Saturday, January 9, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: A Very Tame Affair

About 1,500 people witnessed the game yesterday between the Mutuals and the Browns, at the Grand Avenue Park. About an hour before the game, the Howe Sewing-machine Band, of Peru, Indiana, which accompanies the delegation from that State, put in an appearance, they having volunteered their services for the occasion, and discoursed several popular and pleasing compositions. Music was had throughout the game, between every two innings, and this novel feature proved a source of delight to the patrons of the game. The day was a beautiful one for ball tossing, with a clear, cloudless sky overhead, and the grounds free from dust, and a gentle breeze sweeping over the field. Owing to the poor play of the visitors, the exhibition was a very tame affair. The New Yorkers were in sad trim, having arrived from Chicago behind time, and put up with crowded accommodations at their hotel. They were sadly in need of rest, and on the field had the appearance of worn-out, dejected men rather than hard, earnest workers for Centennial ball honors. The game was called at 4 o'clock, Mr. L.W. Burtis being chosen as umpire. His decisions were well rendered, and no discriminations were at any time shown. He gave general satisfaction to both clubs. The Browns won the toss, and sent the Mutuals to bat, and blanked them. The home nine scored one run this inning. In the second inning the Mutuals gained a tally and succeeded in blanking their opponents, but after that failed to secure a single run. By a streak of good batting the Browns scored three runs on the third inning, and then took zeros until the seventh inning, when they again scored. They made two more runs during the eighth inning, and went out with a whitewash in the ninth. The Browns played a fine fielding game and batted well, the only errors being charged to Clapp, Mack and "the old man."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 28, 1876

As I've always said, you should never miss a chance to see the Howe Sewing-machine Band. They always put on a good show.

This appearance of the Howe Sewing-machine Band (of Peru, Indiana) got me thinking about the differences between the ballpark experience of 19th century fans and modern fans. We're all big St. Louis Blues fans in my family and, over the holidays, we were talking about our recent experiences at the arena, watching our hockey club. It's become this constant bombardment of audio and visual stimulation, to the point that it distracts from the game on the ice. I've grown to hate it with a passion. I love going to the hockey game but can't stand the music and the videos and the little contests and the stupid mascot and the non-stop instructions telling me to clap and cheer and yell. Just drop the puck and play hockey. The baseball experience in St. Louis is not quite as bad but it's getting there. Give me a little "When the Saints go marching in" and a "Let's go Blues" chant or a Budweiser jingle and "Let's go Cardinals" and I'm good. I don't need the fluff and filler. Just give me the Howe Sewing-machine Band between innings and that will do fine. I'm there to watch the game. I think I'm getting old.

And speaking of old, that's a nice reference to Bad Dickey Pearce as "the old man."

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