Worcester Weekly: Lombardi Trophy, Stand Down for vets + more, June 11-17

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Professional sports

Monday, June 12 — Worcester Bravehearts vs. North Shore Navigators, 7:05 p.m., Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field, 1 College St.  Outfielder Joe Caico of Hopedale, back for his second season with the Bravehearts, got off to a fine start at the plate, hitting .346 (9-of-26) with 2 home runs and 6 RBI (not to mention 9 runs and 3 doubles) as the team won five of its first seven games.

Courtesy Jaime Flores Photography

The Bravehearts are off to a 5-2 start in 2017.

Meanwhile, relief ace Cody Lawyerson, from University of Maine, has struck out 11 and walked but 1 in 5-2/3 innings of work over three appearances. Kevin Kirley of Clinton and Nichols College is a pitcher for the Navigators, who lost their first six games of the season, including a 9-3 drubbing by the Bravehearts Friday night. Tickets start at $6.

Cutting to the chase: Ronnie Caldwell, barber to the Patriots, plans to open shop in Worcester

From the gridiron of Gillette Stadium to the bright lights of Hollywood, master barber Ronnie Caldwell Jr. is building a who’s who clientele from coast to coast, and that global success has led to local ambition with plans in the works to open a barbershop at the corner of Suffolk and Franklin streets.

Caldwell, born and raised in Worcester, is the personal barber to New England Patriots offseason acquisition wide receiver Brandin Cooks, actor Brandon T. Jackson (known for “Tropic Thunder” and “Percy Jackson”), and Washington Redskins offensive lineman Tyler Catalina, a Wachusett Regional High School graduate.

Caldwell’s glitzy list of customers includes Patriots backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett and cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who signed a $65 million contract to join the team in March, as well as social media sensation (and former college football player) Landon Moss, and professional baseball player Chris Colabello, a former Assumption College standout and longtime Worcester Tornado.

Courtesy Ronnie Caldwell Jr.

Stephon Gilmore, one of the newest New England Patriots, quickly connected with Caldwell.

So how did Caldwell land such high-profile clientele?

It all started with a little hot tub eavesdropping.

Inbox [June 4]: News and notes from city of Worcester, EPA, Bravehearts and Worcester State, WPI and Holy Cross

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Augustus, Petty vow to continue battling climate change

Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty and City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. reaffirmed Worcester’s commitment to battle climate change locally, continue investing in green technology and maintain the city’s place as a leader in clean energy.


Mayor Petty

In the wake of the announcement that the federal government would back out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Petty will join more than 80 mayors across the country in signing onto a U.S. Climate Mayors statement, pledging to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement. We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy.”

The full statement can be found here.

“As our federal government retreats from its responsibility as steward of our environment, it is vitally important for state and municipal governments to uphold our commitment to the future of our planet,” Petty said. “If the president doesn’t want to do it, we will.”

Worcester Weekly: Bravehearts are back, veggies on the Common + more as May turns to June

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too. 

Nature | Holiday

Monday, May 29 — Memorial Day Free Entry for Military and Veterans, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston  Everyone loves a parade, right?! Wrong. Just like clowns, apple pie and HBO, there are always some wayward folks out there who refuse to get with the program. So, if you’re not into watching 80-year-olds trudging to the haphazard beats of high school marching bands — and because of this idiosyncrasy you’ve received no cookout invitations — consider a quick road trip to explore the lush landscapes and serene surroundings of Tower Hill.

All active military and veterans with valid IDs will be admitted for free. Up to five family members with valid military dependent IDs will receive 20 percent off their admission ($12 adults, $8 seniors, $4 kids 6 and up).

For more information


Tuesday, May 30 — Cycling Exhibit and Repair Station unveiling, 11 a.m., Blackstone River Bikeway, 1265 Millbury St.  When complete the Blackstone River Bikeway will span 48 miles and connect cyclists from Worcester to Providence. It will also connect them with nature and history — but you know those folks; they’re just in it for the cool helmets and spandex shorts.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 163]: Steve Palermo, called to the real big leagues

For many, if not most, sports fans of today, the name Steve Palermo rings hollow.

