Article

PICTURES OF AN EXHIBITION: BASEBALL COMES CALLING

BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY JUNE 26th, 2019) — Perhaps the most enjoyable phase of THE PLANET‘s career came during the 1980s as a baseball writer covering MLB from Florida, producing newspaper articles, radio pieces, and books.

We got to meet countless players, umpires, front office people, writers, broadcasters, and others who made their living from a game we lived for in our youth. The sandlots, backyard, and Deming, either with a bunch of kids or alone throwing a rubber ball against the back-porch steps: we breathed to play ball. To later make a living via baseball became one of those “What? They’re paying me to do this?” deals.

We “left” the game in the 90s, turned off by the ’94 strike, crazy salaries, and changing of the game into what it has become — lazy, loud, long, and pimped. And so we moved on, professionally and personally.

It thus came as a delight when the Boston Red Sox queried a year ago about photographs. As we did our baseball work, we had the good sense to bring our camera. All but a handful of the photos remained unpublished until 2007, when Rounder put out a book containing approximately 150 pictures. That left nearly 1,000 photos sleeping for decades in storage.

We had captured history. There were lots of shots of Hall of Famers such as Ted Williams, Dennis Eckersley, Carlton Fisk, Yaz, Wade Boggs, Mike Schmidt, Willie Mays, Bill Mazeroski, Jim Rice, plus candids of nearly everyone else who wore the Boston uni. A year ago, the Red Sox archivist called, leading to a meeting at Fenway Park. We negotiated the framework of a deal and in the subsequent months nailed the specifics. It took a year, because the Sox rarely buy photos from outside sources.

Contracts were sent, checks cut, and a deal done.

THE PLANET now has a standing invitation back to Fenway, bringing us full circle to Sept. 27, 1960, when we saw our first game there (Baltimore 17, Boston 3). Our first was Ted Williams’ 2,291st  and penultimate. The day after, The Kid hit that legendary home run off Jack Fisher in his 7,706th and final official big league at-bat.

We no longer “follow” baseball. It follows us. Unexpectedly, those photos extracted a force from deep inside having to do with that boyhood game, those endless hours of play, from lighter-than-air words that were never spoken.

————————————————————————————————————-

“Poetry is just the evidence of life” Leonard Cohen.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

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74 Responses to “PICTURES OF AN EXHIBITION: BASEBALL COMES CALLING”

  1. Johnny99
    June 25, 2019 at 9:03 pm #

    And let’s not forget Pittsfield is where baseball was invented because Roberto said so.

    And remember when Whaconah Park had the Red Sox?

    And what team had Charlie Bordez at short at Whaconah? Would have been around 1975.

    Enjoy the memories Dan and glad you could cash out.

  2. doomiedodger
    June 26, 2019 at 1:17 am #

    And some young kid could lay a financial foundation for his own self by taking pictures of Pittsfield pickleball in its infancy. Fifty years from now there may very well be a Pickle Ball Hall of Fame in Pittsfield in the Clock Tower building which will be the home of the ex, what was its name?, newspaper.

    Word on the street is that Marchetti is fronting for the special interests to get a budget sucking enterprise which the taxpayers will eventually wind up funding in perpetuity. The Suns baseball venture has taken over Waconah park which use to be a public space. Will pickleball eventually be another private business being partially supported by the taxpayers? Will pickle ball tap into the same taxpayer resources? by design even?

    Either way, get that grand kid a nice camera, preferably with a zoom lens, and have him start an album charting Pittsfield pickleball as it rises in popularity. A good first page would be close up color images of the hand holding and rubber stamping city councilors who are absolutely clueless when it comes to responsible budgeting.

  3. The school committee
    June 26, 2019 at 3:47 am #

    Taconic has played in 2 basketball state title games and baseball has played 3 with two state titles in 3 years.If we could get this kind of leadership in our department heads.Stop hiring people who can’t get the roads swept and painted.Its July and Caccamo is not walking his ward to get sidewalks repaired.The Ward councilors don’t stay in their lane and do Ward work.We need Taconics excellence but we have lazy people getting jobs through connections ….Pittsfield is lazy from the top down.

