The beaches are bustling with locals and visitors alike, and the ice cream shops can hardly scoop fast enough to cool off the queue of sun-kissed patrons in between rounds of mini-golf. But it’s not summer on the Cape, according to die-hard sports fans across the nation, without the excitement of the famously riveting Cape Cod Baseball League games played by the most up-and-coming college players with big dreams of making it to the Major Leagues.
Red Wilson Field, named in 1981 for legendary Yarmouth coach, manager, and player Merrill “Red” Wilson, located at D-Y High School, has been home to the Red Sox since 1973. However, it would be another 4 years until the team would be expanded to include the town of Dennis. Over 40 years later, the 2022 Yarmouth-Dennis Red-Sox are off to a great start, currently holding first place in the East Division. The team recently had seven players selected onto the Easts All Star Roster, including two starting fielders, two reserve fielders, and three pitchers.
The 24th year of coaching for Scott “Pick” Pickler has seen him break the record for all-time managerial wins in the Cape Cod Baseball League. On June 25th after a 5 to 3 win against the Cotuit Kettleers, Pick earned his 540th win, all with the Y-D Red Sox, earning cheers and accolades from the team and fans. “He is a great coach, a great ambassador for the community, and a great leader of these young men. We couldn’t be prouder of all his accomplishments,” boasts Shane Skinner, Interim President of the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, who was there for the record-breaking game, and had the honor of presenting Pick with a plaque to commemorate the win. Pick and his team, in doing their part to give back to the community, have been involved by volunteering their time with many local organizations, including Cape Cod Five, Ryan’s Family Amusements, the Red Jacket, and the Dennis Senior Center.
Being involved with the Cape Cod Baseball League has been a blessing for Shane. “I’ve always had a passion for sports,” he explains, “and being able to combine that passion with my experience of running businesses is like a dream come true.” Shane can be found at each and every home game making sure things run smoothly and overseeing all business operations. With the help of ten dedicated baseball fans on the Board of Directors, over 30 Volunteer Interns, and over a dozen Community Volunteers, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red-Sox enthusiastically hosts a fun Game Day experience for families and fans of all ages. At a recent game, a small group of young kids stood up in the balcony next to the press box and sang “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” a new addition to the festivities this year. “I’d say most nights it’s about 60% giggles and 40% singing which is just great,” Shane laughs. “The kids love it.” Singers have come from all over the state, and some from right here on Cape to sing the National Anthem before games, and set the scene for a family-fun night of good ol’ American baseball.
Upwards of two thousand fans per game don Red-Sox gear, lining the bleachers and dotting the outskirts of the field with beach chairs, for their chance to see superstars in the making. The merchandise booth offers trinkets, hats, and attire for all ages to support their favorite team. Families who come early can observe batting practice and then partake in some of the in-game events. This week on Tuesday 7/19 is Pokémon at the Park Night, hosted by the Cape Cod Toy Chest, and patrons can enter with Pixy 103 to win a baseball autographed by the team. On Thursday 7/21, the players will be available after the game to greet fans and sign baseballs, souvenir bats, and other items. Concessions offer a satisfying assortment of ball-game favorites like sausage subs, hot dogs, burgers, pretzels, and cold drinks. They sell out of hot delicious Paradise Pizza by the 5th inning, so be sure to order early! The 50/50 shed will have raffle tickets on sale, in addition to candy and drinks. The raffle is held at the bottom of the 7th inning. The Y-D Red Sox, and the entire Cape Cod Baseball League, strive to maintain a family-friendly atmosphere. Admission and parking are free, but tax-deductible donations are always welcome. As a not-for-profit establishment, donations keep the team equipped and outfitted, and able to put on a great season year after year.
Baseball Clinics For Kids
Youth Baseball Clinics for ages 5-16 run Monday-Friday from 9-11:30 am and are run by Coach Pickler, the Assistant Coaches, and some of the players. “It’s just a great opportunity. These kids get to go out there and play some baseball and learn some skills from these top players and have a great time each week. The weekly clinics end with a kids vs. family baseball game. I just played against my two sons, and we couldn’t have had a better time.” The last week for the 2022 clinics begins Monday 7/25. Registration can be completed online or at the field.
There’s a saying amongst the team:
When on Cape Cod you must:
- Go the beach
- Eat a lobstah
- Go to a Y-D baseball game
We hope to see you there!
This blog is funded through the Town of Yarmouth’s Tourism Revenue Preservation Fund.
Photo credit: Y-D Red Sox Intern Sadie Parker
(Britt Skinner is a freelance writer.)