Have written before of my affection for the game of baseball…sure I have my favorite teams, favorite players, but what I really love about baseball is that it’s a universal connector. If you are a fan, you’re part of a big club, and  will find new friends wherever you go.

Being a baseball fan includes not just the game, but the whole experience-where you are and who you’re with. If you’re like me, and fall for the whole Norman-Rockwellian, American as apple pie thing, then grab your calendars and read on!

You may already know about the Cape Cod Summer League, but here are the basics:

It’s an invitation-only college baseball league. There are 10 teams in 2 divisions, with players from all around the country. Opening Day is usually the second Thursday in June,  All-Star Day is late July in Fenway Park. Regular season goes til early August, then playoffs culminate in a best of 3 championship series.

You may know they only use wood bats, or that it’s  one of the top spots for scouts to peruse prospects, and many MLB players are Cape Cod League alumni.

But if you’ve never BEEN to a game, here are some of the things you wouldn’t know:

Suggested donation of $2.00 is usually what will get you in, and your seats will be wherever you want to spread out your blanket.

Picnicking is encouraged, but each team has a crew of support volunteers who run a snack bar…and any leftover hot dogs usually go for a dollar each after the 6th inning.

OK to bring your (leashed and behaved) dog, and there is usually a playground, off to the side for young kids.

To financially support the league, players and volunteers walk through the crowd, selling 50-50 tickets, 10 for $5.00…besides the chance to win half the take, and some really good prizes abound, courtesy of local merchants.

There are gaggles of kids everywhere, many looking like star-struck bobble-head dolls-wearing  team shirts and caps, sporting  baseball gloves bigger than their heads. Here they are part of Opening Day ceremonies.

During the game, they roam the perimeter, racing to any foul balls, hoping to snag a souvenir…unless it’s a home game of  “our” team, the Brewster Whitecaps…to keep costs in line, they gift the returnee of a foul ball with a certificate for a free ice cream cone at a shop in town.

You don’t just watch a game, you are part of a kinder, gentler time, in very special community for those few hours.

As you might imagine, July and August are huge tourist times, but June is awesome…if you can swing a few days in the near future, do it. Otherwise, copy this link to your January 2012 calendar, it’ll be here before you know it!!