Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
Amy Kane

"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)."
Erik Keilholtz

Under the patronage of St. Tammany



Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

News & Ideas
Real Clear Politics
Daily Telegraph
Washington Post
Pajamas Media
American Digest
Little Green Footballs
National Review
The New Republic
The Corner
Opinion Journal
Best of the Web Today
Lileks: The Bleat
Mark Steyn
Midwest Conservative Journal
The Spectator
Atlantic Monthly
Front Page Magazine
Critical Mass
Weekly Standard
Power Line
Llama Butchers
The Onion
Conservative Home
Tory Diary
Henry Jackson Society
Naked Villainy
Fear & Loathing in Georgetown
Commentary: Contentions
The People's Cube

Culture & the Arts
Times Archive Blog
Spectator Book Club
Zajrzyj tu
Terry Teachout
Elliott Banfield
Today in History
Telegraph Obits
Maureen Mullarkey
City Journal
The Historical Society
The New Criterion
American Memory
Wodehouse Society
Hat Sharpening
Doubting Hall
Random Pensées
Hatemonger's Quarterly
Patum Peperium
Forgotten NY
NYPL Digital Gallery
Mid-Manhattan Library
BPL Online Prints
Cigar Store Figures
Scuffulans Hirsutus
Poetry Hut
Spinning Clio
Ye Olde Evening Telegraph
Atlantic Ave.
The Monarchist
Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine
The Port Stands At Your Elbow
Sven in Colorado
Dickens Blog
Feast of Nemesis

Red Hot Jazz Archive 'Perfessor' Bill's Ragtime
Arhoolie Records
Sinner's Crossroads
Riverwalk Jazz
Steamboat Calliopes
Cajun Music mp3
Old Hat Records
Virtual Victrola

Touching All the Bases
SABR Baseball Bios
Baseball Fever: Teams of Yesteryear
Boston Sports Temples
Philadelphia A's
Elysian Fields Quarterly
Mudville Magazine
US College Hockey Online
Baseball Reliquary
Sons of Sam Horn
Smoky Joe Wood & More
WaPo DC Baseball
Royal Rooters
Baseball Library
H-Y Football Gallery
Shoeless Joe

Cops in Kilts
Irish Eagle
Slugger O'Toole
Tallrite Blog
Irish Echo
Edmund Burke Society
Wild Geese Today

Theodore Roosevelt
Winston Churchill
Louis Armstrong
H.L. Mencken

St. Blog's Sampling
New Liturgical Movement
Damian Thompson
First Things
Mere Comments
Andrew Cusack
The Revealer
E. L. Core
Catholic Light
Thomas Fitzpatrick
Inn at the End of the World
Dale Price
Curt Jester
Domenico Bettinelli
Erik's Rants and Recipes
Shrine of the Holy Whapping
Todd Flowerday
Some Have Hats
Daniel Mitsui
Roman Miscellany
Against the Grain
Summa Minutiae
Digital Hairshirt


Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem

He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Irish Elk - Blogged


05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002 06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002 07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002 10/01/2002 - 11/01/2002 11/01/2002 - 12/01/2002 12/01/2002 - 01/01/2003 01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010

Irish Elk
Wednesday, July 24, 2002  
The Good Republic

Not every league has a team called the Tories. For nearly 70 years the Intertown Twilight League on Cape Ann has fostered the national pastime on a small-town scale in one of the most beautiful corners of the country. Here's an article from a few summers back:

The Boston Globe
August 1, 1999, Sunday, City Edition

HEADLINE: In twilight, they play on;
Quirky baseball parks add charm to Cape Ann league;

BYLINE: By Mark Sullivan, Globe Correspondent

ROCKPORT - To play right field at Evans Field, home of the Rockport Townies baseball team of the Intertown Twilight League, it helps to have a little mountain goat in your blood.

About 200 feet from home plate down the line in right, the field begins a sharp 45-degree ascent, climbing perhaps 25 feet before meeting the woods that form a natural outfield fence.

Imagine a fielder perched on a ledge halfway up the Wall at Fenway, with trees instead of netting behind, and you have an idea of the tableau facing a batter as he peers into right at Evans Field.

"It's our Green Monster," said Townies rightfielder Bruce Emerson, 38, who for more than 20 years has patrolled the Rockport outfield like an Alpine chamois. "You have to get used to playing it."

Quaint fields and quirky ground rules are part of the charm of the seven-team Intertown Twilight League on Cape Ann, at 66 one of the oldest amateur baseball leagues in the country.

There's a tank in the outfield at Patton Park, home of the Hamilton Generals, and pitchers rue the 300-foot short porch in center at the Manchester Mariners' field, where pop flies travel for homers when the wind is blowing out.

And then there's Rockport's cozy 70-year-old Evans Field, where the outfield hill in right field might remind old-timers of Duffy's Cliff in left at Fenway. Fly balls hit into the woods in right count for ground-rule doubles, and where the difference between a two-base hit and a homer can be a bush or a swath of high grass.

"Sometimes when you have 'invisible lines,' you have to make 'invisible calls,' " said league umpire-in-chief Cal Grimes, 53, an Essex police officer when not calling balls and strikes.

