Baseball goes back in time

Several Bethlehem players were back for their second try at playing under 1864 rules including Gordon, Bethlehem town supervisor Sam Messina, town councilman Mark Hennessey and LaSalle baseball coach Jesse Braverman.

"This is a nice thing," said Messina, who pitched a couple of innings and had a base hit. "It's kind of fun. Tradition is important, I think."

There were still several times when the 19th-century rules tripped up the 21st-century players. The most problematic was the rule concerning not over-running first base, as both teams suffered gaffes that led to outs.

Mutuals player Brian "Samurai" Sullivan said that's normal. "It took me about a month to get used to the rules," said Sullivan, who is in his eighth year with the team.

Ultimately, the old-time rules brought baseball back to an era where it was played for fun, and not money.

"It's just about the purity of the game," said Belbol. "Men can be boys for a day."


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