Opening Day at The Long Time

Opening Day at The Long Time

Twenty minutes east of Austin, Texas, where the city skyline shrinks out of sight, sits a hidden slice of sandlot heaven called 'The Long Time.' Part studio space, part baseball field, it is an art piece of its own, a living and breathing space that changes with the seasons. Exhibitions rotate through the High House, a gallery at the front of the property. Painters, welders, writers, and musicians bunk up for weeks or months. And on Saturdays in the spring, a crowd gathers and fills the bleachers, tables, stages, and dugouts, and together they make a baseball game.

It's hard to describe what makes a thing "sandlot." Inspired, of course, by the iconic movie, it's often applied to baseball, where collective imagination can turn an empty lot into a packed stadium. Where dreams of stardom are still within glove's reach. Where we can be our own heroes. But spend a day at The Long Time, and you'll find that "sandlot" is much more than what happens on the field. It's a communal act of grassroots creativity. A refusal to take things too seriously. A do-it-ourselves attitude that only gets better the more people it brings together.

The architect of it all, and captain of the home team Texas Playboys, is Jack Sanders. Eight years ago, he decided to build a field of his own on land he had previously bought to run his art studio. The outfield wall is half-hay bale, half-pallet fence. The Playboys use a renovated chicken coop as a dugout. But steadily, Jack has built a destination for the sandlot community, in Austin and nationwide. Thanks to yearly away games, or "barnstorms," to cities like New Orleans, Nashville, and El Paso, a sandlot revolution has taken hold across the country, and connected teams from coast to coast both in person on the field and from afar on social media. Now, The Long Time hosts teams from Vancouver to Raleigh, and Jack has taken the Playboys as far as Paris, France to play their style of baseball and connect with teams and fans around the world.

This year, P.F. Flyers steps into the world of this underground sandlot movement to spotlight stories of this community throughout the season, starting with Opening Day at The Long Time for a game between the Los Slowpokes de San Antonio and the Texas Playboys. With SXSW in full swing just a few miles away in downtown Austin, we outfitted both teams with the iconic style of the 1993 Sandlot sneakers to help both teams run faster, jump higher, and fly free. They looked right at home on Jack Sander's field of dreams, as did our hand-painted P.F. Flyers outfield sign.

Follow along as we get to know more of the sandlot community across the country and stay tuned for new product drops, rich stories, and the restocks you need to step up to the plate in style this season.

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