The Baseball activity strives to instruct Birch Rockers on the finer points of America’s pastime. Whether the camper is a rookie to the game or a veteran of his local little league team, he can always learn something from the Baseball Gods of BRC. The field, located at the entrance to the camp, slopes noticeably from third to first prompting many to say that “If you can handle a ground ball on this field, you can play anywhere.”
Most activity periods begin with some stretching and warm ups. Next, we focus on working towards the parts of the baseball badges – proper fielding, throwing, hitting, etc. When there are a sufficient number of campers signed up for the activity (a rarity when camp was smaller), an intra-squad game is played. Eager participation is more important than skill in these games. Those boys who are inattentive may be forced to run a lap around the apple tree in right field. Should a camper be hit by a pitch or sharply hit ground ball, he is instructed to take his base and wear the bruise as a badge of honor throughout the rest of the camp day.
Famous Moments in Birch Rock Baseball History
- In the 1970s, counselor Hub Burton, a future minor league baseball announcer, would keep a running commentary throughout each period of baseball. On hot days, he would claim that the hill was, “Hotter than Busch Stadium in July.”
- In 1981, counselor Dick Snyder, a Towson State University pitcher, threw a baseball through one of the boards on the backstop.
- In 1981, the Birch Rock team beat Camp Skylemar on the road at Camp Skylemar.
- In 1983, the Birch Rock team beat Waganaki with homefield advantage. Waganaki's boys made a lot of errors on BRC's rolling field. Dave Jenkins pitched a shutout.
- In 1984, the Birch Rock team played the local Harrison boys team, who had recently won the local Little League championship. Birch Rock lost 2-0 with pitcher David Jenkins giving up only one hit, a two-run home run.
- In 1985, the basepaths were dug out by hand in an attempt to create a more recognizable diamond. This development backfired when many campers twisted ankles on the uneven surface.
- In 1986, Seth Brewster broke the Spalding Mushroom, the biggest bat ever used at Birch Rock, with one mighty swing.
- In 1989, Birch Rock played a game on Waganaki's lower field and lost 4-3. This was Waganaki's last summer before closing.
- From 1984-1994, the camper with the most enthusiasm for the game was awarded a blue mitt called the Joe Brown Mitt, named after the camper who had left the mitt at camp in 1983.
- In 2002, in an attempt to get a lot of campers to baseball, Lenza Latendresse announced that a major league player would be on the field that day. Later, Mike Mattson arrived wearing a Baltimore Orioles jersey with "Mattson" on the back. Lenza quickly convinced the boys that Mike had played for the Orioles during the one summer he took off in 1991. Mike went along with it and for the next 4 summers the boys believed Mike played for the Orioles. Yet another great camp prank that went on for years.