By Maggie Kulbokas
Spring is months away and the football season is over with the Patriots taking the Superbowl. Next up, baseball.
But until we can smell the freshly cut grass or hear the "thwack" of a clean line drive, we'll need something to remind us of our beloved all-American pastime. The two disc DVD "Touching the Game" is just that thing.
"Touching the Game" is the story of the Cape Cod Baseball League set to the music of local Cape Cod bands. It skillfully captures the allure of amateur baseball and the tradition of the league. "Touching the Game" documents the 2003 season through interviews with coaches, fans and current players among others. Most interesting were the interviews with Major League Baseball players who played in the league at one time-"Where the stars of tomorrow shine today." - from the CCBL website-players like Nomar Garciaparra, Mo Vaughn, Mark Bellhorn and Jason Varitek. In fact, according to the CCBL website, from 2001 to 2004, one in seven MLB players played in the Cape Cod Baseball League. As eloquently stated on their site "where the stars of tomorrow shine today."
This foremost amateur, collegiate league has been a true Cape Cod tradition since 1885. Each summer the country's best of the best are invited to play ball on Cape Cod. The CCBL is made up of two divisions of five teams each. The teams play on fields from Wareham to Orleans. The players come from towns all across America and are hosted by volunteer families. Many of the players hold day jobs ranging from landscaping and sandwich making to clerking at the local CVS.
The DVD is a wonderfully entertaining documentary about not only the league and players, but about the folks who support them. From mid June to mid August, the games attract throngs of fans young and old, tourists and locals. "Touching the Game" captures the love of the game in an almost poetic way. Game footage is interwoven with Cape Cod summer scenes, small town Americana and an intimate look at the lives of some of the players and their host families. It follows a few players through their Cape and league experiences--the sometimes difficult switch from aluminum to wooden bats, the sun and fun, the day jobs, their adopted Cape families and their hopes, dreams and thoughts about the game of baseball and making it to the majors. As the season progesses, the players become part of the fabric of Cape Cod. They are future MLB idols and heroes to the young fans who attend the games and youth clinics sponsored by the league and taught by the players themselves.
"Touching the Game" has a little something that will appeal to anyone be they a fan of baseball or a Cape Cod resident or visitor. After watching the DVD it is easy to understand why fans in Orleans mark their seats with towels, blankets and beach chairs hours before the first pitch is thrown on game days.
The DVD comes with a second disc of bonus features including a closer look at CCBL youth clinics, extended interviews with MLB players about their Cape Cod summer jobs, a tour of the Barnstable Bat Company in Centerville, a stunning video montage of Cape Cod and more. "Touching the Game" is a production of Fields of Vision and Eye Candy Cinema. It was produced, written and edited by Jim Carroll. The director of photography was Eric Scharmer and the documentary was narrated by Steve Buckley. The full length (1 hour, 39 minutes) DVD is available at local shops, on their website at www.touchingthegame.com or at other online retailers.