‘FIRE IN THE SHIRE’: PLANET VS. TFAR BOX IT UP, and COLONIALS’ JAMIE KEEFE WILL MAKE THE YEAR’S BIGGEST SPEECH. HOW BIG? THE FUTURE RIDES ON IT… plus POETRY FILLS THE HOUSE DOWNTOWN as THE PLANET WORKS ITS MAGIC, MARCHETTI MAYORAL CALIBER, & WRITERS SHINE
BY DAN VALENTI
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, APRIL 21, 2011) — 2nd Add — The Planet has yet to hear from Boring Broadsheet executive editor Tim Farkas on our challenge to three rounds of boxing at Beloved Wahconah Park at a time and date to be specified.
A few months ago, you may recall The Planet challenging Farkas to a debate on the role of the media in a community. He declined, even when we offered to tie our brain behind our back, just to make it somewhat fair. Then, in a gentleman’s gesture, we offered to meet him on physical grounds. The boxing match could be promoted big, draw big, and we could make our two favorite charities a lot of money. This is a serious offer. And after we’ve finished mopping the canvass with him, we shall embrace, like Frazier and Ali and will forevermore be friends.
Farkas is a sports guy. We trust like all men who have been paid to play in the toy department of a newspaper which is Sports, he has a sense of both competition and adventure. We can bill the fight: “The Fire in the Shire.” The Planet vs. TFar. three rounds of two minutes each.
The Planet will get going / and launch a left or two.
Timmy will get gone / Farkas, out in two.
The promoters will need some time, and The Planet needs his acceptance by 4 p.m. Friday, April 29.
Pittsfield Colonials are Stepping Up to the Plate for the Community
FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, APRIL 21, 2011) — FIRST ADD — It was an evening of great fun and joy at Chapters Bookstore last night, for two and a half hours. Colonials owner Buddy Lewis observed this morning that the packed house didn’t want to leave once it was over and would have stayed for another two. That’s the kind of vibe the room had.
The Planet had the responsibility of producing this for the city in its observance of National Poetry Month. Arts Czarina Megan Whilden gave us the blank canvass. We were free to concoct and create, to produce, write, and host this live event. It came together like magic. Our readers included writers Paul Milenski and Laura Gross, talk show host and downtown storekeep Donna Todd Rivers, Mayor Jimmy Ruberto, and the Pittsfield Colonials.
Not Just an Acceptance but an Embrace
The Pittsfield Colonials — Buddy, manager Jamie Keefe (both of whom read poetry), Jackie Wendling (who ran the logistics and did a great job) and office manager Amanda Iozzo — embodied last night the philosophy of Community Service. “Philosophy” may be a high-sounding and abstract word. However, when a philosophy is put into action, it comes alive and assumes flesh and blood.
That the team would not only agree to participate in The Planet’s mad scientist scheme of having this night of “Baseball, God, and Other Non-Sequiturs” in downtown Pittsfield but would do so with such relish and embrace says everything and speaks for itself. Like Dizzy Dean once said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.” It’s one thing to brag about community outreach and something else to do it.
When actions are louder than words, you know you’re dealing with a genuine article. The real deal. That’s what the Pittsfield Colonials are in the process of becoming: A summer asset to Pittsfield and Berkshire County that may someday rank with Tanglewood-BSO and the theaters. Is is there yet? No, and that’s the exciting part.
The fans and folks who support the ball club this year will literally be helping the city and the team create this community asset. It’s Year Two, still time for getting in on the ground floor. Someday, if this can be done, they will be able to look back and say, “Yeah, I helped do that.”
Jamie Keefe: More than Managing to Get By
Jamie Keefe, the new manager, is not Brian Daubach. He’s Jamie Keefe, a man with a wealth of professional baseball experience who will run a ball club HIS way. The Planet and everyone else will have to see that in action before saying much else about how he runs a ball game, but we know this much. Once Keefe whittles down the roster after tryouts (May 7 & 8 at BWP, Beloved Wahconah Park) and spring training (May 9-24 at BWP), he’s going to address the team.
It’s what The Planet calls The Big Speech. In many ways, it will be the most important speech of the year that anyone makes, including all the politicians who will vie in this year’s campaign.
