Sixteen-month-old Tanner Weiss wants his daddy. The toddler is on the sidelines of Flanders Field, pouting and stretching out his arms toward third base, where Larry Weiss is holding down the fort for Sig’s Sluggers.

Tanner’s mom, Charly, pulls him back to the side bench, jokingly paraphrasing A League of Their Own as she does so: “There’s no crying in Chilmark softball!”

No, there’s no crying. How could there be? This is the most joyous occasion of the summer — it’s Opening Day of the Sunday softball season. Howard Wall, dressed to the kilt (pardon the pun) in Scottish garb, has started things off with his annual bagpipe performance of Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Beth Flanders, daughter of the late, great David Flanders, he of the six-home-runs-in-one-game and the Vineyard version of the called shot, for whom this field is named, has thrown out the ceremonial first pitch. Teams have been chosen in the most egalitarian of ways — divvying up a pile of gloves into two stacks. Batting orders are set, which means field positions are also set — the pitcher bats first, then the catcher, then first base and so forth. Today’s pitchers are Arlen Roth, world-renowned guitarist and guitar instructor, and psychiatrist Sig (Ziggy) Van Raan, whose children Jackson and Sophie back him up in the outfield.

All this by 8:30 a.m., before most people have rolled out of bed. But hey, some things are more important than a morning snooze — if you’re not at Flanders Field well before the designated start time, you run the risk of not being in the first game. It’s first-come, first-play here, and really, why wouldn’t you want to play?

After all, as self-appointed softball commissioner Bill Edison wrote in a June 24, 2003 letter to the Gazette, “The only stipulation is that you have fun.”

That’s been the stipulation for the past 78 years, since the pioneering group of players first swung their bats in Herbert and Hazel Flanders’s backyard in 1932. The Game, as it’s sometimes called, has moved several times since then, including a “10-year-quietus” (Mr. Edison, writing to the Gazette in 2001) in West Tisbury, but its heart and soul has always been — will always be — in Chilmark.

Howard Wall plays Take Me Out to the Ball Game as the song rarely is played. — Ivy Ashe

Somewhere on this mist-covered field off Tabor House Road there is softball being played, and good softball at that. It’s of the slow-pitch variety. The bats are wooden, and the sound they make when they connect with a softball is from another era. The players are from every era — here is 12-year-old Noah Lipnick, son of Rabbi Jonathan Lipnick (who is also on the field); here is Jerry Murphy, taking a break from general managing the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks to chase down fly balls; here is 74-year-old Hans Solmssen, who’s been playing Chilmark ball since he was 15; here is Dan Pinck, the retired Chilmark ballplayer and former China-based CIA agent — stepping in to toss a few pitches.

Here is Bill Edison, sitting on a lawn chair on the sidelines, wearing his St. Louis Cardinals attire, arbitrating questionable plays and recounting the tale of how, as a younger Chilmark pitcher, he accidentally passed up a chance to pitch to Jackie Robinson, a family friend of softballer Peter Simon who once attended a game in the 1970s. As Mr. Edison recalls it, recording his final out and taking the victory were the only things on his mind when someone suggested that their guest pinch hit in the last inning. Adhering to the Chilmark no-substitutions rule, and not realizing that Mr. Robinson was, in fact, Mr. Robinson, Bill Edison refused.

“The most embarrassing story of my life,” he says. “He was my hero! I would have loved to have Jackie Robinson hit a home run off me.” History notes that Mr. Robinson politely declined to hit; still, the anguish remains.

Eagle-eye Bill Edison is the law in any call dispute. — Ivy Ashe

There are no home runs recorded today, although a few long balls are lost in the poison-ivy-covered foul territory on the third baseline. During the last few innings, three-year-old Hunter Weiss, Tanner’s older brother, adds his own chalk doodles alongside the numbers scrawled on the homemade scoreboard. The loudspeaker on the scoreboard doesn’t work, as it’s actually the facing-outward lid of a Weber grill nailed to the wooden frame: “Very tongue-in-cheek,” notes six-year softball veteran (and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer) Tony Horwitz. It’s a nice touch nonetheless.

After an hour and a half of play, Ziggy’s team wins 7-5. The numbers aren’t as important as they once were, back when that no-substitutions rule was actually enforced, and they are rubbed off the scoreboard with hardly a second thought.

The mist has faded away by this time, and the sun is slowly creeping higher in the sky. It’s turning into a decent beach day.

But today is Opening Day, which means a doubleheader, and besides, why would you laze around on the beach when you could be here, soaking up tradition and reveling in good company?

Arlen Roth’s strumming arm. — Ivy Ashe

The players toss their gloves in a pile on the ground, and The Game begins again.

Chilmark softball is played on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. on Flanders Field off Tabor House Road. All are welcome.