By Roy Reiss
July 1, 2014
It seems like just yesterday the Kettleers opened the season against Hyannis and here we are almost half way through the schedule. There’s a need for some observations, perhaps a little insight and just a few rambling thoughts.
Every year Mike Roberts has coached the Kettleers he has always said, “you never know what you have on your team until around July 1st.” Just wondering if the coach has a good read on his 28 man roster heading into the 2nd month of play. The first half has been like a roller coaster ride with short winning and losing streaks. As we enter July the pitching staff has the dubious league distinction of most hit batsmen, most wild pitches, and most walks issued. The starters have not completed 6 innings in any game and have been fortunate to complete 3 innings in most. Roberts, known for his aggressive coaching style on the basepaths, has seen his runners picked off or thrown out 15 times in 43 stolen base attempts while runs for the most part have been difficult to come by. With the roster churning on an almost daily basis, it’s not easy for players to fill various roles and understand a team concept. So here comes the final 25 or so games and, if history has told us anything, Coach Roberts usually finds a way to mold the team down the stretch and turn them into a cohesive unit that’s extremely dangerous come playoff time. So July has now begun and what happens from here will be most interesting to watch.
Scheduling Quirks. Just a few years back Arnold Mycock compiled the entire Cape League schedule by hand. Then came computers and technology – out went the personal touch and everyone accepted what the computers delivered. Yet you have to wonder if we’re missing a little something on the personal side. For example the Kettleers will meet Falmouth for the first time in their 19th game of the season, and they’ll meet the Commodores 6 times in the final 25 games. They’ll have played every team at least once before meeting Falmouth. They’ve met Hyannis, which most fans think is their traditional rival, four times before meeting Falmouth. It’s not easy making up a league schedule and you’ll always find something to complain about. However, it seems like someone in charge could have scheduled at least one game against Falmouth before entering July.
Roster Moves. So you want to be a general manager in the Cape League? Check out the transaction page on the Cape Cod Baseball League web site on a daily basis and you’ll discover every team is juggling its roster, releasing and activating players. If memory serves us correctly, in 2013 the Kettleers had a total of 55 players on the roster throughout the long season. Unofficially we have only 11 members remaining from the current Cotuit roster who started the season with the Kettleers when they opened versus Hyannis. You can be sure there’ll be more in the next few days and even weeks!
Rambling Thoughts. The Cape League has always been known as a pitcher’s league but over the last few years it seems like the quality of the pitching has dipped a bit. Maybe it’s because the college coaches are shutting down their top hurlers and limiting the number of innings any pitcher throws. You simply don’t see the aces of the major collegiate baseball programs any more. Instead you’re seeing pitchers from smaller schools who are getting a chance to show their stuff in the nation’s premier summer collegiate league … Just two years ago we were talking about the live baseball being used in CCBL play. If you recall there were 149 home runs hit at this time of the regular season. Fast forward to 2014 and presently only 76 have been hit. Seems like the problem has been solved … And it’s real strange to see a Cotuit player (Austin Byler-Nevada) leading the league in homers while Logan Taylor (Texas A&M) is tied for runner up with 3 round trippers. And the small ball Kettleers are second in the league in home runs after their 4 long balls against Bourne Monday night … Byler has left the team for the Washington Nationals farm system. His departure is reminiscent of that of Mike Ford in 2013 when both homered in their last game while leading the league in either hitting or home runs.
Questions, questions, questions? Who do you think is the most likely CCBL team to win the Mycock Trophy right now? … How does umpire Pat Burns maintain his voice behind the plate for an entire game making such loud calls on balls and strikes? … Doesn’t the Lowell Park radar gun add to the overall baseball experience? … How about the job Jody Cabral-Petzold and Joanne Crossen do each year on housing the players? … Did you ever wonder how many baseballs are fouled off out of play in any game?
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.