Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: Examining UMass star Makar's spot in Minutemen all-time pantheon


There has been a lot of news this week. So this morning, it's time for another session of "Ripped from the Headlines."

News item: UMass knocks off rival Boston College on a goal in the final seconds.

The third-ranked Minutemen have been nothing short of amazing this year. Coach Greg Carvel, a former colleague of Williams football coach Mark Raymond when both were at Saint Lawrence, has a legitimate chance to guide his team to the Frozen Four.

While I wasn't at the game Friday night (I was watching Scott McGuire Jr. reach 1,000 points for the Drury boys), I did see the video of the game-winning goal. That was a real stunner.

UMass is third in the national poll, but in both the PairWise and RPI ratings, UMass is the No. 2 team in the country, behind only St. Cloud State.

The discussion on my time line for much of last night concerned UMass defenseman Cale Makar, who I've written about in this space before, and where he sits in the pantheon of great athletes in Amherst.

The more I thought about it, the more interesting the discussion became. Are we just talking about what they did in college, or do you include their post-graduate playing careers?

The biggest discussion on my timeline was whether Julius Erving or Marcus Camby should be higher on the UMass list.

If you count their pro careers, Dr. J is in the Hall of Fame, and Camby isn't.

If you compare college careers, both left college early. Camby left after three years and Erving after two. The Doctor was one of six college players to average 20 points and 20 rebounds, while Camby was the national player of the year for a team that went to the Final Four.

For basketball, that would be 1 and 1-A, if you're using only what happened in the Pioneer Valley.

That's why Makar's spot on the list is so up in the air. If he can guide the Minutemen past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, that would move him up. If he wins the Hobey Baker Award, given to the best college hockey player, that would move him up even more.

I have long said that if you judge Cale Makar by his NHL Draft year, he was one of the four best youngsters in the world when he was drafted fourth by Colorado. And considering the three players ahead of him are all now in the NHL, that would make him the best amateur.

But Cale Makar's UMass legacy will be determined this year. So let's see where he'll land.

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News item: The Red Sox will have multiple replacements for radio broadcaster Tim Neverett.

Last week, WEEI put out a press release, announcing that it will have a rotating group of broadcasters to sit besides Joe Castiglione this summer.

For Red Sox fans who listen on WBEC, WNAW and WSBS in Berkshire County, it is most definitely news.

In all, there are eight names who will drop into the press box at Fenway Park, and on the road this year. It got me thinking.

The only thing I could come up with was a scene from the comedy classic "The Naked Gun."

You might remember that movie as Leslie Nielson and the members of Police Squad had to stop Reggie Jackson — whose mind was being controlled by Ricardo Montalban — from assassinating the Queen of England.

As the game began, the movie switched to the press box, where you heard this from the TV booth: "I'm Curt Gowdy, along with Jim Palmer, Dick Vitale, Mel Allen, Dick Enberg and Dr. Joyce Brothers."

So on Opening Day, will Joe Castiglione throw it to Sean McDonough, Josh Lewin, Mario Impemba, Chris Berman, Lou Merloni, Dale Arnold, Tom Caron and Dave O'Brien?

That's the group of broadcasters that will rotate in and out of the broadcast booth with Castiglione.

So, either it takes eight guys to replace Neverett, or the discussion about wanting Red Sox broadcasts to be a little more talk-show like wasn't as far from the truth as some would have it.

What makes this interesting is that the main play-by-play broadcasters — McDonough, Lewin, Impemba, O'Brien and Arnold — all bring different viewpoints to the booth, and that could make things interesting.

But if Dick Vitale shows up, then all bets are off.

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


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