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PARONTO, PRONTO, for COLONIALS; MAYOR GERRY LEE: WILL IT HAPPEN IN JULY? and, YES, YOU GUESSED IT, STEROIDsGATE. MORE ON THE MEMO

BY DAN VALENTI

Where Have We Been? Busy, That’s Where

It has been a bee-busy morning and afternoon on The Planet, replete with laughs, love, and lucidity. The laughs came in part to several “rumors” that hit us about our lack of a post this morning by noon. Rumor 1: The Planet pulled the plug and went off the air, so to speak. Rumor 2: A laser burst from the Municipal Death Star blew The Planet to smithereens. Like the rumors of Mark Twain’s death, both were highly exaggerated. Another laugh came in our accidental meeting of Billy Turner, “Mailman to the Stars.” Billy was in the midst of calming “his people,” as he calls them — the creatures, critters, and denizens who inhabit and/or infest downtown during the day. Turner told us a sighting of The Swami. The Planet scoffed at first but by the end of our brief conversation, Billy had gotten us religion on this matter.

Because a set of clowns, a man juggling plates, a team of political acrobats, and a ballerina await, we must make this quick. We shall be back this evening, though, with our first add. Now on the 1-Star, we can tell you:

Gerry Lee: from Uncle Gerry to Mayor Gerry? or, Is Jimmy Stepping Down?

* The Planet got word of a tip from a source, a city hall source, that if true is this month’s bombshell. We shall put it in the form of a question: Will Uncle Gerry Lee be the next mayor of Pittsfield?

The mayor of Northamptom announced leaving office in August. The city council president there will be mayor pro tem. Is the same in the works for Pittsfield? A qualified (though not fully vetted) assertion (it’s more than a rumor and less than a fact at this point) has Mayor Jimmy Ruberto leaving office in July of this year to take an as-yet unspecified position elsewhere. Where and what “elsewhere” is we don’t know and won’t speculate.

Should this happen, council president Lee takes over as mayor. This would then give Lee a chance to think about making a bid for the office in his own right. The man has been police chief and council president. Obviously, he flatters himself with the highest offices. What is higher in the city than the corner office? As acting mayor, Lee would have a huge advantage heading into the September primary. It would also solve the problem of continuing the Ruberto philosophy, one that Peter Marchetti said he would do if elected mayor.

Would it be a gas to see Lee face Marchetti in a November showdown?

The Planet talked face-to-face with Mayor Ruberto today. The mayor denied there was truth to the rumor, though he did leave an out. He did say that if something should come along between now and then that was too good to refuse, he wouldn’t rule out such a scenario.

The Planet has been around such intrigue for a generation. We say something’s up. You heard it here first, but don’t tell anyone. This is all supposed to be a secret.

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Chad Paronto, Pronto, for Colonials

Under a brilliant, blue shy at sun-washed Wahconah Park, the Pittsfield Colonials signed and introduced the biggest catch of the year: fireballing former Big League righty Chad Paronto. The 6′ 5″, 250-pound pitcher joins the Colonials as #1 starter, pitching coach, and mentor.

The 35-year-old has pitched for the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, and Houston Astros. Last season, Paronto pitched with the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston’s top affiliate. C’s manager Jamie Keefe told the assembled press that he had been pursuing Paronto since January. The pitcher had big league invitations to spring training from multiple teams but turned then down because they involved leaving his family to head out west to the Cactus League.

Paronto is married to a Pittsfield woman, and he said having the opportunity to pitch and coach in the city was the predominant factor in his signing on with the Colonials.

Magic is Afoot at BWP (Beloved Wahconah Park)

Team owner Buddy Lewis introduced Paronto. He said he would tell the assembled squad next month in his “Big Speech” to them to kick off 2011 that two things would be paramount: First, win a championship. Second, be a good citizen. The Colonials have a plethora of community-based community reach-out activity planned for the season, including player residencies at Laurel Lake extended care facility in Lee, hosting non-profit groups for each of the team’s 54 games, school visits, and clinics. Paronto will take a lead role in this, and it’s clear that he —along with the Goon Squad of Angel Molina, Jerod Edmundson, and Matt Nandin — will become in many ways the marquee attraction this season at BWP (Beloved Wahconah Park).

At 6’5″, The Planet was able to look Paronto in the eye, even at 5’4″. In the short time we had together, and judging by the remarks of Keefe and Lewis, it looks as if the Colonials have a keeper. Paronto said all the right things, of course, but more interestingly to The Planet, so did his body. An athlete’s body is his bread and butter. It is to him what the ax is to the lumberjack. Paronto’s body language “said” he was excited to be in Pittsfield and ready to embrace this new phase of his career. He’s a man, it seems, with a big heart — one that’s in the right place.

Wethinks it shall be a magic summer at BWP.

