Ellsbury Returns To Fenway

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ungood

Another rotten day north of the border.

A promising beginning went up in smoke, as the Sox jumped out to a 3-1 lead, courtesy of Mike Lowell's RBI single and a two-run blast by Rocco Baldelli (who later left the game with a knee contusion, as he slammed into the all along right field going after a foul ball, pictured above.) They had Brian Tallet on the ropes those first two innings but came away with just the three runs.

And they managed just one hit the rest of the way, as Tallet settled down and went seven innings. It was yet another lost day for David Ortiz, who went o-for-4 with 2 strikeouts. He is now 2-for-19 since he was moved to the six spot. Very ungood.

Kevin Youkilis took the collar and struck out three times. The Sox continue to struggle for runs on the road, and have scored just 13 runs in their last five games, losing four of them.

Brad Penny pitched his usual game, allowing just two earned runs in six innings. He continues to do the job as the fifth starter: keeps the Red Sox in games and gets them to the seventh.

But Ramon Ramirez had his first bad outing of the season, allowing two runs on three hits in the seventh as Toronto pulled ahead and won, 5-3. The Red Sox look to salvage the final game in Toronto with Jon Lester going. They are now 1 1/2 games behind New York, as the Indians once again rolled over like dogs last night, 10-5.

I watched yesterday's game on my computer, with MLB.tv. My friend Chris allowed me to check it out, as he has a subscription to it, and I couldn't see it on TV here, as MLB has those rules about early Saturday afternoon games only can be seen in the two clubs' markets. It was the first game I've ever seen on a computer, and it was pretty cool. I have the Extra Innings package, so I rarely miss a game. But I do recommend MLB.tv.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bard Strikes Out 5 Straight

I thought I would have a positive headline for this post, because there wasn't much else to jump through hoops about north of the border last night.

Tim Wakefield had "the bad inning" last night and it was the fifth, allowing five runs, and that's all the Toronto Blue Jays needed to end their nine-game losing streak, 6-3. Even before the bad fifth, it wasn't going to be Wake's night. Wake was in trouble in the first, loading the bases with one out, but a DP ball got him out of trouble.

Every Red Sox regular had at least one hit, everyone except David Ortiz. Granted his first at-bat was a long drive that landed in front of the wall, just missing a grand slam, and his second was a scorching liner that Lyle Overbay made a great catch on. But we've been looking for "great signs" from Papi for weeks. Took the collar yet again last night, and is now 2-for-15 in the sixth slot. And his overall average is .189.

J.D. Drew hit a home run and he, Jason Bay and Julio Lugo had multi-hit games. But the best performance last night was by Daniel Bard. He pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief of Wakefield and allowed just one walk. He struck out the last five hitters he saw, and looked dominant in the process.

The loss dropped the Red Sox into second place by half-game behind New York, as they beat the Indians in Cleveland, 3-1. It's the first time they have been in first this late in the season since 2006. (I'm sure they're planning the victory parade as I write this.)

Brad Penny takes the mound today in Toronto at 1 PM. MLB and their silly rules allows games at that time to be seen in their local markets only, so I'll be following on my computer via MLB.tv. (Thanks Chris.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tek Leaves The Yard, Three Times

I missed yesterday's Red Sox afternoon finale in Minnesota, as I was helping my pal Chris move to his new apartment in Manhattan. (It must have been some sight, seeing me push a bassonette across Third Avenue.) I followed the game on my cell phone during some breaks, and was happy to see the Sox pull out a 3-1 win and split the series.

What I didn't know was all the hubbub that occurred in the seventh inning. Dustin Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly to right to drive in Jeff Bailey (pictured), but the replays showed that Mike Redmond got the tag on him just as Bailey was touching the plate. The Twins went bananas, and Redmond and manager Ron Gardenhire were kicked out for their trouble.

Jason Varitek hit his second of his two homers in that inning, and that made it 2-1. He now has 10 on the season, and had just 13 all of last season. In the bottom of the seventh, a close pitch set off Tek, as he got into it with Triple A ump Todd Tichenor, and he tossed Varitek, as well as Terry Francona, who gave him a piece of his mind as well. It was unusual to see Tek turn and argue with an ump over a ball call, so he had to be pretty passionate about the way he felt Josh Beckett was getting squeezed.

Beckett was very good yesterday, going seven innings, allowing just a Joe Crede home run and three hits, walked four and struck out eight. He's now 5-2. Jonathan Papelbon allowed just a single in the ninth before getting his 13th save.

The Sox now go to Toronto to face the free-falling Blue Jays, who have now lost nine straight. Tim Wakefield gets the ball tonight.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ricky Vaughn Would Be Proud

The Red Sox set a dubious record for the number of wild pitches in a game last night: six. And Daisuke Matsuzaka threw four of them, in another sleep-inducing affair from him. Fortunately, he didn't do them all in the same inning. Ricky Vaughn of the Cleveland Indians (pictured) holds that record I believe. (Remember that guy with the strange hair who came up to him to ask for autograph and mentioned the record in "Major League"?) Dice-K went just five innings, threw about 300 pitches, and wound up with the loss as the Twins beat the Sox, 4-2.

Daisuke, who won 18 games in 2008, still hasn't won his first game of 2009.

Minnesota left runners everywhere, 13 in all, and could easily have blown the Red Sox out of the dome. But they hung in there, as Jason Bay went deep again. But this time it was with no one on, ending his team record home run-with-a-man-on streak at 11.

The Sox only had six hits, and David Ortiz had none of them. It was another night of watching Papi walk back to the dugout with his shoulders slumped, and looking like he's in a complete daze. His batting average is now far below the Mendoza Line (.194 or thereabouts). He actually hit a ball to dead center in his third at-bat, which was caught on the warning track by Denard Span. Don Orsillo did his best on NESN to put a good spin on it, but we need results from Papi now, not "good"at-bats that result in outs.

The Red Sox are now tied with New York for first place, as the Evil Empire won in Texas, 9-2. And the Toronto Blue Jays continue to prove they are serious pretenders, as they blew a five-run lead for Roy Halladay in the 8th inning against the Orioles, and a two-run lead in the 11th, as rookie Nolan Reimold hit a three-run shot to win it, 12-10.

The Red Sox play their final game ever (barring a playoff meeting in October with the Twins) in The House of Horrors Known As The Metrodome on Thursday afternoon, as Josh Beckett seeks a series split. The Twins leave the place for Target Field in 2010. It will be outdoor baseball, and the best part: one less ballpark with artificial turf.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Barcelona 2, English Evil Empire 0.

Barcelona won the European Champions League final in Rome today with a convincing win over Manchester United, who as we all know, is England's version of The Evil Empire. (Remember, they signed a cross marketing agreement with the New York Yankees many years back. Guilt by association in my mind.)

The smugness was wiped off the United fans as Barcelona took Man U to school, and the loss especially kept Sir Alex Ferguson from tying the legendary Liverpool boss Bob Paisley's record of three European championships as a manager.

Liverpool fans can breathe a little easier tonight.

Yours Truly on "Web Sox Nation"

Here's a clip of the appearance I made on this past Saturday's "Web Sox Nation" segment of "The Baseball Show" with Mike Felger by phone. I'm the middle guy, and the clip lasts about 3 minutes. My thanks to Skip and everyone at Comcast SportsNet New England:




I'm An Employee. I Follow Orders.

Those were David Ortiz' words before last night's game with the Minnesota Twins, as he was officially moved to the sixth spot in the batting order.

Papi went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in his spot. It was the first time he batted in that slot since May of 2004. The Red Sox had tried sitting him for a short stretch, with little success. So the next move was obvious, down in the order.

But the real story from last night's 5-2 loss to Minnesota was the regression once again of Jon Lester, who had pitched four scoreless innings, and the Red Sox had a 1-0 lead. But the wheels came off in the fifth, as Lester was once again haunted by the "one bad inning." With the score 2-1, Lester gave up a three-run shot to right by Justin Morneau that sealed the game for the Twins. Five in the fifth, and that was it.

It was the fifth time this season that Lester has allowed five in a game. All last season he did that a grand total of five times, in 33 starts. His ERA is now an eye-popping 6.07. Not good.

The Red Sox remained in first place, one game up on New York, as they lost, 7-3 in Texas, and the slumping Blue Jays continued their freefall, losing in Baltimore, and are now 1 1/2 games back in third.

There was some good news last night, as John Smoltz continued his progress in his eventual arrival at Fenway Park. He threw 60 pitches and 3 1/3 innings for the Portland Sea Dogs in a game in New Hampshire. He will pitch again on Sunday for Single A Greenville and will toss 75 pitches. He is currently on schedule to pitch June 16th against the Florida Marlins at Fenway, and if that happens, his next start after that would be against his old mates from Atlanta.