    • Kermit Frog
      June 27, 2019 at 6:51 am #

      This is a baseball town.

  4. Johnny Absurdo
    June 26, 2019 at 6:38 am #

    Japanese company buying Interprint? Will the mayor continue their awesome tax breaks along with every other business that is doing well and not needing them?

  5. CC The Maze Sun
    June 26, 2019 at 7:31 am #

    When I was young and in the Game, they called me the “Home Run Kidd” cuz every time I stepped up to bat, everyone would run Home.

    This time round its me that’s going Home. On a clear night you’ll be able to see me shine.

  6. The school committee
    June 26, 2019 at 7:40 am #

    The mayor needs to have Kristine Behnke in to ask her how she manipulates the schools mullions. Do this one at a time and she wont.Pittsfield is wasting millions failind.Highway is a failure…..2.5 million Over budget in 20 monthsbmeans the men are getting the OK to get rich from somebody ,who is giving the OK to salt a dry road?

    • Johnny Absurdo
      June 26, 2019 at 8:06 am #

      No money for traffic enforcement but pushing hard for pickleball. How can that be? No kickbacks in traffic enforcement?

  7. Jonathan Melle
    June 26, 2019 at 7:42 am #

    I have heard fun sports stories about local baseball legends Mark Belanger, Tom Grieve, Chuck Garivaltis, and the like. I never got to see the movie about Belanger, who won Gold Gloves, but struggled to hit. I wanted to view the movie about his baseball career.

    I wish it didn’t cost hundreds of dollars to take your family to a Red Sox game. Some baseball players make hundreds of millions of dollars. It is more about money than baseball.

    • danvalenti
      June 26, 2019 at 8:06 am #

      JON
      Good points here, especially about the prohibitive cost of seeing a Sox game. In the late 60s, early 70s, we could go to Fenway on the last-second lark. “The guys” would leave at 9 a.m., park for free behind the ballpark, get lunch and a grog, then walk up to the ticket booth, buy four box seats (location, our choice!), and it cost $6 each — $24 total. Half that amount won’t even park your car today. Those same seats today would set us back $560.

      • Johnny Absurdo
        June 26, 2019 at 9:32 am #

        True. I shake my head when I see Fenway with sellout crowds. So many people with so much money for baseball. I could not nor would not pay again to go to Fenway but occasionally will watch on TV where I can see the replays. I use to go strictly to see the game, not eat and socialize. Now you can miss the best plays of the game cuz the hot dog guy is standing in front of you feeding the loud mouth drunks in front of ya.

        Thanks but no thanks. Was offered Green Monster tickets last year and turned them down. Too old to deal with that stuff.

      • The school committee
        June 26, 2019 at 12:28 pm #

        That is why Mark had to work at Bessies,it was not a well paid profession

        • X-Lachs Lounge
          June 26, 2019 at 3:16 pm #

          If they paid for charm Belanger would have owed millions.

    • Acute Angina
      June 26, 2019 at 2:07 pm #

      Belanger ‘s batting average matched his personality. When his batting average hit .165 he should have sold.

  8. Mad Trapper
    June 26, 2019 at 9:20 am #

    Last time I was at Fenway was Sept 1986.

    A friends father’s company had corporate box seats right behind the Rangers 3rd base dugout, not spoken for. That is we went for FREE!

    It was one of Tom Seaver’s last times pitching. He was up 2-0 in the 8th, then got pulled for Bob Stanley in the 9th. Stanley gave up two runs, Sox won in the bottom of 9th. Stanley got a “win”, Tom got a no decision.

  9. The school committee
    June 26, 2019 at 12:33 pm #

    I believe the sox were bought for 650 million and their wealthy owners can sell it today for 3 times that price.A pure yuppy corporate well to do audience. Like politics and governing is all for the elite as blue collar UMASS went from 1500 to 30k….Greed can not be overcome as it is to powerful.

  10. ProxyDate
    June 26, 2019 at 2:47 pm #

    PICKLE BALL IS DONE (for now)

    https://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/pittsfield-city-council-rejects-funds-for-pickleball-at-springside-park,577824

    Chris Connell, Peter Marchetti, Melissa Mazzeo and Tony Simonelli voted for Pickleball. Moon and Caccamo would have voted for it if it was at a different park.
    Pittsfield already spent $20,000 on consulting and design fees for Springside, contrary to the master plan.

