Ellsbury Returns To Fenway

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Let the Good Times Roll


Another gigantic throng lined the streets of Boston yesterday for the second Red Sox victory parade in four years. I caught some of the festivities on ESPNews, as I couldn't head up to Boston to take it all in. (I had Trivia Night to deal with last night.)

ESPNews had NECN's coverage (that is the New England Cable News network), and they only covered the first hour of the parade. The weather was perfect and it looked like over a million people turned out. It seemed like there were thousands of Jacoby Ellsbury signs, and even more "Re-sign Mike Lowell" placards. The Red Sox were once again in the duck boats, but they didn't hit the water this time.

One of my favorite signs was "Johnny Damon's Home Changing Diapers" in reference to the one-time Red Sox outfielder (you remember him) who has a daughter who was born earlier this year. Right after the Red Sox won on Sunday night, I thought to myself, "I wonder what's going through Damon's mind right now?" Now he must REALLY regret his decision to abandon Boston. It's arguable if the Red Sox would have won it all if he was still playing center with them, but if they had, his popularity would be so huge they'd be building statues of him around the city. But Damon needed those extra millions in lieu of keeping his legacy in Boston. I only hope the extra cash makes him happy.

Jonathan Papelbon was the hit of the parade, as I did catch his "Riverdance" on the duck boat he was on as they stopped, with the Dropkick Murphys playing "Shipping Up to Boston" behind him. I didn't see his dance with the kilt he was going to wear, but I heard it was great.

The Sox now hit the late night talk show circuit, as Papelbon will be appearing with David Letterman tonight on CBS. David Ortiz will be with Conan O'Brien on Friday night, and in the most intriguing appearance of all, Manny Ramirez will be on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno just before Papi's Conan date on Friday. I can't imagine what he'll say, or better yet, what he'll be wearing.

Talk about "Must-See TV."

Trivia Q&A: October 30

It looked like it was going to be a slow night for Trivia on Tuesday night, as the hangover from the Red Sox championship and Halloween happening on Wednesday would keep many people away. But we wound up having 13 teams for the contest. I also debuted my newest Red Sox shirt: "2007 World Champions." It garnered much applause among the crowd.

(About midway through the night, I got a text from my friend Chris about the death of singer Robert Goulet. Turns out he was a big Red Sox fan, as he was from Lawrence, MA. He sang "The Impossible Dream" at Opening Day this past April. I did a little impromptu version shortly after I heard the news. My sympathies to his family, and I'm glad he got to see the Red Sox win a second championship.)

The toughest round turned out to be the Halloween/October 31st Trivia, as only one team got as many as 8 correct. The scores were pretty strong in the next two rounds, and we had a tie going into the final round. But IQ Trivia was a tough one (as last week's was a bit easier I thought), as eight of the 13 teams scored nine (two correct out of five).

One of the tied teams got just a four, while the other pulled down a nine, and three point victory. Congratulations to If The Sox Sign A-Rod, I'm Buying an F'n D'Rays Jersey on their win.

See you next Tuesday, November 6th at 9 PM for another round of Trivia.

Current Events
1. The Boston Red Sox won their seventh World Series championship on Sunday night over Colorado. Who was voted Series MVP?
2. This tropical storm hit Cuba on Tuesday, has been responsible for 20 deaths, and is now drawing close to the Florida coast.
3. A beach house caught fire in this southern state over the weekend and killed seven students.
4. This South American country was chosen yesterday as the site for soccer's 2014 World Cup.
5. This late entertainer was chosen as Forbes' "Richest Dead Celebrity" for 2006, having earned $49 million last year.
6. This film sequel was the number one film in America last year.
7. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was elected president of this South American country, succeeding her husband.
8. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of this country announced he has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer.
9. Last Friday an explosion caused by two thrown hand grenades rocked this country's consulate in New York City.
10. This 42-year-old, Emmy Award-winning actress was just named "World's Unsexiest Woman Alive" by Maxim Magazine.

Answers: 1. Mike Lowell; 2. Noel; 3. North Carolina; 4. Brazil; 5. Elvis Presley; 6. "Saw IV;" 7. Argentina; 8. Israel; 9. Mexico; 10. Sarah Jessica Parker.

Halloween/October 31st Trivia
1. In which European country did jack o' lanterns originate?
2. What were the first wrapped penny candies in America?
3. Which chocolate candy bar is the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters on Halloween?
4. Which Halloween tradition originated from a Roman harvest festival that honors the goddess Pamona?
5. This western state was admitted to the Union on October 31, 1864, becoming the 36th state.
6. Adam Horovitz, a musician with this legendary hip-hop group, was born on this date in 1966.
7. This 23-year-old actor, who once starred in the film "Running On Empty," died on this date in 1993 from a drug overdose.
8. George Halas, who founded, owned and coached this NFL team, died on this date in 1983.
9. Michael Collins, who was the command module pilot for this historic space flight, was born on this date in 1930.
10. Halloween is on October 31, which is the last day of the year on which calendar?

Answers: 1. Ireland; 2. Tootsie Rolls; 3. Snickers; 4. bobbing for apples; 5. Nevada; 6. Beastie Boys; 7. River Phoenix; 8. Chicago Bears; 9. Apollo 11; 10. Celtic.

True or False ("The Q Train")
1. A flue is a part of a chimney that directs smoke out of the house.
2. The real name of author Anne Rice is actually Howard Allen O'Brien.
3. The jerk style of cooking meat originated in Cuba.
4. Milk Duds are actually chocolate-covered caramels.
5. The sclera is a dense membrane located at the brain.
6. George Foreman actually named all five of his sons after himself.
7. Joan of Arc's nationality was actually English.
8. Mark McGwire was named 1987 Rookie of the Year while playing for the Oakland A's.
9. Jack Nicholson won an Oscar for Best Actor for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
10. James Madison was John Adams' vice-president.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, it began in Jamaica; 4. true; 5. false, it's found at the eyes; 6. true; 7. false, she was French; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, Thomas Jefferson was his vice president.

General Knowledge
1. What color is the border of a standard US stop sign?
2. The 1995 movie "Clueless" is loosely based on what classic novel?
3. What type of weapon would you put into a scabbard for safekeeping?
4. The North Star is also known by what name?
5. Which composer wrote the concertos called "The Four Seasons?"
6. What was the name of the character who shot J.R. in the 1980 season finale of Dallas?
7. Produced in 1455 by Johann Gutenberg, what was the first book printed in Europe?
8. What NFL team celebrates touchdowns at home games by performing "The Lambeau Leap?"
9. In what game must players stay behind a line called an "oche?"
10. What 2001 movie held its premier on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis?

Answers: 1. white; 2. "Emma;" 3. sword; 4. Polaris; 5. Vivaldi; 6. Kristen; 7. The Bible; 8. Green Bay Packers; 9. darts; 10. "Pearl Harbor."

IQ Trivia
1. By definition, a person studying campanology is interested in what? (5 points)
2. When asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, what explorer said, "Because it's there"? (6 points)
3. What is the name of the dog that is one of the tokens in the board game Monopoly? (5 points)
4. In which Asian country is the home of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric project in history? (4 points)
5. In 1974, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defected to the West while on tour in which country? (5 points)

Answers: 1. bells; 2. George Mallory; 3. Scotty; 4. China; 5. Canada.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Gang's All Here

Here's a picture of the crew of Professor Thom's from last Sunday night/Monday morning after the Red Sox won the 2007 World Series championship. This picture comes courtesy of my friend Chris, who has more photos on his site, "The Professor's Sox," at http://www.professorthoms.blogspot.com.

BTW, I am in this picture at the back, in the middle wearing my 2004 World Champions hat. It was wonderful to share such a great experience with so many good friends.

Halloween Trivia On Tuesday

Tuesday night's special category for Trivia Night will be Halloween and October 31st Trivia. It will be a mixed bag of Halloween questions, as well as some connected to events occurring on October 31.

The Sneak Peek question is:
In what game must players stay behind a line called an "oche?"

See you all Tuesday night at 9 PM.

Monday, October 29, 2007

How Worthless Are These Now?

You may remember the shirts that popped up after the Red Sox won the World Series, answering back the Sox' incredible title by Yankee fans. It was a revert to the old Yankee Fan Stand By: "we've won 26 championships." Those "got rings" shirts materialized. (Along with those totally ridiculous "2090" shirts, about how the Red Sox won't win another title for another 86 years).

On them, they had the 26 Yankee rings, along with the Red Sox six. (Now seven, guys!) And they had a really smug sentence on the back to go with it.

"Oh...one more thing. We won't go 86 years before winning another ring."

First they were history professors ("1918"), then they were fortune tellers ("2090"). Ha.

Oh, one more thing, Yankee fans.

Here's the updated World Series championship scoreboard for the 21st Century:
Boston Red Sox 2
New York Yankees 0

Yes, they now have to win two titles to catch the Red Sox in this century. I guess it's time to come up with a new obnoxious t-shirt to sell.

Thanks to my buddy Dave for passing along an email of the t-shirt to me.

The Cooler Has Left the Building

In the eighth inning of Game 4 last night, it was announced that Alex Rodriguez would opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Afterwards, the Yankees in a statement announced they would not pursue him and he would no longer be with the team. "No chance" of bringing him back, said Hank Steinbrenner.

Slappy and that asshole of an agent of his, Scott Boras, simply couldn't wait for the Red Sox to claim their championship and had to upstage it. Rodriguez is being torn apart this morning in the New York papers today for being a mercenary and only about the money. Very true.

