MLB Trade Deadline

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Would Clemens Have the Guts to Do This?

I read this morning (courtesy of a link through Joy of Sox) that the agents of disgraced former future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens have been contacted by the producers of the newest Fox reality show, "The Moment of Truth" to come on their show and be hooked up to a lie detector about his alleged steroid use.

Here is a real chance for Clemens to prove his innocence in front of the world and take a polygraph test. (The show puts contestants on the show and hooks them up to a polygraph and has their friends and relatives in the audience.) The producers have said they will donate $500,000 to the charity of Clemens' choice if he comes on the show.

Here's more on the story, from TMZ.com: http://www.tmz.com/2008/01/25/is-clemens-ready-for-his-moment-of-truth/

Fat chance this will actually happen. Clemens has far too much to lose if he does it. If he fails it, he will be even more disgraced before the entire world and he knows it. The Carpetbagger simply can't take that risk, even for charity. He has that deposition next week with Congress, and then makes an appearance before Congress and the whole world on February 13.

That date will surely be his real Moment of Truth.

The Winter Rockies?

I got an email from my friend Dan today, and he drew a very interesting parallel between the 2007 National League champion Colorado Rockies and the current NFC champion New York Giants:

The Giants are the NFL equivalent of the Colorado Rockies. Played hot on the road all year…..got insanely hot at the tail end of the year…….steamrolled through the playoffs with tremendous momentum……..made it to the final round and faced a longer than normal lay off prior to meeting up with a superior team from the New England market……you can figure out the rest.

Like the Rockies, the Giants also got off to a bad start, as the Giants lost their first two games, and I don't think anyone would have guessed the Giants would make it all the way to Arizona. And when the Rockies played the Red Sox last June (and won two out of three in that series), could anyone have predicted they would play again in October?

We'll see what happens on Sunday, as the Boston area teams go for their sixth title this decade.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Trivia Q&A: January 29

We had one of the best nights of Trivia ever on Tuesday night, as Professor Thom's was as crowded as I've ever seen it for any Trivia Night. We had a new record number of teams: 24 in all. (A few people actually asked me if the bar had had a write up in either the New York Times or Time Out New York.) And the scores were as high as I've ever seen them on any night. (It was either a case of the questions were a bit too easy or we had a high percentage of smart people there last night. Probably a combo of the two.)

The scores were very high for Current Events, and especially for Super Bowl Trivia, as admittedly they weren't the hardest questions about the Super Bowl. (Exactly half the teams got a perfect ten in the round.) The True or False round also saw some very high scores. And by the conclusion of the fourth round, an amazing 14 of the 24 teams were within five points of the lead.

The scores were good for IQ Trivia as well, as three teams answered 4 of the 5 correctly for 21 points. We also had two of the teams tied for first after the round was over, both at 59 points. So, to break the tie, I asked them a baseball question, and about the Red Sox specifically. (Neither team had any Red Sox fans so I thought it was fair.)

The question I asked was: "In 2007, Mike Lowell set a new Red Sox record for RBI by a third baseman. How many did he drive in?" The answer is 120, and the team of Hillary Clinton's Victory Cigar was the winner, as they had the closest number to the actual answer. Congratulations to them.

It was great to see such a huge crowd for Trivia on Tuesday, especially since the bar was pretty empty on Monday. We are building a nice loyal following, and I thank you all for coming out for it.

Current Events
1. Kirsten Haglund, a 19-year old from this state, was crowned Miss America on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
2. Novak Djokovic won the men's final of this tennis Grand Slam tournament on Sunday.
3. After losing a motion of confidence in his country's Senate, Prime Minister Romano Prodi of this nation resigned.
4. This Las Vegas hotel and casino caught fire on its upper floors on Friday, but no injuries were reported.
5. Name one of the two candidates to bow out of the presidential primaries over the past seven days.
6. Former president Suharto, who ruled over this Asian country for 32 years and eliminated over one million political opponents, died on Sunday.
7. This Oscar-nominated film won the Best Picture award Sunday night at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
8. Gordon Hinckley, who was president of this church for 13 years, died Sunday at the age of 97.
9. This Western city was recently chosen "The Most Dangerously Drunk City" in America by Men's Health magazine.
10. This film spoof grossed over $18 million last weekend and became the number one film in America last week.

Answers: 1. Michigan; 2. Australian Open; 3. Italy; 4. Monte Carlo; 5. Fred Thompson and Dennis Kucinich; 6. Indonesia; 7. "No Country For Old Men;" 8. Mormon; 9. Denver; 10. "Meet the Spartans."

Super Bowl Trivia
1. In what year did the Giants win their last Super Bowl? a. 1987; b. 1991; c. 2001; d. 1997.
2. What college did Tom Brady go to? a. Ohio State; b. Michigan State; c. Stanford; d. Michigan.
3. In which state is this Sunday's Super Bowl being played? a. Arizona; b. California; c. Florida; d. Louisiana.
4. How many Super Bowls have the New England Patriots won in their history? a. 2; b. 3; c. 4; d. 5.
5. Which team lost four Super Bowls in four straight years? a. Denver Broncos; b. Minnesota Vikings; c. Buffalo Bills; d. Seattle Seahawks.
6. Which team did the Patriots defeat to win their first Super Bowl title in 2002? a. Chicago Bears; b. Green Bay Packers; c. Philadelphia Eagles; d. St. Louis Rams.
7. Which of the following teams has never won a Super Bowl? a. Indianapolis Colts; b. Tampa Bay Bucs; c. Jacksonville Jaguars; d. Washington Redskins.
8. What year did the New York Jets win their only Super Bowl? a. 1969; b. 1973; c. 1983; d. 1975.
9. What NFL team was Bill Belichick the head coach of before the Patriots? a. Cincinnati Bengals; b. Cleveland Browns; c. Detroit Lions; d. New York Giants.
10. What head coach has led both the Giants and the Patriots to the Super Bowl? a. Bill Belichick; b. Tom Coughlin; c. Jim Fassel; d. Bill Parcells.

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

True or False ("The Q Train")
1. The stage is the part of a microscope that holds a slide for viewing.
2. In baking, shortening is a type of cornstarch.
3. The 19th century novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is set in the city of Paris.
4. In mathematics, a parabola looks like a circle.
5. Thomas Jefferson never attended college.
6. In humans, red blood cells transports oxygen throughout the bloodstream.
7. Concord, MA is famous for a variety of grape.
8. A balaclava is typically worn to keep the hands warm.
9. Monterey Jack is a type of children's game.
10. The Salvation Army is actually a religious organization.

Answers: 1. true; 2. false, it's a type of fat; 3. true; 4. false, looks like a curve; 5. false, he did; 6. true; 7. true; 8. false, keeps the head warm; 9. false, it's a kind of cheese; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. The 1997 HBO film starring Ving Rhames and subtitled "Only in America" tells the story of whom?
2. The zipper was originally invented to fasten what article of clothing?
3. What is the only state whose capital has three words in its name?
4. What comic was once arrested for performing his piece "The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television?"
5. In Roman mythology, Cupid is the son of what goddess?
6. Jim's Dad and Stifler's Mom are characters from what popular teen movie?
7. What kind of animal is a Komodo dragon?
8. By definition, a probate court hears cases that involve what?
9. Where do members of the Electoral College usually go to cast their ballots?
10. Ankara is the capital of what country?

Answers: 1. Don King; 2. boots; 3. Utah; 4. George Carlin; 5. Venus; 6. "American Pie;" 7. lizard; 8. wills; 9. their state capital; 10. Turkey.

IQ Trivia
1. In the novel "Little Women," in what war did the father of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy serve? ( 5 points)
2. The United Nations flag depicts a map of the world surrounded by what? ( 5 points)
3. In 2000, what movie actress wrote the best-selling children's book "Where Do Balloons Go?"( 6 points)
4. In which US state was General George Custer's "last stand?" ( 4 points)
5. In 1957, the "Little Rock Nine" were at the center of what controversy? ( 5 points)

Answers: 1. The Civil War; 2. olive branches; 3. Jamie Lee Curtis; 4. Montana; 5. school desegregation.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Santana Traded to Mets for Gomez, Prospects

The Mets and Minnesota Twins have come to a tentative trade for All-Star pitcher Johan Santana. He goes to the Mets for outfielder Carlos Gomez, and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey.

The deal is subject to Santana passing a physical, and the Mets have 72 hours to sign him to a contract extension. Santana is also expected to waive his no-trade clause if the contract is hammered out. He is looking for a seven-year deal, around $20 million per year. I'm sure that a deal will get done by the deadline.

This is very good news. The trade is an absolute steal for the Mets. They get the ace starting pitcher they need, the Red Sox keep their blue chip prospects, Santana goes to the National League and the Yankees don't get their tentacles around him.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Super Bowl Trivia On Tuesday

This Tuesday night at Professor Thom's Trivia Night, our special category will be "Super Bowl Trivia" in honor of that football game being played this coming Sunday. (Super Bowl XLII, that is.) For those of you who don't know much about football, the questions will at least be multiple choice. (Or as a teacher I had at Brooklyn Tech used to say, "multiple guess.")

We will also have the regular four categories to go along with our round of football trivia. (For those of you looking for the Super Bowl trivia Q&A, they will be up in a future post here on Wednesday morning.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
In Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of what goddess?

I hope to see many of you this Tuesday night for trivia.

A New Low

I just knew this was a mistake.

