CCBL Commissioner Paul Galop; John Garner, Director of Public Relations; Tom Cattaneo, Director of Operations for the 99; WEEIs Rob Bradford; and League President Chuck Sturtevant are ready to kick off the First Pitch Brunch
WEST YARMOUTH, Mass. – The Cape Cod Baseball League held its annual First Pitch Brunch on Sunday morning, kicking off the 2016 season at the Ninety Nine Restaurant in West Yarmouth.
Chuck Sturtevant was introduced as the new league President, taking over for Judy Walden Scarafile following her 24 years as the league’s President. Sturtevant is beginning his 30th season with the Cape League and had served as General Manager of the Bourne Braves in his most recent role. “It’s an honor to represent the best amateur baseball league in the country,” said Sturtevant. “I want to thank all of you for your efforts over the years and we couldn't do this without all of the volunteers and sponsors.”
The day began with John Garner Jr., Director of Public Relations, introducing the Cape League commissioner Paul Galop. Galop began by welcoming everyone to “hell week,” as the season will begin with 163 players competing in the NCAA Championship Tournament. The plethora of players still playing in the college season means that there will be high turnover for host families in the coming weeks, and Galop urged the host families to “bear with us” as the players move onto the Cape.
Following Galop was Tom Cattaneo, Director of Operations of the West Yarmouth Ninety Nine Restaurant, who discussed how mutually beneficial the league’s relationship with the restaurant is. “We get very involved in the communities around the Cape, and we couldn’t do that without the help from [the Cape League],” said Cattaneo. Cattaneo went on to discuss how his restaurants raised more than $1.6 million last year alone to benefit organizations such as the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Pine Street Inn.
Y-D Red Sox President Ed Pereira, GM Steve Faucher, and Manager Scott Pickler, are all smiles as Commissioner Paul Galop and league President Chuck Sturtevant present the 2015 CCBL Championship banner
Next up was Jim Higgins, the Senior Vice President, to introduce the Hall of Fame Class of 2016. Six players were inducted this year, headlined by current St. Louis Cardinals’ infielder and Orleans Firebird ‘10, Kolten Wong. Joining Wong are J.C. Holt (Brewster’03), Warner Jones (Wareham ’04), Mark Petkovsek (Chatham ’86), Jim McCollom (Falmouth ’84) and Kyle Roller (Bourne ’10). Higgins also announced the Fred Ebbett Lifetime Achievement Award winner, which is named after the league’s former commissioner. This year’s recipient is Bob St. Pierre of the Wareham Gatemen.
Not only was Sturtevant introduced as the new league president, he also had the honor of presenting the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox front office staff and head coach Scott Pickler with their second consecutive Cape League championship banner prior to the break of the event.
Following the meal, there was a brief moment of silence to honor the loss of three league icons in Red Wilson, a Hall-of-Fame Manager for the Y-D Red Sox; Arnold Mycock, “Mr. Cotuit Kettleer;” and Joe Sherman, Senior Writer and Editor for the league.
The introduction of WEEI’s Rob Bradford followed the moment of silence, as Bradford was tasked with introducing the league’s 10 managers. It was Bradford’s third consecutive season as the master of ceremonies for the brunch, and he infused the day with humorous remarks and stories of Cape League memories from the Red Sox clubhouse. “Players have great stories and memories [from the Cape], and talking about the league lifts their demeanor drastically,” says Bradford. “You all had an enormous impact on these guys.”
The league’s 10 managers this season are Harvey Shapiro, Bourne Braves; Jamie Shevchik, 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; Jerry Weinstein, Wareham Gatemen and Pickler, Y-D Red Sox.
Nicholson was unable to be in attendance, but his assistant, Benny Craig, delivered one of the most memorable quotes of the day from Nicholson. “Every manager is a friend, and there is no doubt the relationships formed with [all of the managers] have been a highlight of my Cape experience,” wrote Nicholson. “They are all outstanding managers and better men.”
Nicholson was just one of many who spoke fondly of the other managers in the league, as each manager thanked the staff of the league office and the league’s sponsors. Gassman went on to say, “Coaches, managers, mentors and facilitators all help these players grow into fine young men.”
Falmouth’s Eric Zmuda, General Manager, had a similar sentiment. “I’m proud to be a part of this league. I want to thank all of the volunteers, who are crucial to the league’s success. We couldn’t run the teams without them.”
The league’s season will kick off on Friday, June 10, with a full slate of games.