Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: Catching up on some things you may have missed

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Since I'm sure that your holiday shopping has taken up a good portion of your time recently, there are some items in the sports news that have probably fallen under your radar. So it is my job this morning to catch you up on some of that news

The gym at the new Taconic High School is now open, and it is something. The Taconic boys have played twice there, going 1-1, while the girls have won their first game in the new gym.

The whole high school is pretty spectacular, but today, we just discuss seeing a game in the gym.

While it is clearly not as big as the gym in the old high school, it is one of the more spacious and comfortable gyms in Berkshire County. There's enough room so the teams can have chairs to sit on, instead of sitting in the front row of the bleachers.

That makes Taconic, Mount Everett and McCann Tech the only high schools that have chairs for benches. Everett and McCann have bleachers on only one side of the gym, so the benches are against walls on the other side.

There is even enough room for the Pittsfield Public Schools to get some roll-out bleachers to put into the end zones. It won't have quite the same amount of seats that the old gym had, but it was a trade-off for a new building.

One question though, what's the deal with scoreboards and the city of Pittsfield?

The Taconic girls had to flip their opener with Pittsfield because the scoreboards and the shot clocks had not been installed. They are now.

First, it was the scoreboard at Wahconah Park that didn't work properly two years ago. It, by the way, worked well last year. And then there wasn't a scoreboard or a clock at Dellea Field until late in the football season, when a temporary scoreboard and clock was placed on the press deck.

And now this.

Fortunately, everything has worked out.

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You might have missed this, but for the second time in three years, the Boston Red Sox need a new radio broadcaster.

Tim Neverett, who replaced Dave O'Brien on the radio broadcasts when O'Brien replaced Don Orsillo on NESN, opted to not renew his contract with Entercom, the parent company of flagship station WEEI-FM. It's a move that, on the surface, makes little sense.

Red Sox radio broadcasts were top-rated in the Boston market, and certainly around here, WBEC, WNAW and WSBS were all really glad to be able to air the Sox on their road to a World Series championship.

But according to published reports in the Boston Globe, the radio company told the broadcaster that he should start looking for another position when the 2018 season came to an end.

Neverett is a New England guy through and through. He was brought up in Nashua, N.H., and went to college at Emerson right in Boston. His brother B.J., is the manager of the Nashua Silver Knights of the Futures League.

Tim Neverett spends much of his winter commuting from Boston to Amherst, where he broadcasts UMass basketball and hockey for the Eleven Sports Network. Those games are seen on NESN or NESN-Plus.

I would call this a mistake, as I called the decision to move on from Orsillo a mistake. Somehow, everything turned out all right. O'Brien has been dandy on NESN, I've really enjoyed listening to Neverett and Joe Castiglione on the radio, and Orsillo is doing San Diego Padres games and living by the beach. Call it a win-win-win.

I was at Fenway Park in 2013, sitting in the right field auxiliary press box when the Red Sox clinched the World Series championship by beating the St. Louis Cardinals, and I remember the pure joy that the fans around the press box felt when the final out was made.

What was it like in the radio booth when Castiglione called the final out?

"You knew it was going to happen. When Chris Sale got up, he got up on his own by the way. There were three guys warming up in the bullpen which never happens, and Sale got up on his own. He knew what the game situation was supposed to be," Neverett said. "He got up, started warming up, the other guys sat down. All the other pitchers in the bullpen were standing and applauding him as he walked to the door in the visitors' bullpen in right field in Dodger Stadium, and you got goose bumps.

"He threw every pitch with everything he had, and that last pitch to Manny Machado, no chance. But the first batter he faced, you saw that slider working and you're like, they have zero chance to hit him. The Red Sox are going to win the World Series."

At least, like the broadcasters before him, Neverett got to be in a duck boat parade.

The closest the broadcaster got was when the Pittsburgh Pirates won a Wild Card game a few years back.

"Unfortunately, there was no parade" down Grant Street, Neverett said.

"I live in that neighborhood around Fenway, went to school around there on Boylston Street, and I had never seen that many people there in my life — in person and in one place," he said, "and everybody happy. It was incredible."

We spoke about the parade and the season before the news came out, so obviously, Neverett wasn't sharing that news.

As to the parade?

"I had never experienced anything like that," he said to me. "The whole time I was on that boat, looking at people, waving back at people, my face was sore afterward from smiling so much."

Hopefully, Tim Neverett will get another chance for another parade in another MLB market.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.


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