Politics Pushed Over the Side by Mrs. Planet’s Polenta, though we’re certain Mazzeo’s was delish

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, May 23, 2011) — The Planet had numerous temptations to climb back in the pen since Friday, and — without detailing what and who they were — we will only say we politely declined and deferred our eyes at the proper moment.

Instead, we lived a East Egg kind of life, high on love. On Friday, we enjoyed a private dinner party at the ranch, with much enjoyment, with guests coming and going, and “streams of whiskey” a-flowing, so to speak. On Saturday, we enjoyed a private party at Chesterwood to celebrate the engagement of our dear cousin to a beautiful woman who hails from Brazil. We danced to samba into the wee hours. They served up love on the half shell. Sunday was spent going to Mass in the morning, coffee and papers after, then driving away with my bride for more downtime that sure felt like “up” to us.

MelMaz Rolls Out into Lucky Seven

On Sunday evening, because we declined the kind offer to attend Melissa Mazzeo’s fundraiser at Mazzeo’s restaurant, Mrs. Planet made polenta — appropriate since that was the featured dish at Mazzeo’s. MelMaz did seven standouts, one for each ward in the city, and The Planet did and didn’t want to be at the political gathering at the restaurant. We did want to show our support for the councilor that we declare not only won Rookie of The year in the 2009-2011 term but also Most Valuable Player. We didn’t want to on the wise counsel of the women in our life, including Mrs. Planet, who said “no.” Thus, we opted, not opining, for serenity.

As always, listen to the women! Now if Donna Todd Rivers runs in Ward 5, as is rumored, she is sure to win. The victory would put two forward thinking, driven, dynamic divas on the council. Not bad for the openers. Alas, we are out of politics for the moment. On to the idylls of the summer.


Pittsfield Colonials: Countdown to Opening Day

On Wednesday, The Planet will present our first post from The Planet’s baseball writer, Josh Cutler. Josh will be covering the team for us all summer. On Wednesday, he gives us a look at the roster, which will be trimmed from 27 to the league-mandated 22 by 2 p.m. tomorrow. On the air today with Chad Cooper, (“Colonials Corner with Chad and The Planet,” Mondays, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., WTBR 89.7 FM), The Planet broke the first mention of Manager Jamie Keefe’s starting rotation. He’s opening with an enviable R-L-R-L-R quintet, which will prevent teams from stacking the lineup from the batter’s box.

Righty and ace of the staff Chad Paronto will start the Season’s Opener Thursday night at Beloved Wahconah Park (BWP). He’s followed by lefty David Qualben in the two spot, Miguel Flores third, Dan Cevette four, and Pat Moran at number five. The C’s took two of three weekend exhibition games, giving up but four runs in the final two games. Going into this year, the team appears to have one of the strongest, if not THE strongest, rotations in the Can-Am.

It’s a hectic time for any manager right now, having to make the final cuts, prepping the team for the opener, and attending to many details that also fall upon the GM’s shoulders. Jamie Keefe is handling both roles — calling the game from the dugout and buying the groceries as GM. We caught up with him by phone today.

Final Cuts are Always the Hardest

We first asked Keefe about a manager’s least favorite duty: having to cut guys. Ask any manager or coach, from Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots to Joe Kapanski of the Lame Deer Midgets in the Flea League. The job is never easy.

“Making the final cuts is never pleasant, and we understand that this is where the business side of baseball comes first,” Keefe said. “It’s one of those things where you hope your situation is strong, choosing from strength — where that last cut is a ‘non-sleeper.’ That’s when the final couple of guys keep you up at night because of the talent. That’s where I’m at right now trying to make that final cut. Won’t be much sleep tonight.”

Keefe shared how he handles the difficult job: “Man to man.” He won’t do it by phone, e-mail, tweet, or any other way except where he can look a guy in the eyes and deliver the news in person. That’s stand-up all the way.

“I’ll bring the guy into my office, sit him down, and explain this is the way we’re going. I’ll explain it as a team thing. Lot’s of teams are in this situation, and there may be an opportunity for the guy elsewhere in the league. Hopefully, we can find that guy a place to play or maybe move him in a trade. If not, he’s a free agent and he goes on his way.”

Solid Front Five in the Starting Rotation Maybe the Best in the League Going into 2011

All managers HAVE to “like” the team coming out of camp. They’d either be displaced or delusional if they didn’t, and The Planet has been around enough to know you take pre-season optimism for what it’s worth: a broken bat, a spent lottery ticket, and an emory board.

