All-Star Game at Cincinnati

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius"

As you all know, I am not a fan of the New York Yankees. But I was recently offered the chance to read a new book about the legendary manager Billy Martin, and I decided to give it a chance. It's called "Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius" by sportswriter Bill Pennington.

I'm glad I did.

It's the story of a complex man, who was best known for taking baseball teams and improving them and his legendary dustups with umpires. But he was far more than that. He led quite the colorful life, both on and off the field.

The book takes the reader back to Martin's days growing up in West Berkeley, California, and his eventual forays into organized baseball, and his relationship with Oakland Oaks and future Yankees manager Casey Stengel. Baseball was clearly Billy Martin's most important thing in life, even more than his family life.

But the book also highlights Martin away from the bright lights, delving into his religious faith. Billy was a devout Catholic. When he won the award for the 1953 World Series MVP, he was awarded a new car, a Cadillac. He very quietly gave the car to his local parish priest in West Berkeley, Father Dennis Moore, who had helped his family when they were struggling financially when he was growing up. He also spent many hours in church, looking above for guidance.

Pennington also portrays a man who was fascinated by history, and talked for hours on end with writers about subjects like the Civil War. But he also shows a man who had his demons, and alcoholism plays a very heavy role in the life of Billy Martin.

He also goes into great detail about some of the legendary incidents that Martin will forever be known for, such as the legendary fight at Copacabana in 1957 that eventually got him traded, his dugout confrontation with Reggie Jackson at Fenway Park in 1977, the fight in Baltimore with pitcher Ed Whitson in 1985 (that was especially interesting with all the minute details Pennington gives the reader), and many others.

No book about Billy Martin would be complete without a detailed description of his complex relationship with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. I thought Steinbrenner came off more sympathetic than anything else in this book. He hired/fired Billy 5 times, and had genuine affection for him. Steinbrenner was, of course, a paranoid blowhard, treated many employees like crap, but he is presented here more of a friend who cared for Billy. I suppose you could write a whole book just on their relationship alone, but that's for someone else to do.

Billy Martin clearly loved the limelight, and being a celebrity. He is also shown to be generous with people, such as giving outrageously high tips to regular people. But towards the end of his life, he is portrayed as a man looking for peace in his life. He had been through four marriages, and had settled outside of Binghamton, New York. But the old devil drink came back, after he had given it up for a while. And it would play a prominent role in the accident that caused his death on Christmas Day of 1989.

Martin was indeed a complex individual, and this new book takes us on a journey with this man, who 25 years after his sudden passing has been overlooked by many in the subject of MLB's best managers. "Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius" is definitely worth your time to read, whether he played for or managed your favorite team or not.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Glove, Speed, Power. Mookie Does It All.


It was The Mookie Betts Show for the 104th Opening Day in the history of  Fenway Park yesterday.

And I am so glad I was there to witness it live and in person with The BLOHARDS.

Mookie made his presence known right away, as he robbed Bryce Harper of a two-run home run in the first inning, as he leaped high above the bullpen to snatch it. And in the bottom of the first, with David Ortiz batting and a shift on, Mookie, on first base, stole second, and then immediately high-tailed it over to third, as no one was covering the bag, and just made it ahead of pitcher Jordan Zimmermann's tag. It was just the 11th time in the last 100 years a player stole two bases on one play. (The last being Dustin Pedroia last August.) He scored on Papi's single for the first Red Sox run.

With the score 4-0, Mookie came up with two on in the second, and hit a line shot into the Monster seats for his second home run and it gave the Sox a 4-0 lead.

It was a really bad day all around for the Nationals, as two outfield misplays were centered around a four-run Red Sox third, and it was 8-0. They knocked out Zimmermann, who was charged with 7 earned runs. David Ortiz added a home run into the Monster seats in center in the sixth that made it 9-2.

Rick Porcello went eight solid innings, giving up four runs. The bullpen needed the rest after being stretched out twice in New York. Junichi Tazawa pitched a scoreless ninth to complete the 9-4 Opening Day win.

The Sox are now 10-1 in their last 11 openers at Fenway. But this day will be remembered for the heroics of one Markus Lynn Betts. We may have seen the emergence of a star yesterday.

And I'm so glad I was there to see it in real time.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Long Night's Journey Into Morning

I detest Edward Mujica.

I thought he was an awful free agent signing by the Red Sox after the 2013 World Series win. He was the closer for the St. Louis Cardinals, and was so awful down the stretch, he was barely used by them in their run to the World Series. So for what ever unfathomable reason, the Sox signed him to a two-year deal. And with Koji Uehara's hamstring injury (thank God he returns on Monday), John Farrell made him the temporary closer. Yikes.

And he gave it up with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, allowing a game-tying home run to a struggling Chase Headley. The game goes to extra-innings. 10 extra-innings.

It was the longest game by time in Red Sox history: 6 hours and 49 minutes. It included a 16-minute power outage delay in the 12th inning, and the Sox scoring runs in the 16th (David Ortiz' first HR of 2015) and 18th innings, only for New York to tie it both times.

The Sox scored the game winner in the 19th on Mookie Betts' sacrifice fly in the top of the 19th. They turned a sparkling DP started by Xander Bogaerts to conclude matters at 2:13 AM. The Red Sox used up the entire bullpen, with Steven Wright pitching the last four innings for his first win.

I think Steven Wright can put this gritty performance into his collection of his "Very Best Of":


The only longer game between the two rivals was in 1967, with New York winning the second game of a doubleheader (remember those?) in 20 innings.

The teams play their second game of the weekend series at 1 PM today. Barely 11 hours after the final pitch of Friday night/Saturday morning's game ended.

And everyone has a stiff named Edward Mujica to thank for it.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Once Again, I'm a Free Agent

I'm sad to have to say that Trivia at Foley's will no longer be happening. Unfortunately, we weren't able to bring out enough of a crowd on Sunday nights to continue it, and yesterday it was mutually agreed to bring it to a close. I want to thank Shaun and everyone else at Foley's for the opportunity to try a Trivia Night there, and he and his staff were terrific to me. It's a great bar where all kinds of sports is the top priority and should be. Trivia just didn't fit in. But if you are ever in midtown Manhattan, I would encourage you to go there and check it out, especially if you are a baseball fan.

