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Official Review by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Wareham Gatemen are seven time champions of the Cape Cod League. A member of the circuit since 1963, they are the only team not physically located on Cape Cod.
Clem Spillane Field, named after the longtime baseball and football coach at Wareham High School, is located adjacent to Wareham high school. The field is used jointly by the Gatemen and the Wareham High School baseball teams. In the fall the Wareham Vikings football team also uses the facility.
Notable alumni include Chuck Knoblauch, Lance Berkman, Nick Swisher, Mo Vaughn and Barry Zito.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is a snack bar located behind home plate on the first floor of the press box. For a small stand, there is an impressive menu offered here. All the ballpark staples are sold, including hot dogs, burgers and nachos. Fans wanting something a little different can select meatball subs, clam chowder (this is Cape Cod, after all), and stuffed quahogs (a quahog is a type of clam). Snacks including popcorn, peanuts, Slim Jims, candy and assorted ice cream novelties are available for fans with a sweet tooth.
Adjacent to the press box is are several souvenir tables offering a variety of Gatemen t-shirts, hats, sweats, and memorabilia.
Fans who have visited other Cape League venues will know what to expect here at Spillane Field. This league is known to be laid-back, without many of the bells and whistles present at most minor league ballparks today. The game is the main attraction here, and the Gatemen do little that may distract from the action on the field. Veteran Cape League fans may notice that the Gatemen do a little more promotion in between innings than other teams, but it is still far from intrusive. A Cape League game is a baseball purist's dream.
One aspect of the traditional Cape League atmosphere that is missing here is the lack of any large grassy area for the kids to run around and do things that don't involve the game at hand. There is a grassy area behind the press box, but it is out of sight of the action. Thus, the sight of a horde of kids chasing foul balls is missing at Wareham.
Spillane Field is located adjacent to the Wareham Town Hall and Wareham High School on Route 6. Route 6 is the main thoroughfare through the town of Wareham, and downtown Wareham is a short drive from Spillane Field. While there are a couple of restaurants on this stretch of Main Street, there is not a whole lot here to attract visiting fans.
Fans visiting Wareham will undoubtedly want to head east on Route 6 for a few miles to the village of Buzzards Bay, where they will find several fine restaurants and shops. Also located in this area is the Water Wizz water park, the location of the water park scene in the film Grown Ups.
Wareham typically ranks in the lower third of the Cape Cod League in attendance, averaging between 800-1,000 fans per game. Their location off the Cape makes them less susceptible to the variances in attendance that most Cape teams go through. Wareham's crowds are smaller early in the season, but they don't get the huge bump in July and August that other teams seem to enjoy. The downside of their off-Cape location is that some people are reluctant to leave the Cape due to the heavy bridge traffic that is typical in the summer months, and will not venture out to the most western of all the Cape League teams.
The fans that you see at Spillane Field are typical of other Cape League crowds. You will find many families here to enjoy an affordable night at the ballpark, as well as long-time supporters of the team and the occasional tourist.
Fans traveling to Wareham for a game from out of town will find Spillane Field easily. Simply take Interstate 195 to exit 21 (Route 28), merge onto Main Street, and follow southbound to Route 6. Once on Route 6, Spillane Field will appear shortly on the left.
Spillane Field is located next to the Wareham Town Hall and High School. Parking is available in a decent sized lot in front of the High School. The ballpark is located a short walk from this lot. Some local fans choose to park on the streets that run behind the ballpark.
Spillane Field is unique amongst Cape League venues in that it is comprised almost exclusively of bleacher seating. Absent are the large grassy areas where fans can spread out blankets or set up lawn chairs from which to catch the action. There is a small area on the third base line for fans to set up their lawn chairs, but that is all. This area also acts as the handicapped seating area. Next to this area is a raised set of bleachers. Surprisingly, some fans choose to set up their lawn chairs underneath these bleachers.
There is large set of bleachers on the first base side of the field. These bleachers are also raised over the level of the fence, and offer the best views of the game anywhere at Spillane Field. Unfortunately, these bleachers are wooden and quite rickety in spots. You can feel many of the boards buckle under your feet as you walk on them. It's not the spot for any fans who are unsteady on their feet or young children who may not be able to sit still for long periods of time.A third set of bleachers are located beyond the left field fence. They serve as the main seating area for Wareham High's football team, but also offer decent views of the action on the baseball diamond.
As is the case at all Cape League venues, admission to the Gatemen is free of charge. The team will accept a donation of $2.00, in return for which they will give you a team roster and schedule. Likewise, parking is free in the large lot adjacent to the Town Hall. Veteran fans will pack a small cooler with refreshments to enjoy during the game. It's possible to enjoy a game featuring several future major leaguers without paying even one cent. Even if you purchase items at the snack bar, it's not going to cost you a whole lot to enjoy a game at Spillane Field.
When visiting the Wareham Gatemen, do not expect a whole lot of extras. The focus here is almost exclusively on the game being played on the field. The team hands out free rosters, and there is a nightly 50/50 raffle with over a dozen prizes from local sponsors, so many fans will go home as winners.
The Cape League is considered by many to be the premier summer collegiate league in the country. Close to 300 players who appeared in Major League games in 2015 played in the Cape League during their college years. That works out to about one out of every six major leaguers today.
Many baseball fans will venture out to the Cape and catch several teams in a short period of time. With all ten teams located within an hour's drive of each other, it's a baseball fan's paradise. Wareham, by virtue of its location on the mainland, sometimes gets left out of consideration, but no visit to the Cape would be complete without a visit to one of the Cape's most successful franchises.
Follow all of Paul Baker's stadium journeys on Twitter @PuckmanRI.
Member Review by puckmanri on Jun 30, 2014
The Wareham Gatemen are seven time champions of the Cape Cod League. They are the only team not physically located on Cape Cod, and play their games at Clem Spillane Field. The field, which is used jointly by the Gatemen and Wareham High School teams, is located behind the Town Hall and adjacent to the high school. The field is named after Clem Spillane, who was a longtime baseball and football coach at Wareham High School.
Member Review by mstearns27 on Sep 30, 2014
Overall a fine experience in a very laid back environment.
Bare bones food offerings reminiscent of my towns little league snack shack. No worries feel free to bring your own. Plenty of fans there with coolers. My son got a kick out of standing in line behind one of the in uniform players.
Atmosphere was ok. Laid back crowd.
Fans were into the game more than socializing. (Probably due to lack of beer sales.)
You can't beat free, not a bad return on investment
3 extras, the level of play was superb! At least AA quality.
I bought a game worn Gatemen jersey for $25. And finally it was pretty cool watching the pro scouts up close with their radar guns in hand.
Don't let the low score fool you, Spillane Field is a good take.
3138 Cranberry Hwy
East Wareham, MA 02538
3136 Cranberry Hwy
Wareham, MA 02538
371 Marion Rd
Wareham, MA 02571
257 Main St.
Wareham, MA 02571