Relaxing on the beach, exploring scenic bike trails and hiking wooded conservation areas are all great ways to experience summer on Cape Cod. But if one wants to truly become one with summer on the Cape, catch a Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) game.
Not only is the Cape League synonymous with summer, it's an awesome showcase for future major leaguers. Each of the teams comprising the league have seen big name players get their start on this very peninsula.
Need more convincing? Here are my top 10 reasons to love the Cape Cod Baseball League:
1. Affordability: The Cape League and each of its ten teams are non-profit. There is no admission fee to watch, though there are opportunities to donate to the league upon entry to each game and during the games. A small donation is much more affordable than tickets costing upwards of $50-100, plus it helps to keep the Cape League running.
2. Location: There are 10 teams comprising the Cape League. With the teams spread out across the Cape and even in Wareham, you're never more than a 30-minute drive from catching a game anywhere between Provincetown and Plymouth. This is a far cry from the nearly 1.5 hour drive (on a good day) that it takes to get to Fenway Park.
3. Family Activity: A CCBL game is a great way to spend time together as a family. The tradition of going to a game, enjoying the smell of fresh cut grass and having a hot dog or two while cheering on your favorite team...it is a piece of Americana that everybody can relate to, no matter what their age.
4. The Chance to See Future Major Leaguers: Last year, a record 306 former CCBL players were playing in Major League Baseball, and more than 1,100 alumni played in all levels of baseball. The odds of watching a Cape Leaguer who will one day play in the MLB are pretty darn good. Some of the most famous CCBL Alumni include MLB Hall of Famers like Thurman Munson, Frank Thomas and Craig Biggio. The 2018 World Series MVP - Boston Red Sox Steve Pearce - even plied his trade in the Cape League on his way to the majors.
5. Being Outside In the Summer: This is an obvious reason, but it needs to be said. Summer on Cape Cod is magical. When late afternoon starts to creep in, there's no better way to end the day than by grabbing a few lawn chairs and hearing the crack of a wooden bat in the sweet summer air.
6. No Bad Seats: Where else can you see potential future big league players in action while sitting a few feet away in a lawn chair? The fields where the games are played have sets of bleachers behind home plate and down each baseline. However, most people prefer to bring their own chairs or blankets so they can choose their own personal vantage point to sit back and enjoy the game.
7. CCBL is Rich with History: Founded in 1885, the CCBL has been the premier amateur baseball league in the country for generations. Watching a game makes you a part of that continuing history. The CCBL became the first collegiate summer league to use wooden bats in 1985, which made it even more popular with players and scouts. In 1963, it became officially sanctioned by the NCAA; before this the league was populated mostly with local and regional players, and even GIs returning from WWI and WWII.
8. More Than Just Baseball Games: The CCBL also holds youth clinics for children, in hopes of paving the way for the next generation of aspiring ball players. Each of the 10 teams has qualified staff to teach the fundamentals of baseball to the children, and share their love of the game.
9. Time: I love baseball as much as anyone. But the length of an average MLB game is over 3 hours. If you add to that the time spent driving to Fenway and negotiating a parking space, most people are looking at a seven or eight-hour round trip. The Cape League games average roughly 2-2:30 in length, and with travel time and parking much less of a hassle, it is possible to make a CCBL game a part of a great day, not an entire day in itself.
10. The Total Package: Everyone who works behind the scenes for the CCBL - from the grounds crew and volunteers to those staffing the snack bars and souvenir stands - does their very best to make sure that the tradition and history of the Cape League is carried on and enjoyed by each and every person who takes in a game. It is these people who are the unsung heroes of the CCBL, and make going to a game the total package of fun and excitement.
The 2019 season kicks off Monday, June 10. Visit the league website for game schedules, rosters and more!