Sports Editor’s Playbook, Thursday, May 19, 2011

Patrick Newell

In Bob McNitt’s outdoors column, he confirmed with historical data what we already knew: It’s raining cats and dogs this spring. Since March 1 until yesterday (the day McNitt submitted his column) we have experienced 57 days of precipitation out of 79 total days. In 1976, the year the total precipitation record was set, we had 48 days of precipitation in the same time frame. As a result, high school sports teams have found narrow windows to squeeze in games this spring, and playing two-thirds of seven-week schedule in about 10 school days has placed a huge burden on pitching staffs. This isn’t professional baseball where teams carry a minimum of 10 to 12 able-bodied pitchers. This is a rurally-based county with schools drawing from a small population of athletes. Most teams are fortunate to have two quality pitchers, and perhaps one or two others who can give an inning or two. Playing four or five games in a week affects overall performance – and is probably wearing out the arms of the best pitchers.

Norwich and the surrounding communities lost one of the truly good guys earlier this week. Eddie Caputo, as I knew him, passed away early Monday morning after a battle with cancer. Caputo graduated from Norwich in 1972, and was a standout high school and collegiate wrestler. As a kid at Norwich, I remember Eddie serving as an assistant wrestling coach to Don Kovalchik. I have an image in my mind of Eddie coming out of the wrestling room in a sweatshirt and sweatpants, and he was as sweaty and worn out as the rest of the high school wrestlers. He served as a junior varsity coach for many years, and after that remained a dedicated supporter of the program. Eddie was an acquaintance to me, but I grew to know him well by his upstanding reputation and his good works. His obituary in Thursday’s paper captures a large part of his essence: He was devoted to his family, his faith, and the City of Norwich. Everything good about Norwich was embodied in Eddie Caputo. He was a tireless spirit full of positive energy, and that spirit will live on in his family and the lives of the people he touched.

Mother Nature rained on the Midstate Athletic Conference softball championship game Thursday afternoon between Greene and Afton. Knowing the ominous weather forecast, I placed a call with Greene athletics coordinator, Jeff Paske, early in the afternoon. I asked him to please give me a call in the event of a postponement. At 3:45 p.m., I trekked with Sun photographer Frank Speziale down Route 12. As we were entering Greene around 4:15, Paske buzzed in to let me know the game was postponed until Monday. It wasn’t a complete waste, as Frank reminded me. The gas used will be reimbursed, and what are the chances it will rain again on Monday? Based on the earlier statistics given by Bob McNitt: About 72.1 percent.

Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat