11 July 2007

Bourne’s new gem of a diamond: Doran Park is dedicated

Photo by Paul Gately
The sign is unveiled at the dedication of Doran Park.

By Paul Gately
Bourne Courier
Tue Jul 10, 2007, 12:48 PM EDT 

Bourne - What could be better? A sunny afternoon at a Cape Cod baseball park in early July; lazy clouds overhead and 395 feet to dead center field. This was the backdrop Sunday when the new field built for the Bourne Braves was dedicated and Sagamore Beach arrived in force to honor one of its own.

    The setting had the stamp of baseball all over it. Think honest to God grass, the crowd waiting for the starting lineups, “Play Ball!” and that first foul ball; enjoying a gem of a field with grand dimensions, named for the late George Doran Sr. of Sagamore Beach: Doran Park.

    Baseball fields are important. Who among us has not gazed down at the terrain when gliding toward an airplane landing in a new city, looking to find diamonds in the outskirts? They are, of course, symbols of summer even in a last-place town.

    Doran Park at the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School, high along the ridge line above the Cape Cod Canal, is different. It is home to the UCT Rams and the Braves of the Cape Cod Baseball League where the college boys of summer refine their skills to make it to “the bigs.”

    For some of them, Doran Park will be the start of the long road ahead through backwaters of America’s pastime; perhaps bypassing Single A. Egos seem in check. On a good afternoon here, the autographs are offered; you don’t have to ask.

    George Doran, his family said, would have loved this place. He would have taken his family to games here, much like he did to Keith Field where the Sagamore Clouters ruled during the post-war years; an era when Cape League teams came from Otis Air Force Base and Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

    The Dorans thus join the roster of Bourne families for whom ball fields are named: Keith and Jackson, and Swift and Eldridge; and Coady and Clark.

    “Dad was the head of Narragansett Brewing in Boston and was an avid Red Sox fan,” said John Doran of Wellesley and Sagamore Beach. “Cape League too. The Sagamore teams. He loved those cool summer evenings down beyond the bridge in Sagamore; the games. He had his experiences; I have the memories. Great memories.

    “Like the time in 1959, I must have been 10, at the Cape League’s All-Star game played in Sagamore,” he said. “Curt Gowdy, the voice of the Red Sox, and Mel Allen, the Yankees’ broadcaster, were there to do the announcing. Fabulous times.”

    The Doran Family Foundation secured naming rights for the ball field at UCT, and the money will be used to help fund lights for the 2008 baseball season. The field is a place of harmonies in order; the speakers said as much.

    Retired Upper Cape Tech Superintendent Barry Motta said Doran Park rivals Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles, for its use of brickwork. He says the field will be the model for the Cape League’s future.

    Bourne Braves President Tom Fink said Doran Park is “unbelievable, the frosting on the cake.”

    Cape League President Judy Scarafile became tearful, viewing the new field and the welcoming reception for the league and Doran family.

    UCT Superintendent Kevin Farr credited Motta with “the vision, fortitude and ability to make this field happen.” Motta’s quest, he said, bordered on a “Field of Dreams” scope, referring to the baseball film with Kevin Costner and its classic line: “If you build it, they will come.”

    Come they did Sunday afternoon. Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe was fascinated with the field of green stretching toward the tree line of not-so-distant Camp Edwards. And Dan Duquette, the former Red Sox general manager, was watching the talent as the Braves took the field against the Hyannis Mets, who promptly loaded the bases in the first inning.

    There are two signs signifying the place; one at the Sandwich Road entrance to UCT and another off the third base path just beyond the state-of-the-art press box. There is also a stone memorial at the field, honoring the Doran family legacy.

    Clover Monument Co. provided the stone, and Purcell Woodcarving and Signmaking did the signs.

    Katherine Doherty, John Doran’s great niece, sang the national anthem; and he and his son Patrick threw out the first pitches as Braves from Mississippi, Rice University, Wake Forest and William & Mary finished their infield warmups.

    Eleanor Doran watched the proceedings from her seat beyond the third-base dugout. The Doran family matriarch could not join the gathering at the microphone. She is 94, a baseball fan still; enjoying the game in a new place that her family holds dear and a community thinks fitting.