30 June 2008
Running With the Team:
A Philosophy for a Community Ball Team
COTUIT—Baseball is a philosophical game, and for the Cotuit Kettleers, that philosophy is all about teamwork and bonding with the community.
Cotuit Field Manager Mike Roberts, in his fifth season with Cotuit, works hard bringing the diverse team together.
“Building team continuity, getting guys to respect each other and get along,” Roberts said, is harder than it sounds. “That’s the most difficult challenge the coaching staff has. Not everyone arrives at the same time, they’re coming from different universities, and they have lots of different philosophies.”
Roberts continued, “I’m trying to get them to understand the philosophy of not only what I expect [on the field] but also what we’d like them to do in the community.”
Part of that involves learning humility, and becoming a close part of the host families. “They’re the key to the Cape League,” Roberts said. “Without them, we wouldn’t exist.”
It seems like the philosophy is working this season, as Cotuit finds itself on top of the Western Division with a league-best 8-4 record.
“I like him, he’s very knowledgeable,” said Cotuit right hand pitcher Danny Meszaros (College of Charleston). His fellow hurlers, who work closely with Roberts on their pitching, particularly their fastballs and changeups, reflected that sentiment.
Brandon Cumpton (Georgia Tech), a right-hander with Cotuit, said one of the first things he learned coming out and playing for Roberts was “how to bond well with the team—fast.”
The team started its season with a community get-together where volunteers, coaches, host families and players gathered and put on skits, ranging from Backstreet Boys to Lakers Girls impressions.
And it’s not just Cotuit’s bullpen that has learned from Robert’s philosophies and styles. Slugging shortstop Robbie Shields (FL Southern) said “base running—no ands, ifs, or buts, that’s what we work on the most.”
Roberts’ style and tips may be tightly kept under wraps, but his players agree, it works. “It’s difficult,” said Shields, “but it works. He keeps everyone enthusiastic.”
Ashley Crosby, CCBL Intern ([email protected])
Interns: Chris Blake, James Chandley, Ashley Crosby, Phil Garceau, Stefanie Marini, Laura Rasmussen