The Heyer Score: My Summer with the College Elites

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Cape Cod, MA, in the summer, is a place where the true meaning of baseball is preserved. With no charge to enter the game, the smell of freshly cut grass, and the athletes there playing for nothing but pride—this kind of baseball seems to take you back in time to when baseball was just a game instead of a business. Fans of all ages can see top college athletes and the future of Major League Baseball play in small high school fields across the Cape. From the stands of Veteran’s Field in Chatham, fans can see the future Derek Jeter run the bases or maybe the future Josh Beckett throw a no-hitter.
    
Since I was a little girl I have been traveling to Cape Cod and would watch these games from the outside, but this past summer I had an inside look at the league and meet the college athletes that are there in search of greatness. Going into this summer internship I believed these athletes to have baseball on their minds all the time. They must be thinking about all the Major League scouts in the stands looking for rookie prospects,  but for some of these athletes, it seemed to be the last thing on their minds. Some players only cared about who was buying the beer after the game or where the girls were going that night. Drinking all night and sleeping until noon does not prepare you for the big game the next day, making it obvious in the Chatham A’s dismal home field record of 7 – 15 and overall record of 19 – 26. Not seeing disappointment in their faces after the games, and instead hearing about the plans for the next party was disconcerting. One night in the neighboring town of Brewster, the partying went a little too far when two of their players were involved in a DUI incident, putting one in the hospital and ending the other’s baseball and college career for good. This incident could have put things in prospective for the A’s, but nothing seemed to change as they continued to lose and party. Thinking with “that could never happen to me” mentalities were not helping themselves or the team.
    
As the playoffs approached, some of the A’s players kept their fingers crossed that they wouldn’t make the playoffs so they could go home. Would that not be the highlight of their summers? Playing in the most prestigious summer baseball league, in the most important games, all scouts’ eyes on them and thousands watching from the stands? The A’s got their wish and they did not have enough wins to make the playoffs. But one player from the A’s stood out to everyone as one of those future baseball stars. Grant Green, a shortstop from the University of Southern California who played with heart and determination. Green’s batting average was in the top 3 of the league and he led the league in hits. Green was named the MVP of the Cape Cod All-Star Game after putting his team back to contention with a game-tying homerun. He also was given the Robert A. McNeece Award for the top pro prospect of 2008. Green is thought to be the number one draft pick of 2009, and I would not be surprised to see him playing in “the show” in the near future. 
    
Some opportunities come once in a lifetime. Playing professional baseball is the hardest out of any professional sport to get into and make a decent salary. Only the elite few who choose to realize their potential and jump at the opportunity at hand get chosen. These players in the Cape Cod Baseball League are given a rare chance to play with wooden bats in front of scouts that have the ability to make their entire lives change. These players were handed talent and all the tools to make something of it. When life gives you a winning hand, don’t burn it all away or be too afraid to cash it in.

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