Spending the summers in Hyannis Ma. always meant a couple of very definite occurrences;
Gathering up enough kids to get a pickup baseball game going at Veterans Memorial Park. Between my brothers and the other area kids we used to get 5 or 6 a side for some marathon games – except of course on the holiday weekends when those stupid cars had to park right in the middle of our outfield! It was Murphy’s Law that when we had the most kids around to play, the overflow parking would eliminate any chance to get on the diamond.
I finally had to give up playing at that park once I got big enough to bat left handed (natural righty) .. and pull one over the short porch in right field into the parking lot of the condominiums next door. There was one kid who actually put it OVER the condominiums in right, but he turned out to be more interested in the game of football than baseball.
The field was close enough to the house that we could walk or ride bikes up to McKeon Park, and in those early years they played day games until lights were finally installed in 1983. It was always a bummer to have to leave those afternoon games early so that we were home by dinner time.
The invitation only league is for college players from around the country, and the best part is they play using wooden bats! This attracts a lot of pro scouts trying to ascertain a player’s abilities without the projectile power of aluminum bats.
Each summer a camaraderie is built up between the players and the local town as they are provided with accommodations in homes of area residents, and are given local odd jobs when they are not on the playing field.
There have been numerous MLB players who are Alumni of the Cape Cod League and back in those adolescent days I probably watched Ron Darling pitch and play the outfield for Cotuit, or big Steve Balboni hit some mammoth home runs for Y/D.
When I visited the cape for this year’s Fourth of July holiday I had to make my annual venture up to the park to introduce the Mets to my two year old daughter. The fan experience really has improved significantly from those early years with better lighting and seating arrangements, and the caliber of play continues to excel. On this occasion Chris Dominguez (UofL) for the Mets blasted three home runs to tie the record held by Frank Thomas.
It’s a fantastic family experience that will forever mean summertime to me. Baseball in Hyannis is as much a part of my summers as the beach, fireworks, ice cream and the rest of the all-american storybook.
Here is a very well done blog and podcast about the up to date happenings of the Cape Cod Baseball League called Codball.
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