Monday, May 23, 2005

Baseball on the Cape

After last evening's 7 pm game was over around 10 pm, I drove 3 1/2 hours home from Harwich, Mass. on the Cape, in order to try to start my week with some measure of order. With a son playing college baseball, the last month has been topsy-turvy, trying to get to conference playoff games and then, this weekend's regional tournament on Cape Cod. Needless to say, my book, just two chapters from completion, has been rudely batted aside by travel, my son's schedule, as well as trying to serve multiple roles in my summer commitment as coach and now, president, of our local college summer league, the Twilight League.

Having never been to the Cape, I was looking forward to seeing what it is that makes it such a popular destination point, particularly during the short New England summers. When I arrived Thursday afternoon at the hotel in Yarmouthport, the weather was sunny and warm and I enjoyed some time with my fellow Wheaton parents on the back lawn of an older motel overlooking the ocean. Being offseason, the motel was virtually deserted other than about 8-10 Wheaton College families.

Friday night's weather was quite cool and then, a northeaster moved in for Saturday, with winds and lots of rain. Needless to say, there was no baseball. My wife and I made the best of it and actually had a nice visit with friends of my parents, who have a condo in Brewster. My parents, not known for their willingness to travel, had made the trip down also for the tournament on Friday. My parents are neo-Luddites, but to my mother's credit, they've purchased a pre-paid cell phone which made contact and direction-giving so much easier. It was rather humorous at times trying to guide them to places via the cell phone, but things worked out well due to the presence of some modern communication tools.

My wife and I were able to see my son's team win two straight games to open the tournament, including the 3-0 Friday night win in which Mark drove in the winning runs. They lost yesterday at noon to Trinity, 8-2 and then came back and won a nail-biter last night, 3-2. At this stage, Wheaton must win two games today in the double-elimination tourney. Trinity College, currently undeafeated, must be beaten twice today by Wheaton, if the Lyons and my son are going to make it to the World Series in Wisconsin.

I'll be anxiously awaiting the call from a fellow parent to find out how they do in today's noontime game in Harwich.

My thoughts on the Cape? I liked it. Being from Maine and only about 30 minutes from our own coast, it’s not as exciting as it probably is for those who live in Boston, or other urban environments. I liked that the Cape oozes with history, with the town like Yarmouthport where we stayed, being incorporated in 1639. Most of the surrounding towns of Dennis, Dennisport, Harwich and Hyannis have similar dates of incorporation. Some of the old homes were gorgeous and most of the towns have an abundance of small locally-owned businesses, versus the ubiquitous Wal-Marts and box stores of the mainland.

I don’t think I’d enjoy the tourist crush, which is right around the corner. This time of the year is slower and much easier to navigate. My wife and I talked about going back in the fall, after the tourists clear out, and possibly spending a long weekend.

In closing, there is a fascinating book about Cape Cod League baseball, covering one summer in the life of this summer brand of baseball. Played by some of the best college players in the country, in the tourist communities that comprise this area of Massachusetts, Jim Collins' The Last Best League, chronicles baseball on Cape Cod.

1 comment:

ChefDunn said...

Welcome back. I'm glad things went well. I'll keep my fingers crossed for your son.