MLB Trade Deadline

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Roger Clemens Is A Big Fat Idiot

As the entire world now knows, Roger Clemens is returning to the New York Yankees on Monday, making his first start of the year against the Chicago White Sox. (The Yankees were actually smart not to start him at Fenway this weekend.) Let's just say I am happy he is with the Yankees, or better yet, not in a Boston Red Sox uniform.

I was one of those people who was not happy to hear that Red Sox management was trying to woo Clemens back to Boston. They pulled out all the stops, and even put together a video urging Clemens to complete his career by coming full circle, back to Boston where he first reached the majors in 1984.

Obviously, sentiment means nothing to Clemens. He's obviously accomplished everything he could possibly do in his career. He is assured a first-ballot election five years after he calls it quits. He has his World Series rings and his Cy Young Awards. He will be remembered as the pitcher of his generation.

But it was clear a return to Boston was never in the cards. The Sox weren't going to offer Clemens the same money the Yankees were prepared to offer him (and didn't want him until late June). And rest assured, the bottom line with Roger Clemens is money. Whoever ponies up the most cash wins his services. (If it were the LA Angels for instance, he'd be preparing to join the Angels rotation right now.)

Clemens knew the Yankees were desperate and in dire straits, so he waited around for their king-sized ransom offer. Earlier in May it happened, and the Yankees and Clemens rolled it out in a rather pathetic display in Yankee Stadium during the seventh inning of a game. After the game, he said some palaver about "winning a ring for those three or four guys who haven't won one yet" in an obvious reference to other Yankee mercenaries like Mussina, Giambi, and A-Rod.

Sure Roger, I believe that. Do you have some swamp land in Florida to sell us as well?

Roger Clemens is all about Roger Clemens. If all he cared about was winning another ring, than why didn't he sign a contract with New York for say, about a million dollars? Because that wouldn't be Clemens without making a killing from a desperate organization willing to cave into his demands. (And do you think those Yankee players, with their egos, will be on board with Clemens and all his perks if they keep on losing? I don't think Kyle Farnsworth is alone in his feelings about Clemens sweetheart deal, it's just that he was the only one with any guts to go on record about it.)

And did anyone else notice that his pro-rated contract of $28 million puts in just slightly ahead of Alex Rodriguez, whose making just over $27 million this season, as the highest paid player in the game? Wow, what a coincidence.

Right now, Clemens is a five-to-six inning pitcher, and he's coming from the mediocre NL Central, where he pitched last year, to the hard-hitting AL East. I'd be surprised if his final ERA is below 4.50 for the rest of 2007. They could have gotten the same production if they had held on to Jaret Wright, and would have saved a whole lot more money.

Clemens' past history with the Red Sox is well-known to all Red Sox fans, so I will not rehash it here. He is thoroughly despised by Red Sox Nation, and I don't envision a day where he will ever be welcomed back with open arms in Boston. (I can envision him getting booed even decades from now if he were to ever return to Fenway Park.) But I doubt he will ever come back to Fenway for any other reason than as an opposing player. He's never forgiven the Red Sox fans for the harsh treatment he got after he left Boston, and especially after he pulled the crap that got him traded to New York. The management that he had problems with in Boston is long gone, but it's Red Sox Nation that he truly despises.

Roger, the feeling is very mutual.

I can see Johnny Damon being welcomed back someday, when he gets rid of the pinstripes. He was part of the 2004 World Champions, and was always well-liked when he was in Boston. Clemens rubbed fans here the wrong way, and was exposed as the phony that he is.

Call him what you will. Carpetbagger. Money-grubbing mercenary. Phony. Whatever.

He made his deal to return to the Evil Empire and sold his soul (again) for Steinbrenner's millions.

Good. I got my wish. I never want to see him in a Boston Red Sox uniform. Ever again.

On With "Boondoggle With Bob"

Earlier today, I was interviewed on an Internet radio show today called, "Boondoggle With Bob," hosted by Robert Tuchman. Last night I got an email from Voiceamerica.com, which produces the show, and they asked me if I'd like to be interviewed on the show.

"Boondoggle With Bob" is a weekly sports show on every Thursday at noon, and today's topic was about "The 5 Sports Events We Never Fathomed Could Happen," and one was the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series. Bob found my site last night, and asked me to appear.

I was on for about 6-7 minutes, and he asked me questions about becoming a Red Sox fan here in NYC, how we celebrated the championship, and which was bigger: beating the Yankees in the ALCS or the Cardinals in the World Series. (I told him that for me it was like "1" and "1A." The ALCS win was "1", in that they made history and got revenge for past Yankees losses, and then winning the Series was next at "1A.") I also told him a story about having a Yankee fan in December 2004 yell, "Boston still sucks" at me, and my response to him: simply putting my hands around my throat, and the no response I got from that.

Bob gave my web site, and the other two I write for, a nice plug, and I made sure I got a word in about Professor Thom's, and my buddy Horton's bar in the West Village (where we celebrated after the glorious 2004 victories).

My Media Machine continues to grow, and now I can add "being interviewed on Internet radio" to my resume. My thanks to Robert Tuchman for a very enjoyable interview.

The Cooler Keeps Making Friends

And that's on and off the field.

Alex Rodriguez continues to be a controversial figure in New York, and he made headlines this week with the revelations that he was seen with an unknown blonde woman in Toronto on Sunday night (who was not his wife), and then was last seen disappearing into his hotel room with her. (I guess at least he's scoring off the field.) However, one fact seems to be glossed over in this whole "A-Rod and The Busty Blonde" saga.

When the story was first reported, I noticed something really interesting about it. It was reported that the entire Yankee team, players and coaches, was staying in one hotel in Toronto, while A-Rod, by himself, was staying in another. Boy, he's a real team player, right?

And if that wasn't enough, last night, The Cooler was involved in yet more shananigans, this time on the field. Jorge Posada popped up with two outs and two on in the ninth inning last night. Howie Clark, the Blue Jays third baseman, was camped under it, when Rodriguez was running by. He yelled something that clearly distracted Clark and the ball dropped in, and it led to three more Yankee runs eventually scoring. The Jays were royally pissed at A-Rod, who claimed he yelled, "Ha!" But both Clark and shortstop John McDonald say he yelled, "Mine!" Clark thought it was McDonald calling him off, and the ball dropped in.

Once again, The Cooler is in the middle of more nonsense. While what he did may not be illegal, it sure was a bush league, low-rent play, no matter what he said. Matt Stairs made an interesting observation when he told reporters to ask Rodriguez' teammates what they thought of it, and that they would probably say "no comment." That is just what Derek Jeter said, as he said he wasn't on the field and didn't see it happen. Once again, the Yankee captain rushes to A-Rod's defense. And the rest of the team basically ran for cover after the game when the question was posed to them by the media.

Alex Rodriguez may be widely respected for his talent for hitting a baseball, but he continues to make enemies everywhere he goes. Players see him for the phony that he is, wanting everyone to love him, and he rubs people the wrong way. (Earlier in May, he made Sports Illustrated's Top 10 Least Friendly Major League Players, as voted by them.) He pulls crap in the 2004 ALCS, last week against the Red Sox, and pulls even more last night.

But that may be the least of his worries right now. His wife was spotted yesterday in New York by a reporter carrying luggage out of their apartment.

He better have a good explanation for her as to who that blonde woman was on Sunday night.

And he better wear some extra body armor the next time the Yankees play the Blue Jays.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Talk About Fair Weather

My friend Jere alerted me on his blog, "A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory," to an article that was in the New York Times recently about an author named Jane Heller, who allegedly was a "diehard" Yankee fan, but is now "divorcing" them because they've caused her too much "heartbreak" with this train wreck of a season they've been having (after only two months). And she's entertaining the thought of being a Devil Rays fan!!

This woman is living up to every worst stereotype people have of Yankee fans.

I've known many good Yankee fans in my life, those fans who've stuck by them in good and bad times. But this is the stereotypical Yankee fan who'll throw in the towel and root for someone else when things go sour. Frankly, this woman ought to be ashamed of herself for doing such a thing, if only just for publicity for herself (and her latest book, of course). True fans of the Yankees should absolutely shun this woman.

Here's the original NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/27/sports/baseball/27cheer.html

Jere has written a superb take on this Jane Heller woman, and it's definitely worth time to read:
http://letsgosox.blogspot.com/2007/05/some-nerve.html

The Benitez We All Know and Love

I landed a ticket to last night's Mets-Giants game, and I was there with my aunt and a couple of friends. I thought this would be a great game to see, especially to boo Barry Bonds every time I got up. The seats were great, the same ones I had a couple of weeks ago when the Mets played the Cubs.

I got to the park to discover that Balco Barry was not in the starting lineup. No problem, as I thought he would turn up at some point later in the game.

It got off to a rather rough start for Oliver Perez, as he gave up solo homers to Randy Winn (on the fourth pitch) and then to Bengie Molina. It stayed that way until the fourth, as Giants starter Tim Lincecum retired the first 10 batters before walking Endy Chavez.

But with two outs, Carlos Delgado hit a bomb off him that hit the bottom of the right field scoreboard to tie the game at 2. The Mets scratched out a run in the sixth to grab the lead, but Perez surrendered his third homer of the night, to Daniel Ortmeier, to tie it up again at 3.

As all this was going on, I kept my eyes peeled on the scoreboard. The Red Sox were leading the Indians in Boston the entire night, and the Blue Jays were in a nail-biter with the Yankees in Toronto.

The Mets had opportunities to score runs in the ninth but couldn't get that clutch hit. Then to start the tenth, Barry Bonds entered the ondeck circle, and the boos rained down him almost immediately (except from a group of obnoxious Giants fans sitting a few rows ahead of us behind first base). The chants were mostly: "BAL-CO" "STER-OIDS" and of course, "BARRY SUCKS."

Bonds naturally drew a walk, but the Giants didn't score. The Mets wasted another chance in the bottom of the tenth, and left the bases loaded when David Wright flied out to deep center.