Trivia Q&A: May 26

We had 17 teams in for Trivia on Tuesday, including our old friend and onetime Trivia regular Mariangela, who came up to New York to join us for the night, as she was belatingly celebrating her birthday with a crew of her friends. At first, it looked like the night might not happen, as we had microphone problems, and that I might have to call the whole night without a mic. But fortunately, our friend Manny came to the rescue, and got another mic and system and we were good to go, after a 15 minute delay.

For most of the night, the scores were on the lighter side. Current Events was tough on many teams, as was May 26th Trivia. But they bounced back with 1-10 Trivia, as eight teams got perfect scores.

But IQ Trivia saw some of the weakest scores ever. Only one team got as many as nine points, and only four other teams got as many as two of the five right. (Almost everyone got the "4 factorial" question correct.) But the team of What About The Children, who got the nine in IQ Trivia and led most of the night, held on and won by two points. My congratulations to them on their victory.

Current Events
1. A recent study by the GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test found that this Northeastern US state had the least knowledgeable drivers, for the second time in five years.
2. A military plane carrying troops from this Asian country crashed into a row of houses last week, killing nearly 100 people.
3. This rock star will play the final concerts at Giants Stadium in NJ this October before the stadium is torn down following the 2009 NFL season.
4. Ursula Burns will become the first black woman to head a Fortune 500 company when she takes over this company in July.
5. A couple slapped a writer from this TV show with a $6 million lawsuit after basing two characters on the show on them, which they said made them look like a pair of "kinky psychos."
6. Stephen Leatherman, who is called "Dr. Beach" and puts out an annual survey of America's top beaches, ranked Hanalei Bay in this state as number one for 2009.
7. This legendary rock star is being sued by his longtime former drummer for hundreds of thousands of dollars in overdur royalties he feels the star owes him.

Answers: 1. New York; 2. Indonesia; 3. Bruce Springsteen; 4. Xerox; 5. "CSI;" 6. Hawaii; 7. Billy Joel.


May 26th Trivia
1. On this date in 1869, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts chartered this university, which is currently ranked 60th on the US News and World Report's rankings of national universities.
2. In 1868, the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson was finished, and how many votes was he acquitted by?
3. On this date in 1879, the UK signed the Treaty of Gandamak with this country, establishing the state of Afghanistan.
4. In 1977, George Willig became the first man to climb to the top of this building, and was fined $1.10 after doing so.
5. This immortal jazz trumpeter, bandleader and composer, considered one of the 20th century's most influential musicians and died in 1991, would have turned 83 today.
6. Mick Ronson, who gained fame as a lead guitarist in this classic rocker's band in the early 1970s, was born on this date in 1946.
7. This actor/producer/director, who won an Oscar for Best Director for Out of Africa" and directed more than 30 films and TV shows, died on this date in 2008.

Answers: 1. Boston University; 2. one; 3. Russia; 4. World Trade Center (South Tower); 5. Miles Davis; 6. David Bowie; 7. Sydney Pollack.

1-10 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. John Tyler was this number US president.
2. This number represents the second baseman in baseball.
3. This is the atomic number of nitrogen.
4. This is the number of "degrees of Kevin Bacon," a popular trivia game.
5. An octogon is a polygon with this number of sides.
6. The number of MLB players who have hit at least 70 HRs in a season.
7. In bowling, this many strikes thrown in a row is called a turkey.
8. In Dante's "Divine Comedy," there are this many Circles of Hell.
9. This is the number of points in a pentagon.
10. This is the number of Oscars won by Al Pacino in his career.

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

General Knowledge
1. What does the "A" stand for in the international alliance NATO?
2. In what part of the body are nephrons located?
3. What are the national meetings of the Boy Scouts of America called?
4. What US president was a member of two undefeated national championship NCAA football teams?
5. What hit sitcom was Norm MacDonald a writer for before he joined "Saturday Night Live?"
6. What mythic creature is on the Mobil Gas logo?
7. On what street do "The Simpsons" live on?

Answers: 1. Atlantic; 2. kidneys; 3. jamborees; 4. Gerald Ford; 5. "Roseanne;" 6. pegasus; 7. Evergreen Terrace.

IQ Trivia
1. The Punic Wars were fought between what two ancient rival cities? ( 3 points)
2. What famous man was deposed as governor of New South Wales, Australia in the "Rum Rebellion" of 1808? ( 4 points)
3. What do Abraham Lincoln, in the US, and early 20th century Canadian prime minister Wilfrid Laurier have in common? ( 5 points)
4. In 1804, Lewis and Clark were joined by Sacagewea in a territory that is now part of what US state? ( 4 points)
5. In mathematics, what is the value of 4 factorial? ( 4 points)

Answer: 1. Rome and Carthage; 2. William Bligh; 3. They are both on their respective countries' $5 bills; 4. North Dakota; 5. twenty-four.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

6

That's the position in the batting order that David Ortiz has been dropped down to, starting tonight in Minnesota, as he returns to the DH slot. J.D. Drew will be hitting third, and Mike Lowell has the night off, as Terry Francona wants to rest him with all the games on artificial turf this week. Kevin Youkilis is playing third while Jeff Bailey is playing first.


Well, let's hope Big Papi is inspired by this move to a new number slot in the batting order...

Penny's Making His Case

Brad Penny, throwing up in between innings because of a sinus problem, gutted it out for 5 1/3 innings yesterday in the Metrodome as the Red Sox took the opening game of a four-game set with the Twins, 6-5.

The Red Sox got the bats out early, scoring three runs after falling behind in the second. Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay each drove in two runs, Jeff Bailey hit one out and Mike Lowell had four hits to pace the attack. Penny is now 5-1. His ERA is still just a notch below 6.00, but he has done an admirable job out of the fifth spot in the rotation. (Clay Buchholz pitched eight perfect innings against Louisville yesterday before losing it in the ninth on a single, so the competition for that spot is getting more intense.)

Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth and did the "heart attack" routine, giving up a hit to the first batter. But two outs later, in stepped Joe Mauer, the hottest hitter currently on Planet Earth. With a three run lead, Pap challenged him as he should have, and Mauer took him deep over that baggie thing to make it 6-5. It got the next hitter to fly out to end it. It was the second straight game he had allowed a two-run homer.

Loved some of those signs in the Metrodome yesterday, as this is the final year that the Twins will be there. They will be moving to the new Target Stadium in 2010. They put up things like the countdown to "grass stains" and "fresh air." I love it because it will be one less stadium without artificial turf (leaving just Toronto and Tampa Bay with the fuzzy cement).

Mike Lowell was the DH yesterday, as Terry Francona wants to limit his time on turf this week because of his hip (Toronto is the Sox' next stop). David Ortiz had another day off, and he will be back tonight, and speculation is rampant that Papi will move down in the order (I would bet Jason Bay takes over the 3 spot).

By 8 PM, will see just how far down he will be.

Monday, May 25, 2009

May 26 Trivia on Tuesday

Trivia Night on Tuesday night will feature "May 26th Trivia" as the special category. It will be events connected with that date in history. The Q Train lightning round will be "1-10 Trivia," ten questions that will feature the numbers 1 through 10 as answers (and none will be duplicated).

I hear that some old friends of Trivia Night will be on hand to take part in the night's festivities, so that should make tomorrow's round mighty interesting.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What are the national meetings of the Boy Scouts of America called?"

The Red Sox have a game in Minnesota tomorrow night at 8 PM, and since there are no more Boston teams involved in the current hockey and basketball playoffs, we should get going at or about 9 PM. We had a great crowd in for last week, and I bet will have another large one tomorrow. See you then.

Pap Wishes You a Happy Towel Day!

Apparently Jonathan Papelbon wasn't happy a New York Post photographer was taking his picture in the dugout after the home run he gave up on Saturday night, and invited him to use his towel. And of course, the Post put it on page three, as it is a really important story.

Actually, Pap was wishing that guy a "Happy Towel Day, " just two days early...

A Beatdown Into First

The Red Sox came from behind yesterday and salvaged the final game of the interleague series with the Mets, 12-5.

And with the Blue Jays getting swept in Atlanta yesterday, the Red Sox take over first place for the first time since last July, by a half-game.

Tim Wakefield picked up his sixth win (his first against the Mets since 1992), going six innings and allowing five runs. Not a classic win, but Wake gutted it out and the offense picked him up. Every starter had at least one hit and scored one run, except one.

David Ortiz.

It was another disasterous day for Big Papi, as he went o-for-5, striking out twice. He went o-for-12 and 7 Ks in the series, and looked bad striking out against Tim Redding, who isn't one of baseball's strike out artists. The chorus for change is now growing louder, that Papi should be dropped down in the order. And now it appears the Red Sox may finally take action on that front. Ortiz is now hitting an anemic .196.

