Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Monday, March 31, 2008

Early Start For Trivia on Tuesday

The Red Sox have a 10 PM start for their first regular season game back in the US, against Oakland on Tuesday night. So that means that Trivia Night will be moved up to a special start time of 8 PM for this night only. There should be a good crowd of Sox fans on hand, so hopefully we will be done by the first pitch. There will also a hardy group of UMass basketball fans cheering on their team in the NIT semifinal game, which begins at 7 PM. So Professor Thom's should be a busy place tomorrow night.

We will have the usual four categories, plus as the special category: "April 1st Trivia." It will be people, places and things connected to April 1st.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
By definition, the study of sound is called what?

Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night, but at a slightly earlier time.

No Shame, No Conscience

I picked up Sunday's New York newspapers and to my utter chagrin I discovered not one, but two separate stories about two different men who were caught in two 9/11 scams.

It's really disturbing to hear that this sort of thing goes on. Granted, in many tragic situations, like Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war, there are going to be those types who feel they can make money off of the heartache and disasters that many people have gone through and continue to go through. But hearing two separate stories about 9/11 scammers, it makes me wonder how people like these can sleep at night.

One guy claimed to be a New York City cop who rescued thousands at the World Trade Center, was arrested in New Jersey on charges unrelated to the 9/11 disaster, that he looted from a woodworking company he founded. Fred Parisi claimed to be a cop but was not at the WTC the day of the disaster. He had been at the Police Academy in 2001 but never graduated to join the force.

His impersonation of a 9/11 hero encouraged people to help a foundation he set up, and Parisi showed up at many legitimate 9/11 events. Police believe he illegally pocketed at least $235,000 from the company he set up. Here is the complete New York Daily News story:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/03/30/2008-03-30_ground_zero_hero_arrested_at_fundraiser_.html

And the other story from the Post was a guy who told people that he and his dog rescued people from the rubble at Ground Zero and scammed the American Red Cross out of $50,000 in relief funds. Scott Shields (not the Los Angeles Angels pitcher) claimed he lived near the WTC but in fact lived in Greenwich, CT on the day of the attacks. Shields claimed in interviews that he and his now-deceased Golden Retriever made the only "live finds" of 9/11 victims, but authorities couldn't back up those claims.

It started unraveling for Shields when a relief worker named Phil Porteus suspected he was a fake and set up a web site to expose Shields, ScottShieldsFraud.com, in 2005. It took three years, but Shields was finally nabbed and now faces 35 years in prison on conspiracy, mail fraud and embezzlement charges.

These were only the latest 9/11 scammers to get caught using the worst tragedy in our nation's history for financial gain. I guess some people have no scruples, ethics or conscience.

A good stretch in the slammer for both might change their minds.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Damn Proud to Be a "Chowderhead"

As many of you know, I love to comment on letters written in to newspapers, especially those that tick me off and I feel like saying something about them. But today I saw one in the New York Post's "Sound Off" column that I thought was very interesting, and sure to piss off any Yankee fan who stumbled across it.

And I promise you, I didn't write it in under an alias.

Here it is, from a Red Sox fan in Walden, NY named Don Murphy, Jr:

Boston chowder-head
Another baseball season is upon us. And just like the past eight years it begins without the obnoxiousness and arrogance spewing from Yankees fans, who think it's their birthright to win every year. You can just see the fear and uneasiness in the bloodshot eyes of each and every Yankees fan, saying: "Oh, no! It looks like the world champion Red Sox are once again the team to beat. What has happened to my precious Yankees? We haven't won a World Series in eight years, while the Red Sox have won two in the last four years and haven't lost a World Series game since 1986. The Red Sox also put the label of 'The Biggest Chokers in the History of Major League Baseball' on my poor Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. Woe is me, being a Yankees fan these days." Wahhhh! You should be used to it by now. The circus, aka the Yankees, will not win another World Series in the lifetime of any current Yankees fan, young or old. The new America's Team plays and resides in the city of Boston. It will be a sweet repeat for the world champion Red Sox in 2008.
DON MURPHY JR.
Walden, N.Y.


Amen, Mr. Murphy. I couldn't have put it better myself.

Torre's Come to Terms With His Demons

The line of the night last night belonged to Dodgers' manager Joe Torre, who addressed the crowd at the Los Angeles Coliseum before last night's history-making game with the Red Sox.

Courtesy of Dan Shaughnessy:
"There's not a better way to do this than against the Boston Red Sox . . . excuse me, the World Champion Boston Red Sox. For some reason, it doesn't bother me to say that anymore."

It always brings me great joy to say those five words. And I'm glad you've gotten over your angst in regard to that, Joe.

Good luck in Los Angeles.

Sox Win as They Make History in LA

Last night's Red Sox-Dodgers game in the Los Angeles Coliseum may have been the single strangest baseball game I have ever seen.

A record crowd of 115,300 attended the game, in a benefit for ThinkCure, a Dodgers charity. It was an amazing 201 feet down the left line with a 60-foot screen to prevent pop flies from becoming home runs.

Tim Wakefield pitched well for the Red Sox, allowing just one run in five innings. And surprisingly, it was NOT home run derby last night, but it was obvious that some lefty hitters like David Ortiz were aiming for the short porch. The porch was so short that Joe Torre actually had Andruw Jones playing shortstop in a five-man infield at times.

The game was so strange that the camera angle was off, as the cameras had to be mounted in right centerfield, so you couldn't tell what pitches were truly strikes. And the cameramen had trouble with line drives, that they focused many times on the outfield when the ball ended up in the glove of the third baseman. They aren't to be faulted, as it was a truly bizarre night. (I didn't notice an overwhelmingly number of Red Sox fans there last night. I didn't hear the game last night, as I was in a crowded bar, so I didn't hear the reactions when the Red Sox scored.)

So bizarre that Kevin Cash, yes, the Sox weak-hitting catcher who now has the Mirabelli Position of catching Tim Wakefield, hit the first homer of the night, a good shot over the screen (I absolutely could not tell where it was on TV) to put the Sox up, 3-1. Kevin Youkilis added a home run over the screen as well to make it 5-1. (It was another high drive but I'm not sure it would have gone out of Fenway.) On a few occasions, balls hit the screen, but no one got more than a single out of it because of how close left field was.

The Red Sox went on to win, 7-4, as history was made in Los Angeles. The Sox and Dodgers will close out spring training today at Dodger Stadium before the Red Sox get down to the serious business of resuming the regular season in Oakland on Tuesday night.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Anyone For Pinball?

It's going to be an interesting game for the Red Sox against the Dodgers in Los Angeles tonight, as it will be played in the Los Angeles Coliseum, where the Dodgers played from 1958-61, and it marks the 50th anniversary of their move from Brooklyn.

Left field back in the old days of the Coliseum was just 250 feet, but because new seats were added many years ago, it will be just 201 feet down the left field line. (And it will be 440 feet to deep right.) There will be a 60-foot screen put up for the game in left, and balls off that screen will be in play. Pinball, anyone?

Well, batting practice should also be fascinating to watch for the fans tonight as well. I'd love to see if Manny Ramirez can hit one completely out of the Coliseum.

They are hoping to set a Guinness Book of World Records attendance record for the game, as 115,000 fans are expected to be in the house. 90,000 seats were sold, and another 25,000 standing room fans will be there. It has been said that a game played in Australia in the 1956 Olympics (I didn't know they played baseball in the Olympics back then) drew that many fans. But the MLB record was set in the very same ballpark during the 1959 World Series the Dodgers played with the White Sox, just over 93,000, so that record should easily fall.

I have to admit I'm really fascinated to see this game, and the huge crowd. I'll be at Professor Thom's to check it out. (It will be broadcast on NESN.) Of course, there is a little bit of regret seeing it played there for me. I wasn't alive back then, but this is the venue the Dodgers moved to when they abandoned Brooklyn in 1957. It will always be a sore spot for many people I know who were Brooklyn Dodgers fans. The hurt here over their move will never fully go away, no matter how many years have passed.

In Red Sox news, Mike Timlin was placed on the DL yesterday, with a lacerated finger. He injured it in a game on March 20, but will be eligible to come off the DL when the Sox reach Toronto on April 4. David Aardsma or Bryan Corey seem likely to be on the roster in Timlin's place for the second part of the Oakland series. Josh Beckett will also come off the DL and possibly start for the Red Sox that night against the Blue Jays.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Red Sox Fans Are Better Hot Dog Eaters



Here's a blast from the recent past for my 1,300th post. My buddy Chris just posted this clip on YouTube, and it's from YES' "Ultimate Road Trip" show, about four Yankees fans who follow the team and go to every game. Before the Red Sox-Yankees game of May 27, 2005, a challenge was settled between the Road Trippers and Red Sox Nation outside of Yankee Stadium. Dave of the Road Trippers took on Charles, a friend of mine and Chris'. I was present for it, as I was leading the cheers behind Charles. (I'm wearing a road Sox jersey.) I gathered up some Red Sox fans who were going to that night's game, and we formed a rooting section. (Notice there's one Yankee fan wearing a "Who's Your Daddy" anti-Red Sox shirt. In 2005. I guess he forgot what happened the previous October.)

It was no contest, as Charles won easily. But the price the Road Trippers had to pay was that they ALL had to wear a Red Sox shirt into the ballpark for the entire game. (If Charles had lost, he had to wear a Yankee shirt at the game.)But three of the four totally wimped out and refused to do it. Finally, Dave agreed to do it, and had fun in being an "ersatz" Red Sox fan. (I give Dave, who was really a nice guy, credit for doing that. He's actually funny in his mocking. But the other three nearly killed the episode.)

