swell devastating the historic MAC grounds in Fleischmanns as well as other ball fields and communities throughout the region. Today, with assistance from local donors and federal disaster relief funds, the village park on Wagner Avenue is now nearly restored with an accessible playground; improved bathroom facilities, and a concession stand looking for renters. Miller hopes that with some finishing touches, the park will once again be ready to host baseball games starting later this spring.

“We’re reaching out to new and former players to build a roster and schedule some games with other clubs throughout the Northeast,” says Miller. “There’s a whole family of vintage ball teams out there that are eager to play the MAC.”

A “vintage” game

The MAC is considered a “vintage” baseball team and plays the game according to the rules and customs of 1895. The rules of 1895 vary slightly from the modern game in that foul balls are not counted as strikes, pitchers do not throw from a “mound,” and batters and fielders use only limited protective equipment that was available at the time. Dozens of other 19thcentury teams exist throughout the United States and Canada and play from a variety of rules that changed several times throughout the nineteenth century.

For more information, follow the team’s Facebook page at Mountain Athletic Club Vintage Base Ball. All other inquiries can be directed to Collin Miller at macvb1895@gmail.com.

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