The Planet doesn’t mind putting pressure on, because we sense Keefe is a man who craves it and performs his best in the clutch. The Big Speech will set a tone and deliver the expectations for Year Two, a year that may make or break. For upon the shoulders of the 22 men who will wear the uniform of the Pittsfield Colonials will ride the future of professional baseball at Wahconah Park. If they nail it, if they deliver big, this is going to be one heck of a great ride, like a Broadway Hit that plays to full houses for decades. Yeah, the Colonials have a chance to become the “Cats” of Pittfield and Berkshire County … or not.
They could drop the ball. Failure is always possible. And the greatest avenue for failure to sneak into Year Two will be off, not on, the field.
A Lot Will Ride on 22 Men, and They Best Understand It Going In
What these 22 men do on the field will determine their standing in the Can-Am League, with the ultimate goal of brining a Can-Am championship to the city and county. What they do off the field will determine if they can ignite the passion and support that will be needed to finally put pro ball over in Shire City in a big way. In effect, their job will be Win a Flag and Create a Love Affair ‘Twist Team and Town. Much of this will be riding when Jamie Keefe makes The Big Speech.
If all is done right, there’s no reason that a ticket at Wahconah PArk will be like trying to get a ticket to Fenway Park. Our many critics will mock The Planet for such a ballsy statement, but the only way you build big is to dream big. Big outcomes requires big conceptions.
Stand-up Guy, and the Team will Know It
Judging from last night, Jamie Keefe has broad shoulders. He doesn’t back down from a challenge. He embraces it (Stop the presses: “Ballclub Manager Reads Poetry”!). One senses that, if this were hoop, he’s the kind of player who WANTS to take that last shot with the game on the line. One senses, if this were combat, he’s the kind of buddy you want in the foxhole with you.
It promises to be a magic year in Pittsfield, in more ways that one.
DON’T EVEN TRY TO INTIMIDATE US!!!!!!!!
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, APRIL 21, 2011) — Our gloves are off, too.
To Whom It May Concern:
We will not be bossed, bought, filed, stamped, briefed, debriefed, or intimidated. To those who wish to stifle us, beware and bring it on. We are fearless and we will can be ruthless if the case may be. Let those with ears to hear, listen. Let those with eyes to see, view. You dump two on us, we will give you four. You get the message. We don’t rattle. You dig?
Don’t even go there. You deal with The Planet on OUR terms. We will not back down in the pursuit of Truth. We are utterly fearless, and if you wish to mess with us, you better be, too, prepared to go ALL THE WAY, no holds barred. With that understanding, we will deal with all foes with respect and with the Daguella.
Thank You, Jimmy Ruberto, Megan Whilden, Buddy Lewis, Jamie Keefe, Laura Gross, Paul Milenski, Donna Tod Rivers, Buddy Lewis, Jamie Keefe, Chapters Bookstore, Everyone who Showed Up Last Night, and Especially to … PETER MARCHETTI.
The Planet had one of the most fulfilling nights of the recent past last night at Chapters Bookstore, with Mayor Jimmy Ruberto, Arts Czar Megan Whilden, Writers Paul Milenski, Laura Gross, and Donna Todd Rivers, the Pittsfield Colonials, and a packed house
A cold, raw, Wednesday night.
Do you realize what this means? In NYC, a similar event draws 10 people. Last night, we drew 100. Pittsfield is alive. The Colonials will prove that this summer.
There was one special visitor.
Peter Marchetti. He came. He did’t have to. He could have told The Planet “what for.” He didn’t.
He had a budget meeting, he had a thousand other commitments, and yet he stopped by to make an appearance. Peter and The Planet had a private conversation, TOTALLY between the two of us.
We thank Peter for showing up. He likely wrestled with it, not sure if he would run into the much-rumored Beast or Monster. He didn’t. He ran into Dan Valenti, human being. Peter Marchetti, The Planet thanks you. The Planet admires you for your courage in opening the campaign in addressing your private life openly and with integrity. It admires the love of the city you have expressed and how you expressed it. We shall get beat up for acknowledging this, but you deserve it. Stand up, all the way.
The Planet gives respect when respect is due. You have earned that. And that, WE DIG, and so should every person in Pittsfield. Again, our warmest personal thanks and regards.