As that was going on, the Yankees-Blue Jays ended in Toronto with the Jays winning, 3-2. 14 games back, I thought. Now, the game in Boston was 4-2 Sox, in the top of the ninth. I waited anxiously for the "9" on the scoreboard to turn into an "F" (for final). It seemed to go for an eternity until the "F" finally went up. A few Mets fans seated next to me seemed to notice at the same time and also applauded: the Yankees were now an incredible 14 1/2 games behind the Red Sox, still tied for last in the AL East (as Tampa Bay also lost last night).

Turns out that Josh Beckett pitched seven superb innings in his return from the DL, and got his 8th win of the year. Kevin Youkilis and Jason Varitek hit homers, and Jon Lester had another terrific rehab start at Pawtucket, pitching five shutout innings.

The game at Shea went to the 12th inning, and with first and third and one out, Carlos Delgado tried to turn a grounder to him into a DP, as he stepped on the bag and threw home. the runner beat the throw by inches, and the Giants had the lead. (Replays on TV later showed to be the right call, but it would have been great to see it in the park. MLB won't allow it.)

The Mets were down, 4-3, and the Giants brought in former Mets and totally useless closer Armando Benitez to close it out. I had just one thought in my mind:

Benitez is coming in. This game is far from over.

He walked Jose Reyes to open the inning and promptly balked him to second. Endy Chavez bunted him to third, but Carlos Beltran grounded out to second, and Reyes had to hold. A Mets fan next to me was bemoaning the Mets fate, but I reminded him:

Benitez is pitching. This game is far from over.

Reyes was dancing off third, and Benitez flinched, and committed his second balk of the game. Tie score. At that moment I thought that Carlos Delgado was going to go deep here. Benitez was living up to his rep as a closer with no "balls." (It was his 18th career blown save in his career at Shea Stadium.) And sure enough, on 2-2, Delgado hit a rocket over the right field fence to win it for the Mets. It was gone as soon as it left the bat.

Shea absolutely erupted, and the fans reacted like the World Series was just won. "There's the Benitez we all know and love," I said to any fan who would listen. The joint was rocking even as I left the park. It was an electric finish to a truly remarkable night.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Thom's Is Big In Japan (And I Guess I Am Too!)




Back on April 27, the NHK Network of Japan sent a camera crew into Professor Thom's, as they were doing a report for their audience back in Japan about the Red S0x-Yankees rivalry, and they did it from the perspective of the Red Sox fans here in New York.

It was filmed during the first game the Sox played at Yankee Stadium this year, and by coincidence, it was Daisuke Matsuzaka's first game in New York as well (which he won). They filmed a number of us, including my friends Rhonda, Ruth and Chris. And naturally, they found me, as I was wearing my Red Sox jersey and sitting at the bar.

They asked me about being a Red Sox fan here and how I came to support them. They were really nice, and it's the second time I've been interviewed on TV by the Japanese media. (I was part of a similar story about Red Sox fans here in NYC two years ago.)

I appear only briefly in the report, at about the 1:40 mark (the story is about 4 1/2 minutes long). It was cool to be a part of it, and my legend of being The Media Whore continues to grow...

Welcome Back Trottah

It was a night of nothing but class when Trot Nixon return to his old haunt, Fenway Park, last night. Trot got ovations all night, first when he came out to practice, when his name was read in the lineup, when he took his position in RF (nice to see him tip his cap), and then on his first at-bat of the night in the second. Curt Schilling walked off the mound so Trot could tip his cap again and enjoy the standing ovation, one he richly deserved.

In a really cool and classy move by the Red Sox, Trot's wife Kathryn threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and the Nixons were also honored with a plaque for all their good work they did for the Jimmy Fund at home plate before the game.

Trot wasn't the best player to ever where the Red Sox uniform, but his hard-nose, take-no-prisoners style endeared him to Red Sox fans everywhere. It's a shame he had to leave, but I wish him success in the future. He was the Original Dirt Dog, and he'll always be One of the 25. God bless him and his family.

The Red Sox won a nail-biter at Fenway last night, 5-3. Curt Schilling pitched seven solid innings, and Kevin Youkilis hit a memorable inside-the-park home run, the first by the Sox in two years. (Trot Nixon hit the previous one, against the Yankees in 2005.) It was also a "stand-up insider-the-parker" as well, and Youk also now has a 20-game hitting streak.

Jonathan Papelbon struggled a bit in the ninth, as he allowed a run and the first three hitters to reach base. But then he came back to get Grady Sizemore to opo out, and then struck out the next two hitters, including the dangerous Travis Hafner to end it.

The Yankees loss in Toronto now puts them 13 1/2 games back, and in a tie for last with Tampa Bay in the AL East. The Yankees, along with the Devil Rays, are now the most games behind any first place team in baseball, including the Nats and Royals. Josh Beckett makes his return from the DL tonight at Fenway after his finger injury. I wish I could see it, but I will be at Shea tonight, letting Barry Bonds know what I think of him.

The Carpetbagger Just Doesn't Get It

I heard that Roger Clemens was miffed at a reporter from Scranton who dared to ask him a question about a lot of the negativity that's been directed his way as a result of the sweetheart deal the Yankees gave him earlier this month. After the game he pitched for the Yankees' AAA team in Scranton last night, he took reporters' questions. He said this after that question was posed to him:

“If you want to be negative, be negative. I’m not a negative person… you be negative as much as you want. If I stink and I don’t pitch well out there, I know I stink—I don’t need you tell me that. I have pride in what I do. I’ll pull my heart out and set it right there for you to see it. When I perform, I’ve done it. I got that from my mother… so if you want to write, and these other people want to write, negative… everything has to be negative these days. There always had to be a negative. I’ve always been positive in my life. It won’t end. I don’t want to be around negative people. So I won’t associate myself with those people. So if it makes you feel good to write negative stuff then go ahead but you’ve never been in the arena… never been in this arena to understand what it’s like. Keep that in mind. People read your column and associate things with me that are not true. I’ll answer it as honestly I can so that 10-year old when he reads about won’t assume things. You can tell how passionate I am about it. Ok?”

Clemens ended the press conference right then and there by slamming his hand on the table and then he departed.

How dare anyone come to the conclusion that this guy is a money-grubbing mercenary who only cares about himself.

Trivia Q&A: May 28

We had 9 teams take part in Trivia on Monday night. The Red Sox-Indians game, which had a nail-biting finish in the ninth inning, didn't end until almost 10:30 PM, so we had to play another four-round session. (I bumped the True or False "Q Train" lightning round to next week.)

It went very well, as we did a special Memorial Day Trivia in honor of those Americans who gave their lives to the service of this country. I guess I made the questions rather tough, as only one team scored higher than 6 points in the round. But the winners turned out to be the ladies who are regulars to Trivia Night called The Fluffers, and they won rather handily, and by 6 points.

Next week's Monday Night Trivia is being moved up in time, because the Red Sox are playing a late night game in Oakland at 10 PM that night. Trivia Night will start next week at 8 PM, and I promise we will have the full compliment of five categories for that night's session.

Current Events
1. This Tony-nominated actor, who was best known for his game show appearances in the '70s and'80s, died on Friday at the age of 76.
2. The agriculture minister of this country hanged himself Monday just before he was to face questions over a political scandal.
3. Heavy rains pounded this Midwestern state yesterday and stranded over 1500 in a popular park there.
4. This man, known as "Dr. Death," is about to be released from prison after eight years after assisting a man's death in Michigan in 1997.
5. Gay activists got into a riot with police and other demostrators in this foreign city as gays were fighting for the right to have a Gay Pride Parade in that city.
6. Carl Bernstein has just written a controversial book about the marriage of this power couple, which will be released on June 5.
7. "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" scored the highest Memorial Day opening weekend gross of all time. Within $10 million, how much did it take in domestically from Friday to Sunday?
8. This Scotsman won the rain-shortened Indianapolis 500 yesterday.
9. This female singer was forced to cancel a June 15th concert in Rome, and it is believed that high ticket prices and consumer complaints caused the cancellation.
10. The father of this media icon announced recently that he's writing a book about his life with his daughter, a subject she almost never talks about.

Answers: 1. Charles Nelson Reilly; 2. Japan; 3. Oklahoma; 4. Jack Kevorkian; 5. Moscow; 6. The Clintons; 7. $126.5 million; 8. Dario Franchitti; 9. Barbra Streisand; 10. Oprah Winfrey.

Memorial Day Trivia
1. Which Chicago stadium opened in 1924 as a tribute to the troops who fought in WWI?
2. What year did the Tet Offensive take place during the Vietnam War?
3. Which famous WWII military leader died of injuries suffered in an automobile accident in 1945?
4. Who was the US president when Grenada was invaded?
5. Memorial Day was founded to honor the military personnel who died in which war?
6. Memorial Day originated with which other name?
7. Which US state is considered to be the official birthplace of Memorial Day?
8. True or false: Many southern states had a seperate "Confederate Memorial Day" to honor those southern soldiers killed in the Civil War.
9. Which president declared Memorial Day a federal holiday on the last Monday in May?
10. How many soldiers are currently entombed in the Tomb of the Unknowns?

Answers: 1. Soldier Field; 2. 1968; 3. George S. Patton; 4. Ronald Reagan; 5. Civil War; 6. Decoration Day; 7. New York; 8. true; 9. Richard Nixon; 10. three.

General Knowledge
1. Koi is a Japanese variety of which animal?
2. What country is most closely associated with appetizers called tapas?
3. In the 1998 movie, "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," which actress played Stella?
4. The Treaty of Ghent officially ended which war?
5. What company once promoted its product with the popular slogan, "Does she or doesn't she?"
6. On the TV series "Everbody Loves Raymond," Ray Barone was what type of writer?
7. What legendary American was eulogized as being, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen?"
8. The children's book, "Peter Pan," features a menacing crocodile that has swallowed what object?
9. Whose vault did Geraldo Rivera open on live TV in 1986?
10. What is the name of Thomas Harris' sequel to the novel, "The Silence of the Lambs?"

Answers: 1. carp; 2. Spain; 3. Angela Bassett; 4. The War of 1812; 5. Clairol; 6. sports; 7. George Washington; 8. clock; 9. Al Capone; 10. "Hannibal."