For most of last week, I did not buy any of the New York newspapers, because I knew most of it would be cluttered with absolutely worthless junk about the upcoming Super Bowl. In past years I can recall the stupid, vapid stories writers would resort to to fill newspapers about the Big Game, with that misguided two weeks between the conference title games and the Super Bowl. But I made a decision to get the two major NYC dailies today, as I am writing my "Current Events" questions for Trivia Night tomorrow night and they both usually help me. I got them both, but I should have thought twice about it.

Today, I believe the New York Post may have finally hit The Bottom of the Barrel.

Yes, the Post, that bastion of journalistic integrity, has a front page with the two Super Bowl quarterbacks on it with the headline: "Who's Super Sexy?" And inside, that "hard-hitting journalist," Andrea Peyser, makes the case how Eli Manning's "hunky" and Tom Brady's "boring." (And can you imagine the uproar that would happen if a male sportswriter dedicated an entire column to say, which of the female Australian Open finalists was sexier?)

God save us. My quarterback could look like Ernest Borgnine for all I care, as long as he leads my team to victory. If you dare: http://www.nypost.com/seven/01282008/news/columnists/hunky_elis_a_real_manning_379597.htm

Yep, perfectly good newsprint was wasted on godawful rubbish like this. Not only that, the Post has thirteen pages dedicated to the Super Bowl today, and the game is still six days away.

I knew I was making a mistake this morning. But at least the papers did helped me with my trivia questions.

17 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Red Sox vs.Yankees since 1969

My friend Adam is a whiz when it comes to stats, especially baseball statistics. He sends me all kinds of numbers regarding the Red Sox players and team, and a few weeks ago he sat down and did a comparison between the seasonal records of Red Sox and Yankees. My thanks to him for sending the numbers to me.

And I would much rather talk about baseball statistics than inane Super Bowl hype on the Sunday before the big game anyway.

Adam focused on the two clubs between 1970 and 2007, and used the 162-game seasons. (I added in 1969 to make it since the divisional systems took place.) He left off the strike seasons of 1981 and 1994, as well as 1995 when the season was cut down to 144 games due to the late ending of the strike. (I'll never know why they didn't add 10 doubleheaders for each club to make it an old time 154-game season that year.) He did include 1972, even though a few games were left off the schedule early on due to a players walkout. He also considered two seasons, 1978 and 2005 as statistical ties, as both clubs completed both seasons with the same record, despite the Yankees winning the playoff game in 1978 and the first tiebreaker in 2005.

The Yankees have finished ahead of the Red Sox 21 times, and the Red Sox have finished ahead of the Yankees 13 times. Most of the Yankee dominance took place between 1996-2006, when they were first ten times and tied once. The other period of the Yankees with the better record was from 1976-85, when they were ahead of the Sox 7 times. But between 1969 and 1993 (with 1981 excluded), the Red Sox had actually better records than the Yankees overall, 12-11. The best Red Sox dominance over the Yankees occurred between 1971-75 (the Sox were better in every season but 1974), and 1986-91 (the Red Sox were better in every year but 1987).

In all of those 36 seasons, the Yankees have had 8 sub-.500 seasons, while the Red Sox have had just 5. Both teams have finished last just once (Yankees in 1990, Red Sox in 1992). And overall, the Yankees have averaged 90 wins since 1969, and the Red Sox 87.5 wins.

The Yankees have won 6 World Series and 10 AL pennants, while the Red Sox have won 4 AL pennants and 2 World Series since 1969.

And in the 21st century: the Red Sox have won 2 World Series, the Yankees none.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Cup Dream Ends For Havant

Liverpool fans can breathe a little easier today as their club advanced to the fifth round of the F.A. Cup with a 5-2 win over non-league Havant and Waterlooville at Anfield on Saturday.

But there were certainly some anxious moments for the Merseyside fans.

Havant took a shocking 1-0 lead eight minutes in, and were clearly the better side from the start. Liverpool left a number of their best players on the substitutes bench from the beginning, like Jamie Carragher, Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard (they would all appear late in the game). Goaltender Jose Reina was left off in favor of backup Charles Itandje.

There was certainly a festive mood at the match. Liverpool's fans applauded every single Havant player's name when they were announced, and the non-league club's fans sung happily along with `You'll Never Walk Alone'.

Liverpool equalized in the 27th minute, but an own goal by Martin Srktel put Havant and Waterlooville back on top by the 31st minute. But just before halftime, Yossi Benayoun tied it up at 2.

Havant's players were clearly out of gas as the second half started, as Benayoun scored twice, in the 56th and 59th minutes, to give him his hat trick. Peter Crouch added Liverpool's fifth goal just before the final whistle, to give the Reds a 5-2 win, and end H&W's dream of pulling off one of the most shocking upsets in soccer history. (I did think of another shocking upset that might have compared to H&W had they pulled it off. In 1950, the United States defeated England, 1-0, in the World Cup opening round in Brazil. The US players were basically part-time players, like H&W. But as far as great sport upsets, it is only remembered in soccer circles, and is almost never brought up in American sports discussions.)

More on today's match: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/report?id=234519&cc=5901

If you are an Havant and Waterlooville fan, you have to be proud of the way your side came at Liverpool, and gave them the shock of their lives in the first half. The Havant players now return to their fulltime jobs, and part-time jobs as soccer players.

But with their heads held high.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Odds & Ends During a Quiet Winter

Things have been rather quiet this winter for the Red Sox, and it's probably been the most stress-free off-season for them that I can ever remember. (Winning World Series and signing your key free agents can do that.) There are a few questions still to be answered, and most are concerning the bench.

Lord knows if they will be swinging a deal for Johan Santana. My guess now is that it won't be happening (and I'd love to see the Mets get him). If he doesn't come to Boston, the Sox have to decide what to do with Coco Crisp. Do they use him as a fourth outfielder, or do they deal him anyway? That decision also impacts Bobby Kielty, who is a free agent and wants to come back to the Red Sox, but not as a fifth outfielder. The Red Sox are also looking for another bat off the bench, and the most prominent name mentioned is Sean Casey. I've always liked Casey, but he doesn't have much power, and is just an average first baseman. Casey would fill the spot left by Eric Hinske, who doesn't figure to be back. The Red Sox did add veteran relief pitchers Dan Miceli and Dan Kolb to minor-league deals yesterday, and will have a chance to make the big club next season.

I saw an interesting headline the other day in the Boston Globe:
Youkilis and Snyder Exchange Numbers

When I first saw it the first thing that hit me was that Kevin Youkilis will be wearing 39 and Kyle Snyder 20 in 2008. Then I thought they might have been exchanging phone numbers. But is that really news? As it turns out, it was neither, as both Youk and Snyder were exchanging arbitration numbers with the Sox front office. Actually, it will be interesting if either player reaches an arbitration hearing with the Red Sox, as Theo Epstein has never had one since becoming general manager and usually signs the player before it reaches the hearing.

I also read today that another "One of the 25" from 2004 will be coming out of retirement next season. First Gabe Kapler unretired and signed a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, and now Keith Foulke will play next season also. The 2004 postseason hero took a year off with all the injuries he had over the last few years, and is healthy again. Many teams have looked at him, but it appears he is close to a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, as Foulke wants to play close to his home near Phoenix. All the best to him on his comeback attempt.

And I'm sure most of you heard about this. Johnny Damon (you remember him) endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president earlier this week, as the Florida primary is next week and Damon lives in Orlando. I have no problem with Judas doing this, as politicians like to get the endorsements of all kinds of celebrities on the campaign trail. Damon's an American and can come out and support whomever he likes. (Keith Olbermann had a great line about this: "Giuliani gets the endorsement of the third best centerfielder in New York City.")

Giuliani said that as president he hopes to host the Yankees at the White House when they next win the World Series. Why do I have a feeling the only time that Rudy and the Yankees will be at the White House anytime soon is when any of them buy a ticket for the tour?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Trivia Q&A: January 22

We had another fine night of Trivia on Tuesday, as 13 teams took part in the festivities. The scores on Current Events were rather good, but the 1980s Trivia category many teams struggled with, as most teams got around 6 points for it.

The numbers improved with True or False and General Knowledge, and with one category to go we had five teams within three points of each other. The numbers for IQ Trivia were actually rather good, but a team called I Wear Turtle Necks to Hide All the Hickeys came out victorious, as they got four of the five questions correct for 20 points, and wound up winning by five points. They are some of the Trivia Night regulars who've won on a few occasions before. My congratulations to them.

Current Events
1. Five people were killed on Monday when two small planes collided over this US state.
2. A rebel commander known as General Butt Naked returned to this African country he onced terrorized and admitted to being responsible for the deaths of over 20,000 people.
3. Allan Melvin, who once had the role of Sam the butcher on this classic 1970s sitcom, died last weekend at the age of 82.
4. This movie and TV star was released from jail yesterday after serving 48 days in prison on a drunken driving charge.
5. This science fiction thriller, which opened last Friday, took in $41 million at the box office and was the number one film in the US last week.
6. The British tabloid The Sun today showed a picture of this troubled English pop singer allegedly smoking a crack pipe and other various drugs in a 19-minute video on the paper's web site.
7. Name one of the two films that recived at least eight Oscar nominations today, the most of any film.
8. This actor received a record five Razzie nominations for bad acting in the film "Norbit," it was announced yesterday.
9. This struggling wireless company is planning to cut 4,000 jobs and shut 125 retail locations this year, according to Fortune magazine.
10. Tony Dungy announced yesterday he will continue on as head coach of this NFL team, one he led to a Super Bowl title last season.