And now I will again attempt to find a new home for my Trivia Night. If any of you know of an establishment looking to start a Trivia Night, please do let me know. (You can drop me a line at: jbq1462@hotmail.com.) I will keep everyone updated with my progress in achieving that goal. Thanks to all of you for your continuing support of my Trivia Night. You are all the best!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

I'd Say That Was a Good Start


Well, the Red Sox wasted no time on Monday to put 2014 far into the rear view mirror, as they blasted 5 home runs and got a near-flawless performance from Clay Buchholz in routing the Phillies on Opening Day, 8-0.

Dustin Pedroia blasted two dingers, Mookie Betts had a solo shot, and Hanley Ramirez went deep twice, including banging a grand slam off the left field foul pole late to put the win on ice.

But what was most encouraging was the start by Buchholz, who was superb for seven innings, striking out 9 and walking just one. He was in complete command all game, and only ran into any trouble in the 7th, when the Phillies got back-to-back hits off him. Buchholz clearly seemed comfortable with new starting catcher Ryan Hanigan, and seemed to be on the same page all day.

Both David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval took the collar, but the rest of the cast picked up the slack.

Pedroia became just the second second baseman in history to hit two home runs on Opening Day, and Ramirez' grand slam was the first on Opening Day by a Sox player since Jack Clark in 1991.

The Sox hit the first four home runs, all solo shots, off former future Sox hurler and current Phillie ace Cole Hamels. (I have a feeling the call to trade for Hamels, especially if it involves Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart, has abated for now.)

And on this same day, future Tommy John surgical patient Masahiro Tanaka was lit up by the Toronto Blue Jays in New York, and the Yankees went quietly in a 6-1 loss. The Mets won a gritty 3-1 game in Washington, as they never seem to lose on Opening Day.

Yes, Opening Day. One of my favorite days. Why can't results be like this more often?

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Now We Play For Real

The Spring Training schedule officially came to an end on Saturday. The Red Sox ended the spring at 17-12. (Not that that matters now, as everyone is 0-0 as I write this.)

The opener is Monday afternoon in Philadelphia. Clay Buchholz takes the mound in his first ever Opening Day start, and there is plenty of pressure on him. Few people think of him as an ace, and he sure hasn't pitched like on the last few seasons. He got off to that great start in 2013, going 10-1 before injuries curtailed his season. You have to figure that if injuries and /or ineffectiveness ruin another season, he'll be pitching somewhere else in 2016.

They will miss Christian Vazquez badly, as he had Tommy John surgery on Thursday and will miss the season. He is an adept handler of pitchers, and will be replaced by Ryan Hanigan. And we will see rookie Blake Swihart at some point this year. When is the big question.

Koji Uehara and Joe Kelly will begin the year on the DL. Sounds like neither will miss much time. John Farrell has said he may go by closer-by-committee, but Edward Muijica will get most of the opportunities.

The outfield will be Hanley Ramirez in left, Mookie Betts in center and Shane Victorino. Ramirez had a good spring, both at the plate and in the field, having made just one error. Betts was terrific in all phases of the game, and he looks like a superstar on the rise. Victorino is coming off back surgery, and the job is his. We'll see how long he lasts.

The infield is Mike Napoli at first, Dustin Pedroia at second, Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and Pablo Sandoval at third. Napoli was blasting away this spring, Bogaerts looked better at short, and Pedroia was again Pedroia after having surgery this past winter on his wrist. Sandoval should be an interesting case study this season. His weight will become an issue if he's not pulling his weight (forgive me, I couldn't resist) at the plate.

David Ortiz will be the DH, with Ryan Hanigan doing most of the catching with Sandy Leon backing him up.

The rotation has been much discussed, as the Sox rebuilt it over the winter with the trades for Wade Miley and Rick Porcello, and the signing of old friend Justin Masterson as a free agent. Both Porcello and Buchholz were the most consistent starters in the spring, and Porcello figures to be the number two man. They made no big trade for a "legitimate" ace, but that could still happen if the need arises during the season.

Where will the Sox finish in 2015? I think this is a playoff team, as the AL East is not a strong division. I'll leave the predictions to the so-called "experts."

Off we go with another baseball season tomorrow. I'll be at Fenway next Monday for the home opener with the BLOHARDS. Here's to a "worst-to-first-to-worst-to-first" season!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Buchholz To Start The Opener In Philly

Opening Day is exactly one week away for the Red Sox, and members of the battery made news this week.

Clay Buchholz was named the Opening Day starter for next Monday in Philadelphia. He's "the old man" of the revamped starting staff, and his numbers this spring aren't bad, despite giving up 12 hits and 4 runs over 5 innings last Friday. (And you obviously take Spring Training numbers with a grain of salt.)

2015 is a make it or break it year for Buchholz. He has to prove he is a top-of-the-rotation starter, and stay healthy at the same time. Most Red Sox fans don't believe he is a number one starter, and I don't either. But he's had the most experience of any of the starting pitchers the Sox have, so he almost gets it by default.

Rick Porcello will pitch the second game in Philadelphia, and either Wade Miley or Justin Masterson will complete the opening series.

In far more troubling news, the Sox placed Christian Vazquez on the 60-day disabled list today, and acquired catcher Sandy Leon from the Washington Nationals for cash considerations. Vazquez has been having right elbow discomfort, and is scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama on Wednesday for a second opinion. Unfortunately, this has "Tommy John surgery" written all over it.

Leon is strictly catching depth for the Sox, who will go with Ryan Hanigan as their number one catcher with Vazquez out. Blake Swihart has had a good spring, but figures to play everyday at Pawtucket, as he is not ready. And all of a sudden, that Hanigan for Will Middlebrooks deal the Sox made this past winter is looking more and more crucial.

And in more injury news, it sounds like Koji Uehara will not be on the roster for Opening Day, as his hamstring injury will not be settled by then, and John Farrell said yesterday that Edward Mujica (God help us) will be the primary closer, but he did not rule out going to a closer-by-committee until Koji is ready to return.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

So Pete Rose Wants Back In


I haven't written much on baseball so far in this new year of 2015, but with 13 days to go until the season gets under way, and the cold weather finally abating, let's do it!

Earlier this month, Pete Rose made his intentions known that he is applying for reinstatement, after being banned since 1989 for betting on baseball. With a new commissioner at the helm in Rob Manfred, he figures to try and strike while the iron is hot and hopes that the new commissioner will be sympathetic to his case.

Manfred announced he will give Rose's case a look, but has not hinted in which direction he will go.