IQ Trivia

1. On which outdoor instrument would you find a gnomon? (5 points)
2. Which Apollo astronaut once made a famous "golf shot" on the moon? (5 points)
3. Where in the human body would you find the islets of Langerhans? (6 points)
4. Sancho Panza is the squire of which literary character? (4 points)
5. What is the world's longest river? (5 points)

Answers: 1. sundial; 2. Alan Shepard; 3. pancreas; 4. Don Quixote; 5. Nile.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Remember The Fallen

Please say a prayer today for those brave souls who gave the lives in the service of our country on this Memorial Day, no matter where it happened: Bunker Hill, Antietam, Normandy, Iwo Jima, Inchon, Vietnam, Iraq or the World Trade Center.

We are a free nation because of them, and we should never forget the sacrifices they made. Too often it is easy to forget them. Please also remember those loved ones they left behind.

May God bless each and every one of our fallen heroes.

These heroes are dead. They died for liberty - they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars - they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead. ~Robert G. Ingersoll

Sunday, May 27, 2007

You Gotta Love The OC

Orlando Cabrera is no fan of the faithful who fill Yankee Stadium, and gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times this past weekend and said just that.

NEW YORK — The New York Yankees might have the most fans, but they don't have the best fans. So says Angels shortstop Orlando Cabrera.

"They don't appreciate good baseball," he said. "They just appreciate the Yankees beating up on everybody."

The Yankees are on pace to lead the major leagues in attendance for the fifth consecutive season, with fans spoiled by a team that has won 26 World Series championships and has not missed the playoffs since 1993.

But those fans can turn venomous toward opposing players — and even toward their own, when performance is not in line with expectations. Cabrera played in Boston, another city with a loud and loyal fan base, before joining the Angels. He gives Red Sox and Angels fans high marks for supporting the home team through tough times and applauding great plays by the visiting team.

"In Boston, they admire baseball," Cabrera said. "In Anaheim, those fans are some of the best in baseball. They know you care there. They know you can't do it every day. I appreciate that."These people here, they're mean. And they're really mean to the other team."

Cabrera said the hostility in the stands has increased this season, with the Yankees below .500."When we came here last year, they were in first place, so it was OK," he said. "Now they're just looking for an excuse."

He is not bothered, he says, by whatever language Yankees fans direct his way."When people say [stuff], they only motivate me," he said. "They're bad losers."

We Sox fans miss The OC. Good luck to him always (except when playing the Red Sox).

A Weekend For The Brooms

It was a weekend to remember as the Red Sox swept Texas three straight, and coming from behind in all three. (Nice to see Dustin Pedroia going deep in the ninth in a tremendous 12-pitch at-bat against Eric Gagne.) As that was going on, The Angels went into Yankee Stadium and swept the Yankees as well. (Two weeks ago, some of these sportswriter geniuses who write here in New York said that the next 12 games the Yankees played--with the White Sox, Mets, Red Sox and Angels-- would define their season. So what did the Yankees do? They went 4-8 in those games. The Yankees are going to get hammered in the papers tomorrow.)

The Mets swept Florida, while the Phillies took three straight from the Braves. The Mets are now 4 1/2 up on Atlanta, while the Phillies are now 6 1/2 back.

The Red Sox are now an absolutely phenomenal 11 1/2 games up on second place Baltimore, while the Yankees are now 12 1/2 back in fourth place, one game in front of last-place Tampa Bay. (Consider that only three other teams outside the AL East are as much as 11 1/2 out.) You have to think an "earthquake" erupting out of the Tampa area maybe coming soon...

The Sox, Mets, Angels and Phillies all swept their opposition this past weekend, and the most amazing thing was: they were all on the road.

Boy, I do love weekends like this.

Memorial Day Trivia

We'll be having Trivia Night at Professor Thom's on Monday night, and there will be a special round on Memorial Day, and things connected to it. And we'll also have the usual categories of Current Events, General Knowledge, IQ Trivia and True or False.

The Red Sox are playing the Cleveland Indians on Monday night, but we will be getting Trivia going at about 9:30 PM, so we won't be having the late night version we had last Monday. We will also be back to five rounds instead of four. I hope many of you can join us tomorrow.

Here is the Sneak Peek question:

Which U.S. state is considered to be the official birthplace of Memorial Day?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Back To 10 1/2 Again

Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled last night in Texas, getting hammered for 5 runs in the fourth inning, but the Red Sox bats came to his rescue, and they beat Texas, 10-6, in a game that began after a near two-hour rain delay. Dice-K is now 7-2 on the season.

Once again it was one bad inning that cost him, as he looked pretty good the rest of the game. He put the first two runners on in the first, but a double play bailed him out. Texas hit two homers, a triple, double and a single in getting five runs off of him in the fourth. Daisuke left after five innings after complaining of nausea.

The Red Sox got four in the second off Brandon McCarthy, who walked four and gave up a two-run single to Dustin Pedroia. David Ortiz got his 20th double of the season in driving in the eventual go-ahead run in the fifth, and Kevin Youkilis had his 21st multi-hit game of the season, and that now leads the AL.

The Angels walloped the Yankees in the Bronx, 10-6, to put the Sox lead back into double-digits again. It was also the same day when George Steinbrenner emerged from his Tampa bunker to announce that GM Brian Cashman's job was on the line (but not Joe Torre's, yet). This was also the game that Johnny Damon muffed a fly ball (called a hit but should have been an error) and looked like an old man chasing two others that went for extra base hits. It caused those dedicated Yankee fans to chant "Bernie Williams" at Judas.

I guess they were just reminding him of who he was playing like out there, I guess...

Red Sox win, Yankees lose. Mets win (over Florida), Braves lose (to the Phillies).

Another splendid night of baseball.

Adios, Pumpkin Head

Rosie O'Donnell "quit" the TV show, "The View," on Friday.

Yeah, sure she "quit."

She's an embarrassment to TV, as well as the ABC network. It's no surprise that's she gone early. You have to figure she would hang around for the phony "tributes" that would have come her way on that show when she announced when her last day would be. So she had to be pushed.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Lard Ass.

(That picture on the right looks a little like her, no?)

Friday, May 25, 2007

2750

It made big news here in New York this week that a lady named Felicia Dunn-Jones, who had worked just a block from the World Trade Center, was officially declared the 2,750th victim of the 9/11 disaster. On that terrible morning, she was covered with dust and ash as she was escaping the area. Ms. Dunn-Jones was a healthy woman before the attacks, and five months after it, she died of sarcoidosis (which is an inflammation of the tissue in the lungs).

It took nearly five years for the Chief Medical Examiner to change his thinking that Ms. Dunn-Jones, who was 42 and married with two children, died as a result of her exposure to the toxins in the air. But now her death is now officially a homicide and not of natural causes.

She will now join the list of those who were killed as a result of the horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11. The disease that killed Ms. Dunn-Jones has also affected many of those first responders who risked their lives down at Ground Zero for those many months of the dangerous cleanup efforts.

It is good to see that Felicia Dunn-Jones is now recognized as a victim of 9/11. But she certainly won't be the last person who will have died directly or indirectly due to the 9/11 attacks.

I fear that the number 2750 will continue to rise as the years go on. And there's no telling just how high it will eventually rise to.

The stories of the ill first responders will continue to make news for years to come. The 9/11 disaster simply will never end.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dougie Returns To Boston: May 1, 2006

Doug Mirabelli and that original funny post I put up has brought countless people to my blog since last July. It has made its way around Red Sox Nation and made Doug something of a cult figure.

Well, since today is an off-day for the Red Sox, I thought I would put up another silly Doug post, this one based on the day of Doug's return to the Red Sox back in May of 2006. I found the post on a site dedicated to Doug, called "Dougie's Going Deep Tonight!" (www.dougiesgoingdeep.com) I also believe that the post was originally written by a Red Sox fan over at the Sons of Sam Horn site, and it was written on the actual day of his return. My thanks to him for writing a great post.

For those of you who have not read the original post, "A Day In The Life of Doug Mirabelli," here it is again: http://quinnmedia.blogspot.com/2006/07/day-in-life-of-doug-mirabelli.html

Once again, this post, like the original, is rather colorful in terms of language. Enjoy.

DOUGIE RETURNS TO BOSTON!
7:02 am PDT: Awoken at home by phone call from Kevin Towers. Learns he's traded to Boston. Calls Towers a pickle smoker and tells him San Diego is for p*****s anyway.
7:05: Takes 40 naked cuts in front of a mirror.
7:07: Packs a duffel bag with 10 tank tops, 5 pairs of tight jeans, and no underwear. Announces "Dougie's going commando" to no one in particular.
7:08: Kills it.
7:09: Kills it again.
7:10: Calls Wake, tells him "Dougie's going deep tonight!" Wake says it's getting dusty in here. Dougie calls him a pantywaist.
7:15: Takes cologne shower. Uses Stetson.
7:21: Drives to the airport. Uses the shoulder to bypass traffic. Flips the bird to drivers who make faces. Screams "Stay nancy, San Diego!" when someone honks at him.
7:38: Parks Escalade in front of terminal. Flips keys to airport police officer.
7:40: Passes through airport security. Refuses to remove 4" belt buckle for metal detector. Offers to show TSA his security wand.
7:42: Gets three orders of chicken parm at Sbarro.
7:43: Finishes chicken parm. Belches.
7:44: Calls Nomar's house. Asks for Mr. Hamm and hangs up.
7:55: Boards First Class to Logan. Orders five Sambucas and a meatball sub.
8:10: Plane takes off.
8:11: Dougie dials Tito on cell phone. Screams "Dougie's going deep tonight!" Tito shrieks, puts on a fourth layer of clothing.
8:12: Flight attendant asks Dougie to turn off cell phone. Dougie asks flight attendant to turn off her high beams.
8:19: Pilot turns off Fasten Seatbelts sign.
8:19:05: Dougie enters bathroom. Kills it.
11:24 am EDT: Reads back issue of Bushwackers magazine.
11:49: Opens portable DVD player, watches Nina Hartley video. Orders three Sambucas and veal parm.
12:30: Uses cell phone to order $1,295 worth of items from in-flight catalog. When flight attendant protests, asks if she'd like to sit on his Brookstone.
12:34: Receives visit from co-pilot, who demonstrates the Airfone. Dougie calls Curt Schilling on Airfone, asks if he has Prince Albert in a can. Hangs up.
12:35: Co-pilot returns to cockpit.
12:35:15: Dougie calls over flight attendant. Asks if co-pilot is a pickle smoker.
12:43: Calls Derek Lowe on Airfone, asks if Lowe is hung over. Tells Lowe he shaved Trinka's pubes into the shape of a D, asks Lowe if he's ever been with a woman having revenge sex.
12:45: Calls Hazel Mae, tells her to wear something low-cut tonight. Mae faints.
1:01: Finds Brian Giles' Amex in his wallet, calls NESN switchboard on Airfone using Giles' Amex. Asks if Tina Cervasio is a stracciamanici.
1:15: Orders Pellegrino. Flight attendant brings Perrier. Dougie pisses in cup, asks if flight attendant would like some Perrier.
1:20: Calls David Wells on Airfone using Geoff Blum's Visa. Tells Wells to get his fat f*****g ass in shape or he'll get a towel party.
1:34: Calls Remy on Airfone using Dewon Brazelton's MasterCard. Tells Remy to pick out some nice Game On! girls for a postgame party tonight.
1:36: Calls the flight attendant over, asks what's the biggest sopressata she's ever eaten.
2:03: Flight lands at O'Hare. Dougie commandeers cart for transporting disabled, drives through concourse at 25 mph. Stops at Sbarro, picks up 2 orders of chicken parm for second flight; stops at Borders, picks up Penthouse Letters.
2:12: Arrives at gate for Logan flight. Asks gate agent if she's ever heard of Josh Bard or Cla Meredith. Asks if she's ever heard of the F*****g 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox. Dougie smiles.
2:14: Boards into first class.
2:15: Calls Ozzie Guillen on Airfone using Scott Linebrink's Diner's Club card. Thanks Ozzie for keeping AL championship seat warm, but Dougie can take it from here. Ozzie breaks into stream of Spanish curses. Dougie says, "Whatever, puta" and hangs up.
2:17: Calls Derek Lowe on Airfone using Josh Barfield's Carte Blanche card. Asks if Derek ever got a rusty trombone from Trinka. Hangs up.
2:31: After spending 10 minutes trying to get Airfone to work with Rob Bowen's SpeedPass, gives up and uses his cell to call Roger Clemens. Asks if he's wearing Ninja Turtle shoelaces like a little bitch. When the flight attendant protests, Dougie screams for eggplant parm and two Sambucas.
2:32: Debbie Clemens picks up the other line. Dougie offers her a Dirty Hitler mustache.
2:35: Dougie's starting tonight, so time for some BP. Goes to galley, removes clothes except for cowboy hat, and takes 50 naked cuts. Makes eye contact with flight attendant. Screams, "DOUGIE'S GOING DEEP TONIGHT!" He does not have an erection.
2:45: Calls Chien-Ming Wang on Airfone using Chan Ho Park's JCB card. Tells him the bombs we dropped on his country are nothing compared to the bombs Dougie's going to drop on Wang tonight. Says "Wang" a few more times, laughs. Hangs up.
3:27: Dougie wakes up from a nap and lets fly with a 10-second parm fart. He gets Penthouse Letters from his carry-on and heads to the lavatory, grabbing a Sambuca from the beverage cart on the way. Dougie hates courtesy flushes.
3:29: Dougie wonders where the f**k this small midwestern college is anyway.
3:30: Kills it.
3:38: Opens the lav door and demands high-quality toilet paper. Screams, "DOUGIE CAN'T CATCH WITH A HEMORRHOID!"
3:41: Lights a match.
3:42: Fire alarm goes off. Dougie is nonplussed.
3:43: Alarm disabled. Pilot leaves cockpit, asks, "Who the hell do you think you are?" Dougie nonchantly replies, "I'm a stud who hits bombs."
3:58: Uses cell phone to call Tito and confirm he's hitting cleanup. Tito shrieks, puts on fifth layer of clothing.
4:15: Plane lands.
4:16: Dougie getting impatient. Sees pic of Natalie Gulbis in the in-flight magazine. Kills it to waste time.
4:23: Gate is being swung too slowly. Screams, "DOUGIE'S GOTTA GET TO THE PARK!" Opens exit door, deploys inflatable slide. Three Boston PD cruisers are waiting to escort Dougie to the ballpark.
4:29: Takes call from Tom Menino. Calls him "Mayor Giuliani." Announces that he will hit a bomb for his paisan.
4:30: The motorcade stops at Papa Gino's. Dougie orders two meatball parm sandwiches. He leaves a $100 bill.
4:48: Dougie arrives at the ballpark. He puts Theo in a headlock and gives John Henry a noogie.
4:51: Walks into clubhouse. Announces, "TWO BOMBS TONIGHT!" Terry Francona gasps, locks office door.
4:54: Changes for BP. Does not wear a cup. You don't need a cup with balls of steel.

And The American Idol Winner Is...

Who gives a damn.

In more important news, Curt Schilling had his third consecutive subpar outing, giving up 6 runs on 12 hits in 6 innings at Yankee Stadium last night in an 8-3 Red Sox loss. He looked lousy from the start, as the first three hitters all scored, the last being on Hideki Matsui's home run.

Schilling gave up runs in the first four innings, and you know he was having a terrible night when Doug Mientkiewicz hit a line drive home run off the Yankee Stadium facade in right field.

In the first inning, Coco Crisp was called out at second base on a stolen base attempt, when in reality Robinson Cano clearly missed the tag. He argued to no avail. Another night, another blown call by an ump. Is it me, or is the umpiring getting worse and worse in baseball? I'm not writing this because of the missed call against the Sox last night, but it seems the umpiring, not just on the bases but at home plate as well, is really getting worse and worse. Umps are missing routine calls on the bases at an alarming rate.The strike zone seems to be different for every single umpire. I think it's time for MLB to address this problem. Umpires should be judged the way the NFL judges its officials. They weed out the less competent ones. An MLB umpiring job should be earned and kept on merit. It shouldn't be a lifetime appointment, like being The Pope or a Supreme Court justice.

The interest in the game by the fourth inning at Professor Thom's started to wane to the point where Roger Clemens' minor league start at Trenton on ESPN was getting more interesting, and The Man Every Sox Fan Loves To Hate had a rather uninspired outing, giving up three runs in 5 1/3 innings to the AA Portland Sea Dogs, the Red Sox' Eastern League affliate. He's clearly not ready to pitch in the majors, let alone face the Red Sox at Fenway next weekend.

So at least the night wasn't a total loss.

I also met Jim "Suldog" Sullivan, of the "Suldog-O-Rama"blog, for the first time last night. He stopped by the bar with his brother-in-law John, as he was in town for the day yesterday. It was good to meet you, my friend. Wish we could have had a better Sox game to enjoy.

The Red Sox leave New York up by 9 1/2, and now head for a weekend series in Texas against the Rangers. Schilling continues to be a concern. His command and location was not good again, and you have to hope he's just going through a slight downturn. His next start will be against Cleveland Monday night at Fenway.

The Red Sox and Major League Baseball. The ONLY "reality TV" I watch. Or care about.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Liverpool Bows Out In Athens

The European Champions League championship was won by AC Milan in Athens today, as Liverpool lost, 2-1. AC Milan avenged the loss they suffered at the hands of Liverpool two years ago in Turkey. That was the incredible night when Liverpool was down, 3-0 and came all the way back to tie before winning the title on penalty kicks.

It wasn't to be, as AC Milan led 1-0 at halftime, and then 2-0, both on goals by Filippo Inzaghi. Dirk Kuyt got the Liverpool goal in the 88th minute and it looked like Liverpool might stage an incredible comeback, but it was not meant to be.

Congratulations to AC Milan on their title.

It was a nice run for Liverpool all the way to the title game. You did the Liverpool fans from Merseyside and around the world proud, guys.

Wallace Matthews: A Gutless Coward

Today I was on the great Fire Joe Morgan site and discovered that yesterday a so-called "sportswriter" from Newsday, Long Island's daily newspaper, wrote an absolutely worthless column that was absolutely slanderous against one of the great gentlemen of the game of baseball, Tim Wakefield.

I don't know what Wakefield ever did to Wallace Matthews, but this jackass wrote an absolute piece of garbage about Wake. Matthews starts off by basically making an absolutely idiotic comparison between Tim and baseball's steroid troubles.

Was Matthews ON steroids when he wrote this piece of crap?

At first it sounds like the column is a tongue-in-cheek one, but Matthews is actually serious about everything he says. He seems to think Wakefield is the worst pitcher in baseball, and goes on with this column and comes to some incredibly wrong-headed conclusions, like Wake's starts are the slowest in the game (they are actually among the fastest).

Here is the actual column: http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-spwally225224683may22,0,7559777.column

There are so many things wrong with this drivel, so I will let you read Fire Joe Morgan's great retort to it: http://www.firejoemorgan.com/2007/05/what-eff.html

I remember a few years ago, Matthews wrote for the NY Post, and his boxing columns were actually pretty well-written and insightful. What the hell happened to you, Wally? Did you actually jump on the Yankees payroll? Sounds like he's been hanging out with the mental pygmies who sit in the bleachers in Yankee Stadium.

I also noticed that unlike most writers, Matthews leaves NO email address where you can write back your thoughts on his columns. (But there is one at Newsday, and at last count it got over 150 replies, almost all loaded with colorful replies about this moron and the column.) Matthews is simply a gutless coward for writing this, and for hiding and not facing the criticism that would follow it.

I'm really amazed that a "sportswriter" can get away with writing such dreck as this. It is one of the worst sports columns I have ever seen in any newspaper.

Matthews ought to be ashamed of writing such worthless crap, and trying to defame one of baseball's better citizens as Tim Wakefield. And Newsday should be too, for printing it.

