Men’s Softball: Carman puts his money where his heart is

While quickly scanning through the eight teams participating in the 2011 Greenport Men’s Softball League season, a reader will see some familiar sponsors (Southold Fish Market, Founders Tavern, Claudio’s, East End Pool King), some new local business sponsors (Hubbard Equipment, Billy’s by the Bay, Kreiger Well/Pure Water), and one team that raises some questions: Pete’s Boys.

After an unsuccessful search for a local business and some further digging into the name’s roots, a reporter found that it was simply an individual paying his entire team’s sponsorship fee.

Pete Carman, who has played in Greenport since 1989, took it upon himself to cover the sponsor money that amounted to $650, usually acquired from a local business, to allow he and his teammates to participate in the 2011 season. “It’s tough to get a sponsor, so I just wanted to keep the guys we’ve been playing with … and I sponsored the team. I just wanted to play in this league. … It’d be easier for me to play in East Hampton, because it’s 10 minutes away, or Sag Harbor … or Southampton in the over-50 league, but I just love it out there. … Playing with the young guys keeps you younger, and all the old people come. you know, you get a good crowd there, and I love the high arc. That’s what makes this league.”

Born in Brooklyn, Carman moved to Freeport, and then eventually settled in the Oakdale/Sayville area when he was 15 years old. As a child he summered in Sag Harbor, where he has lived since 1989.

Carman’s actions have not gone unnoticed by other players in the league. Both veterans and relative newcomers alike appreciate what Carman has done.

“That’s great, that’s awesome,” said John Hansen, a veteran player and the league president who has been playing in Greenport since the league returned after a short hiatus. “They’re lucky that he does that. Most people wouldn’t even do that. … He loves to play, that guy.”

Twenty-two-year-old Ian Ryan of Hubbard Equipment shared similar sentiments. “It just shows how much he loves the game, for him to pay the sponsor fee so his team can play. … He plays with heart and determination, no matter what the outcome of the game is going to be.”

In recent years, there have been other individuals who have covered their own team’s sponsor fees. However, they have all had family businesses from which to take the funds and to name the team after. Currently, Russ and Ned Baker are examples as they both play under Hubbard Equipment, a family corporation. In the past, Bob Marcello of Marcello Masonry and John Condon of Condon Engineering have done the same.

Carman is widely regarded around the league as a hard-nosed, passionate player who gives his all on every single play. “I’ve never seen someone so willing to sacrifice his body for the good of the team,” Claudio’s catcher Matthew Vescovi said.

That physical courage probably comes from his past in football. After playing football, basketball, and baseball at Connetquot High School, Carman continued his football career at Suffolk County Community College.

“I was on Penny Lumber years ago, and we won all these championships, but then they went with younger players,” Carman said. “So about 10 years ago, we started our over-40 team.”

Whiskey Wind was the primary sponsor, and the core of that team stuck together for eight years, according to Carman. “Now there’s only three guys left on the team, and the rest of them are in there twenties, teens, and a couple in their thirties; we had to replace everyone.”

While many of the surrounding faces have changed, Carman’s love of the game, and being a part of a team, has stuck. Asked what he most takes away from his long career playing in Greenport, Carman responded: “What feels good is the camaraderie. … I’ve met a lot of my friends over the years through softball. From 1989, I’d say 50 percent of my good friends are from softball, and I still keep in contact with over the years, even guys who don’t play” any more.

Still question Carman’s passion for the game? “I tell you, if I die, I told my wife she’s going to sprinkle part of my ashes on that Greenport softball field,” he said. “Because I live in Sag Harbor, I got to take two boats just to get there.”

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