We all know the facts of Rose's banishment. He was basically caught red-handed having placed bets on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds, and screamed for years that he never actually did it. He says he accepted the lifetime ban with the idea that after one year he would file for reinstatement. He also figured that he was still eligible for the Hall of Fame at the time, so that wouldn't be affected. (The Hall of Fame then banned all players on the Permanently Ineligible List shortly thereafter.) But Bart Giamatti, who rightly gave Rose the boot, died one week after the whole sordid matter ended, and the two commissioners that followed him, Fay Vincent and Bud Selig, kept the ban in place.

Rose lied in his deposition in 1989, and smeared the reputations of the men who brought the evidence against him 26 years ago, and has never offered any kind of apology to them.

Everyone in baseball knows that betting on the game is the sport's mortal sin. Every locker room in MLB has signs posted about that. The Black Sox scandal of 1919 came close to sinking the sport.

And have you noticed there has not been one case of illegal betting on baseball by anyone in MLB since Rose was banned?

I was in Rose's camp in early 2000s that he had served a long enough sentence for this case, and maybe it was finally time to reconsider his ban. But then in 2004, simply to sell yet another autobiography he'd written, Rose decided to come clean and admit, "yeah, I bet on baseball." For 15 years, he insisted to all his loyal fans and supporters that he hadn't bet on the game, and it was all trumped up by MLB.

And to make more money, Charlie Hustle admitted he hustled the fans. Treated us all like chumps.

So as far as I am concerned, Pete Rose can stay banned from MLB.

Listen, the Hall of Fame has plenty of members of rather dubious character, and the PED scandals have really played havoc with the election process. But that's a whole different story. I'm sure Rob Manfred will give Rose a shot here, but I bet he is in no rush to make any kind of ruling.

Rose doesn't have my support. And many Hall of Famers feel the same way. Everyone knows the rules. YOU DON'T BET ON MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. He knew that, did it anyway because he was (and probably still is) a degenerate gambler. He of course merits induction for what he did as an MLB player.

But he ruined his career after he became a manager. I have always felt that somewhere down the road he will be reinstated and will enter the Hall of Fame by way of the Veterans Committee. But let it happen after he dies, so he's not there to enjoy it.

Sorry, Pete. No sympathy from me. You treated us like fools for years. Don't bet (pun intended) on getting back in MLB's good graces. Let your cries for reinstatement fall on deaf ears.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Trivia Will Return On April 12

Due to the continuing NCAA Tournament basketball playoffs on March 29th, and the opening of the baseball season on April 5th (and it also being Easter Sunday), Trivia Night at Foley's will be taking off the next two weeks.


We'll be back with another edition of Trivia on Sunday night, April 12th at 7 PM.

Hope to see you then!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Trivia Q&A: March 15

On the cusp of St. Patrick's Day, we did Ireland Trivia as one of two Special Categories for Trivia Night at Foley's on Sunday night. The numbers for that round were generally on the higher side. The bar had all different folks in watching hockey and soccer, and few in playing Trivia. The team of Green Eyed Monsters got the win, getting 38 points, winning each round except the final round. Nice job by Cato and Bob taking the night again.

Second place went to Dink Dink, Dink Dink, Dink Dink, Dink Dink with 23 points, and third place went to The K Family with 22 points.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Trivia Night will take next week off at Foley's, due to the NCAA Tournament games and few other events going on at the bar. We will return in two weeks, on Sunday night, March 29th at 7 PM. See you then!

Current Events
1. What western US state's lawmakers voted this past week to bring back the firing squad as a form of capital punishment, the only state to have it?
2. A jury awarded $7.4 million to the children of what R&B singer after determining that singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied his music in their 2013 number one hit song?
3. What news organization was recently named the most trusted, as well as the least trusted network in news in a recent Quinnipiac University poll?
4. "American Sniper" last week became the highest grossing war film of all-time, reaching $500 million in worldwide gross. What 1998 war film had the previous record?
5. What longtime network crime drama was recently acknowledged by Guinness World Records as the largest-ever TV drama, simulcast in 171 countries on March 4th?
6. What English rock star was named an "honorary Texan" by the Texas legislature this past week after donating hundreds of his Alamo artifacts to the state?
7. What world leader was not seen in public for nearly seven days last week, and reports surfaced he was in Switzerland for the birth of his "secret" daughter?

Ireland Trivia
1. What is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland after Dublin in population? a. Cork; b. Galway; c. Limerick; d. Waterford.
2. Which Irish saint is said to have visited America 1000 years before Columbus? a. Patrick; b. Finbar; c. Brendan; d. Thomas.
3. Which one of the following entertainers was not born in Ireland? a. Bono; b. Bob Geldof; c. Elvis Costello; d. Pierce Brosnan.
4. Which is the most popular sport in Ireland? a. soccer; b. rugby; c. cricket; d. Gaelic football.
5. In which year did Ireland achieve Home Rule and their independence from the UK? a. 1905; b. 1922; c. 1929; d. 1935.
6. What Irish rock band had hits with such songs as "Jailbreak" and "The Boys Are Back In Town?" a. U2; b. The Pogues; c. Black 47; d. Thin Lizzy.
7. In which century did Ireland's potato famine take place? a. 17; b. 18; c. 19; d. 20.

Green Trivia
1. "Green River" was a hit single for what 1960s rock band?
2. What is the name of the main character in the book "Green Eggs and Ham?"
3. What US city's river is dyed green every St. Patrick's Day?
4. Martin Balsam portrayed Mr. Green in what 1974 NYC-based film that was remade in 2009?
5. What North African country's flag is completely green?
6. What is the name of the pigment in green plants that gives them their color?
7. What Nickelodeon TV show was known for dropping green slime on its characters?

General Knowledge
1. The world's largest desert is found on what continent? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the name of the doomed boat from the classic TV sitcom "Gilligan's Island?" ( 1 pt)
3. Which of the Great Lakes is the largest in area? ( 1 pt)
4. The Galapagos Islands belong to what South American country? ( 2 pt)
5. Nicosia is the capital of what European country? ( 2 pt)
6. In 1775, the Continental Congress named what Founding Father the first postmaster general? ( 2 pt)
7. Byzantium was an ancient city that today is known by what name? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Mt. Kosciusko, at 7,310 feet, is the highest mountain in what country? ( 5 points)
2. What 19th century US president was the only president who was once held as a prisoner of war? ( 4 points)
3. What current best-selling author was once a Democratic state legislator from Mississippi? ( 4 points)
4. The Treaty of Ghent ended what 19th century war? ( 3 points)
5. In 2014, who did Forbes magazine name "The World's Richest Athlete", having earned $105 million that year? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Utah; 2. Marvin Gaye; 3. Fox News; 4. "Saving Private Ryan;" 5. "CSI"; 6. Phil Collins; 7. Vladimir Putin.

