Can it be that long? 10 years ago this week, we started filming on Cape Cod for our documentary Touching the Game, The Story of the Cape Cod Baseball League. In 2003, we had a terrific summer and met some great people. We came into it with complete open minds. We knew the basics of the league: college players, wood bats, host families, proving ground for the Major Leagues, etc., but as far as story threads went, we just selected some games and then followed where the story took us. With a crew of just three people (Jim Carroll, Anthony Keel, and Eric Scharmer), we spent many hours getting to know the players, coaches, and volunteers that make up the storied league. We made some mistakes, like missing certain games or plays, or filming more than we would ever need on stories that never made the final film, but in the end, most people told us that we “got it right”, something that all good documentaries should strive to achieve.
One interesting note – We were always fascinated by stories of players coming out of nowhere and making their mark in the Cape League. Guys that may have been under the radar in college or were not considered sure-fire Major Leaguers by the scouts, would come to the Cape and make the baseball world take notice. We were told about Northeastern’s Carlos Pena, who played so well for the Wareham Gatemen in 1997, that he skyrocketed to being selected in the first round of the MLB draft the following year. In the summer of 2003, one of the players we hooked onto early was Maryland’s Justin Maxwell. Justin initially was not invited to play in the CCBL, but had to go through the Cape League tryout, an annual event held to fill the final few spots in the league. Luckily, he was noticed by the Bourne Braves. Today Justin Maxwell and Carlos Pena are teammates on the Houston Astros.