Wesleyan head baseball coach Mike Shaheen, a Massachusetts native, took some time off last month to soak in the high-level baseball of the prestigious Cape Cod League. Shaheen wrote a diary about a typical day in the Cape for the Daily Post. On this day, Shaheen goes to see three Gwinnett grads in the wood-bat league.
July 4, Cape Cod, Mass.
7 a.m. - I wake up to the chanting of "momma" and "dada" by my 2-year-old Gracie. No need for an alarm clock when you have a 2-year-old. We are staying in a rental house in Harwich, about a mile from the beach and a mile from the great little downtown.
7:30 a.m. - I get on the internet and find out how (Wesleyan grad and Florida State player) James Ramsey did the night before in Alaska and (Wesleyan grad) Stephen Dodson did for the Asheville Tourists. Also, I read the Cape Cod Times articles on the baseball games from the night before.
8 a.m. - I go to one of the 10 Dunkin Donuts in a three-mile radius of the house. There are more than 50 of them in my hometown of Brockton. On the way there, I listen to WEEI sports radio trash John Smoltz and every other Red Sox player that performed poorly the night before. You would think that the Sox were 10 games out of first, when in fact they had the lead by 3 games. On the way back from Dunkin Donuts, I cruise with my windows down because it is 70 degrees and the smell of ocean is wicked awesome.
9 a.m. - We pack our bags and head for the beach. The sand has shells that hurt your feet when you walk on it. The 20 mph wind makes it so that you cannot put up an umbrella. The water is a balmy 64 degrees with seaweed and crabs nipping at your legs and feet. We, of course, love every minute of it. I get to read "Playing for Pizza" by John Grisham and daydream about the time that I actually did not feel bad about taking my shirt off.
2 p.m. - My wife and I, along with my mom, spend 20 minutes cleaning up at the beach (picking up every toy and emptying all sand from toys). My son Wyman befriended every person on the one-mile beach, so it will be safe to say that some toys will be left behind as a gift for playing with my kid.
5 p.m. - After taking showers, we all gather into the "man van" and head out on Route 28 towards Falmouth. At 7 p.m., the Commodores and (Wesleyan grad and Vanderbilt pitcher) Grayson Garvin will host the Cotuit Kettleers and (Wesleyan grad and Georgia Tech's) Tony Plagman and (Parkview grad and Georgia's) Zach Cone. Before we arrive at our destination, we decide to have dinner at a restaurant on the water. You cannot beat fried scallops and chips along with some Cape Cod clam chowdah. My wife and I wait a whole year to eat fried fish and it tastes wonderful. I am already starting to get back my Massachusetts accent and it is scaring me.
7 p.m. - I am sitting with my family next to the Garvins and Bruce Plagman, Tony's dad. Also next to us is Greg Vaughn, the former San Diego Padre. His son also plays for Cotuit and plays spring ball with Tony Gwynn and San Diego State. I cannot help but ask him how cool it must have been to watch Stephen Strasburg throw 101 mph this season.
7:05 p.m. - Zach Cone gets up to bat and hits a hard single.
7:10 p.m. - Tony Plagman gets up to bat and hits a hard ground ball to second base and scores the first run of the game.
8 p.m. - I buy a bag of peanuts and a large Diet Pepsi. I am addicted to peanuts and should probably get help.
8:52 p.m. - Grayson Garvin enters the game as a relief pitcher for Falmouth in the sixth inning. He strikes out two Kettleer batters and leaves one runner on first from a base hit. I am starting to realize in between innings that Tony and Grayson may square off in the seventh inning. I nervously laugh it off with Greg Garvin, Grayson's dad, and say that it will be fun.
9:15 p.m. - There is one out, a runner on first base (Zach Cone walked earlier), and Plagman on deck. I am not liking the thought of Grayson pitching to Tony in front of 20 scouts. Greg Garvin starts to pace and make me even more nervous.
9:17 p.m. - DOUBLE PLAY! Wow. I just avoided a very awkward moment as a coach. Do not get me wrong, I love the fact that they play in the Cape league and the ACC/SEC, but no coach wants to see their players beat each other up. I avoided it. Tony went 1-for-3 with an RBI and Grayson pitched two scoreless innings with four strikeouts.
9:45 p.m. - The Garvins, Plagmans and the Shaheens gather outside of Falmouth High School field for hugs and handshakes. It was just two years earlier that they were battling the Lovett Lions in the 2006 state championship series at Wesleyan's Gaebelein Field. I of course had to ask the big question of the night..., "Who would have won the battle if you two squared off?" In a very funny but predictable moment, both Tony and Grayson said, "Me!"
10 p.m. - The Garvins invite my family to their rental house on Falmouth Heights beach in order to watch one of the 10 best fireworks displays in America (rated by some important magazine I never heard of). It was fantastic. Little Gracie sat in between my legs and cheered while Wyman sat cuddled next to Nanna Shaheen asking, "Why the fireworks make so much noise?"
11:30 p.m. - While everyone falls asleep in the car on the way back to Harwich I thank God for such a great day with my family and friends. Of course, the coach in me starts thinking about baseball and what my Wolves need to do in order to get back to the top next year. Only 220 more days until baseball next year.