Admission to the game is free, with concessions, raffles and players soliciting funds through “bases for bucks” to raise money. Train rides from Westbrook Lane depart every hour from 1 to 4 p.m., and anyone wearing a baseball hat will get $1 off their train fare. And Mayor Sottile is going to be the umpire! “We needed somebody with a big voice, somebody that we could yell at, and he was up for it,” says Joe Baganz of the Washington Guards (also proprietor of the famous deli on South Manor Drive).
Vintage baseball hearkens back to the game’s origination when pitches were strictly underhand, and players didn’t wear protective gloves to catch a “lemon peel” stitched ball whacked by a large milled-hickory bat. Baganz explains the differences in the game: “The ball has a little bounce and a lotta hurt. Instead of a pitching mound there’s a box, fair/foul balls are called differently and pop flies you can catch on one bounce.” There are no strikes or balls, but according to Baganz, “You pretty much hit it – it’s hard to miss.”
He describes how baseball started on the East Coast and became popular during the Civil War. There are stories about games breaking out between Rebel and Union soldiers during lulls in battle, and Baganz mentions a game lasting three days before a left fielder was ambushed and the serious fighting resumed. He says that Kingston had organized teams as early as the 1870s. “I took the name [of our team] from an actual troop headed by General Sharpe, who built the monument at the Old Dutch Church to honor his boys. In fact, his house was where the Governor Clinton Hotel stands, and [Herzog’s] baseball field was actually a part of his property.”
Angels in the Outfield have been raising funds for Relay for Life for 15 years, reaching goals of thousands of dollars per year. Joe Beez Deli is active in the community donating time, money and food to various events, and will celebrate its tenth anniversary in March of 2011. “We want to close down the street, get some music going, hold some sandwich competitions,” says Baganz.
With a broad clientele of blue- and white-collar workers, students and families, the Deli has become a favorite – if not downright funky – eatery in Kingston. And the Washington Guards team reflects that same spirit. Coached by Steve Maden and managed by Charlie Moore, the team includes Paul Gallo, Steve McCardle, Rich VanKleeck, Kris VanKleeck, Tom Keegan, Jay Scanlon, Greg Gattine, Joe Biechert, Greg Maden, Nick Warren, Quinn Baganz, Cliff Tremper, Dan Schermerhorn, John Stote and Joe Baganz.
Games start at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. See Kingston Washington Guards Vintage Baseball Club on FaceBook and check out Joe’s website at www.joebeez.com. Call (845) 334-9501 for details about the event. Catskill Mountain Railroad fare is $6 for adults, $4 for children; call (845) 688-7400 or visit www.catskillmtrailroad.com for more information.