Answers: 1. California; 2. Liberia; 3. "The Brady Bunch;" 4. Kiefer Sutherland; 5. "Cloverfield;" 6. Amy Winehouse; 7. "No Country For Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood;" 8. Eddie Murphy; 9. Sprint; 10. Indianapolis Colts.

1980s Trivia
1. Live Aid, pop concerts held in London and Philadelphia for African famine relief, take place on July 13.
2. The San Francisco 49ers win their first Super Bowl on January 24, a 26-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at the Pontiac Silverdome.
3. The Space Shuttle Challenger explodes just 73 seconds after its launch, killing the crew of seven astronauts on board, on January 28.
4. The US Olympic hockey team shocks the world and beats the Soviet Union on February 22, and goes on to win the gold medal.
5. A 7.1 registered earthquake strikes the San Francisco Bay area, disrupts the World Series and 63 people are killed, on October 17.
6. A Pan Am jet explodes over Scotland on December 21 due to a bomb planted by Libyan terrorists, and 270 people are killed.
7. Vanessa Williams becomes the first black Miss America, on September 17 in Atlantic City, NJ.
8. Major League Baseball players walk out on strike on June 12, and will stay out for nearly two months.
9. The Stock Market has the biggest one-day percentage decline in its history on October 19, which comes to be known as "Black Monday."
10. From July 28-August 12, the Summer Olympics are held in Los Angeles.

Answers: 1. 1985; 2. 1982; 3. 1986; 4. 1980; 5. 1989; 6. 1988; 7. 1983; 8. 1981; 9. 1987; 10. 1984.

True or False ("The Q Train")

1. The "crew cut" hairstyle first became popular because of athletes in the sport of rowing.
2. The spice paprika is normally red in color.
3. The Rocky Mountains do not run through the state of Montana.
4. Ranch dressing is commonly made from a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup.
5. Mexico City is not located on a major body of water.
6. Nantucket Island is part of the state of Rhode Island.
7. Lily Tomlin was once a regular on the TV series, "Murphy Brown."
8. France was the main opponent of the US in the War of 1812.
9. By definition, medieval alchemists attempted to turn base metals into gold.
10. The Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico directly from the state of Louisiana.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, it does; 4. false, it is Russian dressing; 5. true; 6. false, it is in Massachusetts; 7. true; 8. false, England was; 9. true; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. The didgeridoo is a musical instrument native to what country?
2. Which US president appointed current Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer to the court?
3. In 1989, US troops blared what recorded sounds at Manuel Noriega's hideout to drive him out?
4. In 2000, which band released the album, "NathanMichaelShawnWanya" named for its members?
5. What color is the inside of a ripe kiwi fruit?
6. In the logo for Sun-Maid products, the young girl in the red bonnet is holding a basket of what fruit?
7. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme attempted to assassinate what US president?
8. In James Thurber's short story, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," what does the title character do all day?
9. In Billy Joel's song "Piano Man," at what hour on a Saturday does the "regular crowd shuffle in?"
10. During what season do the countries experience a phenomenon known as the "midnight sun?"

Answers: 1. Australia; 2. Bill Clinton; 3. rock music; 4. Boyz II Men; 5. green; 6. grapes; 7. Gerald Ford; 8. daydreams; 9. nine o'clock; 10. summer.

IQ Trivia
1. American folk hero Davy Crockett was once a US Congressman who represented which state? ( 5 points)
2. The point in the Moon's orbit when it is furthest from the Earth is called what? ( 5 points)
3. From 1958-61, the United Arab Republic was a union of what two countries? ( 6 points)
4. During the American Civil War, the town of Andersonville, GA was best known for its what? ( 5 points)
5. What is the chemical name for the common table sugar? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. Tennessee; 2. apogee; 3. Syria and Egypt; 4. prison; 5. sucrose.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Havant & Waterlooville: The Ultimate Underdog

I've been a fan of English soccer for about 30 years, and every year there is a tournament in England called The F.A. Cup (pictured). It is an open tournament among England's professional, semi-pro and amateur clubs. There are 92 clubs in England's four major divisions, and they all compete for the cup. The championship game is played every May at Wembley Stadium.

But hundreds of teams outside the Football League compete for it as well. There are many preliminary rounds before the opening rounds begin in November. (This year a record number, 731, are playing for soccer's most prestigious national trophy.)

The fourth round takes place this weekend, and there are 32 teams still alive. The majority still in are from England's top two divisions: the Premiership and the Championship. But there are a handful of clubs still alive outside of those divisions. And right now, there is just one "non-league" club left: a team from Hampshire called Havant and Waterlooville.

And this Saturday, they play one of the true giants of English soccer, and the team I am a fan of: Liverpool FC. (Think the Giants are an underdog against the Patriots in this year's Super Bowl? That's nothing compared to what the boys from Hampshire are up against.)

H&W are currently in non-league division called Conference South, with is roughly equivalent of the Sixth Division. In other words, if you lined up all the teams in England, they would be roughly ranked around 125. (Liverpool is currently in fifth place in the Premiership.) For H&W, the matchup will be a blessing, as it will give the club an incredible economic boost, as the match will be played at Liverpool's legendary Anfield. But in terms of the match, it appears to be a complete and utter mismatch.

And as a Liverpool fan, I'd be worried about these guys.

The two clubs are on opposite ends of the British soccer spectrum. The H&W players are basically part-time players, who have regular jobs besides playing soccer. Whereas Liverpool is one of the glamour teams of not only English but world soccer. They have million dollar players from around the globe playing for them. H&W have had a magical run in getting to the Fourth Round, defeating two League teams (Notts County and Swansea) in getting the matchup with Liverpool. This is their one chance to play on the national stage.

So H&W have nothing to lose at all. If they lose by ten goals it will not be anything to be ashamed of. They will return to their anonymous lives as non-league players. But if they walk into Anfield and upset Liverpool...

The F.A. Cup really has no equivalent in American team sports. But this matchup does bring two possible American similarities. I think of the Red Sox annual spring training matchup against Boston College as a close equivalent, but there is nothing on the line for either team, just a tuneup match as the Sox start a new year.

I guess a better one would be the U.S. Olympic hockey team's game with the Soviet Union in 1980 at Lake Placid. Like this one, it was basically a "pros vs. amateurs" affair, and no one gave the Americans a chance against the big, bad Russians. But we all know how that turned out. It was a case of underestimating your opponents, and an amazing upset happened.

It will be interesting to see if Liverpool puts out most of their A-team players against Havant & Waterlooville, as many of the top clubs like to rest their superstars in the early rounds. I wish H&W all the best on Saturday, and it will be interesting to see how they handle the pressure of playing before the world in Liverpool.

More info on the F.A. Cup: http://www.thefa.com/TheFACup/TheFACup/Archive/
And more on H&W: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Havant_&_Waterlooville

Monday, January 21, 2008

1980s Trivia On Tuesday

Tuesday Night Trivia this week will have as the special category: "1980s Trivia." In it, I will give you a famous event that occurred in the decade of the 1980s, along with the day of the year it happened. You will have to tell me what year in that fabulous decade it went down.

And each answer will be a different year between 1980 and 1989, and none of the answers will be the same. We will also have the other four usual categories along with it.

This week's Sneak Peek question is:

"What color is the inside of a ripe kiwi fruit?"

We've had some great crowds for Trivia the last few weeks, and I hope to see many of you again on Tuesday.

Hype to Get Drunk By

I made a promise to myself to do my best to avoid all the nonsense that goes on with the Super Bowl. There are fourteen days between the conference title games and the Super Bowl, which the NFL is totally to blame for. In poll after poll, the fans, owners, players and everyone else feels that that is FAR too long between games. Everyone but the NFL wants to play the game after one week, but the NFL milks the extra week for every last dollar they can make off it. So the talking heads and other media types really scrape the bottom of the barrel in search of stories.


Today I was switching channels and came across the Mike and the Mad Dog Show (aka "Fatso and Fruit Loops"). As many of you know I detest them both, as Mike Francesa is an obnoxious blowhard and Chris Russo is just a plain blithering idiot. And today, I had the misfortune of stopping at their program, and like a horrible auto wreck, I couldn't help but stop and look for a few moments. God help me, I should have kept going.

Russo actually wasted ten minutes of my life by babbling on about Giants owner Steve Tisch and how "I'm tired of seeing him on the sidelines." Apparently, Giants owners are not permitted to do that in his eyes, and he doesn't want to see that any more. Yep, a psychotic knucklehead on the radio is dictating policy to the Giants' owners, even though the owners on many other teams (like Jerry Jones, Arthur Blank and many others) do that and there's no rule by the NFL that says they can't. Yep, the Super Bowl hype puts stupid shit like this on the radio.

And, if you ever want to have fun while being tortured by the Mike and the Mad Dog program, here's a "drinking" game you can play if you're ever stuck listening to them (and can't get away). Every time either one of them says the words "bottom line" during their show (and they do that dozens of times a show), take a full slug of whatever alcoholic beverage you are enjoying with your friends at the moment. Another would be to take a drink every time Russo says anything incredibly stupid, or when Francesa says something where he's talking down to the audience and pontificating about something he thinks he's the last word on.

You'll be tanked in about 30 minutes. That way, you won't remember the inanities that comes out of the radio after you've collapsed.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Giants vs. Patriots in Super Bowl XLII

The Giants amazing run in this year's postseason took yet another astounding turn as the "Road Warriors" won their third straight postseason game away from home, in a 23-20 thrilling overtime win in Green Bay on Sunday.

I honestly didn't give the Giants much chance against the Packers. It was bitterly cold (the temperature was below zero at the start), and Green Bay rarely lose a playoff game at home. But Eli Manning continued his terrific play and Plaxico Burress was just superb.