    • Mr. Fritz
      June 26, 2019 at 3:11 pm #

      Hoooo-rah!
      Let the “club” raise their own funds for the construction of pickleball courts!

      • Johnny Absurdo
        June 26, 2019 at 3:36 pm #

        Someone should reimburse the taxpayers 20 grand. I think it should be Marchetti.

        Mazzeo severely hurt her bid for mayor.

        So Moon was for it just not in her ward? Why? I was hoping she voted against it to save the taxpayers money. Oopsie.

        • Harrison
          June 26, 2019 at 3:46 pm #

          Wrong about Moon…
          “Ward 1 Councilor Helen Moon was the one to move to remove the project from the budget. Beyond the club, she said, most of the people whom she’s heard from were against it. She continued to say that the county has 126,000 people and the pickleball players only account for 129 and many of those come from outside of the city of Pittsfield. She said those numbers don’t justify the use of city funds to build such a facility at this point.” iberkshires June 6.
          She was right.

          • ProxyDate
            June 26, 2019 at 4:01 pm #

            She then flipped. And said she would be for it if it didn’t go at Springside and if alternative funding could be found, hence CPA and not capital budget.

            She made a speech about how it’s the fastest growing sport in the USA.

    • Harrison
      June 26, 2019 at 3:14 pm #

      Pickleball is a great idea, but if pickleball is so hot, why doesn’t some entrepreneur build on their own private property and charge for court use?
      Name one reason why tax payers should spring for this.

      • 12 Gauge
        June 26, 2019 at 5:32 pm #

        Could the city build me a golf course and skeet shooting range?

        • Nomad
          June 26, 2019 at 7:45 pm #

          How about some bocce courts like there used to be on the Common?

          • Harrison
            June 27, 2019 at 3:55 am #

            Remember when Italian Americans went to the city to ask the taxpayers build their bocce courts? No, me either.

          • danvalenti
            June 27, 2019 at 6:57 am #

            Great point, HARRISON. They built them with their own money and labor.

      • Johnny Absurdo
        June 27, 2019 at 12:21 am #

        There is NO reason. Very suspicious that Marchetti is pushing so hard for it. What is in it for him?

        Anytime a politician is for something that his people are against means we need to look behind the curtain.

      • Kermit Frog
        June 27, 2019 at 2:06 am #

        I agree

      • Tequila Mockingbird
        June 27, 2019 at 8:18 am #

        Pocket pool is better than pickle ball. The racket is easier to handle, the balls are easier to carry around and you don’t need special shoes.

        • danvalenti
          June 27, 2019 at 2:20 pm #

          TM
          Not to mention the historical (and hysterical) aspects of the game. Born in Pittsfield, you know. 1791.

  11. ProxyDate
    June 26, 2019 at 3:30 pm #

    Dan,

    Need confirmation on Wayfair jobs grinding to a slow crawl or halt.
    Sources are saying that they only took in 58 acceptable applications and that they are now planning to significantly scale back the call center.

    • Johnny Absurdo
      June 26, 2019 at 3:37 pm #

      SSSHHHHHH! Keep it down till after the election.

    • danvalenti
      June 26, 2019 at 9:10 pm #

      PROXY
      We heard about this yesterday. Checking with sources.

  12. Mr. Fritz
    June 26, 2019 at 3:37 pm #

    Mark your calendars…..the Straight Pride parade is scheduled for August 31 in Boston!
    Pittsfield needs a Straight Pride month – perhaps July would be a good choice – with Straight Pride floats in the 4th of July parade!!
    Since I am leaving this fair city……I’ll just plant that thought for further discussion among the residents here….

    • Johnny Absurdo
      June 27, 2019 at 12:23 am #

      Pittsfield needs a parade of people marching to city hall demanding an deep audit of the city’s expenditures and bidding process.

