The typical digital display of baseball scores and stats was replaced with a film on Thursday, June 22, much to the delight of many in the community who saw the Wareham Gatemen video scoreboard being used a little differently than usually.
The free screening of the 1993 blockbuster “The Sandlot” drew a crowd of over 100 people. For many families, a kid-friendly movie about a neighborhood baseball team was the perfect way to enjoy a hot summer night and hang out on the field where several professional baseball players once played.
Glen Hannington, deputy chairman of Wareham Gatemen, said the Gatemen hoped that offering a free movie night would help show how much the team values their fans.
“We have the all-new dashboard – a state-of-the-art video board,” Hannington explained. “The Gatemen always love to give back to the community, so it’s a good way to show the support of all of our fans and the community.”
He said it was fun to see the “kids thrill” who were thrilled to be on the pitch where the Gatemen are playing.
“I’m happy with all the families here,” Hannington said.
A group of moviegoers celebrated Jack Wronski’s eleventh birthday. Jack incorporated the film into his birthday plans with his friends, which started with swimming, pizza, and cake earlier today. By 7 p.m. the group was at Spillane Field and ready for the show.
“Most of them play baseball,” said Suzanne Wronski, Jack’s mother, noting that Jack was a fan of the film and the sequels. “He watched them all.
Another group – Susie Harrington, Thuy Collins and each of their children, who play baseball on the same team – had traveled over 40 miles from Canton to see the movie on the Gatemen scoreboard.
“It’s great because we were looking for fun things to do for our kids during the summer and we always love drive-ins and outdoor movies,” Harrington said. She described the weather – around 73 degrees without much humidity and with the sun breaking through the clouds every now and then – as a “perfect baseball night”.
“The kids are out in the sunshine, playing baseball, watching the perfect baseball movie, ‘The Sandlot’,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
At the start of the film, raindrops started to fall, but the audience was prepared and fearless. Umbrellas appeared, and when the cloud passed a few moments later, they disappeared just as quickly.
Even 20 minutes after the movie started, the families were still arriving.
Hannington said the Gatemen may be able to host more movie nights in the future if there is good attendance and future interest.
Harrington and Collins have said they support the idea of more outdoor movies in the future.
“It’s awesome,” Harrington said. “It feels like summer to me.”