The clip runs for over seven minutes. My thanks to Chris for posting it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Totally Fried

OK, it won't be a perfect season for the Red Sox.

The A's gained a split in the two-game series in Tokyo, winning 5-1. Unfortunately, Jon Lester reverted back to his old ways, namely nibbling, walking batters and getting burned on one swing. Manny Ramirez hit his 491st career home run, a titanic wallop that avoided a shutout. Rich Harden was terrific for Oakland, striking out nine and getting the win. (And I'm glad I took a chance on him in one of my fantasy leagues.)

I watched both games from Japan at Professor Thom's. Tuesday was a large crowd with the media present, but the bloom was off the rose on Wednesday. Maybe a dozen people turned out to see the Sox loss. The two days reminded of those old days when the Cleveland Indians played at Cleveland Stadium. They would draw 70,000 on Opening Day, but they would get less than a tenth of that the next day.

I'm glad this Japan experiment is now over. I watched both of these games on very little sleep the last two nights, and that's not a good thing. I was totally wiped out by noon today, and the rest of the day today I did nothing. I felt like I was hung over, but I had very little to drink last night after Trivia Night.

The Red Sox are now off to Los Angeles for three exhibition games with the Dodgers, including the Saturday game in the Los Angeles Coliseum that will draw over 115,000 fans. The A's series will resume Tuesday night back in Oakland at 10 PM, with Daisuke Matsuzaka going for the second time this season.

Trivia Q&A: March 25

We had 18 teams for Trivia Night on Tuesday night. It was an extremely long day due to the Red Sox game being on so early that morning, but I found a way to muddle through. The Current Events numbers were pretty low, and I got some comments that the questions were rather difficult. The numbers for Red Sox Trivia were of course a bit high, as I did not make the questions all that difficult, and there were a good number of Red Sox fans on hand. True or False had the best numbers on the night, and a couple of players afterwards told me they were a bit too easy. You know what I'll do with that next week.

The IQ Trivia round saw the numbers generally on the lighter side, and a team called This Mic.. got four the five questions right and got 20 points to move from third place and win the night by eight points. It is the second win in three weeks for them, and I offer my congratulations to them on their victory. (Update: We did have some controversy regarding two of the IQ questions. Turns out Roberto Benigni did direct himself and won the Oscar for Best Actor for "Life is Beautiful." I did write "first" in the question here, but did not in the quiz. My apologies. Also, the Coast Guard is now under the Department of Homeland Security, since 2003. Thanks to those Trivia players who pointed these facts out to me. Yep, the Trivia Maven slips up every so often.)

Current Events
1. Forbes magazine recently revealed that this western US state is the worst state in the country to own a carin, in terms of overall costs.
2. A nine-month stalemate in this European country finally ended last week, with a new government formed by Yves Leterme sworn in as the new prime minister.
3. This daytime drama (aka soap opera) on ABC celebrated its 45th anniversary last week.
4. This classic rock group's lawyers sued last week to prevent a company from releasing recordings made by the group in the early 1960s before they became famous.
5. The wardrobe worn by this female pop singer's appearance on a TV sitcom will be sold at auction soon to benefit an environmental organization.
6. This Hollywood actress, who will turn 50 this year, will pose topless for the cover of AARP magazine in its May-June issue.
7. Protestors in this European country gathered to protest a movie made by a filmmaker from that country that they perceived to be anti-Islamic.
8. 18 sailors from this Eastern European country were trapped underwater on Sunday in their capsized tugboat when it collied with a cargo ship off Hong Kong.
9. The mayor of this US city was charged with perjury and other charges after his sworn denials of an affair were contradicted by sexually explicit text messages.
10. This American auto giant will later this year become the first to offer in-car Internet access in the United States.

Answers: 1. Hawaii; 2. Belgium; 3. "General Hospital;" 4. The Beatles; 5. Britney Spears; 6. Jamie Lee Curtis; 7. Netherlands; 8. Ukraine; 9. Detroit; 10. Chrysler.

Red Sox Trivia

1. Which Red Sox pitcher threw a no-hitter in 2007? a. Josh Beckett; b. Curt Schilling; c. Clay Buchholz; d. Jon Lester.
2. Which Red Sox player was the MVP of the 2007 World Series? a. David Ortiz; b. Josh Beckett; c. Dustin Pedroia; d. Mike Lowell.
3. Which former Red Sox player is currently not in the Baseball Hall of Fame? a. Jim Rice; b. Carl Yastrzemski; c. Wade Boggs; d. Carlton Fisk.
4. With their title in 2007, how many World Series have the Red Sox now won in total? a. 5; b. 6; c. 7; d. 8.
5. Which National League team traded Curt Schilling to the Red Sox in late 2003? a. Arizona; b. Philadelphia; c. Houston; d. Los Angeles.
6. What team did Manny Ramirez play for before coming to the Red Sox as a free agent in 2001? a. Minnesota Twins; b. Cleveland Indians; c. Detroit Tigers; d. New York Yankees.
7. Who was the last Red Sox pitcher to win a Cy Young Award? a. Roger Clemens; b. Josh Beckett; c. Curt Schilling; d. Pedro Martinez.
8. What current MLB player was a teammate of Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan? a. Hideki Matsui; b. Daisuke Matsuzaka; c. Ichiro Suzuki; d. Kaz Matsui.
9. Who was the MVP of the Red Sox 2004 World Series win? a. David Ortiz; b. Keith Foulke; c. Manny Ramirez; d. Curt Schilling.
10. Which baseball film was partially filmed in Fenway Park? a. "Bull Durham;" b. "Field of Dreams;" c. "Major League;" d. "Eight Men Out."

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

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")

1. Alaskan King and Dungeness are both types of crabs.
2. Yosemite National Park is located in the state of Idaho.
3. The TV show "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" is based on a character from the Archie comic book series.
4. Andromeda is the only other galaxy besides the Milky Way that is visible to the naked eye.
5. The Great Sphinx is found in the Gobi desert.
6. Xanadu was a home for the legendary Kublai Khan.
7. Feminist Gloria Steinem once wrote about her experiences as a Playboy Bunny.
8. Carotene gives plants its green color.
9. Richard Nixon's daughter Julie is related by marriage to Dwight D. Eisenhower.
10. The Green Bay Packers won the first Super Bowl in 1967 against the Oakland Raiders.

Answers: 1. true; 2. false, it is in California; 3. true; 4. true; 5. false, it is the Sahara; 6. true; 7. true; 8. false, chlorophyll; 9. true; 10. false, they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs.

General Knowledge

1. In which European country would you find the Matterhorn?
2. What did scientists James Watson and Francis Crick discover in 1953?
3. What architectural term describes a projecting beam that is supported at only one end?
4. According to the opening credits of the classic TV series "The X-Files," where is "the truth?"
5. What sport is played with a shuttlecock?
6. Before joining the boy band 'N Sync, two members were regulars on what children's TV show?
7. Under what name was the city of St. Petersburg, Russia once known as?
8. What letter in the Braille alphabet is represented by a single raised dot?
9. What animated character famously danced with Gene Kelly in the film "Anchors Aweigh?"
10. In 218 BC, Hannibal crossed the Alps intent on capturing what European city?

Answers: 1. Switzerland; 2. 3-D Structure of DNA; 3. cantilever; 4. out there; 5. badminton; 6. "The Mickey Mouse Club;" 7. Leningrad; 8. A; 9. Jerry; 10. Rome.

IQ Trivia

1. Which actor first won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a feature film that he directed? ( 6 points)
2. What band's video was the very first to be played on MTV in 1981? ( 4 points)
3. During times of peace, the Coast Guard operates under what government agency's jurisdiction? ( 5 points)
4. During what war did nurse Florence Nightingale achieve notoriety? ( 5 points)
5. What painter is credited with designing the uniforms worn by the Vatican's Swiss Guards? ( 5 points)

Answers: 1. Laurence Olivier; 2. The Buggles; 3. Department of Transportation; 4. Crimean War; 5. Michelangelo.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

1-0

It was early morning baseball for Red Sox fans all over the US, and especially at Professor Thom's pub, where I was taking in the Red Sox game, on the earliest Opening Day in MLB history. And, as usual, the media found me.

I was in the bar no more than 30 seconds at the ungodly time of 5:40 AM when I took off my coat and a reporter from WINS radio here in New York came up to me with a microphone and started asking me questions. He asked me where I was from, and I said I was from Brooklyn, born and raised. He was shocked that someone like me, a New Yorker, could be a Red Sox fan. I told him about my parents and their lifelong hatred of the Yankees, and how I became a fan of the Sox 31 years ago. A story I have now told people at least a hundred times at Thom's.

I was also interviewed by a guy from WCBS-AM radio in NYC, and he asked me more questions about the Red Sox chances. One of my friends heard me on the radio and sent out an email saying he heard just heard "Mr. Media Whore" (me) on the radio.

They just find me. Don't ask me to explain it.

The bar had a great crowd for a 6 AM start. About 100 fans in all turned out, and witnessed a great game. (We were fortunate to have ESPNHD at the bar, as DirecTV suffered a blackout during the game and many Sox fans were left out in the cold. We couldn't see the game on NESN as it was blacked out here, and was probably only seen in New England.) Daisuke Matsuzaka, the conquering hero, returned to a thunderous ovation at the Tokyo Dome but was really shaky in the first two innings. He gave up two runs, including a home run to Mark Ellis in the first. A lot of it was probably jitters, but he did a lot of nibbling, walking 5 while striking out 6. Dice-K did settle down to allow just the two in five innings, and it sure could have been a lot more.

