Keeping Score: Cleaning out the email

Published: 5/12/2023 5:45:35 PM

Good morning!
Let’s get caught up on the mail, or email, such as it is these days. First the criticism, and there’s always plenty of that. UMass hoops fan Justin Annis took exception to an item about freshman Tafara Gapare. The highly-touted forward entered the transfer portal in March, and my farewell piece to him wasn’t kind.

“Did you consider that getting screamed at and berated by his coach might be a deterrent to staying? Or that he’s halfway across the globe from his family in New Zealand and there might be other dynamics at play? I urge you to consider both sides of the story.”

Point taken, Justin. UMass coach Frank Martin hollered at his players all season and they looked and played like they couldn’t have cared less. Gapare is a youngster, and he may have taken it personally. He’s at Georgia Tech now, playing for first year coach Damon Stoudamire.

After the April 1 column about the Netflix documentary “The Murders Before the Marathon” and Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s likely involvement in an unsolved triple murder, Arlene Jigarjian wrote that she grew up on Bellevue Road in Watertown close to the scene of the police shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers.

“One of my high school classmates is a retired Watertown police officer, and my older brother graduated from MIT and once ran in the Boston Marathon, so it hit me hard. It’s quite possible Tamerlan committed those murders because he had no heart.”    

An anecdote about John Zwyna’s comment to a player after he was hit by a pitch prompted Greenfield’s Larry Dean to write. “I taught, counseled and coached at TFHS from 1969 to 1980 and I rode to school with John each day in his Ford Mustang.

“He was legendary for coaching football in shirt sleeves in November, but I don’t remember him coaching baseball, I only remember Jim Koldis.”

Enter Fran Togneri, who said Zwyna coached the junior varsity. “The JVs played home games at the old high school (now Sheffield) and the varsity at Unity Park,” wrote Togger. 

“Ziv never gave the signs, he made the last guy on the bench give them. If he wanted you to steal, the last guy on the bench would put his foot on the bench and keep his other foot on the ground. If he wanted you to bunt, the last guy on the bench crossed his arms. It was ingenious.”

Buckland’s Nancy Dole asked, “Do you ever cover the UMass Ultimate Frisbee players? My grandson plays Ultimate and I believe they are doing very well this year.”

No Nancy, I never have covered Zoodisc but there’s a first time for everything.

As for a Squibbers item that compared “Everything Everywhere All at Once” with a ‘60s hit called “Over Under Sideways Down,” Jim Bates wrote: “That Yardbirds song is on my Pandora play list. Keep those blasts from the past alive and well.”


Former UMass winger John Leonard’s younger brother Ryan of Amherst has scored 20 points in 17 games for the U.S. National Development Team.

Last month in Switzerland he scored the game winner in overtime to give the U.S. a 3-2 win against Sweden in the U18 World Championship. The NHL scouting services list him as the consensus 12th pick in the draft.

“Leonard is very good plus they have a whole host of other exceptional players. Fun team to watch,” wrote team doctor Doug Weiss of Bernardston.

It’s a constant reminder of three years ago when leading scorer John Leonard was a healthy scratch against UNH. Leonard hadn’t had a shot on goal the previous night, and coach Greg Carvel told Brock Hines every player needed to be held accountable.

Ryan subsequently committed to Boston College, and people still wonder if his brother’s benching helped convince him not to play in his hometown.    


College football scouts will be at Eaglebrook this fall watching Zachary McKenzie. Currently rated as the No. 2 eighth grade dual threat quarterback in the country by QB Hit List, the 5-foot-11, 150-pound signal caller completed 132 of 164 passes for 2,069 yards and 30 touchdowns for the Worcester Cowboys.

Eaglebrook AD Lucas Williams said a date hasn’t been finalized for the annual showdown against Fessenden, when Eaglebrook’s defense will line up against the third-rated QB Rory Funke.


West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins’ anti-gay, anti-Catholic and anti-Xavier University remarks to a Cincinnati radio station was his answer to whether he’d taken any Xavier players from the transfer portal.

Huggins has an abiding hatred for the Musketeers. He coached against them for 16 seasons when he was at Cincinnati, and lost to them by 10 points in December.

Unmindful he was on the radio and not elbow-to-elbow at the bar, his words cost him a three-game suspension and a $1 million salary cut. “No excuse,” he said, “and I won’t try to make one.”


Denver center Nikola Jokic was fined $25,000 this week for “improper contact” with Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia. According to, Jokic makes $54.4 million a year. I’m not good at math, but if Jokic was making $75K a year, the fine for his behavior would be $6.89.


It’s been a good week for Red Sox alumni. Mookie Betts hit a two out, ninth inning game-tying home run against the Padres on Sunday, Jackie Bradley Jr. was 3-for-4 with two doubles against the White Sox on Monday, and Eduardo Rodriguez notched his fifth straight win versus Cleveland on Wednesday. E-Rod has allowed one earned run in his last 35.2 innings.


RAD Sports of Rockland is building a new baseball field on the west side of Rtes. 5 & 10. According to a knowledgeable source, Deerfield Academy needs to use the varsity field on the upper level called Headmaster’s Field for its temporary dining hall until the new dining commons is built. The ballfield will be between the Sunoco Station and a residential home.


SQUIBBERS: Congrats to TFHS sophomore Madi Liimatainen for notching her 500th career strikeout on Thursday. The milestone happened against Mt. Greylock and was witnessed by her father Jay who’s an assistant coach, and his in-laws Jamie and Nancy Jankowski. … UMass outfielder Kevin Skagerlind of Holden and Wachusett Regional made ESPN's top 10 plays with a nice diving catch against Stonehill. Thanks to Brion O’Connor for the heads up. … Buck Showalter was ejected for the first time since he became the Mets manager on Tuesday after Wil Myers pulled an ARod and slapped the ball out of Francisco Lindor’s glove. … The Knicks are now 1-14 when down three games-to-one in the playoffs. So much for that betting angle on FanDuel. … Bo Jackson has had the hiccups for 10 months. The former NFL and MLB star told his plight to all-sports WJOX in Birmingham. “I have done everything. Scare me, drink water upside down, smell the a** of a porcupine…” … The morning after Kenley Jansen’s 400th save, Sirius-XM’s Steve Phillips remembered watching him in the 2009 WBC. “He started out as a catcher playing for Curacao in the Netherlands, and he made every throw from his knees. He was phenomenal behind the plate, but he couldn’t hit a lick.” … Our ace handicapper John Dobrydnio had the winning horse Mage in the Kentucky Derby, and now it’s on to picking a winner in the Preakness. “Oh c’mon,” he laughed, “first let’s see if we can find something.”

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


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261


Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy