24 June, 2004

King Looking Near and Far

     After spending several summers as part of various coaching staffs in the Cape Cod Baseball League, Greg King is getting his first opportunity to lead the dugout charge as field manager with the Hyannis Mets this season. While King is looking at near-term success – including getting supporters to the ballpark and making the league playoffs – he is also looking to the long-term when it comes to a relationship with the Mets.

Mike Constantino of the Hyannis Mets dives for a ball during Monday night’s 6-5 loss to the Mariners in Harwich.
Staff photo by Merrily Lunsford

     “I’m looking for a long-term situation here,” says King, who comes to the Cape via Thomas College in Maine. “It’s important to create an atmosphere where kids want to play, where kids go back to their college programs and tell them they should go to Hyannis. We want the kids who want to play when we get into August.”

     King spent last summer in Cotuit, coming off of a second NAIA championship, and has known success on the diamond. Now, he says, he would like to transfer that ability to make the playoffs “year in and year out” a reality in Hyannis.

     “Making the playoffs is something we need to do, but we’re going to shoot even higher than that. Often times, this is a .500 league. So you have to make the playoffs and then start a new season.”

     King’s introduction to the head job has forced him to learn how to juggle, as well. With several of the headliners still en route to the Cape, King was moving players around like chess pieces in the team’s first game.

     “We had a catcher playing third, a shortstop playing second, and we had to manage for the next four days, not just that night,” he explains. “I wasn’t sure who would be here tomorrow, so I couldn’t afford to give up another arm. I did what the roster allowed us to do, no excuses.”

     With players reporting daily and the roster filling out, King is eager to see the team at full strength. Players such as Taylor Teague and Brent Cox from Texas and Shane Robinson, who are due soon. But the coach points to players such as Matt Inouye and Jay Miller, who are doing the job right now. 

New Hyannis Manager Greg King challenges an umpire’s decision during Monday night’s 6-5 Hyannis loss to the Harwich Mariners.
Staff photo by Merrily Lunsford

     “I’ve been happy with what I’ve seen. It will only get better,” he says.

     While he will see to it that the Mets reach their potential this season, he would also like to build on the current support system and encourage an even greater fan base for the Hyannis club.

     “Hyannis is a great location but it doesn’t always have the best attendance,” he says. “The people who support us regularly are great. They’re the die-hards. And I’d like to make a continuous effort to get more kids and their parents to the park. I think that would make it even better.”

     King has made a reputation for himself by treating players fairly and cultivating an atmosphere where players will give you all they can. “We have to make it fun. You ask the alums about the league and they don’t remember the scores. They remember who they played for and what the whole experience was like. It’s a business, but that’s not all you want them to remember.”

     King and his girlfriend Melissa already are enjoying this year’s CCBL experience. Getting the opportunity to do some fishing has been nice, he says. And Melissa even took a turn working with some local canines, getting on the full attack suit and letting the dogs loose. “She had dogs hanging off her, going right at her,” says King, adding with a tease, “We hope the fans aren’t that aggressive.”

By Silene Gordon