Totally Genuine Baseball History: The Fans of 1879

Today my mind’s butterfly briefly lighted on years prior. Strange, since I really don’t have any reason to acknowledge the past. I’m a millennial, apparently, and us millennials are always looking toward the next millennium. We are the voices of the year 3000! If I do look into the past, or even the present, really–if I ever engage my immediate reality for even one damn second–I do so with precise questions herding me forward like the mutant weasel and/or turtle that I am. Questions like: What can I destroy with words? Also, if possible, can I maim and sully the work of someone long dead? Can I misinterpret sociolinguistic context to defame and dog someone who probably worked hard to earn their living? Can I unduly amend someone’s creative property without reasonable justification? Can I make unusual and amusing if somewhat nonsensical lists? If yes to any of these then I will consider the past, albeit briefly and while drinking Svedka, the official vodka of 2033.

This lengthy lead-in was certainly not meant to be a tip-off that the following excerpt from the June 9, 1879 edition of the Providence Evening Press is in any way altered or marred. I guarantee you this is screenshotted straight from the internet without permission. As with many of the tweets and repostings of relevant writing on NotGraphs, this appears in its ~*~Original Form~*~. I post it only because I wish to give you, readers who are not millennials, insight into the ongoings at 19th century base ball games. I, personally, tipped back in my chair and ululated with shock as I read this. The following excerpt is a description of the crowds as they made their way to the ballpark to witness the Providence Grays host the Chicago White Stockings:

BaseballAttendees_1879

Wow! What a scene! Definitely some weirdos back in 1879! Definitely some 21st century weirdos, there! Somehow!

OK yeah this was silly. What I do genuinely recommend is combing through old newspapers using Google’s news archives. Pick a player you want to know more about and then search for his name during his playing years. At the very least,  read the play by play recap of the Chicago v. Providence game linked earlier and see if you can picture the action, be-stached ballplayers and all. It’s fascinating to get a glimpse at baseball culture 134 years ago. In most ways it’s really not that different, at least for me, because I always attend ballgames in full formal attire. O history, how I love thee.

I MEAN… JUST KIDDING! I am 1000% a zealot of the future! I’ve applied to live on Mars six times! My house is so futuristic it’s already a dystopian wasteland! I’ve legally changed my name to Destiny Prospectus Future-Prescient! Have you ever tried to get through a film from prior to 2009? Unwatchable! Just absolute trash. Yeah! The past sucks! Why would anyone time travel to the past where there isn’t texting? Why wouldn’t you just time travel to the future where it’s better? And then once you’re there, time travel to a more distant future? And then get back in the time machine, smash the console, and become a permanent wisp of temporal flotsam? That’s what I would do! It’s the millennial way!



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Zach is an egregious malcontent whose life goal is to literally become the London Tube. @itszachreynolds.


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