The Sox finally got it going in the sixth, as Manny Ramirez doubled in two and scored on a single by Jason Varitek. But as soon as I saw Kyle Snyder come in, I knew the lead would disappear. And it did, on a two-run shot by Jack Hannahan. It looked like a 4-3 loss was going to happen, until Brandon Moss (pictured) hit a one-out home run, his first MLB blast, off Huston Street, to send the game to the tenth. (In Maine, my friend Ennis must have been going crazy, as he is Moss' biggest fan.)

In the tenth, Manny hit a blast off the wall in right center to drive in two runs and put the Sox up. (But I wish he would stop that admiring crap he does in the batter's box, as he had to hustle just to get to second.) Jonathan Papelbon, who was an automatic last year, struggled in the tenth. He was helped out by Emil Brown's running goof, as he tried to stretch a double into a triple and was thrown out. With the score 6-5 and two outs, Pap gave up two more singles before he got Kurt Suzuki to ground out to end it, and get the Red Sox off to a good start to 2008.

I was hoping the Red Sox would at least split the two games in Tokyo, and now can do no worse than that. One of my friends may have summed the morning up best by saying at the finish, "The Yankees are now in second place."

Let's hope they stay there.

Monday, March 24, 2008

In Honor of the Start of the 2008 Season

Tuesday night's special category for Trivia will be Boston Red Sox Trivia. (I can just hear the groans from some of the Trivia regulars.) The 2008 MLB season opens on Tuesday morning at 6 AM ET with the Defending World Champions (I love writing that!) taking on the Oakland A's at the Tokyo Dome. The questions will be of the more recent variety of Red Sox history, and the questions will also be multiple choice. (So grin and bare it, folks!)

We will have the regular four categories on hand as well, and we will get going at about 9 PM. (It will be a really long day for me, as I'll be at Thom's for the game that morning, and I will be back on Wednesday morning for the Japanese finale.)

The Sneak Peek question for Tuesday night is:
What letter of the Braille alphabet is represented by a single raised dot?

See you Tuesday night. (And maybe some of you Tuesday morning?)

Thom's Will Rock at 6

It will be the earliest I've ever been in any kind of drinking establishment on Tuesday morning when the Red Sox take on the Oakland A's live from Tokyo. Professor Thom's (pictured) will be open at 6 AM for a gathering of those dedicated Red Sox fans who wish to see their heroes open the 2008 baseball season. There will be another game at 6 AM on Wednesday, and that will conclude the Red Sox visit to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Thom's was the subject of a nice story on page 2 of today's New York Daily News about the New York bars showing the Red Sox opener: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/2008/03/24/2008-03-24_bars_to_open_early_for_red_sox_opener.html

And about 12 hours after the game, we'll be doing our weekly wildly-popular Trivia Night at 9 PM at Thom's. So it will be a long day and night for me, but I'm sure it will be worth it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sox Whack Yankees...of Japan

The Red Sox won their second exhibition game in Japan today, defeating the Yomiuri Giants, 9-2 at the Tokyo Dome, as J.D. Drew hit his second home run in two days, a grand slam in the first inning.


Tim Wakefield pitched five solid innings, allowing two runs against Japan's most famous baseball club. But the biggest moment of the game was when hometown hero Hideki Okajima came in to pitch in the seventh (pictured). The former Giant reliever received a thunderous ovation in pitching a scoreless inning.

Jed Lowrie also added a solo homer, and Brandon Moss and Coco Crisp drove in runs to lead the Red Sox offense. Monday is an off day, and the Red Sox will play the Oakland A's on Tuesday night in Tokyo (early morning in the US) to open the 2008 MLB season.

I'll be witnessing it at Professor Thom's along with some other early birds on Tuesday.

And I hope you all have had a Happy Easter.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sox Open With a Win in Tokyo

The Red Sox opened their four game jaunt in Japan with a win on Saturday afternoon (Friday night/Saturday morning in the Eastern US) with a 6-5 win over the Hanshin Tigers in the Tokyo Dome. A raucous, sellout crowd saw the Sox score four runs in the first on a David Ortiz home run and a three-run shot by J.D. Drew.

The Tigers are very similar to the Red Sox in that they have probably the most knowlegeable, rabid and passionate fan base of any team in Japan. They follow the team all over Japan, and sometimes outnumber the home team's fans. (Sound familiar?)

Clay Buchholz once again struggled this spring, giving up four runs to Hanshin in the second. In all four starts he's gotten knocked around. Granted, you can't get too high or low when it comes to spring training, but you have to wonder if Buchholz could probably do with some more time in AAA.

But the good news is that there were no injuries last night, and the Sox will play Japan's equivalent of the Yankees, the Yomiuri Giants, at their home park, the Tokyo Dome, on Sunday night (Sunday morning at 6 AM here). Then on Tuesday, the regular season begins with the Oakland A's.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Red Sox Roster For Japan

The Red Sox have taken 30 players over to Japan for the four games they will play over there, the two exhibition games this weekend and the two regular season games against the Oakland Athletics. Here is the roster:

Pitchers: Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, David Aardsma, Bryan Corey, Manny Delcarmen, Javier Lopez, Hideki Okajima, Jonathan Papelbon, Kyle Snyder, Julian Tavarez, Mike Timlin
Catchers: Dusty Brown, Kevin Cash, Jason Varitek
Infielders: Sean Casey, Alex Cora, Mike Lowell, Jed Lowrie, Julio Lugo, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis
Outfielders: Coco Crisp, J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Bobby Kielty, Brandon Moss, Manny Ramirez

Carrying extra players guards against someone going down with an injury, especially early on. Of course, only 25 can be active for the two games against Oakland. (Brown, Lowrie, Moss, Corey and Aardsma figure to be the five left off for the A's games, although the injury to Mike Timlin's finger might keep Corey or Aardsma on.)

Buchholz and Wakefield are scheduled to start the exhibitions, while Matsuzaka and Lester will start against Oakland. (My thanks to Boston Blood Sox for the roster listings.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Long and Winding Road

As I write this, the Red Sox are just arriving in Japan for the exhibition and regular season games they will play there. Today's Boston Globe has the complete schedule for the three-week trip that also include the games they will play in Los Angeles, Oakland and Toronto, before returning to Boston to raise the world championship flag on April 8.

Here is the long road ahead for the Sox (all times are Eastern):

March 21: Red Sox vs. Hanshin Tigers, 11:05 p.m. (Exhibition in Japan)
March 23: Red Sox vs. Yomiuri Giants, 6:05 a.m. (Exhibition in Japan)
March 25: Red Sox vs. Athletics, 6:05 a.m. (Regular season opener in Japan) NESN, ESPN2
March 26: Red Sox vs. Athletics, 6:05 a.m. (Regular season game in Japan) NESN, ESPN2
March 28: Red Sox at Dodgers, 10:40 p.m. (Exhibition)
March 29: Red Sox at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (Exhibition at LA Coliseum) NESN
March 30: Red Sox at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m. (Exhibition)
April 1: Red Sox at Athletics, 10:05 p.m. (Regular season) NESN
April 2: Red Sox at Athletics, 3:35 p.m. (Regular season) NESN
April 4: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:15 p.m. (Regular season) NESN
April 5: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. (Regular season) NESN
April 6: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. (Regular season) NESN
April 8: Red Sox vs. Tigers, 2:05 p.m. (Opening Day at Fenway) NESN

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Band of Brothers

It was one of the more bizarre days in the history of the Boston Red Sox today, with the threat of a boycott of the opening series in Japan next week coming out of nowhere. The fact that the team made this threat shows a lot about the character of this team and how much they genuinely care about each other.

They all voted unanimously to not play today against the Blue Jays and not go to Japan if the coaches and training staff was not compensated properly for their trip to Japan as well. Each player on both teams is getting $40,000 a player for going over there, but both the Red Sox and Oakland A's players were under the impression that their coaches and other personnel were be getting a stipend for the trip also. (Remember that MLB rules state that all players get a stipend on all road trips, and I believe coaches and trainers get one as well.)

It sounds like someone at MLB blew it. It also sounds as though the promise to compensate the others was made verbally and not written down. It took an hour of scrambling while the fans were waiting for the game at Ft. Myers to start against Toronto for the players to get assurances from MLB that their staffs were not being stiffed on this trip. (They don't make any kind of big money, and since the Sox would be away for 19 days starting tomorrow, it would be a financial burden for many of them to go to Japan.)

I briefly put on the "Mike and the Mad Dog" program on WFAN while the controversy was going on (why did I do that?), and Chris Russo, the putz that he is, basically said that since the Red Sox have so many stars making huge money, why couldn't they just give those stipends to the coaches and training staff. (That would be like me asking Russo to kick some money over to some of the lower paid staff at WFAN if he and Fatso were getting some kind of bonus, as they are the highest paid at the station.) And once again, Russo just doesn't get it. (Big surprise.) It has nothing to do with money. It has to do with broken promises made by MLB to ease the burden on the Red Sox making a 10,000 mile trip across the Pacific to make MLB more money. I'm sure if push came to shove the Sox players could have done that, but they shouldn't have been obligated to do something like that. It's up to MLB to make good on their promises and take care of "the little guys."

Jason Varitek may have put it best today when he said about the coaches and training staff, "They take care of us, so it's up to us to take care of them as well."

Orel Hershiser, the color analyst who did today's game on ESPN, said as a former player that he was very proud of what the Red Sox did.

I was REALLY proud to be a Red Sox fan today. They stood up to Major League Baseball and told them that the game is not just about the players, it's also about those who the average fan knows little or nothing about getting their fair share as well. This episode reflected greatly on the character of this club, and should bring them closer together as they begin the grind of a long baseball season.

Great job today, fellas. Have a great trip to Tokyo. And especially to the coaches and training staff.

