The Cape Cod Baseball League kicked off this season’s play in early June. A perennially acclaimed vacation destination, Massachusetts’ Cape Cod attracts flocks of tourists to its scenic beaches. Among those that make the journey for the summer are groups of college-aged ballplayers, a myriad of scouts, and a multitude of baseball fans. The free admission is also enticing for the casual fan or curious visitor. The league plays an All-Star Game as well as a Home Run Derby and usually draws quite the crowd.
One of the oldest baseball leagues in existence, the Cape Cod Baseball League is comprised of 10 teams and is recognized as the premier purveyor of amateur collegiate summer baseball. Play begins in early June and the playoffs begin in early August. The league’s schedule can be found on the home page of their website, capecodbaseball.org.
The Cape Cod Baseball League
The CCBL’s history goes all the way back to 1885, older than all but eight MLB teams. A large part of the league’s allure for fans is its relaxed nature. The setting, scenic Cape Cod, is over an hour away from major population centers such as Boston or Providence, and that drive time can multiply as tourist traffic clogs Massachusetts’ roadways. At nearly every ballpark bleacher seating is limited, the locals instead often opting for folding lawn chairs or a simple blanket to enjoy the game. Every team’s home field is a current or former high school field with the exception of the Orleans’ Firebirds who play adjacent to a middle school.
For MLB scouts, the league’s allure is something quite different, wooden bats. Unlike their high schools and universities, the CCBL is many players first exposure to high-level play with wooden bats which for nearly every hitter requires a major adjustment. A variety of scouts come to every game, watching every player.
The Cape Cod League has hosted thousands of major league stars and a handful of Hall of Famers. Some current CCBL alumni include stars such as Kris Bryant, Aaron Judge, Buster Posey, and Chris Sale. The CCBL also boasts several Hall of Famers including Craig Biggio, Carlton Fisk, and Frank Thomas.
Due to the league’s heavy turnover, every team fields a different team from the season before. Furthermore, temporary players often need to be brought in. The NCAA World Series is not until late June and several players who have committed to CCBL teams must stay with their college team while they compete in the playoffs. Other times temporary players come in due to excessive injuries. Even just playing a few games in the CCBL greatly raises the profile of a potential prospect.
Baseball is usually not one of the first words to come to mind in connection with Cape Cod but for any sports fan, it should. The CCBL provides a truly unique and personal baseball experience at no charge. It is very likely the stars of tomorrow are playing adjacent to some of some New England’s most beautiful coastline.
Embed from Getty Images