Delano Municipal Baseball Park

Summer Wood Bat Season: Nostalgia of Small Town Ball with Big League Promise

Summer Wood Bat Season: Nostalgia of Small Town Ball with Big League Promise

By: Kathy Sonier / Mon Jul 03 2023

Maybe your MLB team isn’t postseason-worthy this year. Maybe you are looking for good, clean family entertainment that won’t break the bank. Maybe the quality of baseball played during the NCAA Men’s College World Series blew you away, and you’re ready for more. No matter your circumstances, collegiate summer wood-bat baseball season offers everyone a slice of cherished nostalgic American Pie. Now’s the time to check one out before the season wraps in mid-August.

In an era dominated by high-tech equipment and multimillion-dollar contracts, there's something undeniably captivating about the simplicity and authenticity of amateur baseball in the small towns & venues of the collegiate wood bat circuits. At Delano Bat Company, we celebrate the enduring love for the game, the crack of wood bats, and the remarkable stories that unfold on these hallowed fields.

Collegiate wood bat leagues can be found literally coast-to-coast - from the famed Cape Cod League, to the Prospect League in the midwest, and even the Alaska Baseball League. As a player there are many reasons to be excited by collegiate summer ball, but as a fan, there are just as many reasons to check out a local league game this summer. Here are just a few:

The Rustic Charm of Wood Bats:

We may be a bit biased here, but in an age where composite and aluminum bats reign supreme outside of the MLB, the use of solid wood bats evokes a sense of tradition and reverence. Almost 100% of collegiate summer leagues use wood bats. Wood bats have a connection to baseball's roots, and the challenges they pose to hitters, especially college-aged players honing their skills, makes for exciting baseball. From the distinctive sound of a solid connection to the feel of the wood in hand, there's an undeniable allure that takes us back to a bygone era.

Legends of the Past and Rising Stars:

Summer leagues in small towns have been the breeding ground for remarkable talents who have gone on to make their mark in the big leagues. Summer baseball is the key to success for college players who want to get drafted and move on to the professional ranks, especially those who play in small market schools, but even for newly minted MCWS champions like Josh Pearson & Ty Floyd, who’ve played in the Cape Cod League and Appalachian League, respectfully. The stories of legendary players who emerged from humble beginnings, leaving an indelible imprint on the game make each league a study in player development. While the stats vary by league, each wood bat league boasts of numerous (sometimes hundreds) alumni who’ve gone on to play professionally. The roster ranges from HOF-ers like Mike Schmidt & Kirby Pucket who both played in the Prospect League as well as current stars like Jacob deGrom (Florida Collegiate Summer League) or Aaron Judge (Cape Cod League), and even members of the Philadelphia Phillies’ “Daycare” like Alec Bohm and Nick Maton, who both played in the Coastal Plain League). A nearby wood bat league game may just showcase the next rising stars who embody the dream of playing baseball at its purest form.

Americana at its Finest:

Small towns are the heart and soul of baseball, where close-knit communities gather to support their local teams. The passion and dedication of players, coaches, and fans who come together to create a vibrant atmosphere are the fabric of the tradition and sentiment of baseball. Imagine those hot summer nights illuminated by stadium lights of intimate ballparks. Meet fellow fans at post-game gatherings at the local diner or bar. Enjoy the creativity of homemade banners and the vibrant cheers, all without the exorbitant ticket prices and secondary market mark-ups. Almost feels like a scene from a Rockwell illustration.

The Enduring Bonds:

Collegiate summer leagues foster connections that transcend the game itself. The “boys of summer” forge lifelong friendships on these fields, and these baseball bonds have profound impact on the lives of players and fans alike. This sentiment has even been captured in books and movies such as The Last Best League: One Summer, One Season, One Dream, or rom-com Summer Catch. It's not just a game; it's a shared journey that connects generations and instills a sense of belonging in these close-knit communities.

So if you love the game, if you were wow’d by the level of play during the NCAA Men’s College World Series, or if you are just looking for a fun family-friendly night out, be sure to check out a collegiate wood bat league game this summer. Enjoy the nostalgia and purity of a game simply played for the love it - these are amateurs looking for wood bat experience, continued development, some MLB visibility and some good ‘ole fun. So, grab a glove, a box of Cracker Jack and head out to a local game or even hit one up while traveling this summer. Here are a few links to help find a collegiate league and team near you.