Play Ball

The Red Sox have taken the field at Ft. Myers in their game against the Blue Jays, one hour after the scheduled start. The issue apparently has been resolved, and the Red Sox players won it. The Japan trip is apparently on again.

All hail solidarity!!

Red Sox Japan Trip in Jeopardy

The Red Sox were scheduled to leave for Japan after today's game with the Blue Jays, but the word came out today that the players will boycott the trip and not get on the plane today (as well as not play the final game in Florida against Toronto) unless the coaches and training staff, who are also making the journey, are also compensated as the players are.

Each player is getting $40,000 for the games over there, but apparently MLB reneged on an agreement back in November that the coaches would also get a stipend for it as well. It is my understanding that the two other times MLB teams made trips over to Japan (Mets-Cubs in 2000 and Yankees-Rays in 2004), the coaches and training staffs were compensated.

Terry Francona found out about it yesterday, and the players likewise found out and held a vote and right now will not play today or get on a plane later today. I also heard that the Oakland A's, who will play the Sox in Tokyo, are watching what happens today in Ft. Myers and may also boycott the trip.

Honest truth, it wouldn't break my heart if the Red Sox don't make the trip. They can just make those games up in Oakland. I support the players on the stand they are taking.

As I write this, no decision has yet been made, as negotiations are still ongoing between the Red Sox and MLB. Stay tuned.

Arthur C. Clarke Dies at 90



I was saddened to learn last night after I got home from Trivia Night of the passing of Arthur C. Clarke. He gained worldwide fame as the author of the classic bestselling novel "2001: A Space Odyssey," which became a worldwide hit as a film made by Stanley Kubrick in 1968.

Mr. Clarke, who was born in England, died in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, where he had lived since 1956. He wrote many other books, but "2001: A Space Odyssey" was by far and away his most famous work. He was also nominated for an Oscar for the film's screenplay.

I first read the book in high school, and I saw the movie as a youngster. I didn't understand most of it when I first saw it, but I've seen it many times over the years and it has become one of my favorite films. The movie's music and special effects are just spectacular, and it has become more and more beloved as the years have progressed.

So in honor of Mr. Clarke, I present here on YouTube one of the movie's most pivotal scenes, when HAL 9000, the onboard computer system that turns against the astronauts on their way to Jupiter, takes on astronaut Dave Bowman, as he tells the computer, "Open the pod bay doors, Hal." The clip is just under eight minutes.

Godspeed Mr. Clarke.

Trivia Q&A: March 18

We had 20 teams in for Trivia on Tuesday night, and we had yet more players naming their teams after the infamous former governor of New York. (Although the infamous former governor of New Jersey was well-represented too.)

The scores were generally pretty low for both Current Events and 21st Century Trivia, but the teams bounced back for both True or False and General Knowledge. We had a really tight contest going into IQ Trivia, and for the first time we had five teams run the table in the category to get all 25 points. The final standings had the top five teams separated by only two points, but for the second straight week, we had a tie for the top spot.

So we went to a tie-breaker question: "How old was JFK when he was elected as the youngest US president?" The two teams, My Parents Love My Bartender and Notarize This, Bitch, both gave in their guesses, and Notarize This was closest, as the answer was 43. It was a another great night of Trivia and my congratulations to them on their win.

Current Events
1. This legendary female singer currently owes over $19,000 in back taxes and may lose her home to tax collectors if not paid.
2. NASA announced evidence of rings around Rhea, a moon of this planet, which would be the first known rings around a moon.
3. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was re-elected prime minister of this country last week.
4. This space shuttle was launched on an assembly mission to the International Space Station last week.
5. A protest at the Chinese Embassy in NYC in support of this country turned violent on Saturday, with demonstrators clashing with cops.
6. Tiger Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament on Sunday. How many consecutive worldwide tourneys has he now won?
7. This film, just released last Friday, had the biggest opening of the year so far, rolling up $45 million to become the number one film in America.
8. A court in India is allowing this Hollywood actor to return to the country after he allegedly broke public obscenity laws by kissing an Indian actress at an AIDS event there last year.
9. For the fifth straight year, this western state was ranked as The Most Dangerous State in America by CQ Press.
10. A judge in London yesterday ordered Paul McCartney to pay ex-wife Heather Mills how much in total to settle their divorce (within $2 million)?

Answers: 1. Aretha Franklin; 2. Saturn; 3. Spain; 4. Endeavour; 5. Tibet; 6. seven; 7. "Horton Hears a Who;" 8. Richard Gere; 9. Nevada; 10. $48.6 million.

21st Century Trivia
1. "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" won a record-tying 11 Oscars on February 28 of this year.
2. The legendary country singer Johnny Cash dies on September 12 of this year at age 71.
3. Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives on January 4.
4. The Arizona Diamondbacks win their first World Series, in seven games over the New York Yankees, on November 4.
5. The Winter Olympics open in Turin, Italy on February 10 and run until February 26.
6. The US Navy destroys a spy satellite with toxic fuel on February 20 by shooting it down with a missle launched from the USS Lake Erie in the Pacific Ocean.
7. Brazil wins soccer's World Cup for the fifth time with a 2-0 win over Germany on June 30.
8. Pope John Paul II dies on April 2 and four million people travel to the Vatican to mourn him.
9. Barry Bonds breaks Mark McGwire's home run record for a single season with 73, on October 5.
10. Over 200,000 people die when a strong earthquake strikes the Indian Ocean region on December 26, setting off enormous tsumani waves in countries from Sri Lanka to Indonesia.

Answers: 1. 2004; 2. 2003; 3. 2007; 4. 2001; 5. 2006; 6. 2008; 7. 2002; 8. 2005; 9. 2001; 10. 2004.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. A nib is commonly found at one end of a pen.
2. In the Bibical story, David used a slingshot to kill Goliath.
3. A lentil is a type of root vegetable.
4. In the 1981 movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Indiana Jones is afraid of bats.
5. North Dakota is a US state considered to be part of "Ozark country."
6. Atlantic hurricanes most frequently occur during the days between August and October.
7. Molly Ringwald played a character in the first season of the TV series, "The Facts of Life."
8. A grouper is a type of bird.
9. Flag Day takes place in the US during the month of May.
10. Minneapolis is the state capital of Minnesota.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, it's a legume; 4. false, snakes; 5. false, it's Arkansas; 6. true; 7. true; 8. false, it's a fish; 9. false, it's in June; 10. false, it's St. Paul.

General Knowledge
1. Jonathan Demme documented what rock group in the 1984 movie "Stop Making Sense?"
2. Ozone is a form of what gas?
3. What is the main ingredient in a traditional frittata?
4. Who created and hosted the classic TV show "Candid Camera?"
5. A limerick is a funny poem that has how many lines of verse?
6. What type of filling is inside a MoonPie sandwich?
7. The "Mariel boat lift" involved refugees from what country?
8. What US city is known as the cereal capital of the world?
9. What mythic adventurer sailed on the ship, The Argo?
10. What female comic created the character of Ernestine, the telephone switchboard operator?

Answers: 1. Talking Heads; 2. oxygen; 3. eggs; 4. Allen Funt; 5. five; 6. marshmallow; 7. Cuba; 8. Battle Creek, MI; 9. Jason; 10. Lily Tomlin.

IQ Trivia
1. What is the capital of Switzerland? ( 5 points)
2. The Berber people live primarily in what region of the world? ( 5 points)
3. What future 20th century US president is featured in the 1994 novel "The Alienist?" ( 6 points)
4. What country defeated England at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314? ( 5 points)
5. In the movie "Back to the Future," what speed must the DeLorean reach in order to travel through time? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. Bern; 2. North Africa; 3. Theodore Roosevelt; 4. Scotland; 5. 88 MPH.

Monday, March 17, 2008

21st Century Trivia on Tuesday

On Tuesday night, we will have as the special category: "21st Century Trivia." It will be 10 events that occurred from 2001-2008, and you have to tell me which year it happened in. (And remember, 2000 is not in the 21st Century, as the new century didn't begin until 2001.) Every year will be represented, and two of the years will come up twice. (They won't be all sports events, despite the "ESPN" logo you see here.) We will also have the usual four other categories, and we'll be starting at the regular time of 9 PM.

This week's Sneak Peek question is:
A limerick is a funny poem that has how many lines of verse?

We've been getting some excellent crowds the past number of weeks, which has been so gratifying to see. Hope you can make it to Thom's on Tuesday.

Dice-K Gets the Opening Nod

Daisuke Matsuzaka will open the Red Sox World Series championship defense (I love writing that!) on March 25 in Tokyo against the Oakland A's, most likely against Joe Blanton. Terry Francona confirmed that today, and also said that Jon Lester will start the second game of the series, also possibly against Rich Harden. (A's manager Bob Geren hasn't made any formal announcement yet.)

Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield will start the two exhibition games this weekend after the Red Sox arrive in Japan on Thursday. They may both pitch the first two regular season games in Toronto, but that will depend on the health of Josh Beckett, and when he's ready to go.

The word from Red Sox camp is that Commander Kick Ass had another pain-free session today, throwing from 120 feet. He maybe ready to go when the Sox reach Oakland to start the season in the US on April 1, but we will see.

Always a Proud Day

I want to wish all of you out there a warm and blessed St. Patrick's Day. I'll be spending it rather quietly at home, watching the parade from Manhattan on TV, as well as the Red Sox game from Tampa against the Yankees. It's a clear, chilly day here in New York, and I'm just glad to have some good weather on this day for a change. A remember a few years ago when we had a fast-moving snowstorm go through during the day.

I've only been to the parade on a couple of occasions live, and I rarely go out drinking to celebrate the day. I'll knock back a cold one and have some Irish soda bread tonight in honor of St. Patrick (pictured) and my Irish heritage. (It might be sacreligious to say this, but I can't stand corned beef and cabbage!)