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SteroidsGate: More Tea Leaves and More to Come

This will be quick.

SteroidsGate.

Yes, The Planet has a copy of Capt. David Granger’s nearly 1,500-word long e-mail sent early this week to officer at the Pittsfield Police Department. We have hard copy. We will be back later with a summary and paraphrase. We shall quote from enough of it to establish that we have the document and wish to use it for the overall good.

The “overall good” can be defined at

1. What’s good for We The People.

2. What’s good for the PPD.

3. What’s good for the city at large.

4. What’s good for the status of public life.

You shall have enough of what Capt. Granger says to make more of a judgment about his intent. Was it intended as a morale booster for the force? A show of intimidation and threat to anyone who might want to speak to the press? A little of both.

The email is instructive in that it serves as a kind of barometric pressure gauge for Life in the PPD these days. Even under the best of conditions, a police department is a workplace loaded with stress, good intent, insecurity, “office politics,” heroism, cowardice, and a mix of a thousand and one other elements. To understand this, simply consider the nature of police work. The recent emergence of SteroidsGate, however, has, according to officers and confirmed by Granger’s memo, ratcheted up the pressure.

Command wants with increasing urgency to find out who’s leaking to The Planet. Some officers and staff also want to know. They blast the whistleblowers as “rats” and “snitches.” Other officers and staff are applauding the whistle blowers as “heroic” and “courageous.” Our sources feel they are acting as mouthipieces for other members of the force who would WANT to speak out but are afraid.

The Planet makes no judgments at this point. We have listened, are listening, and will continue to listen to all sides. We realize that each side has an agenda. We will be confident of the truth emerging. We are like the Founding Fathers in that regard, hopelessly idealistic.

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WITH THAT< WE BID YOU GOODBYE FOR NOW. “OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.” LOVE TO ALL.

29 Responses to “PARONTO, PRONTO, for COLONIALS; MAYOR GERRY LEE: WILL IT HAPPEN IN JULY? and, YES, YOU GUESSED IT, STEROIDsGATE. MORE ON THE MEMO”

  1. rick
    April 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    their not snitches or rats, they are most likely men and women who just want to do their jobs and dont want the politics of the job to interfere with a stressful job that it is..i have great respect for our police,its not the old pittsfield any more,and they are in harms way more often then we know…… the thing that bothers me is the brass is trying to surpress the same people who want us to tell the truth! one thing i do know is when you try to hush things, theirs a reason,so dan keep poking around, there is definitly a story there. and a big one.

  2. eric vincelette
    April 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Here’s a completely possible senario that I thought I would share & could very likely unfold if the above about Mayor Ruberto were to happen….The Mayor does retire July 1 & Chief Lee decides not to take the role as acting Mayor. That then leaves City Council Vice President, & Mayoral Candidate, Peter Marchetti as interim Mayor of the City of Pittsfield.

    • rick
      April 16, 2011 at 2:29 am #

      eric, that makes alot of sense, but roberto stated he was not running so he could properly greive the loss of his wife. so i dont believe he going anywhere, unless he was using his wifes passing as an excuse not to run against bianchi…….. no he wouldnt be that low…………..would he?

    • Dusty
      April 16, 2011 at 4:34 am #

      and here is a follow up scenario Eric…then Mayor Marchetti appoints Ruberto head of Peda

    • ambrose bearse
      April 16, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

      The job of vice president of the city council does not exist – read the charter – i didn’t – there is the pres but the vp is a title made up by themselves – if jerry were to resign they would have to elect a new chair – i’ll give you 8 tuh 3 saying it would be pmar

  3. Josh
    April 15, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    I’ve been hoping that the Colonials would latch onto Paronto for a long time. Not only does Chad has 15 years of professional baseball experience and 177 games of Major League Experience, but he’s also learned his tricks of the trade from some of baseball’s best, including long-time Braves Manager Bobby Cox, for whom he played for in 2006 and 2007.

    I’m a bit surprised they plan to utilize him as a starter; when I first learned they were signing him, I envisioned him more serving in a closer-type role that Juan Padilla served for the hometown nine during the 2010 season. Paronto features in his repertoire a heavy sinker ball conducive to inducing double plays in big situations. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is eventually utilized in this role at some point down the stretch run as well.

    I think this also further illustrates the strong steps the Colonials have taken to reach out and become a part of the local community. The team has had an overwhelmingly positive winter in promoting their name brand, drumming up interest in the team, and developing new promotions which will bring more people to the ballpark this summer. Having a local player with scores of big-time professional experience is the pinnacle of this effort.

    Building relationships between the fans and the players was one of the team’s weak points last year, but the signing of Paronto, who has been known as a clubhouse favorite throughout his professional career, will help in this effort.

