When people think of summer collegiate baseball*, they seem to think of the Cape Cod League. I don’t blame them, but there are a bunch of other leagues like it around the country. There’s a league in New England, and one of the teams play in Western MA, the Valley Blue Sox.
*These teams are made up of college kids from around the country who want to play summer ball; the leagues are wood bat leagues, unlike college where they use metal bats. They’re either going into their sophomore, junior, or senior years, but they don’t get paid to play because it would violate their NCAA eligibility. They live with host families in the area for the summer.
I interned with the team during the summer after my sophomore year of college. Prior to the season, we helped a little with some of the marketing stuff and delivered tickets to local places, and once the season after, we worked game day operations for every home game. That’s the summer I spent ripping tickets and pouring beers.
The team hosted the league’s All Star game that year, and although we all worked a 12 hour day, it was really cool to see the players in the skills competitions, home run derby, and game itself. Plus I had a few MLB scouts come through my ticket gate. Some of them were nonchalant about being a scout while others were showing me their badges. I also remember there were a few mascots there from other teams in the league, and I definitely avoided those. One of them was a moose, and it tried communicating with me and I was like, no thank you.
I went back to a game the summer after I interned there, and I managed to get hit with a foul ball. I hadn’t been back since, not because of the foul ball incident, but just because I just hadn’t thought about going to a game. One of the guys I interned with is now the GM of the team, and I figured I should probably head back to the old stomping grounds.
I asked one of my friends, Kristen—the one who runs 5Ks with me and went ice skating with me earlier this year—to go with me to a game last Thursday, and she said yes. We got to the field about a half hour before first pitch. They play at the city’s high school field.
I got a cheeseburger and a beer, and it was nice to see that they stepped up their beer game since I was there last.
Along the first base side is a large section of bleachers, and on the third base side are smaller bleachers. We sat up on the first base side less than ten rows back for the first inning or so until we moved down front because those bleachers had backs to them.
My second beer of the night was Harpoon Rec. League. It was the first time I had heard of it, and I really liked it. I’d probably pick it over the regular Harpoon. Plus I was obsessed with the can’s design.
The Blue Sox were down 1-0 by the eighth inning, and they came back in the bottom with three runs. In the top of the ninth, they pulled in their bullpen into the dugout, and I thought that was a little risky with only a two run lead, but it didn’t matter since they won 3-1.
The bat boy for the Blue Sox was so cute and definitely took his job very seriously. When I was an intern, the bat boy was a kid from one of the host families, so I’d assume it would still be the same now. The game wasn’t as crowded as I remember games being, but it was a Thursday night. The weekend games were usually a little more packed.
I need to make an effort to go to at least one game a summer since the field isn’t too far from my house (a little over 20 minutes), the tickets and food are inexpensive, and I’ll watch baseball at any level.