The Kettleers and Blue Sox: A Beautiful Baseball Bond

COTUIT, Mass. – On Sunday the Cotuit Kettleers and the Lexington Blue Sox of the Intercity Baseball League played a scrimmage at Lowell Park. This year marked the 17th that the two teams met for an early June game, allowing both teams to get more experience heading into their seasons.

General managers Bruce Murphy for the Kettleers and Rick DeAngelis for the Blue Sox set up the scrimmage in 2006 after meeting at the Red Sox Boosters Organizations luncheon. The luncheon honored the champions in various categories of amateur baseball in New England.

“We happen to have adjoining tables because the Cotuit Kettleers won the 2006 Cape Cod Baseball League championship and the Lexington Blue Sox won the Intercity League championship,” said DeAngelis. “Bruce and I said hello to one another, and Bruce said we should play. And 17 years later, here we are.”

The Lexington Blue Sox are one of seven teams who play in the Intercity League. The team not only features college players but older players as well. Two players on their roster played in MLB – Manny Delcarmen, who was on the 2007 Red Sox World Series team, and Ryan O'Rourke, who pitched for the Minnesota Twins and New York Mets.

“It’s a competitive league,” said media director Bruce Hack. “The Blue Sox have won 16 titles since they started in 1995. We’ve had five players go to the majors from the Blue Sox, the most recent one, who’s currently with the Milwaukee Brewers, is Sal Frelick.”

Hack also said the team mixes well with the younger college players and the veterans. The college players learn a lot from the older players.

Scheduling the scrimmage is somewhat of a challenge because the Blue Sox start their season at the beginning of June. The teams schedule the game on the Sunday before the Cape League starts because the Blue Sox usually do not play on Sundays.

Despite the scheduling conflict, both teams find the scrimmage beneficial and have continued to play each other for the past 17 years.

“For us, it's more than just a practice. You want to get out there. You want to get some game day experience. You want the pitchers to see batters against them. You really want to see game conditions which you can’t do without that. We need to get a scrimmage in before the season starts,” said Murphy. “So this was a perfect opportunity. Now it gives us four days to work on what we need to do.”

“For our team, which plays at a lower level but is still very competitive, we have a lot of young guys,” said DeAngelis. “For them to come down and see what the elite collegiate players play like and how they conduct themselves is a great learning experience. Seeing a guy who can throw the ball 95 miles an hour and then spin off a hard slider, it’s a great learning tool for all of us.”

Both Hack and DeAngelis have connections to the Kettleers beyond the Blue Sox. Hack grew up on Cape Cod with Murphy and spent twenty years as an official scorer for the Cape League. DeAngelis played for the Kettleers when Arnold Mycock was the General Manager and remembers his time in Cotuit fondly. He has a picture of him with teammate Ron Soucie and coach Tom Kelly, all three members of Cotuit and College of the Holy Cross baseball teams, at Lowell Park in both of his offices.

“This is the most special place I ever played,” said DeAngelis. “This place has always held a special place in my heart, in my head, in my mind, my soul, everything.”

Learn more about the Lexington Blue Sox and the Intercity League here.