Archive | August 2017

Whitehouse Field Review

Time to wrap up the fields in the Eastern Division of the Cape Cod Baseball League. So far, my look at the parks has been well worth it. I’ve seen plenty of excellent baseball with enough fun stories to go around. Now we’re finishing up with a trip to Harwich. Does it stack up to the rest of the Eastern Fields? Let’s find out. This is Whitehouse Field, home of the Harwich Mariners. 

A brief word on my history with the park. I’ve been there a few times in my youth. My best memory was standing on the field for the National Anthem with one of the players. I think it was 2003 or 2004. I don’t remember exactly the year, I just know the guy I stood with was a shortstop and wore 15. It was also just plain cool that I was on the field for the Anthem. Anyway, enough nostalgia. Let’s begin. 

Location: 9/10

Whitehouse Field is located at Monomoy Regional High School on Oak Street in Harwich. The school is brand new, opening its doors in 2014. As such, the school is gigantic, modern, and shiny.  It serves as a good marker for where the park is. It also gives plenty of parking. The school lot, the field’s own lot, and the spaces at the Harwich Community Center right across the street ensure that there’s plenty of space for anyone trying to see the game. 

There’s only one slight downside, it’s not that close to Harwich’s town center. Harwich is a lovely town with plenty of businesses, shops, and ice cream places to go explore. It’s not too far, especially if you come from the south side of Oak Street. However, it still feels like you need a car to get to the park. And that’s a little problem. Nothing major, but still an issue. 

Seating: 7/10

And here is one place where the park struggles. Harwich has a great variety of seats. There’s bleachers behind home plate, grassy hills further down the baselines, and open spaces beyond the outfield fences. So what are the problems? 

First and foremost, the bleacher sections are kinda small. There’s one center aisle on the larger sections. That makes the sections clumsy to navigate. And they are also smaller than most bleachers in the league. The smaller sections are even more condensed than that. That’s all just a small concern compared to the bigger issue in the bleachers, the material of the seats. They are old wood bleachers that welcome you back to old high school football games with loving splinters. Or they would if they weren’t covered with green plastic covers that are markedly uncomfortable in their own right. They curve poorly and don’t give a good surface to sit on. This issue can be averted by bringing your own seat that hooks onto the bleacher. But if you have to bring your own seat to mitigate a basline problem inherent in the seat, something is terribly wrong. 

At least the sight lines are pretty good, barring a net or fence interference, but every other park has that issue somewhere. The only other issue is the outfield is very deep, making the view not very good. The best view is from the grassy hills beyond each dugout. Bring a lawn chair for that section. 

Ultimately, the seating is ok, but some major problems knock it down in a big way. 

Food: 9/10

No major complaints here. The Mariners don’t do anything special regarding their food, but there’s also nothing wrong here either. The food is right behind home plate, it’s close to everything, it’s priced well, the menu selections are standard and well executed, and it’s served with a smile and as briskly as the good people can get it to you. One problem. The grill is in a separate location from the rest of the foods, so getting a burger or a dog takes a bit longer and requires waiting in a longer line to pay and then wait for your food. I’m not a fan of that set up. Everything else is pretty good here. 

Aesthetics: 7.5/10

This field isn’t ugly at all, it looks…. more rustic than other Cape fields. And not exactly in a good way. 

Positives first. I love walking through the trees to get to the field. It makes me feel like I’m at a New England version of the Field of Dreams. The lights reflecting off the trees when the sun goes down is also an awesome look. The bunting hung around home plate is a nice touch. And the home plate area shaped like home plate and not just a circle is also a nice touch. Everything else holds up pretty well and is as you would hope for. Except for a few things. 

First, the scoreboard is AWFUL!! It’s old, numbers pop on and off, some numbers don’t even show up at all, and the entire top row that is supposed to show the player’s names is blank and doesn’t work. The bleachers, as mentioned above, also look old and skeleton like. The wood also looks like it could use replacing, or at least some polish. 

Ultimately, it’s not a bad field at all. There’s plenty to enjoy. There’s also much to be fixed and updated. That would improve it greatly. As it is, the park just feels old. 

General Atmosphere: 8/10

Despite being an old ballpark, this is a fun place to go to. The staff does fun things for the family like T-shirt tosses, YMCA sing alongs, and dance songs. The crowd is pretty fun and the whole family can enjoy it. As stated above, I also love being in the woods for a game. It’s such a cool atmosphere to be in. Those issues of the aged ballpark knock a few points off for me. That’s my only real issue, but it is a substantial issue. 

Total Score: 39.5/50

After reexamining this park, this is a flawed baseball experience. The field is well located and the town has good ice cream places for postgame merriment. The food there is good and the crowd is fun. But the seats and scoreboard need renovation and the park feels old and tired. I’d still recommend it. The baseline experience is pretty good, just flawed. Whitehouse Field is a worthwhile and enjoyable time, but I would recommend any other field in the east ahead of this one. 

Red Wilson Field Review

So far so good on the Cape Series. Every Park has been excellent to this point. Does that continue into the next review? Let’s take a look. This is Red Wilson Field, home of the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Just a quick note about this place, I had never been to Red Wilson before I worked for the Whitecaps in 2015, so I have no childhood bias in favor or against this park. Let’s get started.

