Friday, December 15, 2006


Alright you no-writin' bastards, it's time to resuscitate the forum - Daisuke is signed, sealed, and delivered and the rotation is now looking somewhat more than sturdy for '07. Notwithstanding the mega-scratch involved between the posting fee and the subsequent contract (rather light considering the Meche and Lilly contracts), I think it's a great move. If he has half the form that's being reported, this dude is going to be a formidable presence in the arsenal. Although the jury is still out with respect to Drew and Lugo, the Sox are clearly pulling out all the stops this year. I think that the fact that Schilling and Wake are getting a bit long in the tooth is playing into the emphasis on this year but it seems like the team's folding at the end of last year has just as much to do with all of this. If they can find a halfway decent closer (which seems to be the ceiling of what's potentially available), they are going to be a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the foul lines. There are still some question marks, of course, but with this 3-4-5 lineup and predominantly young hurling staff, the sky's the limit. It's too early to tell what the reaction will be from NY and Toronto, but I suspect that their britches were slightly soiled with today's developments.
So what are your thoughts at this early juncture?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Baseball kicks ass!

Not being especially interested in the NLCS series, the Megster and I basically surfed all night only keeping an infrequent eye on Game 7. I felt that the Mets' choice of starting Perez - statistically the worst pitcher ever to pitch in such a series, let alone the vital game 7 - more or less sealed the deal for the Cards. Well. In the 6th after pitching a 4 hitter yielding a 1-1 tie against Jeff Suppan, Perez walked Edmonds (his first BB of the night) with 1-out. Willie Randolph came out - ostensibly to yank the cord - when he inexplicably decided to stick with his starter. The very next pitch, Scott Rolen drove a deep shot to left when some guy i've never heard of (Endy Chavez?!) leaped and stole a certain 2-run homer, having the werewithall to throw it back to first to double up Edmonds for the inning-ending out. In a matter of seconds, the game see-sawed from one side to the other. I guess that's why I love the game... you can never predict the amazing shit that you might see at any given moment amidst the routine.
I am recording the rest of the game to watch from that point when I get off the computer. Who knows what will happen, but if the Mets win - thus going to the World Series - this play will have massive ramifications. Pretty cool!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

3 beers for the Tigers!!!

Thank you, Detroit Tigers, for beating the Yankees in the playoffs and making the sportsworld right again! I really thought the way those 2 teams played down the stretch that that was the worst matchup if you wanted the Yanks to lose. I wanted them to have to face the Twins pitching in the first round and then the winner of Detroit and Oakland in the second round. But when the Twins took the Division on the last day of the season, I was not at all optimistic the Tigers could get it done, especially after they looked overmatched in game one. I love it when I'm wrong. Congrats Coach Dave!

The Bruins looked pathetic, losing 8-3, in their opener but managed to beat Tampa last night. So maybe they won't be totally awful. They're young and lack depth of talent though.

The Dolphins played up to their potential and gave the Patriots a tough game today (kinda knew they would) but the Pats got it done and are now 4 and 1. I see improvement in the WR's but I'm not sure they have enough...defense needs some depth too.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Year in review, year in preview (open thread)

Even though our youngsters didn't all turn out to have as good a season as some hoped, I think we're on the right track. Here's to hoping a full recovery for John Lester. I also don't think Hanson sucks as bad as he has. I'm not sure what's with Beckett but I still like the trade. I would like to see more depth of position players with a future but I'm willing to be patient.
It will be an interesting off-season. I expect Theo will stay the course (he he) but I also expect at least one big splash trade.
Congrats to the Portland SeaDogs on winning the Eastern League championship. No surprise they did it the year I didn't get to a game. LOL Your opinion as to who on this team has a bright Sox future?
Open thread means help me out since I don't have enough for a full post!


I don't see this year as a total bust, there were some bright spots. Papelbon and Big Papi being the obvious. The one suprise I think we may see next year is Julian Tavarez as the 5th starter in the rotation. He seems to be renewed in the starter role and since he has one year left on his contract I won't be suprised to see the Sox start him in spring training next year and test the waters. The thing to watch in the off season is whether the Sox pick up a closer. Papelbon has expressed interest in becoming a starter, but that won't happen unless a new closer emerges. Quite frankly I don't Hansen is ready at this point, so unless a miracle occures over the winter he won't be the closer. This means the Sox will have to look outside the organization for a closer. It seems that we will have another new short stop again next year, even though Gonzalez played a gold glove caliber short and hit above expectations, I'd love to see him come back, but the rumor mill has him leaving for free agency. This theory is gaining momentum with Padroia getting some playing time at short now.

Of course the speculation that Trott is heading out of town after the season will sicken the southern cousin, especially if he stays in the American League East. I'm thinking that the O's would be a good fit for him, they seem to be looser with the purse strings lately. Of course I hope Trott can stay, but I see the negotiation going much like Pedro and Damon. The Sox will put a figure down, and if he wants to stay he'll take it, other wise thanks for the hard work and good luck. I think this is especially true with Willy Mo Pena in the mix.

That's my two cents.....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Trade open thread

So now almost a full year after the trade of Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, and the day after Sanchez' no-hitter, do you or do you not want a do-over?

Ramirez has been better than I thought he'd be, especially this year. One no-hitter in half a season as a starter looks impressive but doesn't a career make.
Lowell has been much better than we could have hoped he'd be, and Beckett has been a disappointment compared to his past and expectations.

My vote: If Lowell's gone after this year and Beckett remains inconsistent, I want a do-over and take my chances with the still largely unproven youngsters; but who's to say that next year and beyond Beckett doesn't return to his old form or, better yet, lives up to his promise and the kids don't fully pan out.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Another weekend, another sweep.

We could talk about the injuries real or otherwise, the poor play - offensively and defensively - around decent starting pitching, the hamstrung management... but what's the point? We can't even take a game from the frigging Mariners.
At least the Pats looked good.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


It's been a while since i've had this taste of bile in my mouth. What a horrible and grueling weekend. What went wrong? Well, pretty much everything. (I say pretty much because Manny was out of control and both Schilling and Wells actually pitched quite well.) The paucity of timely hitting, the 3 dreadful starts, the gruesome bullpen numbers - this is some of the worst collective baseball i've seen in longer than I care to remember. They pretty much have sucked since they were swept by the Royals a couple of weeks ago but this series was the icing on the cake. Taking into consideration the rapidly dwindling number of games left and the general play of the teams with whom we're competing, the hurdles we need to negotiate in order to even have a chance at playoff possibilities seem virtually insurmountable.
Never has Varitek's importance been more apparent, especially in regards to the bullpen. Long the bedrocks of our pen this year, Timlin's - and to a lesser extent Papelbon's - struggles seem to have coincided with Varitek's absence. If you throw all of the other struggling young arms used to his guiding presence into the mix, you start to recognize his incalcuable value to the team. Just an observation.
I have no idea what the next few days will show but the team is battered after not only the crushing defeats but also the interminable games of intense baseball themselves. And to add further insult to injury, now they have straight late games on the west coast over the next 6 nights.
It ain't looking good, kids.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sox trade for Hinske, sign Pena

So the Sox need pitching help in a bad way, so what do they do, go sign two first basemen......WTF!!!!????

Hinske Trade

Carlos Pena

It's beginning to look a lot like 2003. We've now got like 4 first basemen/DH types. I'm not sure what the plan is, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Your thoughts???

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I guess their made of not good pitching.....

At least in the first inning. I can remember only 2 occasions in the last 3 weeks where a Sox starter pitched a clean first inning and only a couple more than that where the opposition was held scoreless. Granted the starter has gotten in a groove and ended up pitching into the 5th, 6th or later innings in all those games, but putting your team in a hole like that is not a great way to start the game off, especially when your missing key offensive guys like Nixon and Varitek. I was tempted to point to the lack of Varitekish preparation, but this trend started before his injury. It comes down to not making the pitches when needed.

Beckett talked last night in the post game interview about his theory of pitching. He said he thinks that basically the difference in any game is 5 key pitches. You make the good pitch in those 5 situations and you win the game, you don't and you lose. He pointed to 3 of the five key situation last night where he didn't make the pitch he needed to. So it's not that their not thinking about it, it's not they don't have a plan, and it's not lack of prep. It comes down to lack of execution.

If they don't start executing soon, it will be along September and short October......

Monday, August 14, 2006

Now we'll see what this team is made of...

After a frequently closer-than-comfortable sweep of the O's (but a sweep nonetheless), the Tigers come into town with still the best record in baseball... yet also coming off a five game losing streak. With the Sox only one game out and Detroit fighting to keep a comfortable lead in the central, much is at stake for both teams. One thing is certain - Detroit will be here ready to play. We must be prepared to respond in kind. All three Tiger starters have ERAs under 4 so we're going to have our work cut out for us. We counter with Beckett tonight, Schilling tomorrow, and Wells on Wednesday. All three have to work out their recent kinks and bring their A-games if we're going to stay in the hunt because the most important series of the year looms ahead on Friday: 5 games against the Yankees.
By this time next week, things should be pretty clear on where we are going to end up. I think it's safe to say that we have to win at least 5 of these next 8 games to feel comfortable about our long-term chances.
One thing's for sure - it's going to be an exciting week of baseball!

