Sean and I traveled to the Cape Cod League All Star Game at Wareham High School in Wareham, MA Saturday in what will almost certainly be our only overnight baseball trip together this season. He is still not back to 100% after suffering a concussion in late December, but has gotten a lot better.
This was our second Cape Cod League ASG; we went two years ago as well. The Cape Cod League ASG has become one of, if not my favorite baseball event to attend. Why? It’s cheap: $5/ticket; it includes BP, autograph sessions, Home Run Derby and the game itself; sponsor Friendly’s provides free ice cream early in the day; unlike many other college or collegiate summer league games/ASGs, you are free to keep balls hit outside the field of play; and, they use ASG balls.
The gates were to open at 2pm when Batting Practice started. We were there early and found a decent Cape Cod League regular season ball while killing time.
After we got in and BP started, we headed to the left field bleachers. Sean quickly asked a player for a toss-up. The players weren’t supposed to, but some did and because Sean was the only kid in the area at that point, the player kindly obliged. We were on the board with a Cape Cod ASG ball!
These two balls are the same, but you can’t see the red ASG print on the side panel of the ball otherwise
People started to fill into the left field bleachers, so Sean and I decided to head over to right field, where there was just one other person at the time.
The pic below was taking from beyond the right field fence. There are actually two fences: the home run fence, and then about 40 feet beyond that is the stadium fence.
In the picture above, there’s yellow “caution” tape stretching from the flag pole to the home run fence. We were not allowed to go to the left field line side of the tape as it is one of the bullpens.
Still, there was plenty of room to get home run balls, and as it turned out, there were plenty of those.
The ‘competition’ varied during BP, but there were never more than about 15
See the guy in the navy blue shirt in the pic above standing in front of the overturned soccer goal? Well, the first ball I got, I caught right in front of him. The ball was hit closer to him, and he had settled into position to catch it.
But I was also tracking it, and at the last second came in next to him and reached out my glove high, just in front of his.
I felt the ball hit my glove and knew I had it. He seemed surprised that the ball was not in his glove.
Here’s where it got interesting. He starts acting like he got hurt. I asked him if he was OK and what happened, because I was certain I had not done anything more than brush up against him, if that. He said it was his calf but otherwise moaned and groaned for another minute.
I think he was just angry that I had caught the ball and he hadn’t — he didn’t have any balls at that point — because I know there was no way I made nearly enough contact to hurt him, if I made contact at all.
Still, not wanting to cause trouble, I apologized to him if I had in any way bumped him, even though I was certain I had not. I ended up giving him another ball I got a couple minutes later for the sake of trying to do the right thing.
Maybe I should have just let him catch the ball. Had it been later in BP when we already had a few balls, maybe I would have. But I am not going to lie, I was super-psyched to make the catch. I am only 5’6″, so it’s not often that I outreach our out jump someone for a ball.
The rest of BP for the first team was great. We got seven balls total during that span, only two of which were regular season balls instead of ASG balls. I caught one other on the fly. Sean also ran one down beyond the outer fence, which a few players cleared. Everyone around us did well, too.
The second team then started hitting. I decided to head beyond the outer fence with Sean. There was just one other guy over on that side at the time.
For the next 35 minutes, there was no action where we were because there were no lefties hitting. I think one ball cleared the right-center field fence, hit by a righty. We killed time by playing catch, which was fun.
Finally, the last group of hitters were all lefties. Several people headed back over to the right field side of the fences. Sean tracked down one ball and one of the guys who was keeping people out of the RF bullpen area tossed us a ball right after BP ended.
We got eight ASG balls and three regular season balls, one of which I gave away.
Sean had a couple rough moments with the heat during BP, so we decided to go back to the hotel and rest for a while. That meant skipping the HR Derby, but we had done so well in BP, and I figured the HR Derby would be a zoo.
While we were resting, I took a closer look at the ASG balls, and found this:
The ball on the left is a 2016 ASG ball! We didn’t go to last year’s game, so this was yet another new ball for us to add to the collection. Talking to a kid later, he said that his brother had gotten a 2009 ASG ball during BP!
We got back to the stadium in the third inning of the game. The stadium was packed: they ended up with nearly 7,200 people!
We walked around, half-heartedly doing some ballhawking (with no success), and watching the game from different spots.
Wareham High is a great place to ballhawk. The stadium is small, so quite a few balls are hit out of it.
View behind the 1st base side of home plate
However, there were tons of kids ballhawking, which is why we laid fairly low.
The East won the game, 5-3. Our plan was to try and get the lineup card like we had done two years ago. In that case, we were able to walk on the field after the game, which I was surprised by. I assumed we’d be able to do the same this year.
Our plan this year was for Sean to try the 3rd base side and me the more crowded 1st base side. As it turned out, they didn’t let anyone on the field.
But the umpires exited on the third base side right by Sean. He wasn’t specifically trying for an umpire ball, he just happened to be in the right place at the right time as the umpire tossed him and one other boy a ball on his way out.
Meanwhile, when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get on the field, I asked one of the East coaches for their lineup card as the fence at the field keeps you away from the dugout. He went to get it.
At the same time, a kid I had recognized earlier in the day from games around us in CT, and who also chases lineup cards, appeared. He stuck his hand through an opening in the fence trying to get the lineup card as the coach came to give it to me, but I was able to reach my arm through another opening to get the card.
I can’t blame the kid for trying. He almost pulled off his timing perfectly to swoop in and get the card. I hope he was able to get the West’s lineup card.
Sean, with umpire ball and lineup card
Getting the umpire ball and lineup card put an exclamation point on a great day!
2017: 21 lineup cards (11 dugout/bullpen; 9 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup” card)
Lifetime: 142 lineup cards (98 dugout/bullpen; 41 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 1 “today’s lineup”)