After the game last night, Peter Gammons was incensed about A-Rod opting out. "He's never played in a World Series game. Maybe we know why."

I pray the Red Sox don't go near this guy, and re-sign Mike Lowell.

I couldn't help but think of February 2004, when the Yankees traded for Slappy. I'll never forget all the self-congratulating of the Yankees when they pulled it off, about how they "swindled" the Red Sox in getting him.

In those succeeding four years, the Red Sox have won two World Series championships. The Yankees have won just one postseason series.

The Cooler strikes again.

A Night For Celebrating

Professor Thom's was packed to the rafters last night, as it was without doubt the biggest crowd of the postseason. We also did "Kayreoke" during the game (I did the third inning). Before yesterday's game I made a decision that I would bring a bottle of champagne for the celebration (but I kept it out of sight until the game was over). I stopped by a liquor store and asked the lady behind the counter to give me the most inexpensive bottle of champagne they have. She pointed to a $5 bottle of Andre, and it had a red tint to it. I took that as a good omen.

The crowd was roaring on almost every pitch last night, and with one out to go, the bar was ready to explode. When Jonathan Papelbon struck out Seth Smith, the bar erupted in unison. It was a wild celebration, and it reminded of the Riviera celebrations of three years ago, and the other Red Sox celebrations of this postseason. I was in the middle of it all, and it was a little scary at some points. I was hugging and high-fiving my friends, as well as other Sox fans I didn't know.

After the first few minutes, I ran down stairs and got the champagne. My friend Steve and I got the bottle popped open, and I started jumping up and down while spraying the champagne over my friends. After just a few seconds I saw the bottle was completely empty.

The celebrating went on for a few hours. We danced to "Sweet Caroline," "Dirty Water," and other Boston classics. I did more dancing last night than I did in the last 30 years of my life. It was a night to celebrate and let it all hang out. I also pulled out my camera and took pictures with my friends.

It was one of the fun nights of my life. I'll never forget it.

Thank you Red Sox.

Twice in a Lifetime

Jonathan Papelbon threw a 2-2 heater past pinch-hitter Seth Smith shortly after midnight ET last night, and I witnessed something I thought I would never see in my lifetime: the Boston Red Sox winning a World Series championship. For the second time in my lifetime.

They also became the first team in the 21st Century to win the World Series twice.

I'm still in a state of shock as I write this. My body hurts all over from celebrating last night, and I'm dead tired. In the immortal words of David Letterman, "You're tired, but you know, it's a good kind of tired."

It feels really good right now.

It was another memorable, historic win for the Red Sox. Jon Lester completed the "Hollywood Ending" last night as he pitched 5 2/3 innings of solid ball, allowing just three hits and striking out three. It's a truly remarkable story he's writing, as he battled cancer at this time last night. Another cancer survivor, Mike Lowell, hit a big home run and scored the second run with a fabulous slide at the plate. He would be voted MVP of the series and deservedly so. But this entire lineup could be considered the MVP.

It seemed like everyone contributed to this four-game sweep. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia both had tremendous series, as the sparkplugs at the top of the lineup, and figure to be there for the next decade. Bobby Kielty saw only one pitch as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, and hit what would be the deciding home run. J.D. Drew had a great World Series, as did Julio Lugo, who was great at both the plate and in the field.

Terry Francona once again managed this team will such skill, and is now 8-0 in the World Series. The Sox became the second team in history to win two straight World Series by sweeps.

There are so many great stories connected with this win, and Jon Lester's is the one the comes to mind the most readily. But as I was watching the celebration coverage last night, Tim Wakefield was being interviewed by NESN. Mike Timlin came over and talked about what a great teammate Wake is, and his stepping aside for the good of the team is a measure of the man's greatness. Wake was on the verge of bursting into tears, and I nearly was too. It was one of the best Red Sox postseason moments I've ever seen. Thanks to Sarge for reminding everyone just what a class individual Tim Wakefield is, one of the best men ever to wear a Boston Red Sox uniform.

I'll have a separate post coming next about the celebrations at Professor Thom's. But here's to the Boston Red Sox, your 2007 World Champions. I can't wait to go through another season to hear announcers refer to the Red Sox as "defending World Champions."

It just never gets old.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Night of The Rookies

It was simply an incredible night at Coors Field last night, as the Red Sox took their next step to securing their seventh World Series championship with a 10-5 win over the Colorado Rockies. They now have a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.

And most of the damage was done by three Red Sox rookies: Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Daisuke Matsuzaka. (Granted, Dice-K really isn't a rookie, but it's his first year in MLB.)

The Red Sox jumped all over Josh Fogg for six runs in the third inning, and Jacoby Ellsbury (pictured) had two doubles in the inning. The most surprising hit of the inning was by Dice-K, who with the bases loaded, two outs and three runs in, hit a hard single to right on the first pitch to drive in two. That led to Ellsbury's RBI double that capped off a spectacular inning.

Dice-K did exactly what the Red Sox wanted him to do last night. He got the Sox to the sixth inning with the lead. He walked two men with one out, and was lifted for Javier Lopez. Lopez hasn't pitched well in this postseason, and gave up two singles to make it 6-2. Mike Timlin then came on to get the last two outs to restore order.

But Timlin allowed two Colorado runners to reach in the seventh, and was replaced by Hideki Okajima. The first pitch bu Okie was hammered by Matt Holliday to make it 6-5. More than one friend said to me last night, "They can't do it the easy way," and"It wouldn't be the Red Sox without some drama." The bar was doing a collective sweat, but Okajima shut Colorado down the rest of the inning.

The Red Sox, who look like a team on a mission, took those three runs back, on two singles and a RBI doubles by Ellsbury and Pedroia to make it 9-5 and short-circuit any Colorado momentum. It was simply a fabulous night for both of them, as Ellsbury went 4-for-5 and Pedroia went 3-for-5. Together they scored four runs and drove in four. Jacoby also became the first rookie with four hits in a World Series game since Joe Garagiola in 1946. Jonathan Papelbon came on with two outs in the eighth to record his second save of the series.

The Red Sox now need one more win to take it all, and Jon Lester, who battled lymphoma at this time last year, will get the ball tonight against Aaron Cook. This has "Hollywood Ending" written all over it. Tonight we will indeed see if that does become a reality.

Daisuke vs. Slappy

No, this isn't about how Alex Rodriguez has fared against Daisuke Matsuzaka in the regular season.

Matsuzaka shocked the baseball world, and everyone in Professor Thom's pub last night, by hitting a two-run single in the six-run third to extend the inning and give the Red Sox a comfortable lead at the time. Josh Fogg threw Dice-K a lollipop over the middle of the plate on the first pitch and he hammered it to left. Like everyone else, he figured he'd probably just look at it and wanted to get ahead in the count. It was Daisuke's first MLB hit in his sixth at-bat.

So now, Daisuke now has two postseason RBI, and that is now one more RBI than Alex Rodriguez has gotten in the last three postseasons. Let me repeat that.

A guy who was told not to the swing the bat in spring training now has driven in more runs in one postseason at-bat than a guy who hit 54 home runs this season, driven in over 400 runs the last three seasons, and will win his second MVP in the last three years.

Beyond surreal.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

October 27, 2004


It was three years ago today.

A memory that will last a lifetime.

Happy Birthday John Cleese

A very happy birthday to John Cleese, one of the driving forces and creators of the legendary Monty Python. John turns 68 today. He also created one of the funniest characters of all-time, Basil Fawlty. Fawlty Towers ran for just 12 episodes, but they were things of true comic genius.

From "The Ministry of Silly Walks" to Archie Leach of "A Fish Called Wanda," John has had a stellar career.

Thanks for all the laughs, John. Have a great birthday.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thanks Schill

Curt Schilling pitched 5 1/3 innings of gritty baseball last night, in what very well could have been his last start in a Red Sox uniform. He allowed one run in the first, on a hit batter, a single and a groundout. After the shaky beginning, Schilling settled in and found his groove.

He allowed just one earned run, and left a 2-1 lead in the sixth after walking two batters in a row. Terry Francona wasted no time bringing in Hideki Okajima.

Oki was simply superb, pitching 2 1/3 perfect innings, striking out four. He is still unscored on in the postseason after having a really shaky September. The two-week "vacation" he took late in that month has certainly been the tonic he really needed.

The Red Sox got their two runs in the fourth and fifth, on a sacrifice fly by Jason Varitek and a double by Mike Lowell, but they were leaving runners everywhere last night and I was praying it wouldn't come back to haunt them (and it didn't). The highlight at Professor Thom's last night was Jacoby Ellsbury stealing second, the first stolen base of the series, and that means on October 30, everyone in America gets a free taco from Taco Bell. It set off loud cheering a chants of "Taco!" "Taco!" Thanks, Jacoby.

With two outs in the eighth, Jonathan Papelbon took over and gave up an infield single to Matt Holliday. Before the threw a pitch to Todd Helton, he promptly picked off Holliday, who for whatever reason, wandered way too far off the bag and was a dead duck. He may have had four of the five Rockies' hits, but he wears the goat horns for killing a possible late rally.

Pap retired Colorado 1-2-3 in the ninth to put the Red Sox just two wins away from their seventh World Series championship. The 2-1 win shows that the Sox can put up the runs as well as win the tight nailbiters. The Sox have now won five straight postseason games and six consecutive World Series games. (Colorado scoring in the top of the first meant it was the first time the Red Sox were behind in a World Series game since the end of Game 7 of the 1986 Fall Classic.)

Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the ball tomorrow night against Josh Fogg at Coors Field. Last night's win gives Curt Schilling his third win in this postseason, and his 11th of his career. He continues to improve his resume for the Hall of Fame, which looks like a real possibility now.

If last night was his last start in a Red Sox uniform, all I can say is: Thanks, Schill. Thanks for the memories, and a simply incredible October three years ago.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Record-Setting Game One

The Red Sox took the Colorado Rockies out to the woodshed last night at Fenway Park and showed them what American League baseball is all about.

It got ugly in a hurry for Colorado, as Dustin Pedroia led off the game with a home run that just cleared the top of Green Monster to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. He became the first player to lead off Game 1 with a homer since Don Buford led off the 1969 Fall Classic against the Mets with one.

In the immortal words of Warner Wolf, "You could have turned your sets off right there."

The Sox added two more runs in the first, and it would be all Josh Beckett needed. The best pitcher on the planet right now struck out the side to begin the first, showing the boys from Colorado that he meant business. The Rockies got a run back in the second, but that was all Beckett would allow. The team that had won 21 out of 22, and 10 in a row looked like high school kids compared to the Red Sox.

The Red Sox added three more in the fourth, and exploded for seven in the fifth. Colorado sure looked like the long layoff effected them, as Jeff Francis had nothing, allowing six runs in four innings. The Red Sox tied a World Series record by hitting eight doubles, and set a record with 9 extra base hits. And they did it all by the fifth inning. Five players had two RBI, and three players had at least three hits, so the wealth was spread all around. Everyone but Mike Lowell had an RBI in the game.

The 13-1 win set a records for the Sox. It was the most runs ever scored in a Game 1, and the largest margin of victory in the opener as well. They also became the first team to score 10 runs in three consecutive postseason games. Since Game 5 of the ALCS, they have outscored the opposition, 43-6. Talk about smoking hot.

Beckett pitched seven innings, striking out nine and walking one. It was his fourth straight postseason win, and he now has three more in his Red Sox career than Roger Clemens ever had. Tonight, Curt Schilling takes the mound against Ubaldo Jimenez in Game 2.

Three more wins, and 81 more outs to go.

Why Can't McCarver Just Let This Go?

I knew this would happen again, because the World Series involved both Fox and the Red Sox.

And sure enough, as last night's Game 1 of the World Series evolved into a major Red Sox wipeout, Tim McCarver once again brought up a subject that nearly made me explode as I was watching the game last night.

It was the 2004 World Champions he was talking to Joe Buck about, and he once again, for the 3,498th time, mentioned the interview he did with Jon Lieber, the former Yankees pitcher, on his syndicated show two years ago. Lieber told McCarver that as the Yankees were leading the ALCS against the Red Sox 3 games to none, a number of Red Sox players came up to a few Yankees players before Game 4 started to "congratulate" them on their "eventual" ALCS win and trip to the World Series. Which as we all know never happened.

In this interview, Lieber did NOT mention any names of any of the other players involved in this, from either club. And to this date, NO ONE has backed up Lieber's story. (I've searched the Internet and can find nothing from anywhere else confirming it.) Not any Red Sox or Yankee player (or ex-Red Sox or ex-Yankee player for that matter). But still, whenever the Yankees play the Red Sox, or the story of the 2004 championship comes up when McCarver is in the booth, this asshole has keep propagating this urban myth that no one outside the mind of Jon Lieber can confirm actually took place. (And let's be honest, you know that a sportswriter who despises the Red Sox like Dan Shaughnessy or Bill Madden would jumped ALL OVER this story if it were true. I would bet a few actually checked it out, and found nothing, so they didn't pursue it. A shitstirrer like CHB would have LOVED something like this.)

Why did Lieber bring that story up if it isn't true? Who knows, maybe jealousy over the fact he didn't get to the World Series (and he's never been to one). As far as I'm concerned, Lieber has no guts or is a chickenshit liar for not naming who these Red Sox players were. And I absolutely despise McCarver for dragging up this bullshit on national baseball telecasts when nobody else seems to think there's any truth to it.

McCarver continues to be one of, if not THE, most hated broadcaster doing regular national sports in America. I once enjoyed listening to his take on baseball, as he always seemed to speak with an intelligent point of view, and he had a streak of good humor. But now, he just inspires web sites that hate him and points out all of his inane points and stupid mistakes. And that's a shame really.

I'm glad I'm in a crowded bar watching these World Series games. Most of the time, I can't hear most of his babble, but last night I caught him rehashing the Jon Lieber Urban Myth once again.

Just let it go, Timmy. No one cares about such crap anymore.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

America's Mayor Pulling For the Sox

I guess he's finally seen the light.

The New York tabloids are going absolutely bananas today over the revelations that presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani told some groups in New England that he intends to support the Red Sox in the 2007 World Series.

Oh brother. Talk about nonsense. Once again, that lethal mixture of politicians and sports teams strikes again. We all know what a big time Yankee fan the former New York mayor is. At least he's a legitimate fan. Most politicians come off as clueless when it comes to a rooting interest. (Remember John Kerry on ESPN back in 2004 talking about "Manny Ortez?") They basically check out which way the wind blows (Hillary Clinton in a Yankee hat comes to mind here) and go with that. Giuliani also claims to be an "American League fan" and would support the AL in the World Series unless the Mets were in it, and would pull for them out of "loyalty to New York."

But here Giuliani comes off as the worst kind of panderer. I remember when the Yankees signed Japanese pitcher Hideki ("Fat Toad") Irabu back in 1997. The press coverage over his coming to New York was insane, and Giuliani had to capitalize on it, and actually gave him the Key to the City. (And we all know what a bust Irabu turned out to be.) And, oh yes, it also just happened to be an election year (he was running for a second term as mayor and won). Talk about pandering for Asian votes. We all know that politicians will do almost anything for votes. I'm sure most are like me, and that who a candidate supports as far as sports teams goes means next to nothing when entering a polling booth and casting a ballot. I doubt any of his hardcore supporters are going to turn on him because of this. (But these days, you never know.)

And the press coverage about it is just laughable. And the New York Post comes off the worst. They actually put this crap into a sidebar about this story:

Five things Rudy Giuliani needs to know about the Boston Red Sox
1. They suck.
2. They suck.
3. They suck.
4. They suck.
5. They really, really, really suck.

Wow. Very intelligent stuff. Talk about playing to the bottom feeders. So, if the Red Sox "really, really, really suck," what does that make your beloved Yankees, who are home playing golf?

Enjoy the World Series everyone. Especially the newest Red Sox convert.

Trivia Q&A: October 23

We had a fine crowd for Trivia on Tuesday night, with 14 teams taking part. I heard a few groans when I announced to the crowd that we were having a special category of World Series Trivia, as I've noticed that many trivia players are not strong when it comes to sports. (That's why I try to make Trivia Night as diverse as I possibly can.) I assured everyone that it would be multiple choice, so they'd have a fighting chance to get a good score.

The scores weren't bad at all in that round. One team even got a perfect score, and half the teams got at least 7 or more correct. Almost everyone aced True or False, as six teams got perfect scores, and the lowest score anyone got was a 7. The scores in General Knowledge were a bit lower, and that set up an interesting finish.

A team called 6 Karate Chops of Ching Chong Sushi had perfect scores in the first three rounds, and had a three point lead heading into IQ Trivia. But they got just 4 out of a possible 25, and fell down to a fourth place tie with two other teams. The top 3 teams ended up separated by just two points, but Resident Weevil 3 emerged victorious, getting 14 points in the last round. (They actually caught an error I made in their score, and I was about to announce the winners when a member of their team caught it. They were about to finish in a tie for third when I corrected the error, and they wound up winning by one point.)

We'll be back with another night of Trivia next Tuesday night, and it will interesting to see if the World Series is still going on (it would be between Games 5 and 6 if it is).

Current Events

1. This music star was arrested this past Sunday after getting into a brawl in a Waffle House restaurant after a performance in Atlanta.
2. Nathaniel Marston, a star on this daytime soap, was arrested after getting into a fight with 3 other men in NYC on Sunday.
3. A city's airport in this Midwestern state has decided to accept the code "SUX" as the three-letter ID code every airport has.
4. This cable TV talk show host had some major problems with hecklers in his audience last Friday and personally helped remove one of them.
5. Bobby Jindal was elected governor of this southern state last weekend and becomes the first Indian-American elected governor in the US ever.
6. This magician cancelled an Asian tour last weekend after it was revealed the FBI was probing him over allegations he forced himself on an unidentified woman.
7. This man, who spent 15 years in jail for an infamous murder in NYC in 1986, was arrested yesterday on charges of selling cocaine with his girlfriend.
8. This female singer suddenly collapsed during a samba routine on this TV show, "Dancing with the Stars" last night but was fine afterwards.
9. This Asian country announced it will launch its first lunar probe this week, just weeks after Japan did the same thing.
10. This Eastern US city is home to the least attractive people in the country, a recent survey found.

Answers: 1. Kid Rock; 2. "One Life to Live;" 3. Iowa; 4. Bill Maher; 5. Louisiana; 6. David Copperfield; 7. Robert Chambers; 8. Marie Osmond; 9. China; 10. Philadelphia.