Friday, August 11, 2006

There's no place like home...

Dorothy wanted to get back to Kansas - we want to get the fuck out. God what a putrid road trip. Swept by the Royals, the worst team in baseball? They sure didn't look that way. The worst team right now was indeed in Kansas tonight, but they weren't wearing blue.
Smarten up, fellas! There's plenty of baseball left but there won't be if you don't turn it around, and fast. For another kick in the ass, there's the small matter of having to face some of the hottest teams in the league in the next stretch.
That home-town Fenway magic best be kicking in as soon as tomorrow. I'd prefer to switch gears to football around the first of November - not October.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tampa Bay causing problems....

Adam Stern was placed on waivers as part of the Javy Lopez trade, Tampa Bay claims him, so the Sox pulled him back. Here's the story: Tampa Bay Claims Stern

The rumor mill is that Tampa is just being a pain due to Boston not going for the Lugo deal that was suggested. Baseball politics, two of Zebs favorite topics rolled into one!!!!

I'm hearing this doesn't effect the Lopez deal because the Sox and O's have 6 months to finish the deal, when the season ends, Stern won't have to clear waivers.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Food Of The Gods... Hot dogs!

Since there's no game tonight I figured that i'd discuss one of my other true passions. Yup, i'm talking about those nitrate-laden intestine-wrapped bunch of ground-up unmentionables, the glorious Hot Dog. Amen.
My trip to Maine this weekend (my real home regardless of where i've lived since I actually resided there) yielded a revelatory revisiting of an incomparable Maine red. On our way out of town, my lovely wife Meg and I stopped in at the Houston-Brooks auction house to bid some folks adieu. The Megster felt a bit peckish and decided to snag a grilled-to-order aforementioned weenie. She offered me a bite as we were pulling away... and I nearly went off the road. That was some good, boys, let me tell you. I'm pissed now that I didn't turn around and go back in to ask what brand they were between mouthfuls of two or three more. I'd forgotten how fantastic they are! (I know there are several brands - Jordan's and Kirschner come to mind but i'm sure there are others - so one of you bastards has to fill me in as to what my ass is gonna grab the next chance I get.) Since i'm one of those guys who routinely goes 20 miles out of his way solely to grab a good dog, this was one of the more pleasantly unexpected hot dog experiences i've had lately.
Anyway, it got me to thinking about the best dogs i've had...
The late, lamented Barney's of Waterville has to be very near the top, what with their onions lightly grilled in bacon fat... drool, drool. (The currently operating "Bolley's" just down the street fills in as a fine substitute, however.)
"Coney Island Hot Dogs" in Worcester, Ma. - complete with a huge neon sign that has been around for nearly the 70+ years the place has - pretty much noursished me the 4 years I went to school there. While it's about the only reason I'd willingly cross the city line now, i've done so countless times.
"Caswell's Seafood" in Weymouth, Ma. makes my current local favorite, a foot-long gem with a perfectly toasted buttery bun. Throw some cheese on there, i'm nearly aroused.
"AA's Kitchen" (I've been known to make some killer dogs myself so I had to throw that in.)
Last but not least... A Fenway Frank at it's namesake. Sure it's rather pedestrian and ridiculously expensive but could there possibly be a more satisfying hot dog experience than that? The green of the wall contrasted with that of the grass, the noise, the smells, the cold lite beer... and a Fenway Frank as you settle in to watch the first pitch. Nearly perfect.

And you?

Deplorable weekend of baseball.....

Losing 2 out of three from the friggin D-Rays?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Those are the games they need to win in order to stay in the race with the Yankees. My finger is hovering over the panic button, and if they don't take all three from KC, then not only will I be pressing it, but jumping up and down on it. The bull pen has got to step up, they let the game saturday get out of reach in the eight and just down right wasted the best performance that we may ever see out of Johnson.

There is still a lot of baseball to play, and I like our chances head to head with the payroll bloated Yankees, but if you can't beat the teams that genuinely suck, you have no chance of doing anything.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Sox have a deal for Javy Lopez.......

The Sox Get Lopez

What do you guys think about this? I had posted that the guys on XM were talking about a deal, I went to the Globe and found the story above. It seems the Sox have to give up a 40 man roster guy, but that comes later.

Panic Button open thread

I know there's still a long way to go and that I'm sounding like the woe-is-me'er that Yankee fans claim we Sox fans are, and I know we have a lot less to whine about than the real havenots, but I fear as a result of our injuries and the Yankees killer offense we'll never get first place back. What say you?

I'm afraid they're just going to pummel everybody into submission again, though they are very beatable by a good team in a short series. They're pitching has been better than ours lately, but it's easy to pitch well when you know you're going to get 6 runs a game. When's the last time they scored less than 5?
It does peeve me off to a degree that they can go out w/out a care regarding money and get whoever they want, but those last 2 trades piss me off even more because they really had one good youngster to trade. Nobody was trading, the poor teams needed to dump those guys and they dumped them cheaply right into the Yankee's lap!

So again I say, while the phrase "good pitching beats good hitting every time," there's not enough good pitching to combat fantastic hitting 1 through 9 like NY has.
What say you to that?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"I want you all to call me Loretta..."

Pardon the Python quote but after his timely stroke tonight, being named Loretta ain't such a bad thing at all. Walk-offs are all the rage these days it seems...
I actually feel kind of bad for the Tribe's new "closer" Carmona. He has truly decent stuff and throws some major gas but he's clearly a bit twisted up in the mental department. That's 3 saves in a row that he's blown after replacing Wickman and his (and his team's) confidence must be tanking. It's just too bad that such a young pitcher with an obvious arm can't get it together when he gets his big chance to shine. Not that i'm sorry that we've faced him, of course - I hope he comes in tomorrow.
Tonight there was another example of what I suspect will become a common topic of discussion around here: another jaw-dropping shot by Willy Mo. He hit an absolute missle tonight that was still rising when it hit the wall in back of the first row Monster seats. I haven't seen anyone who hits the ball harder than he does lately, Sheffield included. And I pity the fan who tries to catch one of those blasts bare-handed.
Well, the Yankees are keeping it too close for comfort. Mussina and Wang (who pitched shutout ball for 8 innings tonight, improving to a very quiet 13-4) are both nearly unbeatable and their offense continues to get it done from all parts of the lineup. These bastards ain't going away, folks.

Fellow Blogger Quoted by Edes

Yesterday on the pre-game show Gordon Edes quoted a fellow blogspot blogger. Here's the link: What this guy had was stats on Big Papi's walk off at bats. It was, I need not tell you, quite amazing. Just this year alone he is 8 for 9 in that situation. Since 2004 he's 11 for 14, reaching base 16 of 19 plate appearances.

As for the dismil display last night, what can you say, no hitting. While Johnson wasn't steller, the offfense was something like 1 for 9 with runners on base last night. The sox had oppurtunities but just couldn't capitalize. Sabathia had nasty stuff last night, good pitching beats a good offense every time.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"Uh oh" or "Jason Johnson alert"

Well, the denizens of the bleachers better bring hard-hats tonight - old JJ is taking the ball. At least the infield should get a workout behind the sinkerball pitcher... fielding the cutoffs. I hate to be so down on the dude but recent (and not so recent) history justifies my pessimism. Hope i'm wrong.

Monday, July 31, 2006


The big man does it again. I'm speechless. I watched this very entertaining - if at times frustrating - game from the first pitch and it was one of the best of the year. Ortiz hit another dinger in addition to the walk off, breaking the record for most HR and RBI in the month of July in the entire history of the Red Sox. Manny also poked one, as did Willy Mo's tape measure bomb which had to have cleared the Landsdowne Parking Garage. Wells looked poor in his first appearance in two months but that's not totally unexpected under the circumstances. (The crowd seemed to agree as they gave him a healthy affirmative as we walked off despite giving up 8 runs.) But the story of the night, rivalling the walk-off, was the outstanding relief work by Kyle Snyder. He's obviously been roughed up lately but his performance tonight was truly special. He struck out 6 while only allowing 1 hit in 4+ innings. After the flurry of runs that they saddled Wells with early on, this great performance was totally unexpected. He threw some of the nastiest breaking stuff i've seen lately and absolutely deserved the win. This kid has some stellar stuff and if he can become consistent, I'd like to see much more of him.
But Papi! The crowd stuck around for minutes afterwards chanting "MVP" repeatedly. All hometown bias aside, given his accomplishments through the year I don't see how any true afficianado of the game can possibly disagree.

J.W. Dundee Sampler 12 Pack

I tried a new variety pack this last week end. I took it up to share with Dad. This 12 Pack had 3 each of J.W. Dundees Pale Ale, Hefe Wiesen, Amber Lager and Honey Brown Lager.