Ireland Trivia
1. a; 2. c; 3. c; 4. d; 5. b; 6. d; 7. c.

Green Trivia
1. CCR; 2. Sam; 3. Chicago; 4. "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three;" 5. Libya; 6. chlorophyll; 7. "You Can't Do That On Television."

General Knowledge
1. Africa; 2. SS Minnow; 3. Lake Superior; 4. Ecuador; 5. Cyprus; 6. Ben Franklin; 7. Istanbul.

IQ Trivia
1. Australia; 2. Andrew Jackson; 3. John Grisham; 4. The War of 1812; 5. Floyd Mayweather.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Millar, O'Brien Lead Ballot For the Irish American BB HoF


My friends at Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant (where I do Trivia every Sunday night, plug, plug!!) announced this past week their newest candidates for the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, and they include three individuals with connections to the Red Sox over the years.

One is former player and 2004 World Series champion Kevin Millar, another is current Red Sox  radio announcer Dave O'Brien, and the third is MLB Hall of Fame manager Joe McCarthy (who managed the Sox after his long successful tenure with the Yankees in the late 1940s).

There are eleven candidates on the 2015 ballot, from the groups of Former Players, Broadcasters, Managers and Executives. Here are the eleven up for consideration:

Current and Former Players
·         Mike Sweeney: Five-time All-Star and former captain of the KC Royals; involved with numerous charities in the Kansas City area.
·         Michael Cuddyer: Two-time All-Star, 2013 NL batting champ and current New York Met; nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award recognizing outstanding off-field community service.
·         Kevin Millar: Member of 2004 Red Sox who helped end Boston’s 86-yr. World Series drought.
Broadcasters
·         Dave O'Brien: ESPN sportscaster, also calls play-by-play on the Boston Red Sox Radio Network alongside Joe Castiglione.
·         Tom McCarthy: Play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies' broadcasts.
·         Ed Coleman: Radio play-by-play announcer for the New York Mets.
Managers
·         Joe McCarthy: Yankees all-time leader in managerial wins (1,460), won seven World Series titles between 1931-46.
·         Jack McKeon: Two-time NL Manager of Year whose 2003 Florida Marlins won the World Series
Executives
·         Bill Murray: Comedic actor and SNL alumnus, owner of minor league teams
·         Shannon Forde: Longtime member of New York Mets p.r. staff
·         Joe McDonald: Longtime executive with the New York Mets


The Hall of Fame is located inside Foley's, at 18 West 33rd Street. It was founded by Shaun Clancy in 2008 to honor those connected to MLB of Irish descent. The candidates to be enshrined in 2015 will be announced in April.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

We Celebrate Ireland & Its History On Sunday


We will celebrate the St. Patrick's Day holiday early on Sunday, March 15th with Trivia Night at Foley's. We will have two Special Categories this week (with the Q Train lightning round getting the week off), and they will be "Ireland Trivia" and "Green Trivia." Ireland Trivia will be seven questions about the Emerald Isle and its history, and Green Trivia will be seven questions that all involve the color green in some way. And in deference to Foley's, there will be no answers involving the song "Danny Boy."

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
Which of the Great Lakes is the largest in area?"

We'll get started at 7 PM on Sunday night. Foley's is located at 18 West 33rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. There will be drink specials throughout the Trivia Night, so come on out and celebrate the holiday early with a great night of Trivia tomorrow night!

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Machine Turns Nine


It hardly seems possible, but it was nine years ago today that Yours Truly founded The Mighty Quinn Media Machine.

I started it almost on a lark, but I am certainly glad I did. It has brought many wonderful people into my life, and I can't thank them (and all of you) enough.

These days, I'm not writing as much as I once did. I still write about the Red Sox, but not on an everyday basis anymore. And of course, I use the blog extensively to promote my Trivia Night.

The post about good ol' Doug Mirabelli in 2006 is still be far the most popular thing I have ever put up here. Doug has long since left the Red Sox and MLB, but fans are still looking to find out about his "epic" day, and usually wind up on my blog!

Anyway, thanks to all of you for the support you have given me and my little writing thingy here.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Trivia Q&A: March 8

Our third edition of Sunday Night Trivia at Foley's brought out an old friend, Matt, who is one of my loyal Trivia players from my other Trivia venues. Always nice seeing familiar faces from the past. We had a small turnout of players on Sunday, but we are making progress in our new Trivia home.

Most teams did rather well in the Women's History Trivia round, so they can be proud on International Women's Day they know their stuff!

My thanks to the great Ed Randall, who hosts a Sunday morning show on WFAN Radio here in New York, as he gave a nice shout out to my Trivia Night at Foley's yesterday. I've known Ed many years, as he has been a regular at the BLOHARDS meetings and is a tireless advocate for prostate cancer awareness. He's one of the good guys in sports.Thanks a million, Ed!

The team of Vince Wilfork's Body Guards were victorious, taking the night by 20 points over second place Mortal Wombat, who had 34 points, and third place went to A Lone Warrior with 28 points.

Current Events
1. Loretta Lynch was confirmed last week as what new member of President Obama's cabinet?
2. What man was named by Forbes magazine earlier this week as "The World's Richest Man" with a net worth of $79.2 billion?
3. What western US state became the third state to permit legal marijuana use in that state?
4. Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before Congress for the third time this past week. What 20th century world leader was the only other to speak before Congress three times?
5. The National Transportation Safety Board recently said they have agreed to consider reopening the investigation into the plane crash that killed what rock star many years ago?
6. Mark Lippert, the US ambassador to what country, was attacked last Thursday by a man with a razor blade, and needed 80 stitches to close a wound on his face?
7. Minnie Minoso, the first black Cuban born player in MLB, died last Sunday at the age of 92. What team did he play for in five different decades?

