Headed into week two of our Camp Cod Stay – we started well rested and ready for trouble as our friends George and Deb were coming to the Area. Their main reason for visiting was to see Baseball – the charming Cape Cod Baseball league.
For those not aware (me), many future Major League Baseball players started in Cape Cod during their college years – the MLB has provided financial support to the Cape League for over 40 years.
Part of the charm is the community involvement with the league.
Host families invite players to live in their home for the season (requirements: bedroom, three meals a day and laundry facilities). A host Mom tried to convince Deb to support a family – the commute would not be easy for that player…. Community businesses support the team – even providing balls for play (foul ball in the field? wait for the sponsor announcement). The entire organization is run by volunteers.
Players take on part-time jobs in the area – at the fish market, local drug store – one possible job is working with local kids at baseball camp. Smart way to build a fan base…
Another interesting facet of the league is the use of wooden bats. College players use metal bats at school as they provide more hitting power. This is their first consistent use of wood – “small ball’ is the game played here – punctuated with many broken bats!
The presence of scouts is consistent from Wareham to Orleans. This gentleman, sitting on the Scout’s bench, was eyeing a few players on behalf of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
At one time, six of the teams in the Cape League shared their names with Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. In late 2008 MLB announced that it would enforce its trademarks, and required teams to either change their names or buy their uniforms and merchandise only through licensed vendors. MLB could not enforce the “Mariners” trademark against the Harwich Mariners because that team predated the 1977 American League expansion and the entry of the Seattle Mariners into the MLB.
Three other teams eventually changed their names. First, in 2009, the Chatham Athletics became the “Anglers”, and the Orleans Cardinals became the “Firebirds”. In March 2010 the Hyannis Mets joined the Anglers and Firebirds, changing their team name to “Harbor Hawks”. The Bourne Braves and Yarmouth–Dennis Red Sox chose to use MLB licensees for their merchandise.
If you are a baseball fan, you will not be disappointed with a Cape Cod visit sometime between June – August. The 10-team league is a lot of fun and a great way to see up and coming players before they hit the big leagues.