The Wiesen was excellent, of course I have a soft spot for it, with 2 plus years in Germany hefe wiesen is a sentimental favorite, and I can't remember not liking one. This one had a nice flavor, good color and the short after taste I like. I'm not a big one on long after taste. If I want to taste it again, I'll burp. (Ok it's gross, but admit it you laughed). The wiesen was one of those beers that was as good a little warm as it was cold.

The Honey Brown Lager was good too, though, unlike the wiesen, better ice cold than luke warm. It had a nice sweet flavor, that made it a good sipper brew, but don't take too long.

The Amber Lager was nothing special, a good brew for a hot day to quench the thirst, it had more flavor than Bud, but that doesn't take much.

The Pale Ale I left for last as I'm not a use fan of Pale Ales, I find them ok, but not to my tastes usually. So I hesitate to say it was a good Pale Ale, but I did like this one. Since Dad went back for the last one, I'm assuming he thought it worth the time. Of course it could just be it was handy, you all know Dad.

Stone Brewing and Charity

so, MM and I went to a charity event last night at the bar called The Penguin last. There was a raffle and silent auction. I thought I would report on the beer I drank and one of things I bid on.

First the bid, a signed Pedro ball! It sold for $240! I peaked at below $200. I think it might be worth over $400.

Second the beer,... I tried a few by Stone Brewing Co. of San Diego. the IPA was great - right there with Harpoon's - great fruitiness:) the other one I tried was Whoa Nelly! 7.2% alcohol. It was quite good, but definitely had a kick. A few of them and you would be on your butt.

Trade Rumors gallore....

Here is a link to the Globes latest trade rumors: Rumors and also More Rumors

There are talks about a trade for Jason Schmidt or Scott Linebrink and Julio Lugo. San Diego wants Lowell and San Fransisco is talking about Youkilis. I'm not sure I like either trade to be honest. It's too bad that Wells start tonight isn't until after the deadline. If he pitches well we may be Ok. Although Another pitcher, starting type, would allow them to shit can Tavaris and move Snyder to the pen. That is as long as Wells is good to go. The other news today, Clement was moved to the 60 day DL tomake room for Wells. I dont' have any faith that Clement will ever pitch for the Sox again.

Papi Does it Again!!!

Quick chat on Saturday's gem. Mama Joan, Uncle Bruce and his fiancee rolled down to see the game with MM and I. We at in Section 42, Row 16 - sweet bleacher seats. I figure if Trot had actually connected, we might have caught that ball. ok,... the game was great of course. Beckett pitched fine after he shook off the first few innings. Waiting it out to see Papi do it again was outstanding, but tell me... can someone else step up? Geeez. Uncle Bruce hadn't been to Fenway in 12 years! it was great to see him so excited to be there; like a little kid. The park is so much nicer than 12 years ago. Man, was it hot at the game! Sammy came to the rescue though;-) By the way, there were a few close plays that Terry got pissed about? One of the them was a play at the plate where Lowell? was safe? The don't replay stuff like that so i had no idea what happen? What did? I wanted Terry to get kicked out - the guy is too nice.

Anyway,,...get this trade day over with PLEASE!


That's it. Absolutely dreadful.
I'd talk trade stuff but i'm too pissed off.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

An interesting statisic

Because i'm such a frigging geek (and because i'm in a fantasy league... not that those are mutually exclusive, come to think of it) I decided I would subscribe to ESPN "Insider" and did so tonight. Well, baseball guru Jayson Stark (by the way Jayson, I love your baseball acumen but you've got to lose the "y", dude) offers a series of stats indicating the leaders in various categories using the All-Star games in '05 and '06 as signposts. While there were a couple of Sox entries (Papi having the most HRs and RBIs and Papelbon with the lowest ERA for a reliever, both in the entire major league over that time period), one stat stood out for me: the Sox have the most wins with the least losses. Between the two summer classics, the Sox have been 99-62 - the best in the majors. The White Sox - the only team in the neighborhood - also had 99 wins but logged three more losses, with 65. (He only listed the top couple of teams so I don't know where the Yankees stand but i'll bet they're not too far in the rearview. They do have a knack for always being closer than they appear, no?) Anyway, I didn't expect that they had topped the crowd but I suppose it makes sense. They had a great second half last year, almost unbeatable for a stretch until the late season (and playoff) doldrums. This year... well, we all know about the general excellence tempered by some rare but significant stretches of sloppy baseball. Nonetheless, they find themselves still in the driver's seat. Therefore I think the most important aspect of this stat is that although they drastically altered their roster and game strategy this year, it hasn't hampered their success in the least. It's amazing that with the huge differences in the lineup and staff between this year and last there hasn't been some sort of alteration to their win ratio in one direction or the other. On the contrary. With the consistency, one would never know that there was such wholesale change over the winter. Has the whole offseason soap opera paid off?

Mixing Sports and Politics

Charles Barkley is thinking of running for Governer in Alabama according to this Fox News report: Barkley for Gov

So what do you guys think of sports figures running for office. There have been a few that made successful runs, but Barkley just doesn't strike me as a politician, quite frankly he's too damn honest and straight forward. He speaks his mind and doesn't care who hears it. Quite frankly I like those characteristics, but they tend to doom politicians.

I'm curious to see how you guys wiegh in on this. Perhaps this will be the oppurtunity for the man from DC to offer his opinion.......

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Just Manny being Manny....

There was story in yesterdays Boston Globe that talked some of Manny's stats. What they did was to take a split before the All-Star break as opposed to after the All-star break, then also home versus away. These numbers are for his carreer, not just with the Sox.

Before All-Star break: .314 BA, .409 on-base, .598 slugging
After All-Star break: .314 BA, .411 on-base, .601 slugging

Home: .313 BA, .413 on-base, .608 slugging
Away: .314 BA, .407 on-base, .591 slugging

I don't know how much more consistant, you can read that as reliable if you like, a guy can be. It just re-enforces what we already know, Manny is going to perform all year, every year. I just found these interesting, it would be interesting to see how other top hitters stack up in these areas. As we all know Vlad won an MVP the year before last basically in the last month of the season. I know I thought Manny would get the votes that year based on his year long play, I wonder if anyone even looks at these stats when looking at MVP candidates.

Sean McDonough Rant

At Zebster suggestion, the following is extracted from a comment that I had to AA Post about last night's game.

Tell me I am wrong, that's fine, but he irritates me. MamaJoan can't take him either.

"Now on to Sean "freaking" McDonough. He is on EEI with Holly. I hate this guy. I think he is a prick. He has been whining about how Orsilo "sounds" like him (as if Don had a choice on how his voice sounds) he claims that Don steals his ways of describing the games events, etc... If the Bald Prick could keep he mouth shut and just call games, I would never of had a problem with him, but he always babbles about non game crap, spends more time ripping his cohost than providing good game calling... whatever, i was just irritated and thought I would whine. "

A wacky win

Good V last night, if a bit of a strange one. After jumping out to an early lead due to some back to back long ball by Manny and Trot (yes, I said Trot - I know it's hard to believe), Schilling pitched well overall but left after six with somewhat less than a comfortable lead. DelCarmen came in for the 7th and struggled, loading the bases and surrendering a run before getting out of it in strong fashion. We blew it wide open again in the eighth, capped off by a bases clearing 2B by Varitek which had Trot coming around from first and scoring on a close play at the plate after ignoring Hale's stop sign. Nice aggressive hustle from the hillbilly there. Youk, Crisp, Lowell and Loretta all had 3 hits, and - I can't believe I'm saying this - Seanez actually looked sharp in the ninth, ringing up Kotsay with a filthy deuce. 13-5, on 18 hits. Not too shabby.
Other notable moments:
A nice 5-4-3 DP from deep in the hole at 3rd.
A priceless meltdown by A's relief pitcher Duscherer who got tossed after bitching about some calls that didn't go his way, prompting a very heated argument with the home plate ump. I see a healthy fine looming for this one.
Sauerbeck leaving the game suddenly in the 8th with an injury, causing about a 10 minute delay while the replacement took his sweet time warming up. You don't see that very often.
A very interesting game, indeed.

And how about them Twins? They are playing unbelievable ball, which shouldn't come as a surprise to Sox fans after we took it in the shorts and got swept last month. They certainly seem as if they'll be a player in the wild card stakes.

Finally, has anyone heard anything about why Harold Reynolds is suddenly no longer employed at ESPN? I've always thought he was an exceptional analyst with a great demeanor - it's too bad to see him go. He's been there for 11 years doing everything from Baseball Tonight to college and little league world series. Something must have happened because it all seems quite sudden.

Afternoon game today, boys. Let's go for the sweep!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Now that Blogger is back to normal......

It looks like the Sox may be back to normal as well. I sat up for the first few innings last night and I'm listening to the XM now, I recorded the game last night, gotta love the XM. The offense was hitting well and Beckett was throwing well, a deadly combination for Oakland.

What I had wanted to write about yesterday was the debaucle on Sunday. It's one of the most frustrating kinds of games to watch. They fight back from behind, get a lead in the top of the inning and then give it right back in the bottom. They did this twice in the game. The question I have is why wasn't Papelbon pitching the ninth on Sunday? You've got a one run lead, that is when your closer earns his money. I like Timlin, but Papelbon is the closer, he needs to be there to close.

