Springfield Throwback Baseball


♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪>>ONE OF OUR COMMUNITIES FAVORITE EVENTS EVERY YEAR AS FAR AS JULY 4TH CELEBRATION AND THROWBACK BASEBALL GAME. THIS YEAR WE HELD THE 11TH ANNUAL GAME. IT STARTED 10 YEARS AGO BY SOME SPRINGFIELD RESIDENTS JAVIER HERRERO WHO IS A PHYSICIAN THAT LIVES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. AND A REALLY GREAT CATCHER. AND DAN BLANCHARD WHO AT THE TIME LIVED IN JACKSONVILLE, WORKED FOR A LOCAL TELEVISION STATION AND INTERESTINGLY NOW LIVES IN NEW YORK WORKING FOR MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. CAME UP WITH THE IDEA TO HOLD A BASEBALL GAME IN SPRINGFIELD TO BRING THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER. SO AGAIN, THIS IS A GREAT EVENT WITH SOME HISTORIC CONTEXT HAPPENING IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. THEY DESIGNED THE GAME SO PEOPLE WHO LIVED ON THE EAST SIDE OF MAIN STREET IN SPRINGFIELD AND PEOPLE WHO LIVED ON THE WEST SIDE OF MAIN STREET IN SPRINGFIELD WOULD PLAY AGAINST EACH OTHER. WE HAVE THE WEST SIDE GIANTS AND THE EAST SIDE REDS. JAVIER ACTUALLY PAID FOR AND DESIGNED THE UNIFORMS THAT ARE MODELS ON VINTAGE UNIFORMS THE TYPE OF UNIFORMS BASEBALL PLAYERS ACTUALLY WORE AROUND 1900, 1910 AND THEY PLAY WITH OLD EQUIPMENT, WHICH THE GUYS TELL ME IS VERY CHALLENGING, MOST OF THEM GREW UP PLAYING WITH ALUMINUM BATS AND LARGER GLOVES AND THEY PLAY WITH THE SMALL SQUARE GLOVES, WOODEN BATS, BUT THEY ALL THOROUGHLY ENJOY IT EVEN WHEN IT’S 100 DEGREES OUTSIDE ON JULY 4TH AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD GATHERS NORMALLY IN KLUTHO PARK TO WATCH THE GAME, HAVE PICNICS, WE HAVE AN ANNOUNCER THAT DRESSES IN THE PERIOD COSTUME. WE ALWAYS HAVE PERFORMANCE OF NATION AN THEM. WE HAD A VERY SPECIAL ONE THIS YEAR. WE HAD A LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL OR CELEBRITY COME OUT AND THROW OUT THE FIRST PITCH. SO WE MAKE IT AN EVENT THAT’S A LOT OF FUN AND PEOPLE FROM NOT JUST SPRINGFIELD BUT ALL OVER JACKSONVILLE COME OUT AND ENJOY THE GAME. THIS YEAR WE HAD A LAST MINUTE EMERGENCY THAT LED US TO MOVE THE BASEBALL GAME BUT IT TURNED OUT TO BE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR THE PLAYERS AND THE FANS BECAUSE WE WERE ABLE TO PLAY IN JP SMALL’S PARK WHICH IS LOCATED ONLY ABOUT A MILE FROM KLUTHO PARK IN THE DURKEEVILLE NEIGHBORHOOD IN JACKSONVILLE. AND IT WAS JACKSONVILLE’S ORIGINAL BALL STADIUM. IT HAD A FEW DIFFERENT NAMES OVER THE YEARS. I THINK IT WAS CALLED DURKEE FIELD AT ONE TIME. THE NEGRO LEAGUE TEAM FROM THE EARLY 1900S PLAYED IN THAT FIELD AND MANY OF THE MOST FAMOUS BASEBALL PLAYERS IN HISTORY PLAYED IN THAT STADIUM ON THAT FIELD. PEOPLE LIKE SATCHEL PAGE, JACKIE ROBINSON, HANK AARON, AND I KNOW MY SON WAS ONE OF THE GUYS WHO PLAYED IN THE GAME THIS YEAR AND HE WAS ABSOLUTELY THRILLED TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY SOMEWHERE WHERE, YOU