Ernie Johnson's Call
In this week's issue of the Outlook you can read an article I put together about Brattleboro-native Ernie Johnson, simply one of the iconic broadcasters in baseball history.
In my research, it was mentioned that Johnson had gone through some, let's say, "lean years" in broadcasting some pretty awful Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves teams during the 70's and 80's.
However, Mr. Johnson also had the honor of calling Hammerin' Hank Aaron's 715th home run in 1974, breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record.
Imagine that, a man from Brattleboro, Vermont called arguably the most famous baseball moment of all time... and folks, that is a pretty cool baseball fact.
One time Red Sox favorite Nomar Garciaparra announced his retirement from baseball last week and reached out to the Red Sox, asking for a one day contract so he could retire in a Boston uniform. As a Sox fan, I am torn by this situation.
On the one hand, I would just like to remember Nomar as one of the best hitters I have ever seen over the first seven years of his career.
Rookie of the Year, two batting titles, six all-star appearances and the fourth highest single season batting average in Sox history (.372) in 2000.
For several years he was just one of those players that every time he went to the plate, I felt like he was going to get a hit. There were a few years in Boston where Nomar and Mo Vaughn were about the only things Red Sox Nation had to cheer about.
However, on the flip side, Nomar was a very unhappy camper at the end of his Red Sox tenure, and made no bones about letting the media know it.
In fact towards the end, Nomar went so far as to lay down red tape six feet out around his locker, telling the media to "not cross the line". (Although now it is said the tape was the idea of team management)
And let's not forget that he also turned down a four-year, 60 million dollar contract offer before being traded in the summer of 2004, a few months before the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years.
I choose to remember the good ole' days when Nomar was a hitting machine and helped to change the culture of Red Sox baseball, just before they won two World Series in five years.
With that said, there is no way I am believing that the "one day contract so I can retire as a Red Sox" dog and pony show was genuine for either Nomar or the Red Sox management. At the end of his Boston tenure, the Sox didn't like Nomar and Nomar didn't like the Sox
Well, I am just going to forget about that stuff and keep remembering the days when I though Nomar was going to get a hit every time he stepped into the batter's box.
UVM March Madness
March Madness is once again upon us, and the University of Vermont has once again, made it to the "Big Dance," after recently knocking off Boston University over the weekend to claim the America East Conference title in Burlington.
The Catamounts were led by arguably the best player in the conference this year in Marcus Blakely, who had a monster title game against BU with 24 points and a whopping 18 rebounds, which was just one rebound shy of the tournament record set by NBA player Malik Rose.
The berth in the NCAA tournament is the first for the Catamounts since 2005, but it is also their fourth appearance in the last seven years.
The only problem? The Catamounts are a No. 16 seed and will go up against No. 1 seed and national power Syracuse. The game will also be played in Buffalo, which is essentially a home game for the Orange.
However, one must remember, when UVM won two games in the 2005 tournament, the first victory was against, you guessed it, Syracuse. Stranger things have happened and they already did once.
However, the UVM mens' hoopsters are not the only catamounts making some noise, as the Lady Catamounts also recently earned a berth in the NCAA tournament Saturday night with a 55-50 upset win over nationally ranked (No. 21) Hartford.
Standout forward Courtney Pilypaitis led the charge with 20 point, while Alissa Sheftic added 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Lady Catamounts (26-6 overall) are officially on a roll, having won 10 of their last 11 games in securing their second consecutive America East championship.
Vermont's only loss during the run came in their last regular-season game against this same Hartford team.
Although Hartford was playing without their top-gun and biggest player in Erica Beverly, UVM dominated inside, and would end the game with a 43-34 rebounding edge.
Vermont used an 18-1 run to turn an early 9-6 deficit into an 18-point lead at the end of the first half.
At one point, the Lady Hawks were held to just one free throw for over a nine-minute stretch and went almost 11 minutes without a field goal.
The win gives UVM a sweep of the America East Conference as the tournament approaches.
Let's go Catamounts!
Local Hoops News
The annual boys' and girls' Vermont Basketball Coaches Association (VBCA) Senior All-Star Games were recently played at Windsor High School, featuring the North against the South in four divisional match ups.
Several local student athletes were chosen to participate in the girls' event, including four players from the Division IV champion West Rutland Golden Horde - Katie Lincoln, Marissa Smyrski, Amanda Ames and Brooke Griswold.
Others participating included Sara Groshens, Emma Lisle and Bailey Stauffer from Green Mountain Union High School, Carlin Hood and Morghan Farnsworth from Windsor High School, Rebecca Day from Mill River and Devon Spirka from Twin Valley.
On the boys' side,Tyler Russell represented Leland & Gray, while Twin Valley was represented by Scott Hayford and Skylar Duncan.
Local Skiing News
Brattleboro Union High School senior Kalle Jahn recently took first place in the TD Bank Eastern High School 5K Freestyle skiing championship held on Gunstock trails in Gilford, NH.
Brattleboro freshman Halie Lange also did a nice job, placing 18th.