by Roy Reiss
July 7, 2017
With a blink of the eye, half the season rolls by. A few thoughts and observations as we head down the stretch.
Kettleers Coach Mike Roberts has always maintained he’ll know more about his team at the midway mark of the long CCBL season. Ask him what he thinks in the pre-season or in the first few days of the regular season, and he’ll reply “ask me in July.” So here we are a few days into July and we posed the question to the energetic coach. “ I sent this to our Kettleers Team around midnight after the July 3rd Game. This is what I know. Kettleers players: I am so thankful for each one of you. This winter I prayed God would bless me with young men who were just a little more mature as a whole; a little more thoughtful for host families and teammates; and loved the game a little more than many who play; and would cherish playing in this wonderful little village. My prayers were answered with this group & a marvelous coaching staff. “
Dedication Plus — It was quite a few days for Griffin Conine (Duke) as he participated in the College World Series Home Run Derby. The right fielder headed out to Omaha on a Friday, participated in the Derby Saturday and flew back Sunday. Awakened at 4:30 AM, he boarded a flight to Chicago, had an hour layover, flew into Boston, was picked up by his host family, arrived home to grab a bite to eat and got to Lowell Park at 4:25 for a 5 PM game. Going thru two time zones and a whirlwind weekend, Conine then delivered a 3 run double that proved to be the eventual game winning blow. Many players would have taken the day off but Conine’s effort says a lot about the player. Quite a weekend of activity and dedication!
Teaching — Couldn’t help but notice 3 people on the Lowell Park diamond at about 1:45 PM on a Sunday afternoon before a 5 PM game. There was Coach Mike Roberts along with Thomas Dillard (Mississippi) and John Cresto (Santa Clara) going over scoop plays at first base. Over and over the coach would underhand tosses to both to make sure they could scoop up a low, in the dirt throw. The drill lasted for about 30 minutes and was necessitated since the Kettleers regular 1st baseman was out with an injury.
Things That May Interest Only Me — The extended screen from the press box to the 3rd base grandstands has saved many a car windshield this season … Love the home plate umpiring of Pat “Sparky” Burns. You always know and hear what a strike is … Whoever heard of a Lobster Roll at a CCBL ball park? Only at the Kettleers Kitchen … What a great touch the Kettleers logo behind home plate adds to the Lowell Park experience … Clinic nights really bring some excitement to a Kettleers game. Watching the youngsters, parents and grandparents really makes you appreciate what we have in Cotuit!
Quick Hitters — There is nothing like a large crowd at Lowell Park that has plenty of energy … Looks like the 2017 Kettleers have some leadership with second year player Greyson Jenista (Wichita State) understanding what it takes to get through a long season … Love listening to the Kettleers broadcast with Will Greer and Matt Rigby … Really miss Coach Brian Scott … One thing you learn in the CCBL, just make the playoffs and see what happens. In the last 7 years, the team that finished with the best record has yet to win the championship.
Words of Wisdom — Our quote of the month comes from Chatham manager John Schiffner as he announced his retirement at the end of this season after 25 years guiding the Chatham team. “Winning is great and important, but getting to work with these college athletes at such an important point in their lives provides the most rewards. Baseball and teaching have been two of my passions and these came together during my time with the Anglers.”
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.