07/21/2022 7:43 AM
Article By: Kayla Gregoire
Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford, CT was the home to the Cape Cod Baseball League Wednesday afternoon.
Typically home to the Hartford Yard Goats, the Hyannis Harbor Hawks were the home team, while the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox took being the home team. Harford is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Hyannis, so it was a new setting for both teams.
Many of the Harbor Hawks were laying on the floor of the bus to get some extra sleep before the game. Some players played bus games to pass the time also. Both teams took a much more comfortable ride than they typically do. Usually CCBL teams travel to games on a school bus, but due to the longer drive they traveled on coach buses. For the 11 a.m. start time the teams had to leave the Cape bright and early in the morning.
Despite the early start time, both teams were excited to be playing in a new setting at a Double A baseball stadium.
When arriving at the game both fans and players could feel the heat when stepping out of their cars. It was 97 degrees in Hartford and was even hotter on the turf field for players and coaches. Whenever there was shade or a chance to get in the air condition, many took the chance. Water was typically in the hands of everyone who came out to see and play the game.
During the game there had to be a 30-minute delay due to an umpire over heating from the heat. With the delay players and fans took advantage of the time to interact with one another.
Harbor Hawks and Red Sox players stood behind home plate talking to each other to pass the time. Players from the bullpen came out to interact with everyone also.
The most entertaining part of the delay was Philip Matulia interacting with fans. Fans in the stands chanted for Matulia, yelling ‘Philip” over and over again to get his attention. Eventually he ran out of the dugout, and they all started to cheer for him. Throughout the delay he was meeting fans, signing balls, and taking pictures with them.
“It was a blast out here today,” Matulia said. “A lot of kids showed up and we wanted to give them a good time. That’s what it’s all about is all the fans and just making sure they enjoy the experience, just trying to make the most of it.”
The fans did not stop there when cheering for him. Everyone knew when Matulia came up to bat due to the cheering throughout the ballpark. When he went to his position at first base, fans would continue to cheer for him, and he would always wave to the excited kids.
Matulia was not the only player interacting with fans at the ballpark. Throughout the game kids stood by the netting or the doors to get on the field to get a chance to interact with the players. During the delay players opened the door to sign balls and take selfies.
Some kids parked by the dugout to talk to players while they sat in the dugout. Many of the kids have memories that will last them a lifetime from getting to interact with CCBL players.
Mike Sirota, Hyannis outfielder, played catch with some kids in the outfield to pass time in between innings. In the end, the Harbor Hawks beat the Red Sox by a score of 9-3.
“Once we got out to an early lead and we got the fans into it we got some Hawks chants going. That was huge just to get us to keep scoring runs and to stay on top,” Matulia said.