INT – Bedroom, morning
PAUL wakes up in bed. It is literally any weekend day during the baseball season.
PAUL (to self)
I think I’m going to go see a ball game today.
THE WEATHER (off screen, presumably from wherever anthropomorphized weather watches mortals from)
Oh yeah? You think you’re going to see a ball game today? Naw, son. It’s gonna rain.
But, today I was able to foil the weather (mostly) and see some baseball.Today’s stadium visit is Clem Spillane Field, home of defending Cape Cod League champions the Wareham Gatemen.
Wareham considers itself the Gateway to the Cape, but “true” Cape Codders, the blue bloods who live up in “Baaaaaahnstahbaaaaahl” would beg to differ. The Gatemen play at Wareham High School on Clem Spillane Field, which is a multipurpose grass and dirt field with some of the deepest dimensions I’ve seen in the college scene. 412 to straight away, and 330 down the lines. Middle of the line-up guys have to absolutely rake to clear the 10 or 12 foot walls around the stadium.
To back-up to the beginning though. A storm blew through the area at about 4 o’clock. It did wash out some games farther south in the region, but it was only able to delay the 6:45 start in Wareham by about a half an hour. It gave me an opportunity to walk around a little bit.
The parking situation is pretty bare bones, street parking is readily available for most games, but with a billed capacity of 4,000 (in three bleachers; 1st & 3rd base lines and left center field), for special events (playoff and All-Star Games) I can see the parking sitch get dicey.
The walk-up feels more high school baseball than some other places. As is Cape tradition, a couple interns sit at a folding table with a bucket for donations and the game’s roster sheet. Fans then walk past the BBQ pit which supplies the concession stand located under the press box. The souvenir stand is a pop-up tent with a wide selection of t-shirts, hats and a nice variety of accessories.
Seating is very unique. The bleachers down each base line mimic the angles you find at McCoy in Pawtucket. The front row sits high off the field, above the field-level dugouts on both 1st & 3rd base line. Limited lawn chair seating is available to the 3rd base side of home plate and under the third base side bleachers. I also want to note that while the 1st base bleachers are aluminum, the 3rd base side is wood, which has a lot of give under foot and didn’t feel great to sit on (even with a towel) on a wet, muggy, humid evening. Sight lines are tough. The fence & netting along the baselines make getting a clear view of the infield difficult. I sat third base side, however the 1st base side closer to the plate may provide better viewing angles. There is also a third set of bleachers that sit on a hill at the outfield wall in left center field.
Game day presentation is pretty limited – in a good way. The pregame music skewed heavily towards classic 50’s and 60’s summer time pop fare. A lot of The Beach Boys in the mix, which I didn’t mind. Break in play action was pretty limited, a souvenir ball & t-shirt toss and a 50/50 were about the only interruptions.
If you’re a photographer, the lighting is remarkable for a high school field. I didn’t make a note, but I want to say there are at least 8 substantial light standards throwing all the lumens on the playing surface. If you’re a photographer, you shouldn’t have any problem shooting fast as you like at Spillane.
As with all the fields on the Cape, access to players is free and almost unfettered. Two Brewster players wandered past me on their way to get a couple of hot dogs. But I didn’t see any hawks looking for autos.
Foul balls, however, are plentiful. The bleachers sit right on top of the foul lines. There’s only a couple of feet between the coach’s box and the fence. The back stop goes straight up, and foul balls will get out of play with some hustle.
I would put Spillane Field somewhere between Paul Walsh Field in New Bedford and McKeon Park in Hyannis as far as overall experience goes with Walsh having been the better of the three.
In other local stadium news, contractors broke ground on what will become Polar Park in Worcester, the future home of the current Pawtucket Red Sox. The stadium is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2021 season.