Cape Cod’s love affair with the game of baseball enjoyed a mid-January tryst last night at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth. The Falmouth Commodores held their second annual Hot Stove Event at the resort, with approximately 250 fans in attendance to celebrate their favorite game and the hometown team with a couple of special guests that provided riveting tales of America’s pastime.
The guests of honor were certainly big draws for the adoring crowd, which paid $100 per ticket to benefit the Commodores organization. The speakers provided insight into both the Cape Cod Baseball League, and professional ball, as they shared a number of entertaining anecdotes. Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, along with the World Series trophy that his team won this past fall, headlined the event, as well as Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons. Commodores manager Jeff Trundy and New York Yankees scout Matt Hyde also were on the dais, waxing poetic about the game they love, and the summer league that resides on the peninsula.
A year ago, Farrell came to the first annual event and promised that his team would play the game the right way and work hard. A year later he had lived up to that promise, leading the Sox to their third World Series championship of the century, and received a standing ovation upon his introduction into the room .
The manager, whose sons all played in Falmouth, said that the Cape League is a big part of the learning process for potential pro baseball players. He recalled his own summer, spent in Hyannis, which was anything but cushy. He said that he lived with a general contractor, and his accommodations were the contractor’s tool shed, where he slept on a cot. After leaving that home, for another, his summer job landed him on a roof, where he painted a chimney next door to the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport. “I’ll never ever forget being up on that roof,” he said.
Gammons, who spends most of his year on Cape Cod, said that Cape League jobs have always been a favorite aspect of his. He joked about former All-Star Albert Belle ignoring customers as a gas station attendant, and Mark Kotsay bagging his groceries at the old A&P in Bourne. “For years, every time I saw Mark in spring training he’d go into the clubhouse, put a bunch of stuff into some bags and then come out say ‘here are your groceries, Mr. Gammons.’ ”
It was Hyde, though, that explained what the Cape League represents best. “The beauty of this league is that they’re wearing Falmouth or Chatham on their uniforms, playing on essentially high school fields. They’re not in big stadiums, it’s all about the game.”
For all of those fans in attendance last night, June can’t get here fast enough.