Editor's Note: Over the coming week CodBall will preview all 10 Cape League teams working our way back and forth from West to East. We kick-off with a preview of the Wareham Gatemen. We should complete our reviews just as the 2009 season gets underway on June 11. No preview of the 2009 Wareham Gatemen would seem right without a tip of the cap to John Wylde, the general manager and guiding force of the franchise who died this past year after publicly battling cancer. The next time I sit in the stands at Wareham I will close my eyes and hear his memorable voice over the PA system or imagine him scoring the game as he always did.
The Gatemen, long a force in the Cape League, have been on the decline in recent years. One wonders if John's failing health might have been reflected in a team that underperformed.
Field manager Cooper Farris, who has guided good teams and bad over the years, and new GM Tom Gay have recruited a typically ecletic roster this season, drawing on talent ranging from intellectual Harvard to exotic Hawaii to powerhouse Arizona State.
Two years ago in my season preview I made this completely wrong-headed prediction for Wareham:
If you were to look simply at which teams have the highest concentration of players from Baseball America’s top-10 list as well as highly-seeded College World Series teams, you would have to pick Wareham with 12 players in its roster from those categories, Bourne (9 players), Hyannis (9 players), and Chatham (7 players). These teams have recruited the most players from the most top programs. The other programs have 5 or less.
Wareham went on to have a terrible season. This year I am more cautiously optimistic for the Gatemen. Over at Right Field Fog, Will also points out that Wareham often looks great on paper.
Brandon Workman is perhaps Wareham's best known player. He was named early this season as the co-pitcher of the week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. He was a Cape League all-star last season. This season his ERA in conference play in the Big 12 has settled at 4.72 so he has not been dominating. Workman will be looking for a strong postseason and an even stronger summer season.
Workman's fellow pitcher at Texas, Cole Green, also will play for Wareham. Green pitched Texas to its game one win in the NCAA tournament this past week.
For baseball historicans we even find on the Wareham roster the cousin of Yankees first baseman Joe Pepitone, Nick Pepetone who is a nonroster invitee from Tulane.
According to a recent Twitter post, the Gatemen will sport new uniforms on the road:
Look for new Gatemen road uniforms this summer - same great "cranberry" color but will look more like the white home uniforms -- stay tuned 5:42 AM May 29th from web