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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Veteran's Field - Chatham Anglers

Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

Veterans Field

702 Main St

Chatham, MA 02633

Year Opened: 1923

Capacity: 8,500

The Right Angle

Veteran’s Field is located near the center of Chatham, a town at the “elbow” of Cape Cod. Teams representing the town of Chatham have played at the site of Veteran’s Field since the inception of the Cape Cod League in 1923.

Chatham’s squad was known as the A’s from the beginning of the ‘Modern Era” of the Cape League in 1963 to 2009, when several teams decided to stop sharing names with Major League squads. The team was rebranded as the Anglers. This allows for the team to continue to be informally called “The A’s,” while invoking a most appropriate nautical theme. The A’s/Anglers have won five titles in the Cape League’s “Modern Era”, most recently in 1998.

Food & Beverage 3

The Snack Shack serves as Veteran’s Field’s snack bar. Located directly behind the first base dugout, standard ballpark fare can be found here. Hot dogs, burgers and pizza slices are the main attractions. Fans wanting their hot dog with a little more oomph can upgrade to Coach Schiffner’s famous Chili Dog. There’s a decent variety of snacks available here, including popcorn served in a souvenir Anglers cup, Cracker Jacks, assorted candy, Cape Cod Chips (of course) and Angler’s cookies baked with the Chatham logo on the top. There is also a selection of ice cream novelties sold here.

Cans of Coca-Cola products are sold here, as well as Powerade and Vitamin Water. Since it can get very chilly here in Chatham at night, fans can purchase coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Chatham doesn’t feature the most extensive menu around, and their prices are a bit on the high side when compared to other Cape League ballparks. On the plus side, they grill their dogs and burgers to order. Fans looking for a bargain can wait until near the end of the game, when “dollar dogs” are announced. But be warned, quantities are limited, so be ready!

Atmosphere 3

As is the case at all the Cape Cod League venues, teams in this league present their games in an “old-school” manner. Absent are silly between inning promotions and ear-shattering music played in between innings. Fans looking for elaborate game-day productions will undoubtedly be disappointed with this simple approach, but baseball purists will enjoy every last second of it. PA announcements are limited to lineup changes (with the occasional sponsor shout out), and a simple scoreboard in left field displays basic game information.

There is a lot of room to roam at Veteran’s Field, both in the large berm that stretches from the right field foul pole to deep centerfield as well as the open grassy area on the first base side of the facility. There is a large playground located in this area, where kids can release some pent-up energy while their parents can still watch the ballgame.

Neighborhood 4

Veteran’s Field is located just west of Chatham Center, a quaint neighborhood full of shops, cafés, and antique stores. Fans interested in doing touristy things without the commercialism that has crept into some of the other Cape Cod destinations should check out Chatham. Remember, a town this small and this popular is bound to get crowded, so if you are wishing to avoid the largest crowds and resulting traffic, visit the area in June, before schools let out for the summer and the tourists arrive en masse.

Veteran’s Field is located within walking distance of several popular eating establishments and lodging choices. In fact, many fans choose to simply walk to an Anglers’ game, find a bite to eat, and enjoy the area. Downtown Chatham is a great place for people watching and enjoying the small town vibe. The Chatham Railroad Museum is located just beyond the right field berm. After the game just walk across the parking lot and stop in at the Red Nun, a popular restaurant located right next to Veterans Field.

Fans 4

Chatham annually ranks among the top 3 or 4 teams in the Cape Cod League in terms of attendance. Crowds at Veteran’s Field are similar to those elsewhere on the Cape, meaning that there is a strong presence from the locals, who often have a connection with the team as a booster, house parent, or volunteer. If not connected with the team officially, many of the fans present have been coming to see the Anglers play for years. Mixed in with the locals are tourists visiting the area and spending a relaxing night out at the ballpark. As one of the most complete “ballparks” in the Cape League, it’s a popular destination for ballpark travelers.

A popular diversion during many Anglers games is the nightly discussion about when the fog is going to roll in. A night at Veterans Field without fog is a rare one, indeed. Chatham’s location on the elbow of Cape Cod makes it an ideal location for fog once the sun goes down. For those wondering, the fog usually rolls in around the fifth or sixth inning.

Access 4

The town of Chatham is located at the elbow of Cape Cod, making it the furthest team to visit for any fans visiting from off-Cape (that’s anyone not living on Cape Cod, for those of us who don’t speak Cape-ese). Despite this, it’s relatively easy to find Veteran’s Field. It is located right on Route 28, which follows the entire southern coastline of the Cape.

Veteran’s Field itself is located in a natural bowl, with hills surrounding the playing surface. Fans who have not been to Chatham in some time will notice some wonderful changes to the facility. The whole seating area has been cleared, landscaped, and new, more accessible (read: less steep) bleachers have been installed. There is plenty of room at both the top and the bottom of the bleachers for fans bringing their own lawn chairs. There is plenty of standing room atop the grandstand area.

Also located behind home plate is the press box and souvenir stands. Running down both baselines are more bleachers. Unfortunately, there are screens surrounding the field to protect neighboring houses from errant foul balls. Fans wanting an unobstructed view of the action will need to sit on the furthest grandstand down the lines, or beyond.

Many fans at Chatham choose to sit on the large berm in the outfield. There is enough room out here for several thousand fans on a busy night, or for kids to run around when it is less crowded. You will find many fans sitting on top of the berm along the Doyle Street sidewalk or even in their vehicles, listening to the game on their radios.

Parking is available in a pair of small public lots adjacent to the ballpark or on the surrounding streets. There is a building behind the first base hill, which contains restrooms. Be warned that not all areas surrounding Veterans Field are well lit.

Return on Investment 5

As is the case at all Cape Cod League ballparks, there is no charge to attend a Chatham Anglers game. The team will accept your donation, which they use to fund their operating costs. In return for your donation, the team will return the favor by giving you a program. Parking is free in either of the two lots next to the field, or on any of the neighborhood streets. Just pay attention to the signs to make sure you are not in a restricted zone. Many fans bring their own coolers stocked with items to enjoy during the game, making a night out at the Anglers totally free.

Extras 3

Displayed on the façade of the old-timey press box are four retired numbers for persons who were instrumental in the long history of Chatham baseball (John Schiffner, Ed Haird, Matt Fincher and Eddie Lyons).

Also be sure to check out the display of every Chatham A/Angler to play in the big leagues. It’s an enormous list with plenty of familiar names.

A small plaque dedicated to former Chatham player Thurman Munson can also be found on the press box.

Final Thoughts

In a league full of unique parks, Chatham offers an experience that may top them all. It has a real vintage charm, and the view from the top of the outfield berm simply can’t be beat. Even though Chatham is the most remote team in the league when coming from off-Cape, all ten teams are located within an hour of each other.

In 2022 a total of 377 Cape League alumni played in the major leagues. That’s about one of every six players to suit up in the Majors. When taking in a Cape League game, it’s likely that you will be watching a bunch of future first round picks or all-stars in the making - for free!

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

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