  13. Merry & Bright
    June 26, 2019 at 3:42 pm #

    Guess I am going to have to start taking a vacation day the Wednesdays after the City Council meetings! By the time I finish watching it, I am so angry, frustrated and fed up I can’t sleep! Has anyone else noticed that it seems Dynamic Vibrant Lovely Linda is always conveniently absent when there is something important on the Agenda? President Pickle Pete gets his jollies each meeting monitoring open mic, that is all he has contributed these past 4 years and about all he is good for. I am also wondering if any of Dynamic Vibrant Lovely Linda’s department heads have a clue on how to do a spreadsheet, especially Kerwood and Turocy. I wish I had a dollar for every hmm and ahh they both say when asked a question. Neither one can answer a question and their broken record response is, “oh, it is on my desk”. There is an agenda, how about coming prepared. Neither one of them can account for where the taxpayer’s money has gone. They can’t even balance how many people applied for a certain number of parking spaces. Pathetic. Turocy should be fired without a pension. This would pay back some of the monies he has not been able to account for. Especially since he actually laughed about being over budget! Wonder how many “snow plow contractors” took advantage of the free salt for their private use since Turocy never thought about keeping track of it? Another Pathetic! As far as the PPD, both Dynamic Vibrant Lovely Linda and Little Chief Wynn noses should be taller than Wynn for the secrets they hold and can’t tell the taxpayers. Why are the taxpayers paying for Eason, are we going to have to pay for Ostrander also? Onto Moon, how many meetings has she sat and drank her mason jar beverage, chewing her cud, yet she got the giggles last night because she didn’t know how to run the meeting. I have said this many times before, none of them would last long in a job in the private sector.

    • doomiedodger
      June 27, 2019 at 12:25 am #

      Excellent review.

      • Mr. Fritz
        June 27, 2019 at 4:26 am #

        I second it.
        And why aren’t the councilors calling for an audit to find out WHERE the 2.1 mil went?
        This reminds me of the Gerry Doyle admin, when millions also disappeared.
        Tyer & company need to be replaced – vote Tyer OUT!

    • Sojourner Truth
      June 27, 2019 at 5:24 pm #

      The “lovely” major is presently touring the Danube and Europe. Taking her lead and not to be out done by the D.A. Kinda like fiddling while Rome burned.

    • Shakes
      June 27, 2019 at 6:13 pm #

      I smell a water whizzerd.

  14. The school committee
    June 26, 2019 at 4:43 pm #

    How much does it cost to have 2 high schools and what is the cost savings of 1 high school…..its hard to believe this question has never been asked by our mayor or Marchetti……Tyer went on vacation budget week.

    • X-Lachs Lounge
      June 26, 2019 at 5:36 pm #

      Good point. See what happens when you stick with what you actually know?

  15. Fugimoto Hockalugi
    June 26, 2019 at 5:23 pm #

    Oh give me a home where pickle ball is known
    And the school committee and council play
    Where seldom is heard a non GOB word
    And the skies are cloudy from bum smoke all
    Home, home of the strange

  16. Ernest Lawrence
    June 26, 2019 at 5:27 pm #

    Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
    The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
    And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
    But there is no joy in Pittsfield—dynamic Linda has struck out.

  17. The school committee
    June 26, 2019 at 6:11 pm #

    Mayor Tyer just lost the election. Thank you Mayor Mazzeo for questioning power.

  18. Nomad
    June 26, 2019 at 7:41 pm #

    H

    Excellent point !!

    There’s plenty of buildings in the area that could accommodate pickleball courts that would be usable 12 months a year.

    I’ve read that pickleball can be played on tennis courts. If that’s true…why not adapt the courts at Hibbard? I drive by that park at various times, at least a dozen times a day. I’ve yet to see anyone playing tennis there this season.

    • doomiedodger
      June 27, 2019 at 12:34 am #

      There are acres of land overlooking scenic Silver Lake begging for pickleball courts. Make enough for a national tournament if it is becoming so popular. Let Pittsfield become a pickleball destination with world renown players flying into once again renovated Pittsfield International airport. (we do big planes now)

      Marchetti should put his own banks money where his mouth is and get them to invest in this futuristic economic engine goldmine. Using the PEDA site for world class pickle ball is a no brainer and we could even name the club house after Pete.

