The Dividing Line; The First Half vs the Second in Cape League Baseball

by Harrison Meyers


To many on Cape Cod July 4th is the arbitrary half way line in the Cape League season.  Around this time most teams have played close to half their games so this makes sense, but it also is the dividing line between the first half of the season, where rosters are in flux, players are missing, and teams generally get an excuse for being off the pace, and the second half where the slog of the long short season that is Cape League baseball truly begins and you know which teams are going to be competitive and which will not be.  Teams like the defending champion Wareham Gatemen, and last years East Division Champion Chatham Anglers have proved to be competitive, and unless something drastic happens down the stretch in the last 20 games of the year, both teams will be around come playoff time.  The same cannot be said for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, who, now 25 games into their season have a record of 5-19-1 (a full nine points behind the Bourne Braves for fourth place in the West), seem more and more destined to miss the playoffs for the second time in three years.  As we cross this midway line and celebrate the 243rd birthday of the United States, its hard to see a way that the Harbor Hawks will be competitive down the stretch. 

               However, the battle for the final playoff spot in the East is much more interesting.  The Brewster Whitecaps and the Harwich Mariners, fourth and fifth place respectively, are separated by just one point, 25 for Brewster and 24 for Harwich.  The East in general this year has been a much more interesting race as not only is the battle for the final playoff spot close the entire division top to bottom is only separate by 7 points, less than 4 games.  Meaning, while it may be unlikely, it is entirely possible that the Anglers could lose four straight games and find themselves in the battle for the final few playoff spots.  One of the glories of the Cape League is that it is a long short season, and a win here or a loss there can add up in the end and deeply affect your playoff chances.  As I type this the Anglers are already on a two game losing streak, and the YD Red Sox behind them by just two points in second are also on a multi game losing streak.  If those streaks continue to five or six the playoff map in the East may get rewritten, and instead of the East Division crowing going through Chatham or YD, as has been the case in the last few years, the East Division Champion may find themselves going through Orleans or Brewster.  This week will prove to an interesting and critical one for many teams throughout the league with great impact on the playoff chase, and I look forward to watching the action ensue.

Codball Players of the Week

               This weeks Codball Batter of the week comes from the struggling Hyannis Harbor Hawks, as their new arrival, shortstop Jordan Westburg (Mississippi State) came on the scene and quickly became the best hitter on the team.  Starting with a two home run game in his first appearance with the Hawks, and followed up with another home run the next day and going 5-6 in a double header against Bourne, Westburg has taken the league by storm, and would be a big part of any turn around by the Harbor Hawks.

               The Codball Pitcher of the Week Honors belong to Harwich’s Jacob Palisch (Stanford) who accomplished one of the more illusive feats in Cape League baseball, a complete game.  Pitching against the Wareham Gatemen Palisch struck out 10 and walked none while pitching a complete game in the first game of a double header, and putting up one of the best pitchers performances on the Cape this season in the process.

The Week Ahead

               For the next week ahead I’ve got my eye on East Division games as the top two teams in the East, Chatham and Y-D, take each other on this Friday July 12th in Yarmouth in what could be a chance to stop both teams losing streaks.  I’ve also got my eye on a double header between Falmouth and Wareham on July 19th.  Falmouth, the hottest team on the Cape at the moment going 7-3 in their last 10 games, will take on the Gatemen in what could be a preview of the West Division playoffs.  This week is also the last week before the Cape League All Star Game in Oreans on July 21st.  All Star rosters should be announced soon and the next few days may be players last chances to make an impression and find their way onto the All Star roster.

               That will do it for another week, as by the time you next hear from me we will likely have our All Star rosters to break down, and perhaps more drama in the East as we get closer and closer to playoff time here on Cape Cod.  If you have any stories we missed or something you’d like to share with us send an email to Harrison@codball.com or tweet at us @codball.

Until next week,

Harrison Meyers

 

              


Codball Goes International

by Harrison Meyers


               First off, apologies for the delay in posting this week’s column, I have been out of the country celebrating my sisters college graduation from St. Andrews University in Scotland.  Between my time traveling around the ancient  town of St. Andrews (the university itself is more than 600 years old – compared to mine which just turned 50, go UMBC!) and helping to pack up my sister (after four years you gather a lot of stuff) my mind kept wondering back to the Cape League and what was going on in college baseball and I got my first taste in awhile of how most Cape League fans follow the league, online and from a distance.  I decided to take the opportunity to try something new and see how difficult it would be to watch a game and follow the league from afar and that is the focus of this week’s blog post.

