Martha’s Vineyard Sharks debut reviewed


The new kids on the block, the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, have been welcomed with open arms by the Islanders whom they have come to join for the summer.

In the early going, they have proven themselves winners, going 3-0 in their first games. They defeated the Seacoast Mavericks out of Rochester, N.H. twice, 7-1 and 6-3, here, Friday and Saturday. Then, Sunday, they bested the Nashua Silver Knights at Holman Stadium, in the Granite State’s Gate City, 8-6.

The starter and winning pitcher, Sunday, was Kody Kaspar who allowed one earned run in five innings.

Both Eric Jensen of Wheaton College and Jeremy Matos of Central Florida U. stroked three base hits.

The Tuesday game with the Torrington, Conn. Titans was canceled due to the threat of inclement weather.

Robbie Zinsmeister of Indiana U. (Pa) leads the team at the plate, batting .545.

The team’s winning pitchers thus far are Zack Rafferty of Anna Maria College, Jay Swinford of the University of Georgia, and Kody Kaspar of Niagara University.

The only Vineyard player on the roster is Tad Gold, a sophomore at Endicott College in Beverly. Tad scored the team’s first run on Friday. After reaching on a passed ball following a swinging third strike. He scored when Anthony Boix, of Tennessee Wesleyan tripled.

It is not likely that the team will run short of pitching.

According to the team’s published program, 14 of the 24 listed players can pitch.

Green Bay Packer Coach Vince Lombardi is often credited with the phrase, as well as its sentiment,”Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” The dean of sports writers, Grantland Rice, had another view. He famously wrote, “When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, He marks not that you won or lost but how you played the game.”

Winning is not the only thing at MV Sharks games. The between innings entertainment may not be what brings baseball buffs to the park, but it is a popular addition to the Great American Pastime. Watching 11-year-old youngsters in a sack race, or trying to don a “frozen” shirt in 45 seconds, or hearing a ballplayer from the south try to answer questions about life on the Vineyard, or about the filming of “Jaws,” or rooting for a youngster to beat the team’s shark mascot in a race, or rooting for someone to figure out (within a dollar) the tab for a half-dozen items from Stop and Shop. (When a participant guessed almost twice the value of the items listed, one guy shouted, “Those are Cronig’s prices.”)

The music was well produced and the fan chorus enjoyed joining in “Take me out to the ball game” and “Sweet Caroline.”

The hamburgers were good and modestly priced at $4. On opening night the hot dog concession was overwhelmed and some dogs were served undercooked on cold buns with mustard and ketchup available, but not relish.

Even so, we heard no real complaints. Everyone seemed in good spirits thoroughly enjoying the occasion.

It was a good beginning of what we all hope will be a most welcome addition to the summer vacation experience.

Newcomers are forewarned and old hands are reminded, there is almost always a cool (often cold) breeze at the high school campus. Dress for late October.