I have some more personal stuff to share that I hope will interest you.
ON LEAVING THE NEW BRITAIN HERALD
I thought I would have some deep regrets about leaving the New Britain Herald, where I wrote sports for 14 years before joining the West Hartford Press on Nov. 19. Three months later, I don't have a one.
I miss the coaches, athletic directors and the kids.
I would have liked to seen Max DeLorenzo, the Berlin running back headed for UConn, when he made that decision. DeLorenzo is a respectful, appreciative, mature kid who you can't help but like. Yet for a DeLorenzo in Berlin, there is a Jonathan Esposito at Conard. Take that backfield and you not only have a pair of punishing ground-gainers but also a couple of future leaders. When I interviewed Esposito, he reminded me so much of DeLorenzo. I hope they both find great success.
I miss covering New Britain High basketball. I haven't been able to bring myself to the NBHS gym nor have I looked in on the boys team and new coach Todd Stigliano. Stigs is a great guy, a great choice and I miss him, but I've been told there's no crying in basketball so I haven't visited yet. I did see Tasha Manzie and the Hurricane ladies on the road at Northwest and I had to go into the corner of the gym to compose myself. How I miss and respect Tasha and her assistant Mike Jones. Boy did their team pick up steam as the season moved on. So did Stigs' boys. Great days are ahead for hoop in Hardware City.
But the daily grind was no longer that alluring to me. The deadlines at the Herald shrank from midnight to 11 and finally to 10. My stories could no longer be as thorough and box scores are now only occasional. Box scores are the essence of local sports and their omission leaves a huge gap. They provide a brief but complete view of the game and ostensibly include the names of all who played, which is what the people want to see in their daily paper. Typing in the cold after a football or soccer game in late fall is no fun. Searching for someplace warm to write with that deadline clock beating down is hard on the writer and provides no justice for the reader.
Now, I at least know that my stories will be read and re-read before they are made available to the public. No more glaring typos that nobody had the time to pick up. No more trying to get feeling back in these aging digits.
I also enjoy the idea that I get to pick what stories run and what the headlines and photo captions say. I found that to be a source of angst at the Herald. No longer.
'Tis a far, far better place I'm at, my friends, and I'm having fun.
No, I'm not leaving the Rock Cats. I'll be around for my 15th year of coverage, but you'll have to get the West Hartford Press or check out this blog to get the kind of in-depth, experienced view that you're used to.
The Rock Cats attract more than 350,000 fans a year and pump their energy back into the communities they serve by engaging their players and supporting worthy causes. The most successful sports franchise in the history of a state with a New York-Boston complex is both stunning and should be embraced.
Did it ever occur to anybody that Hartford simply is not a major league city? Nearly 370,000 fans comprehended that last year as they gained entrance to New Britain Stadium. Most were probably glad they didn't have to pay hundreds for tickets, a hundred more to park and face a long ride home.
Yes, the Rock Cats have carved out a niche that Connecticut fans and I appreciate and I'd like to keep that going.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Will I watch MLB games on television this year? Of course. Will I go to a game? Heck no.
Baseball at its highest level remains a travesty where greed runs even more rampant than it does in other aspects of American society.
The Red Sox will win the World Series, I hear people trumpet. Well they should, shouldn't they? They've gone out and bought nearly every able-bodied player they can, and a 162-game season allows the cream to rise to the top.
The Orioles may pull an upset now and again but they'll never be able to compete for a division title with the Yankees and the Red Sox stockpiling their rosters with millionaires and passing their burgeoning expenses along to the fan. If it's worth thousands of dollars to puff your chest out because a bunch of superstarts did what they were supposed to do, be my guest. Anybody can buy a Red Sox hat but only a couple can buy pennants.
By the time the Red Sox and Yankees are battling for the AL pennant, I'll be happily engaged in bringing the people of West Hartford local football and soccer news. Buying pennants isn't my idea of sports excitement. The action costs a lot less and is no less exciting right down the street, and those are our kids providing it. They're more important to me than greedy unions and misguided millionaires and they should be to you, too.