And remember, there are only two kinds of people in the world.

Those who are Irish, and those who wish they could be.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Setting the Record Straight

Ah, another one of those letters in the newspapers.


Today, it comes from the New York Post's Sound Off column, where most of the letters were about Shelley Duncan's dirty slide and bench-clearing dustup last week at Tampa. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course.

But this one jumped out at me, and for two reasons:

Joe Girardi was right to tell his players to fight back against Tampa Bay or any other team that tries to play rough, especially in spring training games. That's the way to play ball-payback, always. Mike Piazza gave it the "laidback" California-dreamin' approach to Roger Clemens' beaning and bat-throwing during the 2000 season, and the Mets lost the World Series in five games. If Piazza would have gone out and twisted Clemens' arm out of its socket, the Rocket might have watched the World Series from a hospital bed. If Girardi plays it rough, he may even get a few of us Mets fans cheering him on.
Michael J. Gorman

OK, Mr. Gorman, first off, Elliot Johnson's bowling over of Francisco Cervelli was a clean play. He's got every right to do what he did. A catcher with the baseball blocking the plate is subject to such a move, and the player has the right to take that action. The only thing in question is whether Johnson should have done such a thing in a spring training game. I believe yes, as Johnson's a rookie trying to make the Rays, trying to show his manager he knows how to play the game and belongs with the big club. (And besides, what is he supposed to do, just let Cervelli tag him out?)

This doesn't give the right for Duncan to do what is agreed is a dirty play, coming in on Akinori Iwamura with his spikes high. Duncan tried to make the world believe he was just trying to knock the ball out of his glove, but the video made that out to be a lie. "Payback"is not justified with every perceived slight, especially when players can really get hurt in an unnecessary play.

And, I've been hearing this crap for years about Mike Piazza and the thrown bat in the World Series. Let's just set the record straight here. You being a Mets fan should know that Piazza simply could not retaliate by "twisting Clemens' arm out of its socket" because if he started a bench clearing brawl, he would have been suspended for the rest of the World Series, and he was simply the most important part of the Mets offense.(Believe me, I would love to have seen Mike shove that bat up Clemens' ass. Piazza also would have loved to have done it, but he was smart enough to back off.) He would have been roundly criticized, and justly so, for getting himself thrown out of the World Series and destroying the Mets hope at a title. (When was the last time you saw a bench-clearing brawl in the World Series, Mr. Gorman? How about "never"?) And funny that Clemens is involved, as he got himself tossed out of Game 4 of the 1990 ALCS for running his mouth off at umpire Terry Cooney, thus his absence (he got tossed in the 2nd inning) killed any chance the Red Sox had of coming back in that series.

And as far as taking a "California dreamin'" approach to Clemens' beaning that previous July, Piazza was nearly knocked unconscious by that beaning, left the game, and did not face Clemens again until the postseason, when the broken bat toss by Clemens happened. (So he could not go after Clemens that July night.) You seem to imply that Piazza is some kind of "pussy" by not jamming his fist down Clemens' throat. In reality, the "pussy" here is Clemens. He knew Piazza couldn't retaliate in Game 2 of the World Series, and he could get away with that bullshit. The Texas Con Man had been getting away with that type of behavior for years, mostly because he was an AL pitcher who didn't have to come to bat.

Now, Clemens is getting his comeuppence for all the crap he pulled all those years, and his reputation is in ruins. And it didn't take Mike Piazza to do it to him.

But I bet somewhere, Mike must be enjoying it, too.

And finally that last line: If Girardi plays it rough, he may even get a few of us Mets fans cheering him on. Holy mackerel, what right-thinking Mets fan is going to root for the Yankees (and that style of play) but the most casual, fair-weather fan?

Dice-K Goes, Beckett Stays

Lots of good news for the Red Sox pitching staff this weekend.

Daisuke Matsuzaka's wife Tomoyo gave birth to a boy on Saturday, the couple's second child. Congratulations to the Matsuzakas on the new addition to their family. And that's VERY good news for the Red Sox and their fans, as Dice-K can now travel home to Japan this week with the team and start one of the two games at the Tokyo Dome against the Oakland A's.

And the word on Josh Beckett continues to get better. Terry Francona has confirmed what everyone seemed to know, that Beckett will stay back in Florida for the Japan trip. It's not worth risking his balky back on such a very long trip. He played catch with pitching coach John Farrell yesterday and reported no problems with the back. Tito did not say when he'd pitch next, but he may very well be in line to start one of the games at Oakland either April 1st or 2nd when the regular season resumes for both clubs.

Son of Sarge?

Yesterday I was home watching the English Premier League match between Arsenal and Middlesbrough from London. The match ended in a 1-1 tie, but I noticed something during the game.

Middlesbrough has a tall central defender named Robert Huth. He's originally from Germany, and known as "The Berlin Wall" (as he was born there in 1984). But one look at this guy and it instantly reminded me of the "Sarge" himself, Mike Timlin.

Here's more on the German international soccer player, who once played for Chelsea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Huth

He's built like Timlin, and just as tall (6'3''). There's a difference in their ages, about 18 years. It makes me wonder: did Sarge make any secret trips to Berlin in the early part of 1984 that we don't know about?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Baseball vs. Football



Tonight I watched a classic show on the HBO Comedy Channel, "George Carlin On Campus" from 1984. Carlin has always been one of my favorite comedians, and George is terrific in this comedy classic. He's done numerous HBO specials, and this is absolutely one of his best.

This special includes one of my favorite bits of his, about the difference between baseball and football. Great stuff, and in it football is very warlike while baseball is more pastoral. I couldn't find the actual bit from "On Campus," but I did find this from a concert he did in 1990.

This clip runs just under five minutes. Enjoy.

Pap vs. Mr. Hankee

You knew he wouldn't remain quiet for much longer.

Hank Steinbrenner (pictured) has been shooting his mouth off again about the Red Sox, and this time he's gotten into a pissing contest with Jonathan Papelbon. Today's NY Post has an article about how Pap said that Hankenstein should "stick to pencil-pushing." So Boss Jr. fired back by calling Papelbon "a mouse."

It's apparent that Hankenstein has a Red Sox obsession, as he's said little about the dustup his club had with the Tampa Bay Rays over the past week, but when the subject of the Sox comes up, he can't wait to open his yapper and insert his foot there. His rivals seem to know how to push his buttons, and Papelbon, who's never shy about expressing his opinions, did just that. The article: http://www.nypost.com/seven/03152008/sports/yankees/owner__bosox_closer_a_mouse_102071.htm

This is going to be a fascinating baseball season. I think Hankenstein might be well-advised to remember a quote from our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln: "Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

But I guess in Mr. Hankee's case, it might just be a little too late.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Doug Departs & We Prosper

From the moment the word got out yesterday that the Red Sox were letting Doug Mirabelli go, my Site Meter numbers started soaring. The end of the Mirabelli Era in Boston was great for this site, as Red Sox fans around the country (and especially in New England) wanted to relive the humorous post about Doug being a stuck-up, pain-in-the-ass narcissist.

And my thanks to the fine Red Sox sites Surviving Grady and Red Sox Chick who put up links to the July 2006 post.

I had over 400 hits to my site on Thursday, which is doubled what I get on a normal day. I guess the Red Sox should release Doug more often.

We also had a ton of hits from a picture of Clay Buchholz I posted here last September. I'm not exactly sure the reason why, as most readers found it off a Google Image search.

I'm pretty sure Clay isn't going anywhere. Right?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Red Sox Release Dougie

One of the 25 has left the Red Sox. And it's a sad day on this site.

The Sox are releasing Doug Mirabelli. They have Kevin Cash, George Kottaras and Dusty Brown as backstops. Cash has caught the knuckler before in the minors, and last season when Mirabelli got hurt in August. But it will be interesting to see who the main backup to Jason Varitek (and more importantly, Tim Wakefield's catcher) will be.

Mirabelli just didn't have the stick to warrant being the Sox backup catcher any more. And on this, the second anniversary of this site, the man who was an Internet cult hero and the most popular post we've ever put up (the laugh-out-loud fictional day in his life) will no longer be a Red Sox player. Every time Doug played, the hits on this site would go up, and if he did anything special like hit a home run (a rare thing but it happened), the numbers would literally skyrocket.

We salute Dougie by putting up the link to "A Day in the Life of Doug Mirabelli" one last time.

Enjoy: http://quinnmedia.blogspot.com/2006/07/day-in-life-of-doug-mirabelli.html

Thanks for the Site Meter numbers Doug. We appreciate it. And good luck to you.

Crystal? Whatever. Duncan? Jackass.

There's been a lot of hubbub in the New York papers this week over the fact that the Yankees signed actor/comedian Billy Crystal to a one-day contract to play in an exhibition game today at Tampa against the Pittsburgh. I've been hearing stuff like how the Yankees are "making a mockery of the game" and "disgracing their proud tradition" by doing this.

I say, "What's the big deal?"

As you all know, I'm no fan of the Yankees, but signing Crystal to play in one nondescript spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (no coincidence it was done when the Pirates were in town; they wouldn't do this when the Red Sox are in) seems like no big deal to me. Crystal's been a longtime supporter of the team (although he has been seen in past years wearing a Mets hat), and he turns 60 tomorrow (the number he will wear today). Some of these sportwriters, you know the ones who consider themselves "the guardians of the game" (yeah, right), need to take it easy. It's a one day thing. As long as Billy doesn't get hurt, I'm sure it will garner a little bit of news coverage, and then everyone will move on. Relax, guys.

This is the club's way of thanking him, on a day that normally would be just another day. That is, unless Shelley Duncan decided to take another shot at some other infielder's family jewels.