Women's History Trivia
1. Who was the first woman to run for president of the US? a. Shirley Chisholm; b. Susan B. Anthony; c. Victoria Woodhull; d. Sonia Johnson.
2. In 1932, Amelia Earhart was the first woman to do what? a. Fly a plane; b. Fly solo across the Atlantic; c. Fly in the Air Force; d. Fly solo around the world.
3. Who was the first woman to be Secretary of State? a. Elizabeth Dole; b. Condoleezza Rice; c. Hillary Clinton; d. Madeline Albright.
4. What was the first US state to allow women to vote? a. Wyoming; b. Colorado; c. Utah; d. Idaho.
5. Roe vs. Wade was one of the most controversial cases in Supreme Court history covering what women's right? a. Education; b. abortion; c. birth control; d. employment.
6. In 1926, Gertrude Ederle accomplished what feat as the first woman to do what? a. Swim the English Channel; b. Climb Mt. Everest; c. Sail around the world; d. Ride in the Tour deFrance.
7. Who was the first woman to serve as US Attorney General? a. Condoleezza Rice; b. Hillary Clinton; c. Janet Reno; d. Geraldine Ferraro.

Even Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The pearl wedding anniversary is this number of years.
2. Arizona is this number US state.
3. Cancer is this number sign of the Zodiac.
4. This is the freezing point of water at sea level degrees Fahrenheit.
5. The highest number on a standard dartboard is this number.
6. This number is retired throughout MLB in honor of Jackie Robinson.
7. This is the approximate total number of grams in one ounce.
8. This number parallel north separates North and South Korea.
9. In tennis, this number represents the third point gained in a game.
10. This number amendment to the Constitution made the standard minimum voting age at 18.

General Knowledge
1. The Brandenburg Gate is found in what European city? ( 1 pt)
2. What is another name for the human clavicle? ( 1 pt)
3. What two US coins have ridges on them? ( 1 pt)
4. The Emerald Coast is located on what US state? ( 2 pt)
5. Tony Abbott is the current Prime Minister of what country? ( 2 pt)
6. Name 1 of the 2 letters worth ten points in Scrabble, the most valuable ones. ( 2 pt)
7. What is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What famous 19th century author is credited with having written the first book on a typewriter? ( 3 points)
2. What southern US state has the butterfly as its official mascot, but has no official nickname, the only state without one? ( 4 points)
3. Who is the only Roman Catholic to be Vice-President of the United States? ( 4 points)
4. What famous singer was the first African-American to host an American TV show, in 1956? ( 5 points)
5. William Morgan invented what team sport in Massachusetts in 1895, which was originally called "mintonette?" ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Attorney General; 2. Bill Gates; 3. Alaska; 4. Winston Churchill; 5. Buddy Holly; 6. South Korea; 7. Chicago White Sox.

Women's History Trivia
1. c; 2. b; 3. d; 4. a; 5. b; 6. a; 7. c.

Even Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 30; 2. 48; 3. 4; 4. 32; 5. 20; 6. 42; 7. 28; 8. 38; 9. 40; 10. 26.

General Knowledge
1. Berlin; 2. collarbone; 3. dime and quarter; 4. Florida; 5. Australia; 6. Q&Z; 7. prostate.

IQ Trivia
1. Mark Twain; 2. Alabama; 3. Joe Biden; 4. Nat King Cole; 5. volleyball.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Ladies In History Featured On Sunday


This Sunday night, March 8th, the Special Category for Sunday Night Trivia at Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant will be "Women's History Trivia," seven questions about women in US history, in honor of Sunday being International Women's Day. All the questions will be multiple choice.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Even Numbered Trivia." I will ask you ten general knowledge questions, and every answer will be an even number from 1 through 50. And no answer will be the same number.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Brandenburg Gate is found in what European city?"

We get going at 7 PM on Sunday night. The weather will be a lot better on Sunday, and there will not be a Pittsburgh Penguins game on at that time, so things should be fine. Foley's is located at 18 West 33rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. There will be beer specials during the Trivia Night, so why not come out and have a great time with Trivia tomorrow night at Foley's. See you then!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Trivia Q&A: March 1

It looked like the weather was going to play havoc with us again for Trivia Night at Foley's. 1-3 inches of snow fell on NYC, but we actually had a pretty good turnout for a snowy night. We started after the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game finished (Pens fans hang out at Foley's), and a few of the patrons joined us, along with seeing old friends Rhonda, Michael and Amy, which was a nice surprise. So it turned out to be a pretty good night indeed.

The team of Polka Kings pulled off the win, getting 48 points and won by a comfortable margin of 12 points. They also won our opening week of Trivia at Foley's two weeks ago, so my congratulations to Cato and Bob on their win.

Second place went to Ballz Deep with 36 points, and third went to Captain Spock's Exploding Manhole Covers with 34 points.

Current Events
1. John Kitzhaber, the governor of what western US state, resigned recently over an ethics scandal involving him and his fiancee?
2. What legendary comedian was recently chosen by Rolling Stone magazine as the all-time number one cast member in the history of "Saturday Night Live?"
3. The CEO of Hermitage Capital Management claimed recently that what world leader has a net worth of $200 billion, more than that of Bill Gates, most of which he claims is stolen?
4. Rock star Neil Young asked his fans last week to join in a boycott of what chain store after their involvement in a lawsuit against the state of Vermont over shielding food ingredients?
5. What late-night talk show host filmed segments for his show in Cuba late last month, the first US talk show to film there since 1959?
6. What female pop singer fell off the stage last week while performing at the Brit Awards in London?
7. What 1990s rap star was arrested in Florida recently for breaking into and stealing from an abandoned home?

Academy Awards Trivia
1. What 1985 film was nominated for 11 Oscars, and won no awards, tied for the most in history without a win?
2. What 1970 Beatles film won an Academy Award for Best Original Score?
3. What 1992 film was the last Western to win the Best Picture Oscar?
4. What film did Mel Brooks win his only Oscar for Best Original Screenplay?
5. Who is the only actress to win four Best Actress Oscars?
6. What actor has been nominated a record 12 times for acting Oscars?
7. Name 2 of the 5 actors/actresses who have won acting Oscars in consecutive years.

Odd Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The silver wedding anniversary is marked after this number years of marriage.
2. The debut album from singer Adele was entitled this number.
3. A soccer match has this numbered minutes in each half.
4. The NY Yankees retired this number in honor of late catcher Thurman Munson.
5. Alaska is this number US state.
6. The left fielder in baseball is represented by this number.
7. Aquarius is this number sign of the Zodiac.
8. This is the number of flavors of Baskin-Robbins ice cream.
9. Chicago Bulls retired this number in honor of Michael Jordan.
10. Jesus Christ is said to be this age at the time of his crucifixion.