Tavarez 2, Evil Empire 0

The man of the hour for the Red Sox in the Bronx last night was none other than Julian Tavarez, who on his 34th birthday, pitched 5 2/3 innings of solid baseball, and the Red Sox went on to win easily, 7-3.

So much for the newly-found Yankee momentum.

It was dashed in a hurry when Manny Ramirez teed off on a 2-0 Mike Mussina meatball down the plate and crushed it for an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Mussina, one of the most overrated pitchers in the American League, had nothing (and I'm sure that YES announcer Michael Kay was silently applauding), and put his team in a hole they could not crawl out of, and the Sox went back to a 10 1/2 lead in the AL East.

It was the Sox game the whole way. Tavarez has now beaten the Yankees twice in two starts this season, both at Yankee Stadium. (Wow, who would have ever have guessed that?)

There was a close play at second in the seventh, when Coco Crisp was called safe at second on a stolen base attempt. One angle showed him safe, but on another he appeared out. It kept the inning going, and the Red Sox tacked on three more runs and put the game away. That led to this mystifying conclusion from Robinson Cano, who applied the tag, and compared it to blown call a few weeks ago against Seattle: "It's the second time that's happened, and both times it made the difference in the game."

Uh, Robby, get your calculator out. The Sox had four runs at the time of the steal. The Yankees never scored more than three runs in the game. That call wasn't the difference in this game. I guess he doesn't get paid to do mathematics.

BTW, did anyone else notice who the second base ump who made that safe call was? None other than Joe West, the same ump who called Dave Roberts safe on the "Steal Heard Around The World" in ALCS Game 4 in 2004. Couldn't help but think of that last night.

But later in the game, Alex Rodriguez once again proved why he's not one of the most beloved players in the game. In trying to break up a double play at second, he gave Dustin Pedroia an elbow as Dustin was making the relay to first base (pictured). Dustin downplayed it after the game, and A-Rod said nothing. He should have been called out for interference, but it wasn't called. Professor Thom's was up in arms over the no-call.

Once again, Rodriguez pulls cheap shit like this. There's a big difference between him and a player like Derek Jeter. Jeter has the respect of his fellow players because he doesn't resort to BS like this. In other words, he plays like a professional, whether you like him or not. It's not a big surprise Rodriguez has made plenty of enemies on every team he's played on, and among opposition players as well. Players may respect his overall ability, but that's it.

And he'll never live down October 19, 2004. Ever.

He'd also better watch himself tonight, as Curt Schilling goes for the Sox. Rodriguez may find himself on his back at some point during the game, and it may not be while he's trying to throw elbows again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits"

Recently I picked up a copy of "Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits" by David Ortiz and Tony Massarotti, the Red Sox writer for the Boston Herald. When you pick up these kind of books, you always approach them with a sense of caution.

Many times, these are "knockoff books, " written to exploit the market and make a quick buck from a celebrity who's hot at the moment.

I remember in April 2005 when I picked up the book "Idiot," the book about Johnny Damon, written by Peter Golenbock. That book was absolutely one of the sloppiest written and badly edited books I have ever read in my life. It was loaded with not just typos but facts that the author simply got wrong. It was an embarrassingly bad book, quickly put together to exploit Damon's new found popularity after the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. (And I wrote this about "Idiot" while Damon was still with the Sox, so don't accuse me of sour grapes because Judas went to New York!)

So when I heard that David Ortiz had come out with a book about his life and baseball, I approached it with the lousy experience in mind I had while reading, "Idiot."

I need not have worried. "Big Papi" is absolutely an enjoyable read, and Tony Massarotti has done a very good job with the book. (I looked for the same type of errors I found in "Idiot" but found extraordinarily few.) David Ortiz comes across as he does in real life: a fun-loving man who enjoys life and the work that he does. (And I love the fact he refers to the reader in the book as "bro." It's used many times throughout the book.)

Papi is a proud Dominican man who loves not just his homeland, but his adopted home as well, and especially Boston. He talks about the secret of his success as being not just hard work, but patience. He was raised with a lot of love from his parents, although they divorced when he was a teen, and the support he got from them helped him get where he is today. He talks of enduring the tragedy of the loss of his mother in a car accident in 2002, and how it changed him. His father was his driving force to succeed in baseball, especially when he endured the tough times, in the minors and in Minnesota.

Papi seems to get along with everyone, as you would guess. He has a lot of affection with the guys he came through the system with in Minnesota, like Torii Hunter and Corey Koskie. But one of the very few people he never seemed to have liked at all was Twins' manager Tom Kelly. He respected his championships, but found him to be a "hardass" who "never gave me a chance." Papi felt he was typecast in Minnesota as a part-time DH who would never get a chance to shine.

He was actually rescued from that when the Twins released him in 2002. At first he was devastated, but once Pedro Martinez recommended the Red Sox sign him, he was on his way to success. Papi adores Pedro, as you might guess. He really says nothing bad about opposition players, especially the Yankees. He respects all of them, as well as the organization. He also loves all of his teammates, especially "The Idiots" who won it all in 2004. Papi doesn't spend a lot of time in the book rehashing the memorable events of that amazing postseason, but it's still enjoyable getting Papi's take on it.

I also like the fact that Massarotti writes separate chapters in the book about Papi from the perspective of people like Pedro, Torii Hunter, Theo Epstein and Terry Ryan. There's also a great picture in the book of a young David Ortiz with Mo Vaughn at Fenway Park during Papi's rookie season in 1997. (Of the photo, he talks about "how Mo was beloved by the fans, and that's something I always hoped would happen to me." I think he got his wish.)

I would definitely recommend "Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits" to any Red Sox fan who would like a light, enjoyable read from one of the most beloved players in team history. It's definitely no "knockoff" book, and Papi and Tony Massarotti should be proud of the book they collaborated on.

Trivia Q&A: May 21

It was an unusual night for Trivia last night. The Red Sox played the Yankees and that drew a big crowd to Professor Thom's, as it always does. The game ran long, almost 3 1/2 hours (and was ultimately disappointing), but at its conclusion, we had plenty of patrons who wanted to play, including many of the Trivia regulars. So we decided to give it a go.

But we discovered that the mic was broken, and it looked like it wasn't going to happen. As I was collecting the sheets back and giving the players the bad news, Jim the bartender saved the evening by finding a long-missing mic and it worked, so we were able to get it started at about 11 PM.

We played with four, instead of five, categories because we knew Trivia was going start late. We had a good "late night" of Trivia, as 13 teams participated and most stayed until the end, which was at about 12:20 AM. A team called Something's Burnin' pulled out a victory by having the best IQ Trivia round than any other team, winning by two points.

Next week, the Red Sox play the Cleveland Indians on Monday night, but I would imagine we will start up earlier than last night. We may go back to five categories again, but we'll see how that goes next week.

Current Events
1. This former president called the current administration "the worst in history" in international relations last Saturday.
2. This TV series had its' 400th episode aired just this past week.
3. This film became the top animated film of all time and the third biggest box office opener on record last week.
4. A spectacular fire gutted the famed clipper ship Cutty Sark on Monday as it was being restored in this city.
5. This governor officially announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president today.
6. Scott Stapp, onetime lead singer for this rock band, was arrested on domestic violence charges in Florida over the weekend.
7. US retail gas prices hit another record high on Monday. Within 10 cents, what price was it?
8. This Hollywood actor was fined $2500 by a court in Australia for illegally bringing in HGH into the country last February.
9. A female fan in California was charged with stalking this actress and trying to run down the actress' husband with her car.
10. This NBA team lost their 17th straight game in San Antonio yesterday, a Game 1 playoff loss to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

Answers: 1. Jimmy Carter; 2. "The Simpsons;" 3. "Shrek the Third;" 4. London; 5. Bill Richardson; 6. Creed; 7. $3.19; 8. Sylvester Stallone; 9. Sandra Bullock; 10. Utah Jazz.

Quantity Trivia 1-10
1. This number was worn by quarterbacks Fran Tarkenton and Brady Quinn.
2. This number represents the third baseman in baseball.
3. On a telephone, this number is on the same key with the letters T, U, and V.
4. This numbered Led Zeppelin album contains the song, "Stairway To Heaven."
5. This is the atomic number of lithium.
6. This is the number of judges on the US Supreme Court.
7. This is the number of presidents who've been impeached in US history.
8. This is the number of symbolic foods placed on a Passover Seder plate.
9. The number of books in the Harry Potter series written by JK Rowling.
10. The number of World Series won by the Philadelphia Phillies in their history.

Answers: 1. ten; 2. five; 3. eight; 4. four; 5. three; 6. nine; 7. two; 8. six; 9. seven; 10. one.

General Knowledge
1. Between lion, crocodile or hippopototamus, which animal is reportedly responsible for the most human deaths in Africa?
2. What protective part of the Earth's atmosphere is said to have holes in it?
3. Who flew the legendary plane called "Flyer?"
4. In which swimming stroke does the swimmer continually face up towards the sky?
5. Used by frontier settlers, what was a conestoga?
6. How many cells make up an amoeba?
7. In the film, "Notting Hill," what type of place does Hugh Grant's character work in?
8. What did the 45-foot-tall "Hollywood" sign say when it was originally built in 1923?
9. In which sport would you find a wicketkeeper defending wooden stumps?
10. "Postcards From The Edge" is an autobiographical story based on the life of which woman?

Answers: 1. hippopotamus; 2. ozone layer; 3. Wright Brothers; 4. backstroke; 5. a covered wagon; 6. one; 7. bookstore; 8. Hollywoodland; 9. cricket; 10. Carrie Fisher.

