12/11/2008 2:53 PM
2009 Cape League Schedule Features Action Every Night,
Two Added Teams in Playoffs
A new opening night celebration, an expanded playoff format and at least one game every night of the season highlight the 2009 Cape Cod Baseball League schedule, released today by Commissioner Paul Galop.
For the second straight summer, the league will open with a single game, permitting players and fans from across the Cape to be on hand at one site on opening night.
Last year, the season opener was played at Wareham, where the community and the league turned out to honor Gatemen icon John Wylde, who was celebrating 25 years of involvement with his beloved ball club. The success of “JohnWylde Night” convinced league officials that the single-game format should continue. So, on Thursday, June 11, 2009, the new Cape League season will get under way at Whitehouse Field in Harwich where the Mariners will host the Cotuit Kettleers on a night dubbed “Play Ball 2009.”
Team and league officials are planning a gala celebration with lots of fun, entertainment and surprises, in addition to an on-field rematch of the 2008 championship series in which Harwich defeated Cotuit to capture the Arnold Mycock Trophy for the first time in 21 years.
From then on, there will be baseball virtually every night of the summer, starting with a four-game slate on Friday, June 12, and finishing on Wednesday, Aug. 5, when all 10 teams will be in action to complete the 44-game regular season.
Commissioner Galop is particularly pleased with the “only-game-in-town” concept, which gives nine of the 10 teams a date on which theirs is the lone contest scheduled. Galop’s enthusiasm for this wrinkle is matched by that of many Major League scouts who cover the Cape League. “The plan has been happily endorsed by MLB scouts as they will have more opportunities to scout the best collegiate players in the country,” said Galop.
The commissioner explained that early drafts of the schedule included an “open” date each week to accomodate rainouts. The schedule makers then “slid” one game from the next night back to fill the open date, resulting in nine of the league’s 10 teams getting a home game on a night when no other clubs are scheduled. Cotuit is the lone exception.
Galop pointed out that these “slide” games give Cape League fans an opportunity to see a game virtually every day throughout the eight-week season. The only true “open” dates are Wednesday, July 22, the day before the All-Star Game, and Thursday, July 30, when the all-stars will be honored by the Boston Red Sox in pre-game ceremonies at Fenway Park.
Playing the All-Star Game on a Thursday night is another departure from recent years, when it had been scheduled as a Saturday event. “This opens up a Saturday for games at five of our parks,” Galop explained, “and weekend home games are a very valuable commodity.”
Although the date is firm, the All-Star Game’s location has not yet been set, Galop said. “We hope to have an announcement shortly after the first of the year,” he added
In contrast to 2008, when a number of “off-Cape” games were played, there is only one such contest on the 2009 schedule. The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School field in Oak Bluffs will once again be the site of a Falmouth “home” game against Wareham. Several thousand fans turned out last year to see the island’s first official Cape League game and officials of both teams were pleased to be invited back for an encore in 2009. It will be played on Thursday, July 9, starting at 1 p.m.
This happens to be Falmouth”s “slide” date, which means no other Cape League teams will be playing that day – a perfect opportunity for players on the league’s remaining eight teams to work a boat trip to the Vineyard into their summer plans!
Under the new playoff plan, each division winner and runner-up will qualify for the playoffs, as will the two teams – regardless of division – with the next best records. The first-place teams draw a first-round bye while the remaining four clubs, seeded according to their records, meet in two single games with the winners advancing to the best-of-three semifinals. The survivors will then play another best-of-three set for the championship.
“The new playoff format adds two additional teams, while rewarding the two division winners with a first-round bye,” Galop said. “We believe it will make the playoffs more exciting, and with the large crowds that are here in August, we are delighted to give them even more baseball.”