               There are a few main ways to follow the league, if your looking for a quick update on scores and standings the best place to go is the league website.  Here you can see with a quick glance you can see who is playing, when, and where, as well as the league standings.  This is the easiest way to follow along as you can see all the basic details about what’s going on and keep up to date with the specifics of the league.  If you looking to follow a specific team you can visit the teams website (accessible from the league website) or their social media page, over the last week I have been very impressed with the Brewster Whitecaps page with some of the featured stories they have been running and their Mobile Mondays series, which follows the Caps while they are away from home and talks about the fields and teams they are traveling to face. 

               But the holy grail of following the league from afar is being able to sit down and watch a game from wherever you are.  This I have found is also pretty easy to do.  Each of the 10 teams broadcast heir games online and its fairly easy to access, visit the website of your favorite team to find the details on how your team broadcasts.  I checked with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks and found the team broadcasts through Youtube, making it very easy to get online and watch a game.  Of corse the biggest issues I ran into being oversees was not watching the games, but rather accessing them.  Being oversees I had limited access to reliable internet and no data to use on my phone, meaning I was reliant on Wifi which made watching away from home or a coffee shop with public access internet difficult.  The other issue I ran into was time change.  Scotland is five hours ahead of the Cape which meant just as the games were starting (6:00pm for the Harbor Hawk games) it was already 11:00pm and the end of a long day for me and more than once I fell asleep part way through the game leaving me with no idea what happened and an incomplete scorecard.  Despite that the internet and the advent of social media has made it easier than ever to follow along from afar, making it a truly fantastic time to be a Cape League fan and keep your eyes on Codball during the next week or so for a detailed guide on how to follow each team. 

Week in Review

               Despite being out of the country using the tips and tricks listed above I was able to follow along with another great week of Cape League action.  Since my last post the Hyannis Harbor Hawks have scored not just their first win but their first three, and with the return of their players from the College World Series (I so wanted Michigan to pull it off) they look poised to add more wins to their record and possibly make a run at the playoffs in a struggling West Division. 

               This week also saw the Orleans Firebirds take over as the number one team in the league with a record of 10-4-2 (22 points), and the defending champions Wareham Gatemen keep control of the West with a 9-7-1 record (19 points) just one point above a surging Cotuit Kettleers team.  The rest of the league standings are available on the league website, and as the College World Series is now over, and most of the temporary players have either left their teams or been signed onto full season contracts, and the cream of the crop players have made their way to the Cape the standings are poised to get closer and closer as we hit the meat of the season in July.

               This week also saw the annual Cape League workout at Fenway Park, the League has published a great featurette on this fantastic annual tradition.  While I was unable to be present this year, I can tell you from my past experiences that this is a great event and there is nothing like watching future MLB stars play around under the watchful eyes of the Red Sox staff and scouts from just about every team in an all but empty Fenway. 

Codball Players of the Week

               This weeks Codball Batter of the Week is Cotuit’s Nick Gonzalez (New Mexico St.).  During the last seven days Gonzalez has a .524 batting average and 7 RBI’s over five games, contributing to this league leading 15 RBI’s. 

               The Codball Pitcher of the Week honors go to Orleans Firebirds pitcher Noah Skirrow, who went 5 innings in his only start this week with nine strikeouts as compared to three walks and the win. 

The Week Ahead

               Week four promises to bring more exciting Cape League action as we get to the heart of the season highlighted by the traditional rivalry matchups on July 4th.  The Harbor Hawks travel to YD to take on the Red Sox at 5:00pm on the 4th, and the Anglers will face off against the Firebirds in Orleans in a midseason battle for the top of the east. 

               In conclusion things on the Cape are heating up, and the action only looks to get better from here now that the best college players in the country have reported for duty.  A lot will be decided in the next few weeks and I hope you will keep coming back to our coverage here on Codball and follow along as the action picks up.  If you have any stories we missed or something you’d like to share with us send an email to Harrison@codball.com or tweet at us @codball.

