Keeping Score: So long Mike, you’ll be missed

  • In this photo dating back several years, Recorder advertising salesman Mike Currie flashes a smile that local business owners have become accustomed to for 34 years. Currie will retire on Friday. For The Recorder/Chip ainsworth

Friday, July 21, 2017

Good morning!

Two common sights in downtown Greenfield are Mark Donoghue standing under the awning of his downtown restaurant at Taylor’s Tavern, and Mike Currie hustling down Main Street smiling and flashing the peace sign.

Born and raised in Turners Falls, Currie is retiring on Friday after 34 years working in the Recorder’s advertising department. 

Mike had the rare gift of making advertisers feel special. He provided the personal touch and worked diligently on their behalf. In so doing, he helped this newspaper struggle through a period of what-do-we-do-now when the Internet came along.

Currie worked harder, is what he did.

“Mike was consistently our largest producer,” said former ad director Rich Fahey. “He built a solid account base. He was loyal and always looked out for their best interest.”

Currie won’t be selling ad space anymore, but he’ll continue his penchant for making people smile. “He’s earned his place in the ranks of the retired,” said Fahey. “I hope he enjoys it as much as I do.”

Dustin Pedroia’s seventh-inning home run on Thursday was Boston’s 98th this season. Only four other teams had fewer than 100 as of Thursday. It appears Dave Dombrowski is trying to win with pitching, which at Fenway is like trying to win the Daytona 500 with a Prius.

That point was underscored a half-century ago by columnist Clif Keane after the Red Sox failed to execute a squeeze bunt. “In Fenway Park, power baseball is better,” wrote Keane. “It’s that kind of park, always has been.”

The column was excerpted by Chaz Scoggins for Rico Petrocelli’s memoir “Tales from the Red Sox Dugout,” on the 50th anniversary of the Impossible Dream.

It’s a delightful book that will be reviewed in depth later this summer.

American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco told SiriusXM Game Day that he’d fight for the University of South Florida to get into the four-team College Football Playoff if the Bulls run the table this season. USF is coming off an 11-win season under coach Willie Taggart.

Deposed Texas coach Charlie Strong was hired by USF when Taggart left for Oregon, and he inherits a team that includes Quenton Flowers — who’s rated the ninth-best quarterback in the FBS, according to cbssports.com.

The Bulls’ non-conference schedule includes San Jose State, Stony Brook, and UMass at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

The only way USF can show it belongs in the top four is to run up the scores, and that doesn’t bode well for the boys from Amherst on Oct. 14.

Columnist Kevin Cullen’s tale of police camaraderie tugs at the heartstrings. The rank and file of New York’s 46th Precinct were grieving the murder of fellow officer Miosotis Familia on July 5 and were considering canceling their trip to watch the Yankees play in Boston on Sunday.

“She would have wanted you to go,” said a commanding officer, and off they went through Connecticut and up onto the Mass. Turnpike. When the bus reached Sturbridge, the Mass. State Police gave them an escort straight to the ballpark. Along the way, they saw cop cars parked on overpasses and fire and EMT personnel lined up and standing at attention.

“It was overwhelming,” a cop told Cullen. “We had people crying on the bus.”

The thin blue line had indeed extended between cities and beyond rivalries. 

“Frank in Deerfield” ripped Xander Bogaerts on the Sports Hub’s Felger & Mazz this week. “He’s got 15 or 20 errors already,” said Frank.

“He does not have 15 errors,” replied Tony Massarotti. “Stop.”

Frank wasn’t that far off. Bogaerts has nine errors, tied for 19th among MLB shortstops, but what’s amazing is the two co-hosts didn’t look at each other and ask, “Where’s Deerfield?”

Two emails appeared in the inbox regarding harness driver Herve Filion’s passing. Ed Dornig of Orange wrote: “I used to bet on him when he raced at Foxboro (Raceway) back in the ’60s. It was a great place to take a date. I’d pay a quarter to park, buy a program and we’d sit upstairs on warm summer nights splitting bets. One night we went home with over $600.”

