News / USA

Summer Baseball Grooms Players for Majors

Summer Baseball League Grooms Players for Big Timei
|| 0:00:00
X
Dave Grunebaum
August 04, 2012 1:08 PM
Every summer, many of America's best college baseball players travel to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. As VOA's Dave Grunebaum reports, the cape's small communities help players make it to the big leagues.

Summer Baseball League Grooms Players for Big Time

CAPE COD, Massachusetts — As the sun sets on Cape Cod and the swimmers leave the beach, local ball fields light up as top college athletes face off in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
 
“The talent is unbelievable here,” says Jeff McNeil, a second baseman at Long Beach State University in California. He’s spending the summer on the country's opposite coast, playing for the Brewster Whitecaps. “My dream in baseball, like everyone’s, is to go pro and the Cape Cod League is a good starting ground for that.”

Hundreds of current major league players used to compete on these same fields and the top college prospects continue to draw scouts from the major league teams.

During batting practice before a recent Brewster Whitecaps game, the players were watched by scouts from the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs.

“They’re here at every game, they’re here to watch batting practice," says McNeil. "They’re watching your every move.  Basically everything you do on the field, you’re being evaluated for.”
Fans gather to watch the Orleans Firebirds during the Cape Cod Baseball League's summer season. (VOA/D. Gruenbaum)Fans gather to watch the Orleans Firebirds during the Cape Cod Baseball League's summer season. (VOA/D. Gruenbaum)
x
Fans gather to watch the Orleans Firebirds during the Cape Cod Baseball League's summer season. (VOA/D. Gruenbaum)
Fans gather to watch the Orleans Firebirds during the Cape Cod Baseball League's summer season. (VOA/D. Gruenbaum)

For fans, though, the atmosphere is laid back. There’s no admission fee and spectators line the field, filling the bleachers, settling in their own beach chairs or sitting in the grass like Max Finocchio, 9, and his father, Mark.
 
“Oh it’s great. We love baseball, it’s a great sport to watch, a good chance you’re going to catch a foul ball down here," says Mark. "Maybe [we'll] actually catch someone that’s up and coming in this league who's going to become a major league baseball player.”

But this summer experience goes beyond baseball.

Each player lives with a host family. McNeil and one of his teammates are staying with Julia and Bob Tulloch and their two children. Julia Tulloch considers the players adopted sons for the summer.
 
“Having the boys around has been fantastic, absolutely fantastic," she says. "They’re great kids.”
 
“I feel like I’m actually a part of the family," says McNeil. "They’ll do anything for me.”
 
One morning, the Tullochs treated the players to a boat ride and a chance to engage in a classic coastal activity: clamming. While standing on a wet sandbar, McNeil used a rake to dig down a bit to look for the shellfish.
 
“It’s been real fun, real fun so far, trying new things," says McNeil.

That's Julia Tulloch's goal.  

“I want them to leave knowing there are so many different things to do on the Cape. You know, the fishing, the clamming, the tubing, the quaintness of it all.”
 
The Cape Cod Baseball League has 10 teams and when the Brewster Whitecaps are on the field, McNeil says the Tullochs are in the stands.
 
“We’re just proud of them just like we would be of our own kids,” Julia Tulloch says.

It’s a two-month stay on the Cape, but the players and families say they’re creating memories that will last a lifetime.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid