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The reds of summer

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Head-high lobs, pitches so far off the plate they could have been in another time zone -- anarchists will swing at anything! Perhaps they were seizing the historical moment or maybe pitch selection is too bourgeois.

Socialist-vs.-anarchist softball has been part of the War Resisters League annual conference since 1976. Though by no means an ideologically restrictive organization, throughout its 80-year history the WRL has included many socialists, anarchists and baseball fans.

Last Friday evening as the clouds rolled in over the mountains, the assembled crowd that gathered at the Colorado College quad for this year's showdown looked less like your typical sports fans and more like the movie Cocoon recast with residents of the Emma Goldman Retirement Center.

It was recreational softball at its most, er, recreational. Conference attendees from Houston, Salt Lake, Connecticut and beyond were treated to some "radical" interpretations of the national pastime that included plays that simultaneously glorified and disgraced the working class.

A few highlights:

Paper bases combined with an abundance of barefooted players led to the problematic occurrence of the bases sticking to runners' feet.

Colorado College alum Brian Colonna's Pete Rose impression at a headfirst slide into third -- easily a foot off the ground -- was entirely gratuitous as no attempt was made to throw him out.

Despite his 53 years, Springs resident Peter Sprunger-Froese sprinted the base paths as if he were running from the Colorado Springs Police Department's Red Squad.

Anarchist Patrick Sheehan-Gauner of Norwich, Conn., homered off a pitch from his socialist dad Rick Gauner, while his mom Joanne cheered.

Despite the insistence that no one wins or loses in anarchist-socialist softball, the anarchist team kicked some socialist butt. However, not even Ralph DiGia, the game's official "anti-empire umpire" could recall the final score.

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