Nashville organization brings old-time baseball to the modern age

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Some believe modern baseball is at a crossroads.

Game time has reached an all-time high, attendance is down and this year’s All-Star Game had less viewership than America’s Got Talent. Arguments over how to improve Major League Baseball and bring in more viewership are enough to cause die-hard fans to long for a simpler age.

A simpler age the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base ball bring to life throughout the summer.

The old-time base ball league began in 2012 with the goal “to entertain and educate our communities by recreating the civility of 19th century base ball.”

One detail is immediately noticeable at T.A.O.V.B.B. organized baseball games: no gloves allowed. The first officially confirmed use of a glove during a baseball game came in 1875, years after the era T.A.O.V.B.B. portrays.

“We promote living history by bringing the 19th century to life through baseball events that use the rules, equipment, costumes and culture of the 1860s,” the organization's website says.

Among the differences between today’s and yesteryear’s game, a modern baseball has 108 stitches in a horseshoe pattern and weighs about 5 ounces. The baseballs used by T.A.O.V.B.B. weigh 5 1/2 to 5 3/4 ounces and have seams in a cross pattern.

Under modern-day rules, the batter is out if a ball he hits is before hitting the ground. The rules T.A.O.V.B.B. play by state “[the batter is declared out] if a fair ball is struck, and the ball is caught either without having touched the ground, or upon the first bound.”

A large number of differences exist from the rules baseball is played under today to the rules of olden times. If you want to learn more about how T.A.O.V.B.B. plays the game, click here.

The season lasts nearly six months, beginning at the end of March and concluding with a postseason tournament in September.

Games are held at many different locations across the south including The Hermitage and the Bicentennial Mall. While the organization plays games nearly every week during the summer, they also hold informational workshops and demonstrations year round. Games can even be organized as entertainment for an event. For more information on the current season or the organization as a whole, click here.