"It sounded too much like Memphis not to do it," says Josh Conley, explaining why he organized the first Sandlot Memphis game.
He had noticed a surge of these informal baseball games held in vacant lots, and when he saw a Garden & Gun story about one such sandlot team in Texas, he decided to make the pitch for Sandlot Memphis on Facebook.
The first game, pitting downtowners against Midtowners, will be held Sunday, June 1st at 5 p.m., in the grassy field next to the Memphis Farmers Market downtown.
According to Conley, the game is completely democratic. There are no rules, no umpires.
"That's the most fun part," he says. "How do you organize an event that by definition is unorganized?"
The field is owned by Henry Turley, whose only condition was that there be a pitchers mound. Conley says they're considering putting up a makeshift backstop, as much to keep track of the balls as for safety.
The teams will be coed, and as of press time, the rosters were mostly filled. Response has been so good that Conley is thinking there's enough interest to have additional downtown and Midtown teams. He expects the teams will meet up some time before the game for a beer but nothing so formal as practicing.
At the game, beer will be provided by Memphis Made. Local's food truck Parish Grocery will be serving brats. There will be an after party at the Tennessee Brewery, the final day of Tennessee Brewery Untapped.
"Just for the record," Conley says, "I haven't played baseball since I was in the sixth grade. That's the point! It's not too serious."