By Roy Reiss
July 26, 2012
As we get close to what we like to call the dog days of summer, here’s some observations of what’s transpired up to this point, a very little insight, and some rambling thoughts from a very interested observer.
- It’s the Cotuit version of the old Wally Pipp/Lou Gehrig situation. Remember it was an injury to 1st baseman Pipp that gave Gehrig, a future Hall of Famer, the opportunity to play with the Yankees. How about the Kettleers Tim Kiene/Mike Ford situation. Kiene (Maryland) hurt his hand early in the season and was sidelined for several weeks. Ford (Princeton) who started the season pitching for Cotuit got his chance to step in to play first base and hasn’t looked back since. The free swinging lefty has been one of the Kettleers most consistent and clutch hitters this season (.318 average, 13 rbi). Yet if it weren’t for an unfortunate injury, Ford might not have had his opportunity to shine. Coaches in all sports preach that you better be ready when the opportunity presents itself. Ford certainly heeded the advice
- There’s nothing quite like the All Star selection process to start raging debates. The Kettleers landed Patrick Biondi (Michigan), Jacob May (Coastal Carolina) and Dan Slania (Notre Dame) on the West Division team set to play Saturday yet several other players were worthy of being selected in this observer’s mind. The most glaring Cotuit omission had to be middle reliever Ryan Connolly (Coastal Carolina) who just may be the team’s MVP. Connolly has appeared in 17 of 32 games and been a critical contributor to the Kettleers winning ways. He’s kept his team in the game during the crucial stages, eaten up valuable innings, and given them a chance to win tight games. Unfortunately today’s voters usually look to starters and closers, and seldom spend any time evaluating the value of the middle reliever. A case could also be made for Tony Kemp (Vanderbilt) who probably was hurt by his own versatility of being a 2nd baseman and outfielder. Where do you put the little sparkplug who makes things happen (.353average) and leads the Kettleers in runs batted in?
- Coach Mike Roberts has experienced a lot of things in 9 years at the helm of the Kettleers. Yet his team has never won 7 in a row as this year’s edition did between July 6th and 14th. During the streak the Kettleers wrapped out 93 hits, which is an average of slightly over 13 hits per game, and 51 runs, which is an average of just over 7 runs per game. It was this streak that catapulted the Kettleers to the top of the Western Division as they head down the stretch of the grueling 44 game schedule. And it certainly will be the critical turning point to the 2012 campaign.
- Take a bow John Cannavo of Sandwich who works in the Kettleers Kitchen and is the author of the highly entertaining Trivia Questions during Cotuit home games. An avid sports fan John is headed to George Washington University this fall to major in political science.
- Questions, questions, questions. Is there anyone who works as hard and seeks less publicity than Alan Blanchette who oversees the beauty and elegance of Lowell Park as well as numerous other chores for the CAA? Hasn’t the umpiring been better this summer than in 2011? Has anyone ever counted the number of foul balls during a 9 inning game at Lowell Park? Isn’t one of the best pre game ceremonies when the house parents get recognized for their outstanding contribution to the Kettleers program?
- He’s big and broad and reminds old timers of former Red Sox ace reliever Dick Radatz, who was affectionately called The Monster. But speaking to Cotuit closer Dan Slania, who was just named CCBL Pitcher of the Week and a West Division All Star last week, you get a mild mannered, polite college student who up close and personal doesn’t portray the fire and intensity of a baseball closer. Furthermore, the Tucson resident is majoring in Information Technology Management at Notre Dame which he hopes will lead to a consulting job with a major company where he studies and analyzes data. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a major league closer!
- Speaking of Slania, his two outings against Chatham and Harwich this past week were two of the most dominating efforts you’ll ever see from any reliever. Against the Anglers he struck out the side in the 9th inning on 11 pitches, throwing 10 strikes. Against the Mariners he pitched 1.2 innings and struck out 4 of the 5 batters faced, throwing 18 strikes out of 22 pitches. What a performance!
- Factoids that may only interest me. The Kettleers pitching staff has blown away the competition this past week. During the current 5 game win skein (Chatham, Hyannis, Harwich, Y-D, and Falmouth), they’ve allowed a total of 10 runs while striking out 56, 17 coming against the homer happy Mariners. Meanwhile the only team the Kettleers have yet to beat this year is Orleans.
- The Deven Marrero watch. Thru 30 games the former Kettleers SS and #1 draft pick of the Red Sox is hitting .286 with the Lowell Spinners in Class A action. Marrero has committed 9 errors in the field, 6 coming this past week.
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.