The Vikings fan in me was going with the Giants all the way, as I didn't want to see Green Bay in the Super Bowl. Manning continues to have the last laugh on his critics, as well as coach Tom Coughlin. Lawrence Tynes, the Giants kicker, missed two field goals, one as regulation was ending, and he appeared to be the goat of the game. But he redeemed himself 2:35 into overtime with a 47-yard field goal to send the Giants to the fourth Super Bowl berth in their history.

And they will face the still-undefeated New England Patriots, who beat the San Diego Chargers, 21-12 at Foxboro. The Chargers but up a brave fight, but LaDainian Tomlinson was only in the first two series before leaving the game. Philip Rivers, on an injured knee, did well for San Diego but it just wasn't enough to overcome the Patriots machine. Chargers fans should be proud of the team and the way they fought through injuries to get to the AFC title game.

Tom Brady actually threw three interceptions, but passed for two touchdowns. Despite Brady's off-day, they found a way to win to take the AFC crown. And now they have the opportunity to stand next to the 1972 Miami Dolphins as they only NFL teams with perfect records for a season. And standing in their way, yet again, is the New York Giants.

Right after the Pats beat the Giants last December, my father asked me if I thought the two teams could meet in a rematch in February in Arizona at the Super Bowl. "No chance," I told him. "Do you really think the Giants could go through Tampa Bay, Dallas and Green Bay to get to a rematch with the Pats?"

I stand corrected.

Congratulations to the Giants on a truly memorable run to the Super Bowl. I would guess the Patriots should be about a two touchdown favorite to win in Arizona. Hopefully it will be a good game.

And of course, now we are in for two weeks of truly moronic hype that will make your ears bleed.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Night of The Trophy

As promised, some more pics from last Friday night, when the Trophy made its Professor Thom's debut.

The above picture is of me, as I'm being filmed by the folks from Bombo Films. On the screen behind me is the 2007 World Series DVD, and a silhouette of Terry Francona. There just seems something rather "ghostly" about it.

On the right is me with my friends Kim and Gareth. Kim took many of the pictures, and I thank her so much for that.

And here is one of my favorite pictures of the night. My pal Chris and I posed with our friend Mike, who is a devout Phillies fan. Mike is shown shrugging his shoulders as Chris and I enjoy a good laugh at his expense. The picture was staged and we all had a good laugh over it.

Mike took another great photo later in the night (unfortunately no one sent me a copy of it). He was holding a piece of paper in which he wrote "It's 1980!" while he was smiling behind the Trophy. (It was reference to the year his beloved Phillies won their only World Series championship.)

Many of my friend came with cameras, and it felt like the papparazzi was in the house. Everyone had a great time last Friday night, and even those folks who were present who were not Red Sox fans thought it was a lot of fun. It brought back a lot of special memories from 2004, and I really hope we can all do it again at Thom's next year!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Enough to Make Your Head Explode

As you all know, the Giants are in the NFC title game this Sunday against the Packers in Green Bay. And I also feared it meant that we'd have a week of a lot of stupidity coming from the worthless hype in the newspapers.

We weren't let down.

With everything going on in the world, the New York Daily News actually had the headline on their front page (featured here), wishing (and almost pleading) the so-called Sports Illustrated "curse" on Brett Favre, as he appears on the cover of the magazine that was released yesterday. (There is allegedly a "curse" that befalls anyone who appears on the cover of the magazine. Funny, Jonathan Papelbon was on the cover in the 2007 postseason, and didn't the Red Sox win the World Series?)

I will never forget or forgive the Daily News for their cover of the day after the Yankees won the 2003 AL pennant over the Red Sox, the one they won on Aaron Boone's home run. They splashed not "YANKEES WIN PENNANT" or something like that, but "THE CURSE LIVES." They must have some kind of "curse fetish" over there or something.

I won't go into how much I think things like curses or jinxes are completely stupid and inane. But you may have heard how much stupidity this matchup is dragging to the surface. When Eli Manning mentioned that "Seinfeld" was his favorite show, the station in Green Bay that shows the Seinfeld repeats cancelled the episode they were showing on Saturday evening, to try to "rattle" him. (Somehow I think Manning will be doing other things the night before the big game. I would bet seeing "Seinfeld" was not on his list of priorities.) So in response to that, Jerry Seinfeld has sent the complete DVD set to Manning to get back at that mean, evil TV station in Green Bay. (And of course, THAT story is the cover of today's New York Post: "YADA, YADA, YADA.")

Oh brother. This coming from the same outfit who sent some blonde who allegedly looked like Jessica Simpson to Dallas last weekend to "jinx" Tony Romo. (She really didn't look much like her, and the Post spent two days congratulating themselves on how they "helped" the Giants win. I bet they really appreciated it.)

The hype also includes the usual big-headed arrogance that both papers have to bring out: showing how we as New Yorkers as so far superior to the other team's city, in the "Tale of the Tape" crap, matching up both cities in a whole bunch of areas. Every time a New York team is playing for a title we go through this annoying bullshit. Listen, I love the city I was born in, but I don't feel the need to beat people over the head with the fact that I'm a New Yorker.

I certainly want the Giants to win on Sunday, but all of this godawful tripe in the papers almost makes me want to see the Packers win. And can you imagine if the Giants play the Patriots in the Super Bowl? We will then have TWO WEEKS of endless nonsense that will make your head explode. (We'll have it even if the Giants don't make it, but it will get even more imbecilic with the Boston-New York rivalry crap.)

So how many days is it until pitchers and catchers report again?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Top 20 Favorite Twilight Zone Episodes

I have been a huge fan of the immortal TV series, "The Twilight Zone" for as long as I can remember. Here in New York, it was a staple on Channel 11 WPIX for many years, but the Sci-Fi Channel picked it up a while back, and now it is on weeknights at 1 AM. Since I am a night owl, I rarely miss it. It is a show I will never, ever get tired of watching.

The Sci-Fi Channel does a 48-hour marathon of episodes every New Year's, and I find myself watching my most favorite episodes then. But this past New Year's I got to thinking that it might be time to write something on my site about "The Twilight Zone," so I sat down and composed a list of my favorite episodes. Originally it was going to be a Top 10 list, but I found it really hard to try to narrow it down to that, so I am putting together a Top 20 list. There are 156 total episodes, so it wasn't easy.

I will list the shows in the order they were originally shown, with the number next to it being the overall number show it was. I will also write a short synopsis of each. So without further ado, here we go:

#7 "The Lonely": A man convicted of murder is sentenced to spend 50 years alone on an asteroid, and as he's about to lose his mind, he's given a robot in the form of a woman, who keeps him going. But once he gets his pardon and goes home, she can't return with him.
#8 "Time Enough at Last": A man who loves books and little else is the lone survivor of an atomic war and thinks he finally has all the time he finally needs with his books, until the worst possible thing happens to him: he breaks his glasses. (One of the best endings in the show's history.)
#10 "Judgment Night": A man finds himself on board a ship in WWII and he has no idea how he got there, and senses the ship is doomed. It is torpedoed by a German U-boat, and it turns out the man is the U-boat's commander, and he has to spend all eternity reliving that fateful night as a victim.
#11 "And When the Sky Was Opened": The crew of a test flight in space crash land back on Earth, but one by one they disappear, and eventually it is if they never existed at all.
#15 "I Shot an Arrow Into the Air": A crew of the first space mission thinks its crashed into a distant asteroid, and one of the surviving astronauts winds up killing the other surviving spacemen, only to realize they crashed in the Nevada desert instead.
#28 "A Nice Place to Visit": A career criminal gets killed, and goes to the afterlife and gets everything he could ever want. He gets tired of it and wants to go to the "other place." He then realizes he's in that place. (I love afterlife episodes.)
#30 "A Stop at Willoughby": An executive is totally unhappy in his job, marriage and life, and has dreams of a small town he can live his life, but when he tries to get there, he winds up killing himself. (Probably my all-time favorite episode.)
#35 "The Mighty Casey": The manager of a losing baseball team gets a gift from a scientist: a robot pitcher who can't lose. But since the robot doesn't have a heart, it is ruled that he has to get one in order to play. Once he does, he can't get anyone out, as he doesn't "have the heart to."
#49 "Back There": A man goes back in time to the night of Lincoln's assassination and tries to warn the public that the president is about to be killed, but almost no one will listen to him. He tried to go back to alter history, but wound up altering the history of the one man who did listen.
#54 "The Odyssey of Flight 33": A flight from London to New York encounters turbulence, and goes through time to the age of dinosaurs, but when they try to get back to the present day, they come up just a few years too short.
#60 "The Rip Van Winkle Caper": Four thieves pull off the ultimate heist: rob gold headed to Fort Knox, and go to sleep in a cave for 100 years with the idea that they'll be rich men when they wake up. Only times have changed when they awake, they wind up killing each other and gold is worthless by then.
#61 "The Silence": A man bets another that he cannot keep silent for one year, and both resort to trickery to win the bet, which backfires on both of them.
#65 "The Obsolete Man": A librarian has been determined to be "obsolete" by a ruthless dictator of a police state and is put to death, but he has the last laugh when he exposes the tyrant to be "obsolete" as well. (Another favorite of mine.)
#70 "A Game of Pool": A pool hustler believes he's the best in the world, and the ghost of the man who once was the greatest square off in a high stakes battle: if the hustler wins, he's the best, if he loses, he dies. (Another of my favorites.)
#74 "Deaths-Head Revisited": A Nazi hiding in South America returns to the German death camp he once committed atrocities in, and the spirits of those he killed judge him guilty of crimes against humanity and render him insane.
#83: "Dead Man's Shoes": A hobo finds a dead man in an alley and takes his shoes, which transforms his life and puts him right into the dead man's world. He tries to kill the man who killed the guy he found the shoes on, but he gets him too. He vows revenge and will keep coming back until he gets him.
#89: "To Serve Man": Aliens come down to Earth and claim to be here just to serve humans and make life here better, but it actually turns out their plans were to use them like cattle. (Another one of my all-time faves.)
#93: "The Little People": Two astronauts crash on a distant astreroid and one discovers a race of tiny people and wants to become their god. He's in for a rude awakening when two other giant astronauts turn the tables on him. (I love episodes with giants and tiny people, and this had both.)
#125: "The Last Night of a Jockey": A crooked jockey wishes he could become a "big man" and gets his wish, but when he can become a jockey again, regrets his wish.
#145: "The Masks": A family stands to inherit the fortune of their patriarch and can't wait for him to die. But first they must wear masks before they inherit everything, and when the old man dies, they take on the faces of the masks they were wearing.

