Effectively Wild Episode 1328: National Past Time

Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about players playing for their lives, Bryce Harper rumors, Harper’s fame vs. Mike Trout’s, feeling less intense anticipation than they used to, the Red Sox signing the previously permabanned Jenrry Mejia, and uncertainty surrounding the latest labor strife. Then (30:06) Ben talks to Chris Enns, author of The Death Row All Stars, about baseball in the Old West and the strange saga of the 1911 Wyoming State Penitentiary team, an all-convict squad that played to stave off execution and caused a statewide scandal. Lastly (1:00:21), Jeff rejoins for a conversation with Wes Abarca (co-founder, commissioner, and Crestline Highlanders captain) and Joe Billheimer (Highlanders “behind”) of the Southern California Vintage Base Ball League to discuss the popularity of vintage baseball, the strategic intricacies of playing under 1886 rules, the challenge of playing with period equipment, the importance of staying in character, whether they prefer old or new baseball, and more.

Audio intro: Spoon, "Something to Look Forward To"
Audio interstitial 1: Skip James, "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues"
Audio interstitial 2: Paul McCartney, "Vintage Clothes"
Audio outro: Dr. Dog, "Survive"

Link to Rosenthal article
Link to Ben’s old article about the MLB revenue split
Link to Chris Enss site
Link to Conan’s vintage baseball video
Link to Vintage Base Ball Association site
Link to SoCal Vintage Base Ball League site
Link to Crestline Highlanders site
Link to SoCal league video
Link to Highlanders game photo album
Link to SCVBB Rules
Link to preorder The MVP Machine

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3 years ago

Probably too late (i’m behind on my podcasts) but for future reference, Ben, the fight between cattlemen and shepherds in the west has a long and storied history though perhaps one unfamiliar to urban easterners today. (See the Wikipedia entry “The Sheep War” — though it’s only mentioned in a single sentence in that article, there was a strong racist undercurrent to the dispute, which should answer a lot of your very legitimate confusion as to why murdering shepherds — who often weren’t white or anglophone — wouldn’t be considered a crime by the cattlemen and their supporters and kin in the settled areas).

You could even have used the Todd Rundgren song The Range War as an interstitial. Opening lyrics: “Your Daddy runs sheep and my uncle runs cattle / Nothin’ can keep us out of this battle / they wage As it burns up the range, / ’til no man is left In the saddle”