And speaking of that jackass...

He said someone on the Rays would pay, and sure enough, he came up with his spikes very high, Ty Cobb-style, on Akinori Iwamura yesterday in game at Tampa. He started a bench-clearing fracas (not really a fight as no punches were thrown) in which he and number of others on both teams were ejected. This was in retaliation for that home plate collision last week in which a Yankee rookie catcher was barreled over by a Rays rookie, and the catcher suffered a broken wrist.

I love after the play ended when Duncan held out both his arms in the air A-Rod style (after Slappy did his "what did I do" routine after slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove in 2004) when the benches emptied. And he really sounded like a clueless putz after saying he was trying to knock the ball out of Iwamura's glove (what, by going after his groin?), and how it was a "clean play."

This should add some more spice to the Rays-Yankees games this season. Who would have thought they might actually be more exciting than watching the Yankees play the Red Sox this season.

BTW, anyone else also notice throughout this dustup with the Rays over last week that Hankenstein has been mysteriously silent? Or is he only comfortable going after the Red Sox?

As for Duncan, he'll have something to recollect to his students when he's teaching gym in a couple of years.

Two

It was two years ago today that The Mighty Quinn Media Machine was born. I woke up that day and decided to become a blogger. (I had seriously considered it the previous summer, but ultimately decided against it.)

It's been a great two years. I've been able to put my thoughts out there, and have gotten some great feedback from many of you. It really amazes me the worldwide reach of the Internet, and my words have reached the four corners of the globe, just from my keyboard here deep in the heart of Brooklyn.

It's been a great two years, with hopefully many more to come. My thanks to all of you who come here, whether it be for the Red Sox, trivia, or just accidentally found yourselves here from a link or Google search. It continues to be a pleasure.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thom's Own "Big Papi"

During the 2007 season, I saw a guy at Professor Thom's one night that made me do a double take. He was wearing a David Ortiz jersey, and the resemblance he bore to the Red Sox slugger was simply scary.

His name is Chris Johnson, a native of Massachusetts who currently lives in the New York area. I remember saying to my friends, "Hey, David Ortiz is here!" I got to meet Chris, and he's just like Big Papi, even personality-wise. He's a big, hulking guy with a broad smile and very outgoing personality. Just a sweetheart of a guy.

I saw Chris many times during the season, and he always greeted me with a wide smile. It was fun watching a game with him, especially when Ortiz did something big. I remember Papi hit a mammoth home run one night, and it seemed like most people in the bar looked at him and "thanked" him for the home run. All Chris could do was smile and say "you're welcome" or "it was my pleasure."

Now it appears our "secret" about Chris has gotten out, as the Bangor Daily News did a story about the incredible resemblance he bears to Papi. In the article, the writer mentions a story that Chris told me during the season, about how he went down to Florida last year and met Papi's brother, and how he thought he looked more like David than David does.

Here is the article: http://bangornews.com/news/t/sports.aspx?articleid=161383&zoneid=23

I was with Chris on the night the Red Sox won the World Series at Thom's. I always felt like David Ortiz was going to do something special whenever Chris was in the bar. I look forward to seeing him many times at Thom's during the 2008 season.

Spitzer Resigns: It's Not a "Tragedy"

As Eliot Spitzer's time in office is coming to a rapid close (he announced his resignation today, effective Monday), I've been hearing a lot of nonsense coming from politicians interviewed about the scandal on TV (what a shock, eh?). This morning I put the TV on and saw some politician (I have no idea who he is) who called what happened with Spitzer "a tragedy."

Oh give me a break. I wish these political hacks would stop using the term "tragedy" to describe this. This politician was naturally a Democrat, like Spitzer. Would this same guy be using that term if Spitzer were a Republican? Hardly likely. If he was, they'd be demanding his head on a stick and talking impeachment (like many Republicans in NY are now).

Listen, I have sympathy for Spitzer's wife and three daughters. They are trapped in the middle of this mess and surely had absolutely no idea what he was up to. They will have to live forever knowing their father and husband left office in disgrace. I do feel for them.

But Spitzer has no one to blame but himself for this quagmire he's in. He's another of those "do as I say, not as I do" types, a man who figured he was above the law and would not get caught. But to call what he did a "tragedy" demeans what a real tragedy is. What happened in Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 was a tragedy. What happened to the Titanic was a tragedy. What happened to those 10 people who died in that fire in the Bronx last year was a tragedy.

So stop using that term to describe what happened to Eliot Spitzer. He's another bigtime politician who got caught and will have to live with it for the rest of his life.

He's a not a tragic figure. He's a late-night talk show punch line. There's a big difference.

Trivia Q&A: March 11

We had another terrific night of Trivia on Tuesday night, with a theme running through a few teams names: none other than the now-disgraced Eliot Spitzer. Before the contest I wondered how many teams would have a name referenced to the soon-to-be ex-governor of New York, and it turned out to be six. ( A couple of which I really wouldn't write here, as good taste would not allow me.)

19 teams took part, and we had some pretty good scores in Irish Trivia, and some very good ones in True or False. General Knowledge had some tough questions, but the scores were very respectable. Going into IQ Trivia, we had eight teams within four points of the lead.

But a team called Screw You It's All About U ran the table in the round, got 25 points, and jumped from 13th place and into a tie for first with another team, We're Smarter Than Our Significant Others & Rachael. So, we had a tie-breaker question: "At what age was Ronald Reagan when he was first elected president in 1980?" Screw You was closest when they guessed "71" (the answer was 69), and thus became the champion. It was the second straight week that a team has come back from the pack in the final round to gain the victory. My congratulations to them.

Current Events
1. This American billionaire replaced Bill Gates for the title of "World's Richest Man," according to Forbes Magazine.
2. This foreign city replaced New York as the home of the most billionaires in the world, with 74, according to Forbes.
3. The governor of this US state announced last week that she is pregnant and expecting her 5th child this May.
4. A bomb caused minor damage to the door of this building in Times Square last week.
5. A letter written by this US president to a group of schoolchildren maybe worth as much as $5 million when it is auctioned off by Sotheby's next month.
6. China says they will tighten controls over foreign singers when this female singer yelled "Tibet! Tibet!" at a concert in Shanghai last week.
7. A Queens teenager was convicted on hate crimes charges last Friday after he did this to a 15-year-old Sikh boy at a Queens high school last June.
8. An airliner carrying the prime minister of this European country had to be diverted at JFK Airport on Sunday due to an anonymous bomb threat.
9. A lawmaker in this US state wants to make Budweiser the "official beer" of his state.
10. The war in Iraq will cost the US this many billions of dollars per month this year, a leading economist said this week.

Answers: 1. Warren Buffett; 2. Moscow; 3. Alaska; 4. US Military Recruiting Center; 5. Abraham Lincoln; 6. Bjork; 7. Took off his turban and cut his hair; 8. Poland; 9. Missouri; 10. fifteen.

Irish Trivia
1. An Irish pub in midtown Manhattan announced last week it would not play a certain Irish standard song because the owner was "sick of it" and it was "overrated." Was it: a. "Danny Boy;" b. "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling;" c. "Whiskey in the Jar;" d. "Toora Loora Looral."
2. Which Irish actor played the title role in the 1996 film "Michael Collins," about the Irish freedom fighter? a. Daniel Day-Lewis; b. Liam Neeson; c. Aidan Quinn; d. Pierce Brosnan.
3. In what year did the "Easter Uprising" occur in Ireland? a. 1922; b. 1920; c. 1913; d. 1916.
4. Which Irish saint is said to have discovered America 1000 years before Columbus? a. St. Patrick; b. St. Brendan; c. St. Francis; d. St. James.
5. Which city in Ireland gets its name from the Gaelic meaning "dark pool?" a. Dublin; b. Cork; c. Tipperary; d. Shannon.
6. Which Irish rock band featured the late Phil Lynott on lead vocals and guitar? a. The Saw Doctors; b. The Cranberries; c. The Pogues; d. Thin Lizzy.
7. What century did the Irish Potato Famine occur in? a. 17; b. 18; c. 19; d. 20.
8. What is the official Emblem of Ireland? a. the harp; b. the shamrock; c. the high cross; d. the claddagh ring.
9. What city hosted the first St. Patrick Day's Parade? a. Boston; b. Dublin; c. New York; d. Philadelphia.
10. True or false: The first president of the Irish Republic, Eamon De Valera, was actually born in New York City.

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

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Beijing is the largest city in China by population.
2. In the 1989 film "The Fabulous Baker Boys," the boys make their living by playing football.
3. The father of Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf headed the Lindbergh baby kidnapping investigation for the NJ State Police.
4. The DeBeers Corporation is most associated with crude oil.
5. Sonar uses sound waves to locate underwater objects.
6. In 1994, Dan Jansen won an Olympic gold medal in ski jumping.
7. A clam is an example of a bivalve.
8. Ragout is an example of stew.
9. A mainframe is a type of camera.
10. Caligula was the Emperor of Rome during the disasterous fire of 64 AD.

Answers: 1. false, Shanghai is; 2. false, they played piano; 3. true; 4. false, diamonds; 5. true; 6. he won in speed skating; 7. true; 8. true; 9. false, it is a computer; 10. false, it was Nero.

General Knowledge
1. A lawsuit in which one plaintiff represents a large group with a common complaint is called what?
2. In Grimm's fairy tale "Cinderella," how many stepsisters does Cinderella have?
3. A colony of penguins is called what?
4. What Japanese word, literally translated, means "empty hand?"
5. In 1989, what author was forced into hiding after receiving a death sentence from Ayatollah Khomeini?
6. What part of the vanilla plant is used to make the vanilla spice?
7. What southern US city was founded in 1841 on the banks of the Trinity River?
8. In the "Blondie" comic strip, who is Dagwood's boss?
9. From the Spanish for table, what is the term for a flat-topped elevation common to the Southwest?
10. A business that sells goods in mass quantities to other stores for resale is known as what?

