Play ball! |

Play ball!

SILT The 37th annual Heyday celebration takes place Saturday in Silt and this year’s theme is “Celebrate Family.”Along with the usual Heyday activities a pancake breakfast, parade, arts and crafts, food and game booths, and entertainment this year the Vintage Base Ball team plays after a two-year hiatus.Jon Nestor, of Silt, has played on the team for nine years.”I’ve been a baseball fanatic my whole life,” he said. “I do this for the fun of it. We’re not playing for millions of dollars it’s the camaraderie.”Vintage Base Ball emulates the way the game was played back in the 1800s, although the rules are quite different from how baseball is played today.Players are called “ballists” and spectators are “cranks.” No mitts are used to catch the ball. The batter, called a “striker,” uses a stick to hit the ball, which is similar to a softball. The pitcher is called a “hurler.” The game is played on an ungroomed field.”We play in accordance to the 1860s rules,” Nestor said. “We catch the ball with our bare hands and hit it with a wooden bat. The umpire stands off to the side of the batter instead of behind him.”Uniforms are also in keeping with the old-time game. The ballists on Nestor’s team wear black pants, green henley shirts with three-quarter sleeves and no collars, suspenders and authentic Vintage Base Ball caps. While ballists back then would often wear boots, some team members now wear shoes with a grip for safety reasons.

According to the Colorado Vintage Base Ball Association in Denver, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving 19th-century base ball, when the base runner crossed home plate, by custom he had to report to the scorer’s table, ring the bell and request “Tally one run, sir,” or his run did not count.The average game had about 40 to 60 runs.The association also reports that base ball in early Colorado territory was a sport for gentlemen and ladies, and both the ballists and cranks were expected to act as such. If anyone did not, they could be censured and fined by the umpire, any amount between 10 cents and $1.”There is no cussing or swearing on the field,” Nestor added. “The game was very popular back then and my understanding is that it was designed for the menfolk to do while the women were on Sunday picnics. And it’s continued to grow and grow.”The motto of the CVBBA is: “Come out and play ball the way it was meant to be played.”The Vintage Base Ball game between the Silt All-Stars and the Denver Territory All-Stars takes place at 1 p.m. at Roy Moore Elementary School.Other fun family activities at Heyday include the traditional pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. in Veterans’ Memorial Park. The breakfast of pancakes, sausage, eggs, orange juice and coffee is $4 for adults and $3 for seniors and kids younger than 12.The annual parade begins at 10 a.m., starting at Roy Moore Elementary School at Ninth and Orchard streets, heading west on Highway 6 and then west to Fifth Street. It continues north of Fifth Street to Grand Avenue, then east to Seventh Street and back to the school.

Kids’ games in the park begin at 11:30 a.m., and craft, food and game booths will be set up around the perimeter of the park.The music lineup includes a new face this year town administrator Rick Aluise – playing a classic mix of rock ‘n’ roll from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Gazebo. Old favorites also return, including Heart of the Rockies with Twirp Anderson, Cash Cashman, John Sommers and Randy Utterback, from 7-9:30 a.m.; Acoustic Mayhem from 1:30-4:30 p.m.; and Rocking Horse, from 7-10 p.m.Entertainment also features cheerleading and the Burning Mountain royalty at 11 a.m. at the Gazebo. The Silt Historical Society’s beer booth opens at 11 a.m. following the parade.The day-long event is put on by the volunteer Silt Heyday Committee and supported by the town of Silt and the Silt Historical Society.

Silt Heyday offers family fun for all ages:• 7-9:30 a.m. pancake breakfast with Heart of the Rockies, Gazebo• 8 a.m. VFW Post 9304 flag-raising ceremony, Veterans’ Memorial Park• 9 a.m. arts, crafts, food and game booths open, Veterans’ Memorial Park • 10 a.m. parade, starts and ends at Roy Moore Elementary School, runs down Grand Avenue• 11 a.m. Silt Historical Society’s beer booth opens• 11 a.m. Local talent, Gazebo• 11:30 a.m., kids’ games, Veterans’ Memorial Park• 1 p.m., Vintage Base Ball, Roy Moore Elementary School baseball field• 1:30-4:30 p.m. Acoustic Mayhem, Cajun, folk, rock, country and Irish music, Gazebo• 4:30-6 p.m. Rick Aluise, classic rock ‘n’ roll, Gazebo• 5 p.m. watermelon seed-spitting contest, Gazebo• 6 p.m. jalapeno-eating contest• 6:30 p.m. pie-eating contest, Gazebo• 7-10 p.m. Rocking Horse, classic rock ‘n’ roll and country, GazeboDoor prizes given every hour

• Alcohol is not allowed to be brought in the park – a beer booth is available• Do not bring dogs and bicycles into the park. Animals can become distracted and hard to control around large crowds, and bicycles pose a safety issue and concern. Dogs will be removed from the park.

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