Beach Chairs and Baseball Bats: A Celebration of the Cape Cod Baseball League! from TheBallyard.com
Beach Chairs and Baseball Bats
A Celebration of the Cape Cod Baseball League



          

Table of Contents

Introduction
America's Pastime, New England Style
...What is it About This Game?
...A New Season Dawns
...120 Years of Cape League Baseball
......Using Wood to Test Players' Mettle
The Cape League's Fields of Dreams
...Ballyards by the Sea
...The Tie That Binds
...The Dream on Display: the Cape League Hall of Fame
Off-Season Moves and Grooves
...The Season's Greetings
...Setting the Schedule: Who Plays When, and Where
...Building the Rosters: Who Plays, and For Whom
......Only Good Guys Need Apply
......Tending the Revolving Door
......Temporary and Replacement Players
...Player Profile: Will Rhymes
...No Rest for the Weary: the Team Volunteers
...Hosts with the Most
...Where the Home Fires Burn
...Player Profile: Ben Crabtree
...On the Air!
Play Ball!
...Another Opening, Another Show
...Vim and Vigor
...A Game Apart
...Rain, Rain Go Away
...Foggy, Foggy Dew
...It's Not the Heat ...
...Lessons Learned ...
... ... Or Not!
...To Coach, or Not to Coach?
...Umpires of the Sun
Outside the Lines
...Places to Go ...
... ... People to Meet
......Who Are You, and Why Are You Here?
...Beach Chairs and Baseball Bats
...The 50/50 Raffle
...Kids' Clinics
...Accessibility, Thy Name is Cape League
...Meet Mr. Cardinal
...Feeding Frenzy: The Players
...Feeding Frenzy: The Fans
...The Call to the Bullpen
...She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not
...Player Profile: Scott Lonergan
The Grind
...The Beat Goes On
...Work Before Play
..."Ground Hog Day"
...So Close and Yet So Far
...Scouts & Scouting
...Hey Now, You're an All Star
...Player Profile: Frank Curreri
The 'Second Season'
...Down to the Wire
......Blue Moon Rising
......Winner Take All
...Playoff Pain and Pleasure
......Let the Games Begin
......It Takes Two to Clinch
......Third Time's the Charm
...That Championship Feeling
......Tomorrow Has Been Cancelled
...Fare Thee Well
Epilogue
...The Circle of Cape League Life
...Reflections of the Season Past
Cape League Players in the Major Leagues
Selected NCAA Administrative Regulations for Summer Baseball
Acknowledgements

About the Author

Steve Weissman contributes regularly to The Sports Exchange on WATD radio in Marshfield, Massachusetts, and advises professional and amateur sports teams about fan research and marketing strategy. For the past 20 years, he and his family have divided their time between the Boston suburb of Waltham and the mid-Cape town of South Yarmouth, allowing him to bring both an insider's perspective to and an outsider's appreciation for the simple, timeless pleasure that is Cape Cod League baseball.

 

Excerpts

... Here in New England, the start of winter is marked not by the moment of solstice, but by the moment the last out is made in the last game of the Boston Red Sox baseball season. ... You may think [this] something of an overstatement, but bear in mind that New England is home to no fewer than 14 professional hardball teams that play in six different leagues that include two independent circuits and major league baseball itself. And as even a casual listener to local sports radio can attest, the individual outcomes of these games are often reviewed and rehashed with no less intensity in the off-season than they were when the games were actually played. ...

... The athletes who grace [Cape League] fields seem to recognize that their time on the Cape grants them membership in a very exclusive club, and the connection they share carries forward even into the major leagues. ... Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Eric Milton was a Falmouth teammate of Anaheim Angel Adam Kennedy, and when the two squared off during Milton's time with the Minnesota Twins, Milton says, "we would talk about our time down the Cape." Milton, by the way, is the only player to pitch a no-hitter both on the Cape and in the major leagues, and not only did he victimize Kennedy's Angels in his big-league no-no, but his catcher in that game was former Cotuit Kettleer Terry Steinbach. So the connections are pervasive, and they run quite deep even when a player doesn't go on to the majors. ...

... Poetic though the Cape League can be, the fact is that putting the season together requires a ton of hard work. Scores of tireless volunteers labor all winter long to put the game on the field, the players in their houses, and the food and merchandise on the shelves, and the fact that it all runs so smoothly is testament to their dedication and effectiveness. Spending time with these people brings new meaning to the phrase "for the love of the game," for the small budgets they have to work with allow for no other meaningful form of compensation. ...

... The host family plays a critical role in the success of the Cape League, for it serves as the "glue" that binds together the player, his own family, and the team. ... The relationships that form in a great many instances are life-long: players commonly invite their host families to attend their weddings, and those that make the big leagues regularly leave tickets at the Will Call window at Fenway Park when their teams pass through Boston. ...

... It is misting heavily, the way it can on the Cape not quite raining, but definitely umbrella weather, and it promises to get worse before it gets better. And yet, several hundred fans are settled into place along the left- and right-field lines, and on the cold, damp aluminum bleachers that glisten behind the dugouts. But what are they all doing here? From the looks of things, the teams will be lucky to play at all, never mind to get in the requisite five innings. But here they are nonetheless, ready to root, root, root for the home team, and then go home happy, win, lose, or drown. ...

... Cape League pennant races have a wonderful habit of coming right down to the wire, and the season of 2004 is no exception. With one week to play, fully seven teams of the 10 in the league still harbor realistic hopes of reaching the playoffs the so-called "second season" and despite injuries, exhaustion, and homesickness, most are putting up a furious fight to the finish. ...

... And then, just like that, the season ends, terminating with the abruptness of a washing machine lid slamming down. Barely minutes after battling to the point of exhaustion, the teams congratulate each other and repair to their respective outfield positions to huddle up as usual. But this time they are joined by the host families, team officials, and player parents in attendance, and even as the championship trophy is presented, the hugs and the tears begin. ...