That being said, given the number of returning players from last year’s near-championship squad and judging by the rotation, The Planet deems Keefe’s sunny outlook to be justified.

“On paper, we look outstnding,” Keefe said. “But we still have to get out on the field and do it there. We’re the only team who hasn’t yet played on its own field, so we’re eager to get that done.”

Keefe says it will take about 20 to 25 starts for the pattern and character of the team to emerge. That’s four times through the rotation. He agreed though that, due to a favorable quirk in the schedule, the Colonials will have a great opportunity to get out of the gates fast, something they didn’t do in 2010. Twenty of their first 28 games will be at home.

On Wednesday, The Planet present Josh Cutler first piece, a preview of 2011.


Guesting on Radio and TV, Plus Writing About Engaging Topics: Planet’s Rx for the Summer

And no, The Planet is not “done” with politics. We shall continue our TV and radio guesting throughout the summer. We may get back into the muddy at some point after Labor Day with the Gazette and here at home, when things heat up. By then, we shall have had the summer fill of sports, film, theater, music, painting, sculpture, economics, spirituality, architecture, and anything else under the sun that pleases us. Then we shall read Ecclesiastes and reassess.

Until then, Berkshire County and Pittsfield shall have to find a new savior. Beware, though, of false messiahs. After all, the world was supposed to implode on Saturday night at 6 p.m. It didn’t. At that moment, happily ensconced at Chesterwood and falling in love with French’s sculpture of Aphrodite, we felt good we had more of eternity left.





  1. Joetaxpayer
    May 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Dan any word if a local player has a shot of making the team.Looking forward for a entertaining year.Go Colonials!

    • Josh Cutler
      May 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm #


      Yes. In fact, the Colonials’ starting pitcher on opening night, Chad Paronto, has been a Pittsfield resident for over a decade. Paronto touts 7 years of Major League experience when he takes to the hill Thursday night against the New Jersey Jackals at Wahconah Park. Stay tuned to this website for Colonials coverage from opening night and throughout the regular season! Or better yet, get out to the ballpark and watch Chad and the home nine in action all summer long!

  2. Kris Knutson
    May 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Go Colonials!

  3. Kris Knutson
    May 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    I for one sure am glad that the Zombie Apocalypse did not happen. There’s so much still left in this world I’d like to do.

  4. Kris Knutson
    May 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    What’s up with all the advertisment banners that are hung all around the little league field across from East Side Pizza? When I played little league, we never had all those banners around.

    • Robocop Steroidcop
      May 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

      With Kris on this. Its part of the commercialism thats everywhere. Takes the innocence from the games which are too competitive not in a healthy way but made so by crazy parents. To the Planet: thanks for the post. We enjoyed it

    • Jim Gleason
      May 25, 2011 at 8:15 am #

      Little League is a self sustaining enterprise and receives exactly 0 (zero) support from the city. The only way they can pay for what the kids need to play is through ads and fundraisers. The people, or most of them anyway, who run Little League in Pittsfield are good hard working people who are all for the kids. My Dad has run LL in Berkshire County for at least the past 25 years and has done a damn great job doing so with a lot of help and support from most of the leagues and their leaders. Without the banners and other fundraisers it wouldn’t be able to exist.

      • Kris Knutson
        May 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

        So without banners, the kids can’t play ball? Holy smokes!

      • Kris Knutson
        May 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

        What a disturbing situation! No banners, no ball games. Unbelievable!

      • Kris Knutson
        May 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

        Mr. Gleason
        Have you listened to how ridiculous this sounds? No banners, no ball? Come on now! Fundraising is one thing but banners?

      • Kris Knutson
        May 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

        Mr. Gleason
        I don’t doubt your committment to the youth of Pittsfield. Not one bit. I think you may be confused as to what I’m talking about.
        First you said, without ads and fundraisers, the kids would not be able to play ball. I can not disagree with this. An “ad” may be required to raise funds.
        But then later, you changed the word ad to banners. These two words are not interchangable in this instance.

        If you place “ads” and you are doing this to raise funds, this seems perfectly normal. But after that, why hang “banners” on the damn fence? The funds have been raised at that point. Can’t the kids just play ball at that point without having to pretend that they are Mark Mcguire gunning for Coke sign in left field?

