Fourth of July on Cape Cod

By David Nevard


 
 

Coady Field, Bourne Mass.

On July 4, 2001 we journeyed over the bridge to Bourne, Mass., to watch the Wareham Gatemen (our team) battle the Bourne Braves in a Cape Cod League game. As you may know, the Cape League is a summer league for college players from all over the country. It is here that they can get their first experience with wooden bats, and be watched by big league scouts. The players are still amateurs, and live with host families on the Cape.

At Bourneís Coady Field there are no bleachers or grandstands. People bring their own chairs to sit behind the backstop or on the grassy knoll along the left field line. We arrived in mid-game and found the place packed, so we took our stand beyond the right-field fence.

After awhile we began to notice how good these players are, despite the informal setting. A single was hit to left field with a runner on second. The left fielder scooped it up andfired a strike to home plate. The runner wasnít going, but we were impressed. A lot of these guys will soon be professionals. A list of Wareham alumni includes Lance Berkman, Jorge Fabregas, Doug Glanville, Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Remlinger, Scott Spiezio, Mo Vaughn, Walt Weiss, and Barry Zito. Bourne has produced Jeremy Giambi, Jerry Hairston, Bobby Higginson, Bill Mueller, and Ron Villone.

Pitcher Kenon Ronz of the Wareham Gatemen warms up in the bullpen --- D Nevard photo

In the late innings, we discovered that we had been standing in the visitorsí bullpen. (No problem.) Catcher Rusty Meyer, when he wasnít warming up the relievers, came over to chat with us. He spied our big bag of peanuts and asked for some. Rusty, who is from Texas A&M, thought we were nice to visiting players, but we explained we werenít from Bourne, and in fact had come over from Wareham to see the game. "Are you a host family?" "No, just fans." He was surprised by the size of the crowd. We found out later it was a new record for Bourne.

One of the Bourne players passed through the crowd selling raffle tickets. Since we hadnít paid any admission I bought some tickets, but we didnít win anything. A foul ball put a big dent in the roof of somebodyís SUV. Rusty had some more peanuts. Kids played with an old baseball up against the schoolhouse wall; the cover was half-hanging off, making the ball do strange and unusual things. We observed how fast a baseball game can move along if there are no TV commercial breaks between innings. The Braves defeated the Gatemen 2-1 in a crisp, well-played contest. The Wareham players boarded their school bus and headed back over the bridge.

Bourne player selling raffle tickets