Another reader, now a full-fledged member of Gamblers Anonymous, wasn’t so fortunate. “I was a ‘resident’ of Yonkers Raceway (where Filion did the bulk of his racing). I could have paid for my son’s wedding five times over for what I lost there.”

New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick jumped on ESPN for referring to Jose Fernandez’s death last September as a boating accident. The Marlins pitcher was under the influence and piloting his speedboat at 65 mph, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. It was 3 a.m. when he crashed into the rocks and the boat flipped upside down, killing Fernandez and his two friends.

Calling it a “boating accident” would be like referring to the 1704 attack on Deerfield as a raid. It was a massacre, and 25 children were among the dead.

SQUIBBERS: Here’s how it went in the Hub last weekend. The Red Sox stole a win on Friday, the Yankees stole a win on Saturday, and on Sunday they split a twin-bill by identical 3-0 scores. Symmetry, thy name be the Sox-Yanks rivalry. … The Astros, Rangers and Dodgers are the only three teams to have 10-game winning streaks this season. The Dodgers, who started 12-12, have done it twice, including an 11-game streak that ended Thursday. … Tickets for the UMass-Maine gridiron game at Fenway Park on Nov. 11 start at $60. … White Sox GM Rick Hahn cashed in talent for prospects. “They have 10 of the top 100 prospects in baseball,” said WFAN’s Boomer Esiason. … Former Boston infielder Yoan Moncada, who was a key part of the Chris Sale trade, was called up to the White Sox on Tuesday. … Tiger Woods has dropped out of the top 1,000 World Golf Rankings for the first time since he turned pro. … “We lost another hero from our youth,” emailed Deerfield’s John Carney about the passing of Babe Parilli. In the 1964 season, Vito “Babe” Parilli threw 31 touchdown passes for the Boston Patriots. The record stood until the Tom Brady era. Obit writer Marvin Pave quoted Parilli’s longtime friend Barbara Goldy: “Babe would fight you for a dollar during a gin game but would hand you a thousand without a thought if you were in need.” … The media rumor mill is churning out news that Yankees GM Brian Cashman might go to Miami if Derek Jeter gets a share of the Marlins ownership. … After Kyle Martin struck out the first batter he faced in his major-league debut on Thursday, Dennis Eckersley recalled striking out 18-year-old Robin Yount in his debut. “The last batter I punched out was Jim Thome, so that’s kind of a bookend, right?” said Eck, whose NESN broadcast partner Dave O’Brien spent the All-Star Break sailing on Spofford Lake and relaxing at the Colony Bed & Breakfast in Keene, N.H. … Congrats to Merritt and Nancy Billings on their 67th wedding anniversary, and to Gary and Ann Thomas on their 30th. A Maine native, Gary’s photo is on the gym wall at Dover-Foxcroft Academy (now Foxcroft) for lugging the football. Merritt was a longtime employee of A&P in Greenfield, across the street from Holy Trinity Church. … Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk left $23 million on the table to sign with the New York Rangers. “I envisioned myself being a Ranger from the moment I stepped on the ice as a kid,” he told the NY Times. … Radio voice Joe Castiglione wished former Red Sox infielder Billy Gardner a happy 90th birthday on Thursday and added, “There are only 73 living major leaguers in their 90s.” … One-time big league prospect Henry Owens was demoted to Double-A Portland and walked the first six batters in his first start against the New Hampshire FisherCats. … I wasn’t sure what to make of Jonny Gomes bouncing up and down in his seat in the NESN studio on Tuesday, and neither was Jim Rice. …  Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was adopted and raised by two retired school teachers. … UMass grid coach Mark Whipple, who was born 20 miles north of Yankee Stadium in Tarrytown, N.Y., threw out the first pitch last weekend at Fenway Park. … Dallas police stopped investigating a dustup at the Clutch Bar that allegedly involved running back Ezekiel Elliott. This indicates that someone with a busted nose might have a new pair of Cowboys season tickets. … In an era of “launch angle” and “exit velocity,” remember what Lou Piniella said: “Statistics are like bikinis — they show a lot but not everything.”