IQ Trivia
1. What comedian was a featured player on both "Saturday Night Live" and "In Living Color?" (4 points)
2. Which former First Lady used a CB radio in the White House and went by the handle, "First Mama?" (5 points)
3. In 1974, which female celebrity appeared on the first cover of People magazine? (6 points)
4. What is the amino acid in turkey that makes you tired? (5 points)
5. What political position was Albert Einstein once offered, but turned down? (5 points)

Answers: 1. Chris Rock; 2. Betty Ford; 3. Mia Farrow; 4. tryptophan; 5. President of Israel.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Myths of 1978: The Real History

I am truly amazed they way some things that just aren't fact seem to become one. Take for instance what happened in the 1978 AL East pennant race. That race is being brought up more and more, especially by Yankee fans who are trying to comfort themselves that the AL East race this season isn't over for them. (You know, "The Red Sox blew it in 1978, and that can happen again. It's because they're the Red Sox!!" I guess these nitwits have collective amnesia about 2004. And they also conveniently forget the Red Sox beat out the Yankees, as well as everyone else, for the AL East titles in 1975, 1986, 1988, 1990 and 1995.)

A "sportswriter" named Joe LaPointe in the New York Times today gives me the perfect example of what I'm talking about. Once again, someone in the media gets it wrong about that season: "New England fans also have memories of the 1978 Red Sox, who led the AL East by 14 games in mid-July but lost the title in a one-game postseason playoff to the Yankees..."

Absolutely wrong, Lapointe. Let's get this straight once and for all. THE BOSTON RED SOX NEVER LED THE AL EAST BY 14 GAMES IN 1978 AT ANY POINT. The longest lead the Sox had that year was on July 6 at 10 games, over the Yankees who were in second. On July 19, New York fell to 14 back, BUT THEY WERE IN FOURTH PLACE, not second. Milwaukee was in second on that date, nine back. Somehow, this "14-game lead" myth took hold. Yes, the Yankees came from 14 back and it was a great comeback. But the Sox were never that far ahead OF EVERYONE. They ultimately did blow a large lead and of course, that was horrible. But the race didn't end once the Yankees got to first place in mid-September.

And there's one other myth that makes me angry: "The Yankees never blow late-season leads." Oh yes they have, and in 1978 of all years. On September 17, 1978, the Yankees led the Red Sox by 3 1/2 games with 14 to play in the season. They played each other at Yankee Stadium that day, with the Yankees ready to deliver the knockout punch. They couldn't do it and lost, 7-4, and the Red Sox got blazing hot, winning 11 of the last 14, the final 8 in a row, with four of the last six games being shutouts. And all the Yankees had to do on the final game of the season on October 1 was beat Cleveland at home to take the East. Again, they couldn't do it, as the Sox beat Toronto at Fenway. Another myth seems to go that it was the Yankees who caught the Sox, when in fact it was the other way around. THE RED SOX FORCED THE TIE, AS THE YANKEES LET THAT 3 1/2 GAME LEAD GO TO WASTE.

As they say, "history is written by the winners." But some of the history is totally confused and outright wrong (especially by so-called "writers" who don't seem to know their history). It leads to myths. The Red Sox had one of their best teams in 1978, but that seems to be lost to history. (They still have the most wins, 99, by any Sox team since the 1946 AL Champions.) That club seemingly will not be fondly remembered by even some of their loyalist fans, and it is a shame that their great comeback in the final two weeks seems to be totally forgotten.

Trivia Change On Monday

Since there will be a Red Sox-Yankees game on the screens at Professor Thom's on Monday night, Trivia Night will probably begin around the same time it kicked off last Monday, around 10 PM. Since we went on until midnight last week, we will have four, and not five, categories this week: Current Events, General Knowledge, IQ Trivia, and Quantity Trivia 1-10. Hopefully, we will have Trivia completed around 11:30 on Monday.

The Red Sox have another Monday night game next week, but we will try to have five categories next Monday. As for this week's "Sneak Peek" question:

Used by frontier settlers, what was a conestoga?

Nice weekend having just concluded, as both the Red Sox and Mets did each other favors, with the Sox taking two of three from Atlanta and The Mets doing the same to the Yankees. Both clubs picked up a game off their division foes this past weekend, and now the important games begin between the AL and NL East rivals.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

30,000 Visitors and More

At 6:20 PM tonight, the 30,000th visitor came to The Mighty Quinn Media Machine since I put up the Site Meter on April 20, 2006. It was a visitor from Methuen, Massachusetts who found my site looking for (naturally) the funny Doug Mirabelli post.

My numbers always bump up when Doug Mirabelli plays for the Red Sox. He was in the starting lineup tonight in Game 2 of the doubleheader against Atlanta and my numbers went up slightly. They went up even more the other night when Dougie started Game 1 of that doubleheader against Detroit on Thursday. And I'm sure they go up again on Monday night when he catches Tim Wakefield. It seems his mere presence sends Red Sox fans running to their computer to find that incredibly silly post.

And according to Google Analytics, over 3200 people have come to my site specifically to find the Dougie post since April 18, which is nearly 60% of all the unique hits I've gotten over the past month.

Dougie always brings people to my site, and I'm always grateful to him.

Another fabulous day in my baseball world. The Mets took care of the Yankees again, 10-7 at Shea, and won the "Subway Series, Part 1." Sportswriters before the White Sox series were saying that the next three series they played (White Sox, Mets and Red Sox) were pivotal not just for the team, but Joe Torre's future. The Yankees have really done a fabulous job so far, going 1-4 in the first five games.

The Red Sox whacked Atlanta in the first of their day/night DH at Fenway, 13-3, behind Daisuke Matsuzaka's sixth win and four home runs. Unfortunately the second game was one fit for the garbage, as the Braves returned the favor, 14-0. The Sox had only three hits, and basically didn't have their heads in this game. They now lead the Yankees by 10 1/2 games.

Game 2 was also the makeup game from Friday night that I had tickets to. My pal Mark in Massachusetts, who I was going to the game with, called me on Saturday morning to tell me it was raining again in Boston. I wasn't feeling great, so I decided to pass on the game.

Thank God I did. It poured a good part of the game, and with the final result now known, I'm glad I didn't spend the better part of eight hours roundtrip on bus to attend this disaster in person.

I'll just pray for better weather next time.

The Nicest Guy In Baseball

I found an interesting article in Sports Illustrated yesterday. They took a poll of 464 major league players, and they asked them two simple questions: who is the friendliest guy currently playing in the majors? And on the other hand, who is the unfriendliest guy in baseball?

A lot of the guys you'd figure would be in both polls turned up.

The runaway winner for the friendliest guy in the game was the Tigers' Sean Casey (pictured). Curt Schilling (guess which poll he turned up on?) said on his blog this week that Casey was "arguably the nicest human being walking this planet." Casey got an amazing 46% of all the votes. (Players were not allowed to vote for teammates.) Jim Thome and Mike Sweeney were tied for second with 7%.

And interestingly enough, the next four players of the Friendliest list were all members of the 2004 Red Sox: Dave Roberts, David Ortiz, Johnny Damon and Kevin Millar. Just proves that the 2004 World Champions were a happy, friendly bunch. Here is the complete Nice Guy Top 10:

Sean Casey, Tigers 1B.....46%
Jim Thome, White Sox DH.....7%
Mike Sweeney, Royals DH.....7%
Dave Roberts, Giants CF...4%
David Ortiz, Red Sox DH.....4%
Johnny Damon, Yankees CF.....2%
Kevin Millar, Orioles 1B.....2%
Luis Gonzalez, Dodgers LF.....1%
Tony Clark, Dbacks 1B.....1%
Raul Ibanez, Mariners LF.....1%

The overall champion of the Unfriendliest list is....Barry Bonds. Big shock, eh? Mr. Warmth got 26% of all the votes. Jeff Kent, another bastion of sunshine, came in second at 20%. Alex Rodriguez, who wants everyone to love him but clearly does a rotten job of it, finished fourth at 12%. And yes, Curt Schilling popped up sixth at 4%. (Says a lot that Slappy got far more votes than Schill did.) A few other of the Usual Suspects you'd find on this list turned up, like Randy Johnson, Jose Guillen and A.J. Pierzynski. The complete list of Top 10 Grumps:

Barry Bonds, Giants LF.....26%
Jeff Kent, Dodgers 2B.....20%
A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox C.....13%
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees 3B.....12%
Randy Johnson, D-Backs SP.....4%
Curt Schilling, Red Sox SP.....4%
Jose Guillen, Mariners RF.....2%
Milton Bradley, A's CF.....1%
Jason Kendall, A's C.....1%
Chipper Jones, Braves 3B.....1%

I also noticed that no pitchers made the Top 10 Friendliest list. Could it be the pitchers overall just aren't nice guys?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Did Being a Red Sox Fan Keep Me Off "Millionaire"?

Today began with the lousy news that it was raining very hard in Boston, and it looked like the Red Sox-Braves game would be postponed, and that was the game I had tickets to. And as it turned out, that is exactly what happened. (It was called a short time ago, so it saved me a trip up there in the rain.)

But the news got worse this afternoon when I received a card from the producers of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" that I was NOT selected to be in the contestant pool for this upcoming season's shows.

That I was disappointed not to be selected is an understatement.

As many of you know, I took the exam here in NYC on May 1 and was one of the applicants who was told that he passed, and then I had a five-minute interview with one of the show's people. It was cordial enough, and I walked out of the ABC studios that day thinking I had aced it, and the next step was a cinch, being put into the contestant pool. Then from there the show's sponsors pick the actual people who will go on the show.

I didn't even make it to the contestant pool. The card I got from them in the mail today simply said,"thank you for your interest in being a contestant" and "you have not been selected to be a potential contestant."

I really thought I did well in the interview. On my application I talked about my job as Trivia Maven at Professor Thom's, about being a big Red Sox fan (as I knew that host Meredith Vieira is also one), my love of history and writing, and talked about the web sites I write for.

I don't want to come off sounding big-headed or anything, but I really wonder about something. Was I too good of a contestant for this show? Were they afraid that I might be the type of contestant who could possibly run the table and win the $1,000,000 prize? I walked into the interview trying to be the best I could possibly be. I am not an Ivy Leaguer or Rhodes Scholar or anything like that, but I really pulled out all the stops and tried my best.

I have noticed that the quality of contestants in the daytime version of Millionaire seems to be a bit inferior to the nighttime version that Regis Philbin hosted. I don't watch the daytime version of the show every day, but I rarely see any of the contestants come close to winning the big prize. The questions seem to be to be about the same degree of difficulty as the old show. But I have seen contestants during the day who really didn't seem to have any business being on that show.

I certainly don't regret anything I did in my exam or interview that may have kept me from being being a contestant. I'm proud of who I am, being a Red Sox fan, and running PT's Trivia Night. I tried to be as personable as I could be, and I talked about as many of interests as I could. If I were taking the exam again, I would do it exactly the same way.

I don't plan on taking the exam again. Why bother, as I don't seem to be the kind of contestant they are looking for.

And one last thing. The woman who interviewed me voluntarily told me that she was actually a Yankee fan. I told her about being in the 2004 World Series video and the great community of Red Sox fans at PT's and in NYC. We actually had a bit of a laugh about being on different sides of that baseball fence. But now that I think about it...

I guess I'll never know for sure why I wasn't picked to go on that show. They are very tight-lipped about things like that, and of course, I have no intention of contacting them about why I wasn't picked. But I have no plans of ever trying to go on that show again.

They had their chance to have The Omnipotent Q grace their program, and they blew it.

You Gotta Love The RemDawg


Remy
Uploaded by beisbolct


In between games of yesterday's Red Sox-Tigers day/night doubleheader, Sox announcer Jerry Remy was shown in the broadcast booth at Fenway doing some "air guitar" on NESN when he suddenly stumbled and fell out of the picture. It was absolutely hysterical.

I really love the RemDawg, as he's so self-effacing and never takes himself at all seriously. The clip was shown a number of times and he just laughed about it. The combination of the RemDawg and Don Orsillo continue to make watching Red Sox games a genuine pleasure.

My thanks to Ian Bethune at the fine "SOX & Dawgs" (http://randomthoughts.ianbethune.com) web site who posted the clip earlier today.

It Never, Ever Gets Old

As I was at Professor Thom's pub tonight watching the Red Sox sweep the Detroit Tigers tonight (their lead is now 9 1/2, folks), I was looking at one of the other screens that had the NBA playoff game between Detroit and Chicago on. And a scene came up that instantly put a big smile on my face.

The Bulls were facing elimination tonight in their series, and were down 0-3 in it. When I happen to look, TNT flashed on the screen that no NBA team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a postseason series (although a few have reached Game 7 after being down that much). They also showed that only three teams in any sport have ever come from 0-3 down to win a postseason series, two in the NHL, and as they were showing the graphic, the video of Jason Varitek jumping into Alan Embree's arms (like in the photo here) on that glorious night in The Bronx in October 2004 came on.

It just never gets old. For as long as I live, whenever a baseball, hockey or basketball team falls into an 0-3 best-of-seven hole, the Red Sox 2004 comeback against you-know-who will forever be mentioned. Incredibly sweet.

The best part of what the Red Sox did in 2004 was the history that they made in that ALCS. It will live forever, and will grow in stature as the years pass along. Mark my words.

And, oh yes, the Chicago Bulls were swept by the Detroit Pistons tonight.

I'm off to Fenway on Friday to see Devern Hansack take on the Atlanta Braves. Weather permitting, of course.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I Love Days Like This

The Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers, 2-1, in the first game of a doubleheader behind a superbly pitched game by Julian Tavarez, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon.

The Mets came from four runs down in the ninth inning to beat the Chicago Cubs, 6-5. It was eerily reminicent of what the Red Sox pulled off on the Baltimore Orioles on Mother's Day.

The Yankees lost to the Chicago White Sox, 4-1, to give the White Sox the series, as the Yankees announced they will pitch two rookies against the Mets over the weekend.

Why can't more days in my life be like this?

It's Not Special Anymore

As many of you know, I'm not a big fan of interleague baseball games. Back in 1997, there was supposedly a big "clamor" for it by baseball fans all over America, as said by commissioner Bud Selig. (I didn't know one fan who was dying to see it happen.) He talked about these "surveys" that were taken that American baseball fans absolutely wanted games between the NL and AL teams in the regular season. (Making more money wouldn't have anything to do with this now, would it?)

This weekend is "Rivalry Weekend" in baseball (to take a cornball, cutesy-pie phrase that ESPN uses ad nauseum to describe college football and basketball games it seems almost EVERY weekend, and I bet Fox will use it at some point on Saturday), and we have to suffer through the endless nonsensical hype that is the first Mets-Yankees interleague series.

Yes, it's the first of two series the New York teams will play this year. I see no good reason it has to happen twice a year. It's only done twice for one reason: money. It guarantees both teams three sellouts (both the Mets and Yankees requested six games between them each season).

Seeing it from a neutral perspective, it just six more games played not just outside your division but outside of your league. Games against your division rival or possible wild card rival are FAR more important. It maybe special for the fans and media (who play this "Battle of New York" BS to the point I want to vomit), but face it, it has a short shelf life. If it's so damn memorable, who won the season series last year? The tabloid papers will have the special sections, matching up each team by position, who has the advantage and their fearless predicitions. Ho-hum.

Interleague also play havoc with the team schedules, especially their travel schedules. It also creates an unfair schedule, because some teams have either easier or harder schedules based on who they are supposed to face this year outside their league. (The Red Sox face Atlanta six times this year, because of this Mets-Yankees six games a year crap. MLB figures Atlanta is the Red Sox "natural" rival, because the Braves once played in Boston.)

The Mets and Yankees have faced each other so many times the past ten years (and in the 2000 World Series), it's no longer any big deal. The only way to bring back anything special to it is have them face each other every other year, or some other way like that. Playing each other less would make it more interesting.

No matter who much the media plays it up, "The Subway Series" just isn't any big deal anymore.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Good Things Happen To Good People

When I got back home after the Mets loss at Shea, I put on the late baseball games from the West Coast on the MLB package. I came across the Angels-Mariners game from Seattle and heard a very familiar voice doing the game on FSN Northwest.

It was that of Dave Sims. I had heard that he was hired to be one of the Mariners play-by-play broadcasters on their cable outfit. I was also very pleased to hear back in January that Dave got the gig with them.

He's one of the nice guys in the business and originally from Philadelphia. I remember him from the days he did the weekend sports on WCBS-TV here in New York. He was also the midday host on WFAN radio with Ed Coleman, between Don Imus and Mike and The Mad Dog. (I always enjoyed that show the most of three, because Dave and Ed talked the most rationally about sports, but they were accused of being too bland, and their show was cancelled.) But back in 2000, he hosted a cable sports show also here in New York called "Game Face."

It was shown live here in New York on the now-defunct Metro Channel and repeated again on tape. It was a very intimate show that featured Dave interviewing New York sports guests with a small gathering of fans there. My brother-in-law first found the show and started going there almost every week, and then I started going almost every week, too.

It was filmed in the Hotel New Yorker on 34th Street, and he would have guests on like Phil Simms, John Riggins and Joe Namath. The fans also got a chance to ask the guests questions, I remember once asking Glenn Parker, who was an offensive lineman who played for the Giants and Buffalo Bills, "Who was the greatest player you ever played with?" He said it was Kent Hull, the former center he played next to in Buffalo. I also remember him saying that offensive linemen were the best players and that's why he didn't pick Bruce Smith (and he laughed).

"Game Face" was a great show, and Dave Sims would talk with fans before and after the show, and during commercial breaks. He would greet the fans after the taping and thank them for coming, and came across as a really nice man. It's a shame the show only lasted about two years, as it was cancelled in 2001.

But it was nice to see Dave doing baseball. I've seen him doing ESPN college football and basketball the last few years, and Monday Night Football on the radio as well. He's a very good announcer with a easy style and he's well prepared for the games he does. I wish him all the best in Seattle.

For more on Dave Sims: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Sims

I've Had Better Evenings

After I got the Red Sox tickets and saw James Gandolfini in the West Village, I headed out to Shea Stadium for my first regular season game of the year between the Mets and Chicago Cubs.

It was a good pitching matchup, John Maine vs. Carlos Zambrano, so I thought we'd see a low scoring game. When I got off the subway at Shea, I saw the progress they are making in the building of the new Mets ballpark, Citi Field. A number of big towers have gone up and much of the outer structure is beginning to appear. It should be a beautiful park. (During the game on the scoreboard they showed what it should look like upon completion. The inside reminds me of Camden Yards a bit.)

I attended the game with my aunt and two friends, and we had fabulous seats, in short right field, about a dozen rows off the field. There was a good crowd on hand, and I saw a good number of Cubs fans in attendance. (I guess they are also like Red Sox fans in that they will follow the team everywhere.)

From the start of the game it was clear that Maine just didn't have it. He was undefeated going into the game, but allowed two runs in the first and another in the second (and it could have been worse). Zambrano was clearly better, and allowed the Mets only two hits in the first three innings (although the Mets had a runner thrown out at home).

Maine left after five innings with the score 3-1 (the Mets run coming on a Shawn Green home run). Then the roof caved in. Scott Schoewenweis loaded the bases and Aramis Ramirez hit a bomb into the seats in the leftfield mezzanine section to make it 7-1. They added two more runs to make it 9-1, sending a few mets fans to the exits.

As all this was going on, I was watching the scoreboard at the Red Sox game. The first score I saw was 1-1, then it became 4-1 Detroit, and stayed that way for most of the night. Then as the Mets game was winding down, I saw a "7" go up for Detroit in the eighth. Oh well...

The Cubs added another run and my aunt and friends departed after the seventh. By then, the Mets fans were chanting, "Yankees Suck" to entertain themselves. After Julio Franco grounded into a DP to end the eighth, I decided to call it a night. Eight innings of rotten baseball, plus seeing the Red Sox losing in the ninth, was enough for me.

It was a pleasure being out at the old ballyard in Queens on a nice night with my aunt and friends. Unfortunately, the results weren't what I wanted, but I was reminded of a line that Ray Liotta said in Goodfellas: "Everyone takes a beating sometimes."

But let's hope it doesn't happen too often.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gawking At Celebrities

I had an interesting encounter today. I was going to the Mets game at Shea at night, but before I went I had a couple of errands to run in Manhattan. It led to a very strange and funny coincidence.

