BY DAN VALENTI
NOTE: COMMENTS WILL BE ALLOWED ON THIS POSTING BUT ONLY THOSE THAT ARE ON TOPIC. NO HANGERS-ON OR SLEEZEBALLS WELCOME. FORTUNATELY, THAT’s ONLY ABOUT 1.37% of OUR EVER-GROWING CYBER WORLD. WITH A FLICK OF A BUTTON WE CAN DISABLE COMMENTS. BUT LET’S PROVE WE CAN KEEP AN OPEN FORUM FOR THE 98.63%. HONOR SYSTEM IN PLACE, BUT IF IT NEEDS MORE, NO PROBLEM. WE SHALL ACT. So AGREE, DISAGREE, DISCUSS, DEBATE, BUT DON’T GIVE US YOUR IGNORANCE.
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.
ADIEU AND “OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL