Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: BCC turf field project has light at the end of the tunnel
The news came fast and furiously in the past week. None of what you will read here came out of Cleveland, except to tell you that Tim Tebow did not speak at the Republican Convention.
Locally, the biggest news came last week when Department of Environmental Protection administrative law judge Timothy Jones ruled that the turf field project at Berkshire Community College should go forward.
It is not yet a done deal. Opponents have the right to appeal and take it to court. But one thing appears certain, there is a light at the end of the tunnel on this project. That is the best news I heard all week.
The fact that we are one step closer to putting a shovel in the ground at BCC should be good news for every coach, player, parent and fan of football, soccer and lacrosse.
Weather in New England is so darn finicky that having a facility where the field can't turn to muck will be a good thing for our young athletes. Many of them play in travel programs and are used to playing in top-shelf facilities. Why Pittsfield, and by extension Berkshire County, shouldn't have some is beyond me.
This facility will be for everyone, from the youth soccer groups to high school football. It will be a destination site on Friday nights for football. Games can be played in the rain without worrying that the field would be torn asunder.
Construction won't happen overnight. Even if the opponents end their battle now, it'll be at least 2017 before anyone is playing on it.
But the future is in sight, and this is a good thing.
The Baseball Hall of Fame inductions were held this weekend. When I spoke to Pittsfield's Tom Mooney in January when the Class of 2016 was announced, the Pittsfield-based baseball scout was looking forward to it.
"I really am going to try," he said, when asked if he would be going to Cooperstown. "Hopefully, I get an invitation. It would be special to see Junior and the family."
Mooney did get an invitation from Ken Griffey Jr. as the guy known as Junior was enshrined. Mooney was the territorial scout for the Seattle Mariners when the Mariners made Griffey Jr. the first overall pick in the 1987 First Year Player Draft. Two seasons later, Junior was in Seattle with the Mariners.
"The game came so easy for him," Mooney said during a January interview. "There wasn't anything in the game that challenged him as a 17-year-old.
"As you watched Junior, he was different. I felt he was going to be able to play under failure. I don't think that failure was ever in his vocabulary."
Griffey and Mike Piazza were both inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend. Both are worthy of the honor.
You might have missed this news note from last week, but UMass is putting an old rival back on the basketball schedule. That's right, Temple will be playing the Minutemen.
This was an Atlantic 10 rivalry that bordered on blood feud.
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Temple's Hall of Fame coach John Chaney had owned the A-10. But that was until John Calipari, UMass' Hall of Fame coach, showed up in Amherst.
Chaney built the Owls by playing anyone, anytime and anyplace. Calipari adopted that mantra as his own, and once he threw "Refuse to Lose" into the mix, the Minutemen became a threat in the conference.
Everybody remembers the "I'll kill you" game of Feb. 13, 1994, when UMass beat Temple 56-55 and chaos reigned after that game.
In fact, if you go to YouTube and look it up, you'll see a much younger sportswriter with a bald spot but lots of hair in a grey sweater sitting right in the middle of the WGGB-TV video tape.
Chaney and Calipari eventually buried the hatchet when Calipari was an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers under his mentor Larry Brown. Coach Cal and Coach John are now considered close friends.
But when Temple visits the Mullins Center on Nov. 17, it'll renew a rivalry that should never leave us.
The best rivalries are built on animosity. That's why UMass-Temple was so special.
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.
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