Answers: 1. class action; 2. two; 3. rookery; 4. karate; 5. Salman Rushdie; 6. bean; 7. Dallas; 8. Mr. Dithers; 9. mesa; 10. wholesaler.

IQ Trivia
1. In what movie does Lauren Bacall say to Humphrey Bogart, "Just put your lips together and blow"? ( 5 points)
2. What European country passed a law in 2000 reducing the official national workweek to 35 hours? ( 5 points)
3. In music, what is another name for a "paradiddle?" ( 4 points)
4. In Winston Churchill's famous quote, "Never was so much owed by so many to so few," who are "the few?" ( 6 points)
5. William Tell is a legendary hero of what country? ( 5 points)

Answers: 1. "To Have and Have Not;" 2. France; 3. drumroll; 4. Royal Air Force; 5. Switzerland.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Trivia of the Emerald Isle

This Tuesday night, in honor of St. Patrick's Day (which is next Monday), we will be having a round of "Irish Trivia," questions about the people, places and things of the Emerald Isle. The questions will be multiple choice, and the final question of the round will be a true or false one.

We will have the regular other four rounds, and we will get going at the usual time of 9 PM.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
A lawsuit in which one plaintiff represents a large group with a common complaint is called what?

Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.

Spitzer: 14 Months and Out

I was busy today watching that all-important matchup between the Red Sox and Mets today, which ended in a 1-1 tie after 10 innings. (A very well pitched game on both sides, especially by Jon Lester and Johan Santana.) I got a call late in the game from my dad in Florida, who asked me if I heard about Governor Eliot Spitzer. I said no, that I hadn't watched the news the entire day. I thought it might have been some kind of attempt on his life, as Spitzer isn't the most popular guy in NY State these days, as he has plenty of enemies in Albany and on Wall Street.

I turned on the news to see that reports came flying out today that Spitzer's in some real serious doo-doo, and his name is linked to some kind of prostitution ring.

Say good night, Eliot.

He probably wishes right now that someone had taken a shot at him. At least people would feel sorry for him.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

An Amazing Weekend in England

It was a weekend for the giant killers in the English F.A. Cup quarterfinal matches this past weekend, and there was no bigger upset than the one engineered by Barnsley, who knocked out defending Cup holders Chelsea on Saturday, 1-0.

I caught a good part of the match on FSC, and Barnsley pulled a second straight upset, as they knocked Liverpool out in the 5th Round a few weeks back. Kayode Odejayi (pictured) scored the only goal about midway through the second half. Chelsea threw the kitchen sink at Barnsley as the time was dwindling down, but the Barnsley defense held on. They bent a little but didn't break. The fans invaded the pitch at the end as Barnsley made it to semifinals for the first time since 1912.

What's makes it so astounding is that Barnsley's a Championship side (the second division in English soccer) and they are struggling just to stay there, as they are in 19th place currently. Liverpool and Chelsea are both deep into the European Champions League this year, but a lowly second-tier team knocked them both out of the F.A. Cup. Amazing.

And Manchester United, one of the world's soccer giants, also got bounced out today, by Portsmouth, 1-0, at Old Trafford. It was a controversial game, as United lost both goalkeepers, one to injury and another was sent off after a questionable tackle. Rio Ferdinand was brought into goal and gave up a penalty kick that gave Portsmouth the win. Man U manager Alex Ferguson was boiling mad after the game, and with good reason. The referee appeared to be watching either another match or had a bet on Portsmouth, as he seemed to let a number of obvious fouls on Portsmouth go.

And today, Cardiff knocked out Middlesbrough, 2-0. Cardiff is a mid-table Championship team, and they knocked out another Premiership club. West Bromwich Albion (also of the Championship) knocked Bristol Rovers out as expected, 5-1, the only match that wasn't a surprise. These results mean that at least one Championship team will make to the Final, as Portsmouth is the only Premiership side left. If they lose in the semis, it will mean the Final will be composed of two second-tier teams, and that has never happened in the F.A. Cup's history.

The Big Four (Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United) are all out of the Cup, none having made it as far as the semifinals, while three Championship clubs are still alive and kicking. The odds of that are simply astronomical, and I bet even longer than Alex Rodriguez playing in a World Series.

Pedro Dominates the NL, Part 2



And now here is the second inning that Pedro Martinez pitched in the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. Pedro was letting it all fly that night, and here he goes through the heart of the National League lineup, striking out Mark McGwire and Jeff Bagwell. Matt Williams, after reaching on an error, was thrown out stealing. (Thrown out stealing? Matt Williams?) Pedro wound up striking out five of the six hitters he faced, one of the greatest performances ever by an All-Star Game pitcher. (It's a quick clip too, just 2:20.)

This All-Star appearance took its toll on the great Pedro. I was at Fenway Park the following Sunday for his first post-All Star start, against the Florida Marlins. It would be one of Pedro's worst outings of his career, as he gave up 12 hits and 9 runs (7 earned) in 3 2/3 innings. He would shortly afterward land on the disabled list. Here is that game, which the Sox came back and won, 11-9:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS199907180.shtml

(Interesting note from that game: What does three-quarters of the Marlins infield that day have in common? Yep, it featured future Red Sox: 1B Kevin Millar, SS Alex Gonzalez and 3B Mike Lowell.)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Pedro Dominates the NL, Part 1



Today is an anniversary that I bet most Red Sox fans don't know about. It was 10 years ago today that Pedro Martinez made his debut in a Red Sox uniform, in a spring training game in Florida. (Don't ask me who it was against or how he did, as I honestly don't know.) It would be the beginning of a seven year run for Pedro in Boston. He would give the Fenway Park fans some incredible memories that will live forever in the classic ballpark.

So today, with thanks to my friend Adam, here is one of those memories, when Pedro simply dominated the National League in the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway, the same game that the immortal Ted Williams made a memorable and emotional appearance before the game. In this clip, Pedro takes care of the NL in the first inning, striking out Barry Larkin, Larry Walker and Sammy Sosa. Pedro was right in the middle of one of the greatest seasons any pitcher has ever had in MLB history. The clip lasts just under three minutes.

Here is the boxscore, courtesy of Baseball Reference: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ALS/ALS199907130.shtml

In that game, the starting RF for the AL was Manny Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians, and the NL starter was...Curt Schilling.

(And in a nice ironic twist, Joe Torre of the Yankees is managing the AL All-Stars at Fenway in the Red Sox dugout. And ten years later, who will be managing the AL All-Stars this year, at Yankee Stadium and from the Yankees dugout? Yep, Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox.)

Tomorrow, I'll have the second inning. Enjoy.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Rivalry Doesn't Need This

I'm surprised that an incident that occurred last Saturday night didn't get more attention on the news, especially here in New York.

A Yankee fan and his girlfriend were in a bar in Cambridge, MA when they were accosted by three guys who were apparently Red Sox fans and started busting on him about being a fan of the Yankees (he was wearing a Yankee hat). The couple then walked out of the bar when the group of three white males attacked the Yankee fan, and he suffered head and facial injuries. Fortunately they were not serious injuries.

More on the incident: http://www.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/homepage/x1637136069

I was disturbed to hear that something like this happened. There was a similar incident last October, but the team loyalties were reversed. A Red Sox fan in a bar in Yonkers, NY got into an argument with two Yankee fans, and after he left the bar they attacked him and he was seriously hurt and spent time in the hospital.

Some fans take their team loyalties way past the edge of decency. Of course, you have to wonder how much these "Red Sox fans" really are fans (they were not caught and the police are still looking for them), and whether they were just aggressive morons looking for a fight, and the guy with the Yankee hat was just a convienient target. (The Yankee fan was minding his own business and not looking to make any trouble.) And of course, alcohol enters into the picture as well, and it can make for some tragic consequences.

Here in New York, I've been in bars with Red Sox fans for over four years, and I've rarely seen any kind of trouble between the rival fans. (Most Yankee fans avoid Professor Thom's religiously during Red Sox games.) I saw some pushing and shoving during one game last year, but it never got to the point of a full-blown brawl. Next door to Thom's there is a bar that is owned by some Yankee fans called Finnerty's, and the two pubs have a very good natured rivalry. Everyone treats it with good humor, no matter what's going on on the field. That's the way it should be, but of course, incidents do happen.

And one happened to me two years ago. I was in a fast food joint with a friend of mine late one night when we ran into a truly obnoxious Yankee fan, who apparently had been drinking and tried to pick a fight with us. (I was wearing a Red Sox hat.) Words were said between us but I didn't think it would evolve into anything. But the guy wouldn't back away, even as his friend tried to apologize and calm him down. He went after my friend and knocked him to the ground and clipped me across the face but he ran off. Neither of us was really hurt, and I was more concerned about my friend more than anything.

All decent fans of both teams would find this kind of thing abhorant. No one who's minding their own business deserves to be attacked simply because they are wearing the "wrong" team's paraphernalia. I can only hope that that man in Cambridge didn't suffer any lingering aftereffects from that incident of last week. All it did was give Red Sox fans a bad name, and when they do catch the guys who did it, they simply belong in jail. Period.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pap & 17 Other Red Sox Signed

I watched the Red Sox-Dodgers game from Ft. Myers on ESPN today. It was an interesting game, as the Red Sox led most of the way. But of course in early spring training games, the stars disappeared after just a few innings, leaving the guys with what I call, the "football numbers." You know, the guys wearing numbers in the 80s and 90s who will be on their way to minor league camp soon.