World Series Trivia

1. Bill Mazeroski hit a famous World Series-winning home run against the Yankees in 1960 for which team? a. Pirates; b. Phillies; c. Dodgers; d. Giants.
2. With their pennant win this year, how many times have the Red Sox now appeared in the World Series? a. 7; b. 9; c. 10; d. 11.
3. Which one of the following teams has never won a World Series? a. Florida Marlins; b. Chicago Cubs; c. Arizona Diamondbacks; d. San Diego Padres.
4. Who won last year's World Series? a. Detroit Tigers; b. St. Louis Cardinals; c. Chicago White Sox; d. New York Mets.
5. Which team last won the World Series in 1948? a. San Francisco Giants; b. Chicago Cubs; c. Detroit Tigers; d. Cleveland Indians.
6. Yogi Berra played on the most World Series champions as player. How many? a. 7; b. 9; c. 10; d. 12.
7. Which team won three consecutive World Series in the 1970s? a. Yankees; b. A's; c. Dodgers; d. Orioles.
8. Which player once hit five home runs in a single World Series? a. Reggie Jackson; b. Babe Ruth; c. Lou Gehrig; d. Duke Snider.
9. Which Red Sox player was MVP of the 2004 World Series? a. David Ortiz; b. Keith Foulke; c. Manny Ramirez; d. Curt Schilling.
10. Against which team did Don Larsen throw his World Series perfect game? a. Dodgers; b. Pirates; c. Giants; d. Cardinals.

Answers: 1. a; 2. d; 3. d; 4. b; 5. d; 6. c; 7. b; 8. a; 9. c; 10. a.

True or False ("The Q Train")

1. Lombard Street, known as "the crookedest street in the world," is located in New Orleans.
2. A manatee is also called a "sea cow."
3. Sand is a substance that is crucial in making almost all types of glass.
4. In the comic strip "Cathy," she is always missing one facial feature: her ears.
5. Jimmy Hoffa, before he disappeared in 1975, was the longtime leader of the AFL-CIO labor union.
6. A shift, in terms of clothing, is a type of dress.
7. Joan of Arc was executed by being burned at the stake.
8. The nape of the neck is located at the back of the neck.
9. An egret is a type of plant.
10. The main enemy of the Sheriff of Nottingham in literature was William Tell.

Answers: 1. false, San Francisco; 2. true; 3. true; 4. false, her nose; 5. false, he led the Teamsters; 6. true; 7. true; 8. true; 9. false, it's a bird; 10. false, it was Robin Hood.

General Knowledge

1. In a relay race, what do you call the runner who runs the race's last leg?
2. In her book, "The Camino," actress Shirley MacLaine wrote about what subject?
3. In the USA, in which month are shadows the shortest?
4. How many leaflets does a typical poison ivy plant have?
5. LeAnn Rimes' hit song, "Blue" was originally written for what country music legend?
6. What concert venue is a part of NYC's Rockefeller Center?
7. Which famous author served as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross during WWI?
8. Logophobia is a fear of what?
9. What was the last name of the central family on the TV show, "Party of Five?"
10. What is the name for a word or phrase that is repeated to oneself during meditation?

1. anchor man; 2. past lives; 3. June; 4. three; 5. Patsy Cline; 6. Radio City Music Hall; 7. Ernest Hemingway; 8. words; 9. Salinger; 10. mantra.

IQ Trivia

1. Who was the subject of Norman Mailer's 1979 award-winning book, "The Executioner's Song?" (5 points)
2. In medical terms, alopecia is the loss of what? (4 points)
3. What Florida resort town is the setting for the 1960 film, "Where the Boys Are?" (6 points)
4. What state's motto is "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you"? (5 points)
5. Who did Bryant Gumbel replace as host of the "Today" show in 1982? (5 points)

Answers: 1. Gary Gilmore; 2. hair; 3. Fort Lauderdale; 4. Michigan; 5. Tom Brokaw.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Remember the Comeback!



Here's another great video courtesy of Joe at Boston.tv. It is of Quinn, a New England Patriots cheerleader, who was outside of Fenway Park on Sunday asking Red Sox fans about the great miracle comeback of 2004 against the New York Yankees.

I guess if Quinn ever married me, she'd become Quinn Quinn...

World Series Trivia On Tuesday

In honor of the second trip the Red Sox are making to the World Series in four years, I will be serving a round of World Series Trivia as the special category for Trivia Night on Tuesday night. They will be multiple choice questions, so don't sweat it too much. We will also have the usual four other categories to go along with this one. We will also be starting at the regular time of 9 PM also.

This week's Sneak Peek question is:

"How many leaflets does a typical poison ivy plant have?"

Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night. (And for those of you on the Internet looking for World Series trivia, I will have all the questions and answers posted here on my site on Wednesday morning. So come on back then.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Papelbon Does the Riverdance



Here is Jonathan Papelbon once again doing his version of "The Riverdance" around the Red Sox infield after last night's Game 7 win on YouTube. I did my own version of it at Professor Thom's after Pap did his. I figured that I have more Irish blood than Pap, so my version should be better! It got everyone's attention, and unfortunately (or should that be fortunately?) no one recorded my version for posterity.

Pennant Number 12


It was an incredibly memorable Game 7 at Fenway Park last night as the Red Sox won their 12th American League pennant with an 11-2 drubbing of the Cleveland Indians and for the fifth time in team history came back from a two-game deficit and elimination to win a postseason series. It was fourth-most lopsided win ever to decide a playoff series, trailing just the 1996 NLCS win by the Braves over the Cardinals (15 runs), and the Cardinals World Series win in 1934 over Detroit and the Royals 1985 World Series win over St. Louis (both by 11 runs).

Josh Beckett, with his two spectacular wins, was voted MVP of the series. You could have made a good case for Kevin Youkilis winning it though. He hit .500 for the series, going a staggering 14-for-28 with 10 runs scored. His batting average, hits and runs scored are all LCS records.

The score was a lot closer than the nine-run win, as the Red Sox opened the scoring with single runs in the first three innings. They could have added more but they kept hitting into the old-devil double play. (In fact they set a record of hitting into 14 DPs in a seven-game series.)

Cleveland scored single runs in the fourth and fifth off Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Dice Man (who became the first Japanese-born pitcher to win a postseason game) pitched five gritty innings before turning it over to fellow countryman Hideki Okajima. In the seventh, Julio Lugo dropped a popup with one out and looked like it was going to be big trouble. Franklin Gutierrez lined a ball over third base, but third base coach Joel Skinner held up Kenny Lofton at third, who easily could have scored. Casey Blake rapped into a double play to end the threat, and Professor Thom's went bananas.

Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run shot in the seventh to extend the Sox lead to 5-2. Jonathan Papelbon came on with two on for a two-inning save, and got the third out from Ryan Garko, who hit a deep fly to center that Jacoby Ellsbury ran down.

Then in the bottom of the eighth, the Sox blew the game wide open off "unhittable" reliever Rafael Bettencourt. Pedroia, who was red-hot the last three games, doubled with the bases loaded, and Kevin Youkilis banged a shot off the Coke bottles in left to make it 11-2. It was the Sox getting revenge and payback for the Indians' 7-run outburst in the 11th inning of Game 2. Fenway, as well as the bar, was in a total frenzy. It was great to see in this game that the supporting cast around Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz did almost all the damage, as Papi and Manny went just 1-for-8 last night. They carried the club earlier in this postseason, so now it was the rest of the cast's turn to shine.

Papelbon got the last out by getting Blake to hit a ball into the triangle that Coco Crisp made a spectacular running catch on. (That sums up his Gold Glove season in center in a nutshell.) The Sox had their 12th AL pennant, and the celebrations were on, especially in the Greenwich Village bar. The place was jammed all night as you would expect, and once the last out was made, I was in the middle of a madhouse celebration. I had some beer poured on me and enjoyed hugging and high-fiving my friends and other Red Sox fans I didn't know.

It was another great night in my life that involved the Red Sox. It brought back such fond memories of the Riviera three years ago. It totally wiped me out, and I'm still recovering as I write this.

It has to be one bitter pill for the Indians and their fans. After Game 4, they never had a lead in the final three games, and the Sox outscored them, 30-5. Two of their best hitters, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, disappeared in this series. The Cleveland Indians may have lost this series after being up 3-1, but they have nothing to be ashamed of. They are a very good club, and they could be even better next year. My thanks to them, if only for taking the Yankees out in the ALDS.

It was a nail-biter for most of the night last night, but it turned out tremendous in the end.

The Red Sox may have taken about 10 years off my life with all these dramatics over the years and driven me completely crazy at times.

But boy, do I love this team. Bring on the Rockies.

So How Does the Champagne Taste, Garko?

Big mouth Indians first baseman Ryan Garko made one of the most boneheaded statements of the postseason after Cleveland lost Game 5 at home and had to try to win the pennant in Boston. He said: "The champagne tastes just as good on the road as it does at home."

The Red Sox used that as bulletin board material, and actually put that up on the back of their clubhouse door at Fenway. So, how are you enjoying the bubbly now, Ryan?

MLB also jumped the gun by offering Indians fans the paraphernalia you see in the picture that's shown. This was up on MLB's web site shortly after Cleveland won Game 4. I guess they were so sure the Red Sox couldn't come back in this series and that Cleveland had the series all wrapped up.

