Navin Field to host 1860s era women's baseball game to benefit Alternatives for Girls

Tiger Stadium is long gone, but the historic baseball diamond still remains. A group known as the Navin Field Grounds Crew, headed by Tom Derry, maintains the field free of charge, using money from their own pockets, making sure it can be enjoyed by the public. Established in 2010, the group is dedicated to restoring Detroit's "field of dreams" site where Tiger Stadium stood for nearly a century. 

While the crew maintains the field, Michael F. Copado organizes vintage baseball games among similar but independent teams that all take place at Navin Field (Tiger Stadium's original name). The 1860s-style games abide by the rules of that time, employing vintage-style uniforms and a no-glove policy. The games take place on Sundays, when Copado works to bring teams together from around the state, though no real league currently exists, all the while promoting the good work done by the people of the grounds crew.

Copado has other ideas in the works that involve both Navin Field and vintage baseball. One idea is coming to fruition this Sunday, when a ladies-only game will take place to benefit a local charity.

"When I came up with this idea, I reached out to the Detroit River Belles Ladies Vintage Base Ball Club," says Copado of his hope to bring together local women's teams. "They have a social worker on their team who has some connection to [Alternatives for Girls], so it seemed perfect. Same with hooking up with Ann Arbor Roller Derby, I think that Women's Vintage Ball and Roller Derby have a lot in common: strong women, friendly competition, costumes/uniforms, and nicknames. I know a lot of women who love the idea of Derby but don't skate, and I think that vintage ball can fill that same niche, so I wanted to help the women's side of the sport grow, and help a good cause."

This Sunday, July 13, a game between the Detroit River Belles and the Ann Arbor Derby Dimes will take place at 2 p.m. in old-timey fashion at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull in Corktown. The game is free to the public, but donations to help the charity are welcome. $1.10 per inning is suggested (that works out to $10 total) and refreshments will also be available on a donation basis.

The donations will go toward Alternatives for Girls, a 25-year-old, Detroit-based nonprofit that helps homeless and at-risk girls by providing safe shelter, educational support, mentoring, and counseling.

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