07/12/2016 11:51 AM
Article By: Travis Foster
A longstanding staple of the Cape Cod Baseball League are the summer baseball clinics the teams offer to the youth on Cape Cod. Each of the ten Cape League teams hosts its own individual clinics, open to boys and girls ages five years and older. The camps provide kids with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the game from Cape League players and coaches and even join the team on field for the national anthem during one game. Other than improving a child’s baseball skills, the clinics teach sportsmanship, comradery, and help the participants build character.
One of the most successful clinics in the Cape League is offered by the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. This clinic is run by Y-D manager Scott Pickler, referred to by the parents and kids as “Coach Pick”, along with a group of Y-D players. Every day the clinic features a different array of player-coaches, allowing the kids to meet and interact with the majority of the team.
Gillian Burke, the mother of twin eight year old boys, expressed her great admiration for the clinic. She explained that her sons had done other camps in the past, but have found a special connection with the Y-D clinic and more specifically Coach Pickler. Gillian stated, “Coach Pick really loves these kids. He is here all the time. He is here every day.” She explained Coach Pickler’s commitment to the kids and the clinic is very much unique to Y-D’s program. Another strong characteristic of the Y-D clinic that attracted Gillian and her sons is the number of participants. “There are so many more kids here, it’s great for the boys”, said Gillian.
Rich Wadman, of Dennis, also had nothing but positive things to say about the clinic. Every year his two grandchildren, Joel (8) and Eli (6), come to visit him and the Y-D clinic has become a summer tradition for them. Rich explains that the experiences his grandchildren have had at the clinics have been nothing short of “phenomenal”. Every one of the players have been great with the kids and this has been “very consistent” throughout the years.
I was present at one of the summer clinics and it was plain to see the bonds these kids have formed with both the players and the coaches. The kids were elated to be interacting with the players and at the end of the clinic the players would be swarmed by kids wanting their autographs. As I watched these kids gleam with excitement, Coach Pickler walked past me with an enormous grin on his face, showing his passion for the clinic and coaching these kids. As he walked past, several kids ran up to him giving him a hug and thanking him for his efforts. Watching from the outside, I saw that a true admiration and respect for the players and the coaches had been instilled in these kids.
I spoke with Assistant Coach Rob Klein, who is in his first year with the Y-D Red Sox, asking him about his experience. Coach Klein responded, “It’s fun. It’s absolutely fun. I’ve been coaching for a long time and it’s like being a kid again out here.”
As a native Cape Codder, I participated in these camps as a youth. These were great experiences that I can still recall over a decade later. Clinics are offered on a weekly basis by all ten CCBL teams. Registration for these clinics can be completed on each team’s individual website. This is a great opportunity for kids to learn baseball in a fun, family friendly atmosphere. I strongly suggest you take advantage and create lasting memories for yourself and children.