COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A bygone era returns to the capital this weekend. After a year derailed by COVID-19 restrictions, 25 teams are returning to Columbus for the Ohio Cup Vintage Base Ball Festival.
“It’s accessible to a lot of people,” said Aaron Seddon, director of Ohio Village Muffins. “Not everyone comes to baseball at age eight and doesn’t play it for the rest of their life. Some people in their 20s, 30s, 40s realize that they want to get involved in the game in some way or another and this is an opportunity for them to do so.
Seddon, an 1890s city replica volunteer of the Ohio History Connection, explained that the sport presented an early take on America’s favorite pastime. Muffins play in Ohio Village according to rules developed in the 1860s, with period uniforms and equipment.
“Being able to, we call it, interpret or explain, the evolution of the game to the spectators is something that we really appreciate,” he said.
2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the Muffins’ first season, making them arguably the oldest vintage baseball team in the country. They host two dozen other teams from Saturday September 4 to Sunday September 5 for the Ohio Cup.
“I can’t think of a better example of what the vintage baseball community is and what we stand for than this weekend,” said Rudy Frias, captain of the Columbus Capitals.
Teams traveled from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Tennessee, Minnesota and Missouri for one of the nation’s biggest vintage baseball gatherings. Many share a love of history and the game.
“The best thing is the crackle of the wooden bat when you hit a ball. There is no better feeling, ”said Steve Sebert of the Rochester, Mich. Grangers.
Frias added: “The game, the score, everything takes a back seat to just connect with people.”
There are no trophies or official winners in the festival. Quick games last less than an hour with spectators watching from lawn chairs and blankets. The Ohio Cup is touted as being family friendly, with food trucks, activities, and crafts and games for the kids.
It takes place September 4 to 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
You can watch the only women’s team, the Ohio Village Diamonds, at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Find more information about the Ohio Cup and the Ohio Village by visiting the Ohio History Connection website.