By Roy Reiss
June 4, 2013
Are you ready for some baseball? As the calendar turns to June the much anticipated Kettleers season is just around the corner. Here’s 5 things I’ll be looking for as we get set for 44 regular season games and hopefully some playoff action at magnificent Lowell Park.
Who will emerge as a leader or spark for the 2013 edition of Kettleers? Most of the Kettleers are highly regarded players for their collegiate teams so it’s rather difficult to separate yourself from your peers and assume that leadership role. It could be a returning 2nd year player such as Patrick Biondi last year (perhaps Aramis Garcia this year), but it requires a certain type of personality to feel comfortable around your teammates while acting in a leadership role.
How will the chemistry evolve over the course of the grueling 44 game schedule? It’s an intangible that every team in every sport must have if it wants to be successful. Every coach tries to bottle a formula for creating that elusive chemistry, yet it develops on its own with the 30 players on the roster. Watching the process is both fascinating and interesting. For long time Kettleers followers it was simply the addition of Daniel Aldrich on July 4th last year that provided a lift for the Kettleers the rest of the way.
Which individual players will improve their stock as major league scouts descend on Cape Cod? While it’s a team game, make no mistake the players want to impress scouts so to help their draft status the following summer. Thinking back to last year three players stand out. Adam Nelubowich came to Cotuit as an outfielder and wound up as a nifty 3rd baseman and leadoff hitter. Mike Ford was a pitcher who eventually played first base and delivered big time, consistent hitting throughout the year. And pitcher Kyle Finnegan came up with a strong second and third pitch to improve his status as the season went along.
Can coach Mike Roberts work his teaching magic again with a talented hurler who needs to rediscover his winning ways? Last year it was southpaw Kevin Ziomek who benefitted from Roberts work and developed into one of the league’s top hurlers and eventually became the ace of Vanderbilt’s staff this season. A 2013 candidate would be Arizona State’s Adam McCreery who hasn’t been able to harness his talent through 2 years of collegiate play. If it ever comes together for the 6’9” southpaw, watch out because McCreery seems to have all the necessary tools to be a formidable pitcher.
What kind of start will the Kettleers get off to with many of their contracted players still participating in the NCAA Division One Baseball Tournament? The first few weeks of the Cape season are filled with temporary players looking to make their mark and stick with teams. It’s usually around the end of the month that coaches know what type of team they have. It’ll be something to watch as the action unfolds around Lowell Park and 9 other fields around the Cape.
A couple of quick thoughts before we hear those magical words “Have a Hit”! Can hardly wait to see what Martha Johnston has planned for the beautiful new trophy case in front of the refurbished rest room facility that was just completed in Phase One of the Capital Project. While on the subject of something new, how about the many new items being offered at the Kettleers Kitchen such as salads, wraps and burgers. Finally what’s the secret when fishing if you want to land a big one? Well Joe Cavanaugh, one of the Kettleers official photographers, has the answer. Make sure you’re wearing a Kettleers hat when you throw your line in the water!
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.