But it was a great day for Kevin Youkilis, who hit a three-run shot that put the game away in the seventh. The previous at-bat he hit a ball out of Fenway down the left field line that was called foul. The umps went to video review but upheld their decision. There wasn't any definitive shot that showed if it was the right or wrong call. Youk wound up flying out to right, but got his revenge the next time up.

Mike Lowell also hit a three-run shot earlier in the game. J.D. Drew had four hits. Nick Green's two-run single in the sixth gave the Red Sox a 6-5 lead they would keep the rest of the way.

The Sox now head to Minnesota today for a four-game series with the Twins, and then go to Toronto and Detroit after that.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Save the Celebrations For When It Really Counts

I picked up this morning's newspaper and saw an astonishing sight on it: the Yankees actually lifted Melky Cabrera on their shoulders after he got the game-winning hit in the ninth to beat the Phillies, 5-4.

So tell me, exactly what championship did the Yankees win on Saturday?

This kind of thing has been bothering me about baseball for a while now. And now I thought I'd finally comment on it. Is it me or are these ninth inning and late inning celebrations after a team wins (the so-called "walkoff" wins) getting absolutely silly and borderline stupid?

I'm not picking on the Yankees per se (although I enjoy doing it), as every team has been doing it for some time now. Listen, teams should be happy when they pull one out in the ninth or extra innings. But I have been disturbed by some of these "celebrations" lately.

Teammates pounding each other, and I mean with fists, trying to be funny. Players literally tearing at the game's hero. Guys acting like they won the World Series because they happened to get a win in their last turn at-bat.

I have predicted for some time that it WILL happen that a player will get a serious injury that will land him on the disabled list because of this silliness. I remember about 5 or 6 years ago in a AAA game a guy hit a homer to win it and was met by a mob scene at home plate, and in the ensuing nonsense blew out a knee and was done for the season. (I can't remember his name or team, but it did make the national news when it happened. But since it happened in the minors, few really took notice.)

I see these wild celebrations and I hold my breath when they happen, especially if my team is involved. I can remember in past years players coming out and congratulating themselves after pulling one out of the late fire. And of course in big games like late-season pressure wins and postseason games, the celebrating goes up (as it should because it means so much).

But just because a guy wins a game in May in the final inning is no reason to treat him like a conquering hero. I'm waiting for the day when he gets blasted by his insane teammates, gets hurt and wishes he hadn't gotten that winning base hit.

That day is coming, and maybe these guys will finally calm down a bit when they pull out an ordinary game that isn't a playoff game.

But then again, maybe not.

Felt Like Doing This After the Sox-Mets Game



Brings back memories of the classic "SCTV Network" show from the late 1970s/early 1980s. Remember the opening?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

You Don't Get Beat By a Journeyman Backup Catcher. Ever.

Until tonight.

Omir Santos hit the first pitch he saw off Jonathan Papelbon for a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth, and the Mets held on in the bottom of the inning for a 3-2 win. At first the ball was not ruled a home run, but the replay rule (the first time ever used at Fenway) confirmed it did indeed clear the wall.

Papelbon has rapidly turned into a "heart attack closer." And it's worrying me.

The Sox hit the crap off J.J. Putz in the bottom of the ninth (where was Francisco Rodriguez?) but bullets right at fielders and wound up losing. Josh Beckett pitched perhaps his best game of the year, giving up an unearned run in the first and went eight strong innings. (And what in the name of God was he doing chasing that Gary Sheffield pop up that fell in foul? And why didn't he at least try to catch it if he was there?)

It was Papelbon's first blown save of the year. You knew it would happen sooner or later. But to a backup catcher? Jeez. But we also had yet another lousy night from David Ortiz. Two more strikeouts. He's looking like he's returned to that season-long slump, and the home run he hit Wednesday almost seems like a fluke. (I really can't believe I just wrote that.)

The Sox now have to seriously consider moving him down in the lineup. He's just killing way to many scoring opportunities. I've been among Papi's biggest defenders, but now it's becoming too obvious.

And very sad as well.

Tim Wakefield takes the mound on Sunday to avoid a sweep.

"Learned"

My good friend and fellow Red Sox fan Matt Fortnow, who recently produced the film "Certifiably Jonathan," put together an award-winning short film called "Learned" a few years back, and he just recently put it out on YouTube. It is a look at a man's prejudices and how they drive him crazy in his mind.

It is quite a film, and it has no dialogue. The man sees words about the people around him on shirts and drives him near insanity. It is eight minutes, and definitely worth a look. (Note at the end the man has the World Trade Center towers behind him. The film was produced in 2001.)

A word of caution. The language on the shirts is very raw, using racial and ethnic slurs and the harshest of gutter language. So if you are offended by it, you may want to pass on the clip. But it makes quite a point.

Is There An Island We Can Dump Julio Lugo Off On?

The Mets had their ace going against the Red Sox on Friday night, and sure enough, Johan Santana, one of the best pitchers in baseball, emerged victorious as the Mets won, 5-3 at Fenway.

The Red Sox first loss to New York this year, and it wasn't to the Yankees.

It was also the return of Daisuke Matsuzaka to the Red Sox rotation, and for the first three innings, he was pretty solid, allowing just a home run to Gary Sheffield in the second. He retired 10 of the first 11 hitters he faced. But the Mets got to him in the fourth, as they scored one run to make it 2-1.

But a grounder to Dustin Pedroia by Jeremy Reed looked like it might end the inning. But Julio Lugo remained flat-footed to the second base bag, and didn't get off a strong throw. Reed beat it, and the Mets capitalized, adding two more runs on base hits to make it 4-1.

I won't say that if Lugo had moved his feet he would definitely have gotten Reed, who does have pretty good speed. But just add another notch to Julio Lugo's resume in Boston. I was at Professor Thom's, and to say the least, the bar wasn't happy with what they thought was another Lugo goofup.

Whether it was his fault or not, Lugo continues to be the player Sox fans detest, and if they could go back in time, they wish Theo Epstein would have not given him a $36 million deal for 4 years in 2007. It may just be time to cut their losses with this guy and send him walking after this season and get someone who can actually play the position. (I don't know if they envision Jed Lowrie as a fulltime shortstop.)

It was good to have Dice-K back, and he went five innings throwing 80 pitches, as Terry Francona was wise not to stretch him out his first start back. Jason Varitek went deep yet again, his eighth dinger of the year, and drove the other two runs on Ramon Martinez' error in the fourth. David Ortiz had a simply miserable night, striking out three times and hitting into a DP. The good feeling of Wednesday's blast now seems ages ago.

It got interesting later in the game, when Kevin Youkilis got plunked in the back of the arm by a Santana pitch. Santana took exception to Youk's pain, and they jawed a little bit, but nothing became of it.

On second thought, something actually did become of it, but I didn't hear it at the time. We had the SNY feed of the game, as NESN was blacked out here in NYC. On NESN, Dennis Eckersley used what my dad refers to as "piggy language" in reviewing the Youk plunking. Here it is from the Central Maine Sports Blog, via The Joy of Sox. (And he also used a word you also don't hear in a baseball broadcast a short while later, also included in the above link. Enjoy.)

Ah, the Eck. Never a dull a moment with him.

The Red Sox remained a half-game back of the Jays, who lost in Atlanta, and one ahead of the Yankees, who were whacked at home by the Phillies, ending the current run of glory at 9 games.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Watch For the Sound of My Voice

On Saturday morning, I will be on "The Baseball Show" on Comcast SportsNet New England, in their "Web Sox Nation" segment at 9:55 AM. "The Baseball Show" is a three-hour show hosted by Michael Felger about the Red Sox and Major League Baseball. He is joined on the show by Lou Merloni, and writers Steve Buckley and Sean McAdam.

The show is also simulcast on WEEI radio in Boston, but the "Web Sox Nation" segment, which lasts about three minutes, is only broadcast on CSNNE. Last week I was one of the panelists online commenting about the show to other fans on their web site.

I will be on via telephone, giving my take on what's going on with my blog the past week. It should be fun, and I hope to have a snipet on what I say on the program here next week.

Bay Continues Blasting Away

Jason Bay continued his stomping of American League pitching last night with a two-run shot in the first against the Toronto Blue Jays, and it was all the Red Sox needed in sweeping the Jays, 5-1.

The Red Sox are now just 1/2 game behind the Jays. Jon Lester was good last night, allowing just 1 run in 6 1/3 innings. He allowed eight hits and walked two, but got the job done. Ramon Ramirez and Jonathan Papelbon provided scoreless relief in getting the Sox their 15th win in their last 17 home games.

It was Bay's 13th dinger of the year, and set a new Red Sox record, an obscure one I had not heard of. It was his 11th consecutive homer with at least one man on base, and is now just one more off the MLB record. Well, that was new to me.

