Crank it up! Vintage baseball Sept. 3

       Rock Ledge baseball fever is in the air, and Andy Morris has caught it.
       In an interview this week, the manager of the 1880s-era working ranch called for support of his Camp Creek Cloud Busters against the “milkmaids” from Denver in the Labor Day vintage baseball game at the city-owned historic site.
       “We disdain the folks from the north,” Morris elaborated in an interview with a local yellow journalist. “We don't like how they run, bat, throw, eat or raise their kids, and the fact that they ride sidesaddle.”
       Played with the rules - and style - of baseball in the 1800s, the contest will begin at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3 on the recently mown hayfield in front of the Rock Ledge House.
       Morris said he doesn't expect any surprises from the opposing nine, which mostly consists of players from an old-time baseball league in the Denver area. “They'll be bringing in the same reprobates and drunkards,” he scoffed.
       What Morris may need is surprises from his own team. Cruelly reminded that the local lads have only emerged victorious once in eight years (prompting some cranks to omit the “u” in “Cloud” when saying the team name), he denied the “ugly rumor” that one or two females may bolster the lineup in this year's game. “The team will consist of manly men, as it should be,” the team leader winked.
       Be that as it may, the local cranks - an old-time word for fans - helped the locals snag their only win in the series two years ago by catching “outs” for the Cloud Busters and doing the opposite for the Milkmaids. “We need the cranks to root on the righteous team,” Morris explained. “That might give us the boost we need to go on to victory.”
       If such home field advantages aren't helpful enough, Morris talked about expanding a tactic he used last year - which nearly inspired a come-from-behind final-inning rally - of bringing livestock onto the field. In addition to Patches, the ranch cow, grazing behind second base, the sheep herd may also be unleashed this year, he intimated.
       There is no extra cost (nor indeed a discount) for ranch visitors coming to watch the game. The Rock Ledge admission cost is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and teens and $2 for children.
       There is no seating for the game, but cranks are welcome to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets.
       The Rock Ledge entrance/parking lot is off Gateway Road at 30th Street. Labor Day marks the end of the summer season at Rock Ledge. The next event will be the Folk Art Festival Sept. 14-15.

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