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In the fall of 2017, the Chatham Anglers released “The Chatham Experience,” a short documentary film produced by Casey Hamel exploring the Chatham baseball community, its history, and the allure that makes A’s baseball special. The producers of the film have handpicked some of their favorite quotes, moments, and stories from the project for you to enjoy.
INTRO: “There’s Cape Cod, and then there’s Chatham.”
As gorgeous ocean, beachfront, and ballpark views flash across the screen, viewers get a taste of how Chatham is simply different from the rest of the Cape.
THE FANS: “It’s a sense of community which I think is hard to find nowadays.”
Meet the tightly-knit group of Chatham supporters and learn what is both special and rare about the Chatham baseball community at Veterans Field.
SPANNING GENERATIONS: “I’ve loved it since I was a kid, and I’ll continue until the day I die.”
Chatham resident Ron Mack, who has followed the A’s since 1969, recounts why the organization means just as much to him in 2017 as it did in his childhood.
SCHIFF: “It’s identified my life. I am a Chatham A, that is who I am.”
John Schiffner is undoubtedly the face of Chatham baseball. Schiffner recently announced his retirement after 25 years as Manager and 34 total years with the A’s. Schiff jokes around with Harwich Mariners third baseman Justin Novak, who occupies the position where Schiffner roamed for the Mariners from 1974-76 as a Cape Cod Leaguer, about how he holds the CCBL record for most managerial wins and most managerial losses. Coach Schiffner gets emotional at his retirement ceremony in July before the scene then shifts to his home, where Schiff outlines what makes Chatham special from his perspective.
THE PLAYERS: “My face was lit up, I’m going up to Cape Cod to play baseball.”
Two members of the 2017 Chatham Anglers, catcher Shea Langeliers from Baylor University and outfielder Landon Kay from Furman University, share what made the 2017 summer and the town of Chatham meaningful for them.
THE UNSUNG HERO: “There is only one person in this organization that can’t be replaced, and that’s Robbie Grenier.”
Meet Chatham Anglers groundskeeper Robbie Grenier, the most indispensable member of the entire organization according to Team President Steve West. Robbie shows viewers a glimpse of his hard work keeping Veterans Field in game shape, then introduces us to Punchy II, his pet parrot.
ONCE A CHATHAM A, ALWAYS A CHATHAM A: “It makes me feel young again to be here.”
Ed Baird pitched to future New York Yankee catcher Thurman Munson for the Chatham A’s in 1967, delivering the best single-season ERA in team history, a record that still stands. Fifty years later, Ed serves as the Chatham Athletic Association’s Treasurer. Meet the man who John Schiffner calls a valuable link to the past and a positive role model for current players.
COLLABORATION: “The Cape Cod Baseball League is a labor of love."
Figures across the Chatham community from past and present describe the amount of behind the scenes work from volunteers that is necessary to run a Cape Cod League franchise. In Chatham, it is clear that the entire community’s participation is what makes the Anglers such an important piece of the town’s history and its future.
It would be truly impossible to capture every single aspect of the Anglers and Chatham in just 23 minutes, but the stories, individuals, and traditions depicted in “The Chatham Experience” represent a community’s passion that spans generations. While every community member in the documentary tells the story of Chatham from his or her point of view, perhaps it’s this quote from Anglers Public Address Announcer Peter Burns that best conveys Chatham’s magical, indescribable appeal:
“I’ve written four books, and one of the things that experts tell writers is you can never say, ‘Words cannot describe,’ but I’m not sure I can capture accurately or adequately the feeling I get when I’m at Veterans Field.”
Watch "The Chatham Experience" in full: