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Vintage Base Ball
The Rules
Our History
**Team Shop**
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Summertime Do's

By Emily Heil and Rachel Machacek

Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, June 18, 2006; Page M01

As of Wednesday, summer officially is here: Daylight eeks its way past 9 p.m., school's out so traffic is (kind of) bearable and ruddy cheeks from Memorial Day's inaugural sunburns settle into a bronze glow. Even those suffocating Code Red days heading our way have a perk: free bus rides for Maryland and Virginia commuters.

All year long, you've planned and pined for these precious few weeks, and you probably started working on your summer to-do list months ago: book beach house (check), work out every day to get in bare-able shape (um, check), stockpile essential warm-weather reads (check, check and check).

But settle on those planning laurels, and you'll miss out on the bounty of cool this grand city has to offer when it's hot. We're in the nation's capital after all, and the District and its neighboring 'hoods are ripe with activities so quintessentially summer, we practically don't have to say them out loud: parades, biking, live music, sightseeing -- even eating ice cream.

But even old standbys need a new, unexpected twist. So we dug up a hodgepodge of not-so-standard standards, threw in some newfangled to-dos and topped it all off with a few zesty possibilities that were just too darn entertaining to pass up. These warm-weather treats will keep you active, outdoors (with a few exceptions -- sometimes you just need that old AC) and seeing and doing things you might never have thought of in a million "there's nothing to do" moments. The result: A roster of summer fun that'll keep you busy until the leaves start their turn from vibrant greens to rusty reds.

PLAY BALL, VINTAGE STYLE. The area's vintage baseball teams, Easton's Fair Plays, the Eclipse Base Ball Club of Elkton and the just-formed regional Chesapeake and Potomac Base Ball Club, have revived the rules and styles of baseball circa 1860 -- think umpires in starchy suits, no gloves and 25-cent fines for throwing curveballs. The teams, comprised of players sporting traditional uniforms and using replica bats (which are heavier and thicker than modern mass-produced gear), play in a July 15 tournament in Elkton, along with the Brooklyn Atlantics. Eclipse plans to take on other vintage teams like the New York Mutuals at home games, and the other teams are still firming up their summer schedules (check their Web sites for updates). The events are worth a road trip, if only for the chance to shout oh-so-proper vintage cheers like "Well fielded, sir!" and to re-create the days before steroids and salary insanity came to dominate the gentlemanly game. The teams are also looking for players and volunteers.

July 15 tournament: Games start at 11 a.m., 1:15 and 3:15 p.m., with the championship at 5 p.m. Elk Landing, 590 Landing Lane, Elkton. $5, student $1. 410-620-6400. Individual teams' locations and prices vary. Fair Play: , Eclipse: , Chesapeake and Potomac: .


Playing base ball the way that it was meant to be played