WAREHAM, Mass. - The Cape Cod Baseball League is among the nation's premier summer leagues for college baseball players. Every year an opportunity to play in the Cape League is extended to unsigned collegiate players from across the country through the Frank Finn Invitational Tryout.
This annual invitation-only event at Clem Spillane Field in Wareham last Saturday gave players a chance to showcase their skills.
“The tryouts are all about players being able to play summer ball and live out their dreams,” said Cotuit Kettleers Assistant General Manager Sue Pina, responsible for organization and administration of the CCBL tryouts.
While permanent rosters are set early on, the tryouts are meant to fill empty slots of players participating in the NCAA College World Series, Super Regionals or Team USA tryouts. Players who catch the eye of managers usually receive a temporary contract. The mood of the players is always one of excitement and gratitude.
When players find out they’ve been recommended to try out, emotions range from shock to total elation. “They are always very excited,” Pina said, and this year’s group was no different.
Before the tryouts, Cape League Commissioner Paul Galop met with players to welcome them and ease their nerves, as well as to make them aware of the potential opportunities and keep their expectations realistic.
“This year we had a very bright, attentive group,” Galop said. “Their attitude definitely shows the impressive character of this group of people.”
After the tragic passing of veteran umpire and former deputy commissioner Jim McNally last summer, the league dedicated the 2014 Frank Finn Invitational Tryout to his memory.
“The Cape League is really more about family more than it is baseball,” Galop said. “(Jim) was part of that family.”
Before the 13-inning scrimmage portion of the tryouts, the wife and daughter of the late McNally were invited onto the field along with the participating players, where they were presented with T-shirts emblazoned with McNally's initials, JMC.
In addition, all Cape League umpires will wear pins with the No. 65 on them to honor their longtime friend, and a brick will be placed in McNally's honor at the JFK Hyannis Museum in Hyannis at noon Sunday.