BOURNE ---- Amid talk of batting averages, ERA, standings, and the MLB draft is also the murmur of traditions as legendary as the Cape League itself.
When the top players in college ball come to the Cape each summer, it is not for a vacation. Members of the Braves are out weekly giving back to the same community that supports them at Doran Park.
“It’s not always about baseball,” Braves general manager Mike Carrier said. “I think the kids need to give back to the community and let them know they’re appreciated and show them what they have here during their brief stay for the summer.”
The Braves recently showed their appreciation for the Bourne community by marching in the July 4th parade. But the organization knows it is not just Bourne residents who support the defending champions.
“We also sent three or four players and board members to march in the Sandwich parade,” Carrier said. “It was very successful.”
The Braves are not only maintaining familiar traditions ---- including the Special Olympics recognition night ---- but adding new ones. Members of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Cape Cod will have their own special night at a Bourne game this summer. The night pairs a Big Brother/BigSister with a Little Brother/Little Sister, and features a pre-game ceremony, along with free hot dogs and soda.
Bourne is also in its third year of partnering with the Bourne Public Library to foster a love of reading in the community. Players read to kids at Doran Park on designated days. The children who go to the Reading Hour can also run the bases like their favorite players.
There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to keep the organization running smoothly. Team representative Jenabeth Ferguson said the fundraising for each summer begins immediately after the season ends.
“We are a non-profit organization and we have to fundraise about $100,000 every year,” she said.
The amount needed to support the team ranges from $90,000 to $100,000 each year. The funds raised go towards uniforms, equipment, buses, updating the field, paying for the coaches and trainers and buying goods for the concession stand.
“It’s important for the kids to give back to the community, because this is a community that gives so much for them to be here,” she said.
Though the players are here during hot summer months, members of the organization work year-round. For two years, members of the board of directors have given time out of their holiday seasons to ring the bell for the Salvation Army Annual Kettle Drive. Members also participated in the March of Dimes Telerama on January 25. The event raised money to help infants get a healthy start by preventing birth defects, prematurity and lowering the infant mortality rate.
The Bourne Braves' roots in the Cape League date back to the 1860s. Members of the organization are maintaining strong traditions off the field to let community members know that they do not take for granted those who support them and keep them going each year.