General Knowledge
1. Lake Titicaca is located on what continent? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the second largest planet in the solar system? ( 1 pt)
3. Hall of Fame QB John Elway was originally drafted by what NFL team? ( 1 pt)
4. Since 1980, the shekel has been the currency of what country? ( 2 pt)
5. "Iron Man" is a 1970 song by what rock band? ( 2 pt)
6. A dodecagon has how many sides? ( 2 pt)
7. What is the national animal of Canada? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What 20th century US president used his poker winnings to help finance his first campaign for Congress, which he won? ( 4 points)
2. What Asian country is the world's largest producer and consumer of milk? ( 4 points)
3. Sid is the real first name of what popular Sesame Street character? ( 3 points)
4. After Rhode Island and Delaware, what Eastern US state is the third smallest in total area? ( 4 points)
5. What Canadian province was the most recent to enter the Canadian Confederation, in 1949? ( 5 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Oregon; 2. John Belushi; 3. Vladimir Putin; 4. Starbucks; 5. Conan O'Brien; 6. Madonna; 7. Vanilla Ice.

Academy Awards Trivia
1. "The Color Purple;" 2. "Let It Be;" 3. "Unforgiven;" 4. "The Producers;" 5. Katharine Hepburn; 6. Jack Nicholson; 7. Tom Hanks, Spencer Tracy, Luise Rainer, Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards.

Odd Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 25; 2. 19; 3. 45; 4. 15; 5. 49; 6. 7; 7. 11; 8. 31; 9. 23; 10. 33.

General Knowledge
1. South America; 2. Saturn; 3. Baltimore Colts; 4. Israel; 5. Black Sabbath; 6. twelve; 7. beaver.

IQ Trivia
1. Richard Nixon; 2. India; 3. Cookie Monster; 4. Connecticut; 5. Newfoundland.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Goodbye February. Hello Grapefruit League.

I don't have to tell most Red Sox fans in New England and the Northeast what a brutal winter this has been. Boston has been blitzed the last couple of months with snow, and down here in NYC, it has been cold and miserable, even if the snowfall totals have been a lot less.

February is coming to a merciful end. Good riddance.

And that means that baseball is returning. The Red Sox open their Spring Training schedule on Tuesday with the traditional doubleheader against the college kids, Northeastern and Boston College. Then on Thursday they play their Ft. Myers rival Minnesota Twins to open up the MLB Grapefruit League schedule.

Courtesy of  Redsox.com, here is the complete broadcast schedule of the games from Florida. (There are a few games that will not be broadcast either on TV or radio.):

DateOpponentTime(ET)TVRadio

March

Tuesday, March 3vs. Boston College1:05 PMWEEI 850
Tuesday, March 3vs. Northeastern U.1:05 PMWEEI 850
Thursday, March 5@Minnesota7:05 PMMLBNWEEI 93.7
Saturday, March 7vs. Minnesota1:05 PMWEEI 93.7
Sunday, March 8@NY Mets1:10 PMNESNWEEI 93.7
Wednesday, March 11@NY Yankees1:05 PMMLBN
Friday, March 13vs. NY Yankees7:05 PMNESN, MLBNWEEI 93.7
Saturday, March 14vs. Pittsburgh1:05 PMWEEI 93.7
Sunday, March 15@Philadelphia1:05 PMNESNWEEI 93.7
Tuesday, March 17vs. Atlanta1:05 PMNESN, MLBN
Saturday, March 21@Pittsburgh1:05 PMNESN, MLBN (delay)WEEI 93.7
Sunday, March 22vs. Philadelphia1:05 PMNESN, MLBN (delay)WEEI 93.7
Friday, March 27@Atlanta1:05 PMESPN
Saturday, March 28@Tampa Bay1:05 PMMLBN (delay)WEEI 93.7
Sunday, March 29vs. Tampa Bay1:05 PMNESN, MLBNWEEI 93.7
Monday, March 30vs. Minnesota7:05 PMNESN, MLBNWEEI 93.7
Tuesday, March 31@Tampa Bay1:05 PMNESN, MLBN (delay)

April

Wednesday, April 1vs. Toronto1:05 PMNESN
Thursday, April 2@Minnesota7:05 PMMLBN
Friday, April 3vs. Minnesota7:05 PMNESNWEEI 93.7
Saturday, April 4@Minnesota1:05 PMNESNWEEI 93.7

Plenty of Odd Stuff For Trivia On Sunday


Trivia Night will return to Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant on Sunday night, March 1st at 7 PM. The bar was  a bit empty last week, as the Academy Awards ceremony probably kept most folks home. So we will give "Academy Awards Trivia" another go as the Special Category. It will seven questions about the Oscars down through the years. The Q Train lightning round will be "Odd Numbered Trivia." I will ask you ten general knowledge questions, with all answers being odd numbers between 1 and 50. And every answer will be a different one.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What is the second largest planet in our solar system?"

We'll get going at 7 PM. Foley's is located at 18 West 33rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. There will be drink specials throughout the Trivia Night. I hope to see many of you this Sunday night for a great night of Trivia to kick off the month of March!

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Baseball Weekend In Boston

My good friend and fellow Red Sox fanatic Alan Burnce is part of a nonprofit organization called Open Road, which is based out of Portland, Oregon and does fine work helping teenagers.

Alan recently alerted me to a fund raising effort that is currently going on, and it involves the Red Sox and New York Yankees.

Open Road currently has a raffle going on that the winner will get two tickets to the complete weekend series between the Red Sox and Yankees at Fenway Park from May 1-3. The package also includes a three-night stay at the Hotel Buckminster, which is just a stone's throw from the Fens (and where the plot to throw the 1919 World Series was supposedly hatched by the Black Sox, for you baseball history buffs).

The winner also gets complete roundtrip airfare included in the package, from anywhere in the contiguous 48 states in the US. One ticket is $25, three tickets are $70, and five tickets are $110. Please click this link to get more information on the complete fund raising effort. The sweepstakes concludes on March 20th.

So, if you'd like to see the Red Sox wallop the Yankees this May, while doing something special to help out teenagers in the Portland, Oregon area, I encourage you to take a chance and grab a ticket.

You've got be in it to win it. All the best to Alan and all the good folks at Open Road.

"Playing Pepper 2015: Boston Red Sox"

I had the pleasure in taking part in a survey of Red Sox bloggers this past week to see our thoughts on the team and the upcoming 2015 season.

It is done through the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, which I am a proud member. Daniel Shoptaw, who runs the fine St. Louis Cardinals blog C70 At The Bat, surveyed four of us this spring about questions like where the Red Sox will finish in 2015, our opinions of the Sox offseason, how ex-Cardinals Joe Kelly and Allen Craig will fare this season, and who will make the most strides this season on the club.

