By Roy Reiss
August 21, 2017
Photos by Joe Cavanaugh
It seems like just yesterday we were ushering in another Kettleers season with the Annual Welcome Party. Several weeks later the season has come to an abrupt end as it does every year. Win or lose, the activity suddenly stops and all you have left are the memories from another special nine weeks of baseball at the most beautiful ballpark you could imagine. So here’s one man’s thoughts on the sights, scenes and things that I’ll cherish from 2017.
July 19 Hyannis Game — The celebration following the 11-4 victory was special with Coach Mike Roberts winning his 300th Cape League game and being presented a special Barnstable Bat by his two grandsons. The emotional coach had a hard time fighting back the tears. While it was a significant personal achievement, it was also the moment Coach Roberts knew he had a team that wouldn’t quit. They battled back from a 4-0 deficit and found a way to pull out another victory. It was such a meaningful win on two fronts.
2017 Team Makeup — When you think of the makeup of a Mike Roberts team you immediately think speed and base running. A trademark of a Roberts team is putting pressure on opposing teams with daring base running. They usually always lead the league in stolen base attempts yet in 2017 the Kettleers had the 6th most stolen base attempts in the league. In the past Kettleers teams usually always scrape for runs and rarely depend on the long ball. That was hardly the case in 2017 as this edition socked 38 home runs and finished 2nd in the league in that category. Another key team statistic was defense as the Kettleers displayed a solid infield defense over the 44 game regular season, committing the 3rd fewest errors in the league.
The Perfect Assistant Coach — The calming influence of Trey McCall was felt from start to finish. The encouragement he’d shout in such a nice tone, the simple way he carried himself earned the respect of 45 players who wore the Kettleers uniform this summer. He’s the assistant coach extraordinaire!
Community Involvement — The regular season is always a community happening for the village of Cotuit as so many things revolve around what happens down at Lowell Park. This year under the leadership of volunteer Don LeSieur there was always a very special buzz at the park. Whether it was Ladies Day or an I Love the Kettleers contest or a Tribute to the Fire and Police Departments or the Kettleers logo on the grass behind home plate or special pins being handed out, there was a special feeling of excitement that resonated with the fans.
Going the Extra Mile — What exactly does that mean and how does it translate to the 2017 Kettleers? Most of the players are here to showcase their talent and impress scouts but some like pitcher Kyle Kemp are willing to do the extra things that don’t show up in the box scores. The numbers for the Lipscomb right-hander aren’t overly impressive, but what’s caught the coaching staff’s eye has been his volunteering to assist in manicuring the field prior to home games. Kemp has taken it upon himself to get the batter’s box and catching area lined up and ready each and every game. It’s that kind of attitude, going the extra mile without being asked, that’s sure to win the favor of any coach!!!!
Images that Stand Out — It’s 8:45 AM on a Tuesday morning. The team has just played 3 games in a span of 38 hours which rarely, if ever, occurs in the Cape League. Yet there’s coach McCall mowing the infield grass at Lowell Park … The smile you always see on Jen Rose’s face when you approach the Kettleers Store … The upbeat positive attitude of intern Will Glenn … The never too high, never too low presence of Griffin Conine who just seemed to have the perfect balance in his approach to summer baseball … Chatham Coach John Schiffner waving to the Cotuit crowd as they cited his long tenure in his final Lowell Park appearance … Simply love the special camp nights at Lowell Park. Watching the youngsters interact with the players while parents and grandparents surround the field is something special … volunteer Alan Gladstone always trying to keep the home crowd “up and into the game” by leading cheers … the great landscaping work Eagle Scout Ian Cole did underneath the centerfield scoreboard … Coach Mike Roberts in perpetual motion every minute of every day!
Some Personal Thoughts — Thanks to Alan Blanchette for organizing all the music and sounds this year. Thanks to Joe Cavanaugh for delivering great photos. We ask, he always delivers. Thanks also to Martha Johnston for all her technical expertise and assistance with the sound system. And while we’re at it, thanks also to Carol and Mark at the Kettleers Kitchen for their friendship and hospitality … What fun we had in the work area of the press box during games with intern Michael Segel and the various official scorers. There’s no one faster than Michael on the scoreboard. I always tell him by the time he graduates from high school, he’ll have earned a PHD in scoreboard operation … The best part of every summer is meeting old friends and new people and the summer of 2017 didn’t disappoint. We had many such moments and memories which now are history.
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.