But if the occasional rhubarb is not unknown, said Grimes, a sense of sportsmanship prevails in the league, which includes teams from Ipswich, Essex, Rowley and Topsfield as well as Hamilton, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport.

"What I like about this league is the town-team concept of us against you," said Grimes, a former player and coach with the Essex Shipbuilders.

"The players have a couple of beers or soft drinks after the game, but when they're on the field, they're very competitive," he said. "There's an old-town-team tradition of spirit on the field and camaraderie off it."

While Rockport may have the nickname, all in this league are "Townies." Players are current or former residents of the towns for which they play, though Rockport, Essex, and Manchester-by-the-Sea are allowed also to take players from the city of Gloucester, which doesn't have a team.

"Many families have fathers, grandfathers and uncles who have played," said league scorer Terry Poste of Gloucester, who as a girl would join her grandfather on the bench as he coached the Hamilton team. "It's nice to see that."

Local pride and a love of baseball run as deep as lobster pots along this craggy outcropping of the Massachusetts coast.

"Fishermen and lobstermen have put in a full day of work and are looking for relaxation," said merchant Dale Herdman, a Gloucester native who sells Townies hats and shirts at his Sports Fan Emporium on Bearskin Neck in Rockport.

"Baseball is their outlet," Herdman said. "You can't make it to the pros, but every man has his dream. They play for the love of the game, pure and simple."

Natural rivalries abound in the neighboring seaport towns of the Cape, observed Rockport catcher Dominic Nicastro, 21, of Gloucester. "You have the bragging rights," he said. "Who's got the best clams? Who's got the best baseball team?"

Winning the title is cause for civic rejoicing. Rockport general manager James "Jade" Donaldson played second base for the Townies when the team copped its first championship in 1980 and still counts the experience among his greatest thrills.

"They took us all around town on the fire trucks," he recalled. "It was a Saturday night, and the town was mobbed. They carried us all the way down Bearskin Neck."

Rockport has since won six championships, to nine for league powerhouse Manchester, which has gone to the playoff final for 14 years straight. But Donaldson noted: "The first is always the most exciting."

First place was on the line and thundershowers threatened as Rockport and the Ipswich Chiefs met at Evans Field last Sunday. Host Rockport won in come-from-behind fashion, 6-4.

The field's turreted granite grandstand, which resembles an Adirondack hunting lodge and is so close to play that fans wisely remain on guard for ricocheting foul balls, provided shelter when the skies opened in the first. Players took cover under the roof and in the clubhouse.

When the showers passed, the players themselves took up the protective tarpaulins from the field, and wielded rakes and long-handled squeegees to remove water from the basepaths. "This is the only town in the league where you'll see guys doing this," mused Donaldson, 57, puffing a stogie as he looked on with his rain-soaked dog, Coco.

The rain was not going to deter Rockport manager Mike "Mex" Frontierro, 38, a stocky former catcher for the Townies. "We're going to play," he declared, surveying the raindrops. "I don't care; we're going to play."

A passion for the American pastime binds these players, who include clam-diggers and computer programmers. Several work as athletic instructors in local schools.

Cape Ann is known as a haven for artists, and the Rockport nine was guided for many years by the late Aldo Hibbard, an acclaimed landscape painter. Writers, too, have found a place in the league.

Nicastro is a stringer for the sports desk of the Gloucester Times, while Townies left-fielder Jay Lindsay is a reporter in the Boston bureau of the Associated Press. Both scribes homered in the Rockport victory.

"I've always loved the game," said Lindsay, 29, who lives in Hamilton. "You play it as long as you can."

Most of the players in the league are college or former college and high school players, and the caliber of baseball is high.

Rockport in recent years has fielded team captains from Salem State, Northeastern University, Bryant College, and the University of Massachusetts at Boston, said Donaldson. One-time Ipswich star Gardner O'Flynn has been a standout pitcher with the Massachusetts Mad Dogs of the independent Northern League.

"I'll tell you - defensively, sometimes we look like major leaguers," Donaldson said. "These kids can play."

Ipswich player-coach Bob Greenleaf made a catch in left field last Sunday worthy of a highlight reel. Like Willie Mays in the old Polo Grounds, he turned his back to the plate and galloped back, making an over-the-shoulder grab of a 330-foot fly.

"It's not a fool-around thing," Donaldson said. "It's serious."

Said Nicastro as he strapped on his shin guards and chest protector: "We've got players [ in the major leagues] getting paid billions of dollars to play this game, and all the contractual disputes. We play for the fun of it."

At 5:30 tonight, the Topsfield Tories visit Rockport to take on the Townies at Evans Field.

The league's 24-game regular season, which began Memorial Day weekend, ends this Friday. The top four teams in the standings will go to the playoffs, with a best-of-three semifinal series starting next Sunday and running through Aug. 13, followed by a best-of-five championship series Aug. 15-22.

The season is too fleeting for Frontierro, whose field of dreams lies between the Rockport commuter-rail tracks and the most unusual outfield hill around.

"This absolutely is heaven," he said as he surveyed the green of Evans Field.


This page is powered by Blogger.