Please do check out "Playing Pepper 2015: Boston Red Sox," and check out some of my deep thoughts about the upcoming season.

My thanks to Daniel for letting me participate in his survey.

Monday, February 23, 2015

We're Back Next Sunday at 7 PM

Well, as the previous post's headline said, the Oscars DID dominate Trivia on Sunday. And I'm guessing that a lot of folks stayed home and watched the show, and unfortunately, we didn't have enough people for a proper Trivia Night, so it did not happen last night.

But we will return with another edition of Sunday Night Trivia at Foley's next Sunday, March 1st, at 7 PM. Hope to see you then.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Oscars Dominate Trivia On Sunday


Our second edition of Sunday Night Trivia at Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant will feature "Academy Awards Trivia" as the Special Category, in honor of the Oscar ceremony that will be starting later that evening. It will be seven questions in the recent history of the awards. The Q Train lightning round will be "First Oscar Win Trivia", as I will give you the names of ten current actors and actresses and you have to tell me which film they won their first (or only) Oscar for.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Since 1980, the shekel has been the currency of what country?"

We get started at 7 PM on Sunday night, and thankfully it will be about 30 degrees warmer than it was last Sunday! Foley's is at 18 West 33rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, across from the Empire State Building, and the bar's phone number is 212-290-0080. Hope to see many of you for a great night of Trivia before another work week begins!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Trivia Q&A: February 15

It was an absolutely brutally cold night on Sunday night, as we did our very first Trivia Night at Foley's on 33rd Street. Just a small crowd turned out, but everything went well. Those in attendance enjoyed it, and Foley's has a terrific staff, and that made the night enjoyable for me. It is a great place to do Trivia, with lots of tables and a great sound system.

The team of Polka Kings won the night, getting 46 points and winning by nine points. Congratulations to Cato and Bob on their victory, and I appreciate seeing them so much, as they have been loyal regulars from my other Trivia venues.

The first weather forecasts for next Sunday are a whole lot better, with temperatures possibly reaching 40 degrees. Let's hope so! And once again, thanks to those of you who turned out last night.

Current Events
1. The Economist recently selected what North American city as "The World's Best City to Live In", based on factors including safety, livability and cost of living?
2. What city was chosen last Thursday to host the 2016 Democratic Convention?
3. What electronics retailer recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and will sell off more than 2400 stores?
4. An 1892 oil painting, done by what 19th century French artist, was recently sold at a London auction for close to $300 million, one of the highest prices ever to be paid for an artwork?
5. What pop singer won for Grammys at last Sunday night's Grammy Awards?
6. Dean Smith, the legendary college basketball coach who won 879 games in Division 1, died last week at the age of 83. What school did he win the majority of games at?
7. What company became the first American one to be valued at more than $700 billion last week?

Presidential Trivia
1. What 20th century president was the first to be inaugurated on January 20th?
2. At 6' 4", who was the tallest US president?
3. Who was the last US president who did not attend college?
4. Name 1 of the 2 presidents who were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
5. Who was the only US president born in California?
6. Name 1 of the 2 US presidents who never delivered a State of the Union address.
7. Who was the oldest man elected president?

States' Largest City Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Texas
2. Connecticut
3. Kansas
4. Delaware
5. New Jersey
6. Tennessee
7. Florida
8. Missouri
9. Alaska
10. North Carolina

General Knowledge
1. The Great Barrier Reef is located on what ocean? ( 1 pt)
2. How many pawns does one player get in a chess game? ( 1 pt)
3. The rover called Sojourner explored what planet in 1997? ( 1 pt)
4. Who was the first cartoon character to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? ( 2 pt)
5. Latka Gravas was a fictional character on what TV sitcom? ( 2 pt)
6. The cities of Carlsbad and Las Cruces are found in what US state? ( 2 pt)
7. How many black keys are there on a standard piano? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Vermont was the first state to enter the Union after the original 13 colonies. What state was second to join in 1792? ( 4 points)
2. With the Kansas City Royals winning the AL pennant in 2014, what MLB team has now gone the longest without making the playoffs? ( 5 points)
3. What western US state is the leading gold-producing state in the US in 2014? ( 4 points)
4. Curtis Strange is in the Hall of Fame in what sport? ( 3 points)
5. In May 2014, Eric Garcetti became the first Jewish mayor of what US city? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Toronto; 2. Philadelphia; 3. Radio Shack; 4. Paul Gauguin; 5. Sam Smith; 6. North Carolina; 7. Apple.

Presidential Trivia
1. FDR; 2. Abraham Lincoln; 3. Harry Truman; 4. JFK and William H. Taft; 5. Richard Nixon; 6. James Garfield and William Henry Harrison; 7. Ronald Reagan.

States' Largest City Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Houston; 2. Bridgeport; 3. Wichita; 4. Wilmington; 5. Newark; 6. Memphis; 7. Jacksonville; 8. Kansas City; 9. Anchorage; 10. Charlotte.

General Knowledge
1. Pacific; 2. eight; 3. Mars; 4. Mickey Mouse; 5. "Taxi"; 6. New Mexico; 7. thirty-six.

IQ Trivia
1. Kentucky; 2. Toronto Blue Jays; 3. Nevada; 4. golf; 5. Los Angeles.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A New Trivia Era Begins Tomorrow at Foley's


On Sunday night, we begin a new era in my Trivia Night as we will debut at Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant, which is located at 18 West 33rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, at 7 PM.

It will be every Sunday at 7 PM, and it will be the same format that many of you have been at my Trivia Night have known and loved: 5 categories, 2 special categories (including "The Q Train" lightning round), with the staple categories of General Knowledge, Current Events and IQ Trivia.

The prizes will be similar as well. $50 gift certificate to the pub for the winners, $20 gift certificate for second, and a pitcher of beer for third place. We'll also have a pitcher for the Best Team Name.

We will kick off out inaugural night at Foley's with "Presidential Trivia" as the Special Category, in honor of this being Presidents Day weekend. It will seven questions about the men who have occupied the highest office in the land. The Q Train lightning round will be "States' Largest City Trivia," as I will give you 10 US states, and you will tell me what the current largest city in population there is.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The rover called Sojourner explored what planet in 1997?"

