Well before baseball made headlines with steroid scandals, player strikes and other distractions, it was a simpler game, America's pastime.
And the sport of that era will be renewed this summer, when the new Bloomingdale Bucks vintage baseball team makes its home at Springfield Park.
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The team will play by rules from 1858, which means no gloves, no base stealing and certainly no arguing with the umpire, among others. Even celebrated habits, such as spitting and cursing, are forbidden in this classic version of baseball.
"Seeing a vintage game helps fans get a better understanding of how it evolved into the game it is today," said team manager Robert Kurek.
The Bucks formerly played in Elk Grove Village and were sponsored by its park district. But that partnership ended and now the team is coming to DuPage County with sponsorship from the Bloomingdale Park District and Bloomingdale Historical Society.
The Bucks will play an eight-game season, with four away games including one in Milwaukee. And while the team strives for authenticity in its games, there is one 19th century rule they are willing to break: women are allowed to join the Bucks.
Kurek said he hopes men and women who are history buffs, baseball aficionados or both will join the team. There is no player limit, and the roster will rotate, he added.
"It's definitely something different, but still familiar enough to the sport people love," Kurek said.
Once the team is established, Kurek said members hope to do some fundraising to purchase vintage uniforms that are historically accurate. Current jerseys are designed in 19th-century style, but aren't up to par with the expensive period uniforms.
The Bucks' season runs June 5 to Sept. 18 and costs $25 for residents and $35 for others. Anyone interested can register for the free practice day May 8. For details, call Kurek at (630) 894-0045 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.