Now the A-Fraud report. Yankee fans here at work are talk about a trade. A-Fraud for starting pitching prospects. They concluded that he can't play in New York, the pressure is too much. I'm hearing comparisons to Chuck Knoblock and Steve Sax. It's an interesting discussion, but most agree A-Fraud isn't going anywhere. His pay is too high, he's too good a player and Stienbrenner won't admit he's wrong.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Son of Massacre!

I know you'll all think i'm totally goofy but I have to admit that I kind of like the late games. I'm up anyway and it gives me some good baseball to catch once Meg goes to bed and gives me a rare chance to listen to the game during the week, something I love doing. So, after strapping on the Sennheisers with no score in the 2nd, here comes the next batch...

Runaway Train (D. Andre Konchalovsky, 1985) - Based on an unrealized screenplay by Japanese master Akira Kurosawa, this brutal yet gripping film boasts exceptional camerawork and astonishing stuntwork long before the days of CGI. It also displays one of the great eccentric (and deservedly Oscar nominated) performances of recent years, by Jon Voight. The main story concerns the escape of two convicts (Voight and Eric Roberts) from from a maximum security prison in a remote part of Alaska. Roberts, in awe of Voight's legend as a master criminal, helps with the escape and tags along as they eventually find themselves on the title vehicle. While the picture has tense action scenes as they try to stop the train and evade the equally determined warden giving chase, the film's real power lies in the heartfelt exchanges and power struggle between the men (and a woman also trapped on the train) as they find their options dwindling while the situation becomes increasingly desperate. Topping it all off, the final shot is absolutely haunting. A great film... with one caveat that deserves mentioning. There is unfortunately a subplot so terribly acted and realized that it almost seems as if there are two separate films playing simultaneously. Nonetheless, this is a strong picture that deserves viewing.

The Wages of Fear/Sorcerer (D. H.G. Clouzot/William Friedkin, 1952/1977) - In 1952, French filmmaker H.G. Clouzot spun a tale of disparate refugees mired in hopeless conditions in some God-awful shithole who find themselves offered a chance to break out and gain their freedom. The catch is that they have to transport unstable nitro-glycerin across hundreds of miles of primitive rainforest roads - in barely pieced together trucks - in order to extinguish a fire at a local refinery. If you can make it through the important first hour of set-up and characterization, you'll be picking your chair's upholstery out of your fingernails after the second - it's that intense, primarily due to the incredible direction. You'll find yourselves in disbelief when you realize when this film was made. In 1977, William Friedkin (of The French Connection and Exorcist fame) tried his hand at remaking the film as an homage to one of his primary inspirations. He adheres to the basic story (while throwing in Roy Scheider as a familiar face) while intensifying the squalor of the situation that the men find themselves in. Once the action starts, Friedkin ratchets up the tension in several excellent set-pieces. While the remake doesn't belong in the same league as the original, if you've never seen (or even heard of) the former, I think you'll agree that it's one kick-ass movie. Both highly recommended.

The Lone Wolf and Cub series (Various directors, 1972-1974) - This Japanese series of 6 films explored the adventures of a disgraced Shogunate assassin who, along with his infant son, renounces all faith and vows revenge upon those who betrayed him and murdered his wife. With the protagonist more silent and laconic than the most stoic Clint you can think of, there is more insane ass-kicking here than I can even describe. And the kid gets in on it too as his carraige is mounted with the most insidious and crazy weapons imaginable. These films, an obvious and acknowledged inspiration for Tarantino's Kill Bill films, are certainly gory and violent, yet they are also extremely well done. Fantastic camera work and editing abounds. If you like an occasional extreme swordplay film - and who doesn't - these are the graduate course.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Testosterone Massacre - Vol. 1

Well, I'm sitting here listening to Joe and Jerry (3-0, bottom of 3rd - Manny and A-Gon. both going deep) and decided that i'd try to race my dial-up and throw a couple of revised entries of some cool action flicks your way.
The other night I somehow coerced the Megster to sit through "The Rock", which she actually liked. It got me to thinking about action movies in general and tried to come up with some of my favorites. These taht I chose are all here because I think they offer a combination of good, solid ass-kicking (a necessary ingredient of all great action flicks) and sturdy, stylish filmmaking (equally important if far less common). While this is by no means definitive - I may come up with completely different examples if you ask me tomorrow - these were the ones that first came to mind. I think all exemplify the criteria that I mentioned. In no particular order:

The Guns of Navarone (D. J. Lee Thompson, 1961) - Easily the most white-knuckled WWII flick ever made, and possibly the best (along with "Patton"). This nearly three-hour excursion into the complete development of a secret mission to disable a fortress housing a pair of strategically place guns is taut, gripping filmmaking. Riveting from start to finish, this Oscar nominated film boasts an uncommonly good screenplay, excellent special effects, and stellar performances by such luminaries as Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, and David Niven. Brisk, fun stuff.

Aliens (D. James Cameron, 1986) - Possibly the most bad-ass action flick ever. Starting with the heroine from the straight sci-fi/horror film "Alien" from 8 years prior, Cameron took the initial concept and amplified it, ratcheting up the tension to an unprecedented level. The first portion of the film establishes the set-up and the new characters (many of whom you will recognize) but once the alien ass-stomping kicks in... hold on. Despite having seen this several times, a recent viewing reminded me what an effective (and exhausting) film this is. Cameron's best work by a mile... and I love "The Terminator".

To be continued...

BTW, Varitek and Youk. have also both tagged dingers. 6-0!

What if... or As if..., as the case may be

If I beat anyone to punch on chatting about the What if... 2003 ALCS deal on NESN... all I can say is Waaah.

I won't be long, but I watched the end of it and have some thoughts. The ending seems plausable. 80% of the time they ran the simulating from the 8th inning on, the Sox won. What was funny, was that the anal-ysis geek said they ran "only" 20 runs where Pedro was left in. I think they said that the Sox won 75% of those? hmmmmm Oh the sample is much smaller... I think the whole thing is weak, but fun and I took it for what it was. They also said that Aaron "freaking" Boone never enter the game in any scenario they ran! hahahaha

A couple of random thoughts....Big Papi was "Medium" Papi is 2003; forgot that. Manny and Damon didn't look like rock stars....I miss Mueller...I forgot how close they really were!!!! Ugh. I think they have better team this year.

Good win against the Rangers

So Schilling is now 12 and 3. Not a great pitching performance yesterday, but a typical Schill gutsy battle to keep the Sox in it; 7 full inninings of work one walk, 6 strike outs and 10 hits. Ortiz with a rare day off, and Youkilis hitting third. Personally I don't think it matters where he is in the line up, he's going to get on a couple times a game. I think yester points to the Sox depth, as far as position players. 3 back up guys making starts yesterday, Kapler, Pena, and Cora, and I still have the feeling at the start of the game that our chances of getting the win are good.

I've got to say I love the XM guys. I was able to listen to the game last night all the way home from work with out having the channel hope for the best signal, and I was able to keep track of the Yankee game last night on the way home from bowling. By the way I'm taking credit for the 4 runs Toronto had in the 6th inning. Let me explain, on Wednesday I called A-Fraud out, see my earlier post for details, so he must have read that, and the pressure got to him you see, knowing I was on to him, and that's what triggered the bone headed decision to try to get the runner at home with a 3-0 lead. That throw went over the catcher's head all the way to the back stop leading to the 4 runs.

Zeb this blog just may win the division for the Sox!!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sox Math

A few days ago I did some very quick math analying the Sox's projected finish to the season. I figure Theo crew do this every year. Basically, I took the games left to play before the last two wins with KC and made the following assumptions. I didn't include make up games.

1.) the Sox will win 75% of all games vs. teams with less than a .500 winning record.
2.) they will go .500 against the above .500 teams.

Well... guess what, it cam to 97 wins! I think that gives them a decent chance at the playoffs. Any thoughts? By the way, the projected winning percentage was about the same as their current - ~.600.

32 games against below 500 teams and 36 against above 500.

Here is the numbers games left by opponent.

NY 7
Sea 6
Oak 6
TB 5
KC 6
Bal 9
Det 3
Tor 8
Chw 3
Min 3

I think they can get to 97 wins with who they play the rest of the way. If they can deal with Toronto a bit better and sweep KC, TB, and

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

No lack Luster is Lester

I, for one, was waiting for a performance like last night from this kid. You could see it is in his stuff, but control problems, while not major, kept his pitch up early in games and held him to 5 to maybe 6 innings. He was very efficient needing only 100 pitches through 8 innings of work. He through nearly 2/3 of his pitches for strikes, 57 to be exact, this is usually where you see Schilling and Beckett. This means he's usually ahead in the count and that's a good place to be.

