Come catch a glimpse into Dexter's past as the Union Base Ball Club of Dexter plays its first home match of the year at 2 p.m. June 2. The club will face the Wahoo Base Ball Club of Royal Oak on the grounds of Gordon Hall, 8341 Island Lake Road.
Dexter is beginning its inaugural season, joining 25 other teams from across Michigan who have resurrected actual clubs from the mid-19th century.
"The guys are really excited to get out there in front of friends and family to showcase the team," captain Donovan Hill said.
Unlike its modern day equivalent, vintage baseball follows an entirely different set of rules. For example, a hitter is ruled out if the ball is caught on the fly or after the first bounce on the ground, but base runners can still advance under these circumstances. There are also no balls or strikes, and a hitter can take as many swings as they like until they miss the ball three times.
While vintage baseball still has nine innings and the bases are still 90 feet apart, there are no groomed diamonds, lemon peel balls are used - and nobody used gloves back in the 19th century, so neither do today's vintage baseball enthusiasts.
Hill said Dexter's 12-member team is still getting used to the game, and lost its season opener 20-3 to Wyandotte last week.
"Wyandotte is very competitive, but our guys hung in the game and did OK for their first time out," he said. "It was more of a learning experience for us."
For Saturday's game, spectators or "cranks" will see firsthand how America's favorite pastime was played in the 1860s, as players wear authentic period uniforms, use wood bats, a hard, hand-stitched ball, and wear no gloves. There's also no spitting, sliding and swearing.
Hill said the team has been practicing weekly for the past two months either at Gordon Hall or with the Monitor Base Ball Club of Chelsea.
"We have 12 games lined up this season and we're hoping to get a lot of support from the community," he said.
Saturday's game takes place at 2 p.m. Spectators are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair and umbrella, as there are no bleachers or public seating on the Gordon Hall property. The game is free and open to the public.
Hill said the club is still looking for more members. Anyone over 21 can join the Union Base Ball Club by emailing Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Our practices are open to anyone who has an interest in vintage baseball," Hll said. "It's a lot of fun, and once you learn the rules of the game, you'll get hooked."