By Roy Reiss
July 4, 2012
With another week completed in the glorious Cape season, here’s more observations, perhaps a very little insight, and even more ramblings as we’re about to near the halfway mark of Cape League action (where has the time gone?).
- When Raph Rhymes (LSU) trotted home in the bottom of the first this past Monday on a James Roberts (USC) fielders choice, it marked the first time the Kettleers had scored first in their nine home games to date. Prior to the Kettleers jumping on Bourne, the opposition had scored in the top of the first on 4 occasions and in the top of the second on 3 other occasions. The early deficits makes it pretty hard to find the energy night after night to come back, and it puts quite a burden on your relief core to hold the opposition at bay while your hitters try and get back into the game. This might help explain why the Kettleers are only 4-5 at Lowell Park this season.
- Home runs have been the talk of the league the first few weeks. Has anyone figured out why so many are being hit? 149 have been belted thru Wednesday night this year while 159 were slugged in the entire 2011 season. Coach Mike Roberts believes quite strongly it’s the baseballs being used this year and not a reflection of the pitching. Roberts pointed out the league has gone to a new Diamond ball in gold boxes. In talking with a few scouts Roberts mentioned that the Kettleers used the new balls in batting practice earlier this week and they were hitting shots out of Lowell Park which is a rarity for them. He also said in the July 4th Family Fun Day home run hitting contest, the balls were used and for the first time in 8 years people hit the ball out of Lowell Park.
- Digging a bit deeper into the home run phenomon, Kettleers pitching has surrendered 16 round trippers in 6 of their 9 home dates. The home runs really hurt Cotuit, a team that usually depends on speed rather than power. And falling behind early in games takes the speed advantage away from the Kettleers which is another issue. However, the Cotuit pitching staff hasn’t helped matters as they’ve surrendered an alarming 73 runs in the 9 home dates. Ouch.
- That simmering rivalry between Cotuit and Bourne seems to heat up annually, and sometimes the issue relates to events off the field. The latest example involves Kettleers SS Angel Rosa (Alcorn State) who started the year on the Braves roster as a temporary player. Coach Roberts had been receiving scouting reports on Rosa since the Fall but had yet to actually see him play. His reports from scouts were positive, and when Roberts saw Rosa play against the Kettleers on June 16th, he and GM Bruce Murphy decided to act. They offered Rosa a permanent contract and when Bourne wouldn’t budge off their temporary offer, Rosa changed uniforms right after the completion of the game. Some in Bourne even believe he took the Kettleers bus back to Cotuit after the game.
- It’s kind of interesting to watch different coaches and how they handle playing time for their roster. If you’ve followed the games closely, the Kettleers’ Roberts is quite liberal with his substitutions. In fact if you use a scorebook, it’s usually filled up at the end of each game as he’s been known to use 20-23 players on his roster at various times. Other coaches, even in blowouts, seldom pinch hit and go with their starting nine the entire game. From a coaching standpoint, it must be extremely difficult keeping all 30 players happy with playing time.
- What a fun experience it must be for young Mike Buccino who’s all over Lowell Park this summer snapping pictures of the Kettleers in his role as a Cotuit intern. Of course Buccino’s real goal is to someday play for these Kettleers, and he’s getting some great experience playing shortstop for the Cape Cod Academy Seahawks.
- Here’s the definition of proactive – having the foresight to have special “July 4th Kettleers” hats for sale to fans. That’s been one of the hot sellers this past week at the Kettleers Store under the direction of forward thinking Lise Bourque!
- The Deven Marrero watch. Thru 10 games the former Kettleers SS and #1 draft pick of the Red Sox is hitting .227 with the Lowell Spinners in Class A action. The slick fielding Marrero has yet to commit an error.
- The importance of the regular season in most sports has really been diminished in the last decade with the emphasis being placed instead on how teams perform in the playoffs. Look at this year’s champions in the NFL, MLB and NHL. The NY Giants had the worst record of any playoff team and made the playoffs on the last Sunday of the regular season, yet they won the Super Bowl. The STL Cardinals earned the wild card spot on the final Sunday of the baseball season and went on to eliminate the Texas Rangers in the World Series. And last month the LA Kings, an 8th seeded team, swept their way to the Stanley Cup knocking off the top, 2nd and 3rd seeded teams in their conference before ousting New Jersey. And that brings us to the Cape Cod Baseball League. Let’s see what unfolds next month!
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.