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Cotuit Embraces Red Shirt Fridays

06/22/2010 4:03 PM

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COTUIT ---- Cotuit knows all about supporting its community. The small close-knit village has developed close ties through the years with baseball players from across the country. So Cotuit took it to heart when the league decided to do something special for the troops by joining in on Red Shirt Fridays.

     Damon Collins of Advanced Embroidery approached the league last fall with the idea of promoting Red Shirt Fridays at home games. Collins, who does merchandise business with the league, has supported Red Shirt Fridays at his Hyannis office for years.

     “He sold the idea to the league and donated all the shirts,” said Cotuit general manager Bruce Murphy as he watched his Kettleers in their bright red jerseys at their first Red Shirt Friday. “He got another sponsor, Randy Shepard from Eye Health, and he said he’d pay for half. Some of the teams then bought extra shirts to round out the numbers. A portion of the money is going to support the troops and the Wounded Warrior Project.”

     The Kettleers have five Friday home games this season, and they see it as a great opportunity to give back to the troops. They want to raise awareness, money, and collect donations.

     “We’ve really embraced this to raise money and to get the troops out there so they can be recognized,” Bob Scotti of the Cotuit Athletic Association said. “We want the people to see (the troops) who are putting themselves in harm’s way. They’re away from their families and they’re really heroes.”

     For temporary player Michael Devine, the Friday games are even more special. The Virginia Military Institute student, who is studying business economics, is going to class with many future military leaders.

     “I like Red Shirt Fridays,” he said. “It might mean a little more to me or people at my school since I go to a military institute, but I think it’s a really good idea.”

     Fans can donate money or personal items to help the troops, or buy red shirts at the front tables beside the rosters and stat sheets.

     “We’re looking for either cash donations or personal items,” Scotti said. “Electrolytes for water, toothpaste, tooth brushes, dental floss, soap, shaving cream, razors, mouthwash ---- anything that we think can make their lives a little easier overseas.”

     Cotuit has different military branches coming to each of their Friday games. The Marines will be represented on July 2, the Air Force on July 9, the Army on July 16, and the Navy on July 25. The C-O-MM fire department will be honoring some of their own with their honor guard at the July 2 game.