Posted by Tom Talbott

It was an away game for Portland Rotary....our annual trek to Hadlock Field, home of the Portland Sea Dogs. PP Bill Blount, noting how we started our relationship with the team back in their inaugural year of 1993, was called upon to introduce our trio of speakers:  Mike Antonellis, Director of Broadcasting/Media Relations, and voice of the Sea Dogs for the past 14 years, accompanied by current pitchers, Josh Taylor and Matthew Kent.  We applauded Mike who recently completed his 3000th career game behind the microphone. 

The format was essentially a fast-paced interview style session, with Mike peppering the two players for their take on the game, life as a Sea Dog, and their career goals.

Josh Taylor (#40), 6’5, 225 lb, 25 years old. Lefty pitcher from Phoenix. Played at Georgia College. Drafted by the Phillies in 2014. Signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks as a free agent in 2017. In 2018 he was assigned to Altoona, but three days later was traded to the Sea Dogs.

Matthew Kent (#21), 6’, 180 lb, 26 years old. Lefty pitcher from Waco, TX, and earned a spot with Texas A&M as a skinny 135 pounder!  Drafted in the 13th round 2015 by Red Sox, assigned to Lowell. Has primarily been a reliever, but this season has elevated to a starter, making the Eastern League All-Star team. As of this date, he leads the league with 9 wins.

Explaining his strategy, Matt said he has 7 different pitches: 5 over the top pitches, and 2 sidearm pitches. Included in that group is a looping 50 mph rainbow, that turns “batters into ballerinas spinning around.” Matt shared his process of moving the ball around, setting up pitches, and giving a batter different looks throughout the game. Drives ‘em crazy.

Matt recalled how he was low on the depth charts, when he busted out in his red-shirt 4th year at Texas with a solid four-week span of solid pitching. Practically overnight it propelled him to being drafted by the Red Sox. Josh spoke about how it can work the opposite way. As a reliever he described how one bad outing can bring down your entire season. Life of a ballplayer!

Both players live with host families. Neither have taken a liking to lobster! And, even with our recent dog days of August humidity, Portland is a lot more comfortable than Waco or Phoenix!

In the clubhouse, there are five nationalities on the team – US, Australian, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. As in any clubhouse, the dynamics are unique, with players coming and going, dreams on the line, brand new players, experienced players with major league experience, and others who are on their last chance. Some have become new fathers, some have lost family members. It is a close-knit group, with everyone trying to live out their dream.

An interesting comment from Matt, who noted that when things are not going well on the mound, it sometimes is a minor adjustment that can take you a step forward. A big adjustment might take you a larger step back. Think about how that might affect you in your life.  Play Ball!  


In the Maine Sunday Telegram, these ballplayers - both of them pitchers - played in the game against Altoona on Saturday, and each played a part in the score. Matt Kent pitched six innings, giving up only two hits, no runs. After another player pitched for an inning, Josh Taylor took over in the ninth, gave up two hits and no runs and was given credit for a save. Does anyone remember a Rotary meeting where a couple of Sea Dogs talked with us on Friday, and played prominently and effectively in a game the very next day?

(Photo L-R: President John Curran, Matt Kent, Josh Taylor, Mike Antonellis and PP Bill Blount.)