As I write this column, snow is falling gently outside my window. The gentle beauty of this silent sign of the ongoing drudgery of this winter ends when the flakes land on the four feet already packed on our corner of the Earth, each flake a further sign of Mother Nature’s omnipotence and indifference to our weary state of mind and being.
However, a faint beacon of hope began to shine last week, a bleak but nonetheless abiding sign of brighter, warmer, and certainly better days to come. The departure of the Red Sox equipment truck from a snowy Fenway to the balmy environs of Fort Myers signals the coming printemps for all of Red Sox Nation. It also signals the advent of a new baseball season for Falmouth’s hometown team, the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League.
I’m wearing my Boston Red Sox cufflinks—made from a ball that Dice-K tossed on April 5 of the 2007 World Series season to the Kansas City Royals—as a sign of both defiance and hope. Defiance toward the aforementioned Mother, who has us all beaten but not broken, and hope for another season of family-friendly memories at the Guv Fuller Field for Falmouth’s team.
As an important piece of fabric woven into the identity of our community, the Falmouth Commodores, led by a volunteer board of directors, provide affordable family entertainment and the highest quality baseball each summer to crowds sprinkled with fans from around the globe, right on our own Main Street. Each season, for 22 home games, our local nine suits up and takes the field at the Arnie Allen Diamond, offering a chance to see tomorrow’s major league stars up close. MLB standouts like Jacoby Ellsbury, Luke Scott, and David Aardsma all played in Falmouth for Falmouth’s hometown team.
The board members are also an important part of the fabric of our community. They have firm roots here and are engaged in their hometown. People like president Steve Kostas, who donates hundreds of hours each season, works closely with general manager and native Falmouthite Eric Zmuda to put a winning team on the field. They subscribe to the “whatever it takes” school of management; their volunteer hours are about far more than recruiting and retaining players and buying bats and balls. From cleaning out the locker room after each season to painting the dugouts, to picking up trash left on the field after a game, these committed board members, and devoted Falmouth residents, work alongside a volunteer crew of more than a dozen board members to bring a high quality product to the Falmouth community.
That commitment is increasing and broadening this summer. The Commodores, committed also to engaging the team’s young fans, is launching the first ever Commodores’ “Kids Club,” an outreach effort designed to “stimulate children’s interest in baseball at a young age and to build their relationship with the team and its players with the intent of establishing a long-term connection,” according to a Commodores’ press release. What a great opportunity to provide a positive, engaging, and healthy outlet for kids from ages 5 to 12, while playing next to tomorrow’s major league stars. The club, for a nominal donation of $10 for the entire summer, includes kid-friendly perks like a membership card and lanyard to wear to games, a hot dog reception with “Homer,” the team mascot, a chance to sing “Take me Out to the Ballgame” during home games, and their name displayed on the 2015 Kids Club board. The team is making an effort to expand its family fan base and fill the stands for each game. More information is available on the team’s website at www.falmouthcommodores.com.
Of course, running a successful franchise isn’t free. It costs more than $200,000 each year to put together a competitive team. Admission to games is free of charge—the ultimate family friendly gesture from a grateful group of board members—but donations are gladly accepted, as the team is self-supporting through fundraising and corporate sponsorships. As a result, the Commodores are launching their first-ever direct mail fundraising campaign to assist in needed capital improvements to the field and its environs.
For more than 90 years, Falmouth’s team has been providing cool fun on warm summer nights. The Commodores love their hometown. Here’s hoping Falmouth loves them back