By Kimmy P.
One of my favorite memories growing up in Massachusetts was getting to spend my Summers down the Cape (Cape Cod for you non-locals). Our parents would pack us up two days after school ended and we stayed until 2 days before school started back up again. On nice days we would get up early to get to the beach before it got crowded and on our way out for the day we would make sure to drive by the sign on the corner of Route 28 hoping to see the words “Game today at 5:00pm” hanging at the bottom. We knew that meant ending the day with a Cape Cod Baseball league game!
We've all seen the movie Summer Catch which shows local kid Ryan Dunne make it as a pitcher for the Chatham A's but it's so much more than that! As a little kid I never realized how big of a deal the Cape Cod Baseball league was. I just knew I got to hang out with my friends in the neighborhood, watch a good game up close and personal and chase home run and foul balls that went into the woods because if we brought a ball back to the snack shack we got a free candy bar! As I got older I learned that some of the best college baseball players from all over the country came to the Cape to play, by invitation only, and that many of them would go on to play in the big leagues!
A few years ago I finally had a chance to check out the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame museum located in “The Dugout,” which is the lower level of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum at 397 Main St. The Hall of Fame, which began in 2001 has a total of 81 members who were inducted in eight classes, starting in 2000. Walking through the museum I realized how many great players I probably watched as a kid and had no clue at the time how far they would make it. Many of our own current and former Red Sox players even played for the Cape Cod Baseball league! Some names you might recognize are Carlton Fisk, Mo Vaughn, Nomar Garciaparra, Mike Lowell, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Varitek, Jackie Bradley Jr. Justin Masterson, Daniel Bard, Kevin Youkilis, Bill Mueller, Lou Merloni, Kevin Millar, Carlos Pena, Joe Kelly and 2012 manager Bobby Valentine!
When you’re at a Cape Cod Baseball League game you feel like part of the family. Admission is free, the stands are close to the field and you can set up chairs in the grass along the fences around the field including right next to the bullpens. Players come into the stands throughout the game if you want to donate to the team or buy raffle tickets, and everyone’s kids are running around without a care in the world because you know your “Summer family” will watch out for them. You get to know the players. They all stay with host families, and if you spend a good amount of time on the Cape you know someone who has hosted player or two. They work on the cape and run baseball clinics for the kids in town and they sort of become our surrogate sons that we can go root for!
I got to go to the Cotuit Kettleers game on July 4th and it just brought back so many fun memories. If you haven’t been to a Cape Cod Baseball League game you’re missing out! Go check out a game and become part of the Summer Family!
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