I've been taping "The Sopranos" for my friend Alex, who doesn't have HBO but is a big fan of the show. Starting from last season and including this one, I tape the show on Sunday nights and we meet up the next day and swap tapes (I've been taping it on two separate tapes). This past Monday I accidentally left the tape home, so we decided to meet up on Tuesday to exchange tapes.

We did so in Greenwich Village, and then I left to meet up with my friend Leah in the West Village. She has season tickets to the Red Sox at Fenway and offered me two for the game on Friday night against Atlanta, which I gratefully accepted. We agreed to meet up at The Pecan Cafe on Franklin Street and West Broadway so I could get the tickets.

I got there around 5 PM. As I approached the entrance, who should be sitting there with a little boy having a cold drink but none other than Tony Soprano himself, James Gandolfini (pictured, with the late Christopher Moltisanti). He was sitting there on the steps of the place, like any other New Yorker enjoying the spring day. I couldn't believe I was seeing him, after just a few minutes before swapping Sopranos tapes with Alex.

I met up with Leah, and she was all excited about Mr. Gandolfini's appearance. She went on to tell me that she walked up to him in The Pecan Cafe a few moments earlier and told him how much she loved his work and the show. He smiled and shook her hand.

She had an idea about me going up to him and asking him to autograph it, but we both realized that he probably wouldn't want to be bothered when it comes to autographs, and that he probably would want his space. I have always respected celebrities' need for privacy when they are out in public. When I worked at Tower Records we had celebrities coming in all the time, and it was always a big deal for us employees. But I always left them alone, unless they came up to me and asked for help (and some did). Most stars who came in were generally pretty cool about being recognized, but I also heard some stories about those who were rather surly. So I leave them be.

But I do like to look (or even gawk, if you will).

Leah and I had a seat in the cafe right at the window, which was right behind James and his young son. It was fascinating watching people in the street pass him by and recognize him. They all just looked back at him and left him alone. He was there about 5-10 minutes before he left with his boy and his nanny (I believe). And in an ironic and rather funny twist, he left in an SUV that he was driving. (If you saw this past Sunday's episode you get the twist.)

Dice Goes The Distance

Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched an absolute gem of a game last night against the hard-hitting Detroit Tigers at Fenway last night, 7-1. It was his first complete game of his Red Sox career, and he allowed just one run on six hits while striking out five.

But the number that jumped out at me was: 0 walks. He was in total command all night, allowing just a home run by Curtis Granderson in the third inning. He wasn't nibbling, trying to hit corners. The Tigers are a free-swinging team, and he exploited that well.

It was a nice bounce back from his last Fenway start, when he allowed five runs in the first inning against Seattle, and he walked the first three hitters he faced that night. Dice-K got 16 ground outs, another great sign of his maturity. He is now 5-2.

The Red Sox expanded their lead to 8 1/2 games, their longest lead since September 1995, the last time they won the American League East.

Trivia Q&A: May 14

It was a terrific night at Professor Thom's on Monday night, as we had a good crowd come out to see Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch a complete game victory for the Red Sox over the Detroit Tigers, 7-1. We decided not to start Trivia while the Red Sox game was being played, so we waited until the conclusion, as so many people were focused on it. When the sounds of "Dirty Water" concluded, we got Trivia rolling at about 10 PM.

18 teams took part in the festivities, and the scores turned out to be higher than even I imagined. 7 of the teams got 50 points or more (there were a lot of perfect 10 scores last night), but in the end, BLOHARDS, my friends from the Red Sox based fan group, wound up the winners by just three points. They got just two questions wrong all night (out of a possible 45) to take the crown. They rolled up 63 points, the highest point total ever by a team in the current format we now have.

We finished up at just before midnight, and I want to thank everyone who stayed until the finish (all but two teams remained). With all the high scores, I may have to make next Monday's edition of Trivia just a bit harder.

Current Events
1. A cruise ship ran aground off the coast of this US state earlier today, causing the evacuation of over 200 passengers.
2. Daimler Chrysler announced that it will sell off Chrysler to a private equity firm for this amount (within $1 billion).
3. The Pentagon announced that as of today it would block soldiers in Iraq from accessing two of the most popular web sites on the Internet on military computers. Name one of the two.
4. A first class stamp's price was raised to this amount starting today.
5. The trial of this American-born al-Qaeda operative, after a five year wait, was scheduled to begin today.
6. The Chicago Board of Education is being sued by a 12 year-old student and her grandparents after this Oscar-winning film was shown in her class last year.
7. NBC announced that this TV series will return for an 18th season this fall.
8. This rap singer was arrested Friday by LAPD on suspicion of making criminal threats.
9. A neighborhood in this NYC borough was announced to have the cleanest streets in the entire city.
10. This South American city was chosen to be one of the seven sites of the July 7th Live Earth free concerts.

Answers: 1. Alaska; 2. $7.4 billion; 3. YouTube and MySpace; 4. 41 cents; 5. Jose Padilla; 6. "Brokeback Mountain;" 7. "Law and Order;" 8. The Game; 9. Staten Island; 10. Rio De Janeiro.

Baseball Quantity 1-10
1. The number of world championships won by the Boston Red Sox in their history.
2. This was the number worn by Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg.
3. This is the number of National League championships won by the New York Mets in their history.
4. On a baseball scorecard, a right fielder is reffered to by this number.
5. The number of no-hitters pitched by Nolan Ryan in his MLB career.
6. This is the number of times the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series in their history.
7. This was the number of teams that Babe Ruth played for in his MLB career.
8. This was the number of teams in each major league prior to expansion of both leagues in the early 1960s.
9. The St. Louis Cardinals have won the most World Series of any NL team with this number.
10. The number of current MLB teams who are currently based in Canada.

Answers: 1. six; 2. five; 3. four; 4. nine; 5. seven; 6. two; 7. three; 8. eight; 9. ten; 10. one.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Gatorade was developed at the University of Florida and was named after the football team.
2. Cheryl Tiegs was once a member of the TV show "Charlie's Angels."
3. The Lemonheads were Willy Wonka's helpers in "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory."
4. The Mississippi River was Huck Finn's escape route in the classic novel, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
5. Igor Stravinsky was a world famous ballet dancer.
6. The letter "T" does not exist in the traditional Hawaiian language.
7. The country of Ecuador is NOT located on the Equator.
8. A Japanese pagoda is a type of horse.
9. Political rule in a matriarchy is controlled by women.
10. The Civil War is not represented at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlingtom National Cemetery.

Answers: 1. true; 2. false; 3. false, it was The Oompa Loompas; 4. true; 5. false, he's a classical composer; 6. true; 7. false, it is; 8. false, it's a building; 9. true; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. According to the classic commercial, what stomach reliever goes, "plop, plop, fizz, fizz?"
2. Which famous cartoon character was created by Bill Cosby?
3. Which country hosted and won the 1998 soccer World Cup?
4. What is the official title of the ruler of Brunei?
5. In ballet, how many dancers participate in a traditional "pas de deux?"
6. Who is the last character to be killed by a shark in the classic film, "Jaws?"
7. According to Joyce Kilmer's poem, who alone can make a tree?
8. What Latin phrase commonly refers to an attorney's services being offered for free?
9. What was the name of the TV family who lived in "The Little House On The Prairie?"
10. At sea level, water freezes at what temperature Fahrenheit?

Answers: 1. Alka-Seltzer; 2. Fat Albert; 3. France; 4. sultan; 5. two; 6. Quint; 7. God; 8. pro bono; 9. Ingalls; 10. 32.

IQ Trivia
1. Who was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the Olympics? (4 points)
2. Which artist popularized the sculpture with movable parts known as the mobile? (6 points)
3. What is the Portuguese man-of-war? (5 points)
4. Who is the patron saint of lost causes? (5 points)
5. Which Pulitzer Prize-winning play features the character Willy Loman? (5 points)

Answers: 1. Nadia Comaneci; 2. Alexander Calder; 3. a jellyfish; 4. St. Jude; 5. "Death of a Salesman."

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Real "Most Renown Sports Team In The World"

Since I live in New York, I do check out the Yankees games on the YES network from time to time. ("Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer," as Vito Corleone once told his son Michael.) And for those of you who do too, you may have seen this commercial that pops up on their broadcasts that just seems to emphasize why many people despise the Yankees so much.

It is usually for the latest promotion date at Yankee Stadium, and it starts out with Michael Kay, that "beloved" of all YES announcers, announcing, "The New York Yankees, the most renown sports franchise in the world..." Every time this commercial comes on, it absolutely makes me cringe.

Talk about big-headed nonsense. Don't these people who run the Yankees realize that just about the entire rest of the world plays and is loony about the sport of soccer? (They should know that, as they signed that cross marketing deal with Manchester United a few years ago. More about them to come.)

Now if the commercial said that the Yankees were "the most renown baseball team in the world" or "the most renown sports franchise in America," I couldn't argue either point. But when they think that the entire world thinks they are the most popular and well-known sports team on earth, they are either deluding themselves or so full of BS. (Probably a bit of both I think.)

"The most renown sports franchise in the world" is Manchester United, the newly-crowned champions of English soccer. No other sports team on earth comes even close to their popularity among fans across the globe. Their games are seen either live or on tape on every continent in the world, every week, and their fans clubs run in the millions. I'm no fan of United (see my post about them from yesterday), but no one can deny that no sports team can match them anywhere for devotion. (You could put the Yankees AND Red Sox fan bases together and they still wouldn't come close to that of ManU.)

It's simply a fact that the good majority of the world is mad for soccer. ManU even has devoted followings in places like Africa and Asia, and in places where the New York Yankees are totally unknown. Only nine nations of the world can call baseball a popular national sport (USA, Canada, Cuba, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Mexico by my count). How many call soccer one? Around 200, I believe.

The Yankees can talk all they want about their championships (and you know they ALWAYS do), but everytime I hear them talk about them being "the most renown sports franchise in the world" it makes me want to throw up. It impresses me as being another example of The Yankee Propaganda Machine at work, and that they want the world to believe such nonsense.

What would you expect from a desperate organization that throws an ungodly amount of money at an aging pitcher to ride in and be their savior?