Toronto had been a hot team coming into Fenway, and leading the AL in most of the important offensive categories. But the combo of Tim Wakefield, Brad Penny and Jon Lester shut down their attack, allowing just four runs in their three starts. It was a very encouraging sign for the starting staff, whose ERA was at the bottom of the league coming into this series.

Now, interleague begins as the Mets come in for three. As you know, I'm not a fan of interleague, for various reasons. But Daisuke Matsuzaka comes off the DL tonight to face Johan Santana in a great matchup at the Fens.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Halle-Freakin'-Lujah


The monkey the size of King Kong is finally off the back of one David Ortiz.

The night got off to a slow start for him, as he weakly grounded to first and looked bad striking out the next time. But finally, off rookie Brett Cecil, Papi hit one into the camera well in dead center for his first home run since September 22, 2008, on his 150th at-bat of this season.

Whew.

The crowd was behind Papi all night, but they went nuts when he finally blasted one out and he took a curtain call from the faithful. He later struck out again looking but also added a double late in the game.

OK Papi, the monkey's gone. Now it's time to get hot.

The Sox blasted five home runs tonight, four in the fifth inning off Cecil, as they romped to a 8-3 win. Jason Varitek hit two, while Jason Bay and Mike Lowell also connected in the fifth when the Sox got six. Bay's blast landed in the parking lot across Lansdowne Street. Kevin Youkilis made a successful return from the DL, as he had three hits.

Brad Penny pitched 6 2/3 strong innings in getting the win, and history was made in the outfield, as Jacoby Ellsbury made 12 putouts in center. He broke the Red Sox record of 10, and tied the overall record on the final out of the game. The MLB record had been held by two players, most recently by the late Lyman Bostock in 1977.

Before and After Trivia

Count me in the group that just doesn't get "American Idol" and all the hubbub that surrounds it. Every little tidbit about it ends up in the papers. Who cares? Simon Cowell doesn't interest me, and the only reality TV I watch is baseball.

My friend Gareth had a great take on it:
It's a karaoke competition. A bunch of wannabe singers get up in front of a room full of people and sing famous songs that other people wrote. How is that not karaoke?

Professor Thom's last night had a "Tweet Up" surrounding the show, with those folks who are into Twitter got together and watched the show in The Loft. There was a big crowd there that started streaming in early for it before we had Trivia Night last night in the bar below. The best part of it was that it brought lots of business to the bar. So that's the only good thing I can think of when it comes to "American Idol."

After Trivia Night ended, I was in the bar watching some of the games going on, when I noticed as the Lakers-Nuggets playoff game was ending, I saw shameless self-promoter and notorious frontrunner Spike Lee (and not one of my favorite people) in the first row (where else would he be?) cheering on the Lakers. I know he just shot a documentary about Kobe Bryant, but rooting on the Lakers? I shouldn't be surprised, seeing that he shows up at both New York baseball stadiums rooting for which ever team is currently on top. As much as I don't like many Yankee fans, I really despise those "fans" who root for which ever New York baseball team is currently winning.

The Man.


Tim Wakefield continued his astounding pitching last night, as he baffled the Toronto Blue Jays for eight innings, allowing just five hits and one run in a 2-1 Red Sox victory.

Wake got whacked in his last start in Anaheim, but gave the Red Sox some quality innings, and Jonathan Papelbon slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

The Red Sox got their runs in the second, as they scored runs on Jeff Bailey's single and George Kottaras' sacrifice fly.

Wake threw only one bad pitch all night, a knuckler that stayed at the top of the strike zone that old friend Kevin Millar hit inot the Monster seats for the lone Blue Jays run. It was an incredibly fast game, just 2 hours and 13 minutes (and Wake continues to make a horse's ass out of Wallace Matthews). Brian Tallet pitched a fine game for Toronto, but Wake was just that much better.

David Ortiz returned the the lineup last night, to applause all night. But it was another struggle for Papi, who went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. It was painful to watch him flail badly at some pitches. He's now 0 for his last 17.

Kevin Youkilis returns to the lineup tonight from the DL, and Brad Penny gets the start for the Red Sox, who now trail the Jays by 2 1/2 games.

Trivia Q&A: May 19

Trivia Night made a triumphant return to Tuesday night last night with a big crowd at Professor Thom's. There was a large number of folks who came in for the "Tweet Up" in the Loft for the "American Idol" finale (of which I have no idea who won and could care even less). We had a very good Red Sox game on, which we decided not to start until it finished (with a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays).

20 teams took part, and some of the regulars I had not seen in three weeks were back. The scores on the Music Trivia were generally pretty good, as they were also for General Knowledge. I did make one miscue, as it was pointed out to me that the answer for the "mandarin orange" question in General Knowledge also included "clementine" as well as "tangerine." The team of Bob Loblaw's Oblong Law Blog (which I butchered almost every time I said it) led throughout the entire night (and missed just three questions all night), and ran the table in IQ Trivia and wound up winning by seven points. Congratulations to Joe and his friends on a terrific night and a great win.

Current Events
1. Jay Leno announced last week that this man will be his final main guest on the last "Tonight Show" he will host on May 29th.
2. It was revealed last week that the attack on Jeff Ament, bass player for this band, outside an Atlanta recording studio last month, was caught on tape and the police are still investing.
3. This automaker announced it will reduce its number of stores by nearly 800 dealerships, or about 25% of its dealer network, by early June.
4. Chuck Daly, a longtime NBA head coach who won two titles with this NBA team two decades ago, died last week at the age of 78.
5. Dalia Grybauskaite was elected the first ever female president of this Eastern European country on Monday.
6. Ruth Padel was elected "Professor of Poetry" of this prestigious university, the first woman ever to hold the title since its inception in 1708.
7. This country announced last week it will put two US journalists they arrested in March on trial on June 4th for entering the country illegally.

Answers: 1. Conan O'Brien; 2. Pearl Jam; 3. Chrysler; 4. Detroit Pistons; 5. Lithuania; 6. Oxford; 7. North Korea.

Music Trivia
1. What singer founded The Lilith Fair music festival?
2. Before her solo career, Bjork was the lead singer of what band?
3. What musical group was founded by high school friends Big Boi and Dre?
4. What jazz legend wrote and recorded the standard song "Ornithology?"
5. What trumpeter became the oldest person ever to score a chart-topping single, in 1964?
6. What female singer scored 14 million-selling singles between 1967 and 1973?
7. Who was the first female artist to debut on the Billboard album chart at Number One?

Answers: 1. Sarah MacLachlan; 2. The Sugarcubes; 3. Outkast; 4. Charlie Parker; 5. Louis Armstrong; 6. Aretha Franklin; 7. Whitney Houston.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The diet of owls consists mainly of other animals.
2. The Central American country of Belize does not have a coast on the Pacific Ocean.
3. Blaise Pascal is famous for his work in chemistry.
4. Carrie Nation was famous for using a hatchet to attack saloons.
5. Monrovia is the capital of the African country of Senegal.
6. Fred Durst was the lead singer of Limp Bizkit.
7. The Ghats mountains are located in the country of China.
8. The most widely sung song in the English language is "Happy Birthday to You."
9. Abraham Lincoln was the first US president born in a log cabin.
10. Panama hats are actually manufactured in Panama.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, mathematics; 4. true; 5. false, it is the capital of Liberia; 6. true; 7. false, they are in India; 8. true; 9. false, it was Andrew Jackson; 10. false, they are made in Ecuador.

General Knowledge
1. In the Northern Hemisphere, the vernal equinox maeks the start of what season of the year?
2. The Getty Center is a museum located in what US city?
3. What actor played Cowboy Curtis in the TV series "Pee-Wee's Playhouse?"
4. The Flowbee, which attaches to a vacuum cleaner, is used for what purpose?
5. In 1999, computer whiz Shawn Fanning created what music-sharing program?
6. What citrus fruit is also called a mandarin orange?
7. The World War I invasion of Gallipoli took place in what country?

Answers: 1. spring; 2. Los Angeles; 3. Laurence Fishburne; 4. cutting hair; 5. Napster; 6. tangerine (I also accepted "clementine"); 7. Turkey.

IQ Trivia
1. What movie did Marcia Gay Harden win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2001? (4 points)
2. In 1901, Guglielmo Marconi received in Morse code what letter of the alphabet in the first transatlantic radio message? ( 5 points)
3. Triton is the largest moon of what planet? ( 3 points)
4. "Penholder" and "shakehands" are the two most common grips used in what sport? ( 4 points)
5. What colonial American leader was once jailed in the Tower of London for his religious beliefs? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. "Pollock;" 2. the letter S; 3. Neptune; 4. ping pong; 5. William Penn.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

About Bloody Time

Fox and MLB have finally woken up to the fact that the times for the League Championship Series and World Series have been way too late for the Eastern time zone, and will be scheduling the first pitch for the weeknight games at 7:57 PM, starting this fall.

