Local Cape League Teams Make Final Off-Field Preparations Before Season Begins

By: Brad Joyal

Topics: Cape Cod Baseball League , Orleans Firebirds , Chatham Anglers , Harwich Mariners

The four Lower Cape-based Cape Cod Baseball League teams are making their final preparations before the league returns June 12. BRAD JOYAL FILE PHOTO

The four Lower Cape-based Cape Cod Baseball League teams are ramping up preseason preparations ahead of the league’s full slate of Opening Day games set for June 12.

Although team officials from Chatham, Harwich, Orleans and Brewster have different to-do lists to accomplish before the first pitches are thrown, the four East Division rivals are all on the same page about one thing: they’re excited for another summer of baseball on the Cape and they expect big turnouts at the ballparks.

“We’re gearing up for a good season,” Harwich Mariners President Mary Henderson said. “I think the Cape is going to be very, very busy this summer — more so than it has been in the past. As far as people coming and renting and everything, it’s all you hear about.”

Securing housing has long been one obstacle for Cape League teams, though it’s become an even bigger struggle recently due to increased overall housing demand and a lack of available housing.

“Housing is a real issue this year, more than it ever has for me and I’ve been doing this for 40 years,” Henderson said.

Chatham, Harwich and Orleans are still seeking a few individuals or families to host players this summer.

Anyone interested in housing a Chatham Angler should contact Sue Thomas at Madison.2@comcast.net or 774-836-0112; those interested in housing a Harwich Mariner should contact Mary Henderson at mehendy@comcast.net; and anyone interested in housing an Orleans Firebird should contact Nancy Nickerson at hostfamilies@orleansfirebirds.com or 508-255-3328. In Brewster, contact Jen Kish at jkish@brewsterwhitecaps.com.

Orleans is also searching for general volunteers to help at home games, which have been bumped up this summer from 7 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. start times at Eldredge Park. Firebirds board member Cindy Kuechle said the team is appreciative of any volunteers ranging from teenagers to retirees.

“They can volunteer for one game, three games or one week or three weeks – however many times that they’d like to volunteer, we’d love to have them,” Kuechle said.

Kuechle said that in addition to opening the season at home against Yarmouth-Dennis on June 12, Orleans is also looking forward to an Eastham Night in which the team will celebrate the town of Eastham and its citizens during its game against Bourne on June 18.

Another special event the club is bringing back is Storytime with the Birds, a popular weekly gathering at Eastham Library that features Firebirds players reading books to local children. Kuechle said more details about Storytime with the Birds will be posted on Orleansfirebirds.com soon.

Chatham Anglers President Steve West said the club is looking forward to opening its 44-game regular season schedule at home against Cotuit on June 12. West added the Anglers are looking forward to bringing a fireworks show to Veterans Field on July 2 and a Coast Guard flyover before the July 9 game against Orleans.

“The Anglers also look forward to rejoining Chatham’s July 4th parade after a three-year absence,” West said. “Our players’ participation in this event is an experience they all remember as a highlight of their summer in Chatham.”

All four Lower Cape teams will also be featured in live television broadcasts on NESN, which will host Harwich at Chatham at 7 p.m. July 17 and Brewster at Orleans on July 31.

West added that the Anglers are looking forward to the postseason, too.

“The playoffs begin on Aug. 5 and we hope to bring a championship trophy to Chatham when all is said and done,” he said.

Summer youth clinics will also return to all four towns. Harwich and Orleans are scheduled to start their clinics on June 20, while Chatham and Brewster will begin theirs June 27.

Information about Orleans’ clinic is available at the team’s website, while those interested in learning more about the other three teams’ clinics should visit chathamanglers.com, harwichmariners.com or brewsterwhitecaps.com.

All Cape League games are free to attend. Kuechle said that’s one of the may reasons CCBL baseball is one of the best summer attractions available to both locals and visitors.

“It’s about the vibe of being there and being able to sit on your blankets and chairs with your friends or family and your kids can roam and you just enjoy the night together outside,” Kuechle said. “There’s nothing else like it on the Cape where you can have this type of fun for an entire night.”

Email Brad Joyal at brad@capecodchronicle.com.

Twitter: @BradJoyal