Sometime in the spring, I was out running errands and stopped at Borders to browse. I brought home The Last Best League for Pete. The book follows a season with the Chatham A’s (that “A” is for Anglers, not Athletics), a team who I had watched play on the Cape in middle school when I would visit a friend who spent her summers in Chatham. It’s possible that at the time I was much more interested in making friends with cute boys my own age than watching some of the country’s most talented college players play baseball, but I still have fond memories of the Chatham A’s.
Speaking of the Chatham A’s, who doesn’t love the movie Summer Catch, starring the adorable Freddie Prinze, Jr.? Oh…well, most of the folks involved with the Cape Cod Baseball League don’t love it, because they think it’s not a flattering portrayal of the actual players in the league. But I love it!
Pete loved the book (like the CCBL folks, he also didn’t love Summer Catch). When he first started reading it and telling me about how awesome it was, I started planning to surprise him with a weekend on the Cape to see a game for his birthday gift…right up until we were eating dinner one night and he said “I kind of want to go to the Cape to watch a game!” while he was telling me about the book. I have no poker face, so his birthday surprise ended up being a birthday non-surprise, and we started looking at dates and searching for a place to sleep while we were there.
We ended up staying in Hyannis, and driving the 20ish minutes to Dennis to see the Chatham A’s play the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox at the local high school field. And I ended up becoming fascinated with the CCBL and how it functions.
I may or may not have spent half of the game day dreaming about buying a place on the Cape where I could live for the summer, host a player or intern, and get myself involved in the CCBL in any way possible.The other half of the game was spent listening to all the locals chat about their beloved team, watching the gangs of kids race each other to shag foul balls and home runs, and observing the scouts with their radar guns, stop watches, and notebooks crammed with scribbles.
You hear the phrase “pure baseball” a lot in reference to the CCBL, and it’s true – a game that’s being played by kids that love it (and are crazy talented – one in six of the players we saw will play in the Majors – I’m sure even more will be drafted) and watched, organized, and made possible by a community that lives and breathes CCBL. It’s a pretty awesome thing to see.