The Cape Cod Baseball League hosted its annual First Pitch Brunch at the 99 Restaurants in West Yarmouth on Sunday morning. The weather, sunny and 80 degrees, was what many took as a sign for a great season to come.
The brunch, generously hosted by the 99 Restaurants, serves as the official kickoff to the 2014 baseball season. In attendance were personnel from all areas of the league. For many, it was an opportunity to catch up with old friends from years of working side by side in the CCBL. For newcomers, it was a great chance to be introduced to the many faces of the league.
After everyone had gotten acquainted and had a chance to chat, John Garner Jr., director of public relations & broadcasting, took the stand to welcome everyone and introduce the media team for the upcoming season. Garner also introduced a special guest in attendance - Tom Anderson, executive producer of the nationally renowned "60 Minutes Sports." Anderson will be creating a sports feature this summer that will highlight the Cape League. The feature, to be filmed in mid-July, is scheduled to air on Showtime in the fall.
Cape League president Judy Walden Scarafile was next to speak, introducing the 2014 officers and the 99 staff. Tom Cattaneo, operations director of the 99 Restaurants, spoke about the longstanding relationship between the restaurant and the CCBL.
In addition to hosting the brunch, the 99 is one of the league's biggest sponsors. Cattaneo announced that the 99 again will be hosting "Dining for a Cause" night at the 99 Restaurants. Restaurant representatives will attend Cape League games throughout the season to hand out special coupons to fans. When the coupon is presented at any of the 99 Restaurants on Cape Cod on the designated night, a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the league.
Next, it was time for Cape League commissioner Paul Galop to present the 2013 CCBL champion Cotuit Kettleers with their championship banner. The Kettleers finished the 2013 regular season in third place in the Western Division with a final record of 25-18-1. They went on to a 6-2 record in the playoffs, capping their successful 2013 campaign with a convincing sweep of the Orleans Firebirds in the championship series.
Senior vice president Jim Higgins was next to speak, announcing the 2014 CCBL Hall of Fame inductees. The five former Cape League greats who were selected as part of the 2014 Hall of Fame class: Eric Beattie (Bourne, 2003); Sam Fuld (Hyannis, 2003); Donald Hicks Sr., a longtime Mashpee player and former league MVP, who will be inducted posthumously; Bob St. Pierre (Falmouth, 1994); and Phil Corddry (Orleans, 1968).
Following a break for brunch, Rob Bradford of WEEI radio introduced the 2014 field managers, all of whom are returning from last summer and beyond. Bradford listed off the incredible accolades of each individual manager and their body of work with the CCBL before inviting each up to the microphone to share some brief thoughts about the past season as well as this upcoming summer. The field managers for the 2014 Cape League season are as follows: Harvey Shapiro, Bourne Braves; John Altobelli, Brewster Whitecaps; John Schiffner; Chatham Anglers; Mike Roberts, Cotuit Kettleers; Jeff Trundy, Falmouth Commodores; Steve Englert, Harwich Mariners; Chad Gassman, Hyannis Harbor Hawks; Kelly Nicholson, Orleans Firebirds, Cooper Farris, Wareham Gatemen; and Scott Pickler, Y-D Red Sox.
As the brunch came to a close, the excitement and anticipation of the looming 2014 season was palpable. A common theme amongst all who spoke was the hope for yet another outstanding season of fantastic baseball. The passion for the league and the sport as a whole was plain to see as all in attendance were getting prepared to gear up for another season.