Those pesky Yankees just won't go away though, winning in extra innings last night. But the story of the night was A-Fraud. Getting booed off the field, 3 errors and a strike out with bases loaded and the game on the line, typical. Can we finally stop this talk about this guy being the best all around player? With guys like Albert Pujols, Ichuro Suzuki, and Chipper Jones out there, that play gold glove caliber defense and are clutch performers, isn't it time to wake up and smell the fraud? Not to mention the fact that none of the afore said have left a game because of being booed.......I mean for a toe injury. When you look at guys like Chipper Jones, Soriano and our own Youkilis that have changed positions and adapted very quickly, isn't it time to stop making excuses for this guy? It's his third season of playing third for the Yankees, if hasn't adapted now, he's not going to. If he can't adapt, and others can, he can't be the best player in baseball, it's that simple.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Shipyard's Captain's Collection

In honor of it being American Beer Month Beer Town , the fact that it's hotter and stickier than hell and this is, in fact, a tavern, I'll preview Shipyard's Captain's Collection of ales. This variety pack contains a brown ale, Shipyard Export, Old Thumper and a summer ale. I could swear the last time I bought this collection it had an IPA in it. It must've been some other collection of Shipyard's. Too bad because their IPA is one of the best around. Shipyard
Let's start with the brown ale. No Sam Adams brown ale is this, I'm afraid. It's good, mind you, but much mellower than a Sammie brown ale. It's almost too mellow for an ale. It doesn't have that deep toasted malt and caramel taste I expect in a really good brown ale. In fact, it simply needs more hops. If you're used to drinking American mass-produced, watered-down lagers and want to experience something more tasty and hearty, then this ale would be a good bridge. I prefer ales to lagers. So I'm picky about ales. So it's a good ale, just not a very good brown ale.
The Shipyard Export is better, mostly because it's supposed to be lighter than a brown. It's smooth with just the right aftertaste. For me it would be better if it were a tad more robust, but it does a nice job of being tasty yet smooth enough to be a good thirst quencher on a hot day like today. I would certainly recommend it.
I found the hops and malt. They're in Ringwood Brewery Old Thumper. The bottle states that this is bottled and brewed by Shipyard here in Maine as well. So I suspect the Ringwood Brewery mention is because it is either a Ringwood recipe or a Ringwood recipe is the genesis of this recipe, paying homage, as it were. This has enough hops for a full-bodied flavor, yet is still nice and crisp, with no overpowering aftertaste...pretty much right on the spot for me as a very good ale. It has that lightly toasted flavor you're looking for in a good, hearty ale. How about we put this is the highly recommend category. The only one of the four that really does it for me, I'm afraid. It gives good head when poured too.
And now for the summer ale. Maybe it's my smoker's tastebuds, or lack thereof, but they all taste very similar to me, too similar; or I've been spoiled by Sam Adams. It's good but it has no full-bodied flavor in my opinion and no panache. It's a summer ale...give it a little spice, a little something different...or at least more malt. So if you want something that's only a little more flavorful than a Coors Light, give it a go; you'll love it. If I didn't know it was an ale from the label, which in this day in age usually means more flavorful than say a Bud, I couldn't tell. Actually Bud has more flavor, even if it is bad flavor.

Some info from Shipyard on the flap of the box, for what it's worth, "You are opening a very special 12-pack. The Captain's Collection features a sampling of our award-winning, year-round, and seasonal ales. This selection is packed at random (that explains no IPA this time) and varies according to the season. Every time you open a Captain's Collection inside you'll find an exciting new assortment of Shipyard ales. All our beer is hand-brewed using time-honored methods and only the finest ingredients. Our award-winning beer is hand-crafted from recipes developed by Master Brewer Alan Pugsley, who apprenticed at the world-famous Ringwood Brewery in Hampshire, England under the tutelage of renowned Master Brewer Peter Austin. We're committed to brewing the freshest, most flavorful, full-bodied ales available and hope you enjoy the variety found in our Captain's Collection."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mid Summer Classic

The AL pulled off another win, that makes 9 in 10 years, the other game in this last decade was the tie debacle that brought about the change of the All-Star game deciding home field advantage in the World Series. To tell you the truth I was kind of rooting for the NL this year, it'd be nice for the Sox to win a the deciding game 4 at home this year, but alas they'll have to win it on the road again this year.......Of course if the Sox don't sweep the series, or worse don't make it, this post will have to be deleted and then certain memories of it erased.....

As for the game it's self, it was a well played game I thought. The National League played it's brand of baseball, small ball, with a steal leading to scoring the go ahead run early in the game. This was a good case of great pitching shutting down great hitters though. The only real rally was in the top of the ninth with 2 outs when the AL scored the winning run on a triple by the eventual MVP, Michael Young.

Now on to the oldest argument in baseball, or at least it seems that way now, if a player with draws from the game due to injury, or any other reason, should that player still put in an appearance at the game and festivities for the fans' sake? I'm inclined to say no. If a player has removed himself due to an injury, the purpose of with drawing from the game is to get rest. They can't do that if they're out obnobbing and doing autograph and press sessions. Of this opinion gives the benefit of the doubt to the player that there is an actual injury.

Looking ahead to the second half, the Sox need Varitek and Crisp to start performing at the plate, and Schilling and Beckett to keep the ball in the ball park. It seems the bullpen has been shored up with the young arms. The real missing piece though is a number 5 guy. Lester has stepped in as a number 4 and done very well in that role. But I have doubts as to whether Wells or Clement will ever make another start for the Sox. I see that Johnson made a good start in the minors, but his only start with the big club doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies about his return. What happened to the guy they picked up from the Kansas City scrap heap? He pitch pretty well for the one start and then was instantly demoted to Pawtucket and never heard from again. I can't even remember his name......Oh it was Snyder, I had to look it up in the roster on the Red Sox web site: Red Sox. It says he's made 2 starts for a total of 7 innings this season, one for the Royals and one for the Sox. Anyone have any information on what's happened with him? He's listed on the PawSox roster, but I don't see any stats page listed.

Monday, July 10, 2006

My favorite "sports" story of the week

This weekend I read that some 31 year-old dumb-ass idiot from North Carolina was partially paralyzed during the annual "Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona, which should be called "Running of the Morons". Let's see... Take a week of vacation and spending hundreds on plane fare and hotels to run in front of stampeding animals with huge horns. What fun! I guess you won't be doing THAT again - nor much else - will you, pal?
What a f-ing jackass. No sympathy whatsoever.

Heading to the break.....

As we head into the All-Star break the Sox are looking pretty good. The offense has been a suprise this year to some. I know around work no one expected, for reasons I can't understand, for Lowell to hit has well as he has. He has a carreer batting average of over .3oo and while he had a bad year last year, that was an aborhition. I think the other suprise has been the pitching, I for one didn't see the woes coming that we've experienced this year. While it has improved of late, there was a stretch where I cringed when ever the bull pen was called on, and no one could fore see Schilling and Becket giving up the quantity of long balls they have this year.

As for the All-Star game it's self, I'll watch, I always do, if only to see the Sox players get their turn at the plate or the mound. The one thing I do enjoy is the HR contest that will air tonight. While I admit it is way too commercial, it's essentially a 2-3 hour advertisement for Century 21, when one of these guys gets a groove, it's just damned impressive. The first year I remember seeing this type of display was '99 in Fenway, when McGwire was launching 400 footers over the Monster and score board. I'm sure I'll hear it from Zeb and AA, but I'll just consider the sources in those cases.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

It wasn't a game winner, but still clutch...

The game just got over and Big Papi hits a Grand Blast to open the game up in the eighth, and what is Shields trying to fool Manny with an off speed pitch? Come on...this is Manny, the man who sets up pitchers. Wake comes through again and acts as the stopper again, his fifth win after a Sox lose this season. I'd hate to see the rant from AA if they'd been swept by the D-Rays. Definately a rated R rant at best.
A Gon hitting 272 with a triple last night, I won't make fun of Mirabelli scoring from first on that one, as I can sympathize with the need for oxygen!!!
Let's hope this gets them righted, so they can go into the All-Star break in a high note.
To close out, I know Zeb doesn't care, and that's mainly why I bring this up, but Nomar got the last spot on the NL All-Star roster. Go NOMAR!!!!! I for one think it's great he's having such a good year.

Enough is enough!

