It was just twelve months ago that the Biscuits made their true return to the oldest ballpark in the country - Birmingham's Rickwood Field. A rainout and rescheduled makeup were ventured years ago but for many fans the true re-match of the inaugural game didn't come until last year.
While going through files I found these pics and hope they impart the same good feelings that they did for me. So excuse me as I dump a whole folder of pictures on the table here and reminisce....
The players arrived early, dressed in their snazzy 1910-era throwback togs. The Rickwood ballpark doesn't offer much in the way of spacious clubhouse rooms so teams often find it easier to show up dressed and ready to play.
Locker rooms are provided but are the same open front cubbyhole that have been used for over a hundred years. Rickwood hasn't had much in the way of upgrades, offering classic amenities over modern convenience. Classic amenities like the lighting standards salvaged from old Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
The very first game at Rickwood Field pitted the Birmingham Barons against the visiting Montgomery Highlanders way back in 1910. The Montgomery lineup:
Coaching offers a link to the past, passing knowledge from one generation to the next in the form of verbal instruction and spoken lessons. Pregame discussions cover many aspects of the game and come from teammates as well as coaches.
Pitcher and catchers played long toss, infielders stretched and outfielders jogged to get loose.
Being seen is part of wearing the uniform representing the clubs home city, offering a professional attitude with proper game face is showing respect to the efforts of those who toiled to hone their craft over the past century in this house of base ball.
Lineups are exchanged.
Even the umpires are dressed for the occasion.
Baseball will be played at the old yard once again this day.
A ball is thrown, a bat is swung.
The game hasn't changed much since the first orb was heaved by a Barons moundsman towards a waiting batsman from Montgomery on that August afternoon in 1910.
The sound of the bat as it strikes the ball, the collective gasp of the crowd as the leather sphere bends across the horizon, the shouts as the official signals that the ball has cleared the outfield wall remains the same, resonating across this diamond for more than a century.
The Barons have one of the longest and most noble pedigrees of any team in baseball, rostering greats from Satchel Paige to Michael Jordan.
The game continues here.
The fabric of baseball history is woven with sights and sounds, built up, one upon another like the rings of an aged tree, repeating itself by wrapping a new layer around the old over time.
|people walk, legends stride - the Barons manager is Hall of Famer Omar Vizquel|
The game is polished bit by bit, hewn from rough rock into gems suited to complement a perfect diamond.
Taking in the game is as much a part of being a player as playing in the game, with special attention paid in special circumstances.
Winding down at the end of an afternoon at the park, letting the sun set on the game and enjoying the fellowship of the game is easier when your team locks up the win.