      • Kris Knutson
        May 26, 2011 at 6:37 am #

        Mr. Gleason

        You said, and I quote,” without the banners and other fundraisers it wouldn’t be able to exist”.

        Are you going to claim that by saying the word “it”, you were not talking about little league?

        Not only that but you seem to be confusing ads with banners.

        You seem typical of someone who, when backed into a corner and can’t justify what they have said, will make accusations against the one who reveals your ignorance, such as, ” I’m trying to put words into your mouth”.
        I’m not on the ropes here Mr. Gleason, you are. Get a clue.

        Try to remember that if you want to be taken seriously by anyone, you have to justify what you say and not turn to smoke and mirrors for the purpose of running around and hiding. I feel like I’m conversing with a twelve year old here.

      • Jerri R
        May 26, 2011 at 9:18 am #

        True, and something should be done in honor for
        Mr Don Gleason, for all the years he has donated to the Little League, he is a good man.

      • Kris Knutson
        May 26, 2011 at 11:02 am #

        So, Mr. Gleason, “little league is a self sustaining enterprise”? And, “the only way they can pay for what the kids need to play is through ads and fundraisers”?

        These are your words, are they not Mr. Gleason?

        So…… What does hanging business banners on the little league fence have to do with placing ads for the purpose of raising funds?

        Also, in light of the ridiculous nature of pro ball and it’s corruption by way of big money, does it make sense to entrain the children by way of introducing business ideals into the game of baseball as early as ten years of age?

  5. Kris Knutson
    May 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    I guess I just really don’t understand what local business interests has to do with kids playing little league baseball. If those advertisements are there because of donations that made the park possible, why not be humble about it, shut up and just let the kids play baseball.
    Just can’t leave the kids alone it seems. Gotta make a buck on the backs of the kids.
    It’s dispicable.

  6. Kris Knutson
    May 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    I think if I was a kid at bat, I’d be gunning for the banner that said Greylock Credit Union. That’s what the big guys do, right? They go for the big bucks. Might as well start the kids early, right?

  7. Demitrius T. Gladiator
    May 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    @ the Planet, thank you for this. As an artist who makes his living in the berkshires, trust me that\ there’s as many people who want this sort of thing than all the dirt and muck, so we’re with you. Maybe even more like this rather than the muck as y0uo have called it. weve seen you tear down, and most of the time its people and things taht deserve it, but would rather see you usie oyur prodigious taklents to build up. Thank you.

  8. Fan Dan Go
    May 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    We, too, enojy the new tone, Planet. We went to about 20 Colonials games last year and this year want to increase that. Hope to double that so will look forward to your and Josh’s coverage. Your writing is waht keeps us coming back your the best writer in the area

  9. justsaying
    May 24, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    @ KK and Robo –
    1. I agree. Sponsor the kids, yes.
    2. Take your signs off of taxpayer funded land, now.

    @ DV,
    You provide a great format. Sports are fun. Sports are good for health. Etc etc.
    Sports can act as a placebo for real thought. They often take up so much time and opinion that people ignore the reality of what’s happening around them. Politics is your calling. Sports are your leisure.
    Stick to the important topics.

  10. GMHeller
    May 25, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    Dan Valenti writes:

    Notice how PlanetValenti’s page views and readership have plummeted since Dan Valenti decided to get into the business of censoring and stifling honest debate?
    Liberals always expose who and what they really are.
    This comment posted simultaneously to Topix where it won’t get deleted.

  11. Jim Gleason
    May 25, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Melissa’s event was great the other night with great food and good company. Hope she did well on the contributions and has more of these. I think she and Joe Nichols are the only true voices of the people on the council.

    • Kris Knutson
      May 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

      Mr. Gleason
      We have been told not to talk directly about politics on this forum. Are you intentionally ignoring Mr. Valentis request? It says on the top, no politics! We are talking baseball here and how best to serve the children of Pittsfield. What are you doing?

    • Kris Knutson
      May 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

      Mr. Gleason
      You jumped into this conversation talking mumbo jumbo. You also talked about how you and your family are committed to the children of Pittsfield where it concerns little league. This is fine. Now what is this talk about Mazzeo?

  12. Kris Knutson
    May 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    When I played for the Pittsfield Pipers in the former East League, I never once saw a banner. Not one! I had fun back then. What has changed so much that local business feels the need to be recognized at a childrens baseball game? WTF! If they want business, let them rent a damn billboard. But are the kids a billboard? WTF!