Okay, I can forgive the Kazmir performance. Even the '27 Yankees would have been 2-hit by that nasty shit. But the past two nights... where's the offense? Where's the pitching? Where's the team that just won a ton of games in interleague play? The Yankees aren't going away so they better get whip themselves back into shape, pronto. And as Zeb said, there are way too many pokes to the bleachers being allowed.
My main beef with last night was that everyone clearly had their heads up their tailpipe when Crawford was on 3rd. Pitching from the windup? Huh? He was halfway down the line on the first pitch! I'm not going to give the very questionable Johnson the benefit of the doubt because he apparently doesn't even know that a sinker, by definition, is not supposed to end up belt high. But what about Varitek? Francona? Nipper? Anybody? Clearly i'm lacking in knowledge of baseball strategy so if someone can explain the logic behind that approach, i'm all ears.
Fundamentals, team. Smarten the hell up.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Long ball woes

Although for the most part they're solo homeruns, I'd obviously like to see the dinger percentage come down with Beckett and Schilling, though it's a sign they come after hitters instead of pussyfooting around. So we've lost two straight to Tampa with our two best pitchers on the hill, but it's certainly no disgrace to lose to Kazmir. That kid is something else, he always gives us problems and lefties give us problems surprisingly. This little stretch is no big deal; it'd just be easier to take against a better team. Thank goodness the Indians are shelling the Yankees or we'd only be up two games on them after this long winning stretch.
You think maybe someone needs to plunk Wiggington?
It's just frustrating to lose two straight, as well as they've been playing, to a team that can only hit homeruns.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sox win 14 of last 16

Unfortunately, we're finished playing the National League. Playing the National League has a fair bit to do with this winning streak, though more than anything this streak is attributed to playing all-around fundamental team baseball. Every player (except Tavarez) has contributed positively.
What do you guys think about Schilling and Beckett being left off the all star roster? See my thoughts here: All Things Zebster: Snub or blessing The fact that Mark Loretta made the team makes up for everything in my opinion.
Congrats to Bronson Arroyo and Freddie Sanchez on making the National League roster.
I think John Lester needs a boost of confidence. His last two outings he's thrown too many pitches early in the game because in my opinion he's giving too much credit to the hitters and not enough to his own outstanding stuff. I think he needs to go after hitters more and quit trying to make perfect pitches. He apparently has the best stuff in the Red Sox system, but that won't do him any good if he doesn't throw strikes and get ahead of hitters.

All-Stars announced....

It seems that some of the RedSox great play hasn't gone unnoticed. The suprise for me was Loretta getting the nod at Second, though he certainly deserves it. I do find it a little amusing that Ortiz was voted in at first, it goes to show the respect the guy has earned. Papelbon and Manny were slam dunks in my opinion. Yet, how does Lowell not get selected by his peers? A-Fraud was a shoe in for third from a fans perspective, even though Lowell is by far the better all around third baseman, well on his way to another gold glove. Not to mention his batting average is higher than A-Fraud and he's leading the league in Doubles right now, how does he get passed over? What does this guy need to do to get some respect. I guess he's not enough of a media whore.

As for the Sox in general, Tavarez is as scary as ever, but the Sox roll on inspite of him. I think they finished up this round of interleague play 16 and 2, winning 14 of their last 15. Winning 2 of those with small ball tactics. Poor a Sammy, here's to hoping the good play continues.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Make that 12: Notes from the Thunderground

Things started looking up after an unspeakably ridiculous commute to the game (13 miles=1:45) when I noticed that we were sitting in Section 43, Row 7. "Section 43" being the title of one of the absolute masterpieces of psychedelia (Country Joe & the Fish for those of you keeping score at home) and Row 7 meaning that I would be close enough, if so inclined, to spit in Billy Wagner's eye, well, things couldn't get much better. Hell - Schilling and Glavine were facing off.
After 5 innings of great pitching, Schilling surrendered a two run dinger to Beltran, giving the Mets
a 2-0 lead. Thinking that things nowlooked pretty bleak based on Glavine's strong performance thus far, the hometown nine came back strong with a rare Loretta HR and another run scored. 2-2 after six.
After Schilling blanked them in the seventh, Crisp led off with a beautiful bunt, gaining second on a subsequent steal. A-Gon next at the plate also bunts and Crisp is at 3rd with only one out. Youkilis poked a sac. fly to left and we left the inning with a 3-2 lead after seven. Great baseball here: If someone can cite me an example of back to back successful bunts yielding a man at 3rd with one out, i'd like to hear about it.
The Mets plated the 8th against Timlin. With 2 outs, Beltran lined a base hit. Next up, David Wright launched a shot to center that was certainly a run-scoring gap shot. All of the sudden, Coco leaps, lunges, and stabs the tailing bullet, impossibly keeping it in his glove. Friends, this was the single most amazing defensive play I have ever witnessed - that is not hyperbole. (I watched the replay on TV when I got home and proudly maintain that statement.) That would have almost certainly tied the game, so it's timliness ("Timlin"ess?)and importance are clear. After an almost anti-climactic insurance bomb from Ortiz in the bottom of the frame, we lead 4-2. That would be the final score.
What started out as a taut if slightly uncompelling pitching duel (in the noisy beer-soaked bleachers anyway) ended up becoming one of the most exciting games I have ever seen, and that Crisp catch should be watched over and over. (Johnny who?)
Postscript: With the whole ballpark staying to the very end, leaving was a crowded mess. Meg and I decided to grab a beer at a joint called "Bukowski's" (great name) to wait for the traffic to abate. We walked in and playing on the sound system was Jeff Beck's masterpice "Truth" - in it's entirety! It neatly wrapped up one of the greatest Fenway evenings - out of dozens - i've ever had.
Tom, do you now wish you took that ticket I offered you?

12:55 AM

Thursday, June 29, 2006

11 straight and counting...

This is a good time to be a Sox fan, boys. Every aspect of their game (with the possible exception of any appearance by Seanez or Tavarez) has been top notch. The hitters are clicking 1-9 and the starting pitching has been superb. And the defense... hard to believe. Hell - Manny threw Reyes out at the plate a couple of nights ago. I expect tonight's matchup to be what was predicted for last night, and more. Glavine is having a stellar year and you know Schilling will be at the top of his game. (Sorry to gloat, I'll be there in the bleachers to see it unfold.)
Can we make it 12 and sweep the hottest team in the NL in the process?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What are we expecting tonight, Beckett vs. Petey?

First, any update on Peter Gammons' condition?
I suspect Petey will pitch a gem tonight. Will he brush back, come in hard and tight or even hit one of his old pals? I think Beckett's the question mark because he has been somewhat inconsistent, especially in the early innings, though he's been solid of late. But that's one hell of a lineup the Mets have. So probably he gives up a couple in the first and then it's tight from there on out.
The Sox bats have been hot all through the lineup. So that certainly bodes well for getting to Pedro to some degree. We've won 10 straight and will be no big disappointment if they don't win tonight. What I want most out of it is to see Beckett bare down and match Pedro pitch for pitch. I guess it would be fitting to see Ortiz make a difference with a shot off Petey.

I suspect I know the answer to the first part anyway. Anyone give a rat's buttocks about the NBA draft tonight or the Celts in general? Do we want to talk about other sports here, especially during the off season?

Bummer about Gammons, huh?

Brain aneurysm - nasty. He's always been my favorite analyst and specifically try to catch his weekly guest spot on Thursdays and Sunday mornings on EEI, not to mention Baseball Tonight. Let's hope for the best. That's one void that couldn't be filled.
Who are your other favorite analysts? I also like Buster Olney a great deal, and HR is always dependable. (Incidentally, Harold has topped Meg's "free pass" list for a couple of years running now. He is a snappy dresser, I suppose...) I'm even warming up to Kruk who continually surprises me with some of his insight, opinionated as he may be.
Locally, Remy is God of course, and DO has come into his own. Still love Joe and Jerry, too. The rest of the NESN crew though... not so much. I find Tom Caron dull and Jim Rice incomprehensible. Only the Eck seems to hold my attention in that crowd. Thoughts?

The Sox Go Rolling Along....

Lat nights win makes it 10 in a row for the Sox. The only question is how long will it last. I don't know about anyone else but the reception that Pedro got last night between innings after the video clip was shown was great to see. I wonder how much the year of seperation had to do with it, especially when comparing that reception to Damon's. Granted he went to the National League, not the SpankMees, but he didn't have a lot of good things to say about the organization when he left. Although if I remember right he went of his way to exclude the fans, even then.

It seems the '86ers are finally get their due, there are 2 articles in the Globe, one from yesterday the other from today:

Review of '86 ceremony

Shaunessy's take on '86 Team

The second linik is to an article by Shaunessy, who normally annoys the hell out of me with his perpetual negative vibe, but is well done. The only thing missing was Buckner, it would have been great if he could have made it to yesterdays pre-game. He off all that the members of that team deserves the standing O. With out his bat in the line up all year that team is a .500 team instead of a should be championship winner. It was good to see Boggs and Hurst in the broadcast booth last night with Remy. I'd forgotten that Remy had started the year and retired early on when Barrett won the starting job. The ripples of 2004 continue to mmove across the pond of the Nation. Could Sox fans be so positive about the '86ers with no Championship?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Yuke, Yuke, Yuke...

It's been a long time since I had a favorite Sox player but this guy plays the game the way I like it played, hard all the time (don't go there), smart all the time, clutch most of the time; an all-around player who gets it done with half the tools of guys who do much less. All praise to Big Papi, which I'll get to in a moment, but without Yuke Papi gets no chance. (Long remember Bernie Carbo)
I've had my superstar favorite players like Yaz (my boyhood idol) and JimEd, but the kind of player who I always preferred to favor were the likes of Rick Miller, Carney Lansford, Rick Burleson or Marty Barrett.
Using a different sport to show this tendency: I own a Bruins sweater. Who knows what player's sweater it is? But I can see if Yuke keeps this up, I may have to break down and spend all that money on a Sox uniform. And it's actually easier to spell than Yastrzemski!

Do you think we can keep this a secret much longer from the other're probably better off not pitching to Ortiz?

