Mount Clemens Regulars Move Home Base to Clinton Township, Play 150-Year-Old Ball
Clinton Township is now home to the Mount Clemens Regulars, a vintage base ball club that strives to play the game by the rules, customs and language of 1867 America.
When it comes to playing America’s favorite game, members of the Mount Clemens Regulars Base Ball Club (BBC) find there is no time like the past.
A vintage base ball club that now calls Clinton Township home, the Regulars strive to preserve the game as it was played in 1867, from the uniforms and equipment to the distance between the bases.
The club draws men from across Macomb County, with three of its newest members hailing from Clinton Township.
“I’m enveloped in it,” said Stephen Lunau, nicknamed “Looney” by his club mates. “It’s a gentlemen’s game and I like that about it. I’ve had enough of competitive baseball. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy it. I don’t even watch the Tigers anymore.”
Lunau joined the club about two months ago with his son, Jason, who at 22 is one of the youngest members.
“I caught them at a game at the (Clinton Township) Civic Center and pretty much fell in love with it,” Lunau said. “I asked them if they were looking for people and they said to come on out to a practice. My son and I went out there and had a really great time.”
The rest, as most things are with the Regulars, is history.
The Regulars trace their roots to 1864, when it is believed returning Civil War soldiers, or “Regulars,” established an amateur baseball club in Mount Clemens. Base ball, as it was known then, was a gentlemen’s game, played solely for recreation and exercise, with sportsmanship a top priority.
Formed in Sterling Heights in 2002, the club moved to Clinton Township in 2010 and is currently working to partner with the Clinton Township Historical Society to play at the Historic Village in the Civic Center.
While other vintage base ball clubs often combine the rules, customs and language of several time periods, the Regulars strive to play by the rules of 1867 when at home.
“A lot of other teams and organizations try to put it off as a romance novel – make-believe,” Lunau said. “The reality is, it’s history. Our club in particular takes it very seriously. They’re trying to portray history.”
“As a new player the most important thing to remember is that although we are playing this game for our own enjoyment and recreation, we are primarily playing for our spectators,” reads the club’s player’s manual. “Presenting the game as it was actually played is our mission and engaging, educating and entertaining our spectators is paramount within this club.”
The families of the players often take up this mission, too, as is the case with the Judnichs.
While Valentine Judnich plays in the club, his wife Susan, sons Sebastian and Gideon, and daughter Chloe don period dress and participate in their own way off the field.
Wearing a smaller version of the Regulars uniform, Sebastian, 12, serves as a bat assistant or mascot, while Chloe, 9, helps keep score or hand out fliers.
“I have a (period) dress and my 4-year-old son Gideon gets dressed up and just acts cute,” said Susan Judnich. “Right away you’re part of the camaraderie. We’ll have a picnic after the game and it’s a nice relaxing, no-stress get together … like what would have happened 100 years ago.”
Although Sebastian isn’t quite old enough to play in the club, he is determined to be a full-fledged member someday.
“He can’t wait,” Susan said. “I think it’s good for the kids because they are learning the sportsmanship. Losing stinks, but if it’s a good game, they are still cheering for the other team. They’re learning to play the game as a team.”
The Regulars season, which typically runs from May to September, has come to an end, but the work of club members to further research the history of their sport and refine their re-enactment of it continues year round.