“It wasn’t a hard decision to hang up the hard-ball for vintage stuff,” says Lance Busch, commissioner of the Arizona Territories Vintage Base Ball League and captain of its Glendale Gophers. The former youth coach was simply acknowledging the march of time. “I would speculate that the average player age is 45,” Busch notes.
The appeal of “vintage” baseball – distinguished by underhanded pitching and a more leisurely pace than its modern cousin – is in the attitude. “Baseball today, it’s a dog-eat-dog sport – win, baby, win,” Busch says. “Vintage baseball is a gentlemen’s sport, like guys teeing off on a golf course. We’re still trying to win, but we’re out there to have fun.”
This extends to the officiating. “During seasonal games, we generally don’t have an ump,” Busch says. “The game is self-regulating. Baseball’s baseball. On the close calls we shake hands and agree. We’re gentlemen, and honest; if we’re out, we’ll call ourselves out.”