The first time Wesleyan and Yale squared off on the diamond, the Civil War had just ended and Andrew Johnson was president. On September 30th, 1865, a symbolic in-state rivalry was born, and has since become a battle for the title of “the Harvard of Central Connecticut.” The two teams will clash on Yale’s home turf this coming Saturday in commemoration of that historic autumn day 150 years ago. Though the game is just an exhibition, its significance has not escaped the members of the Cardinals’ squad. Complete with pomp and ceremony (and throwback uniforms), it’s a unique opportunity for both sides.
“It’s going to be really cool,” said shortstop Guy Davidson ’16. “Baseball is so much built around history and so it’s cool to feel like you’re going to be a part of it. It will also be really awesome to play on their field which is a cool field. The atmosphere’s going to be great.”
Though the Bulldogs hold an all-time record of 59-17 against Wesleyan and have not conceded a victory to the Cardinals since 1983, Davidson feels optimistic about their chances going into Saturday’s matchup.
“We do have a shot of beating them, he claims. “We played them last year and lost, but after the first inning and as the game went on we kind of realized that we could beat them. It was a good learning experience for us then and it will be great for us again this season.”
The Cardinals indeed fought valiantly in last spring’s 7-3 loss to the Bulldogs, limiting the Bulldogs to one run following a six-run first inning and adding three runs of their own over the next eight innings. Though the team will be without last year’s outstanding senior class, which included current Major League Baseball (MLB) prospects Donnie Cimino ’15 and Nick Cooney ’15, the players feel that a quality outing against Yale might just set the tone for another successful season.
“We’re excited for sure,” says Davidson. “[The game] will be a great opportunity for our team in a couple of ways: first, it would be good to make a statement. Even though we lost a lot of players we’re going to be good this year, too; and second, it’s always beneficial to face good competition. No other NESCAC team gets to play real games in the fall so it’s a cool opportunity. Usually in the fall we just do inter-squad scrimmages, but never have real games against other teams with coaches. So this is a really great opportunity to test where we’re at.”
The game will begin at 7 p.m; with special guests Jim Dresser ’63 (of Dresser Diamond) and Fay Vincent (Yale ’63), former commissioner of the MLB (1989-1993) slated to throw ceremonial first pitches.