Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/97

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67
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

any favor upon the efforts of the Excelsiors, the Atlantics, the Gothams, the Putnams and other remote, aspiring relatives, to butt in under claims of ties of consanguinity. Especially were the Knickerbockers jealous of any attempts on the part of these rank outsiders to assume the functions of formulating rules for the disciplinary government of their child. The Base Ball infant had come into the world under the most auspicious conditions. From the very beginning, its surroundings had been pre-eminently respectable, and all its leadings had been along lines most proper and decorous. If the Knickerbockers had, in their fondness for the youngster, over-fed it at times and withheld a due amount of exercise, their intentions at least had been sincere and solicitous.

And now, it was proposed by these interlopers to introduce the kidlet into society—and such society! How were the Knickerbockers to meet the influences for evil which they thought would surely assail their darling if it came in touch with coarse and vulgar people who lived over on Long Island?

But that was not all. The Knickerbockers had been organized after the pattern of the ancient Marylebone Cricket Club, of England, which for centuries, more or less, had made every rule for the government of Cricket in Great Britain and her colonies—and which does so still. To question the right of the Marylebone Club to dictate in all matters of the British national game, on the other side of the Atantic, was rank heresy. And who were these pretenders, anyhow, who were disputing the Knickerbockers' right, which had never been questioned until now,