The ratings for last year were in the toilet (and the fact that so few kids in the East have seen a finish to a World Series game) moved them to make the starting times a half-hour earlier. (Although the finish to last year's World Series Game 5 was reasonable, but that was because of the rain delay fluke.) Here's more from Yahoo.

And on the Saturdays, they are talking about starting those games even earlier than 8 PM. Hey guys, here's a novel idea: how about a World Series or LCS game in the afternoon?

I've been screaming about this here on The Mighty Quinn Media Machine for years about these inane later postseason starting times. I guess somebody out there's been reading my blog.

This Late Night Comedy Wasn't Funny

I've seen some bad baseball in my life, but the Mets reached a new low on Monday night.

It was a 2-2 game with the Dodgers in Los Angeles in the 11th inning, with two outs and Ryan Church on first. Angel Pagan hits a ball into the right field alley for his fourth hit, and Church motored his way home for what appears to be a 3-2 lead (pictured).

But the Dodgers appealed at third, and Church was called out. Ron Darling, on SNY, noted that as soon as Church crossed the plate, he looked back at third, as if he knew he missed the bag. (SNY's replay was inconclusive, and they showed just one angle, from field level.) The Mets didn't protest, so you knew he missed it. Church should be fined and benched for making such a grievous miscue.

But it got even worse. After Brian Stokes walked the first batter, a fly ball to left center was totally butchered by Pagan, who kept calling for the ball, but at the exact last second, he moved away and the ball fell behind him and Carlos Beltran, and they gave Beltran a two-base error.

Then after an intentional walk and a short fly to left, a grounder hit right to Jeremy Reed at first was thrown away at home, as his throw missed Ramon Castro by five feet. (Granted, Reed is an inexperienced first baseman, but that play has to be made.)

Dodgers win, 3-2. The Mets made five errors last night, and that inning brought back some really awful memories of those bad Mets teams of the late 1970s for me. Church's bonehead play stands out, because had the Mets scored that run, Francisco Rodriguez would have been in the game instead of Stokes (although he wasn't to blame for that mess), and who knows how the bottom of the eleventh would have gone.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Black Void at Position Six

Justin Masterson pitched what will probably be his final start yesterday, and did a good job, allowing just two runs in 6+ innings, but Nick Green's error in the ninth (pictured) opened the door to the Seattle Mariners taking the final game of the road trip, 3-2.

Green made it with two outs and none on, and after an intentional walk, Ramon Ramirez gave up a single to Franklin Gutierrez, and that was it. Green has done a nice job for the Sox, especially at the plate. But his defense leaves a bit to be desired, and he's not an everyday player. Combined with Julio Lugo, the shortstop position has made 11 errors, the most in the majors. They really miss Jed Lowrie.

But the defense wasn't the only culprit yesterday, as the Red Sox squandered opportunity after opportunity. They banged into three double plays, with Mike Lowell doing it twice. They had the bases loaded with no outs in the fifth, and came away with nothing.

Good pitching, no clutch hitting and an error costs you a game against a clearly inferior team.

It was the type of game that makes you bang your head against the wall. And for Boston fans it would get worse in the evening, as the Celtics were soundly beat by Orlando at home in Game 7 of the NBA playoffs.

For the Red Sox, they now return home after a 2-4 trip out west, their last trip out there. I love the fact they get the long western trips out of the way by mid-May. They spend the remainder of the regular season in the Eastern and Central time zones.

And the news gest better, personnel-wise. They get Kevin Youkilis back on Wednesday, David Ortiz should be back from his exile tomorrow, and Daisuke Matsuzaka will return against the Mets this weekend.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

We've Got Tuesday Night Trivia Back

My sympathies go out to all of my friends who are fans of both the Boston Celtics and the Boston Bruins, as they both lost a Game 7 at home over the last few days. (I'm not really a fan of either team, but I do have a lot of respect for them, as many of my friends who are Red Sox fans are also big fans of both.) It's tought to swallow, but at least for most there's still the Red Sox to pay full attention to now.

And now this means that we WILL have Trivia Night this week on Tuesday night, May 19th, at 9 PM. We had to wait until the Celtics and Bruins series' were complete and see the upcoming schedule. But since neither advanced, we are back with Trivia Night on Tuesday night!

The special category this week will be "Music Trivia," and the Q Train lightning round will be "True or False Trivia."

This week's Sneak Peek question is:
In the Northern Hemisphere, the vernal equinox marks the start of what season of the year?

Once again, I thank all of you who rescheduled your evenings when we had to move Trivia Night because of the playoffs. We are back on Tuesday night. And I hope to see many of you regulars back this Tuesday.

Jaded Delusional Simpleton

Found this earlier today from Baseball Reference's 1978 Boston Red Sox page:

JDS
sponsor(s) this page.

Manny’s suspension completely invalidates 2004 and 2007. I guess it is back to 90 years and counting Red Sox Nation.

Yeah right, pal. I would bet this "JDS" is just another dimwit Yankee fan who desperately wants to bring their beloved "curse" back. (Remember, they were the ones obsessed with the so-called "Curse of the Bambino.")

Simply pathetic.

I'll Avoid This $1.5 Billion Airport

From my buddy Fitzy.

It speaks for itself.

Leathermen

Josh Beckett pitched one of best games of the year on Saturday night, allowing just two earned runs as the Red Sox halted a three-game losing streak, 5-3 at Safeco last night.

Jason Bay hit a towering two-run shot in the first, and Jason Varitek belted atwo-run homer in the third to give the Red Sox yet another 4-0 lead on this West Coast trip. But right after that it appeared as though Beckett was determined to give back, allowing a two-run shot of his own to Yuniesky Betancourt.

And in the fourth, it looked the game was about to be tied, as Russell Branyan tripled in a run with no outs, but the Mariners left him there, and that was all the offense they could muster. Beckett went seven innings for the win.

Jeff Bailey completed the offense for the Sox with his second homer of the season. But the stars of last night's game was the Red Sox defense. They flashed some serious leather. Mike Lowell made two sparkling plays at third, Jacoby Ellsbury made a fine sliding catch off Ichiro Suzuki, Dustin Pedroia made a great play at second, and Jeff Bailey saved a possible triple off Endy Chavez with a nice diving play at first. Even Julio Lugo made a nice play with Branyan at the third to leave him there in the fourth. (But The Infield Weak Link did make a throwing error that cost the Sox a run earlier, and left the game with a tight groin in the seventh.)

The Sox bullpen continued its stellar work in picking up Beckett, as Jonathan Papelbon got his 10th save of the season, after Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez shut Seattle down in the eighth.

Good news on the injury front, as Kevin Youkilis will be back on Wednesday after a brief rehab stint, and Daisuke Matsuzaka made his last rehab start for the PawSox last night, and he maybe making his first start against the Mets on Friday night. And on the "getting my head back together again" front, David Ortiz will take another seat on the bench today, and will most likely be back on Tuesday night against Toronto at Fenway.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Humbug

Manchester United won their third consecutive Premier League title with a listless 0-0 draw with Arsenal today at Old Trafford. This now makes it 11 Premier League titles for England's version of The Evil Empire, and they have now tied Liverpool for overall English titles with 18.

Not a good day to be a fan of the Reds, who will finish second in England, and now have not won a title in England for 19 consecutive years.

Humbug indeed.

Another 4-0 Lead Goes Down the Drain

I'm officially concerned about Jon Lester.

He struggled again in Seattle. Through the first five innings, he allowed just one run, a home run to Ichiro Suzuki, but was in trouble most of the game. He pitched out of it, but finally was hit hard for four runs, which included another homer from Suzuki that chased him from the game.

The Mariners, who had lost 9 of their last 10, wound up winning, 5-4.

These are the games that stick in my craw. The Sox blew a 4-0 run lead for the second time on the West Coast, and this time to a guy whose name I couldn't pronounce or spell. You don't want to look back on games like this later this year if the Red Sox eventually come up short. The starters continue to have big problems, and it is putting a strain on the pen.

David Ortiz took a seat last night, and will sit for this entire weekend.

Josh Beckett gets the ball tonight, and we'll see if he can end the Red Sox three-game losing streak tonight at Safeco Field.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"The Baseball Show" on Saturday

I was selected as a panelist for "The Baseball Show," the three-hour baseball discussion show that airs on Comcast SportsNet New England every Saturday morning from 9 AM to 12 noon. I will be a part of tomorrow's show, which also airs on WEEI radio in Boston.

They have a segment called "Web Sox Nation" where they talk to Red Sox bloggers for a few minutes. I will be sharing my comments and views about what's hot and going on with my blog. I don't know yet if I'll be speaking live, but I'll be ready if I do...

