Baseball: Doherty, Trautwein and Goosenberg reflect on canceled Cape Cod Baseball League summer season


Daily file photo by Peter Warren

Michael Trautwein prepares to swing. The sophomore was set to play for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer before the season was canceled due to COVID-19.

Sophia Scanlan, Web Editor


Chris Sale. Kris Bryant. Aaron Judge. When you hear their names, you think of talented players who are dominating Major League Baseball today. But something else that links these three, and so many other professional ballplayers, is their roots in the Cape Cod Baseball League.

Established in 1885, the 10-team league welcomes some of the nation’s best collegiate players to Cape Cod in Massachusetts for a summer of baseball. Over its 135 years, the CCBL has seen more than 1,250 players go on to the Major Leagues.

Northwestern had planned to send three of its own to the CCBL this summer. Sophomore pitcher Mike Doherty would have suited up for the Bourne Braves, and sophomore catcher Michael Trautwein would have played alongside sophomore shortstop Shawn Goosenberg on the Brewster Whitecaps.

However, on Apr. 24, the league decided to cancel the upcoming season due to COVID-19 concerns.

“I was…kind of heartbroken,” Trautwein said. “You’re really excited to play somewhere, really excited to play in a league like that and then pretty randomly it just gets canceled.”

The Georgia native spent last summer on the Lakeshore Chinooks of the Northwoods League and said a highlight of summer ball is getting to meet new people — and he’ll miss the chance to do that on the Whitecaps.

“You just miss opportunities to make new teammates, make new friends, bond with guys you normally…wouldn’t cross paths with, so I’m just kind of disappointed,” Trautwein said. “The whole aspect of summer ball is really fun — it’s loose, it’s just baseball, there’s no school. It’s very relaxed, but at the same time it’s competitive and it’s fun, so I guess I’ll just kind of miss the whole deal of it.”

For Doherty, the opportunity to play for the CCBL was personal.

A Sandwich, Mass. native, Doherty and his family used to host out-of-town players from the CCBL during the summer. He said he grew up admiring them and hoping to play in the league himself one day.

“It’s been a dream of mine,” Doherty added. “I’ve loved baseball my whole life, so I’ve always envisioned myself making it to that level and that being a big accomplishment.”

The Braves were the closest team to Doherty’s hometown, so his family would have been able to see many of his games. Plus, some of Doherty’s friends from high school summer leagues had found spots on Bourne. Playing there would have been “the optimal spot” for him, he said.

Goosenberg added that he’ll be sad not to experience the competitive atmosphere of the league he’s heard so much about.

“The experience of getting to play in front of really great fans, playing against the best competition and having an opportunity to show a lot of professional scouts what I can do — that’ll definitely be something that I’ll miss this summer,” Goosenberg said. “Although hopefully I can get back there next summer.”

But plans for next summer in the CCBL are still up in the air. With this year’s MLB Draft shortened to five rounds and a new class of students, more ballplayers will be vying for spots in the CCBL in 2021, so Goosenberg, Trautwein and Doherty aren’t sure whether they’ll automatically have a place next summer — though each said they’d love the opportunity.

They’re all still hoping to play in a baseball league this summer. Trautwein found a spot in the Sunbelt League in Georgia. Doherty is considering playing in the Coastal Plain League in North Carolina with a friend who attends Wake Forest University. And Goosenberg is exploring leagues close to home in California.

While it won’t be the same as playing in the CCBL, Doherty said it will be a good alternative, provided the leagues go on as scheduled.

“I just want to be able to go out there and compete a little bit and just work on the things I need to work on,” Doherty said. “Obviously it’s not going to be the full summer, the full experience, which is fine, but I think anything is better than nothing.”

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Twitter: @sophia_scanlan

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