By Roy Reiss
June 24, 2014
Let’s get in the swing of things with a mixed bag of observations, some rambling thoughts after a few games of the Cape season, and perhaps a very little insight
Splintered Bats. It’s difficult to notice any baseball trends this early in the 44 game Cape League season as teams are just trying to get to know one another. However if you were at the Kettleers first several home games you did come away with one distinct impression-a high number of broken bats!
One had to wonder if it was because of the switch to wooden bats after using aluminum bats all collegiate season. Kettleers coach Mike Roberts quickly downplayed that reasoning and offered a unique perspective.
“It’s because the players are all swinging with their shoulders instead of using their hands. That’s what’s happening in baseball today, players are simply not swinging the bat with the proper hand motion.”
Strength in Numbers. Last year the Kettleers started the season with 4 catchers on their roster, but quickly saw that number reduced to one a few weeks into the season. In fact Nolan Clark (Concordia) who began as a temporary player, 4th on the depth chart, quickly found himself catching something like 20 straight games in the extreme heat and humidity in 2013. Turn the calendar to a new year and the Kettleers are once again well stocked at the receiver position. Jameson Fisher (SE Louisiana) has the versatility to play 1st base as well. The same can be said for Tres Barrera (Texas) who is still involved in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. Meanwhile GM Bruce Murphy has brought in Casey Schroeder (Polk State) and Ian Rice (Chippola College) as temporary players to battle for a permanent position. The lesson, you can never have enough catchers to get through the long Cape season.
Rambling observations. You simply won’t see any better shortstop play than what you witness from Kettleers SS Kyle Holder (San Diego). The youngster moves with such grace and has a strong arm to compliment the ground he can cover. Some long time Cotuit observers were even comparing Holder to Deven Marrero (2010-11) who is now playing SS for the Red Sox farm club in Portland … Don’t think you can expect to compete when your starting pitchers can’t get you into the 5th or 6th innings. That’s a quick recipe to burn out your bullpen … Have never seen as many wild pitches by the pitchers in the warmups (not in regular game action!) as witnessed this year … Nice return for Austin Byler (Nevada) as in his first game back with the Kettleers he slugs a home run and double while making a defensive web gem as well … Baseball can be a maddening game when you hit and don’t pitch, or you pitch but don’t hit. Just ask the Kettleers who have experienced the ups and downs of the hitting and pitching merry-go-round.
Other quick hit thoughts. We always knew the Kettleers Kitchen operated by Rich Pimental had the widest array of menu items, but little did we know they had the biggest spatchler to flip those delicious hamburgers on the grill. Master chef Doug Wheeler found this beauty somewhere in Key West … It’s kind of interesting to see the look on the faces of opposing teams as they come into Lowell Park. The new spacious dugouts and 3rd base grandstands are certainly eye catching items as the clubs file off their bus … Always like to see former Kettleers return and look up their former GM Arnold Mycock. The latest was Tony Capo (Holy Cross) who starred on the 1961-62-63 teams. Capo patrolled center field back in those days and was the MVP in 1962. Mycock called him one of the best center fielders he’s seen as the Osterville resident led the Kettleers to 3 sraight championships and regular season records of 24-4, 25-5 and 28-4 … No one can display items better than Lise Bourque at the Kettleers Store. Everything is so neatly displayed and easy to see … Is it my imagination or has Nikki Chevalier reached a new level in singing the national anthem. Her stirring renditions are simply a magnificent way to start every home game!
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.