Wareham Gatemen return to Spillane Field

Jun 21, 2021
On Monday night, the Wareham Gatemen played their first game since 2019.
Although the Falmouth Commodores won 8-4, the return to the diamond at Spillane Field was itself a kind of victory, marking a cautious return to more-normal life for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

Tom Gay, the president of the Wareham Gatemen, said it felt great to be back at Spillane Field for the team’s home opening game. 

“They’ve been playing all spring,” Gay said, noting college baseball seasons wrapped up only recently. “They know what they’re doing.”

The challenge now, Gay explained, is to learn how to best play together as a team. And the roster will change significantly in July, as some Gatemen are still playing for their college teams in the World Series.

“It’s a good bunch of guys,” Gay said. “They get along really well.”

This year, instead of living with host families, the team is staying in dorms at UMass Dartmouth, which Gay said is working well.

“It should be a great season,” said Glen Hannington, the senior vice-president of the Gatemen.

New this year at Spillane Field is a digital scoreboard donated by the John Wylde Foundation. The scoreboard has the capability to display graphics and video — demonstrated through a video tribute to Wylde’s 25 years as the Gatemen’s president and general manager.

The team will be hosting a movie night at 7 p.m. on July 22. The team will play the movie “The Sandlot” on the scoreboard. Attendees will be able to watch from the stands or from chairs and blankets on the field. 

Chuck Sturtevant, the president of the Cape Cod Baseball League, said he was “elated” about the season’s start. 

“It’s been a year and a half,” Sturtevant said. “685 days without baseball.”

And those days were busy.

Sturtevant said he and team presidents have been meeting throughout the pandemic — and weekly with the Director of the Board of Health in each of the league’s 10 towns — to figure out a way to safely play this summer.

The league adopted a detailed document full of covid-19 plans and procedures that were submitted to every town and board of health in the region. 

The Cape Cod Baseball League’s teams consist of high-level collegiate players from around the country, allowing Major League scouts to check out prospects. Over the years, many Gatemen have gone on to play in Major League Baseball. Former Gatemen include Matt Barnes, a current relief pitcher for the Red Sox; George Springer, who was the World Series MVP for the Houston Astros in 2017; and Casey Mize, a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers.

The teams have taken a number of safety precautions. All Gatemen players, interns, and staff are vaccinated for covid-19, unless they have a religious exemption. All will be covid tested weekly as a further precaution.

Although there is a 1,200 fan capacity at Spillane Field for pandemic safety, fans can expect this summer’s games to feel familiar. Concessions and merchandise are available, and, as always, admission is free.

Sturtevant summed up the mood: “I think people are just excited to be out again and watch some good baseball.”

Before the game started, officials took time to honor the memory of Paul A. Gallop, the former Cape Cod Baseball League Commissioner.

Gallop passed away on May 28, 2021, after a short battle with cancer. 

Gallop began his Cape Cod Baseball League career with the Chatham A’s in 1980. He served in a variety of executive roles for the team, and was Chatham’s public address announcer for 10 years.

In the fall of 2003, he was elected Commissioner of the League — a position he held for 15 years. Gallop was the longest-serving commissioner in the league’s history, and was inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame in 2019.

Congressman Bill Keating spoke to Gallop’s memory, and gave his family a citation which will be included in the official congressional record.

“His legacy will be remembered throughout the league he helped build, and the lives he helped shape throughout his many years of community leadership,” Keating said. “He made a lasting impact not only on his family and his baseball family, but on the game of baseball itself.”

The Gatemen’s next home game will be at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23, against the YD Red Sox.