Nine straight wins before we play the Mets.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Spoiled Rotten

That is me, spoiled rotten. As mentioned by AA, Me, my SO, and he and his, went to Saturday's gem of a game. Yeah, we were thinking a gem would be had solely due to the fact that we were testing driving standing room seats in the right field roof Bud Seats. Well, it got even better.

First, I for one didn't know Schilling was pitching. Second, the booing of Myers AA mentioned was a treat. From all reports I have heard and read, getting boos should be cake compared to what this MF should be getting....anyway, at times I love how smart and on top if things Sox fans are. They knew he was pitching. However, I did think, after a Sammy or two and a Bud or two, that the chant/boo could be expanded into something like, "If that was your wife at the plate, I bet you could hit her." when attempting brush someone back.

Ok, back to being spoiled..Saturday, we started at Game On, which is a good sport bar, if you ask me. It's at Fenway and owned by the Sox. One of the smarter things that ownership crew has done. Aside from listening to 80's tunes and a terrible remix of a Stones song, EEI was in attendance and the Germany V. Equador? was on the numerous flat screens. Fenway has come along way - owning a sports that has the balls to play soccer the day of the game. The food is great, although the lobster bisque was a mediocre. Yeah yeah, I know, "Sir, please return your Man Card to the front desk." Lobster bisque at a sport bar? Yup I love food, which could be fodder, for another blog.

hmmm,,, after a few Sammys we left and entered the park to Gate C, grabbed another Sammy... (hmmmm lost count)...then climbed the stairs to the Bud Seats. I was smart to grab a Sammy enroute because we were going to be standing in the Bud Seats for 3 to 4 hours and of course, that's all the sell - Bud and the equally "yummy" Bud Light, ugh. ;-)

Our perch was not bad, although we did have to look around a few people. From standing room, you can't see from the middle of right field back to the wall, which sucked because I could see Trot do his thing. We had a great time. The game was great, but around the end of the 7th, My Sweet One, chatted with a friend of hers, who works for one of the radio stations broadcasting at the park, that conversation led to another example of how spoiled rotten we had it. This friend got us into the broadcast box from the 8th inning on!!! Yup, I saw the Kid smoking them and of course saw the Big Man launch the ball to win the game. UNREAL.

From the vantage point, you look down on Varitek and Papelbon. You have no up and down perspective of the pitch, but a great view of left and right over the plate. I was amazed at how far off the plate many of Papelbon's pitches were. I guess when the pitch has as much movement and velocity as he can bring the batter needs to decide to swing well before the pitch goes wide of the plate. One last comment on the experience... when you are in the broadcast booth you can't talk, because your voice will carry onto the broadcast! So, when Papelbon was getting it done, I had to bite my tongue. When Papi hit the homer, I must have looked like a mime with ants in his pants. Good Stuff. Go Sox.

Great Sox Week End...

So the Sox have won, I think, 7 straight, but that could be 8, but either way they haven't lost in a week. A question I keep hearing from the casual fan is "Why do they keep pitching to Ortiz?" The answer is simple, Manny. You get pitches to hit because the guy behind you is a good hitter. Someone asked me this morning, "Why did the Twins let him go?". Here again the answer is Manny. The Twins didn't have any one hitting behind the gu, so he got no pitches to hit. This is one of the reasons Manny is so valuable to the Sox and one of the reasons I can't believe that Sox fans would rmotely consider trading him away. We must remember that the reason we have Big Papi instead of David Ortiz is that Manny makes him better, no Manny means no Big Papi. They tried that experiment the year before, and it failed. They swapped Ortiz and Manny in the line up, lo and behold Ortiz's average and RBI production dropped, until they swapped them back. Papi knows this to be true, hence his passionsate appeal during the off season last year to hit third with Manny hitting clean up. I think all will agree that Manny is the best pure hitter in the American League, others may perform to his level for streaks, but not over a whole season, and definately not when the games on the line. The perfect example of Manny's influence was Saturday's game. If Manny isn't hitting behind Ortiz, he gets walked with out hesitation. But with Manny there, they little choice but to pitch to him.

Big Papi is a great clutch hitter, I don't mean to take anything away from him. Especially when you look at the pitch he hit 500 and some odd feet yesterday. The damn thing was down and away, nearly out of the strike zone but too close to take. Only great hitters hit a pitch like that as far as he did. My point is that with out Manny he doesn't get the chance to hit that pitch, he'd already be standing on first with the intentional walk.

Friday, June 23, 2006

"In this corner... Brett Myers!"

Yup, according to, Phillies ace Brett Myers punched his wife and pulled her hair on Boylston St. last night and was promptly arrested, released when his wife posted bail.

Myers is scheduled to pitch tomorrow, facing Schilling. Since Tom, myself, and the women are scheduled to go to that game, is there any doubt that we'll witness the savage Sox fans giving him an earful all game long? He might as well wear a bullseye on his uniform."Myers Arrested"

Thursday, June 22, 2006

What am I going to do?????

No Sox on tonight, the US is playing Ghana at 10AM and I have to work! It's a good thing it's bowling night. I think they are showing a Sea Dogs game on NESN though. the Connecticut Defenders, I think this is the same franchise as the Norwich team. They are affiliated with the Giants now and not the Spankees.

Link of the day is to an article in the Globe about steriod use by Paxton Crawford while with the Sox from '99 '01:


So the question is, will this ever go away and what does Baseball have to do to ensure it does?

Dishing out a little sumthin' sumthin'...

Loretta: 3-5. Nixon: 3-5. A-Gon, Papi, Varitek: 2-4. Lester: 10 Ks. Bring on anyone, bitches...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Sox Wake up........finally

For the first time in four starts the Sox offense showed up when Wakefield was on the mound. It's good to see him get a win finally. He's been pitching well and has put the Sox in position to win at least three of the previous four before last nights gem.

I have to agree with AA that Cora has been on fire lately. I've always liked him, he's a smart hard working player that keeps the defense on it's toes. Not to mention he seems to come through when they need that key hit. Another guy that has quietly been improving at the plate is Gonzalez, he's brought his average up to .250, which is very acceptable with his gold glove caliber defense. Finally Jeter won't win the glove by default this year.

It was also good to see Kapler get the reception he did last night, what was it two standing Os. He's an original dirt dog and will always be a fan fav. He seems to be running normally, a good sign with the achilles injury of last season.

And how about the Sox defense, best in baseball if I hear that right last night. Fielding percentage of .995, so much for last years team being better defensively than this years.

As for the offense the first 7 regular hitters in the line up all have a OBP of .340 or better, 3 of which are over .420.

On a personal note, the boy and I have been doing some batting on the front lawn, I've been working on that knuckle ball. So last night while watching the game Remy is talknig about how effect Wake's knuckler was and the boy pipes up, "Hey Dad, you throw a lot of knuckle balls, they could use you!". Gotta love the perspective of the eight year old. I'll bask in the glory of doing no wrong and having super guy status while it lasts, I hear that changes somewhere around 12 or 13.......

5 in a Row. Love the NL

Ok, I didn't watch last night's game or the one before, but they are winning; beating the bad teams. Maybe this spell will provide momentum, if that really exists. AA, his Mrs., myself, and Miss M are going to the game Saturday to watch the game in the Bud Seats. We won't have table; they are standing room, but they should awesome, all Bud drinking aside;) Let me catch up: ... The Sox now have Papelbon, Lester, and Hanson up? Schilling and Beckett seem to have their collective shit together, and of course, Wake is Wake, clicking along if Charlie Watts. So Matt Inclement is gone, Wells is not Well, so the No. 5 spot in the rotation will be revolving door? Am I missing anything? I heard yesterday that the Tito plan for relief was Hanson, Timlin, Papelbon, in the 6, 7, and 9th, respectively? yeah buddy. Faster, Mean, and Nasty.

So I think the equipment truck can stay parked for a bit longer; no need to prepare for next quite yet.

Now that's more like it!

Finally, Wakefield received some long-deserved run support while pitching a gem. The knuckler was particularly effective last night - he barely threw the fastball (such as it is) which is what he's relied upon in too many outings this year. To date, "Wakey" (in Francona parlance) has quietly amassed some very nice numbers which are not fairly reflected in his win/loss record. (Again, that pesky run support issue.) His ERA after last night is 3.82 - not too shabby for your number 3 guy.
Another encouraging sign is that the bats seem to have woken up from top to bottom, with some unlikely folks basking in the glory. Cora continues to be a silent ace-in-the-hole with his smart defense, head-up baserunning, and timely hitting. Loretta is likewise hot again and, reluctant as I am to say it because Tom will become moist and impossible to deal with, Trot is playing like an all-star.
The stinky residue from the hideous series in Minnesota last week is now but a faint memory. They seem to be back on track. Let's hope they keep it together.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Snyder who??????

So was I the only one expecting to tune to NESN last night and see a guy in with a pot belly wearing a white t-shirt with a pack of smokes rolled up in the sleeve and a tool belt standing on the mound? I sure didn't expect to see a six foot eight Bronson Arroyo look alike.