KNOW, HIS HEROES LIKE THAT HAVE PLAYED IN THE PAST. ONE OF THE NEW BUSINESSES IN SPRING FIELD IS HYPERION BREWING COMPANY. THEY’VE ONLY BEEN OPEN A FEW MONTHS BUT THEY HAVE BECOME A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD. THEIR OWNERS HAVE REALLY FELL IN LOVE WITH SPRINGFIELD BECAUSE OF THE JULY 4TH BASEBALL GAME. THEY ATTENDED THAT GAME AND I THINK LATER ATTENDED JACKSONVILLE PORCH FEST AND THAT’S WHAT HELPED THEM MAKE THE DECISION TO COME TO SPRINGFIELD. SO THIS YEAR HYPERION POSTED A PREPARTY BEFORE THE GAME AND LOTS OF RESIDENTS GATHERED THERE BEFORE GOING OVER TO J. P. SMALLS AND JOINTLY SPONSORED A BICYCLE DECORATING CONTEST. NOT ONLY DID THEY HOST THE PREPARTY. I THINK THEY ENDED UP HAVING A PRETTY BIG AFTER GAME PARTY AFTERWARDS BECAUSE A LOT OF NEIGHBORS HEADED BACK OVER AFTER THE GAME. AND THE BASEBALL GAME IS SORT OF THIS PERFECT LITTLE SLICE OF AMERICANA WHERE WE’RE DOING THIS TRADITIONAL THING, WE’RE CELEBRATING THE 4TH OF JULY IN A WAY THAT IS VERY SORT OF WHOLESOME WITH THE BASEBALL GAME AND THE PICNIC, BUT YOU LOOK AROUND AT OUR EVENT AND IT’S — THE PEOPLE THAT ARE THERE DON’T ALL LOOK THE SAME. YOU KNOW, AND THEY’VE COME FROM ALL — LOTS OF DIFFERENT PLACES, BUT THEY ALL — THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN SPRINGFIELD WHO GO TO THE EVENT ALL KNOW EACH OTHER VERY WELL, KNOW WHERE EVERYBODY LIVES, KNOW THEIR FAMILIES, CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER, IT’S SORT OF LIKE A GREAT BIG FAMILY PICNIC FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD AND IT’S CELEBRATION FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY AND HOW FAR THE NEIGHBORHOOD HAS COME. WHEN EVENTS I HELP ORGANIZE ARE OVER IN SPRINGFIELD, I ALWAYS HAVE A MIX OF FEELINGS, FIRST I’M USUALLY EXHAUSTED. BUT I’M ALSO ELATED BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN SEEING YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD COME TOGETHER AND ENJOY SOMETHING THAT THE WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD WAS INVOLVED IN ORGANIZING. IN SPRINGFIELD WHEN WE DO EVENTS, WE TYPICALLY DO THEM ON SOMETHING OF A SHOE STRING LIKE MOST NONPROFITS WE DON’T HAVE A HUGE BUDGET SO WE HAVE DIFFERENT NEIGHBORS WHO PITCH IN AND AMAZING VARIETY OF WAYS, WHETHER THEY SERVE AS ANNOUNCER OR ORGAN PLAYER OR TUBA PLAYER, PLAY ON THE TEAM OR VOLUNTEER TO PICK UP TRASH, MANY, MANY PEOPLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD MADE IT HAPPEN. THE ONLY THING WASN’T A SUCCESS WAS THE EAST SIDE TEAM. MY TEAM DIDN’T WIN. BUT THEY’RE BOTH MY TEAMS, BUT MY HOME TEAM DIDN’T WIN.>>TO SEE THIS AND OTHER EPISODES OF HOMETOWN, VISIT WJCT.ORG/HOMETOWN OR DOWNLOAD THE WJCT APP AND TAKE HOMETOWN AND OTHER GREAT WJCT PROGRAMMING WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO. FOR HOMETOWN, I’M DANIEL AUSTIN. ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪ ♪[ MUSIC ] ♪

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