06/21/2023 8:48 AM
Article By: Daniel Curren
When Steve Cishek walked off the mound at Guv Fuller Field for the last time in 2004, he could not have predicted what was ahead. The senior at Falmouth High School had committed to continue pitching, joining Carson-Newman University to play Division II baseball. At the time, his goals were just to pitch at the collegiate level and come out with a Physical Education degree. An eventual 13-year career in the Major Leagues was not on his mind, but Cishek was certain of one thing; Falmouth would always be his home.
“This is home to me still and you know, I miss it up here a lot.” Said Cishek, who now lives in Florida. “I want to see the community thrive and the young kids have the same experience that I had. I think that’s what motivates me the most is just the kids just being outdoors and playing games, playing little league ball and growing up and loving the same sport like I did.”
Cishek has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Falmouth Youth Baseball over the years with this tournament.
“He’s so dialed into the community,” Fitzgerald said. “When he’s home, it’s like, everyone’s talking about, you know, the fish he caught. Or, you know, ‘I saw you went golfing the other day, how’d you hit?’ or ‘how’s your mom? I saw your dad the other day.’”
Throughout his big league career, Cishek made sure to never forget where he came from. In 2017, MLB hosted its first player's weekend. All players got to put a nickname on the back of their jersey for a weekend, one that they got to choose. Despite being given nicknames like “Shrek” or “Shek” throughout his professional baseball career, he opted to put “speedpass” on his back.
“Speedpass” is a nickname that was given to Cishek by his friends in Falmouth. When he worked at a local Mobil gas station, the company had a “speedpass” wand that customers could use as a credit card to pump their gas. One day when Cishek was pumping someone’s gas, his high school catcher drove by the station, rolled down the window, and screamed “Speedpass!” At the top of his lungs. From there, it stuck.
Cishek is commonly known by that name in the Falmouth area, and he brought it with him to the Major Leagues.
“I just wanted to make sure people knew my roots.” Cishek said.
Cishek attended his first Commodores game in his new role on Tuesday night against the Orleans Firebirds. Before the game, he began getting to know the Falmouth players.
“I was talking to AJ Causey who’s a side-armer who watched me pitch before,” Cishek said. “He’s actually showing me his pitch sequences although we throw almost identical in terms of how we like to attack guys, so it’s pretty cool to be able to have those conversations with someone so young.”
Those interactions were exactly what Fitzgerald was looking forward to when he brought his lifelong friend on board. Not just with the Falmouth players, but everyone in the community.
“I think it’s special,” Fitzgerald said. “I hope a lot of kids get to meet him. And yeah, you start to realize that, you know, anyone from the area can make it.”