God bless Rod Serling, wherever he may be. And thank you so much.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Trivia Q&A: January 15

We had another busy night of Trivia, as 18 teams took part. Many of the regulars came out for it, and it's good to see so many of the same faces week in and week out. The numbers on the first two categories were a bit low, as I guess I made Current Events and Music Trivia a bit hard this week. The numbers were stronger in the next two categories, but no one got a "10" in any of the four categories all night long. I can't remember the last time we had a night where no one ran the table in any category.

It was a close game going into IQ Trivia, with the top four teams separated by just two points. But the team of Two Chairs and a Lady got four of the five IQ Trivia questions correct (and most teams only got one or two right) for 20 points, and wound up winning the contest by a comfortable eight points. Congratulations to them.

Current Events
1. This 1942 classic film was chosen last week as the greatest of all the Best Picture Oscar winners.
2. A recent survey by Pew Global Attitudes found that two nations who openly admire the US the most are from this continent.
3. It was revealed last week that this TV mogul who died last summer had the following line but on his tombstone: "I will not be right back after this message."
4. A recent survey revealed that this Eastern state now has the highest percentage of millionaires in the US residing there, just over 7%.
5. The NASA space probe Messenger this week became the first space mission since 1975 to reach this planet.
6. This presidential candidate has now been listed by Las Vegas oddsmakers as a 6-5 favorite to become the 44th President of the United States.
7. Johnny Podres, who won Game 7 of the 1955 World Series for this team, died Sunday at the age of 75.
8. This talk show host replaced Oprah Winfrey as the favorite TV personality in the Harris Poll's yearly survey of TV stars.
9. The Kuomintang and its allies won a landslide victory in the legislature of this Asian nation last weekend.
10. This Middle Eastern hot spot city reported that snow fell there for the first time in over 100 years last Friday.

Answers: 1. "Casablanca;" 2. Africa (Ivory Coast and Kenya); 3. Merv Griffin; 4. New Jersey; 5. Mercury; 6. Hillary Clinton; 7. Brooklyn Dodgers; 8.Ellen DeGeneres; 9. Taiwan; 10. Baghdad.

Music Trivia
1. What movie actress appeared in a series of music videos for the band Aerosmith?
2. What pop group was Beyonce Knowles a part of?
3. What is the name of Prince's recording studio complex in Minnesota?
4. George Benson is best known for playing what instrument?
5. The musical instrument as the steel drum was originally developed on what island?
6. What 1960s rock band was Robby Krieger the lead guitarist?
7. What rock legend was born David Jones, but changed his name as to not be confused with the member of the Monkees?
8. What female singer was nicknamed "The Empress of the Blues?"
9. What rap star had an alter ego named "Slim Shady?"
10. What guitarist was both a member of Jane's Addiction and The Red Hot Chili Peppers?

Answers: 1. Alicia Silverstone; 2. Destiny's Child; 3. Paisley Park; 4. guitar; 5. Trinidad; 6. The Doors; 7. David Bowie; 8. Bessie Smith; 9. Eminem; 10. Dave Navarro.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. In the US, a cornucopia is traditionally displayed during the holiday of Easter.
2. In 1999, the Peregrine Falcon was taken off the endangered species list after being on it for 29 years.
3. George Washington gave his first State of the Union Address in 1790 in Philadelphia.
4. The fast-food chain Wendy's was founded by the late Dave Thomas.
5. The particle that orbits around the nucleus of an atom is called an electron.
6. In 1994, Rush Limbaugh briefly ran for governor of New York on the Libertarian Party ticket.
7. The TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" takes place in the town of Sunnydale.
8. In the "Nutty Professor" films, Eddie Murphy's character is a microbiology professor.
9. A person who has been impaneled is about to serve on a jury.
10. New England is a region that comprises five states.

Answers: 1. false, Thanksgiving Day; 2. true; 3. false, New York; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, Howard Stern; 7. true; 8. false, chemistry professor; 9. true; 10. false, it has six states.

General Knowledge

1. The ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii are located in what country?
2. In the movie, "Six Degrees of Separation," a character claims to be the son of which real-life actor?
3. In what level of the Earth's atmosphere do commercial airplanes normally travel?
4. The term "Pilates" refers to a form of what?
5. Marin County is located outside of what major US city?
6. A vulcanologist is a person who studies what?
7. Which US president declared a famous "War on Poverty?"
8. What game show host legend was the original host of "The Newlywed Game?"
9. The Left Bank in Paris lies along what river?
10. How many stars were on the US flag when America entered World War I?

Answers: 1. Italy; 2. Sidney Poitier; 3. stratosphere; 4. exercising; 5. San Francisco; 6. volcanoes; 7. Lyndon Johnson; 8. Bob Eubanks; 9. Seine; 10. forty-eight.

IQ Trivia
1. An amethyst is a variety of what gemstone? (4 points)
2. Eamon de Valera was a former president and a national hero of what country? ( 5 points)
3. In 1975, Ella Grasso became the first elected woman to become governor of what Eastern state? ( 5 points)
4. What tiny European country gained its independence in 1297? ( 5 points)
5. In 1948, the accuser of alleged spy Alger Hiss handed over microfilm that had been hidden inside what object? ( 6 points)

Answers: 1. quartz; 2. Ireland; 3. Connecticut; 4. Monaco; 5. pumpkin.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

RIP: Johnny Podres, Don Cardwell

The baseball world lost two pitchers over the last day who were part of two important championship teams in New York baseball history: Johnny Podres of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers (pictured) and Don Cardwell of the 1969 New York Mets.

Johnny Podres will forever be remembered in baseball history as the pitcher who won Game 7 of the 1955 World Series, beating the Yankees, 2-0, and setting off wild celebrations as the borough of Brooklyn had its first and only championship. Podres, who was from upstate New York, was just in his third year with the Dodgers, and won just 9 games in 1955, but mowed down the Yankees and Tommy Byrne (who ironically just died last month) in that deciding game.

Podres went on to have a decent career, as he won 148 games with the Dodgers (in Brooklyn and LA), Tigers and Padres from 1953-69. He also went on to have a distinguished career as a pitching coach with the Red Sox, Twins and Phillies. He was the coach on the 1993 Phillies team that won the pennant, and Curt Schilling, over at his blog, 38Pitches.com, has a nice post about how Podres helped him with his career. My father got to know him a bit when he worked at the Phillies minor league camp in Florida earlier in this decade, and said he was a nice man to talk about baseball with. He was 75 years old.

Don Cardwell was a valuable member of the 1969 Mets, and he was a Bronson Arroyo-type of pitcher for the team that year. He started 21 games and also pitched out of the pen. He won 8 games, with a good 3.01 ERA, and was a terrific hitter for a pitcher as well. Cardwell, from North Carolina, was a journeyman who pitched for many teams, such as the Phillies, Cubs, Pirates, Mets and Braves from 1957-70. His career highlight was pitching a no-hitter for the Cubs in 1960. He was 72 years old.

Seeing the passing of another member of the 1969 Mets makes me feel that much older, as it is a team I remember with such warmth and fondness from my early youth.

My sympathies to the families of both Johnny Podres and Don Cardwell.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Music Trivia On Tuesday

On Tuesday night, we will be having the return of Music Trivia to Professor Thom's Trivia Night. It will be ten questions about music, and it will cover the broad spectrum of music: including pop, rock, R&B, jazz, blues, even rap. We will also have the usual categories represented, and we'll get going at the regular time of 9 PM.

This week's Sneak Peek question is:

Marin County is located outside what major U.S. city?

We lucked out as far as the weather goes, as we got no snow whatsoever on Sunday night, and the weather should be pretty good on Tuesday night. So I hope that will bring even more folks out to Trivia Night.

Hope to see you then. (And also: the question you see in this cartoon will NOT be a part of the quiz on Tuesday. So don't bother Googling it.)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Peyton's Out, Eli Moves On

In a truly stunning day of playoff football, the San Diego Chargers upset the heavily favored Indianapolis Colts 28-24 (congratulations Peggy and Ken!), and the Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17, and both teams moved into the finals in their respective conferences.

Let's be honest here. If you were told before this day that one Manning brother was playing next week, while the other was going home absolutely and 100% for sure, which one would you have picked? Eli Manning took another step towards stardom, while Peyton Manning hits the links. (And I can just hear the Pats fans cackling over that.)

