While other baseball fans have been occupied with RA Dickey, Kevin Youkillis, Carlos Lee and the All-Star Game, Iâ€™ve been able to spend my time away from Major League baseball. Iâ€™m only kidding, of course. I have followed MLB as much this summer as ever, but I also have been around a different form of Americaâ€™s Pastime, the form I call baseballâ€™s purest.
Iâ€™m living on Cape Cod for the summer and interning in baseballâ€™s most prestigious summer collegiate league, the Cape Cod Baseball League. Each summer, baseballâ€™s brightest college stars come to the Cape to show off their talents against the rest of the nationâ€™s top players.
Scouts adore the Cape League, because the competition is high each and every night, and the players use wooden bats, like the pros.Â The CCBL uses the motto â€śWhere the Stars of Tomorrow Shine Tonight.â€ť That motto is horribly corny, but extremely accurate.
Almost a thousand career Cape Leaguers have played in the majors, including Ryan Braun, Frank Thomas, Evan Longoria, Barry Zito and so many more.Â Eight of the 30 current major league managers played on the Cape. The league is majestic.
For the readers who have seen the Freddy Prinze, Jr. film, Summer Catch, I apologize.Â While that movie is great for showing just how bad 90â€™s teenage cinema was (it came out in 2001, but a cast of Freddy Prinze, Jessica Biel and Brittany Murphy just screams 90â€™s), it does a horrendous job of portraying what the Cape League is all about.
Itâ€™s been a great opportunity for me to work with the Cape League this summer, and Iâ€™m really happy that the season isnâ€™t even half way through.Â Iâ€™ve seen some pretty incredible stuff already, in less than a month of games.
In no other place could Peter Gammons walk right up to you, smile and say how you doing, as he strolled onto the field like he owned the place.Â Iâ€™m not sure if what I muttered back to the baseball writing legend was English, but it was a pretty cool experience.
Scouts from every major league organization show upÂ on a nightly basis. Mo job is to hand them a roster or stat sheet, which is a lot more gratifying for me than Iâ€™m sure it is for them.Â A San Francisco Giants scout is at the park pretty frequently, and the 2010 World Series ring he rocks (pun intended) is the biggest piece of bling Iâ€™ve ever seen.
Mistakes are made at the major and minor league levels of the game. We see them every day.Â Mistakes are made even more frequently at the Cape League level. However, the games on the Cape are spectacular more often than they’re bad.
The Cape League evokes memories of the days when baseball was king.Â I am not old enough to have seen baseball in its heyday (the 1930â€™s and 40â€™s), but Iâ€™ve read enough about it to know that Cape League ball may be the closest thing to it.
Cape Cod is a special place.Â The games are great, and seeing people who actually matter in the baseball world is something Iâ€™ll never forget, but thereâ€™s more to Cape Cod baseball than just that.
Entire communities come out to lend their support each summer so the stars of tomorrow have a chance to fulfill their dreams. And those dreams are really what have driven this league to its prestige. The dreams are huge for everyone involved in the league, not just players, and the Cape League gives them the chance to continue dreaming.
The players, broadcasters and interns are all college amateurs with big league dreams. Some may never reach their goals, but there is honestly no better or more beautiful of a place to dream big.
And trust me, Iâ€™ll never stop dreaming.
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