Sunday, July 24, 2011
CCBL, Part II
When we planned this weekend on the Cape, the only three things set in stone were when I had to pick up and return the rental car, where we were sleeping, and that we needed to be at the Y-D/Chatham game at 5pm on Saturday. I looked up a few places to eat, asked friends for suggestions, and found a kayak rental place so we at least had ideas of how to fill the rest of our weekend...but by the time we had visited the (not-worth-five-dollars) CCBL Hall of Fame, watched the Y-D/Chatham game, and worked the enthusiasm out of Pete's system at the batting cages, we had looked up schedules and ball field locations and figured out how we could catch another game on Sunday on the way home.
And that brings us to Bourne, where the Braves were playing the Falmouth Commodores at 5pm. The weather turned out perfect despite a very overcast morning, and we got to the field early enough to snag a perfect spot to sit while we watched some of the players do their grounds crew duties. All of the players in the CCBL are required to work part time while they're playing, and they usually have a few choices. One of them is to work as grounds crew (another is to work at CVS). It's funny to watch them in their uniform, riding the tractor around the infield or lugging a hose around the pitchers mound.
The people watching, of course, was also awesome. One much older gentleman sitting along the brick wall behind home plate yelled out coaching tips for just about every other play - "Call it!" for almost every infield pop-up. Behind us was a man who was, apparently, a UNC alum and so hollered at Colin Moran every time he was on deck - "Hey Colin! If God isn't a Tar Heels fan, why is the sky Carolina blue?!" As you can imagine, that one got old after the second or third time. Colin seemed about as amused as I was.
Sitting on one side of me was the woman who writes all the player bios and maintains the website for the Bourne Braves, so I heard a lot about the folks involved in the organization. Sitting beside Pete were two host moms, cheering on the players that are staying with them this summer. And as expected, there was a gaggle of scouts behind home plate, some with their kids tagging along, and all of the chatting with each other in between pulling out their radar guns and scribbling notes.
Maybe my favorite part of the CCBL is the accessibility of the players. It may be the oldest and most prestigious amateur baseball league in the country, but the players are getting their own burgers and hot dogs at the concession stand before games, walking around with a bucket selling 50/50 raffle tickets in between innings, and happily signing balls for the kiddos hanging out behind the dugout before the game. And hey, if those kids get the right autograph it could be worth money when that player goes on to catch a World Series winning game in three years time - see Buster Posey, then (2008), and now (2010). Well not quite now, because his leg was busted in a nasty collision earlier this year...but you get my point.