And now I wonder how many Dallas fans are going to blame a certain blonde bombshell for this loss? (And I don't mean Britney Spears.) You may have witnessed today the birth of "The Curse of Jessica Simpson." (Because naturally, every loss of this magnitude these days has to have some stupid, asinine "curse" applied to it.)

I was visiting some friends in New Jersey today, so I got to see only parts of both games. But it may have been one of the biggest twin upsets in NFL history today.

Congrats to the Giants, as they move onto Green Bay, and the Chargers, as they go into the Lion's Den known as Gillette Stadium to face the Patriots next week.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Trophy's a Hit at Thom's

It was a night to remember at Professor Thom's on Friday night as the bar was packed with Red Sox fans (at least 100, probably more) as the 2007 World Series Championship Trophy made an appearance in New York, and it was a huge hit.

The Trophy spent most of the day at three different stops in Connecticut: New Haven, Waterbury and Hartford. The Thom's viewing was scheduled for 7 PM, but the rally in Hartford did not end until after 5 PM, so it looked like it might not happen for a while. (We put on the World Series DVD on the big screens to entertain the fans while they waited.

But fortunately, there wasn't too much traffic coming down from Hartford, and The Trophy got to the bar at about 7:25. There was a huge ovation as my buddy Chris brought the Trophy in, and everyone wanted to touch it as it went by.

The Trophy was put on a table by the back of the bar, right next to the giant video screen. People lined up throughout the bar, and most were acting like little kids on Christmas morning when they had their turn with the Trophy. It was kissed, touched, fondled and held by almost everyone. When it was my first turn (I went up to it a number of times) I had a number of people taking pictures of me, I felt like I was posing with an Academy Award!

It was an incredibly fun night, as everyone had big smiles on their faces, especially after they finished posing with it. More than one person said to me, "I'd love to do this every year!"

There were some comic moments last night as well. The guy who runs the bar next door called Finnerty's is a guy named Keith, who's a big Yankee fan. He came in to check on the festivities, and threatened to spit on the Trophy if he got near it! Actually he enjoyed seeing it, and later in the night came back with a Yankees flag and posed with it, as my buddies Chris and Steve were mockingly beating him up. Keith is a good Yankees fan and treated the whole night with good humor.

And the same could be said of my buddy Mike, who is a Phillies fan. He posed with me and Chris in a "mock photo." Chris and I were "laughing" at him as Mike shrugged his shoulders. And to top off the night, Mike came back with a sign he made up "It's 1980!" and posed with the Trophy with a big smile (as 1980 was the one and only Phillies World Series title). Everyone got a big kick out that.

The Trophy viewing last night went on for over 3 1/2 hours, as it did not depart with its handlers (from the Red Sox front office) until just after 11. The good folks from Bombo Films were on hand also (they were instrumental in getting the Trophy to Thom's) to record some of the festivities for their upcoming documentary they've filmed in the bar during the 2007 season.

I must have posed with the Trophy on five or six different occasions (with some other friends from Thom's and the BLOHARDS), and it was a fantastic night. It was so sweet to be with another Red Sox World Championship Trophy, and again in New York "behind enemy lines." (I'll have more photos to share of the night soon.)

Like some of my pals said last night, "I'd love to do this every year!" And I hope we do.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Nonsensical Rumormongering

I saw a report this morning over at WasWatching, a good Yankee fan site, that said that Kevin Kennedy, onetime Red Sox manager and now a Fox broadcaster, claims to have a colleague who saw a Red Sox player on the 2004 championship team using performance-enhancing drugs. Steve, who runs the site, said he heard Kennedy make the claim on his XM radio show yesterday. From WasWatching (http://www.waswatching.com):

Kevin Kennedy said that a current colleague of his, who was with the Boston Red Sox in 2004, told him that he (the colleague) witnessed, for a fact, a member of the '04 Red Sox injecting himself in the buttocks with a needle full of PEDs. Kennedy said that the user is no longer a member of the Red Sox - but, he was a player on the team that won the ring in 2004. As per Kennedy, his colleague said that the "user" was giving a demo (to the "colleague") on how to do the injection.

Of course, Kennedy names no names here. And he has not a shred of evidence whatsoever to offer that this unknown player actually did this in front of his colleague. Why did Kennedy say this on his radio show? I don't know, but he has never been a fan of the Sox since he was fired as manager after the 1996 season.

This is the kind of stupid gossip mongering I hate: no evidence whatsoever, just " a friend of mine told me he saw it happen, so it must be true." Hey, could a player, or players, on the 2004 Red Sox have been doing PEDs? Sure it's possible. But giving a "demo" in front of other people? I find that hard to believe. If that were true, that player would have a serious lack of common sense or brains that something like this couldn't come back to hurt him one day.

A message to Kevin Kennedy: don't waste everyone's time with such nonsense. Have the guts to name names (of course he can't because he would open himself up to quite a slander lawsuit), or shut the hell up.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dougie's Coming Back

The Red Sox have reached a tentative agreement on a one-year deal to bring back backup catcher and Internet folk hero Doug Mirabelli back as Tim Wakefield's catcher.

It will be good to have Doug back, if for just one reason: to keep my Site Meter numbers up on the days he plays. Here's more on Doug's return, from the Boston Herald:
http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/baseball/red_sox/view.bg?articleid=1065794&srvc=rss

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Headline of the Year for 2007


I found this newspaper headline from The Trentonian from a fine Orioles fan site called "The Wayward Oriole." (http://www.thewaywardoriole.com/) It is from last December 14, the day after the Mitchell Report was released.

Insert (tee-hee) your own joke about it here...

It was also revealed today that Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Brian McNamee will not testify before Congress next Wednesday, as the Congressmen involved need more time to prepare for it, so it has been pushed back to February 13. But George Mitchell and Bud Selig will testify next Tuesday as scheduled.

Trivia Q&A: January 8

We had 17 teams for Trivia on Tuesday night. At first it looked like it was going to be a quiet night, but we had a flurry of folks coming in just before the start time, including many of the regulars. I also made a late change to the special category. Since it was the birthday of Elvis Presley, I decided to make it the category last night.

The numbers for the Elvis Trivia were not very strong, but I thought the same about the True or False scores as well, but right after I called out the scores, I had numerous people come up to the mic to tell me I got their score wrong. It turned out I made an error on the scoresheet I use when marking the papers, as I had one answer down as "true" when it should have been "false." Almost every team had false as a answer, so that improved the scores of that round very much. (My apologies for the error; The Omnipotent Q goofs once in a while.)

A team called Hillary's Camel Toe Delight had the lead the entire night, and went into the final round with a three-point lead. They had a strong IQ Trivia round, getting fourteen points and the win. It is their third win in four weeks. (There was one team, Rural Jurors, who missed the first round, but had an excellent IQ Trivia round and finished a strong second, just four points back.) My congratulations to them.

Current Events
1. The current price of oil per barrel reached this landmark high last week.
2. This European country was struck by a 6.5 registered earthquake on Sunday, but there were no reports of casualties or damage.
3. Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York is proposing that the Triborough Bridge in NYC be renamed for this onetime NY senator and presidential candidate.
4. A charter bus ran off a wet road yesterday in this Western state, killing 9 people and injuring 20 others.
5. This team won the BCS college football title game last night in New Orleans and are now the national champions.
6. This onetime supermodel interviewed Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez for the British edition of GQ magazine this month.
7. This actor/comedian was slapped with a defamation lawsuit yesterday by an author who claims his wife stole her book idea.
8. Joe Gibbs, an NFL Hall of Fame coach with this team, resigned today after his second stint with the team.
9. The ceremony for this awards show was officially scrapped today, due to the ongoing writers' strike.
10. A town in Louisiana ditched this area code number after much complaining, citing religious concerns over it.

Answers: 1. $100; 2. Greece; 3. Robert F. Kennedy; 4. Utah; 5. LSU Tigers; 6. Naomi Campbell; 7. Jerry Seinfeld; 8. Washington Redskins; 9. Golden Globes; 10. 666.

Elvis Presley Trivia
1. In which US state was Elvis Presley born in? a. Mississippi; b. Illinois; c. Tennessee; d. Arkansas.
2. What was the name of Elvis' first film? a. "Love Me Tender;" b. "King Creole;" c. "Jailhouse Rock;" d. "Kid Galahad."
3. What was Elvis' rank when he left the US Army in 1960? a. private; b. corporal; c. sergeant; d. lieutenant.
4. What was Elvis' first number one US single? a. "Don't Be Cruel;" b. "Hound Dog;" c. "Heartbreak Hotel;" d. "All Shook Up."
5. In what city is Graceland located? a. Nashville; b. Memphis; c. Biloxi; d. Atlanta.
6. How old was Elvis when he died? a. 42; b. 40; c. 44; d. 46.
7. What was Elvis' last number one single (in 1969)? a."Suspicious Minds;" b. "Good Luck Charm;" c. "Surrender;" d. "Are You Lonesome Tonight."
8. In what year did Elvis make his famous Comeback Special for NBC? a. 1962; b. 1965; c. 1967; d. 1968.
9. What record label did Elvis record his first single with? a. Sun; b. RCA; c. CBS; d. Capitol.
10. In which foreign country did Elvis do his military service? a. England; b. Germany; c. South Korea; d. France.

