Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

He's Swinging at Fun in Cape Cod League

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

He's Swinging at Fun in Cape Cod League

Article excerpt

Byline: Brent Beaird

Mike McCallister has an opportunity this summer that many college baseball players would love to have. McCallister, an outfielder with the University of Alabama baseball team, is honing his skills in the Cape Cod League's Wareham, Mass., Gatemen. The Cape Cod League has a reputation for hosting the best amateur players in the nation. In this month's Major League Baseball draft, 24 current or former Gatemen were selected.

After struggling through a difficult sophomore season (.222 average after playing in 24 of 62 games) at Alabama, McCallister is looking to regain his confidence.

"I'm hoping to get over 100-200 at bats against some of the best pitching in the country," he said. "The wood bats help your swing. We'll be here until the beginning of August. I'll be playing right field every day. I want to have fun playing baseball again."

Some of the players who McCallister competed against at Alabama are his teammates this summer. McCallister said players from the SEC, ACC, Big 12, WAC, and even Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Yale are on his team.

One of McCallister's biggest adjustments has been the change in temperatures in the Northeast.

"It's cool here at night," McCallister said in a recent phone interview. "It's not a warm summer breeze that we get down there, but a cold, arctic breeze."

Despite the cool weather, McCallister is beginning to warm up at the plate. He hit his first home run of the season Tuesday night.

"I'm hitting the ball hard," McCallister said. "I just keep hitting those 'at 'em' balls right at them. I feel all right. It's like the start of a new season because I did not see much action down the stretch [at Alabama]."

Competing in the Cape Cod League allows players to experience some of the rigors of the minor leagues, such as playing six or seven nights a week and enduring bus rides. Fortunately for McCallister, his team's longest trip is an hour.

Playing in a prestigious summer league is nothing new for McCallister. …

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