The Red Sox were ahead 5-2 in the ninth, when we saw two Red Sox pitchers, who will probably only be in Fenway Park if they pay their way in someday, give up seven runs on two home runs to two guys on the Dodgers also wearing football numbers. Not exactly the dictionary definition of a tough loss.

But after the game the Red Sox announced they had signed Jonathan Papelbon to a one-year deal worth $775,000 (a record for a player with just 2+ years of MLB service). Pap had been foolishly running off his mouth about the money he's currently making. He's not in a position yet to do that, as the Sox call the shots on his contract as he doesn't have three years in MLB yet. Glad to hear this was resolved rather quickly. Don't worry, Pap, your big payday is coming. You'll just have to sit tight, but you will be eligible for arbitration next year.

The Sox also signed 17 players today to contracts, making their entire 40-man roster now currently under contract. Here is the complete list of who signed today:

AL Rookie of the Year Dustin Pedroia, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury ($406,000 in majors, $62,500 in minors) and pitchers Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, David Aardsma, Craig Breslow, Bryan Corey, Manny Delcarmen, Devern Hansack, Kyle Jackson, Edgar Martinez, and David Pauley; catchers Dusty Brown and George Kottaras; infielders Chris Carter and Argenis Diaz, and outfielder Brandon Moss.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

End the Clemens Investigation?

I read on the NY Daily News web site today that Congressman Anthony Weiner wants the FBI to end the investigation into whether Roger Clemens lied to Congress last month because the government should target its resources into more serious threats, like terrorism and organized crime.

Weiner, a Democrat from New York (who ironically enough, was once my representative to Congress and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School two years after I did), doesn't seem to realize that the genie's out of the bottle, and that Clemens brought all of this on himself. Uncle Sam doesn't like being lied to, and will go after people like Clemens who think they are above the law and think they are bulletproof.

And besides, you know the usual suspects like Al Sharpton will come running out of the woodwork screaming racism if the government lets Clemens off the hook while prosecuting black athletes like Barry Bonds and Marion Jones on similar charges of perjury. And how would that look, the government goes after Bonds full blast, but lets the Carpetbagger walk, on basically the same charge on the same subject? You seriously have to wonder if a charge of racism isn't justified should that occur. (I haven't heard Weiner wanting to let Bonds off the hook.)

The Justice Department will have to come up with a better excuse than "we have more important business to take care of" if they don't go after Clemens. (And besides, it's not as if getting an indictment against Clemens will take up all their time and manpower.)

Clemens isn't above the law, and besides, doesn't Weiner himself have better things to do than to coming running to the defense of the Texas Con Man under the guise of "we have better things to do, so let him go?" He sounds like a foolish Yankee fan who can't believe that Clemens was a steroid user.

For more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/03/05/2008-03-05_congressman_anthony_weiner_asks_fbi_to_e.html

One More Major Country to Go

I've been always been fascinated by how people out there in Cyberspace find my blog. Many find it through Google and Google Image searches. And I always want to know where people are coming from.

It seems as though they are coming from the four corners of the world to my blog. That's the beauty of the Internet. A search, some so far off the beaten track lands people here. I get a lot of Red Sox fans naturally, but I get a lot of "Mighty Quinn" searches, all kinds of trivia searches, and also many on the other subjects I write about, such as 9/11, The Twilight Zone and autism.

People from just about every major country of the world have come here at one time or another. The UK continues to be the foreign land that most are from. But I've seen countries like Mongolia, Benin, Fiji, Estonia and Bolivia pop up as well. I'd seen Iraq, Iran, Syria and just about every other Middle Eastern hot spot here, too. A few months back I realized that there were three major countries I had never seen come up on Site Meter: Afghanistan, Cuba and North Korea.

Last fall I saw Afghanistan come up, so that lowered the list to two. I had recently heard that Internet access is very limited in both Cuba and North Korea. Not so much because of the country's hardships, but it's because both countries governments want it that way. The 'Net brings people from around the world closer together, and both nations' repressive regimes don't seem to be big fans of that.

But one of those two nations fell from the list last night. I finally saw Cuba on my Site Meter, as it was from someone who did a Google Image search that linked to a picture I had on my blog of David Ortiz from 2006. (I would guess Big Papi's a hit in baseball-crazy Cuba.)

Well, we have just North Korea left on the list. I've done a couple of questions in my Trivia Night contests about North Korea lately, so maybe someone in that strange land just may find it one day. (I wonder if Big Papi has any fans there? Just a thought.)

Trivia Q&A: March 4

We had another huge crowd for Trivia on Tuesday night, as we had 21 teams take part. The possibility of some serious rain didn't keep many folks away, and that's always a good thing. This was a night of some of the strongest scores ever on Trivia Night (that is, through the first four rounds anyway). I think it was a combination of many smart folks and some not-too-difficult questions.

"Dead or Alive Trivia" was a hoot, and the scores were quite good (we had four teams get perfect scores). The best scores of the night were in True or False Trivia, as we had nine teams get a 10 in that category.

It looked like it would be the closest finish with the most teams we've ever had. We had an amazing 18 of the 21 teams had at least 30 points going into IQ Trivia, and they were all separated by just seven points. But IQ Trivia was extremely difficult for just about everyone. That is, except for one team.

History was made last night, as the team that was in 20th overall place, Latecoming Jackasses, ran the table and got all five questions correct for 25 points and leapfrogged over everyone to get into first place and take the title. (No other team got more than two questions right.) They started the round down by 9 points and won by 7. What made their win all the more remarkable was that they totally missed the first round and started out with Dead or Alive Trivia. My congratulations to my friends Dave and Allison and their friends who pulled off a very "2004 Red Sox-esque" victory.

Current Events
1. This classic rock star has been invited to be the first western rock star to play in North Korea, and last week he announced he will do so next year.
2. The European Union issued a fine of 899 million euros against this company, which is the largest antitrust fine the EU has ever imposed on a single company.
3. Dimitris Christofias was elected president of this southern European country last week.
4. A new ship was christened by the US Navy with this name on Saturday in Louisiana, and the ship's bow was made from steel of the rubble from the World Trade Center.
5. Venezuela President Hugo Chavez amassed thousands of troops on this nation's border, a country that is a US military ally, and is threatening war with them.
6. A BBC documentary claims that this rock star was once the target of an assassination plot by the Hells Angels after they felt that they were once treated badly by him.
7. This comedy, just released last Friday, did just $15 million last weekend, but became the number 1 film in the US.
8. A group representing half a million people of Indian descent are campaigning to have statues of this iconic figure erected at both the UN and Liberty State Park in NJ.
9. Four houses in this western state burned to the ground on Monday, and authorities believe it was done by a radical environmental group.
10. This Hollywood actor made an endorsement of Hillary Clinton over the weekend by putting together a humerous collection of clips from his films and put it on the Internet.

Answers: 1. Eric Clapton; 2. Microsoft; 3. Cyprus; 4. USS New York; 5. Colombia; 6. Mick Jagger; 7. "Semi-Pro;" 8. Mahatma Gandhi; 9. Washington; 10. Jack Nicholson.

Dead or Alive Trivia

1. Bob Denver
2. Neil Armstrong
3. Joey Bishop
4. Abe Vigoda
5. Spiro T. Agnew
6. Abbie Hoffman
7. Jerry Mathers
8. Carroll O'Connor
9. Rev. Billy Graham
10. Jessica Tandy

Answers: 1. dead (2005); 2. alive; 3. dead (2007); 4. alive; 5. dead (1996); 6. dead (1989); 7. alive; 8. dead (2001); 9. alive; 10. dead (1994).

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The Army is the only branch of the US military that has the rank of petty officer.
2. John Walsh is the host of the TV series "America's Most Wanted."
3. Shepherd's pie is traditionally filled with lamb or beef.
4. Tofu is made from lima beans.
5. A trurtle has no teeth.
6. Imhotep was the name of the mummy in the 2001 movie, "The Mummy Returns."
7. By definition, a hagiologist studies the lives of criminals.
8. A screenplay is an example of intellectual property.
9. Manicotti is a type of pasta typically shaped like a tube.
10. The first World Series, played in 1903, was won by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Answers: 1. false, Navy; 2. true; 3. true; 4. false, made of soybeans; 5. true; 6. true; 7. false, they study saints; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, it was won by the Boston Red Sox.

General Knowledge
1. In the US, what everyday object frequently bears the name "Otis?"
2. In the late 19th century, who were the Mugwumps?
3. On the TV series "I Love Lucy," what is Ethel and Fred's last name?
4. What were the radio speeches made by FDR during the Great Depression called?
5. What president gave Camp David its name?
6. The process for turning sea water into fresh drinking water is called what?
7. A popular 1970s fad, the mood ring actually changed colors in response to what?
8. The island of Ibiza is part of what European country?
9. On a classic episode of the TV series "Seinfeld," what does Kramer name his bra for men?
10. Deposed in 1917, who was the last Russian tsar?

Answers: 1. elevator; 2. a political faction; 3. Mertz; 4. Fireside chats; 5. Dwight D. Eisenhower; 6. desalinization; 7. body temperature; 8. Spain; 9. "The Bro;" 10. Nicholas II.

IQ Trivia
1. Where on the human body would you find a lunula? ( 6 points)
2. In the 1970s, who gained fame for claiming to bend spoons using only his mind? ( 5 points)
3. Dendrology is the study of what? ( 5 points)
4. Guam is the largest and southernmost island of what island chain? ( 5 points)
5. What author wrote the line, "Love means never having to say you're sorry?" ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. fingernail; 2. Uri Geller; 3. trees; 4. Mariana; 5. Erich Segal.