      • Johnny99
        June 27, 2019 at 1:21 am #

        Great idea Doomie, and the useless multi million incubator building can be used as a pickle ball manufacturer

        • doomiedodger
          June 27, 2019 at 3:27 am #

          Or restrooms

    • Johnny99
      June 27, 2019 at 1:28 am #

      Because a 20,000 dollar study didn’t recommend it. Same goes for the old Crosby Tennis courts – would be another good spot and the Pickleballers could keep an eye on the junkies and nippers sippin and smokin dope, shootin up, havin sex, littering, and continuing to ruin Crosby’s Amazing Playground which has turned into a hangout for the miscreants with pants hanging off of asses, which ticks me off more than women with holes in their pants on purpose. The city can’t even pick up the trash or cut the tress back that are growing into the field- just cut around them. Old Judge Crosby must be rollin over in his grave.

      • danvalenti
        June 27, 2019 at 6:59 am #

        J-99
        We have heard the Crosby play area has become one of the gathering places for the scuz. Sad on so many levels.

  19. Mad Trapper
    June 27, 2019 at 4:49 am #

    It seems I agree with the Democrats on illegal immigration.

    Do you?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBOdt30ABJE

    • Pat
      June 27, 2019 at 1:29 pm #

      Democrats are so hypocritical. Only people with a grade school education will be voting for them in 2020. Everyone else has figured out their game and it’s TERRIBLE for this country.

      • Johnny Absurdo
        June 27, 2019 at 4:06 pm #

        at least ya gots the gerrymandering going for ya Pat. (and the Russians)

  20. Lil Auburn
    June 27, 2019 at 5:21 am #

    Dan, on my rout to my destination I used to listen to WTBR in the morning and still do in the afternoon. I agree with a few of your posters on here that since school is out, that the show they do daily should be done for the summer as school is out, and go to the music format for which it was intended for.

    The current format usually has nothing to do with students,at least the majority,seems he’s pushing advertisements and Arts or talking with pro politicians or administrators touting phony success.

  21. ProxyDate
    June 27, 2019 at 6:45 am #

    Dan,

    Some are saying there was a murder in Pittsfield that the police are covering up/not reporting as a homicide.
    A woman thrown off the third floor of an apartment complex, river view/Berkshire Peak
    They are saying a drug deal gone bad.

    • Auto Phil
      June 27, 2019 at 6:46 am #

      When would this have taken place?

      • Johnny Absurdo
        June 27, 2019 at 7:23 am #

        Lots of chatter on the 411 the other day but no facts. Pittsfield is always short of facts.

        • ProxyDate
          June 27, 2019 at 8:50 am #

          6/24/19 7:40 in the AM emergency responders report to Peak / former riverview apts. dead body in stairwell

    • James
      June 27, 2019 at 11:49 am #

      As opposed to a drug deal gone good?

      • doomiedodger
        June 27, 2019 at 4:08 pm #

        Some of them must go good cuz people keep doing it

      • ProxyDate
        June 28, 2019 at 3:34 am #

        Well if buying drugs and then living to use them is the standard of most drug deals gone good, I’d say this was a drug deal gone bad.

  22. Auto Phil
    June 27, 2019 at 6:45 am #

    I can not believe how much time the City Council and Mayor waste on talking about stupid things that should have never been considered in the first place.

    I suppose for them it’s more beneficial to waste time talking about stupid things than spend time addressing real issues.

    It’ll be sad next week when all of the July 4th out of towners come to Pittsfield and see that it City still hasn’t fixed massive potholes. It will be July. And it will probably be the year that many of them finally decide this is their last year traveling up here. Such a shame.

    • Johnny Absurdo
      June 27, 2019 at 7:29 am #

      But they have probably filled a couple of thousand potholes. Unfortunately the same ones will all be back next spring with two thousand additional ones. . You can’t neglect the foundation for ten years and then run around filling all the holes. It is like wack a mole and can get pretty expensive and time consuming.

      I really doubt any other towns are following Pittsfields example of doing anything. And isn’t it time to buy some more school buses?

