The heartfelt recollections of many of his current and former ballplayers indicated that Canton A’s coach Kee Arguimbau was a deserving recipient of the 2013 Cranberry League Manager of the Year.
Arguimbau, the volunteer coach of the collegiate summer baseball team for the past five seasons, was selected for the honor after he molded his squad this season into a cohesive unit that reached the Cranberry League title game.
“It was nice. I was overwhelmed by it,” said Arguimbau, 33. “I know what kind of coaches are in the league, and to be considered the Manager of the Year meant something considering the history of the league.”
A’s ace pitcher David Roberto said, “I think that Kee definitely deserved the award. He was a great coach, and really turned a group of individuals into a contending team.”
Arguimbau, the assistant coach of the Sharon High School baseball team in the springtime, says that he particularly enjoyed working with this year’s A’s players because of their love of baseball, dedication to improving themselves, and commitment to winning.
“It’s summer baseball; I’m dealing with college players – they know how to play the game,” he said. “I just like letting them go out, play the game – take as much of a hands-off approach as I can.”
Roberto says that as his pitching coach in high school, Arguimbau was a “big influence” in his approach as a pitcher, helping the lefthander earn a baseball scholarship to St. Louis University.
Roberto credited Arguimbau with having confidence in him to perform on the mound this summer. “I did not play at school this year [as a sophomore] and was not able to stay in the prime pitching state I needed to be.
“I worked up to it, and Kee gave me that opportunity. Once I had my confidence and form back, I felt my dominance return, which helped the team win games,” Roberto added.
Brad Kaufman, a recent Sharon High graduate who played for Arguimbau since his sophomore year, when Arguimbau discussed repeatedly with him the mentality needed to acclimate to varsity baseball, says that Arguimbau relates uniquely to each of his players.
“He would talk to me before I went up to bat and tell me to think of certain things he knew would help me when I was at the plate. It was the only thing that could get me that first hit to end a slump,” Kaufman said.
David Zabinsky, who played for Arguimbau in high school and pitches for Bowdoin College and the Futures League’s Brockton Rox, says that Arguimbau encouraged him to cherish each opportunity to play baseball.
“I remember my senior year, he said to us, ‘Don't take this moment for granted, because you're going to want it back for the rest of your lives.’ He was absolutely correct,” Zabinsky said.
Arguimbau, who has played/coached in the Cranberry League for 12 summers, says that he continually gains appreciation for baseball.
“There’s never a time when you can’t learn something from the game,” Arguimbau said. “In all of the seasons I’ve had under my belt, I’ve gained more respect for the game of baseball and how much there is to it – how hard of a game it is to play.
“I try to instill in my players that this not some sort of game that you can just show up and think that you’re going to have success. You have to have a work ethic and a respect for it – that’s the most important thing,” he added.
Arguimbau says that there are many similarities between his English classroom at Sharon High and the baseball diamond, with regards to the opportunity to positively influence his students/ballplayers.
“Life lessons – things that they’re going to remember well past the classroom/baseball field. That’s why I do it – not as much for the W’s as it is to teach things that will serve kids a lot longer than the immediate task at hand,” he said.
Off the field, Roberto says that he and Arguimbau contemplated Roberto’s future endeavors on numerous occasions. Arguimbau helped Roberto choose the path of focusing on early childhood education as an undergraduate.
As for the 2013 A’s as a team, Canton finished 15-9, advancing to the Cranberry League finals before falling to Braintree at Rockland Stadium on July 27. Roberto (3-1, 1.11 ERA) and fellow pitcher Zack Walker (7-0, 1.55 ERA) were both named to the All-CBL first team.
Roberto said, “The keys to our success this year were timely hitting and subsequently becoming a real team. Each game, we had almost every player show up, which showed the true commitment we had. This commitment led to teamwork and confidence in our team each game.”
Arguimbau says that during the second week of the season, he began to realize that the team would be strong. He says that the on-field success was a direct reflection of the group that he and team manager Cab Devol brought together and how well the squad clicked.
“It was an honor to get the Manager of the Year, but the bigger honor was to watch these kids play baseball and be a part and the success and camaraderie that we had on the Canton A’s this summer,” Arguimbau added.
Arguimbau mentioned the A’s appreciation of the support provided by Canton residents, noting Fred & Reggie Spintig and Devol as among the most ardent backers of the squad. Arguimbau says that those devoted individuals have been as much a part of the team as the players.
“The people of the town of Sharon and the town of Canton who think that baseball is important enough that they are willing to dedicate themselves to it – financially or a time commitment – is incredible. It makes me realize that what I’m doing is worth something; they show my how much it means to them.” Arguimbau added.
Arguimbau says that he “without a doubt” intends on coaching the A’s again next summer. Nathan Pedersen, who played at Sharon High for the past three seasons, said of Arguimbau, “There're just way too many good things to say about him.
A. is one of those guys you really hope to grow up to be like,” Pedersen added.
“He rarely yells and always smiles - that's a guy you look up to, someone who
always makes you smile."