Until next week,

Harrison Meyers


The College World Series and Cape League Baseball; an Intersting Relationship

by Harrison Meyers


There’s an old saying in racing that you can’t win a race on the first lap, but you sure can lose it.  The same can be said for the early weeks of the Cape League season, you can’t win the title, but you sure can make it harder or yourself.  As the College World Series continues and almost if not all of the Cape’s 10 teams have players still in action in Omaha it’s far too early to sort out the contenders from the teams that, shall we say, could use some improvement.

The College World Series brings a million fantastic stories, from Florida State head coach Mike Martin coaching his last game in the garnet and gold, Mississippi State’s walk off over Auburn, and Michigan’s Cinderella ride to get just won win from the National Finals.  The impact of these stories extends thousands of miles away from the games on the Cape, where with each inning in Omaha the fate and fortunes of the league’s teams hang in balance.  The most prominent example of this through the first week of the 2019 season is that of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.  As of my last count the team has more than 10 players still active in the NCAA tournament, and filling their spots on the roster are temp players from other programs not originally invited to play on the Cape.  The impact of these players cannot be understated, a handful of temps on an a roster otherwise dominated by the cream of the crop of college players from across the country can be managed, but when that number reaches higher and higher as it has for the Hawks the results can prove disastrous.  Through their first eight games of the season the Hawks have gone 0-7-1 with just a single point to their name, and featuring a league worst 7.81 team ERA, the product of a staff dominated by temporary players.  While a bad result in the first week of the season can be overcome - see the 2018 Brewster Whitecaps who through the first 20 games of the year went 4-14-2 but still squeaked into the playoffs just one point ahead of Orleans 30 to 29, and then found themselves in the Eastern Championship after an upset of top seed Yarmouth-Dennis – the Hawks need to figure it out soon to have any shot.  Whether that means hoping and praying that the College World Series teams that have a number of there players lose sooner rather than later or replace their temps with better ones (a hard prospect to fathom now that the summer ball world is as crowded as it is), the rest of the season remains uncertain for the Harbor Hawks.  While they have not yet lost the race, they have made it a lot harder for themselves throughout the rest of the year.

Week 3 Games to Watch

             Week three features the second and final doubleheader day of the Cape League season, while their may be more double headers down the road due to weather issues this is the last time it shows up on the leagues original schedule.  Highlighting these matchups is the East Division leading Brewster Whitecaps vs the 2nd in the West Cotuit Ketteleers who are just two points behind Wareham for first, and an always fascinating matchup between two perennial contenders the Y-D Red Sox and the Falmouth Commodores.  As is the running theme throughout this post, the early season wont make or break your season, but winning games and earning points in the early going can make the rest of the season a lot easier.

CodBall Players of the Week

             Week two’s Codball Batter of the week is T.J. Collett (Kentucky) of the Brewster Whitecaps, who in nine games this year is batting .276, with a league leading nine RBI’s and three homeruns, good enough for second in the league tied with Y-D’s Austin Wells.

             The Codball Pitcher of the Week goes to Logan Allen (Florida International) from the Harwich Mariners, who’s performance so far leads the league in strikeouts with 17 in his two appearances so far, and only allowing 4 hits over 11 innings without letting a single batter cross home plate.

 

As always if you see something we missed this week let us know!  You can reach me directly at Harrison@codball.com, I welcome all comments.  Until next week when we will once again recap the best action on Cape thanks for reading and I will see you all around the ballpark.


A New Weekly Column from Codball

by Harrison Meyers


               Another season of Cape Cod Baseball is upon us, and Codball has a few new things in store for this season.  From a new column and a new contributor, its finally time to kick off the 2019 Cape Cod Baseball League season.  My name is Harrison Meyers and I am the new contributor on staff here at Codball, and I will be putting together a weekly column about the league, and life on the Cape.  There is so much to say about the Cape League that I wont get to it all every week but for this column we are going to break down all the best action, the implications for the teams, and name the Codball Players of the Week so even if you cant be on Cape to follow your favorite summer league you can follow Codball and not miss any of the action.

About the Author

               The 2019 Cape Cod Baseball League season marks my 14th season following the league full time.  My family and I have been traveling to the Cape for our annual vacation for over two decades now and it was in 2006 as a precocious nine-year-old I caught the baseball bug.  From that day on I was in love with the sport, and it would only be a few months later that I met my true first love, the Cape League.  There is something special about a Cape League game, for anyone who has gone to one you know exactly what I am talking about.  The feel of the wind as it whips off the water, the smell of salt in the air, and the lack of salesman hocking beer and peanuts in the stands are just a few things that make the Cape League different from your professional or even some college level games.  With this in mind it makes it easy to understand why a nine-year-old kid who loves baseball would fall in love with the way baseball is played in the sleepy towns and villages of the Cape.

