The air buzzed with excitement and anticipation for the beginning of another Cape Cod Baseball League season at the annual Frank Finn tryouts held at Spillane Field in Wareham, MA. With the tryout date later than usual, the number of prospects was significantly lower - there were approximately 50 athletes compared to the 110 from last year, which was held on Memorial Day. Though the representation may have been lower, the athletes were still rich in talent.
The prospects traveled from as far away as the University of Hawaii, to as close as Bridgewater State College to attend the tryouts. The 20 pitchers and 30 position players who made the trek were hoping to impress at least one of the ten Cape League organizations and sign either a temporary or permanent contract with a team.
The annual tryouts serve to give unsigned athletes a chance to succeed beyond the collegiate level and compete against some of the most talented amateur baseball players in the nation. Sue Pina, the Cotuit Kettleers’ Assistant General Manager cited the potential success for individual athletes, rather than the gains by the teams as the most important aspect of the day. “This day is about giving a chance to those players who may have slipped through the cracks for whatever reason,” she said. “They can show up, do what they do and hopefully sign a contract.”
Pina specifically referred to Charlie Furbush—who initially tried out for the Cape League in 2005, then became the pitching ace of the Hyannis Mets—as an example of the talent that can emerge from the tryouts. Furbush is now a relief pitcher for the Seattle Mariners. Much like Furbush, many other professional athletes got their start on the Cape, as the personal success of the players is an important aspect of the league. According to Pina, the Cape League’s supportive nature stemmed from John Wylde, the late President of the Wareham Gatemen. Pina said, Wylde was “definitely smiling down” on the day of the tryouts. He believed that the mission of the Cape Cod Baseball League was not to win championship rings, but rather, “all about the opportunity for young players to achieve their dreams”.
The dreams of three collegiate players were one step closer to becoming a reality after the 2012 tryouts, as Falmouth signed temporary contracts with catcher Clark Cody from the University of Hawaii and right handed pitcher Craig Schlitter from Bryant, while left handed pitcher Vladimir Camacho from Franklin Pierce signed a temporary contract with Wareham.
These players, as well as those who have already been signed to one of the Cape League teams, will open the season on Thursday, June 14.