Summer Catch

In Blog, Hustle Podcastby Eric ByrnesLeave a Comment

Just recently had dinner in NYC with one of my best friends in life… Peter Princi.

Princi and I first met when we both were playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League in 1995… Princi was the “local boy makes good” and one of the few Cape Cod natives to have ever played in the Cape league (typically reserved for top prospect players from other areas of the country).

I was the emotional, homesick California kid swinging a wood bat for the first time and getting my ass handed to me on a nightly basis… 

Nonetheless, we quickly forged a bond that has somehow found a way to hold strong for almost 25 years.

Ironically, there was a Hollywood movie producer that spent the summer of 95’ lurking around the Cape and following our Chatham A’s team… 5 years later, the world was treated to the instant classic “Summer Catch,” starring Freddie Prince Jr. and Jessica Biel.

Although many of the stories are fabricated or embellished to a great extent, there is enough truth in the movie to understand the Cape Cod League life and exactly who the characters were “loosely” based after…

Freddie Prince Jr. played Ryan Dunn, the local Cape pitcher who had to fight his way onto the team, and Matthew Lillard (Psycho killer from Scream) played “Brubaker,” the homesick California surfer who was struggling to find his way while 3000 miles away from home.

In the movie, the two formed a friendship when Dunn was giving “Bru” a ride to the airport when “Bru” decided to call it quits and high tail it back to California… On the way, Dunn decided to stop off at a local hot spot, either in an attempt to send Bru off in style or mercifully get him to stay. 

After a few man sodas, a couple shots and the introduction to one DiDi Mulligan, Bru felt right at home and the trip back to Cali got put on hold til the season was over at the end of the summer. 

Dunn and Bru, who both struggled to find their rhythm on the field in the early going, turned their seasons around and became instrumental parts of the team’s championship run…

In life, at some point, we are going to want to take our balls and go home… Yet, when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and become open to developing new friendships, it’s amazing what sort of positive effect the right people can have on our decision making and our lives. No telling where my life would have ended up had I hopped on that flight back to California, but I am forever grateful for the Cape Cod kid, the local hot spot, and a few tequila shots that turned a boy into a f*cking man that summer… 

It’s crazy to think about all the absurd shit that is portrayed in the movie, and yes, most of it was completely garbage… Yet the one thing they got right was the local boy taking the California kid under his wing and developing a relationship that seemingly would last a lifetime… 

Nice work Hollywood. You definitely got that part right. 👊

-EB