Stop, Thief

Editor's Note: Pacers radio broadcaster Mark Boyle is spending his summer working as a broadcaster/mentor with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

Of all of the questions I get asked about MJB's Excellent Adventure (Version 2015), the most common seems to have to do with the differences between broadcasting basketball versus baseball, or more specifically, the differences between the NBA and the Cape Cod Baseball League.

As you might imagine, there are many. In the NBA we have road trips, with air travel and long stretches away from home. In the CCBL, we have road games. We're no more than 45 minutes from any given opponent, we drive ourselves, and we never stay over night. In the NBA we play in magnificent arenas. In the CCBL, we play on fields (not stadiums, or even ballparks) that are usually used by local high schools and town rec departments. There are other differences, too, but until last night I considered those to be the most notable.

When we play on the road, we broadcast at field level. We're right behind the screen, and we have a very small card table to work off of. This table is not nearly large enough to hold all of our stuff, so I typically put my bag on the ground near the table. It's far from ideal, but it's workable, and we manage just fine.

You may recall that my partner, Anthony Santaniello (Hofstra, class of 2016), handles the play-by-play in the first, second, fifth, sixth, eighth, and ninth innings. I do the third and fourth, plus the seventh. Now, when I'm doing something, I'm always focused, and occasionally intense. Last night, we're in the third inning, I'm on the play-by-play, very immersed in the broadcast, and nothing else really registers. At Brewster, we're really right in with the fans, so close that they could literally reach out and touch us, but things like that register minimally with me, if at all. There are stands off to my left, too, and that's where our sideline reporter, Kaley Kiss (Lasell, class of 2015) sits.

Anyway, I'm calling the play-by-play, and I hear Kaley say, "No, no, little girl. Where are you going with that?" Kaley has a very high-pitched voice, it's rather distinctive, and it caught my attention. I turn to my left, unsure of what it is that has Kaley so alarmed, and I see a little girl, maybe two or three years old (I'm really bad at guessing ages, but I can tell you she was sucking on a pacifier. Ergo, my razor sharp mind instantly concluded that she wasn't a teenager) walking away. She's a real cutie, which is the first thing I notice, and then, as I lock in further, I notice something that I never expected to see.

This little cutie, no doubt the pride and joy of some local couple (and where are these diligent parents, by the way, leaving their little girl unattended?), and I suddenly realize that she's not just walking away.

She's walking away with my iPad.

Kaley, who has now intercepted this budding criminal genius, later tells me that this brazen lass just walked right up, reached into my bag, apparently took a liking to the iPad, and decided to wander off with it. Captured, the little girls walks back to me, gives me the iPad, then reaches into my bag and pulls out a plastic bag holding three chicken breasts (my post game grub), and heads for the hills. Kaley captures her again, and Bonnie Parker, JR (look it up) returns and gives me back my food. Meanwhile, I'm trying to describe the action on the field, and all of this is happening in full view of the fans, who are in varying stages of hysteria.

So. As it relates to the differences between the NBA and the Cape Cod League, what have we learned? Well, two-year-olds don't roam the stands at an NBA game, looking to abscond with whatever they can find, do they? I don't doubt that there might be the occasional scalawag at an Association tussle, but I'm fairly certain that most have long ago put away the pacifier. And I can assure you that most NBA broadcasters (MJB included) don't lug around bags of chicken for post-game consumption. But unlike the Association, there is no per diem in the CCBL. And being thrifty, I only do fine dining on other people's money and grocery store delis have become a staple for me.

In any event, just another night in the CCBL. Oh, and just in case you're wondering?

I didn't press charges.

Pictured: Mark Boyle's typical office for CCBL road games. (Photo: Mark Boyle)