      • Pat
        June 27, 2019 at 1:25 pm #

        So true. Hit a horrible pothole on Springside Avenue today. Why isn’t it filled by now? I’ve avoided it a million times for the past 6 months, but the one day I forget about it, I hit it. Hopefully my car is OK, but it’s a small, but deep hole. Why is this city going to the dogs?

        • Juicy Lucy
          June 27, 2019 at 2:33 pm #

          Lassiez-Faire Leadership. The ineffective leadership of an unqualified mayor. She’s on a cruise on the Blue Danube. Pickle Balls she has “a set”.

          • doomiedodger
            June 27, 2019 at 4:13 pm #

            and the super sad part of the coming mayoral election is that there is NOBDY electable that gives two shits about controlling runaway spending at city hall.
            the only business s moving here are the ones the mayors give tax breaks to because the high taxes are keeping all others away.. and that leaves the burden largely on the backs of fixed income elderly trying to hang onto their homes…but who cares about them?

  23. The school committee
    June 27, 2019 at 7:39 am #

    Pittsfield taxpayers watch the Moon,White,Caccamo, Marchetti crowd add pickleball courts and we can’t take care of what we have. Mayor Mazzeo will sweep streets ,paint lines,fix potholes.Cut tree limbs in the hood for better lighting.Mayor Mazzeo will sit next to Kristin Behnke and watch her budget payments and have her explain on TV how it’s done.Mayor Mazzeo will have the highway clear OT with her because that thing may be a huge scam that taxpayers dont know about.Im told 3million in charges for sand salt and overtime in the last 20 months.Tyer is somewhere but not at CC meeting….The Secret City of Pittsfield Ma. continues.Pittsfield is ranked the worst run city in the Northeast

  24. The school committee
    June 27, 2019 at 9:24 am #

    Pittsfield Ma. needs Mayor Mazzeo to save this city.Tyer had her chance and focused on pickleball and Trash cans on Tyler.Stockbridge is probably the pickleball capital in waiting.Mayor Mazzeo will have to consolidate into 1 high school grade 10 to 12.One junior high 8 and 9 at Herberg.Crosby,Conte,Allendale at Ried…we are going to find million and save millions.Tyer was in charge of our sewar plant debacle. Tyer has low low energy but she is a nice person.

  25. Pat
    June 27, 2019 at 2:23 pm #

    “Under no circumstances should the House vote for a McConnell-only bill w/ no negotiation with Democrats. Hell no.

    That’s an abdication of power we should refuse to accept. They will keep hurting kids if we do.” That statement is more insanity from AOC.

    Notice she is so concerned with power except when it comes to socialism which is the ultimate power over the people of a country, but she’s OK with that because it would give her far left all the power and money which would then be doled out from the all powerful government as the all powerful government sees fit which is a path to Venezuela for this country.

    Hurting kids? Please. The far left doesn’t even want the children to have beds!!! Pass the immigration bill because otherwise this crisis will grow worse and then stop the flow of immigrants. The flow of immigrants is being encouraged by the far left so they can then complain about the terrible conditions of the illegal immigrants.

  26. Merry & Bright
    June 27, 2019 at 5:00 pm #

    Just heard that the City of Palookaville did not budget for the rope tow at Osceola. Why was this not included and who and what department should have added this to their budget? It seems like this Vibrant Dynamic Administration could care less about the children of this City, but lets try to allocate thousands for Pickle Ball for a few part time residents. This city is going down hill more and more each day. Around 5p.m. there were a couple of accidents in the City and the police were spread so thin, they were asking Dispatch to call Lanesboro for assistance. Does Wynn ever get in his vehicle paid for by us taxpayers and help out? By the way they budgeted for a new vehicle for him, meanwhile some of the hard working stretched thin officers are driving old beat up cruisers. Wynn should not be getting this new vehicle since he messed up the Eason case and caused taxpayers to pay for his mismanagement. Pathetic Pittsfield at its best:(

  27. Shakes
    June 27, 2019 at 6:18 pm #

    I’m sure all the crochety old wankers said the same things about baseball two hundred years ago as those who whine about pickle ball today.

  28. The school committee
    June 27, 2019 at 6:38 pm #

    So we will see free agency in pickball,maybe I could break the moron barrier and be the 1st moron to compete in pickleball.I will do it