Keeping Score: Driving buddies

Friday, November 24, 2017

Good morning!

Folks who aren’t fazed by a moose or a bear were rubbernecking when they saw Jim Rice in Keene last week. “He’s always recognized,” said Butch Plifka, “even at the bank drive-up.”

Plifka owns Kulick’s Market in Winchester, N.H., and Rice was along for the ride while he went to Mascoma Savings Bank. They met 10 years ago at Carl Yastrzemski’s charity tournament in Bolton, and on Monday they’ll fly to the Dominican Republic for Big Papi’s annual links tournament at Caso de Campo.

Rice played all 16 seasons in Boston and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2009. He lives in Andover, and occasionally hops in his Cadillac (or the Mercedes) and drives to Winchester.

“He’ll come to the house,” said Plifka. “He likes it out here. It’s a good ride, lets him air his brain out.”

During lunch at Luca’s in Keene, they firmed up plans to meet in New York City for the connecting flight. “We’re leaving early to get a couple of rounds in with Luis Tiant and Andres Gallaraga,” he said.

Plifka joined the Northfield Golf Club this year and wants to get his golfing buddy on the links with him next spring. “He’s my friend,” said Plifka, “probably my best friend. I give him hell like he gives me hell, and I can take him at golf.”

If Rice accepts the challenge it will be a round worth covering.

Skiers thought they’d be on the slopes at Berkshire East on Friday but the first day of skiing was postponed, so said its website: “The temps never dropped as forecasted to make the last bit of snow we needed to open. … Our snowmakers are waiting at the helm to fire up. … We will keep you posted.”

An hour later it said in bigger letters: “Opening Day Postponed. New Opening TBD.”

It wasn’t good news for guests staying across the river at the Warfield House. Rooms for the holiday weekend cost between $199 and $329 a night and they weren’t there for the view.

In the 1950’s, a Connecticut developer named his Charlemont ski area Thunder Mountain. Ten years later it was named Berkshire East, which begat the Berkshire East Ski Resort, which begat the Berkshire East Mountain Resort.

During their tenure, Michigan native Roy Schaefer and his family have created an outdoor empire with all its trails and snowguns, zip lines, zip walks and zip jumps.

This year the National Ski Areas Association and SKI Magazine gave it the Golden Eagle Award for producing more electricity than it uses. “In 2012 (Berkshire East) was the first in the world to power 100 percent of its operation with a wind turbine and solar field.” 

Mother Nature’s still a step ahead of the technology, however, but when skiing starts the lift prices will be $48 on weekdays and $68 on weekends. 

Soft spoken Bunny Rosewarne passed away last week. There was a time when he ran the gun on survey and teed off with Sam Couture, Norm Carme and Art Fiset at the Country Club of Greenfield on the same day.

An online message posted on his guest book summed up how people felt about him: “In a world where you can do anything, Bunny chose to be kind. That’s what we will remember.”

The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reported last week that a “turnaround mission” is underway at 105.5 FM, a shakeup that may not bode well for UMass football and basketball.

After a Matt Ryan pass was nearly intercepted on Monday Night Football, Sean McDonough exclaimed, “That reminded me of a pass Seattle threw in the Super Bowl against the Patriots.”

“That’s because it was the exact same pass,” said Jon Gruden. “It’s another RPO.”

According to Google, RPO can mean either really pissed off, or run/pass offense, and Gruden likely intended the latter.

SQUIBBERS: Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst looks like he’d be just as happy standing behind the counter at John Deere. … After the Bolton, Conn., selectmen’s race ended in a 718-718 tie last week, the two candidates flipped a coin to decide a winner (the Republican). The Bolton Ice Palace is where Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and the Hartford Whalers used to lace ’em up for practice. … Mercer got $600,000 for its 56-0 beating in Tuscaloosa, Ala. last weekend. … Last week in my review of Marty Appel’s book about Casey Stengel, I mistook Hank Goldberg for Hank Greenberg. Goldberg is a Miami radio and TV personality; Greenberg hit home runs for the Detroit Tigers in the 1930s. … TFHS fan Stash Koscinski saved himself five bucks after I forgot to call him for our annual Turkey Day wager. … When Mike Francesca retires from WFAN next month, his afternoon slot will be filled by co-hosts Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott. “They couldn’t find anyone better? I am stunned!” ranted Chris Russo. … “I’m a one scholarship guy out of high school,” said Minnesota Viking QB Case Keenum, meaning the University of Houston. The way he’s playing, Keenum must’ve read Tom Brady’s book. … Jay Frost’s alma mater the UNH Wildcats will host Central Connecticut State (Gary Mullins’ alma mater) in the opening round of the FCS Football Tournament today in Durham. The Wildcats have made the tournament 14 consecutive years. …  Sports Illustrated media columnist Richard Deitsch ranked Mike Emrick tops on his list of the top 25 active sports announcers. The NHL play-caller does the Stanley Cup for NBC, and Deitsch writes: “No working sportscaster does frantic better than Emrick.” … Amherst College joins the short list of schools with nicknames too cringe-worthy to use, even now. … Pete Rose on the confounding science of baseball: “It’s a round ball and a round bat, and you got to hit it square.”


Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for four decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be reached by email at sports@recorder.com.