I guess it also serves those Indians fans for waving those towels that said, "World Series 2007" on them as well. They sure were tempting fate with that, as well as those knuckleheaded Indian fans who held up signs that said, "The Curse Is Back" directed at the Red Sox after the Indians won Game 4. This coming from fans whose team hasn't won a World Series since 1948.

Payback's a bitch, guys.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Game 7: A Red Sox History

The Red Sox have gotten to the 10th Game 7 in their storied history last night with a 12-2 drubbing of the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park last night. In the process, they are trying to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series, something they have done twice in the postseason (1986 ALCS and 2004 ALCS). The Sox are also in Game 7 of the ALCS for the third time in the last five years.

Yesterday we took a look at each Game 6 in Red Sox history. Today it's time to look at each Game 7. The results overall aren't as good, but still it's been as interesting as Game 6.

1903 World Series at PIT: The immortal Cy Young went all the way in the Americans 7-3 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh to send the first World Series to a Game 8 (it was best-of-nine) back to Boston, where the Americans won 3-0 to win the first ever Fall Classic.

1912 World Series vs. NYG: The Giants tied the World Series at 3 at Fenway with an 11-4 pounding of the Sox, as they score 6 runs off Smokey Joe Wood in the first inning. (There was a tie game in Game 2, so it brought on an eight-game series.) The Red Sox would win the World Series the next day with a 3-2 win in 10 innings on Larry Gardner's sacrifice fly.

1946 World Series at STL: The favored Red Sox were tied with the Cardinals, 3-3 n the eighth when, with Enos Slaughter on first, when Harry Walker gets a base hit to left and Slaughter scores all the way from first in his famous "mad dash." Johnny Pesky is called a goat in the series for holding on to the ball as Slaughter headed for the plate, but film evidence contradicts that.

1967 World Series vs. STL: The Red Sox were down 3-1 in the series, but fought back to win the next two to force a Game 7. It was a matchup of two of the best pitchers in baseball: Bob Gibson vs. Jim Lonborg. Lonborg won Game 5 and pitched on short rest, but Gibson was just too much as he won his third game of the series, 7-2.

1975 World Series vs. CIN: The Red Sox won Game 6 in dramatic style and took a 3-0 lead in the first inning behind Bill Lee. But it wouldn't last as Cincinnati tied the game with two runs in the sixth and Tony Perez hit a solo shot off Lee to tie the game. The Reds won it in the ninth off rookie Jim Burton on Joe Morgan's single.

1986 ALCS vs. CAL: The shellshocked Angels were no match for the Red Sox, as they scored seven runs in the first four innings that included home runs by Jim Rice and Dwight Evans and won 8-1. It would be Roger Clemens' only postseason win in a Red Sox uniform, and it capped off a remarkable comeback by the Red Sox, as they were down to their last strike in Game 5 and came all the way back to win.

1986 World Series at NYM: After the devastating loss of two nights earlier, the Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but like in Game 7 of 1975, they would lose the lead starting in the sixth, as the Mets scored three in that inning and two more in the seventh and would go on to an 8-5 win.

2003 ALCS at NYY: It was Pedro vs. Clemens. The Sox scored early, and built up a 5-2 lead on home runs by Trot Nixon, Kevin Millar, and David Ortiz. Pedro Martinez pitched seven solid innings and appeared to be leaving the game...and you know the rest.

2004 ALCS at NYY: In the immortal words of Joe Castiglione: "The greatest win in team history." The Red Sox cap the greatest comeback in MLB postseason history as Johnny Damon hits two huge home runs and drives in six as Yankee fans sit back and watch the Red Sox celebrate their first AL pennant in 18 years on their sacred turf. Exactly one week later it would conclude with the Red Sox' first championship in 86 years.

So, the Red Sox are 3-6 in Game 7s in their history. It may not be as glorious as some of the Game 6 wins (but the last one in 2004 sure did negate a lot of the previous hard losses), but it sure has been fascinating to look back at. We'll see where tonight's game lives up as far as past Game 7 are concerned. It should be fun.

Schilling, Drew Get the Sox to Game 7

It was another Game 6 to remember as Curt Schilling won his 10th career postseason game and J.D. Drew got the biggest hit of his Red Sox career as the Sox evened the ALCS at 3 with a 12-2 pounding of Cleveland at Fenway last night.

The Red Sox loaded the bases against Fausto Carmona with no outs, but couldn't get anyone in after Manny Ramirez struck out and Mike Lowell hit a short fly ball. That brought up Drew, with moans not only from the crowd at Fenway but also at Professor Thom's. "Third out" I thought to myself.

But Drew slammed a 3-1 pitch into the camera well in center field to send both places into a frenzy and give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead. Carmona got blasted for seven runs by the third, as the Sox had their hitting shoes on, led by Drew (5 RBI), Kevin Youkilis (3 hits), Dustin Pedroia (2 hits), Julio Lugo (2 RBI) and Jacoby Ellsbury ( 1 RBI), who replaced Coco Crisp in center field. A very hopeful sign for the Red Sox is the guys who've been struggling were at the center of the rally in the third, where the Red Sox scored six runs and put the game away.

It was another night to remember for Curt Schilling, who struck out five, walked none, and allowed just two earned runs in seven innings. He received a standing ovation from the Fenway Faithful after he completed the seventh, as it could have been the last time on a Fenway mound as a Red Sox pitcher. Schilling is also now 4-0 in games in the postseason facing elimination. The Red Sox are now 5-0 in Game 6s played at Fenway Park in their history.

So tonight, it's all on the line. One game for the American League championship. Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the ball against Jake Westbrook. Daisuke has struggled in this postseason, not getting past the fifth in either start. It's time for him to step up and give the Red Sox at least five good innings, before Terry Francona turns it over to a well-rested bullpen. Everybody except Curt Schilling will be on hand if needed, including Josh Beckett.

"Game Seven." Two special words in the annals of sports.

Hopefully it will be a special and memorable night tonight at Fenway.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Three Years Ago Today


"Ground ball to second, Pokey Reese has it. He throws to first and the Red Sox have won the American League pennant. The greatest victory in team history." --Joe Castiglione

"We shocked the world! We shocked the world today!" --Kevin Millar

"I told you! I told you!" --David Ortiz, moments after the last out

The greatest postseason comeback in MLB history happened three years ago today. It will forever be sweet, and it will never, ever get old.

Game 6: A Red Sox History

Tonight the Red Sox and Indians meet in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS at Fenway Park. They have been involved in some of the more famous Game 6s in baseball history, and it got me to thinking about all the previous games they'd been involved in.

Courtesy of Baseball Reference, I found some surprising results. This will be their 11th Game 6 in team history, and they have a winning record in the previous 10, going 7-3. And a real surprise is that the Sox have never lost a Game 6 at home in Fenway Park, going 4-0.

Here is a breakdown of the ten previous Game 6s the Sox have played.

1903 World Series at PIT: In the first World Series, the Americans (before they were known as the Red Sox) were down 3-2 when they beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-3, behind Bill Dinneen. They would win the next two games (it was a best of nine series) and the first World Series championship.
1912 World Series at NYG: The Red Sox were up 3-1 in the series (Game 2 ended in a tie), when the Giants won Game 6 in New York, 5-2, as they scored five runs in the first and never looked back. The series returned to Fenway where the Giants won Game 7, and forced a Game 8 that the Red Sox won in dramatic style, 3-2, in 10 innings.
1918 World Series vs. CHC: The Red Sox won Game 6 at Fenway over the Cubs, 2-1, behind Carl Mays. It was the only Game 6 that the Red Sox won a World Series on, and it was also won on September 11, as the regular season ended on Labor Day due to restrictions imposed by World War I.
1946 World Series at STL: The Red Sox were up 3-2 as the World Series returned to St. Louis, and the Cardinals won, 4-1, behind Harry Brecheen. It forced a Game 7, and Brecheen would come out of the pen in the eighth to get the win as Enos Slaughter did his "mad dash" from first on a single to score the Series-winning run.
1967 World Series vs. STL: The Impossible Dream Red Sox were down 3-1 in the Series against the Cardinals when they won Game 5 and forced it back to Fenway. The Red Sox exploded for four home runs, two by Rico Petrocelli, and won 8-4, and forced Game 7 the next day. But Bob Gibson was simply the best pitcher on the planet and beat Jim Lonborg on short rest as St. Louis won, 7-2.
1975 World Series vs. CIN: An epic game for the ages. Reds led 6-3 in the eighth as the Sox rallied for three when pinch-hitter Bernie Carbo hit a home run in the center field bleachers. It continued on to the eleventh when Carlton Fisk hit Pat Darcy's second pitch off the left field foul pole to force Game 7 the next day, which Cincinnati won. It has been called the greatest World Series game of all-time and put a slumping sport back on the map. Pudge's "waving" the ball fair is still one of the game's most enduring images.
1986 ALCS vs. CAL: The Red Sox were down 3-1 when they rallied from three down in the ninth, capped by Dave Henderson's dramatic home run, and they eventually won in extra innings. The Angels were completely demoralized, and the Red Sox bashed them back at Fenway in Game 6, 10-4, behind Oil Can Boyd. The Sox would win the pennant the next day, 8-1, as Jim Rice and Dwight Evans hit home runs. It would be Roger Clemens' only postseason win in a Red Sox uniform. This series was one of the greatest comebacks in postseason history, but it would be overshadowed by what happened next.
1986 World Series at NYM: This has been rehashed ten million times, so I'll spare you all the details.
2003 ALCS at NYY: The Red Sox were down 3-2 in the ALCS at Yankee Stadium with John Burkett pitching for the Sox. The Red Sox came from behind twice, and scored three runs in the seventh, and a two-run home run by Trot Nixon gave the Red Sox a 9-6 win and forced a Game 7 the next day. And you know the gory details of what happened that night.
2004 ALCS at NYY: One of the most legendary postseason series of all time. The Red Sox come from 0-3 down to win Game 4 and 5 on David Ortiz' heroics. Game 6 features Curt Schilling pitching with a bum right ankle and a sock that's blood stained from a pre-game surgical procedure. It also has Mark Bellhorn blasting a three-run homer and Alex Rodriguez gaining a new nickname: "Slappy." The 4-2 win forces a Game 7 the next day, as the Sox made history as the first team to get to Game 7 after losing the first three. And they humiliate New York on their own home turf, blasting them 10-3 and going to their first World Series in 18 years. They would win that in four straight and reward all their long-suffering fans with a World Series win that cap off one of the most historic postseason rides in history.