The Mystifying Decline of David Ortiz

A question from yesterday's 5-4 Red Sox loss to the Angels:

Which player went 5-for-6, and which went 0-for-7 and left 12 men on base, Julio Lugo or David Ortiz?

In past years, Papi would have been the former and Lugo the latter.

Nope, it was the other way around on Thursday.

It was the worst day of Ortiz' career yesterday, as he made the last out in five straight at-bats and left runners everywhere. The most glaring one was in the 12th, when the Sox had the bases loaded and two outs, and tapped out meekly to end it. LA won it in the bottom of the inning.

I was on my way to a friend's house in Brooklyn for dinner and I checked on my cell that Papi had just gotten up in that situation. I turned it off before the at-bat was done, but reaction when I discovered it was (unfortunately): here comes the third out.

And I was correct. I went back a few minutes to discover the game was over. A Red Sox loss.

Let me be clear on one huge point. I LOVE David Ortiz. And I will for the rest of my life for what he accomplished in bringing the Red Sox their first championship in 86 years in 2004. In the words of Gabe Kapler in 2004, "What David Ortiz has done has been miraculous." And I will never, ever boo him at a game at Fenway, and any Red Sox fan who does should not only have their heads examined, but should be barred from Fenway Park for life.

I do not advocate benching, getting rid of, or dropping David Ortiz in the lineup. But right now he is just killing the Red Sox. The numbers are beyond brutal. No home runs since last September. 144 straight at-bats without a dinger, one at-bat short of the longest drought of his career. A .208 batting average so far this season.

I know this is killing Papi. He works hard and is sensitive to all the talk from the fans and the press. And I don't give any thought to whispers about how his struggles are due to his being "off the juice." I've never believed him to do something like steroids, and it is disquieting these days whenever a player struggles the way Papi has that the answer has to be that it's because he's not doing any kind of PEDs.

Baseball history is full of players who've had great careers who suddenly and out of a blue sky saw it decline rapidly. I always think of Steve Blass, the great Pirates righthander who went from a 15-game winner on the 1971 champions, a pitcher who finished second in the Cy Young balloting the next year to a guy whose career plummeted in 1973 and couldn't get batters out and was gone the next season. It happens in baseball. Is this happening to Papi right now? I can't answer that really, and I don't think anyone can.

I read and heard a lot of talk about how Ortiz was done over this past winter. I put no stock into it, as he missed two months last season but his numbers were still respectable, hitting 21 home runs. He is just 33, as he born just a month after the Red Sox were in the 1975 World Series. But this season, as much as I am convinced that once Papi gets that first home run, he will finally go on a tear, I am starting to wonder. Too many times, his outs have been of the "weak" variety, grounders to first and second. I noticed that he hasn't been backing outfielders in front of the wall at all often.

Terry Francona will sit Papi tonight in Seattle, if anything to clear his head and get a rest. I'm sure millions of Red Sox fans have advice for Ortiz, on how to get his famous bat rolling, but I really have none. It's sad when I see David Ortiz come to plate and my heart actually sinks, that I expect him to meekly make out.

Every Red Sox fan should give Big Papi their support as he continues through the worst slump of his major league career. Let's just hope he breaks out. And soon. Otherwise the Red Sox may have to make some painful decisions about the best clutch hitter in team history.

And NO ONE wants to see that happen.

Trivia Will Be Either Tues or Wed Next Week

The Boston Bruins were eliminated from the NHL playoffs on Thursday night, and the Celtics were also defeated in Orlando to force a Game 7 in their NBA second playoff series. That now means that Trivia Night will be either Tuesday night, May 19th or Wednesday night, May 20th next week.

It will now depend on what happens on Sunday night in Boston. If the Celtics are eliminated, we will have Trivia Night on Tuesday. If they win on Sunday, the NBA will announce right after the game the schedule for the conference semifinals. If the Celtics have a game on Tuesday night, we will have Trivia on Wednesday. If Game 1 is Wednesday night, we will have Trivia on Tuesday.

I really wish the NBA would announce the schedule now, since the Cleveland Cavaliers will have home court advantage now, no matter who they play. And it would allow me to tell you which night we are having our Trivia Night.

Guess you can't have everything in life.

Anyway, stay tuned to my blog right after Sunday's game, as I will post more Trivia Night info then.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I've Seen The Future

You never know which Tim Wakefield will show up on a given day.

The knuckler wasn't dancing last night, and after being staked to a 4-0 lead after two, thanks to another Jason Bay blast, Wakefield let the lead go, as the LA Angels scored five runs in the third, and the Red Sox could do nothing more with Matt Palmer (who?) and the Angels coasted into an 8-4 victory. Just a bad night for Wake, who has been the anchor of the struggling starting staff.

Dustin Pedroia was forced to sit out a second straight game, and wasn't happy about. Terry Francona said that Dusty said a name he couldn't mention when told that Tito forced him to the pine another night. He should be in the lineup for today's finale.

The best news last night was the debut of fireballing righty Daniel Bard. He came into the game in the sixth with two men on and allowed a sacrifice fly to make it 8-4. But he pitched two scoreless innings in total, allowing just one hit, a walk and struck out one.

He hit 97 on the radar gun in the seventh, and impressed not just the Red Sox but Angels hitters as well. It was an appropriate time to bring him in and get his feet wet.

The future of the Sox was on display last night, and so far it looks bright indeed.

Trivia Q&A: May 13

It is very problematic when Trivia Night gets moved, and for the second straight week we weren't doing it on a Tuesday night. We had a good crowd turn out for it, and a few Trivia Night regulars made the pilgrimage to one night later to join in on the festivities. I'm always grateful to those of you who rearrange your schedules to take part. Thank you.

We had 12 teams come out, and we had some tough scores on the "Dead or Alive" category. More than one team wrote on their sheets about not knowing who many of those folks were (one even said "we're only in our twenties"). But the scores weren't too bad, and for "5-6-7-8 Trivia" they were fairly good.

IQ Trivia saw five teams within five points of the lead, and two teams got as many as four of the five correct. But the first place going into the round, No Talent Ass Clowns, held both teams off, and won over both of them by just a single point. Congratulations to them on a close shave of a win.

A reminder that next week we do not at this moment know when Trivia Night will be taking place. When both the Bruins and Celtics' playoff series conclude in the next few days, we will know more. I'm hoping for next Tuesday night, but I will have a definitive date as soon as possible. Stay tuned to my blog for updates.

Current Events
1. This controversial radio talk show host is suing the UK government after he was placed on a banned list of "Preachers of Hate" and cannot enter Britain.
2. A new Quinnipiac University poll has Americans approval of this country up 12 points since 2006 to 57%, the highest its been for this country in quite a long time.
3. Owners of many businesses in Crotia, having been burglarized numerous times, put cutouts of this movie tough guy in their windows, and the burglaries stopped.
4. This name was the number one name for newborn boys in America for the 10th consecutive year in 2008.
5. Jacob Zuma was sworn in as president of this African country this past Saturday.
6. Six people were injured when an elevator collapsed inside this iconic British tourist attraction on Monday.
7. 40 people died and over 300,000 were left homeless in this South American country when the most devastating floods in two decades hit the country.

Answers: 1. Michael Savage; 2. France; 3. Chuck Norris; 4. Jacob; 5. South Africa; 6. Tower Bridge; 7. Brazil.

Dead or Alive Trivia
1. Beverly Sills
2. Fats Domino
3. Doris Day
4. Linda Lovelace
5. Jack Lord
6. Les Paul
7. Sherman Hemsley

Answers: 1. dead (2007); 2. alive (81); 3. alive (87); 4. dead (2002); 5. dead (1998); 6. alive (93); 7. alive (71).

5-6-7-8 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The total number of US presidents who have died in office.
2. This is the number of pitches an MLB pitcher gets to warm up before every inning.
3. The number of judges needed to make a majority decision in the US Supreme Court.
4. This is the number of "deadly sins."
5. This is the atomic number of carbon.
6. This was the number of US senators accused of corruption in the Keating scandal of 1989.
7. This is the Interstate Highway number that runs from San Diego, CA to Blaine, WA.
8. Martin Van Buren was this number US president.
9. In Hinduism, there are these number of chakras.
10. The Dodgers, in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, won this number of World Series titles.

Answers: 1. eight; 2. eight; 3. five; 4. seven; 5. six; 6. five; 7. five; 8. eight; 9. seven; 10. six.

General Knowledge
1. Black forest cake is traditionally made with what fruit?
2. Which of the planets of our solar system was discovered in 1846?
3. Who composed the score for the movie "Batman" and the TV series "The Simpsons?"
4. What sports superstar released five rap albums in the 1990s?
5. The word "brut" on a bottle of champagne signifies that it is what?
6. According to Irish legend, what is a leprechaun's day job?
7. In what US city would you find the B&O Railroad Museum?