               Following my introduction to the league I started following it full time, imagine the now 10-year-old me begging my mother to get onto our old desktop computer to check out scores and highlights from NCAA games to follow the guys who might make it to the cape.  That was me.  There is also a story of how I emailed Bill Bussiere – former Hyannis GM and current League bigwig - to find out if the Hyannis Mets (as they were known as the time) would take me if I went to a Division 2 school, but more on that later.  That was my life, even though I am not from the Cape I feel as if I grew up on the ballfields of the Cape, following my beloved Hyannis team up and down the Cape, pointing out every field along the way, and causing my parents an unknown amount of frustration by insisting that we always be at the game before the national anthem (sometimes a challenge when your driving from Hyannis to Wareham for a game on Friday night.  Now that I do this drive myself, I understand why we were late).

The Column

               My new column with Codball will come out once a week on Thursdays and serve as a weekly recap and primer for the big games over the week ahead.  I will highlight the games I am looking forward to in the new week, shout out the best players across the league and award them Codball Player of the Week honors, and do it all in about 600 words (ok, sometimes more).  Being just one person I cannot possibly cover everything there is to know about the Cape League and every story that comes up, but I will do my best to cover all of the big story lines and bring you the action from the field so if you can’t be on Cape you can still keep up to date with the help of your friends at Codball.  And while I am a devoted Harbor Hawk fan and have worked with the team for many years, I love all Cape League baseball and will tell each story as such without bias while giving my personal opinions on the matter (this is a blog after all).  The column currently remains nameless, so please reach out to me if you have an idea.

If you see or hear a story that you think should be covered, reach out to me at Harrison@codball.com, or tweet at me (@HyannisFaithful) or the blog itself (@Codball).  I am excited to get back onto the field and can’t wait for the first pitch of a new season, just hours from now as I am finishing this first post at slightly before noon on June 10th, the first day of the new season. 

This is going to be a great season, and I look forward to sharing it with all of you, hearing your stories, and continuing the old Cape League pastime of looking at the current crop of Cape Leaguers and trying to guess who the next big-league superstar is going to be. 

-Harrison Meyers


Cape League Corner Returns for 2019, Hall of Fame Class Announced

by Andrew in


As I write this, it's the morning of Opening Day 2019, which is Christmas Day for Cape League fans. 🙂

The Cape Cod Times’ Cape League Corner podcast is back again for their third season, and you can follow along in your favorite podcast app. The official Cape League Instagram account also looks to be a great way to follow along this year. And don't forget about @CodBall on Twitter.

In other news, on Sunday, June 9th, the 2019 CCBL Hall of Fame class was announced. In this year's class is former Commissioner Paul Galop, former MLB third baseman Conor Gillaspie (Falmouth '07), and Yarmouth-Dennis manager Scott Pickler (aka "Pick"). See the league press release for the full list.


Adley Rutschman (Falmouth '17) selected #1 in MLB Draft

by Andrew in


The 1st overall pick of the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft was Adley Rutschman (Oregon State). Rutschman, selected by the Baltimore Orioles, played 21 games for the Falmouth Commodores in 2017 and is touted as a better overall catcher than Buster Posey.

Adley Rutschman press conference after he was selected #1 overall in the 2019 draft.

Is he that good? Well - he was intentionally walked by the Cincinnati Bearcats with the bases loaded on Friday night, May 31st.

It’s the second year in-a-row where the 1st overall pick was a Cape leaguer.

The Cape had 14 alumni selected in the first round, compared to 16 last year (including Casey Mize). The league reported they had 60 alumni in the first four rounds. Andrew Vaughn (Wareham ‘18) was selected third overall by the Chicago White Sox, and J.J. Bleday (Orleans ‘18) was selected fourth overall by the Miami Marlins.


Checking in on McKeon Park before the 2019 season

by Andrew in


On Sunday, May 19, we drove by McKeon Park in Hyannis to check on the status of their renovations.