So the Red Sox Game 6 history certainly has been interesting. We'll see if tonight's game enters Red Sox lore as another memorable event. I wouldn't bet against it being one.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Commander Kicks Tribe Ass

Josh Beckett's reputation as a big-game pitcher took a giant leap forward last night as he put the Red Sox on his back and pitched eight sensational innings as the Red Sox won, 7-1 and forced the ALCS back to Boston for a Game 6.

Commander Kick Ass allowed a run in the first on two base hits and a double play. But that was all he would allow. Cleveland put two men on in the fifth with two outs, but he struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the threat.

Earlier in that inning, Beckett got into a shouting match with Kenny Lofton after Lofton dropped his bat thinking he had gotten ball four. He flied out on the next pitch as Beckett yelled at him. Lofton cursed back at him, and started walking toward him after he touched first base. Benches emptied but no punched were thrown. (Good job by Fox after the game showing the history between them. In 2005, Beckett was shown jawing with Lofton after he did that ridiculous bat flip after walking in a game between the Marlins and Phillies.) It was at that point that Beckett drew a line in the sand, and basically told the Indians, "You ain't getting s**t off me now!"

(The Indians even tried to pull a Yankee-like stunt by bringing in Danielle Peck, a country singer and former girlfriend of Beckett's, to sing the National Anthem. They claim to know nothing about their relationship, and it was just a coincidence. Yeah, right. The Commander was not amused, and not at all rattled.)

Kevin Youkilis hit a home run in the first to get it going, and I had a feeling this was going to be the Red Sox night. (My buddy Eric was also wearing his lucky 2003 Syracuse NCAA Champions shirt, one he wore throughout the Red Sox historic eight-straight win postseason as well. So I knew that Game 6 was going to be a reality.)

The umps blew yet another big call when a ball Manny Ramirez hit bounced off the top of the right field wall and back on the field and was ruled in play. it drove in David Ortiz but it should have been a home run because hit went passed the yellow line on the wall. I know it's like beating a dead horse, but MLB umpiring continues to be incredibly awful. That call cost the Sox a run, but fortunately not the game.

The Red Sox tacked on two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth to put the game away. But the story was Beckett, who continues to be "The Anti-Clemens." (Josh now has three times as many postseason wins than Clemens had in his Red Sox postseason career, and in just three starts.)

There will now be a Game 6 at Fenway Park on Saturday night, with Fausto Carmona facing Curt Schilling. There have been four Game 6s at Fenway in its history, and the Red Sox have won them all: the 1918 World Series against the Cubs (and the Sox won the Series with that game), 1967 World Series against St. Louis, the 1975 World Series that featured Pudge Fisk's blast and the 1986 ALCS blow out over the Angels.

So how did Schilling do in his last "Game 6?"

Only two words will answer that question: bloody sock.

Torre Rejects Yankees' Offer

It's all over the New York and national news today, and it's even upstaged last night's exciting Red Sox win. The Yankees' brass attempted to save face by offering Joe Torre a one-year deal with incentives to remain as manager. It was a 33% pay cut over his previous deal at the base, but he could only make it back if the Yankees went to the World Series.

It was a cheap, petty set-up to try and not fire him. They knew he wanted a multi-year deal and knew he would reject it. They treated him shabbily the last ten days. Torre showed enough class to meet with the Yankee boneheads to reject the offer in person.

By saying no to the Yankees yesterday, Joe Torre got his dignity back. Good for him.

And I think that Vito Spatafore, onetime Sopranos henchman, says it best for Torre here. (My thanks to Joe Gannascoli and his web site for the photo.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Four Times in 21 Years

The Red Sox are currently in a 3-1 hole in the ALCS against the Indians, so to boost the morale of the troops out there, I thought this would be a good time to review those times when the Red Sox have been down by at least two games or more in a postseason series and have staged miraculous comebacks.

It's happened four times in the last 21 years, and no other team in MLB can make that claim. So please don't pull the shroud over the Sox just yet.

1986 ALCS vs. California Angels (down 1-3): It looked all but over as the Red Sox were down 5-2 in the ninth against Angels starter Mike Witt. Bill Buckner led off the rally (everyone forgets that) and singled, and Don Baylor hit a two-run homer to make it 5-4. Then manager Gene Mauch pulls Witt for Gary Lucas with two outs, and he hits Rich Gedman with his only pitch. He then brings in Donnie Moore to face Dave Henderson. On 2 and 2, Henderson hits one of the most dramatic homers in Red Sox history to give the Red Sox the lead (pictured). California ties it in the ninth, but Hendu's sac fly in the 11th is the game-winner. The Red Sox return home and demolish the Angels and win the AL pennant. It is still one of the greatest and most underappeciated comebacks in MLB history, and only eclipsed by the same Sox team 18 years later.

1999 ALDS vs. Cleveland Indians (down 0-2): After getting pummeled in Game 2 in Cleveland, the Red Sox return home and do some pummelling of their own. They win Game 3 9-3, and in Game 4 set an MLB record by beating the Indians, 23-7 to force the series back to Cleveland. The first few innings are a slugfest, which included a grand slam by Troy O'Leary. With the game tied 8-8 in the fourth, Pedro Martinez comes out of the bullpen and pitches six no-hit innings and place in Red Sox and MLB lore and the Red Sox go on to win, 12-8 and face the Yankees in the ALCS.

2003 ALDS vs. Oakland A's (down 0-2): The Sox drop the first two games in Oakland, and return to Fenway and the A's make a number of base running blunders that keep the Sox in the game. It's tied at 1 until the bottom of the 11th when Trot Nixon hits a two run homer into the centerfield bleachers to send the Fenway Faithful into a frenzy. The next day, the Red Sox come from behind twice, the winner being a two-run double in the eighth by David Ortiz off future Red Sox hero Keith Foulke. Game 5 features all kinds of excitement, from a Manny Ramirez bomb, Pedro Martinez pitching seven gritty innings, a scary collision involving Johnny Damon and Damian Jackson, and Derek Lowe coming out of the pen to strike out Terrence Long with a 3-2 curve with the bases loaded and two outs and a one-run lead. It would set up the latest "War to End All Wars" with the Evil Empire in the ALCS.

2004 ALCS vs. New York Yankees (down 0-3): The stuff of legends. It will told and retold down through the years. 100 years from now, it will still be "The Greatest Comeback in the History of American Sports." You know the events. Dave Roberts steals second and scores the tying run in the ninth on Bill Mueller's single. David Ortiz wins it with a blast. He also wins Game 5 with a single to short center. Curt Schilling and The Bloody Sock gets the Red Sox to Game 7. The Red Sox come out firing in the first inning of Game 7 and embarrass the Yankees and the fans on their own home turf and win their first AL pennant in 18 years and go on to win their first World Series since 1918, and end all of that media-driven "curse" nonsense.

So my friends, recent history has shown that when the Sox have their backs to the wall, they've played some of their best postseason baseball in the last generation. We'll find out what happens tonight, as Josh Beckett gets the ball against C.C. Sabathia. Beckett's been in this same exact position before, as a member of the Florida Marlins, he shutout the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of the 2003 NLCS, as the Marlins were down 3-1 in that series and came all the way back to win the NL pennant (and then the World Series as well).

65 teams in MLB postseason history have been down 3-1, and 10 have come all the way back to win the series, including the Red Sox, on two of those occasions. The last time any team has come back from 3-1 in the postseason? Did you have to ask? The 2004 Red Sox.

It's in their hands now. They have to score some runs for Beckett tonight, and get the ALCS back to Fenway. A loud and raucous crowd will be at Professor Thom's tonight to root them on.

Go for it, guys. The time is now.

Trivia Q&A: October 17

On the off-night in-between games of the ALCS, we had an understandably lighter crowd in Professor Thom's on Wednesday night for Trivia. At first it looked like we might have to cancel it for this week, but fortunately we had enough teams by 9 PM to get going, and we eventually had 10 teams take part.

This may have been one of the best nights ever in terms of teams rolling up points. You can say the questions may have been easier (which I really don't think was true) or the players were much brighter than the usual crowd we get (that's debatable). The toughest category was the Name That Year one, but all the scores were still pretty respectable.

I thought IQ Trivia would be the toughest one overall, as I thought I came up with some really hard questions. But seven of the ten teams got at least 3 of the 5 questions correct. And the team called If You Haven't Heard, Our Teammate Was On WNYC Today won by three points, and they actually led the contest from start to finish. Nice job, guys.

