story by Steve McCarthy
June 21, 2010
COTUIT – It is only fitting for a league defined by selfless effort to honor the organizations that beat them to it.
Each Friday this summer, the Cape Cod Baseball League will pay tribute to the United States’ armed forces with home teams sporting commemorative red jerseys, featuring red, white, and blue ribbon patches. Each of the league’s 10 franchises are encouraged to invite service personnel to pre-game ceremonies and accept donations to benefit a charity of their choice.
Advanced Embroidery of Hyannis, a supplier of league merchandise, and Eye Health Services are co-sponsors of the Cape League’s Red Shirt Friday efforts. Teams will not be required to cover the cost of the alternate jerseys.
Cotuit Athletic Association member Bob Scotti and Cotuit Kettleers General Manager Bruce Murphy have taken the reigns of the Kettleers’ Red Shirt Friday activities and are hoping to provide an example for other franchises to follow. Scotti said all five of Cotuit’s Friday home dates have been booked with military, police, and fire department guests. Donations offered in Cotuit will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which according to its website responds to the needs of severely injured servicemen and women. Basic goods will also be accepted and delivered to troops.
“Putting themselves in harm’s way and being away from their families, (Military personnel) really should be recognized as the true heroes of our country,” Scotti said.
Red Shirt Fridays is a national organization with a mission statement of showing support for servicemen and women. The organization is not politically oriented and does not take a stance on war decisions. Its goal is to vocalize support for the sacrifice of servicemen and women.
“We’re hoping our fans will pick up on the theme, as our interns and a lot of our volunteers and staff will be wearing red Support The Troops tee-shirts,” Murphy said. “We’re hoping it’s going to catch on and there will be a lot of red throughout the stands on those Fridays.”
U.S. Army Reserve Movements Supervisor Travis Andrade, who has served two tours in Iraq and is also the Sturgis Charter Public School baseball coach, was part of Cotuit’s first Red Shirt Friday on June 18. Sturgis plays its home games at Cotuit’s Lowell Park.
“It’s an excellent program,” Andrade said. “I can only speak for myself, but knowing soldiers the way that I do, the guys overseas really appreciate stuff like this, because they don’t have any role in deciding why they’re there. They just have to be there, and knowing that the folks back home still support them, regardless of how they feel about the war, is important.”