Batter up!

Mark Twain kept this scorecard at a baseball game in Hartford, CT, circa 1874.

The 2018 baseball season opens today. I’ll be rooting for my hometown Phils, but don’t hold that against me.

It’s likely that Mark Twain would be rooting for his own hometown Hartford Dark Blues, says the Major League Baseball website. At a dinner in 1889, Twain called the game “the outward and visible expression of the drive, and push, and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, booming 19th century.” Legend also has it that he may have umpired a semi-pro game at his summer home in Elmira, NY. He boasted about his deep knowledge of the pastime: “Oh, I knew all about it. I knew it was a ball the moment I saw it, and I said so.”

Play ball! And while you’re waiting for the rain delay to end, read more about Mark Twain and America’s greatest game — as well as an associated corpse — here.