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

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. A league is a unit measure that is three miles long.
2. Sport rock climbers normally use sawdust on their hands to keep from slipping.
3. Kentucky is located entirely in the Central Time Zone.
4. In 2004, NASA announced the discovery of the solar system's most distant object, a "planetoid" called Sedna.
5. Rene Descartes was Auguste Rodin's inspiration for his famous sculpture, "The Thinker."
6. The ear bones are the smallest bones in the human body.
7. The City of Seattle,WA was named for an Indian chief.
8. Ziggy Marley once sang the theme song to the animated children's show, "Arthur."
9. The pistil is the part of a plant that produces pollen.
10. The National Aviation Hall of Fame is located in Washington, DC.

Answers: 1. true; 2. false, they use chalk; 3. false, Eastern Time Zone; 4. true; 5. false, Dante Alighieri was; 6. true; 7. true; 8. true; 9. false, it's the stamen; 10. false, it's in Dayton, OH.

General Knowledge
1. Helen Gurley Brown was the longtime editor of what woman's magazine?
2. What MLB player was the first to surpass Babe Ruth's record of career home runs?
3. In terms of area, what is the largest country in the world?
4. In the 1973 PBS documentary series, "An American Family," what is the last name of the central family?
5. On the TV series, "Dallas," what is the name of the ranch where the Ewings live?
6. Dermatoglyphic studies usually involve the analysis of what physical characteristic?
7. In 2004, Tiger Woods appeared in a prominent ad campaign parodying what classic sports movie?
8. Named after a region in France, the Anjou is a variety of what fruit?
9. In a 1992 episode of "The Simpsons," Maggie's first word, "daddy," was voiced by what actress?
10. Convicted serial killer Aileen Wuornos was the subject of what movie?

Answers: 1. Cosmopolitan; 2. Hank Aaron; 3. Russia; 4. Loud; 5. Southfork; 6. fingerprints; 7. "Caddyshack;" 8. pear; 9. Elizabeth Taylor; 10. "Monster."

IQ Trivia
1. By definition, what does a lepidopterist study? ( 5 points)
2. President Bush gave his famous "Mission Accomplished" speech in 2003 aboard what aircraft carrier? ( 5 points)
3. Who coined the term, "Homo sapiens," the scientific name for modern humans? ( 6 points)
4. The southernmost point in Europe is the island of Gavdos which belongs to what country? (4 points)
5. What U.S. organization was started in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low? ( 5 points)

Answers: 1. butterflies; 2. USS Abraham Lincoln; 3. Carolus Linnaeus; 4. Greece; 5. The Girl Scouts.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Trophy Invades New York

This coming Friday night at about 7 PM, Professor Thom's will have a special visitor grace its premises. The 2007 World Series Championship Trophy will be stopping by for a viewing for all Red Sox fans to enjoy.

Currently, the Trophy is in Canada, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A group of fans there called the Bluenose Bosox Brotherhood petitioned the Sox brass with tons of emails requesting a visit, and yesterday and today it has been on display for the Red Sox fans up there. (Yes, there is a large group of Sox fans in Eastern Canada, and in Nova Scotia in particular.) Pictured here is my friend Don (on the right) with some friends at the Nova Scotia viewing on Monday.

Manhattan gets its turn with the Trophy on Friday. The good folks from Bombo Films, who shot the documentary that I was a part of (and will be released in a few months) will be there to capture the night on film.

I was at the 2004 Trophy Viewing at the Yale Club across from Grand Central back in November 2004, and it was a tremendous day, one I'll never forget. I got many pictures, including a solo one of me that I used as a Christmas card later that year.

I'll have more information as it becomes available. (Check also my buddy Chris' site as well: http://professorthoms.blogspot.com.) It should be a great night for all New York-based Red Sox fans!

Rice Denied Again

Rich Gossage was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame today. He received an astounding 86% of the vote, and was the only player on the ballot who was elected. Congratulations to him.

Jim Rice was denied for the 14th time. He fell just 16 votes short, and now has just one final chance to make it from the baseball writers before his eligibility runs out. He received 392 votes, or 72.2% of the votes cast. Bert Blyleven, another very worthy candidate, was denied yet again, too.

The travesty for both continues.

Monday, January 07, 2008

January 8th Trivia on Tuesday

Trivia Night returns to Tuesday this week, and the special category will be "January 8th Trivia" or questions about people, places and things connected to January 8. It will also be multiple choice, the first time in a long time we've used that.

We will also have the other four categories, and I promise you, no questions about Roger Clemens! The Sneak Peek question for Tuesday night:

Named after a region in France, the Anjou is a variety of what fruit?

Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.

"Why Did You Lie?"

Roger Clemens held a rather testy press conference with the media in Houston this afternoon, and played a tape of a 17-minute conversation he had with Brian McNamee last Friday night (in which it appears that McNamee did not know it was taped).

It didn't sway me one bit that Clemens was telling the truth about claiming to have never used steroids. The conversation left more questions unanswered than answered, and seemed to bring up some new ones, too.

I found it very curious in the conversation that Clemens did not ask McNamee a simple but very direct question about the whole mess.

"Why did you lie?"

The saga goes on.

Is It Finally Jim Ed's Time?

Tomorrow afternoon, the baseball writers will announce their choices (if any) for the 2008 class for the Baseball Hall of Fame. There are a few worthy candidates on this year's ballot, and one I really hope finally gets the call is one James Edward Rice.

With all the hubbub going on about "The Steroids Era" and The Mitchell Report, this should work into Jim Rice's favor this season. He was simply one of the best hitters of his era, and a bit underappreciated. His vote totals have gone up in recent years (even if they did recede slightly last year), as many writers have taken a second look at his accomplishments.

You know the numbers. He hit 20 or more home runs every season from 1975-1986 (except for the strike year of 1981), won the MVP in 1978 with 46 HRs (and that was the last season any player had 400 or more total bases), hit 39 homers on two other occasions (when hitting as many as 40 meant so much more), and drove in over 100 runs eight times. So his resume is indeed impressive.

But he never did reach 400 home runs. He looked to be a sure bet to do so, but at the age of 34, his numbers began tailing off in 1987, and when he retired in 1989, he wound up with a total of 382. I've also heard arguments that his defense wasn't very good and that works against him. He was actually a better outfielder than he was given credit for (and played the Green Monster at Fenway very well). And besides, when did defense come into the Hall of Fame picture? Very few players have entered the Hall based on their defense. (Ozzie Smith and Brooks Robinson being notable exceptions. Reggie Jackson was an awful outfielder, and that sure didn't keep him out.) His frosty relationship with the press over the years didn't help his cause when he first became eligible for the Hall. But now many writers are voting who didn't have a relationship with him.

With Mark McGwire seemingly on the outside looking in for what could be a VERY long time, sluggers like Rice and Andre Dawson are getting renewed attention. And that's a good thing. This year there is only one strong new player debuting on the ballot, and that is Tim Raines. He's a solid candidate, but certainly not a leadpipe synch like Tony Gwynn or Cal Ripken was last year. But unfortunately for Rice, he is running out of time, as he only has next year left for his 15-year eligibility on the writers' ballots. Then he has to wait and then move over to the Veterans Committee's voters. And who knows how long that could take.

So here's hoping that tomorrow is finally Jim Rice's time to head for Cooperstown. If I were casting a ballot, I would vote for the following players: Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Rich Gossage and Lee Smith. (Jack Morris and Andre Dawson are borderline, but I don't know if I'd put them down.)

But I'm certainly pulling for Jim Rice tomorrow. Let's hope it's finally his time that he gets the call to Cooperstown.

The Con Continues

Roger Clemens yesterday filed a defamation suit against Brian McNamee, citing 15 statements he made in the Mitchell Report. The suit was filed in Harris County, Texas. I would bet we will see a counter suit coming from McNamee's camp soon as well. (I would still bet that neither will ever see a court room too.)

From the Boston Globe:
"Clemens' good reputation has been severely injured," the suit said. "McNamee's false allegations have also caused Clemens to suffer mental anguish, shame, public humiliation and embarrassment."

Good reputation? You mean it hurt his rep for being an obnoxious, money-grubbing, me-first asshole?

This should make the press conference he's holding today even more fascinating. I love the fact that now Clemens can't shut up. The grave he's digging is his own.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

From The Carpetbagger's Lawyer

This hilarious statement comes from Rusty Hardin, Roger Clemens' screwball attorney, who has not exactly distinguished himself the last month, after the "60 Minutes" interview tonight:

"Anyone not persuaded by that interview is not a well person."

I guess about 99% of America is need of help right now.

Lying Through His Teeth

I'm sure many of you out there saw the Roger Clemens interview with his buddy Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes" tonight. This was going to be "must see TV" and there was no way I could miss it.

So having seen it, I start off by saying this:

Roger Clemens is lying through his teeth.

"The Texas Con Man" looked nervous throughout most of it, and he seemed to be looking around at times while giving his answers. I'm no expert on body language, but he sure looked like a guy who wasn't comfortable in the answers he gave.

Most of the answers he gave sounded very unsatisfactory to me. He totally blew off the questions about Andy Pettitte's admission to taking HGH, and danced around the possibility of taking a lie detector test. He didn't come right out and say it, but he basically called Brian McNamee a liar, by saying he was never injected with steroids by him. He said it was Vitamin B-12 and lidocaine that McNamee shot him in the butt with. (Jose Canseco said that "Vitamin B-12" was a euphemism by juicers for taking steroids, and I read in the New York Daily News today that lidocaine is not effective when taken in the butt for injuries to other parts of the body, and only a licensed physician could dole it out.)

I guess the ball is now in McNamee's court about slapping Clemens with a defamation suit. (I would bet it won't happen, even if Clemens gave him the ammo for it.)

