Clem Spillane Field – Wareham Gatemen

by | Aug 9, 2018 | Baseball, Collegiate Summer Baseball, Paul Baker |

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Gatemen of the Cape

The Wareham Gatemen play in the Cape Cod Baseball League, the premier summer collegiate baseball league in the country. Originally known as the Wareham Town Team, the Gatemen joined the circuit in 1963.

The Gatemen play at Clem Spillane Field, located on the campus of Wareham High School. Spillane was a teacher and coach at Wareham High. As coach of the school’s baseball, basketball and football teams, he never had a losing record. In fact, during the 1955-56 school year all three squads went undefeated during their regular seasons. Spillane is inducted in the Massachusetts Coaches Hall of Fame in all three sports.

The Gatemen have won seven championships during their time in the league. Notable alumni include Chuck Knoblauch, Kyle Schwarber, Ben Sheets, Nick Swisher, Mo Vaughn and Barry Zito.

Food & Beverage 3

The team runs a concession stand out of the press box building behind home plate.

All the ballpark staples can be found here, including burgers, hot dogs, sausage sandwiches and nachos. Chicken fingers, french fries and assorted snacks also dot the menu. Combo meals are available for fans looking to save some money. Since this is the Cape Cod League, of course clam chowder is sold here.

Fried dough and assorted ice cream treats are sold to those fans looking to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Coca-Cola products are sold here. Alcohol is not available at Spillane Field.

Atmosphere 3

The atmosphere at Spillane Field is typical of most Cape League ballparks. Going to a Cape League game is a bit like stepping back in time. Absent is much of the noise and distraction present at so many ballparks today. The game on the field is the focus here. Music is only played between innings, and PA announcements during the game are limited to lineup details only.

Wareham fans are knowledgeable about the game, and respectful to all the athletes on the field. It’s a laid-back place to take in a game, and a baseball purist’s dream.

Neighborhood 2

There is nothing in the immediate vicinity of Spillane Field to attract the visiting fan. Downtown Wareham is located a short drive from the ballpark along Route 6, and features several excellent restaurants and attractions for visiting fans. Families coming to the area may want to check out Water Wizz, best known as the site of the water park scene in the Adam Sandler movie “Grown Ups.”

Fans looking for an authentic Cape Cod experience while not actually on Cape Cod can head over to Onset Beach or Buzzards Bay. Visitors wanting to mix in some history with their baseball can check out the old Whaling town of New Bedford, located twenty minutes to the east, or Plymouth, located a half hour to the north.

Fans 2

Wareham generally ranks down near the bottom of the Cape League attendance listings, averaging between 900-1,000 fans per game. This may be due to the team’s location off-Cape, which makes it more difficult to get to for the many tourists who descend on Cape Cod every summer.

As is the case at every Cape League ballpark, the fans in attendance are a mix of locals, tourists and those with a connection to the team, either as host families or volunteers. Crowds here are laid back, but extremely knowledgeable about the game and players on the field. Respect is given to players on both teams, with good plays applauded no matter who makes them.

Access 3

Spillane Field is located on Route 6, a couple of miles from both Interstate 195 and Route 25. As the only Cape League franchise located off-Cape, it’s easy to get to from the mainland, and visitors coming during the heavier tourist times won’t have to deal with the legendary traffic in the area.

Visiting fans will park in the school’s parking lot, which is located beyond left field next to the Town Hall. A walkway down the third base side of the field leads to the bleachers, team store and concession stand. The area is paved and easily traversed.

Unlike the majority of the ballparks in the Cape League, Wareham’s seating is made up almost entirely of bleachers. There is some room behind home plate and underneath the raised bleachers where fans can set up their own chairs. The bleachers on both the first and third base sides of the field are wooden, and unfortunately in need of some TLC. The old boards have a lot of give to them in spots, and don’t feel like the safest place to sit. The football bleachers beyond the left field fence are made of aluminum and located some distance from home plate, but are still preferred by many fans. Nets and fences obscure views from all seats in the infield.

The opening of a pair of restrooms inside Wareham High School is a welcome alternative to the old port-a-johns that formerly made up the ballpark’s facilities. The old latrines are still there, right next to the third base stands, and really should be moved to a spot where they will be less offensive to fans in the stands.

Return on Investment 5

As is the case with all teams in the Cape League, Gatemen games are “free to the public.” The team will accept donations from fans in exchange for a program and roster sheet.

Parking is free in the lot adjacent to the ballpark. Concessions are reasonably priced, making a night at a Gatemen game an affordable entertainment alternative for southeastern Massachusetts sports fans.

Extras 3

A good variety of Gatemen and Cape League merchandise is available at the gift shop behind home plate.

The team runs a 50/50 raffle during each game, proceeds of which help fund the team’s operation. In addition to half of the cash collected, fans can win a variety of prizes, ranging from cruises to Martha’s Vineyard to Pawsox tickets and gift cards to local establishments.

The team gives all fans who donate a few dollars a nice program, Cape League Magazine, and team rosters.

Final Thoughts

Spillane Field is rarely mentioned among the elite of Cape Cod’s ballparks. Perhaps it is due to the ballpark’s location on the mainland, or perhaps it’s due to the field’s old, rickety, splinter-filled bleachers. But Spillane Field has its own charm, and you won’t find better summer college ball being played anywhere.

In the 2017 major league season 307 Cape Cod League alumni suited up in the major leagues. That’s almost one out of every six players to play in the majors. Needless to say, some of the best amateur ball being played anywhere can be found in the small parks on Cape Cod. With all ten ballparks located within an hour’s drive of each other, it’s a baseball fan’s dream come true.

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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Food and Drink Recommendations

Lindsey’s Family Restaurant

3138 Cranberry Hwy

East Wareham, MA 02538

(508) 759-5544

www.lindseysrestaurant.com


Minerva’s Pizzeria and Slice House

257 Main St

Wareham, MA 02571

(508) 295-3909

http://www.minervapizzeria.com


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Entertainment Recommendations

Water Wizz

3031 Cranberry Hwy

East Wareham, MA 02538

(508) 295-3255

www.waterwizz.com


New Bedford Whaling Museum

18 Johnny Cake Hill

New Bedford, MA 02740

(508) 997-0046

www.whalingmuseum.org


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Lodging Recommendations

Atlantic Motel

7 Depot St

East Wareham, MA 02538

(508) 295-0210

www.theatlanticmotel.com


Quality Inn

100 Trowbridge Rd

Bourne, MA 02532

(508) 759-0800

http://www.qualityinn.com/hotel-bourne-massachusetts-MA192


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Stadium Info

Clem Spillane Field

54 Marion Rd

Wareham, MA 02571

Wareham Gatemen website

Clem Spillane Field website

Year Opened: 1963

Capacity: 4,000

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