by Roy Reiss
Main Street in Cotuit is relatively quiet now. There’s not much noise emanating from an empty Lowell Park as the 2016 Cape Baseball season is over. The much anticipated season has come and gone in whirlwind fashion. So much happened over the 8 week stretch that at times it’s difficult to remember. So here’s one man’s memories of sights, scenes, and things that I’ll cherish from 2016..
Welcome Party — It’s always great to see all the familiar faces who’ve been involved with the Kettleers over the years kick off a new season. Volunteers, house parents and the many kids who idolize the players have jammed into a hot school cafeteria to usher in 2016. And there’s the new faces of the players and interns who are experiencing this unique affair for the first time. What a great mixture of old and new! And who can forget the emotional welcome from coach Mike Roberts who is about to enter his 13th seasons at the helm of the Kettleers.
A June Meeting — It’s late June and the Kettleers have stumbled to a 1-12 start. Along the right field fence down the first base line several hours before the first pitch will be thrown are 2 familiar figures talking for about 20 minutes. Coach Roberts and former league President Judy Walden Scarafile are having a social visit. You’d love to know what they were discussing but you realize that’ll never happen.
A New Leader — Chuck Sturtevant, the newly-elected President of the CCBL visits Lowell Park several times during the course of the season and his calm presence seems to reflect something positive in future years. He’s approachable and willing to discuss anything, which is so refreshing in our present environment.
Emptiness — It just wasn’t the same without Arnold Mycock sitting in his familiar position at Lowell Park. Yet the moving tribute on a sweltering Saturday in July was something that anyone who was present will remember for a long time. It was that special!
Adjusting to Change — And then there was Mary Agostinelli replacing Nikki Chevalier, who had moved to another part of the country, singing our National Anthem at the majority of the Kettleers home games. Nothing ever stays the same and this was just one more adjustment that longtime fans had to make.
Pitching Development — Funny, but ace Colton Hock (Stanford) didn’t start many games at Lowell Park, while Justin Hooper (UCLA) and Jason Bilous (Coastal Carolina) did. Watching the tall southpaw Hooper reminded fans of Randy Johnson. He wore the same number, looked to be the same height and had the long hair. He hadn’t pitched much in school but by the end of the season, Hooper looked like a fairly polished pitcher. And Bilous who came after his collegiate team won the World Series struggled mightily until his last two starts when he really looked sharp. It was another reminder that most Cape pitchers aren’t the standouts for their college teams, so they need time to develop.
Community Involvement — The season isn’t just about baseball on the diamond. The Kettleers try and get involved in the community through clinics and special promotions. It was kind of neat to watch pitcher Alec Byrd (Florida State) meet and greet four generations of the Chisholm family at The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod in Marstons Mills. The Kettleers brand has quite an impact in the community.
Someone I’ll always Remember — Brian Scott has been a loyal coaching lieutenant for many seasons in Cotuit. He’s so affable, so friendly, so nice, yet we may have seen the last of Scott. He and his lovely bride are expecting their first child this winter and it may be extremely difficult for him to be away in 2017. If that happens, he’ll be missed by many Kettleers fans.
Images that Stand Out — The three Flaherty brothers (Peter, Will and Matt) and how much the Kettleers mean to them … Volunteer Joe Cavanaugh so gracefully trotting from left field to right field to get the perfect angle for his next photograph … Intern Jon Perez and Halley Harris working tirelessly to produce the Kettle Talk Highlight Show … Intern Jon Mettus knowing when and how to ask questions during an interview session … The season has just ended, the team has had their final team meeting, and there’s A.J. Balta throwing a Frisbee with a young Kettleers fan. A picture perfect ending to the 2016 season!
A Personal Thought — When you spend 22 games working in a small area during home games surrounded by the same people, you develop a bond. That’s the way it was in the official scorer’s room as young Michael Segel worked the scoreboard to perfection, while Alec Perrera was a very decisive official scorer during the Kettleers home games. And we always had an ice pop treat when Alan Blanchette would visit. We had loads of fun, plenty of baseball discussion, some Red Sox chatter, and even a few laughs, all of which made for another eventful summer at Lowell Park.
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.