Globally hot bats in offing for Sluggers?
With environmentally intensive events on the two Saturdays preceding the annual Labor Day vintage baseball game at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site Sept. 5, the Westside Pioneer has stumbled across implications that ranch manager Andy Morris is using those occasions to eco-boost his team - the Camp
Creek Sluggers - with exotic “green” remedies.
The Pioneer was alerted to the alleged top-secret plan with the help of excitable readers with fuzzy photos, at least one of which could be construed to show individuals in Slugger uniforms plugging themselves into the Ford AZD electric car's battery charger at the EcoFestival Aug. 27, training to ingest at least two dozen sustainably grown jalapenos at the Chile Chili Festival Saturday, Sept. 3 or strapping themselves to Calhan wind turbines. The expected result is players who can pulverize baseballs because their swings are immune to reradiated greenhouse gases and can field better through the elimination of trace petroleum from their fingertips. The only downside is that such players are believed to be “high-maintenance.”
In an interview, Morris said he preferred to be tight-lipped about his game-time strategies. However, he did concede that something new may be needed to ensure that his side retains its dominance in the annual contest against the ever-dangerous Territorial All-Stars - Denver-area ballists who play an entire vintage season before coming to Rock Ledge.
The game will start at 1 p.m. at the ranch, which is off Gateway Road at 30th Street. Regular-season ticket prices apply ($8, with some age-related discounts available), allowing access to the ranch as a whole from 10 a.m. to about 3 p.m. People are welcome to bring lawn chairs, line the side of the hayfield where the game will be played and cheer lustily for the ranch team. Under the late-1800s rules - in keeping with the Rock Ledge working-ranch era - spectators (“cranks”) can also participate by giving balls to fielders (or not) and helping the umpire make close calls.
Until recent years, Morris - who goes by the ballist nickname of “Anvil” - had felt little or no pressure in the game, because it's really all in fun and the Sluggers nearly always lost. But the former college baseball player in him was not to be denied. The 13-year ranch manager kept his eyes open for quality local athletes, recruiting here and there between such duties as organizing ranch activities, blacksmithing, killing the odd rattlesnake and caring for the ranch animals. Over the past five-odd years, he's been known to introduce distractions to favor his squad, such as bringing out the ranch's cow and sheep to graze in the outfield for an inning or two and, even more horrifying, allowing women to play (as long as they could hit).
Lo and behold, the team has won four of the last six years. Could it be that now the local cranks expect it? Morris admitted he's been pondering new tactics to best the Denverites, whom he termed “side saddled, whisky drinking, wristwatch-wearing, toothless reprobates.”
He might even cheat, he said. Well, cheat more. “That's how important it is to me,” he said. “The world is divided between winners and losers.”
At that point, he checked with the reporter - a reputed yellow journalist from the region - and asked if he was being quoted.
No, he was told by the reporter, who was already speculating on how big a headline to use for the eco-ringer angle. Of course not.
Westside Pioneer article