Where to begin. ...
The League's season preview recounts the Braves' nerve-wracking dalliance with the playoffs last season, which the Falmouth Commodores dashed in a late inning tie-breaker. Will the Braves be "re-born" in 2009?
Another line of argument is that of our friend Will over at Right Field Fog which includes a comprehensive analysis of the Bourne roster. Suffice to say the Braves have heavyweight talent both offensively and defensively.
There is also the line of inquiry about why Bourne avoided changing its name from a Major League mascot to one closer to home. The Cardinals became the Firebirds and the A's became the Anglers.
For me, however, any preseason analysis has to give credit where credit is due. Management. Bourne Braves President, Tom Fink, has put together a class act in Bourne. Doran Park has emerged as one of the finest in the Cape League in my view. And more importantly, Fink has recruited and retained an effective field manager in Harvey Shapiro. Want to know why the Braves continue to attract quality pitching and hitting? Look no further than the field manager. You will find this same analysis in my forthcoming post on Falmouth.
Shapiro, who has collegiate and international coaching experience, has built a supply chain to top collegiate programs. And Bourne has adopted an aggressive style of play on the bases, in the bullpen and at the plate. A Bourne game is rarely boring.
The rise of Bourne reminds me of the rise of another great program on the other side of the bridge -- the Wareham Gatemen.
The Bourne roster does look good. As I look it over, here are a few thoughts:
- I have seen Arizona State's Zach MacPhee play in Phoenix, at the Universitiy of Washington and at Safeco Field. I saw him single in a critical spot against Arizona at Arizona State but then go 0-3 at Safeco. At the UW he singled at walked in late innings. I do look for him to have a stand-out Freshman year on the Cape.
- RHP Michael Rocha was a stand out in the Alaska League last season, his freshman year. Although he is a Texan he did make the right choice to play ball in Oklahoma.
Bourne's new teammates, Tyler Holt of Florida State, and Alex Wimmers of Ohio State will have the summer to discuss FSU's stunning 37-6 victory over OSU the other night.