Good news - the field is looking great! The new home and away dugouts are still in progress since they only have a concrete foundation. There's no sign of the new Daktronics scoreboard, but maybe that's being installed closer to opening day.

Judy Walden Scarafile Field is brand new!

Judy Walden Scarafile Field is brand new!

Old bench and painted sign by the field house

Old bench and painted sign by the field house

Home dugout foundation

Home dugout foundation

Away dugout foundation

Away dugout foundation

Funds for the updates to McKeon Park were from the Barnstable Town Council through the Community Preservation fund ($750,000), and the Yawkey Foundation ($100,000). The estimate for the entire project is $1.75 million. According to the Barnstable Patriot (Dec 18, 2018), future updates will include new bleachers and handicap-accessible levels.

Brad Pfeifer, president of the Harbor Hawks, says the goal is to bring McKeon Park up to the same quality as a small minor league facility.


Watch the CCBL Documentary, Summer Heat

by Andrew in


There’s a new-to-me Cape Cod Baseball League documentary called Summer Heat by D.J. Jamiel and Nick Johnson. The film centers around the 2014 Hyannis Harbor Hawks and initially sought funding via Indiegogo. I believe it is not available anywhere, except a single link on the Harbor Hawks home page.

I enjoyed watching Nick’s Hawks Talk during the 2014 season, which was an ambitious 40-episode video blog.

You can watch the entire 52 minute documentary with this Vimeo link: https://player.vimeo.com/video/274793623


Brady Singer surprises parents with Christmas gift

by Andrew


Brady Singer (Falmouth ‘16) is making headlines this holiday season. Not only is he the Kansas City Royals top prospect, but he surprised his parents with an incredible Christmas gift: he paid off all their debt. Watch the video from Twitter to see the reaction.

Singer pitched 28 innings for the Commodores in 2016. In 2017, Singer helped his Florida Gators to a national title and earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. This year, he won the NCAA’s Dick Howser Trophy for national college baseball player of the year, and was selected 18th overall in the Major League Baseball draft.


Watch the mini-documentary "Cape Cod: Journey to the Bigs"

by Andrew


Without any fanfare, Fox Sports released “Cape Cod: Journey to the Bigs” on their Vimeo account. If you haven't seen the 22-minute mini-documentary, it centers around the 2017 season and features interviews with volunteers, players, managers, alumni, scouts, and host families including Barbara Ellsworth (known as Mrs. E). Mrs. E. passed away on October 31, 2018, and was inducted posthumously to the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame on December 1, 2018.


Wareham's Isaac Collins on SportsCenter Top 10 Plays

by Andrew


Isaac Collins (Creighton) not only earned a championship ring with Wareham this season, but he also snagged the #1 spot (!) on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays this week. Check out the video proof in the tweets below:


How Summer Catch was written

by Andrew


Editor's note: It's playoff time! Stay tuned to @CodBall for our coverage

I'm not sure how I missed this one! 

Matt Paré (aka the "Homeless Minor Leaguer") and Ty Kelly (MiLB, Las Vegas 51s) star in this hilarious skit that imagines how the 2001 romantic comedy Summer Catch (2001) came to be. 

For the uninitiated (and you may want to stay that way), the CCBL is the setting for Summer Catch, which stars Freddie Prinze Jr. and Jessica Biel.

Matt Paré announced his departure from baseball earlier this year after spending a few years in the Giants organization. In 2012, he was a temp player for the Y-D Red Sox before spending the majority of that summer with NECBL's Newport Gulls. Subscribe to HomelessMinorLeaguer on Youtube and his other channel Hey! Matt Paré.

Ty Kelly is a utilityman for the New York Mets organization, currently in AAA with the Las Vegas 51s. In 2008, he was a CCBL All-Star on the Brewster Whitecaps.


Lower Cape TV interviews Brewster coaches

by Andrew


Don't miss this new clip from Lower Cape TV with Brewster coaches Tommy Weber and Neil Barbella. Download the LCTV App to watch all Brewster Whitecaps home games this season.

The players right away band together, eat together, live together, laugh together. It’s really not that difficult for them. That’s one of the things that really impresses me about this level of player - how easily they adapt to new surroundings, their host families. There’s not a lot of instances of guys wanting to go home. They know what the stakes are and how lucky they are to be here, and they really embrace it.
— Tommy Weber, 6/14/18 on Lower Cape TV