17 July 2006

Cape League a Success in New Bedford

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – For the second time this season the Cape Cod Baseball League has opted to branch out and expand their core of teams to an unfamiliar site, this time in New Bedford. Since 2001, the league has been using Sandwich, Mass. as a source for acquiring new fans and building additional relationships with sponsors. Now, for the first time, the league has chosen the city of New Bedford as an additional site to host an array of new and enthusiastic baseball fans might not normally see Cape League games.

Players and Fans were warmly welcomed in New Bedford
Photo by DottyTamagini 

      Geographically located nearest to Wareham out of all the Cape League teams, the New Bedford site was the perfect place for the Gatemen to be hosts. The Gatemen took on the Hyannis Mets before a packed crowd of over 1,900 fans at Paul Walsh Field, leading to nothing but excitement being expressed across the board. Mayor Scott Lang, who has expressed a desire to see a Cape League team in the city, displayed an immense amount of appreciation to everyone who was a part of the event and could not have imagined the success the city received Friday night. 

     With its neighboring towns being active in the league, Mayor Lang sees New Bedford as “being able to acquire an audience of a possible 300,000 people and holding 100,000 people in the city alone.” 

Paul Walsh Field
Photo by DottyTamagini

     Commenting on the chance of New Bedford acquiring a Cape League team, Judy Walden Scarafile, who has been president of the league for 15 years, adds, “It is still under investigational process and it is up to the committee to determine whether the league even wants to expand.” Talks will not be made on the issue until the winter of this year and expansion will not occur prior to the 2009 season, but Wareham GM John Wylde already sees the odds as being “one-third for it and two-thirds against it.”

     Fans continued to flood the gates up until the fourth inning, making it difficult to acquire a seat. Expressing little impatience in acquiring a team, residents of New Bedford were simply pleased to see more activity on a Friday night. With its main use being occupied by the High School, Walsh Field was worked on in the week leading up to the game in order to seat the large crowd comfortably. With relatively short distances in the outfield, fans surrounded the fences in an effort to find a seat. 

The Mets edged the Gatemen 3-2
Photo by DottyTamagini

      Both the fans and coaches viewed the field itself as being in great shape. Wylde noted, “The field played very true on the hops and was overall a very good field.” 

     Sponsors for the New Bedford game included the Bristol County Bar Association, which donated toward a meal for both the Hyannis and Wareham teams (plus their own members) and also made a donation to the gate to cover the admission of their own members. Atlantis Mortgage of New Bedford and Saturn of Dartmouth are also corporate sponsors of the Wareham Gatemen, which included the game at New Bedford.

     Whether or not the league will decide to expand the league to twelve teams, the brief look at the Cape League in New Bedford was a tremendous success. Despite their 3-2 loss to the Mets, the Gatemen were proud of how the event was run and are willing to travel again. On Friday night, the city of New Bedford revealed its reason for appropriate consideration in attracting the best amateur baseball league in the country. 

By Daniel Scalia, CCBL Intern scalia@capecodbaseball.org

John Garner, Jr.
Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 johnwgarner@earthlink.net 

Will Bussiere
Web Editor