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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Doran Park - Bourne Braves

Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Doran Park 220 Sandwich Rd Bourne, MA 02532

Year Opened: 2006 Capacity: 3,000

Where Stars are Bourne

The town of Bourne has a lengthy baseball history dating all the way back to the 1860’s. Several teams representing Bourne have competed in the Cape League throughout the 20th century. After a 16-year absence, the Braves were welcomed into the Cape League as an expansion team along with the Brewster Whitecaps. The name “Braves” was selected to honor the second major league baseball team to call nearby Boston home.

The Bourne Braves play in the league’s newest park, Doran Park, which opened behind the Upper Cape Regional Technical High School in 2006. Before moving to Doran Park, the Braves played at various sites in Bourne, including The Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Coady Field. The field is dedicated to longtime Sagamore Beach resident and avid baseball fan George Doran Sr.

Since joining the Cape League in 1988, the Braves have won one championship, in 2009. Some notable alumni to play in Bourne include Pete Alonso, Kevin Youkilis, Mark Mulder, Bill Mueller and Mitch Moreland.

Food & Beverage 3

The Braves operate a snack bar out of a building on the third base side of Doran Park. The menu hits all the expected notes, with hot dogs, burgers and sausage sandwiches the main attractions. For the younger fans in attendance, Lunchables are sold. Items are cooked to order on a small gas grill next to the concession stand.

Assorted snacks and ice cream treats are sold at the concession stand. Cans of Coca-Cola products are featured. Alcohol is not allowed at Doran Park.

Atmosphere 3

For baseball fans used to the noise and commotion of your typical major or minor league baseball game, going to a came on Cape Cod will be a shock to the system. Gone are the between inning shenanigans, the annoying mascots and the non-stop distractions present at most ballparks. In the Cape League, the game is the focus. The only extraneous noise you’ll hear at a Braves game are the occasional lineup and sponsor announcements. Any noise at Doran Park is generated entirely by the fans in attendance.

Neighborhood 3

Doran Park is located behind the Upper Cape Regional Technical High School in Bourne on the eastern shore of the Cape Cod Canal. The campus has a very large footprint in a very highly traveled area. There are no places of interest directly adjacent to Doran Park. However, this is Cape Cod, and there are places of interest not too far from the ballpark.

If you cross back over the Cape Cod Canal via the Bourne Bridge, you’ll find yourself in the village of Buzzards Bay. Located here are campgrounds, trails, and a bustling downtown scene. You can find some incredible seafood in the many restaurants and clam shacks in the area. Buzzards Bay Brewery has a tap room here that is worth a visit from craft beer fans. A little further down the road is Onset Point, which offers the quintessential Cape Cod experience on the Massachusetts mainland.

Just north of the ballpark is the village of Sandwich offers more fantastic seafood, ice cream and sandy beaches. Just be warned that the traffic in this area can be intense, especially on weekends and during peak tourist season. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get around town, especially if you need to travel over either of the bridges that span the canal.

Fans 3

Bourne typically ranks near the bottom of the Cape Cod League attendance rankings, averaging around 1,000 fans per game. Fans here are typical of those you would find elsewhere on the Cape, with a mix of locals and tourists taking in the action. As with other ballparks in this league, crowds grow as the season wears on into the meat of the tourist season. If you wish to avoid the larger crowds, get to a game in June, before school lets out and the heavy tourist season begins.

One thing to know about Cape League fans: while they are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, they are hardly cutthroat. The typical Cape League fan is laid back and interested in watching some of the highest quality summer ball in the nation. Great plays by both teams are met with appreciation and applause. Sportsmanship rules the roost on the Cape.

Access 3

Aside from the ever-present summer traffic getting onto the Cape, is very simple to arrive at Doran Park. The ball field is located behind Upper Cape Regional Technical High School, located just over the Cape Cod Canal. No matter which bridge you pass over to access the Cape, Doran Park is just a couple of miles away. Parking is available in a large lot a short walk from the field.

The landscape around Doran Park has undergone some changes in recent years. Most fans will sit on the third base (home) side of the park contains a beautifully landscaped and terraced berm along the infield for fans to spread out their blankets or lawn chairs. The snack bar and rest rooms are located in the building located beyond the dugout, and there is a set of bleachers beyond the infield for people who did not bring their own seating. The press box, located behind home plate, contains an indoor team store, which contains a selection of Braves’ clothing and merchandise.

Atop the hill behind home plate are several new buildings and terraces. The first base (visitors) side of the field still has an unfinished feel to it. There is no grass here, and the ground is covered in dirt or wood chips. There is a set of bleachers here for fans to use, but little room for fans wishing to set up shop at field level. The large pile of dirt and presence of heavy machinery on this side of the field hint that construction is not yet complete here at Doran Park.

One issue fans will have with Doran Park is the fact that there are few unobstructed seats here. There is a great deal of netting that runs down both baselines. The dugouts, with their sloping roofs, block more views, and the snack bar takes up some prime real estate on the third base line. For unobstructed views, fans will need to sit far down the baselines, beyond the dugouts and snack bar.

When there are large crowds at Doran Park, fans will spread out all around the ballpark. Since there are no paved walkways here, to reach the far side of the field or the team store, fans will have to weave through the crowds and terraces to reach their desired spot. Treat carefully, as the ground is uneven in many spots.

Return on Investment 5

As is the case with all Cape Cod League games, there is no charge for admission at Doran Park. The team will accept a donation for admission in exchange for roster sheets and a Cape League Magazine. Free parking is also available in the large lot at the high school. Seasoned fans will bring their own refreshments, making it possible to take in the action featuring some of the best collegiate players in the country without spending any money. Even if you purchase refreshments, the prices are very reasonable.

Extras 2

There aren’t a whole lot of extras when attending a game at Doran Park, just as at most Cape League ballparks. The team does give out a roster sheet and a stat sheet to any fans requesting them, and the 50/50 raffle features several prizes, so many fans go home winners.

An interesting fact about this field is that much of the work done in building the ballpark, from construction to electrical work to wiring, was done by students. It seems fitting since Doran Park is located at a technical high school.

Final Thoughts

The Cape Cod League is considered by many to be the premier summer collegiate league in the nation. One out of six major league players today played in this league. The ballparks here may lack the fancy amenities that today’s minor league parks possess, but that doesn’t make them any less appealing. All the teams in the Cape League are located within an hour’s drive of each other, making Cape Cod a dream destination for any ballpark enthusiast.

Just be sure to sit on the third base side of the field.

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

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