COTUIT, Mass.--Lowell Park, the home of the Cotuit Kettleers, had a special audience in attendance at the 5-5 tie against Orleans Wednesday, July 6, 2011. The residents of The Pavilion Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center cheered from the front row of the first base line of the bleacher seats. They all reminisced about all the Cape Cod Baseball League games they have seen over their lifetimes.
“My husband Russel and my two sons, Carl and Stephen, all played for the Cape League. There are too many memories to count from watching them play,” said 99 year old Cape Cod native Edith Syriala.
When Syriala’s family member’s played, the tradition of only college players playing was a distant memory. She watched them play in a time where whoever could swing a bat and catch a ball well played for the CCBL. After being populated mostly by GI’s returning from World War I in 1919 and WWII in the late 1940’s, the CCBL continued to be populated by a combination of local and regional college players until 1963, when it became officially sanctioned by the NCAA.
Charlie Cutler 100, Barbara Walden 97, Larry McCarthy 83, Roz Joseph, president of the Pavilion Residents Council, 83 and Spurgeon Horton 78 all joined Syriala at the game two weeks ago. Walden is mother to CCBL President Judy Walden Scarafile.
Joseph seemed to enjoy seeing at least one of the teams play a game, especially since she used to always walk from her home in Yarmouth to Red Wilson Field. “I had so much fun and thought it was interesting,” said Joseph. She is originally a Y-D Red Sox fan but decided she could cheer on the Kettleers just this once.
“I loved the camaraderie of the players,” said Joseph. The player’s baseball abilities aren’t so bad either.
The eldest resident at the game, 100 year old Cutler, pointed out the young players were fast but he has seen some that are a tad bit faster. “When I was growing up in Rocky Hill, North Carolina there was one guy we called Big Foot. Boy could he run around those bases,” said Cutler.
Plus, the residents mentioned how much they love the Boston Red Sox. It is fun to think that they may all be future big leaguers just like in the past, pointed out Cutler. Mark Belhorn '93, Darren Bragg '89, Dave McCarty '89, Lou Merloni '92 and Tim Naehring '87 all played for the Kettleers before beginning their careers with the Red Sox.
All the residents are mostly locals from either settling down on Cape Cod with their families over the years or being born here, like Horton was in Hyannis. They came to the game through Pavillion’s Brienne Cunniff’s scheduling of activities for the residents.
After watching a local CCBL game, residents like Joseph and Cutler want to watch the CCBL All-Star game broadcasted on Comcast SportsNet on Friday, July 29th at 7 p.m. with announcers CCBL Alum Lou Merloni and Eric Frede.
Also, since moving into the Pavilion, some weren’t aware of the CCBL Hall of Fame in the bottom floor of the Kennedy Museum. “That should be our next stop,” said Joseph.
The residents will return to Cotuit’s final regular season game at 4:30 p.m. Wed., August 3, 2011 against Brewster.