Two involved cranks draw the winning ticket for a raffle at the 6th Annual Rochesterfest. Photo courtesy of the Olmsted Historical Society.

“Cranks” (or, spectators) have lots of fun – especially if they understand the game, have a sense of history and a sense of humor.

This little primer will help you participate (and behave with proper decorum).

Fine, competitive base ball is played and gentlemanly manners are displayed at Rochester (MN) Roosters Game. Photo courtesy the Olmsted County Historical Society.

What to Yell:

Captain Brad Shaw of the Flemington Neshanocks. Photo courtesy of Flemington Neshanocks.

We're not sure that these ballists are actually cheering here. But cranks should only shout "HUZZAH!" (or possibly Hurrah!) Why not "hurray?" The First Foot Guards, a Boston-based Rev War re-enactment group, will explain.

Brad Pfeifer of the Rochester Grangers. Photo courtesy of Hartford Senators.

What to Wear:

Barbara Brothers, wife of Hoover Sweeper Kim "Brother" Brothers offers cookies to a young "crank" at Hoover Park in North Canton, Ohio. Courtesy of Hoover Historical Society.

Be sure to dress the part if you possibly can. It does mean covering up on a hot day – but games are short and maybe you can serve lemonade. Ladies, try parasols and fans. Gents: the umpire sets the style.

Umpire Duane "Chairman" Thein of the St. Croix Baseball Club. Photograph by Dean Thilgen.

How to Act (or Re-Enact):

Photograph by Doug Merriam, courtesy of Old Bethpage Village.

Rule One: Mind the Umpire. “Umpire” is one of the few terms that have remained the same from the 1800’s to today. But the umpire’s role –and costume-have changed dramatically. Formally dressed in top hat and frock coat, the umpire provides a model of decorum and is obliged to levy fines for rude behavior both in the stands and on the field. (Note of caution: Since they pocket the change -often on behalf of their teams - some umps spend more time watching your language than watching the ball.)

Photo courtesy of the Lake County Historical Society.

Rule Two: Keep Score (if invited). Seasoned fans like this Ohio belle may be asked to attend the "Tally Table", such as this one at Shadybrook Field in Kirtland Hills, OH. (If selected, be sure not to directly address or otherwise distract the scoring player. He might forget to ring the bell!)

Photo courtesy of Ground Squirrels

Rule Three: Beware the chowhound! Take utmost care when passing the funnel cake. This young lady's father was fined for her carelessness!

Photo courtesy of Ground Squirrels

Rule Four: Avoid Unseemly Demonstrations. There is no word on how much a group of ill-mannered Suffragettes were fined for parading their placards during play.

To prevent this kind of behavior, gentlemen escorting young ladies to the match should take pains to interest them in the game. This article, "Theory of the Game -- For the Ladies," by Project Gutenberg, should help. Barnard College, American Studies resources.

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