Troops Step Up To The Plate, Recreate Army-Navy Baseball Rivalry ‘Field Of Dreams’ Style

news
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Justin Dorgan, left, and U.S Army Maj. Ricky Tang, right, pose in replica World War I-era flannel baseball uniforms during practice at Cardines Field in Newport, R.I. Rhode Island.
World War I Centennial Commission photo by Matthew McCoy

To recognize the centennial anniversary of World War I, the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, is celebrating our military forbears in uniform with… well, a different set of uniforms.


U.S. Navy Cmdr. Justin Dorgan, left, and U.S Army Maj. Ricky Tang, right, pose in replica World War I-era flannel baseball uniforms during practice at Cardines Field in Newport, R.I. Rhode Island.World War I Centennial Commission photo by Matthew McCoy

At an afternoon baseball game on Sept. 29, Navy sailors and Army soldiers attending the War College will step up to the plate for a 1917-era baseball game, replete with wool uniforms (note the military tuck), wooden bats, and old-school rules, which means a larger strike zone and yes, even spitballs, The Washington Post reports.

Though baseball didn’t impact the outcome of World War I — sports don’t really exist for their strategic import — it did, however, have a profound effect on American culture in the era, becoming a shared national pastime.

In 1917, Navy Adm. William S. Sims created a league in Ireland — at a time of deep suspicion of British activity and the U.S. military, the Post reports — drawn from U.S. troops stationed overseas.

Related: 2 USMA Combat Vets. 2 Sides Of The NFL Kneeling Debate. This Is America’s Strength »

“Through baseball, Sims attempted to show that our troops and sailors were no longer German, or Irish, or anything other than American,” David Kohnen, the director of the Naval War College’s John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research and one of the game’s organizers, said in an announcement to the school last week, the Post reports. “Not only did baseball provide a diversion from the horrors of war, but baseball also demonstrated a unique American identity.”

The league even proved popular enough to attract future greats, from Hall of Famers Oscar Charleston, Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson, who served in the Army, to Herb Pennock and Casey Stengel on the Navy side.

Despite the amusing nostalgia of the affair — and the benefits of attending a free 1917-themed ballgame, which better have $0.05 Cracker Jacks — it’s a reminder of the greater role baseball, and sports in general, can play as a unifying all-American pastime.

“There’s no way we can understand World War I unless we first consider the history of it in all respects,” Kohnen told the Associated Press. “Baseball is part of the story of the American experience during the First World War.”

The game begins at 4:30 p.m. at Newport’s Cardines Field — one of the oldest ballparks in the country — free of charge. Just a word to any would-be Archibald “Moonlight” Grahams out there: If you swagger up to the plate and wink at the pitcher, watch out you don't get killed.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.

After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.

But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

Read More Show Less

That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.

After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.

Read More Show Less

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.

"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."

Read More Show Less
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in a closely watched war crimes trial this summer has filed a lawsuit against two of his former attorneys and a military legal defense nonprofit, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Texas on Friday.

Read More Show Less

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The Air Force is reviewing whether some airmen's valor awards deserve to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said on Tuesday.

Goldfein revealed that several airmen are being considered for the nation's highest military award during a press conference at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. He declined to say exactly who could receive the Medal of Honor, pending the outcome of the review process.

Read More Show Less