Answers: 1. cherry; 2. Neptune; 3. Danny Elfman; 4. Shaquille O'Neal; 5. dry; 6. cobbler (shoemaker); 7. Baltimore.

IQ Trivia
1. In 2000, what song did Rolling Stone and MTV select as the number one pop song of all-time? ( 4 points)
2. In 1976, "Saturday Night Live" filmed their first episode outside of New York in what US city? ( 4 points)
3. In May 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind person to do what? ( 5 points)
4. Who was the best selling recording artist of the 1990s, selling over 90 million albums? ( 4 points)
5. What year is the title of a 1995 song by the rock group The Smashing Pumpkins? ( 3 points)

Answers: 1. "Yesterday" by The Beatles; 2. New Orleans; 3. scale Mt. Everest; 4. Garth Brooks; 5. 1979.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No Youk. No Pedroia. No Problem.

An interesting night for both the Red Sox and Mets on Tuesday. Both teams trailed for their entire games, and both came back late to pull out wins neither looked like they would get.

I watched the Mets come from 3-0 down in the eighth against Atlanta, score twice in that inning, tie it in the ninth and win it on a bases loaded walk. (Is it me or have we had a rash of bases loaded walks to win games this year?) And then out west, Justin Masterson was on the ropes early against the LA Angels (I will never, ever use that "of Anaheim" nonsense when writing about them), and it looked like he might not survive the first few innings. He allowed just one run and the Angels left five on in the first two innings. J.D. Drew went deep in the second as it became a 1-1 game. Masterson gutted out six innings, allowing two runs. I look forward to his return to the pen, where he will be more valuable.

In the third, Masterson threw a pitch that went behind Torii Hunter, and ump Jim Joyce warned both benches. Masterson later said it just got away, but the Angels thought it was some kind of retribution for the bench-clearer the teams had last month, where Hunter got tossed. Nothing further came of it, and it will be interesting if the Angels do anything further about it in this series.

L.A. scored another run to grab the lead in the fourth, and itappeared the Sox were about to tie it in the 7th, as David Ortiz lifted a fly to left with Jacoby Ellsbury on third and one out. But Juan Rivera gunned a strike home to nail Ellsbury. And to add salt in the wounds, the Angels got a run off Manny Delcarmen to make it 3-1 in the bottom of the inning.

But the Red Sox staged a rally in the eighth, as David Ortiz was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 3-2 and Jason Bay hit a grounder to second to score the tying run.

In the ninth, it was a double to right by Jason Varitek scoring J.D. Drew who had singled to bring in the tie-breaking run. Jonathan Papelbon struck out Torii Hunter with a man on second to end it and give the Red Sox a much-needed win to open the six-game West Coast trip, the final one of the year for the club. (Always nice to get those 3000 mile trips out west over early.)

Kevin Youkilis was placed on the 15-day DL last night with that nagging side problem. He was put on retroactively to May 5, so he maybe back in time for the start of the Toronto series next week. And Dustin Pedroia also missed last night's game with the groin strain, but he will most likely play in tonight's game.

Congratulations to Red and Denton over at Surviving Grady for their win in the New England Sports Blog Awards. My site was actually put in nomination for it, but didn't make the final cut. Ah, well. Glad to see those goofballs take home some hardware.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Digging His Own Grave Deeper

The Texas Con Man (aka The Former Future Hall of Famer known as Roger Clemens) opened up his big yapper again to ESPN Radio this morning and continues his stance of the "Dog Ate My Homework" (aka "I've never once used steroids") and called the new "American Icon" book by the New York Daily News reporters "garbage."

That makes me want to read the book even more. I read Jeff Pearlman's bio of Clemens "The Rocket That Fell to Earth" and that was very interesting, and pulls no punches that Clemens was on the juice big time, going back to his days in Toronto in 1997. Pick it up if you haven't read it.

And I wonder, I haven't heard Clemens filing any lawsuits against Jeff Pearlman or the News reporters yet, have you?

Here are excerpts from The Con Man's chat with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic this morning on ESPN radio.

The more he denies, the more the Feds will come after him with both guns blazing.

Are They Dead or Alive, on Wednesday

As you all know, we are doing another special night of Trivia tomorrow night, Wednesday, May 13th at 9 PM, due to tonight's Celtics and Bruins playoff games. (And since the NBA nor the NHL has announced their next round schedule, and since we don't know yet if the Boston teams will make it, next week's Trivia Night date is currently not yet known. Stay tuned to my blog for updates.)

The special category will be another round of "Dead or Alive Trivia." No, it won't be on the '80s band (pictured), but I will give you the names of seven celebrities, and you will tell me if they've gone to their Eternal Reward or not. The Q Train lightning round will be "5-6-7-8 Trivia" with all ten answers being one of those numbers.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What sports superstar released five rap albums in the 1990s?"

We should get going very close to 9 PM, as their are no Boston playoffs and the Red Sox don't start their game in Anaheim until 10 PM.

BTW, in the Dead or Alive Trivia, Abe Vigoda will NOT be a part of it, as we had him in our last round, and besides, as we all know he's dead. Oh, wait a minute...

Monday, May 11, 2009

"I'm Hip"

Here is the clip of John Pizzarelli's terrific "A-Rod Song" once again, that he did at the BLOHARDS meeting last Tuesday. My thanks to David Evans for supplying this video.

Sox Win Completes a Boston Hat Trick

I have to admit that when Jonathan Papelbon put the first two men on in the ninth last night, I thought Tampa Bay was going to win another series from the Red Sox, and that would have been 7 straight, including the 2008 ALCS.

I was thankfully proven wrong.

Pap kicked it into high gear with second and third and struck out Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford to give the Red Sox a 4-3 win. And what the hell was Joe Morgan on ESPN smoking when he suggested putting Crawford on and face Evan Longoria instead? Isn't he like the hottest player on the planet so far this season, and always seems to send a ball over the wall in every Fenway game he plays in? Thankfully "Morgan Magic" wasn't named after that Joe Morgan.

The Red Sox got three runs in seven innings off Matt "The Human Spitting Machine" Garza. (I've seen a human being spit more than this guy.) Jason Bay continued his torrent hitting by driving in the winning run in the eighth, after David Ortiz also doubled in front on him, making us forget that guy with dreds whose going through male menospause even more.

The Red Sox win completed a Boston sweep on Sunday night, as the Bruins shut out Carolina, 4-0, and the Celtics won 95-94, on a buzzer-beater by Glen Davis over Orlando.

Bad news in that Dustin Pedroia left the game in the fourth inning after straining a groin on a swing. He said he's been battling it for about 10 days. He will definitely miss the opener in Anaheim on Tuesday night, and hopes to be back on Wednesday.

Good news in that the Javier Lopez Era in Boston has now come to a merciful end, as the Sox designated him for assignment on Sunday and brought up fireballing righthander Daniel Bard.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Glad I Had Other Things To Do

No sense rehashing the gory details. I'm just glad I missed most of yesterday's 14-5 disaster at Fenway, as I was visiting with a friend yesterday afternoon. Jon Lester continues to leave me scratching my head. (Not to mention he's playing havoc with all three of my fantasy teams.)

The Red Sox and Rays will conclude their series at Fenway tonight at 8 PM on ESPN. But before that, for those of you with the MLB Network, the 2004 World Series Film (of which I make a few cameo appearances) will air today at 1 PM ET. And the 2007 World Series Film will be on at 5:30 PM ET.

The Slappy Welcome Back Tour Begins

Orioles fans at Camden Yards let Alex Rodriguez know last night they're glad he's returned to baseball after his hip surgery.

Get used to it, Slappy. The Fenway Faithful await next month. (Thanks to The Joy of Sox for the photo.)

Mom

In honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to share this beautiful poem by T.L. Nash with you (my thanks to the wonderful folks at The Voices of September 11th, who sent it to me a few days ago):





What is a Mother's Love?

A mother's love is many things.
she is a teacher and a friend,
someone to guide you through right and wrong,
someone to listen and understand.

She can comfort you like no other,
holding you in her arms.
She can fill your spirit with confidence and encourage your unsure heart,
She can bring a smile to your saddened face,
wipe away your tears,
love you regardless of the faults you have,
and stand by you throughout the years.

A mother's love is many things,
and one thing is quite sure,
a mother's love is special,
for no one can love like her.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are mothers out there, and especially to my Mom. I am extremely blessed, as I couldn't have had a better mother. I love you very much.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Manny Bobble Sings "Yesterday"

Well, here comes the Manny jokes.

My friend Frank at eTrueSports put togther this funny video of the Manny Ramirez Bobblehead doll singing a tune modeled on the Beatles' song "Yesterday," based on the recent 50-game suspension of his real-life image.

