06/09/2022 8:20 AM
Article By: Daniel Fox
The 2022 Cape Cod Baseball League kicks off on June 12 with all ten teams taking the field on Opening Day.
The anticipation for this upcoming season is even greater with the memory of the canceled 2020 season still fresh in everybody’s mind.
“2020 was tough,” said Chuck Sturtevant, president of the Falmouth Commodores and the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL). “Massachusetts at the time was more stringent than some of the states so we really had to be careful. So, we chose to cancel the season and go from there. “
The league was able to return last year but it’s clear that things weren’t quite back to normal.
“To play last year, (the league) spent over $400,000 dollars on COVID testing of all the teams every week” Sturtevant said. “But, we got to play, and we only had, I believe the count was one infected player. So, it showed that we did the right thing”
Sturtevant credits the league's ability to navigate that difficult season to the foreword-thinking of the league’s finance committee.
“Over the last fifteen years, we have built up a nice treasury, and we always said that money was for a rainy day,” he said. “Well, last season was that rainy day.”
While the league will continue to test players who report symptoms, the league will essentially be back to normal in 2022. The biggest change in this upcoming season is the elimination of extra-inning games, a move that is geared towards player safety.
“We have players that have come across a long spring season, and we want to make sure they are able to stay on the field and showcase their skills,” said CCBL
With the worst impact of COVID hopefully in the rearview mirror and new rule changes set to be implemented, the league can get back to its main purpose: preparing players for the next level.
“It’s something I’m very excited for,” said Zmuda. “Hopefully we can get back to what people are used to.”
This year will be particularly special for Sturtevant, as it will be his final season before retirement. He first joined the league in 1987, when a donation of $100 dollars worth of baseballs led to a position as the Falmouth Commodores general manager. In the 35 years since then, Sturtevant has had a number of positions in the CCBL, including on the league’s finance committee, Hall of Fame committee, and executive board, before becoming league president in 2017.
“I’m very fortunate with all the franchises, and all the volunteers that put in so many hours in the offseason to put this on,” he said. “I’m just so grateful. “
Despite stepping down from his president post, Sturtevant stills wants to remain close to the league he spent over three decades with.
“In 36 years you get to meet a lot of people and wonderful people,” he said. “But it’s time for me to sit back. I want to go to a game, and just enjoy it.”
To Zmuda, meanwhile, there is no collegiate baseball league that matches the Cape Cod experience.
“It’s really special to see the players enjoy the Cape,” he said. “It’s just a wonderful place to be.”