Location: 8/10

The Yarmouth-Dennis (YD) Red Sox are a unique set up. They represent two decently sized towns on Cape. Their field is at the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, on Station Avenue in South Yarmouth. Here’s the major problem with YD, the school requires visitors to drive there specifically. It’s not close enough to walk to Patriot Square in Dennis, Dennis’s town center, Yarmouth’s main shopping area, or even South Yarmouth’s closest walking or business areas. You have to make a specific trip to the field and it’s inconvenient to try and see the rest of the town and area. It feels disconnected as a result of trying to represent too large an area. 

The school’s neighborhood is at least a lovely residential area. It is convenient for the locals or those renting a summer pad in the area. There’s also plenty of parking that allows for large crowds for their games. One pro tip though, don’t park too close to the field. The lot gets close to the field, so you put yourself in the firing line of potential foul balls. Just park a bit further away to avoid foul balls. 

Ultimately, its an ok location. It’s at the region’s high school, services the locals well, and has enough space to welcome large crowds. It just doesn’t have a good location if you want a more centralized experience. It’s not Chatham, Orleans or Hyannis. It works at what it’s trying to do at least. So I can’t knock it too much for being different from other fields I like. 

Seating: 7.5/10

YD gets many seating things right, but a few issues show up and knock points down. First point of order: variety. This park definitely has it. There’s extensive bleachers behind home plate and up and down the baselines just beyond the dugout. You can also bring a lawn chair and sit be on the outfield fence or just be on the bleachers on the baselines, or you can sit at the picnic tables next to the bleachers. I’d say there’s just this much of a ride here as there is in Brewster. So that’s good. The other good thing: the sightlines. Every section (except for one that I will harp on in a minute) has a good view of the field and there are many different angles you can see the game from well. But… There are some serious problems with this set up.

First. the bleachers are a little small this isn’t much of an issue since there are plenty of them but I can’t help a point this out after I spent so long on it in Harwich. Size isn’t the biggest issue regarding the YD set up though. The lack of netting is. The bleachers just beyond the dugout have an excellent view of the field. There’s no obstruction there’s no new nets, and there’s no protection from foul balls. Since the bleachers are close to the field of play, that’s a bit of a problem. On one of my trips to bed Wilson this season, a foul ball hit a young girl in the knee in the bleacher section I was sitting in. And I would not be surprised if that wasn’t the first time. Especially since the team plays late afternoon games, the sun is often in the faces of the fans on the 1st baseline. That can make it even harder to see screaming foul balls coming their way. Ultimately, I don’t think there’s much that can be done, but it is still a bit concerning. 

My other area of concern is how useless the picnic table so are. They are set up right behind the first base side stands. Here’s a picture of a kid sitting at a picnic table with the game going on do you think these kids can see the game and enjoy the picnic table? Yeah there’s my concerns are. The idea is having them at all is good, but the location of these tables makes them kind of useless for attempting to watch the game.

YD seating is ultimately pretty good. But the lack of netting on the bleachers and useless picnic tables take some major points off.

Food: 9/10

The food stand is on the first base side of the field. You buy everything from there, the staff is nice, and they’re very quick getting good to you. Most of the menu is standard, except for the donut hamburger. You did not misread that. Some bright spark in YD decided that a good choice for a hamburger bun would be a donut. Plain or jelly filled. God bless America for providing a glorious heart attack at a ballgame. It tastes very good at least. Only point off is for the food stand not being centrally located. It’s a longer walk from 3rd to get there. Otherwise, this place is pretty good. 

Aesthetics: 10/10

This field is absolutely gorgeous. The score board is nice and new, the trees in center is a nice touch, and there’s a lot of open space and green grass behind the fences in the stands. That allows for beautiful sun sets for in the middle of most games. Since the Red Sox start their games at 5 o’clock for much of the season, without any lights at the field, The team has to depend on some lights to get all of their games in. The fortunate thing is on a sunny day, Red Wilson field is one of the prettiest ballparks you could hope to say. No complaints about the park here.

General Atmosphere: 8.5/10

Red Wilson is a pretty ballpark. It’s a fun time going to and sitting at the park in the golden hour of the day and watching a good baseball game. The organization does a good job of picking music, entertaining the crowd, and providing a good baseball time. The only complaint is that YD’s fans can be obnoxious. I’ve seen road players be heckled badly by the fans, to the point that the host parent has to go tell the hecklers to ease up and stop being a jerk. They listened, but that is still something of a concern. They are just a vocal minority, so I can’t knock too many points off for that. 

Total Score: 43/50

Allow me to admit some bias here, the YD Red Sox are my least favorite team in the league. I can look past that and acknowledge their field’s quality. Red Wilson Field is flawed. It’s a little out of the way for visitors and some of the seating can expose you to hard foul balls. But I would be a moron if I said it was a bad baseball experience. Far from it. This is a field you should go see and enjoy. It’s a pretty ballpark with good food, great sightlines, and access to some of the best baseball you’ll ever see. Chatham, Orleans, and Brewster are better parks in my eyes, but YD is absolutely a park you should go see and enjoy.