We get started at 7 PM. The phone number for Foley's is 212-290-0080. It's one of New York's finest sports bars, across from the Empire State Building, and now Trivia has returned there as well. It's going to be a bit chilly tomorrow night, but I hope to see many of you then!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Happy and Blessed Truck Day To You All


Despite Boston being blitzed by snow over the last few weeks, the annual tradition of Truck Day is going on as scheduled at Fenway.

It is the first sign of spring and the return of baseball. Here's what the Red Sox will be sending down to Ft. Myers:

• 20,400 baseballs
•1,100 bats
• 200 batting gloves
• 200 batting helmets
• 320 Batting Practice tops
• 160 white game jerseys
• 300 pairs of pants
• 400 t-shirts
• 400 pairs of socks
• 20 cases of bubble gum
• 60 cases of sunflower seeds

It's been a brutal winter in New England and the Northeast, but spring is around the corner.

I'll be celebrating the day with some of my BLOHARDS cohorts at Foley's this afternoon. Enjoy Truck Day, everyone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Logo, Same Great Trivia


We've got a new logo for our new Trivia Night at Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant, and it is the one above.

We get going this Sunday night, February 15th at 7 PM. It will be the same great Trivia Night you have all come to know and love at the other places I have done Trivia before: 5 categories, 2 special categories, $50 gift certificate to the bar for the winners.

I will posting the Sneak Peek question and the two special categories here on the blog every Saturday, and I put the Q&A for the night every Monday morning.

Looking forward to getting back in the saddle again. Just hoping the weather cooperates on Sunday. See you then!

Friday, January 30, 2015

We've Got a New Trivia Home


I'm very pleased to announce that my Trivia Night has a brand new home: at Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant, which is at 18 West 33rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, right across the street from the Empire State Building.

I will be doing Trivia every Sunday night, and at an earlier time than I have usually done it: 7 PM. We will get started on February 15th, two weeks from this Sunday night. It will be the same Trivia you have come to know and love over the years: 5 categories, 2 special categories, and the staples of Current Events, General Knowledge and IQ Trivia. First place will be a $50 gift certificate to the bar, and the other prizes will be determined before we get going.

I'm really thrilled to be hosting Trivia in one of the best known sports bars in New York City. For those of you unfamiliar with Foley's, check out their web site here.

I thank all of you for your support and loyalty over the years, and I hope you can make it out on Sunday nights for Trivia. See you in a couple of weeks!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

You Can Never Have Enough Lefties

The Red Sox pulled off a small trade yesterday, and surprisingly sent minor league pitcher Anthony Ranaudo to Texas for lefty reliever/starter Robbie Ross.

Ranaudo was a number one draft pick by the Sox in 2010, and was the Pitcher of the Year in AA in 2013 at Portland, and the International League Pitcher of the Year in 2014. He was up for seven starts last season and got roughed up, going 4-3 with a 4.81 ERA, walking more than he struck out in 39 1/3 innings, and allowed 10 home runs.

The Red Sox have lots of depth in terms of starting pitching at the high minor league level, so they saw Ranaudo as expendable. And you can never have enough relievers, especially those who throw left handed.

Ross, who is 25 and from Kentucky, was terrific in his first two full seasons in Texas in 2012 and 2013. But they tried to make him a starter last year, and he got hit hard, going 1-6 with a 5.70 ERA. And he was returned to the pen and couldn't get his groove back, putting up a 7.85 ERA. Ross figures to be a late-inning arm out of the pen. Here's more on Robbie Ross.

Ross joins Craig Breslow, Drake Britton and Tommy Layne as left starters in the Red Sox bullpen.

The Sox may or may not be finished as far as adding arms to the pitching staff, as the pitchers and catchers report in 3 1/2 weeks. Interesting to see that James Shields is still out there unsigned. I'm still betting that Boston will not be his landing site.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"You Can't Make This Stuff Up"


I just finished reading the new autobiography by legendary sportscaster Al Michaels about his career behind the mic called "You Can't Make This Stuff Up: Miracles, Memories and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television."

It's an enjoyable read from one of the best-known voices on television. Michaels doesn't take himself too seriously as he guides his readers through his formative years growing up in Brooklyn, going to Ebbets Field, a short move to Long Island, and then going to Southern California, where his broadcasting career began.

He began his professional career in baseball, doing the AAA Hawaii Islanders games before moving over to the Cincinnati Reds radio booth in 1971. He moved over to the San Francisco Giants in 1974 before going to ABC in 1977 to do college football, where his national career began to take shape.

Michaels has been part of two of the most famous sporting events of the later 20th century, the 1980 gold medal win by the US hockey team, and the lead announcer of the 1989 World Series when it was struck by an earthquake and eventually delayed the series by 10 days. He gives insights into both events that take the reader back to one glorious, and one tragic, time in American history.

He has a passion for hockey, even before he made his legendary call back at Lake Placid in 1980. And golf is his current all-consuming passion, and does plenty of name-dropping on who he's hit the links with: everyone from Michael Jordan to former president George W. Bush.

Michaels even talks about some of his forays outside the sports world, when he talks of his appearance on "The Dating Game" ( you can see that on YouTube), "Hawaii Five-O" (the original series with Jack Lord, who doesn't come off too well in Michaels' retelling), and a cameo role in the 1998 comedy film "BASEketball" (which Michaels did against his better judgment). The book also includes some funny tidbits like his swiping a phone from a hotel in 2000 that Al Gore might have used on Election Night that year, and his great fandom for Howard Stern and his raunchy radio show.

But I found the most interesting parts of the book were how Michaels retells his relationships with the most controversial people in his sporting life, and dedicated a chapter to each. He has little love for Howard Cosell, who he was partnered with on Monday Night Baseball back in the early 1980s, as Cosell had turned bitter against ABC and the sports he was covering and really didn't hide that fact. Michaels worked with O.J. Simpson during the 1984 Summer Olympics and had nothing but nice things to say about him in terms of his working relationship. But, of course, the majority of the chapter about Simpson is on the murder of his wife and friend, and Michaels' working with ABC News on the day of the slow-speed chase in L.A.

Michaels talks in detail about his long tenure on "Monday Night Football" with his various partners, from John Madden to Boomer Esiason. And about the difficult conversion he had to make in moving over to Sunday Night Football on NBC.

"You Can't Make This Up" is generally a fun read that I would definitely recommend if you've followed Al Michaels' career, like I have. Lots of fascinating stories and name dropping throughout the book. He's lived an interesting life covering the world of sports, and as the legendary broadcaster Curt Gowdy once told him, "Never get jaded." It sure sounds like Al Michaels has heeded that advice.