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Sports Columns

Going southward

Good morning! Satellite radio was playing Fats Domino’s 1960 hit “Walking to New Orleans” the foggy early morning I parked next to a dormitory and waited for two students I was driving to JFK Airport. The Uber era had begun in western Massachusetts, and the younger set was using its satellite-based technology for car rides. They came out of their dorm like convicts on the run, tugging their luggage and cramming it into the trunk over my own belongings. Once I dropped them off I’d 0

Jaywalking: Ivy star

Please excuse me for not realizing that Yale University men’s basketball star Makai Mason is originally from Greenfield. It’s rather embarrassing, actually. I am a college basketball junkie. I enjoy the college game more than the NBA, and my nights generally end by turning on the Pac-12 Network or ESPNU and watching west coast games. The Pac-12 Network isn’t even offered in high definition, but still I watch — that’s dedication. Yet I never realized an Ivy League hoopster grew up in Greenfield. Mason is 0

Jaywalking: Bourbeau rules national amateur billiard event

Does anyone remember County Billiards in Turners Falls? I sure do. It has a decade and a half since the pool hall — which opened in 1991 and was located in the SuperValu Foods (now Food City) parking lot — closed its doors in 1999. I can remember going over to see proprietor Al “Homer” Holmes when I was in middle school in the mid ’90s. Holmes is the best pool player I have ever been around, and is one of the best to ever 0

Keeping Score: Price chopper

Good morning! Last week on the Sports Hub “Toucher and Rich” interviewed Dirk Hayhurst about his run-ins with David Price. It was the sort of interview that makes 98.5-FM the highest-rated station on morning drive-time in Greater Boston. Hayhurst pitched briefly for the Padres, but was better with a pen than on the mound and he retired after the 2009 season with a career record of 0-2 in 25 games. His books “The Bullpen Gospels” and “Out of My League” have been favorably compared to 0

Jaywalking: Proposed alignments could open some eyes

The MIAA Football Committee released its proposed alignments for the 2016 season and the four new divisions in western Mass. have a much different look to them. The proposed alignments were voted on one week ago and released prior to this past weekend’s MIAA Super Bowl games. Schools now have the chance to appeal where they were placed in the new alignments. According to Dave King, president of the MIAA board of directors, the appeals will be heard in late winter or early spring by 0

Jaywalking: Mr. Roberts

One of the most under-appreciated jobs in high school sports may be that of the public address announcer. Those men and women whose voices resonate across ballfields and basketball courts, sometimes coming out of speaker systems that don’t do them any justice. I always appreciate a good PA announcer, because occasionally you miss something as a reporter, and sometimes you can make up for it by listening to the announcer, who is as vested in getting the information correct as the person reporting the game. 0

Keeping Score: Worth the wait

Good morning! Jim Reid was beginning his seventh season as the UMass football coach when athletic director Frank McInerney called him into his office and gave him the bad news. It was early 1992 and Governor William Weld was on an austerity kick. McInerney told Reid he was slashing $80,000 from the freshman scholarship budget. The fiery Reid said he’d resign before reneging on scholarships. McInerney scoffed and replied, “They’ll forget you the moment you walk out that door.” Reid went through the door and 0

Jaywalking: On the hunt

Everyone knows that Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November every year, but not everyone realizes that the following Monday is also celebrated by a number of people in the area. That’s the opening day of the shotgun deer hunting season in Massachusetts. Hunters from all over the state — and beyond — wake up early, throw on their camouflage and orange attire and take to the woods. It also means that I’ll spend Monday afternoon compiling the list of names of those individuals 0

Keeping Score: Out of its league

Good morning! The second half was underway when I backed my car into an empty space near the softball complex and walked the last quarter-mile to the UMass football stadium. There was a time when fans got in for free after halftime, but not anymore. Six yellow-jacketed employees were guarding the turnstile, so I walked to the ticket window and gave it my best shot. “One senior halftime discount, please.” “Ha ha ha,” laughed the ticket seller. “Still gonna be $20.” I forked over the 0

Jaywalking: Baby Charlotte

Writer’s note: You are about to read the words of a proud first-time parent. As I experienced the myriad emotions during wife Heather’s pregnancy, I decided to take notes and compiled my thoughts into a letter to my newborn daughter in the days leading up to and following her birth. Hello sweet daughter. Welcome to the world. It’s been a long nine months awaiting your arrival. Truthfully, the nine months kind of flew by as your mom and I prepared both the house and our 1