But for baseball aficionados and astute local observers, Palermo — born in Worcester, raised in Oxford — was truly someone to admire, having sacrificed his acclaimed Major League umpiring career to help two women being attacked outside a Texas restaurant in 1991, an instinctive action that led to paralysis.

Palermo died from complications of cancer this week. Hitch pays tribute to an unlikely sports icon who should never be forgotten.

Rich Gedman still has a hand in Red Sox success

Rich Gedman’s hunger for baseball never left him, even after his playing days ended.

The Worcester native and former Major League catcher, who spent parts of 11 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, is now in his fourth season as hitting coach for the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston’s Triple-A affiliate. He also works with the team’s catchers to prepare them for the majors.

Gedman, now 57, rejoined the Red Sox organization in 2011 as hitting coach of the Lowell Spinners’ Red Sox Short-Season affiliate after nearly a decade of coaching and managing in the Can-Am League with the North Shore Spirit and Worcester Tornadoes, both of which are now defunct.

For Gedman, the idea of coaching came from helping the teams of his sons, Mike and Matthew, when they were growing up. Now, that hobby is part of the reason why the Boston Red Sox, who are heavy on homegrown position player talent, are among the favorites to win their division and contend for a World Series title this season.

“It’s a steady presence,” PawSox manager Kevin Boles said of Gedman. “Yes, he’s been there as far as his major league playing career. He’s been in some great moments in Red Sox history, but you know what you’re going to get with Geddie every day of the week. He doesn’t waver.

When it’s parents vs. coaches, kids can’t win

“Where I think it crosses the line is when we have a call for volunteers and no one volunteers to be a coach. Then when the season starts, everyone wants to have their say and their kids taken care of.” — Nick D’Andrea, East Side Babe Ruth official

The relationship between a sports coach and parent can be a balancing act.

Like the courts and fields where the young athletes play, there are boundaries — literal and figurative — and sometimes they get crossed.

Many of those involved in local high school and youth sports know there is a segment of parents who overstep the bounds. Beyond supporting their child and the team, more and more, it seems, they leap into a search for some kind of control in order to ensure what’s best for their child — more playing time, more accolades, more notice — whether earned on the playing field or not.

A recent prominent example of parents crossing the unmarked boundaries of involvement with interscholastic sports is a case in point. Former Braintree High School girls varsity basketball coach Kristen McDonnell stepped down after eight winning seasons — and two Division 1 state championships — because of what one parent described as “parent revolt.”

Of course, many parents, some coaches say, still manage to keep things in perspective. But the evolution of these important relationships continues.

“I’ve had it pretty good. I haven’t had lunacy like that,” Leicester High varsity football coach Tim Griffiths said.

“As far as parent interaction, we have our issues here and there, as every coach does,” Griffiths said. “When kids are growing up and playing sports, their parents expect that the kids get plenty of playing time. When they get older, however, it’s just not realistic. At the varsity level, the best players are going to play, and that’s just how it is.”

Griffiths, who’s been coaching at Leicester since 1994 — except for a stint at Quabbin Regional High School in the mid-2000s — said: “The parents that I’ve been around have been great with me, but I’ve also been there for a long time. It helps that they know me and know what to expect.

Ora Szekely

Inbox [April 26]: News and notes from Clark, UMass Medical, Anna Maria, Worcester Community Action Council, Research Bureau and Bravehearts

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.

Clark prof’s latest book ‘Politics of Militant Group Survival in the Middle East’

The nature of international conflict has evolved in recent decades. Rather than conflict between state militaries, warfare increasingly takes place within regional conflict systems involving both states and non-state armed groups. Understanding the internal dynamics of these organizations is an important part of understanding the nature of international conflict, according to Ora Szekely, Clark University assistant professor of political science.

Szekely explores these dynamics within the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict in her latest book, “The Politics of Militant Group Survival in the Middle East: Resources, Relationships and Resistance.”

Szekely draws from field research conducted in Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Egypt to compare the performances of four key non-state actors of the Arab-Israeli conflict ecosystem: The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hamas, Amal, and Hizbullah. Her research reveals how strategic domestic and foreign policy choices affect certain groups’ ability to “militarily resist and politically recover from confrontations with far more powerful adversaries.”