When Wallace asked him about why McNamee would lie about him and not Pettitte, and why he would risk federal prison by lying, Clemens had basically no answer for him. Clemens said he was "shocked" by Pettitte's admission, and had "no idea" his pal was taking HGH. (How many of us really believe that?) Clemens seems to paint himself as a victim, saying how he's "guilty until proven innocent." He blames MLB for not letting him answer the charges in the Mitchell Report, and claims he would have answered them "in a heartbeat" if he'd known what was in it ahead of time. (He fails to mention that George Mitchell gave him the opportunity but he didn't take it.)

And I found this statement rather comical from Clemens:
My body never changed. If he's putting that stuff up in my body, if what he's saying which is totally false, if he's doing that to me, I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead. I should be pulling tractors with my teeth.

His body never changed? Has Clemens seen pictures of himself throughout his career?

This was also bizarre:
WALLACE What, hold, what did McNamee gain by lying?
CLEMENS Evidently not going to jail.


No, knucklehead, McNamee had everything to gain by telling the truth. The feds were in the room with McNamee, and if they determined he was lying, he'd face stiff federal charges. Uncle Sam doesn't like being lied to, Roger. Does the name Martha Stewart ring any bells?

Here is the complete transcript of the interview, from the Boston Globe:
http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2008/01/clemens_on_60_m.html

I don't think Clemens did himself any good with this "Q&A" with Mike Wallace. He looks and sounds like a desperate man, a man who has so much to lose and knows it. Mike Lupica in today's NY Daily News may have said it best when he said that Clemens has talked his way right into a date with the US Congress on January 16. Tonight's bit with Wallace should just be the beginning.

A few weeks ago I remember reading from some writer that Red Sox fans are still "obsessed" with Roger Clemens. That writer may very well be correct. Clemens treated the Red Sox fans with pure disrespect over the years, and now he's getting his comuppance.

As Red Sox fans, I have to admit we are enjoying it. Enjoying watching Roger Clemens flush his legacy, and squirm before the entire world.

And wherever he is, I'm sure that the late columnist Will McDonough, who gave Clemens the nickname "Texas Con Man," is having a good laugh right now. May God rest his soul.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The 2008 Presidential Races Get Rolling

As many of you who regularly read my blog know, I'm not big into politics here. (It's a fascinating, but dirty business.) I've written the rare column about it, but I watched the returns on Thursday's Iowa caucuses with some interest, and I thought I'd write something about it, as the 2008 presidential campaigns got officially underway.

As you all know, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee were the winners on the Democratic and Republican sides, respectively. Obviously both candidates got a huge boost from winning the first major political contest of the 2008 presidential campaign. But I thought some pundits went a little overboard with the pronounciations they were making, especially about Obama.

He's a senator from neighboring Illinois, so his win wasn't that big a shock. He's made a concerted effort in that state, and it paid off big for him. He's the first black candidate to win that caucus. The real surprise may have been John Edwards finishing second, with Hillary Clinton coming in third.

Sure it's historic that Obama's the first black candidate to win the Iowa caucus. But to listen to some, you'd think he was just elected president. It made me think of a baseball analogy. It is the equivalent of a baseball team sweeping the first series of the season and beginning 3-0, and saying they are going to win the World Series. There's still a long way to go, and there are far too many hurdles to jump over before having any real idea who the two major party nominees will be. Can Obama truly win? It's just too early to see if he can keep the momentum going to really know.

And of course, don't pull the shroud over Hillary Clinton just yet. Like her hubby, they are both political animals, and just when you think they are finished, they come right back (think about Bill's affair with Gennifer Flowers). Last year, the race appeared to look like it was in the bag for her, and her race to lose. But you have to take polls with a grain of salt these days. How she does in New Hampshire on Tuesday may say much about what shape her campaign is in right now. Edwards finishing second in Iowa maybe a boost for him, but he needs some major wins in the next few primaries to have any shot. I really don't see that happening.

On the Republican side, Huckabee's win, like Obama's, is great for him, but most political observers think he doesn't stand much chance against Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. Romney's from neighboring Massachusetts and figures to take that primary. Rudy Giuliani barely registered in Iowa, and doesn't figure to do much in NH. He's banking on the bigger states in the 20-state "Super Tuesday" primaries on February 5. Don't count out John McCain, but he needs some early primary victories like Edwards, to have any chance at the nomination. The Republican side still seems pretty wide open to me.

It's way to early to make any prediction as to who the next president will be. Whoever it is, the candidate will have to appeal to the most important group in the US as far as electing the president: conservative Democrats and Independents. (I consider myself an Independent.) They will vote for a Democrat or Republican, and don't pidgeonhole themselves into either party. They can be of any background, and the one who makes the most inroads with them has the best shot.

But you know that before it's all over, they'll be some mud slung in various directions. Like watching a car wreck, you want to turn away and not look, but you have to. It will just be interesting to see who slings it and at whom.

And one other thing, to all the candidates. I frankly don't give a damn which sports teams you allegedly follow, so don't bother getting into any sports teams discussions. It only makes you look foolish. (Remember Hillary Clinton proclaiming her "love" for the Yankees in 2000, John Kerry talking about "Manny Ortez" in 2004, and Rudy Giuliani pandering to Red Sox fans last year?)

My dad may have had the best line about all the hubbub regarding the Iowa caucus results. "Wow, 10 more months of this?" Yep, we're just getting started. Ten more months before we get a new pennant winner, er, new president.

Friday, January 04, 2008

46

Yes, it's that day again.

Yours Truly is having a birthday today, and just like last year, here is my "online" birthday cake. (I used it last year, and I liked it so much, I thought I'd bring it back.)

I'm not doing anything too special today, but I will be a having a few friends for dinner tonight. (Why do I think of Anthony Hopkins when I write that?)

By the way, today is also "National Trivia Day." I am proud to share my birthday every year with that observance. I have nothing planned as far as trivia today, just to say that the next Trivia Night at Thom's is this coming Tuesday night.

I have now walked this Earth for 16,801 days, and that is exactly 46 years. I really don't feel that age to be honest. But it does boggle my mind a bit when I think I turned 21 25 years ago. A quarter-century ago.

Wow, that is depressing. Now I do feel old.

No matter, I'll get over it. If you are also celebrating a birthday today along with me, I hope it's a good one for you. We also share a birthday with such diverse people as Sir Isaac Newton, Doris Kearns Goodwin (author and big Red Sox fan), Floyd Patterson, Ted Lilly (Cubs pitcher), Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), and James Bond (no, not the British secret agent, but an American ornithologist). But further research shows that Ian Fleming was a fan of Mr. Bond's book of birds, and used his name for his 007 character. (I never knew that. You learn something new every day.)

That would make for a good trivia question. And I found it on National Trivia Day.

And He's Selling a Bridge in Brooklyn, Too

The ridiculous, almost laughable saga that is Roger Clemens and his steroid use took another turn on Thursday when an excerpt of the upcoming "60 Minutes" interview The Carpetbagger gave to Mike Wallace was released.

Clemens insists he's "never" taken any steroids.

From the Boston Globe:
Roger Clemens said former trainer Brian McNamee injected him with the painkiller lidocaine and the vitamin B-12 -- not any performance-enhancing drugs.

In the first excerpts released from the pitcher's interview with CBS's "60 Minutes," which is to be broadcast Sunday night, Clemens maintained the denials he has issued since McNamee implicated him in the Mitchell report on doping in baseball, which was released Dec. 13.

McNamee, a former strength coach for the Blue Jays and Yankees, told Mitchell he personally injected Clemens with steroids in 1998 while they were with Toronto, and with steroids and human growth hormone in 2000 and 2001 while with New York.

"Roger took bunches of his shots over his career, much the way racehorses do, unfortunately," Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said after the excepts were released Thursday.

Clemens issued a video statement on Dec. 23 denying McNamee's accusations and plans to hold a news conference Monday. Clemens did not mention injections of painkillers or vitamins.

"That short statement didn't go into any details and simply told the public at large he did not take steroids or any other performance-enhancing drugs. That's never been a contention of his," Hardin said.

"The reason he hasn't stepped out personally before now was really our decision, not his, and that was to more deliberately look into how in the world the Mitchell report could have reached what we believe was this totally wrong conclusion before we started talking out. Now we're more comfortable with all of that, and he's going to answer whatever questions they have."

During the CBS interview, recorded last Friday at Clemens' home in Katy, Texas, Clemens was asked whether McNamee had injected him with any drugs.

"Lidocaine and B-12," Clemens responded. "It's for my joints, and B-12 I still take today."

Lidocaine is a local anesthetic that can be used by dentists and in minor surgery. It also is available as part of ointments used to treat skin inflammation.

Clemens told CBS that McNamee's accusation was "ridiculous" and said he "never" used banned substances.

"Swear?" CBS's Mike Wallace asked Clemens.

"Swear," Clemens responded.

I can't wait to see this interview on Sunday night. He really wants us to believe that McNamee was giving him nothing but painkillers and Vitamin B-12. How stupid and gullible does he think baseball fans out there are? Granted he's fighting for his reputation, but this really sounds like a joke. And what I really want to see is if Wallace asks him about his buddy Andy Pettitte and how he came clean about his steroid use almost immediately, while Clemens continues to deny his use. So McNamee was telling the truth about Pettitte but lying about The Carpetbagger?

Clemens better be ready for what may happen after this interview, as McNamee and his lawyer are threatening Clemens with a defamation suit if they feel Clemens is calling McNamee a liar.

Sure sounds like he's doing just that. Get ready for an upcoming firestorm.

I once said that enough bad things couldn't happen to Roger Clemens to satisfy me.

But this comes close.