I guess you know things are going your way when you sign a guy that wasn't good enough for the KC Royals to keep around and he goes out and gives you five good innings and gets the win. It seems that now they have to figure out what to do with him. With the days off falling as they do the Sox won't need a number five guy until July 1 so they have time to figure out who's doing what and when.

On the reality check side, I still saw Sox hitters hacking at the first pitch, once following a four pitch walk and another after a five pitch walk.

I must say though that last night was better than it has been lately. There were some timely hits and some great small ball being played. This is what I expected to see more of when the season started. There were several hit and run plays on last night, some worked some didn't, but the fact that it was being done was good to see. I liked the fact that, down by a run, they bunted both runners over to put the go ahead run in scoring position and avoid the inning ending double play. This time it worked great the next guy gets a single and drives them both in.

My only concern is how long will Sox fans stomach the small ball when it doesn't work like it did last night. I'd like to see the Sox management be committed to this type of play. They have the tools to be very effective with it and it complements the big guns of Manny and Papi, turn some solo jacks into two and three run homers.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Situational Hitting.........NOT

Before I start the rant, let me say I'm a big Varitek fan, not as big a fan as AA wife perhaps, but still a fan.

The situation is this:

Top of the eigth, 2 out, bases loaded, pinch hitter called to the plate, the pitcher is getting tired and having problems with location. So I'm thinking the hitter should take a F***in' pitch, see what the pitcher's got for stuff and make him throw you a strike or two. But no, first pitch swinging at a ball up near the eyeballs!

This has been a chronic problem for Boston hitters for years now, here again, I love Nomar, he's still my favorite player, but the guy had/has no concept of situational hitting. I can't count the number of times I've seen a guy walk on four pitches only to have the next guy hack at the first pitch. In the eigth last night the only guy who had a quality at bat was Trot, as much that it pains me to encourage the southern cousin. He took a pitch, then got one he could lift out of the infield and drove in the run in with a sac fly.

This is a recurring theme with this team that goes back a few years. I've lost count at how many times they load the bases, nobody out and can't push across a run. Leaving me screaming at the TV "Get the f***in' thing out of the infield!!!!"

I think it's time for a talk with the squad about situational hitting, anyone have Francona's cell number?

No comment.

Well, maybe one... but not about the three-day dick slapping that just occurred. No, it's about the inane "home field" rule that a ball that would have traveled 450 feet can be called a single (or an out if the rebound had been caught) simply because it hit a f-ing roof lamp. How stupid is that? I realize that these situations are probably extremely rare but is there any doubt that Ortiz's ball wouldn't have been about 20 rows up? I can't imagine that anyone who was there (umpires included) couldn't have pictured that bullet putting a fist-sized dent in the back wall of the stadium. Yet it remained a single and, thanks to ice-cold Manny, an eventual double-play, erasing that which would have created a tie-game in later innings. A bad rule in an awful stadium, and it took them out of the running early.
Not that they even remotely deserved to win, of course.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Perhaps not so Riske after all...

I believe that while Lopez is considered a lefty specialist, he is not as "specialized" as Mike Myers (our recent definition of such a pitcher) in that he isn't all that bad against righties. In essence, I think he'll be specifically be called upon for those Giambi/Thome type situations but, unlike Myers, won't necessarily be pulled after the one hitter.
Hey - it never hurts to have an extra lefty in the stable, especially when a mediocre (at best) righty is all you're giving up in return.

Riske for Lopez?

That's interesting from the perspective of Lopez being a lefty that no one wants to trade. Are the ChiSox heavy on lefties, since this guy's been doing so well but left down in AAA? Seems they need a righty bad to make that trade. I'll take it, I guess. But if he's a specialist against only lefties, then we're down another arm in the bullpen for all practical purposes. (By Zebster)

I'm looking forward to seeing how he does, as AA states in his post, he can't be as specialized as Mike Myers. I haven't seen the numbers but he has to be better against righties than Myers. (LC)

Sox Pitching Getting Socked

I remember having conversations during the off season that went basically like:

"We may not be able to hit as well as '04, but we finally have pitching......".

The only question was who was going to be the fifth starter and who were we going to trade for some more offense? No one wanted Wells or Clement, the only guy anyone wanted was Arroyo. So off he went to the Reds. I don't think I'm the only one that questioned the trade for Willie Mo Pena when it was announced, and I know I'm not the only one to question it now. It's said you can never have too much pitching, and the Sox are seeing that ring true so far this season. Faulk has been up and down at best, Tavaraz (as my cuz the Zebster will tell you) has been a major disappointment, Riske still has yet to really prove he's legit in Boston, and Beckett, well we have seen the roller coaster, and it's scary. Wells can't seem to stay healthy, his uncanny knack for strange injuries continues, Seanez has times where it seems the ball has a negative pole to the strike zones negative pole. Wouldn't the guitar man look good in a Sox uniform right now? Willie Mo may turn out to be the next Manny with some grooming from Papa Jack, but the question is, and it's always the question, is the prospect worth more than the known?

There are a few, well ok two, bright spots. Schilling and Papelbon have performed to expectations, perhaps Papelbon beyond that. There have been some dim spots if you will Van Buren for instance had pitched well until being called back up for last night's game. I have to say that Pauley pitched well for a AA call up, especially in enemy territory, and his future looks bright.

The Sox need some stable, reliable arms, and I don't see where they'll come from. We have prospects that will help the big club in a year or two, but right now the Sox need help. Isn't it funny though, when looking at other teams, we can sit back and say they had a good season, after all it was a building year, but when it comes to the Nation's Team, we can't be so patient. Maybe one ring can't negate the 86 years of "Next year...".

So goes the Nation......

Tavarez must go!

Red Sox fans, didn't your heart sink into your metaphorical scrotum when you saw Julian Tavarez come out to pitch at the start of the 12th? This guy has turned into an absolute headcase. His stuff is electric, at times he's unhittable but more often than not he can't find the strike zone and then the hitters can just sit back and wait for the right pitch with which to break your heart. In this case an overkill grand slam by Jason Kubel (thanks for the career highlight, Julian) that wiped out one of the best pitching duels of the season, Curt Schilling vs. Johan Santana. And Mike Timlin, just coming off the disabled list, could only go one inning, after two nearly perfect innings by Papelbon.Wouldn't you rather see the rookies get some experience in these situations, as it was obvious even before last night that Tavarez is far from reliable? And to waste a game in which both Varitek and Gonzalez contributed at the plate is a crying shame! And don't even get me started on Coco Crisp trying to pull every pitch into double plays!Tavarez has one save this year -- an absolute disgrace to a marginal stat -- a game where he entered with a five-run lead, walked practically everyone in site and was bailed out by the arm of Willie Harris on a play at the plate that would've tied the game."I beg Red Sox management to get rid of this guy (he's had enough chances to prove he can't do it) and let's find out what stuff these kids are made of.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Weekend with Bro

So while the Poots were off in NYC for the weekend, I headed on down to Bro's for some sibling bonding. Friday night we went out to eat at a local TexMex place with a more tradition menu than most "Mexican" restaurants. I had the canista de puerco. Mmmmm, thick slices of pork seasoned with Mex spices with refried beans and rice, which you could eat separately or roll all together in a tortilla with sour cream. Plus we had a Dos Ecces and sampled some different Tequilas.

Saturday morning we started with Bro's special cheesy scrambled eggs and bacon and then headed off for the Sam Adams Brewery tour. I liked how the "tour" was an expeditious run-thru of the process so that you could hurry up to the sampling. LOL We got to take home the 7-ounce sampling glass, and we had the Boston Lager, Summer Ale and Honey Porter. I bought a t-shirt "take pride in your beer."

Then it was off to Fenway. We ate some grub at Game On, checked out all the souvenirs at the souvenir shop and then went on to the guided tour of Fenway Park...pretty cool indeed, though not as thorough as far as access to the park as we had hoped. But we did get to go up on the Green Monster and learned a fair bit of trivia about the park and the team. We had hoped to go inside the Green Monster and or onto the field but no such luck. We killed some time before the ballgame (came across an anime convention -- no, we didn't go but saw enough w/out going LOL Munchkin would've loved it)

So off to the ball park early to watch some batting practice and get ready for the game. Would Curt Schilling get his 200th win? This game wasn't one Bro already had tix to, so he got special tix for the game. Wow, were they great. Thanks Bro! Nice and spacious with our own table. So I kept score of the game for the first time in ages. We were just left of home plate looking right down on it and could see the whole field. Well, Curt didn't have his best stuff but over 7 innings gave up 4 runs and the Sox scored 6 for a win and Curt's 200th win. Pretty cool to have been there.

We spent Sunday putting up Bro's ceiling fan, listening to the beer drinkin and Merle Haggard cd's I'd made for him; then watched some of the Indy 500 and Sox game before I headed back to Maine. Thanks for a great time, Bro! I got home in time to watch the Coke 600 and guess who won? That's right, Kasey Kahne! Woooo hoooo!

The picture? Me that night at Fenway from our seats, wearing my Sam Adams t-shirt. Picture taken by Bro with my cell phone.