No Rhode Island Baseball Experience would be complete unless you visit Cardines Field in Newport. It is the home of the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Newport Gulls and hosts tons of baseball games and events all season long. Cardines is one of the first iconic landmarks in historic Newport as you come off the bridge heading towards the downtown area. In any season, Cardines is a special place to visit. Especially during the summer months to watch our local Newport Gulls play.
I was able to get to Newport on Host Family Appreciation Night at Cardines. It was the Gulls final home game vs the Mystic Schooners. The Gulls needed a big win to get into the playoffs. The line at the ticket window was down the street, almost to the crosswalk on America’s Cup Ave. My son and I attended the game and my entry fee for this historic park – $7. As I was walking into Cardines, I noticed a poster with current Major League Baseball players who had played for the Gulls. Pretty cool to see names like Chris Taylor, Chris Iannetta, and Jeff Beliveau as former Gulls who play on a regular basis in the “The Show.”
“If those bleachers could talk” – sounds corny but the old time, old fashioned wooden bleachers at Cardines are just another reminder of the age and wonder of this park. I had the pleasure of playing at Cardines when I was in High School and it still gives you those goose bumps just being in the park. Cardines was packed, I don’t recall a game with more fans attending a Gulls game. It was Host Family Appreciation night and the crowd was excited and on their feet for every pitch. I sat with my Little League® son, a longtime friend and his family and we talked baseball the entire game. My friend’s brother had played for the Wickford Mariners of the Sunset League and was going over the dimensions and some of the tricky parts of the outfield. That was really cool.
The game went back and forth scoring wise for innings. At each 1/2 inning break, the Gulls entertainment and PR department did a fantastic job getting the crowd involved. A push-up contest, a huge donut eating contest, boys vs girls running the bases, shuttle runs with a laundry basket, the crowd participation was lively and the staff did a great job.
The Gulls got down early, then tied up the score, only to fall in the later innings. In the end, The Gulls fell short, losing 7-4. It was a hot, humid, windy night at Cardines. Despite the weather, there were a ton of hard hit balls, a few home runs, some stellar defensive plays, and great pitching performances by both teams. I’m so glad I was able to bring my son to the game to see how these elite baseball players prepare and play the game at a very high level. Great season to the Newport Gulls players and organization. I look forward to writing about the Newport Gulls as one of my favorite Rhode Island Baseball Experiences.