By Roy Reiss
August 13, 2012
Suddenly there’s no more baseball in the summer of 2012. Here’s a few observations of what’s transpired the last few days, a very little insight, and some rambling thoughts from a very interested observer.
- It’s over so quickly. Before your very eyes, the season is finished. It’s pretty difficult to take when you put so much of your heart into any endeavor which ends so dramatically. And the scene at Lowell Park Sunday at around 6:45 was filled with so much emotion. Players, coaches, host families, volunteers, fans, and future stars hugging, exchanging high fives, pictures being snapped, tears rolling down faces, and email addresses being exchanged. The relationships that were forged over the last 2 months plus will grow even greater over time, and in future years just about everyone will think back to this special summer of 2012 and remember how wonderful it was. Time has a way of doing just that.
- There’s nothing quite like the excitement and electricity of the playoffs in any sport. Sitting in the stands at Doran Park the other night as the Kettleers evened the series with Bourne at a game apiece, the Kettleers fan base came to play as well. The stands on the first base side were jammed pack and every pitch, hit, error, run, mistake, strike out was greeted with such enthusiasm! Sports brings together a community in a way that’s so positive and so energizing. A fun environment and a memorable event in the summer of 2012.
- How about Dan Slania? The fireman from Notre Dame is really something to watch when he’s on his game. Called to close out a game in the 8th inning against Bourne, the CCBL reliever of the Year in 2012 struck out 5 of the 6 outs he needed. His pin point control and nasty fast ball (21 of 27 pitches were strikes) are sure to make him a hot commodity come next June’s Major League draft.
- The French words are joie de vivre and no one personifies that better than Tony “TK” Kemp (Vanderbilt) who brings a special energy and excitement to his game. Kemp’s smile and “joy of life” simply radiates throughout the baseball diamond. What a joy it was to watch him play this summer, and the fun he appeared to be having all the time. Every team needs a performer like that!
- Have to say a few words about two Kettleers who seemed to go under the radar this season. Jacob Valdez (San Jose State) started the year at 2nd base but soon found himself on the bench. Somehow he continued to contribute with some timely and clutch hits when he was called upon. Down the stretch he became one of the Kettleers most feared hitters and was a regular in the lineup that was one of the league’s most potent. And Jacob May (Coastal Carolina) was an All Star yet his game was so smooth in the field, at bat, and on the bases that there’s a tendency to overlook his vital contributions over the course of the long season. Consistency is the one word that best describes May.
- Questions, questions, questions. How could anyone not vote Mike Roberts the 2012 Coach of the Year in the CCBL? Has anyone ever been snubbed (no individual awards, no All Star selection) as much as Kettleer Ryan Connolly (Coastal Carolina) this year? Did any intern work harder than Marc Stephenson who kept the Kettleers busy office flowing smoothly all summer? Did anyone notice that former Kettleer Chase Headley (2004) of the San Diego Padres is leading his team in batting, home runs and RBI’s? Is there any solution to the major issue of how do you balance the need to generate revenue for CCBL teams as opposed to the too long a season and the players leaving teams early to return to school?
- Factoids that may interest only me. The final HR totals are in, 384 were hit in 2012 as opposed to 159 last year, a whopping 142% increase. Do you think there’ll be different baseballs next year? Wondering how the Cape League teams estimate their attendance figures. The top 3 hitters in the CCBL were from Cotuit which had to be a first. Meanwhile the Kettleers pitching staff finished 5th in the league in statistics which is impressive given their starters hardly ever lasted into the 5th inning. Dusty Isaacs became the first Kettleer starter to finish 7 innings and it came in the team’s last game.
- I’ll bet the Cape Cod Baseball League made history last November during their Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. In 2010 the league inducted Cotuit’s Lou Merloni and in 2011 the Kettleers’ Paul O’Neill was enshrined. The interesting twist is that both Merloni and O’Neill come from Framingham. What do you think the chances are of two players being inducted in the last two years from the same Cape team and the same home town?
- Here’s the plan for the future. Later this week there’ll be another Kettleers Korner on the season just completed with some things seen during the last 2 months plus. In the off season, we’ll try to have a monthly edition as long as we can generate the material. If you have any ideas or thoughts, please feel free to email them to email@example.com. Thanks for all your comments during the season.
Kettleers Korner will be anything and everything that might interest fans, past and present, about the Kettleers. Roy Reiss, who started his career working for Curt Gowdy Broadcasting, was a former sportscaster on Channel 7 and several radio stations in Boston. His son Mike now covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.