  4. Dusty
    April 16, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    I do not think changing the name to Dowd field will help draw in fans. More likely it reinforced the belief that city hall is running baseball in Pittsfield. And many people who resent everything about city hall will associate one with the other. Dowd field and the mayor that tramples all over them.

    • Guy N
      April 16, 2011 at 3:32 am #

      Totaly disagree! What does the name of the field have to do with watching a team play ball? Thats just a poor excuse not to watch the team.

      • Dusty
        April 16, 2011 at 4:36 am #

        try following the bouncing ball…read between the lines…..will you be there?

  5. eric vincelette
    April 16, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    @ Rick, that type of question, one that is so personal & close to home & knowing Mayor Ruberto’s devotion & love for his wife Ellen, is not one I’m willing to speculate or question the Mayor on & I’m not sure what not running has to do w/not steeping aside early. In fact , it seems they go hand in hand philosophically..again I’m not speculating either way. All I was laying out was a possible & likely senario if some of these rumors were true..
    @Dusty, I guess I’d be surprised if there was such a quick turnover @ PEDA after have just named a replacement..
    Just a reminder that this is a game of chess not checkers & this Mayor has shown the moves of Gary Kasporov in more than a few instances recently

  6. arpaint
    April 16, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    LEE .MARCHETTI AND MOST OF THE CITY COUNCILE ARE REBURTO PUPPUS THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING FOR SENORS EXCEPT MAKE LIFE HARDER AFTER WE HAVE SPENT A LIFE TIME PAYING TAXES. ALL THEY KNOW WHAT TO DO IS SPEND AND RAISE TAXES. NO JOBS AT G.E. SITE WHAT A DASTER.THEY THINK BY HAVING A FEW RESTRUNTS THE CITY IS BOOMING. LOOK WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO NORTH ST AFTER GETTING A FEW BUSINWESS THERE THEY DECIDE TO THERE UP THE STREET SO PEOPLE WONT WANT TO GO THERE.

  7. CONCERNED
    April 16, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    Downtown and the Arts are great but what about the rest 98% of Pittsfield??????? Seems like elected official put all their eggs in just two baskets DOWNTOWN and the ARTS and it sure shows Where is the beef (jobs)

  8. CONCERNED
    April 16, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    Also I don’t want elected official taking credit for the jobs off Dalton Ave either

  9. toto
    April 16, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    New Yawkers!

  10. San Simeon
    April 16, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    this scenario seems far fetched, ruberto out, lee stay as council prez, marchetti becomes temporary mayor. Who would take marchetti’s place? The runner-up in 2009 election? Because this scenario is of the “crop circle” type and beacuse its pittsfield, i know its true.

  11. dave
    April 16, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    OMG 2:30 and no post from dan ! Somebody tell us who’s got him.

    • rick
      April 17, 2011 at 1:44 am #

      the g. o. bs

  12. Scott
    April 16, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    He’s out eating lunch and Brian Gilbert is stalking him I’m sure Dan will be on to reply and BG will be here to tell us where Dan ate.

    • Brian Gilbert
      April 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

      Scott Can you sell me some dobbies!

      • Scott
        April 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

        *doobies

  13. rick
    April 16, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    duebees

    • Scott
      April 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      Swinger…

  14. rick
    April 16, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    you guys are funny

  15. Thornton
    April 17, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    You can also find him eating food with fans at Colonial games with the rest of us. Lets say the Planet is a man of the world.

    • danvalenti
      April 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

      Thank you. The obsession with were I eat does’t border on the bizarre. It IS bizarre. I think I found out why “they’re” doing it, though!

      • Scott
        April 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

        Please share why they are interested in where you eat it IS bizarre…

        • danvalenti
          April 18, 2011 at 6:04 am #

          Would prefer not to at this point, since it’s only a theory. I’ll say this much. “Pittsfield Believer” if a collective name for more than one person.

  16. THornton
    April 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    Dan, the peanuts are the best at the games!

  17. Undercover
    April 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    Dan, 

    NAME REDACTED is the gentleman who sold steroids and named the two officers. This posted in Topix  by FYI. Who has been trying to post the name for many weeks and finally posted this after someone named REDACTED as the guy who sold the steroids to the officers.   I edited out the name calling and pointing fingers but was interested in second from the last line?

    From fyi: it is out I will chime in.  REDACTED never played  college football although Kirchner did.  They became friend at a prior job.  REDACTED started using years ago. 

    The feds followed a package to his house and yes it was a small amount.   He probably would have got off on a fine because they were only looking into the company he was ordering from.  He saved the old texts from Kirchner and the trooper (as a get out of jail free card).  taking his phone is procedure.  he also gave statements against them.  Funny how he never gave up his buddy who is supplying others in the CJ system.  The trooper and Kirchner were worth more.