by Zach Kaplan
Penn State University
July 17, 2018
BOSTON—No one forgets the first time they emerge from the concourse and look out at Fenway Park.
They see the Green Monster with its manual scoreboard, and the Citgo sign that emerges behind it. The right field corner with Pesky Pole towering high with signatures encapsulating the yellow marker. The center field triangle where inside-the-park home runs have bounced around and diving catches have been made.
Throughout history, Red Sox players have come and gone, and the one constant among all of them has been the architectural “bandbox” that is Fenway Park.
On Monday, the Kettleers themselves got to experience hitting, fielding, and running in the 106-year-old ballpark. While the Kettleers hail from schools spanning the country, none of them took the opportunity to participate in drills at the historic ballpark for granted.
“Its a ton of fun to be out here,” said Michael Toglia (UCLA). “Its not so much intimidating as it is awestruck. You don’t have too many opportunities to play in a big-league park.”
Both Toglia and Thomas Dillard (Ole Miss), who attended last year’s workout at Fenway, were thankful that the weather cooperated this year, after last year’s event was mainly moved indoors.
[Last year], we got rained out and we had to hit the cage inside,” said Dillard. “We’re lucky this year that we got to come on a beautiful day.”
“Last year was kind of disappointing, and we had to hit underground in the cage,” Toglia remarked. Its just nothing like this.”
Position players comprised most of the traveling party for Cotuit, as they ran a 60-yard dash, hit batting practice, and took ground balls on Fenway’s famed infield.
Zach Biermann (Coastal Carolina) couldn’t help but think of the greats who stood where he did in center field as he warmed up for the 60-whatever it is dash.
““I was standing in center field before we ran the 60 [yard dash] and I couldn’t help but think about the history thats here,” said Biermann. “It makes you appreciate it that much more.”
While the outfield dimensions of Fenway Park are similar in some ways to other Cape League parks, the players acknowledged how different it feels looking around at over 37,000 seats, making the park feel bigger.
“Its the history that makes it feel different,” Biermann explained. “You know its Fenway, the Green Monster is over there and its 37 feet high. “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
“I think the amount of stands that are here makes you see how big the park actually is,” said Dillard. “To be able to say I’ve hit batting practice here is pretty cool.”
As the Kettleers made their way around the park for the various drills, they couldn’t help but think of the history of the old ballpark.
Ruth, Williams, Yaz, Ortiz, Bradley Jr. and Betts were just a few of the names in mind for the Cotuit ballplayers on Monday.
“Its a very stoic place, and its hard not to talk about the history,” said Dillard.
“Knowing how many greats have been here and are here right now is pretty inspiring,” offered Toglia.
The Kettleers will be back at their familiar confines at Lowell Park on Tuesday, as they host the Harwich Mariners. First pitch is set for 5:00 p.m.
For a video recap of yesterday’s workout, check out Mason Horodyski’s (Syracuse) video below.