  13. Kris Knutson
    May 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    I’ve got a proposition. How about all the big business leaders in Pittsfield get together and purchase a huge T.V. projector.

    Then, they can mount up a big screen out in center field. After all, It’s their field, right? Then all the families can come down to watch their kids play ball and be up to date on all the latest business deals in their area.

    Not only that, but they can have ads go by explaing how they need donations to pay for the baseballs. Kill two birds with one stone, right?

  14. Jim Gleason
    May 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Mr Knutson, I still see my post on here so it must be ok. If you don’t understand why LL needs banners why don’t you volunteer in LL. You sound like you’d fit right in in the South.

    • Kris Knutson
      May 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

      Mr. Gleason

      I guess one reason why I fail to see the NEED for business banners, is the fact that when I played little league, I never saw a single one.
      You seem to be suggesting that if local business leaders take down their banners from the little league field, their business might take a header. And since their business would take a header, their would be no possible way for the kids to play ball.
      What is the matter with you? You seem like someone who deals in absolutes. It’s either this, or that, am I right? No middle ground, huh?
      Are you the same Jim Gleason that worked at the Berkshire Hills Country Club in the eighties?

  15. Jim Gleason
    May 26, 2011 at 4:57 am #

    Mr Knutson, I never said that. I told you the reasons for banners and why they’re there. I never said LL couldn’t survive without them or the kids need them absolutely to play. Don’t put your words in my mouth, you seem to have enough for your own. I worked at BHCC in the early 70’s for a short time as a caddy, never in the 80’s.

  16. Kris Knutson
    May 26, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    For the sake of the children, take the banners down now! Today!

    • Jerri R
      May 26, 2011 at 9:21 am #

      Mr Knutson, take a deep breath.

      • Kris Knutson
        May 26, 2011 at 10:31 am #


        Don’t be concerned about me. You go ahead and be concerned about those who can not defend what they say.

        I can defend what I say but people don’t like it because they get revealed. Then they get mad. Then they want me kicked off the forum, so they can go back into their fantasy world where everything is coming up roses.

        In our culture it is “normal” for men to get payed millions of dollars to play a game, while millions of helpless children go to bed hungry at night.

        Not one person has successfully made the case that business banners on the little league fence are beneficial to the kids.
        In contrast, I believe I have more than adequately made the case that the business banners are in fact harmful to the children.

        Mr. Gleason tried to play games with words in order to get the job done but it did not work. So he’s mad at me now. Boo Hoo. Then he tries to say that he didn’t say something but it’s in black and white on the screen that he said it. This is shear stupidity.

        I’m sure if Mr. Valenti wanted to take me up on the challenge he would but I think he knows better. I’m sure he would side with me and his own Josh Cutler who says he’s not a fan of the business banners on the little league fence. And for good reason too. It only takes a few moments of reflection on the matter to see that it is wrong. I guess that’s too much to ask, that people think. It’s the way of western culture to “tune out”.

        • danvalenti
          May 26, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

          I do side with you on this one, and have. I don’t like the “tone” of LL baseball, how it must mimic MLB. It’s not healthy for kids, and the parents at these games are out of control. I have story after story to that effect. We also agree with the need to make people think. That’s what my entire professional career as a writer, broadcaster, educator, and speaker has been about.

          • danvalenti
            May 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

            That being said, I would support any tribute to Don Gleason. In fact, I would have much sooner have seen the field at Beloved Wahconah Park dedicated to Don than Paul Dowd. The case for Dowdie may be compelling, but for Don, in comparison, it’s a slam dunk.

  17. Kris Knutson
    May 26, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    To me, it seems as though the business banners on the little league fence is providing a fertile ground for the continuation of a society gone mad. It’s gotta all be about the dollar. It’s like, Hey, what can we get out of this situation? MONEY! MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!
    In much the same way that the business leaders in Pittsfield are making money off of the kids playing baseball, the owners of the major league teams make money on the adults.

    So what is this cradle to grave mentality that humans and their essential needs should take a back seat to money and material objects?

  18. Jim Gleason
    May 26, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Mr Knutson, it seems to me like you’ve worked yourself into a froth over absolutely nothing. I think you’re a nutcase.

  19. Jim Gleason
    May 26, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    I’m 49 years old, hardly an old timer. I wasn’t wrong about anything, rarely am.

  20. Jim Gleason
    May 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Mr4 Knutson, like I said, nutcase.