The 4th Annual Cardines Classic, hosted by the U.S. Naval War College, took place last night at Newport’s historic Cardines Field. The event features students from the U.S. Naval War College dressed in World War I era baseball uniforms playing a friendly game of baseball and playing as Army vs Navy. Postponed twice already due to weather and field conditions, I was excited to see the game was on schedule for last night, October 1st. An email to the College confirmed the game was on and I decided to take the drive over to one of my favorite baseball spots, Cardines Field, to take in the game.
Cardines Field has the look and feel of a turn of the century baseball field, so it is very fitting that a game featuring WWI era baseball uniforms, wooden bats, and honoring military baseball history be played there. This poster was tacked to the walls leading up to the front gates. An attendant handed me a game program, which featured some background on the game and its relationship to Cardines Field.
The game was free to the public and when I entered Cardines, I was pleasantly surprised to see a very good crowd. As the home to the Newport Gulls, who assisted in the operation of the Cardines Classic, Cardines Field is very popular destination for baseball fans. And this first Friday in October, the fans, mostly military families, came out to watch a great baseball game.
The game time temperature (according to my phone) was 66°. By the top of the 2nd inning, the shadows had made their way past the pitcher’s mound and stretched as far as deep 2nd base. It was a very comfortable night for baseball in October, in Newport.
In between innings, the Army and Navy team catchers got together to do an equipment exchange. One set of shin guards, one chest protector, and I believe one catcher’s mask. Most likely separate gloves but very reminiscent of that era where fielders shared equipment defensively.
So the World War 1 era uniforms – shirt that buttoned down to the waist, like a dress shirt. Pants tucked into socks, which were yanked up to the knees. No numbers on the back of the uniforms. No names on the back of the uniforms. Material? All wool jerseys and pants. They certainly looked the part out there on the field.
The crowd was awesome. They cheered for every player, every at bat, every pitch. They were friends and family members of the players on the field and it showed. Military families enjoying a beautiful night out in Newport. Fans mingled with other fans. Every hit to the outfield yielded “oohs” and “ahhs” no matter where it landed – in the field of play or in the glove of a player. The concession stand was open for business and the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers was amazing.
As far as the play on the field, I could tell these were former baseball players. Some may have played in high school, some even in college. The pitchers threw strikes, the hitters put the ball in play, routines plays were made at shortstop, fly balls were caught. And the players looked like they were having a blast! Very entertaining game.
In the email exchange I had with the U.S. Naval War College, the representative informed me that a museum with exhibits that explain the basis of the Cardines Classic along with some artifacts was available for me to visit, pending security authorization by the U.S. Naval War College. In the coming weeks, I am planning on visiting the museum and sharing photos and stories. As for the game and the experience, it was incredible to watch Army vs Navy in the 4th Annual Cardines Classic at Cardines Field, Newport. The fans were really into the game and the players looked like they had a lot of fun. It was a great night for baseball in Newport and special thank you to all the military servicemen, servicewomen, and their families for your service to our country.
For more events or general information on the U.S. Naval War College, visit www.usnwc.edu.