Trivia Night will return to its usual day and time next Tuesday, October 23 at 9 PM.

Current Events
1. President Bush awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama today, and angered this country by doing so.
2. This rap mogul was involved in a fistfight in a Manhattan nightclub last Saturday night, but there is a chance that no charges maybe filed in the case.
3. This TV personality announced yesterday that he is a candidate for President of the United States, and he made the announcement on his own TV show.
4. The LAPD are investigating whether a car crash involving this actor last Friday night was actually a hit-and-run he was involved in.
5. The wife of Vice-President Cheney says that her husband and this presidential candidate are actually distant eighth cousins.
6. Leonid Hurwicz, Eric Maskin, and Roger Myerson all won the Nobel Prize in this field it was announced today.
7. This country recalled its ambassador to the US after the House Committee on Foriegn Affairs passed a resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide.
8. A live-action TV series spinoff is currently in the works based on this extremely successful movie franchise, it was announced yesterday.
9. Oil prices surged to this record price per barrel today.
10. This comedy film, which was just released last Friday, was the number one film in America at the box office for the week.

Answers: 1. China; 2. Sean (Diddy) Combs; 3. Stephen Colbert; 4. Orlando Bloom; 5. Barack Obama; 6. economics; 7. Turkey; 8. "Star Wars;" 9. $89; 10. "Why Did I Get Married."

Name That Year
1. World War I comes to an end.
2. Ronald Reagan is first inaugurated as president.
3. "The Godfather" is first released in theaters.
4. The Berlin Wall is officially torn down.
5. A strike cancels the World Series for the first and only time.
6. The Titanic hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sinks.
7. Elvis Presley dies in Memphis at the age of 42.
8. Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King are both assassinated.
9. Alan Shepard is the first American in space.
10. Madonna released her first, self-titled album.

Answers: 1. 1918; 2. 1981; 3. 1972; 4. 1989; 5. 1994; 6. 1912; 7. 1977; 8. 1968; 9. 1961; 10. 1983.

True or False ("The Q Train")
1. A pimiento is a type of pepper.
2. According to Greek legend, Gordius, king of Phrygia, devised a famous knot.
3. For over 10 years, best-selling author John Irving also worked as a hotel owner.
4. A mortarboard is worn over the top of the head.
5. In Spanish, the word "pollo" means pork.
6. Paul McCartney never sang the title song for a James Bond film.
7. The Seattle Space Needle appears at the center of the "Starbucks" logo.
8. Pediatricians specialize in treating children.
9. The art of arranging and gluing images and objects to a surface is called collage.
10. Steve Rubell was an owner of a famous New York nightclub called The Copacabana.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, he was a wrestling coach; 4. true; 5. false, it means chicken; 6. false, he sang "Live and Let Die;" 7. false, it's a mermaid-like creature; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, he owned Studio 54.

General Knowledge
1. What talk show personality appeared in the John Waters films "Hairspray" and "Cry Baby?"
2. Biologist Alfred Kinsey rose to fame in the 1940s for his studies in what field?
3. Joshua Bell is known as a virtuoso of what musical instrument?
4. On the 1980s TV series, "Hart to Hart," what are the first names of the lead characters, the Harts?
5. The Mensheviks were a political party during the revolution in what country?
6. The home movie camera of Abraham Zapruder captured what famous event?
7. In the 1999 animated film, "Tarzan," what actress supplied the voice for the character Jane?
8. What name was given to post-Civil War Northerners who moved South to get involved in politics or business?
9. A fogged-over bathroom mirror is an example of what phenomenon?
10. What kind of creature is a John Dory?

Answers: 1. Ricki Lake; 2. human sexuality; 3. violin; 4. Jonathan and Jennifer; 5. Russia; 6. JFK assassination; 7. Minnie Driver; 8. Carpetbaggers; 9. condensation; 10. fish.

IQ Trivia
1. In German legend, who is the beautiful siren of the Rhine River who lures boatmen to their death? (6 points)
2. Whose famous poem states that "Beauty is truth, truth beauty?" (5 points)
3. The North American Vexillological Association is concerned with what? (5 points)
4. Which US state is the home of the Olympic mountain range? (4 points)
5. In a common phrase about impending disaster, the sword of whom is said to be hanging over your head? (5 points)

Answers: 1. Lorelei; 2. John Keats; 3. flags; 4. Washington; 5. Damocles.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On the Verge of Winter

Well, no room for error now.

Tim Wakefield pitched four solid innings and got into a pitchers duel with Paul Byrd, but the wheels came off in the fifth as he allowed five runs including a Casey Blake home run, as the Indians went on to a 7-3 victory. They are now one win away from going to the World Series for the first time since 1997.

Wakefield was also the victim of some bad luck in that horrible fifth. Kevin Youkilis juggled a foul pop on a tough play that extended an at-bat by Asdrubal Cabrera, who lined a ball off Wakefield's glove. The ball was heading right for Dustin Pedroia, who might have had a shot at a double play. That drove in the second run, and Wakefield eventually departed with the score 3-0 and two on.

Manny Delcarmen didn't look good at all, and gave up a three-run shot to Jhonny Peralta to make it 6-0. One run later it was 7-0 and it looked all but over.

But the Sox finally came alive in the sixth, as Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz hit homers off Byrd, who was then finished for the night. Manny Ramirez then launched a long home run to center off Jensen Lewis. He then went into that stupid "pimping"at home plate, raising his arms in the air like he just won the game (like in Game 2 of the ALDS). As much as I love Manny as a ballplayer, that was a total bullshit thing to do, especially being down by five runs at the time. I am honestly surprised that the next time he was up, Rafael Betancourt didn't put one behind his ear.

Betancourt came on in the seventh and shut the Red Sox down the rest of the way, and now the Sox face elimination on Thursday night with Josh Beckett getting the ball. In many corners of Red Sox Nation, the second guessers are having a field day with Francona's decision to give Beckett more rest instead of going to him on short rest last night. If Wakefield had given the Sox innings and they had won, Francona's a genius. It didn't happen, so now he's probably being called "Francoma" by his critics. He took a calculated risk, and it didn't work.

But let's face the facts here. The starting pitchers have let the Sox down in this series. Neither Curt Schilling nor Daisuke Matsuzaka could give them five innings in their starts, and put the Red Sox into holes. Wakefield had not pitched in 17 days and was terrific for 4 innings. But he also couldn't get them to the sixth either. It is the first time all year that the Red Sox have had three straight games when the starter couldn't finish the fifth inning. Going to Beckett last night would have been seen as a panic move as well.

And the offense has to take some blame here too. Up until the sixth inning last night, they had gone the previous 20 innings and scored just 2 runs. The bottom of the order has not hit when it has counted, and it's also a tribute to the quality pitching of the Indians.

Cleveland has outplayed the Sox in just about every phase of the game in their three wins. It's no accident they are up 3-1 right now. This is a very good Indians team, a team that finished the regular season with the same record as the Red Sox.

But it's not over yet. The Red Sox have been in deep holes in the postseason in their recent history as we all know, so they're not dead yet. But they've got to pitch better and get hits when they really matter.

It won't be easy against this Cleveland team. But they've done it before.

Pick the cliche of your choice. But a loss on Thursday means the next game after that would be next April.

Trivia's On For Tonight

The Red Sox played Game 4 of the ALCS last night, so there is no game to be played tonight. That means that Trivia will be on tonight, and we'll get started at about 9 PM.

We will have the usual four categories, plus a return of "Name That Year." I will give you an event in history and you will tell me what year it occurred in.

Here is tonight's Sneak Peek question:

"A fogged-over bathroom mirror is an example of what phenomenon?"

Hope to see many of you tonight.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Trivia Reminder

Another reminder to all of you Trivia players out there. Trivia Night is scheduled for Wednesday night this week, October 17, due to tonight's Red Sox Game 4 ALCS game. The huge crowds would make it impossible to play tonight, so we moved it. It will return to its normal Tuesday night slot next week.

However, if the game gets rained out tonight, it will be made up tomorrow night, and that would undoubtedly cancel Trivia for this week. But hopefully they will get the game in (there is a chance of rain for Cleveland for tonight) and everything will fall into place.

I will have the Sneak Peek question up some time later tonight or early tomorrow, along with my next update.

21 Out of 22

The Colorado Rockies continued their Magic Carpet Ride last night at Coors Field as they won their first National League Championship with a 6-4 win over Arizona and a sweep of their series. Congratulations to them and their fans.

It's a team just refuses to lose and finds a way to win every time out. They have now won 21 of their last 22 games, the last loss was ironically at home to Arizona on September 28 that gave the Diamondbacks the NL West title (and it was the same night the Red Sox wrapped up the AL East).

And if the Rockies do win the whole schebang, they should vote a special full share to Tony Gwynn, Jr. He had the hit that kept the Rockies playoff hopes alive on September 29, as he tied a game for the Brewers that day against his dad's old team, the Padres, with two outs in the ninth, and Milwaukee went on to win that contest in extra innings. They won again the next day and that set up the one-game playoff in Colorado and set the Rockies on their way.

The Rockies are getting that cliched term "Team of Destiny" put on them. But wrapping the NLCS so quickly might actually be to their disadvantage, as they will now get 9 days off before the World Series begins, which is a week from tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if the long layoff hurts a red-hot team such as them.

