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Keeping Score

Keeping Score: License ... please!

Good morning!

Last week Hinsdale’s Bill Faucher mailed his off track betting application to the New Hampshire Gaming and Racing Commission and said he hopes to be licensed shortly after Thanksgiving.

Like a hot rod driver timing a green light, Faucher will be ready to take wagers as soon as the license is tacked on the wall. It took just months for the land to be purchased and the facility to be built. “We’re painting now and next week we’ll be laying in the carpet. I’m talking to tracks and want to be open by December first, but it all depends on the state of New Hampshire.”

Faucher is using his OTB parlor as a means to garner money to construct a harness track in Hinsdale. Not the old track that went under, but a new track on a plateau overlooking the Connecticut River. The last live parimutuel harness race in New Hampshire was won by a 13-to-1 long shot named Major League at Rockingham Park.

Since that day on Aug. 30, 2009, Rockingham Park has done only simulcast races. Some insiders have speculated that Faucher might encounter problems if Rock feels infringed, but president and GM Ed Callahan said in a telephone interview he’s behind Faucher’s plan of re-introducing harness racing into New Hampshire.

“We’ve wanted a return of live racing for a long, long time,” said Callahan. “Billy and his crew have worked hard to make progress and we wish them the best of luck.”

In the meantime, Faucher will be checking the mailbox and waiting for the go-ahead, pulling a wishbone and hoping for the best.

“I’m at their mercy now,” he conceded. “It’s up to them.”

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Deerfield’s Jamin Hemenway is back on the pigskin prowl, darting off from his hub in St. Louis to various gridiron hotbeds, watching Georgia beat LSU on a last minute 25-yard touchdown pass and witnessing Johnny Football’s 41-38 dismantling of Ole Miss. “I saw Cam Newton play against Ole Miss and Manziel is better. Now that I think about it I’ve seen the last seven Heisman winners.”

He said the tailgating in Mississippi is outstanding. “Ole Miss has a reputation for pretty coeds. They like to say ‘We can red shirt Miss Americas.’”

His weekend capers involve buying from scalpers and figures he’ll be able to score a ticket to the Nov. 23 game between Texas A&M and LSU for about $150 (some websites want upwards of $600 per seat).

“A night game in Tiger Stadium with 93,000 unruly Cajuns going nuts is probably the best experience in college football. I’ve never been to a place that loud or crazy in my life.”

He has indeed witnessed some crazy sights in the Bayou, like fans barbecuing a whole alligator before the Tigers played top-ranked Florida four years ago.

Today he’s in Knoxville where Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley will try to keep his body intact against the pass rushing ferocity of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. “The place holds something ridiculous (102,455), and my father (Rich) will be joining me for a day trip to a few of the Kentucky bourbon distilleries.”

Readers can follow Hemenway’s college gridiron travels on his website, www.pigskinpursuit.com.

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Sports gadabout Phil Corrinet reminded us recently to keep tabs of Greenfield’s Alex Amidon and his football exploits at Boston College. It was good timing, considering Amidon received ACC Player of the Week honors last Saturday for his six-catch, 121-yard performance against third-ranked Clemson.

It marked the 10th game that Amidon had over 100 yards receiving which is a school record. Amidon is ranked the 48th best receiver in the country by cbssports.com. He played prep school ball for Deerfield native Danny Smith at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. The Eagles have a bye week and play at North Carolina next Saturday.

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A belated congrats to Turners Falls’ Kelly Tompkins and her Brattleboro Union High School softball team for its ninth-inning, 1-0 victory over Missisquoi Valley Union High School to win the Vermont state softball title.

“Bases loaded we got doubled up at home,” Tompkins said recently outside Walgreens. “It was a line drive and their fans are telling her to score so she goes. On the same play, the girl at second tagged and came to third and scored on a passed ball. First passed ball of the game, craziest thing.”

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ALCS Notes: Such is the grand old game that Miguel Cabrera, the best player in baseball, is now the series goat, scoring a reverse hat trick of sorts by getting thrown out at home, committing a run-producing error and hitting into a rally-killing double play. ... In December, the Red Sox signed Mike Napoli to a three-year $39 million deal, then reneged after a medical exam revealed a degenerative hip condition. Fifty days later he signed a one-year contract for $5 million plus incentives. Now Napoli’s odds-on to be the series MVP and it’ll be interesting to see how it shakes out during the off season. ... Another MVP candidate is Koji Uehara, a latter-day Mariano Rivera with one earned run, no walks and 11 Ks in eight postseason innings. ... Speaking of bad hips, Toot Cahoon is doing hip replacement commercials for a local hospital. The long-gone Minutemen hockey coach is wearing an Amherst College t-shirt, not UMass. ... Mike Carp’s twitter handle is CarpusMaximus20, according to the unrivaled research site baseball-reference.com. ... If you’ll recall Anibal Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez were traded from Boston to Florida for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Sanchez and Miguel Cabrera were subsequently traded to the Tigers for Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop, Frankie De La Cruz, Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin and Mike Rabelo, one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history. ... Pundits wanted Red Sox manager John Farrell to shake up his lineup after Wednesday’s loss, but how? The only move he could possibly have made was to have dropped slumping Shane Victorino (2-for-21) to eighth and bat Xander Bogaerts second or third, but the young rookie is inexperienced for such a bold move. ... The Red Sox have hit .293 (22-for-75) the last two games after batting .141 (13-for-92) the first three.

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NLCS Notes: Part of the joy of watching post season baseball is the nuances and scenes we don’t regularly see, like the three-way conversation between Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, manager Don Mattingly and interpreter Martin Kim while the organist plays “Pick Yourself Up” from the 1936 movie with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. ... TBS analyst Ron Darling has been critical of Yasiel Puig’s antics. “What irritates me about Puig is not all the stuff he does on the field, (but) how long it takes him to get in the box,” Darling griped on Wednesday. “Get him out of the box” he growled after Puig stayed and stared down umpire Ted Barrett after a called third strike, and when Puig failed to break up a double play Darling said, “Supposed to take the guy out here (but he) never slid.”

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During Tuesday’s brief stoppage after the lights went out, FOX sideline reporter Erin Andrews said she saw Jim Leyland smoking in the dugout. Leyland turns 68 on Dec. 15 and he’s made it this far.

“If it’s not a half-pack of Marlboros and two gallons of coffee, then I’m not clicking,” he says of his morning routine. Once in Oakland he referred to Brandon Inge’s crucial base on balls as “a Marlboro-and-a-half at-bat.”

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Squibbers: Lookalikes: Actor Jeremy Renner and Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy. ... Bernardston Kiwanis volunteers were crowded around the radio during at the Vets Club on Tuesday, listening to Joe Castiglione call the Red Sox’ 1-0 nailbiter. Afternoon baseball on the radio, just like the old days. “Very cool, very exciting,” said Kiwanis member Dave Lorenz. ... Good line from Tyler Kepner in Thursday’s NY Times, writing that half the Tigers’ opposition “looks Amish.” ... Only in California could the Dodgers’ bearded, braided, tattooed relief specialist Brian Wilson not attract attention. “He’s one of the most cerebral teammates I’ve ever had,” says studio analyst Mark DeRosa, a former Giants teammate. “This guy can crush a USA Today crossword in about five minutes.”

Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for four decades in the Pioneer Valley.

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