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Space-age mutations in the mix for Rock Ledge Ranch's annual vintage baseball game?

       Shh. Nobody is supposed to know.
       But the Westside Pioneer found out.
       Andy Morris, manager of the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, inadvertently revealed this week how his players' new uniforms will provide an extra edge in the annual vintage baseball game on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1.
       To be sure, he denied that fact and urged the Pioneer's specially assigned yellow journalist team not to “start any rumors.” But this is hardly our first rodeo. It was patently obvious that Morris wanted us to think that he thought that we'd think that he wasn't putting us on when he said it was a “ridiculous notion that they [the uniforms] are made of some kind of space-age material that will attract the ball though a magnetic field. That would be preposterous.”
In a scene from last year's Labor Day vintage baseball game on the Rock Ledge Ranch hayfield, the Denver All-Stars are at bat with the ranch's Cloud Busters team in the field. In keeping with 1800s rules, the umpire is standing to the side of home plate. Not in keeping with those rules, the Cloud Busters catcher is (shudder) a girl.
Westside Pioneer file photo
       The first pitch is scheduled at 1 p.m. at the hayfield near the Rock Ledge House (which doubles as the right field bleachers). Lasting nine innings, the game will be played by 1800s baseball rules, including no baseball gloves, outs on hit balls caught on one hop and the capability for the “cranks” (fans) to catch balls and throw them to fielders for outs.
       For Labor Day, the ranch - located off Gateway Road west of 30th Street - will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is welcome to bring picnic lunches. Vendors will also be on hand. Admission will be $8 for adults, $4 for ages 6 to 17 and free to ages 5 and under.
       Abe Lincoln, who's proven to be a big hitter in past Rock Ledge games, is expected back. He will be joined by Teddy Roosevelt and George Washington to “visit with the cranks and perhaps be called on to quell any disputes that may erupt during the game,” Morris predicted.
       Rock Ledge's Cloud Busters team will be made up (as always) of milk-drinking ranch staffers, volunteers and local ringers, while the opposing contingent will likely consist of players from a Denver-area vintage-baseball league who are known for snagging pies from the windows of destitute farmer families and riding off in their buckboard wagons.
       According to Morris, his team's new uniforms were a gift, funded out of sales from the annual Holly Berry House Folk Art Festival at Rock Ledge. Yes, we know the festival is a respectable entity that has raised well over $1 million for the ranch over a 35-year span.
       Still, no one can deny that Rock Ledge, which is styled after the 1880s, has long been infected with modern contraptions such as telephones, multi-geared bicycles and even hang gliders. Plus, many of you saw the movie, “Cowboys and Aliens,” which included occasional ranch fiddle player Rex Rideout. So mutant space-age fabric hardly seems out of the question, we're sure you'll agree.
       In any case, the Pioneer will be covering the game, ever watchful. Morris said he has nothing “up his sleeve” going in, but he has been known to bring a cow and sheep on the field to help his hitters and at times has sunk to such depths that he's allowed women players. To top it off, he lost last year's game, so we can only imagine what his managerial desperation will lead him to.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 8/26/14; Outdoors: Rock Ledge Ranch)

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