The Diamondbacks had a great season, and like the Rockies are a young and talented team that should be in the hunt for the NL title for years to come. But they could not overcome the Colorado steamroller.

And the Red Sox 2004 historic comeback from 0-3 remains unchallenged.

Rain Wouldn't Be a Bad Thing

Daisuke Matsuzaka came up lemons again in his second straight postseason start last night, going 4 2/3 innings and gave up 4 earned runs as the Red Sox find themselves in a 2-1 hole in the ALCS as the Indians prevailed, 4-2.

The Red Sox sleepwalked through this one against Jake Westbrook, who the Sox had hit better than .380 against in 2007. Kudos to Westbrook, who pitched a terrific game as his sinker was working beautifully. But the Red Sox had a golden chance to put the hurt on him early, but like too many times in 2007, they let a great opportunity go to waste. They wound up hitting into three DPs, and Jason Varitek's two-run shot in the seventh got the score back to 4-2, but they did absolutely nothing after that.

With bases loaded and no outs in the second, Jason Varitek hit a short fly to left that Manny Ramirez could not score on. And then Coco Crisp rapped into a double play to kill the inning. Kenny Lofton hit a two-run homer off Matsuzaka to make the second inning that much more painful.

But one of the bigger stories of the night was the absolutely absymal home plate umpiring on the part of Brian Gorman. The guy's strike zone was about 10 feet across the plate. He called strikes on both teams that were clearly balls, and the most memorable one was a 3-0 inside fastball on Manny Ramirez with a man on in the sixth. Manny eventually hit into a double play to kill yet another inning. But it might have been a far different inning had Gorman called that pitch ball four.

I've said this before and I'll keep on saying it. The umpiring is in the worst shape I have ever seen in my entire life as a baseball fan, and MLB really needs to do something about it. I have never seen more blown calls than in 2007. They have to weed out incompetents like Gorman and get the standard back up again. Being an umpire shouldn't be a lifetime position, like being pope or a Supreme Court justice. Gorman should be ashamed of the game he called last night. It was beyond putrid.

Now the Red Sox HAVE to win tonight in Cleveland. Terry Francona is giving the ball to Tim Wakefield, who has not pitched since September 29. Tito has earned my trust as a manager, especially in the postseason. He showing faith in Wake, who's always been a team guy. But he's passing on Josh Beckett on three days rest. Tonight in Cleveland, the forecast is for rain and possible thunderstorms. So right now, a rainout today may not be the worst thing for the Red Sox, as Game 4 would be played tomorrow night, and Beckett could be brought back on normal rest, and be available on three days rest for a Game 7 on Sunday.

But if they do play tonight, they have to hit Paul Byrd, Cleveland's starter, early and get some runs for Wakefield and take the pressure off him. Otherwise, they could find themselves in big trouble. They need a much better effort tonight, assuming Mother Nature does cooperate.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Superstar in the Making

In just his fifth professional football game, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had one of the greatest days any professional football player has ever had yesterday. And I went to a friend's house on Long Island and missed the whole thing.

He set a Vikings record with 224 yards rushing, breaking Chuck Foreman's 1976 team record of 200 yards against the Eagles. He scored three TDs of runs of 67, 73 and 35 yards. He also had the third greatest game in terms of all-purpose yards, and it was the most rushing yards any back has ever had against the Chicago Bears in any game in their history. Peterson now has the second most yards in history for a running back after his first five pro games, with only Eric Dickerson gaining more in that short a time.

Despite all of Peterson's heroics, the Vikings needed a 55-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell with 4 seconds left to win it, 34-31. The defense got torched for two Chicago TDs in the final minutes to tie the game at 31. But Peterson took the kickoff after the last TD and returned it 55 yards and that set up Longwell's game-winner. The Vikings are now 2-3, and play the Cowboys in Dallas next Sunday. (And I will be watching!)

It was nothing short of a spectacular game. Every score on the day, either TD or FG, was at least 30 yards or more. Tavaris Jackson passed for just 133 yards, but he threw a 60-yard TD pass to Troy Williamson for the first Vikings score in the first quarter.

But it was a day for the ages for Peterson, who has clearly taken the number one running back position away from Chester Taylor. They have to be careful with Peterson, but he looks like a lock for Rookie of the Year right now.

It Never, Ever Gets Old

In the ninth inning of last night's Game 3 of the NLCS, the Colorado Rockies were one out away from a victory (which they got, 4-1) over the Arizona Diamondbacks. A graphic popped up on the screen.

It is the everlasting legacy of three Octobers ago.

"Only once in 29 postseason series has a team come back from being 0-3 down to win. (Bos vs. NYY 2004 ALCS)"

However, in today's NY Post, I think writer Mark Hale's a little confused. He wrote:

"Barring a Mets-like collapse, the Rockies will play Game 1 in Cleveland or Boston next Wednesday night."

You're confusing your New York teams, aren't you Mark? I think it was the Yankees who collapsed in spectacular (postseason) style three years ago, no?

Anyway, it just never gets old. Good luck to the D-Backs. They're going to need it.

Someone might want to show them a copy of the 2004 World Series video today.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

When Bullpen Arsonists Strike

OK, it won't be a sweep.

An epic postseason game turned really ugly in the wee hours this morning, as the old friend Trot Nixon broke a 6-6 tie in the eleventh inning as the Cleveland Indians scored seven runs in the inning and knotted the ALCS at one with a 13-6 win.

It was a night when the starting pitchers didn't last until the fifth, and it would be a battle of the bullpens. Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell both hit homers for the Sox in back-to-back fashion, and Grady Sizemore and Jhonny Peralta both connected for Cleveland.

At first the Red Sox pen did a fine job. Manny Delcarmen gave up a run in the sixth that tied it, but Hideki Okajima, Mike Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon shut Cleveland down through the tenth inning. Then, Terry Francona had a tough decision to make. At the time I thought it was the right one.

At Professor Thom's, the overflow crowd generally moaned at the sight of Eric Gagne coming in for the 11th. He started off strong by fanning Casey Blake. But Sizemore singled and he walked Asdrubal Cabrera on four pitches. This left Francona no choice but to go to Javier Lopez to face pinch-hitter Trot Nixon. As everyone knows, Trot has a tough time with lefties (his lifetime average versus southpaws is .218), but jumped on the first pitch and singled in Sizemore.

And it got truly ugly from there. Lopez wound up giving up three runs and Jon Lester gave up a mammoth three-run shot to Franklin Gutierrez to complete the carnage, and send the series back to Cleveland.

And at the bar, as it got ugly in Boston, it nearly got ugly at Thom's too. Two obnoxious Yankee fans (or anti-Red Sox fans) nearly started two fights, as the Red Sox throng was pretty pissed off at the turn of events. They got a "We're Still Playing" chant from us. (I'll never get these idiotic fans. They have their choice of 5,000 bars in Manhattan to watch games like this and not have to worry about Sox fans, and yet some can't resist coming in and making trouble with Red Sox fans, many of whom have had more than a few adult beverages. Fortunately, no punches were thrown in either incident, just some pushing and shoving, and the staff acted quickly to diffuse the trouble.)

I'd also like anyone to give me one good reason why Eric Gagne should be on the World Series roster should the Sox advance. He couldn't resist doing his tightrope act in Game 1, as the Sox led by 7 in the ninth on Friday and he struggled, and last night he began the inferno that led to a full scale five-alarm fire that wound up evening the series. It was clear last night Tito has no faith in him and only went to him in desperation. I only hope we don't see him with a ball in his hand in any kind of close situation in this postseason again.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

They Can't Let the Yankees Go

I saw an article today in the New York Daily News today by John Harper, who is another of the New York sportswriters I really have no use for. And of course, being based here in NYC, he's got to write something in regard to the Yankees not being in the ALCS.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/2007/10/13/2007-10-13_indians_cant_bring_that_yankee_buzz_to_f.html

In"The Feeling at Fenway Fails to Rival Buzz that Bombers Bring," Harper seems to think that somehow we are all thanking our lucky stars as Red Sox fans that the Big, Bad Evil Empire isn't playing the Red Sox in the ALCS, as "our fatalism" would kick in and we'd expect the Sox just to roll over and die.

Am I glad the Yankees aren't playing now? Yes I am. But for reasons that drive fans crazy, like the endless hype and crap from hack writers like Harper and all the nonsense that Fox would roll out about it (you know, all the history between the two teams, always mentioning those guys with middle initial "F", blah, blah, blah). Listen, I'm sure there's a sense of relief from many Red Sox fans that the Yankees are history, but this is a damn good Cleveland Indians team and they aren't to be taken lightly. And like many in Red Sox Nation, those two ALCS showdowns earlier this decade were incredibly exciting, especially in 2004. But I'd rather not have to go through that again. Right now I'm glad to see the Sox in a series with the Indians, so we can concentrate on baseball, and not the endless sidebar palaver that comes with playing the Yankees.

It's a pleasure to watch baseball right now, especially since the Red Sox are winning, and not have to deal with all the Yankees nonsense. Especially from sportswriters.

I know that not having the Yankees around in this series gives writers less of an angle to their stories, but frankly, that's their problem. Too damn bad that the Red Sox-Indians series isn't "sexy" enough for these so-called writers. The Sox and Tribe are only the two best teams in baseball for the entire 2007 season.

And a newsflash to those writers like Harper: the Yankees weren't good enough to beat the Indians, and weren't good enough when it counted. They are home playing golf right now. Get over it.