by Roy Reiss
May 1, 2014
After the long, cold, snowy winter here on Cape Cod, it’s hard to believe baseball will be back in full force in one month’s time as the Kettleers open their 68th season of play. And when the loyal Kettleers fans come to Lowell Park they’ll be surprised to see new modern dugouts as well as a new 3rd base grandstand. The “field of dreams” continues to be the jewel of Cape Cod, yet it’s been a lot of hard work and dedication over the years to maintain this beautiful ballpark. With the help of Arnold Mycock, who has seen everything over his illustrious career with the Kettleers, let’s detail the history of all the improvements of this pristine park.
1947 – Cotuit Kettleers join Upper Cape Cod Baseball League with Lowell Park as its home field.
1950 – Lowell Park begins to be partially maintained by the Cotuit Athletic Association, a newly formed organization, by supplying volunteer labor.
1952 – Grass planted in infield supplanting a “skinned” or dirt infield. Center and right fields were bulldozed to the dimensions appearing today. Loam spread on outfield, most heavily in right field where a sand pit had previously existed.
1959 – Centerfield flag pole moved from the Old Marstons Mills Elementary School (currently the John-Lawrence Funeral Home) to Lowell Park.
1961 – Wooden post and wire outfield fence erected, foul line to foul line. Backstop (piping and chain link) erected with benches behind backstop.
1963 – Old wooden grandstand replaced by new, steel, 504-seat grandstand (with wood plank seats) along third base line.
1964 – First-base and third-base dugouts erected. Wooden post and wire fence erected from foul poles to new dugouts. Original irrigation system (one infield head & three outfield heads in outfield) installed by Cotuit Water Department.
1965 – New restrooms built. Building contains two toilets and one sink in each of the men’s and women’s restrooms
1966 – Parking lots paved (never repaved since).
1967 – Open air press box and first scoreboard (balls, strikes, and outs) erected to compliment a manual scoreboard.
1969 – Entrance to Lowell Park beautified by stone work and shrubbery. Rebuilt water shut-off meter and drainage pit near backstop.
1971 – Right side foul line fencing erected.
1980 – New backstop screening installed.
1982 – Cinder block press box built, replacing the original open air press box. Six-foot outfield fence erected, replacing original wood and wire fence.
1984 – Purchased and installed a Fairplay electric scoreboard installed beyond left field fence.
1991 – New right field foul line fencing installed, replacing old fencing. Infield re-sodded. New irrigation system with nine sprinkler heads installed.
1993 – New 24’x28’ utility building erected housing equipment room, concession stand, and baseball merchandise store with full basement for tractors, lawn mowers and tools. Alarm system installed in utility building.
1995 – Cellar entry in utility building completed and drainage/septic system completed. Installed poles to hang safety netting in front of home grandstands.
1996 – Flagpole painted with new halyard. Infield/outfield irrigation system installed with deep well and pump. Field maintenance is now independent of the town’s water supply.
1998 – Both dugouts enlarged. Alarm system connected to all buildings.
1999 – Outside stairway to Press Box installed along with new access door. Home bullpen moved to end of left field foul line.
2000 – Backflow valve installed between original irrigation system and Cotuit Water District main connecting us to district water system.
2001 – Centerfield was leveled with new loam & seed.
2002 – Pair of steel reinforced, 25 feet high, painted foul poles installed.
2003 – Infield foul lines sodded. New sound system purchased and installed along with six speakers throughout the park. Speakers were installed on foul poles (2), press box building (2), and two new poles (2) behind grandstands which were erected. Press box building, built in 1982, demolished to make room for new press box building.
2004 – New, state-of-the-art Press Box is constructed. Building contains merchandise store, office, announcing booth, internet broadcasting booth, and VIP suite. Roof is green metal. New backstop erected. New fencing added around home bullpen. New home bullpen bench erected.
2005 – Commemorative engraved bricks installed in the ground adjacent to press box building and concrete installed around remainder of press box building. Stone wall erected at parking lot entrance. Fencing installed in front of both dugouts. New double gate installed behind third base line.
2006 – Crushed stone parking area created on west side of parking lot. Second phase of commemorative engraved bricks installed in the ground adjacent to backstop and home grandstands along with concrete areas forming a plaza style atmosphere.
2007 – Entire infield and 50% of outfield completely resurfaced and a new irrigation system installed in all resurfaced areas.
2007 – New fencing replaces existing fencing along entire left field and right field lines as well as most of the backstop and infield sections.
2007 – New grandstands installed along the first-base side of the field. New grandstands accommodate 429 people and are fully wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant. Safety netting also installed in front of grandstands.
2007 – Third phase of commemorative engraved bricks installed in the ground adjacent to backstop and third-base grandstands.
2009 – Purchased and installed a new, state-of-the-art Daktronics electronic scoreboard beyond left centerfield fence. New scoreboard replaces a Fairplay scoreboard purchased and installed in 1984.
2011 – New visitor’s bullpen bench constructed.
2013 – New 24’ x 24’ restroom facility is constructed. Building contains five toilets and two sinks in each of the men’s and women’s restrooms, meeting space, and trophy case. Roof is made of green metal.
2013 – Renovated kitchen building. Replaced all cabinets, countertop, and flooring in kitchen. Constructed new 12’ x 12’ addition off the rear of the building which includes a similar full size basement with garage door access for storage of equipment and supplies. Roof is made of green metal.
2013 – Built 24’ x 24’ red paver patio and constructed a 24’ x 24’ wood pergola. Patio area includes a teak seating structure.
2013 – Fourth phase of commemorative engraved bricks installed in the ground adjacent to backstop and third-base grandstands.
Alumni Quickies – Hunter Cole (Georgia) leads the Bulldogs in hitting with a .314 average and continues to anchor their infield at 3rd base. Cole was the Kettleers center fielder last summer….. Pitchers Eric Karch 2013 (Pepperdine) and Joel Seddon 2013 (South Carolina) have been named to the Watch List for Stopper of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association…..Through the last week of April two former Kettleers were second and third in the Double A Southern League in batting average. Curt Casali (2010) was hitting .364 while Micah Johnson (2011) was hitting .360….Catcher James McCann who had that clutch hit in the championship run in 2010 is on the Tigers Triple A Toledo Mud Hens roster and is hitting .297.
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.com.