Enjoy.

Bay Keeps the 3-Run Dingers Coming

It looked like the Sox were going down feebly against the Rays' James (Little Game) Shields. They had just four hits through the first four innings. But in the fifth with two on and none out, the Anti-Manny, one Jason Bay, stepped up to the plate. And you could just feel he was going to do something huge.

And he sure did. Little Game James left a fat 0-2 fastball over the plate and Bay blasted it off the Sports Authority sign to knot it up at 3. It was Bay's third three-run shot of the week, having done it Tuesday against New York and Thursday during the 12-run barrage aginst the Indians. And Shields really unraveled (did you see his reaction to giving up the home run?), as he threw a changeup to J.D. Drew two batters later and he deposited it in the rightfield stands to give the Sox a 5-3 lead. (It was a nice tribute to the late Dom DiMaggio, as he also wore number 7, which was cut into the centerfield grass last night).

Brad Penny was decent again last night. He went 6 1/3 innings and gave up three runs and got the win, as the Sox scored five in the sixth. He only had one rocky inning and that was the first when Tampa Bay scored its first run.

The Red Sox added two insurance runs in the eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon slammed the door on the Rays in the ninth.

I watched the Red Sox-Rays on the MLB Extra Innings package last night and I have to admit that Dennis Eckersley is starting to grow on me. Eck is a bit of a homer, but I do love his brutal honesty. Don Orsillo asked him the other night about umpires and if he had any friends with them. "No, none, zip." said The Eck. Very little PC with him.

But I do miss The RemDawg. And I'm looking forward to seeing how Dave Roberts does in the booth with Don on the upcoming road trip.

Friday, May 08, 2009

John Pizzarelli Sings "The A-Rod Song"

Legendary jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli brought down the house singing "The A-Rod Song" which is based on a song called "I'm Hip," at the BLOHARDS meeting in New York last Tuesday. It had people coming up to him and suggesting he record this song because it's so good, one of which was me.

So click the following link and enjoy.

http://ru-ru.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=629321108292&ref=mf

12 Up, 12 In

Single, walk, double, walk, single, walk, double, single, single, single, single, home run.

That is what transpired in the bottom of the sixth inning at Fenway Park last night, as the Red Sox tied the MLB record set by the Brooklyn Dodgers in May 1953 by scoring 12 runs before the first out of an inning was made against the Indians. They went from losing 2-1 to leading 13-2 by the time the inning concluded 34 minutes later.

And they did it on a night when four regulars, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Varitek, all sat out for one reason or another.

It was the most runs the Sox scored in an inning since their 14-run first inning explosion against the Florida Marlins in 2003. Jason Bay had a double and home run and drove in four in the inning. Julio Lugo had two hits and scored both times. Rocco Baldelli, fresh off the DL, drove in two runs with a single after making a terrific catch to save a run in the top of the inning.

And the win went to Tim Wakefield, who was the beneficiary of the 12 runs in the sixth. He started out the night strong, and didn't give up a hit until the fourth. But he allowed two runs in the fifth, and got out of a bases loaded jam that inning. His night was completed when the Sox completely blew the game wide open.

The 13-3 win was a nice way to get ready for the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend, as they are fresh off a two-game sweep at The Wind Tunnel of the New York Yankees.

Didn't some other team do the same thing to them earlier this week?

Dom DiMaggio: 1917-2009

He was a great centerfielder for the Red Sox, from 1940-42, and 1946-53. He was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1995, but he was always stuck in the shadow of his more famous brother.

But Dom DiMaggio was a wonderful man, and he passed away this morning in Massachusetts at the age of 92.

RIP Little Professor.

More from the Boston Globe.

Trivia Q&A: May 7

It was the first Thursday Night Trivia we've ever had (that I can think of) last night, and we had 9 teams take part. There wasn't a huge crowd (but there was an Emerson College get together before we started Trivia, but just a handful joined in) but I was pleased to see a few Trivia Night regulars make the transition to Thursday.

We had problems in the bar last night, as the lights above me didn't work, the table I work on was stored away and couldn't be taken out, and the mic was cutting out on me throughout the night. But we got through it, with thanks to Manny and Chris for their help.

We got going as the Red Sox were scoring a dozen runs in the sixth inning in their game against the Indians. The scores were generally pretty good throughout the night, but the team of I Just Came From a Musical at My High School wound up the winners, as they led for most of the night. But the team of 904, who missed the first round, put on a charge at the end and ran the table in IQ Trivia, but came up just two points short.

Please remember that we are doing Trivia next week on Wednesday night, May 13th at 9 PM, as we are bumped off Tuesday again due to playoff hockey and basketball.

Current Events
1. This actress, who had a recent battle with breast cancer, was chosen by People magazine as their Most Beautiful star for 2009.
2. It was revealed that this British superstar rocker has lost 26% of his massive wealth due to the ongoing global crisis, but he's still the 8th richest music star in the UK.
3. An assassin attempted to run down members of the royal family of this country last week during a national parade and wound up killing five spectators in the crowd.
4. This Supreme Court justice announced he will retire at the end of the current term or when his successor is confirmed by the Senate.
5. 12 people were injured when this pro football team's practice facility was torn apart by near-tornado strength winds last Saturday.
6. Ricardo Martinelli of Democratic Change was elected president of this Central American country earlier this week.
7. A South Korean Navy destroyer chased Somali pirates from a cargo ship from this nation off the African coast earlier this week.

Answers: 1. Christina Applegate; 2. Elton John; 3. Holland; 4. David Souter; 5. Dallas Cowboys; 6. Panama; 7. North Korea.

May 7th Trivia
1. In 1998, this automaker bought Chrysler for $40 billion and formed DaimlerChrysler, the largest industrial merger in history.
2. On this day in 1946, Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering was formed, but it became world famous under this current name.
3. This Southern US city was founded on this date in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste LeMoyne de Bienville.
4. On this day in 1992, a 203-year-old proposed amendment to the US Constitution was ratified by Michigan, and this number amendment became law.
5. This two-time Oscar-winning actor, of which one win was for the classic "Sergeant York," was born on this date in 1901.
6. Dick Williams, a Hall of Fame manager who won an AL pennant in his first year as a MLB manager with this team, was born on this date in 1929.
7. Bill Kreutzmann, the drummer for this legendary '60s and '70s rock band that dissolved in 1995, was born on this day in 1946.

Answers: 1. Mercedes-Benz; 2. Sony; 3. New Orleans; 4. twenty-seven; 5. Gary Cooper; 6. Boston Red Sox; 7. Grateful Dead.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The Roman god Janus had two faces.
2. The Caldecott Medal is awarded every year for picture book illustration.
3. Two-thirds of the earth's mass is made up of its core.
4. The smallest unit of soldiers in the US Army is a company.
5. Bronze and White Holland are varieties of turkeys.
6. The opera singer Andrea Bocelli is a baritone.
7. George Washington was first inaugurated president in Philadelphia.
8. "M" in FM stands for modulation.
9. Microsoft's headquarters are in the state of Oregon.
10. Litchi, a Chinese delicacy, is a type of fruit.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, mantle; 4. false, squad; 5. true; 6. false, he's a tenor; 7. false, it was in New York; 8. true; 9. false, it's in washington; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. What TV network uses the slogan "Chime In?"
2. The Negev Desert is located in what country?
3. Who first recorded and popularized the hit 1961 song, "Hit the Road, Jack?"
4. What book's first sentence is "All Children, except one, grow up?"
5. What European country established the first permanent settlement in what is now the United States?
6. Historian Shelby Foote is famous for his three volume work on what subject?
7. In what US state did the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s take place?

Answers: 1. NBC; 2. Israel; 3. Ray Charles; 4. Peter Pan; 5. Spain; 6. The Civil War; 7. Wyoming.

IQ Trivia
1. Automysophobia is the fear of being what? ( 5 points)
2. What common everyday item was invented by Hungarian Laszlo Biro in 1938? ( 4 points)
3. Who is fourth in line to the US presidency after the Vice-President, the Speaker of the House and the president Pro Tem of the Senate? ( 3 points)
4. Which 1995 film has the record number of "F" words in a feature film, with 422? ( 4 points)
5. What was the claim to fame of Robert Wadlow, a man from Illinois who died in 1940? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. dirty; 2. ballpoint pen; 3. Secretary of State; 4. "Casino;" 5. He was the tallest man who ever lived (8' 11").

Thursday, May 07, 2009

We Report. You Decide.

Here is an example of the typical arrogant, obnoxious, entitled bullshit you find from Yankee fans, and why they are so despised around the country:


I won't comment on this crap, but I'm sure many members of The Nation will let this jerk know their feelings.

Now check out this post for a better balance on today's Manny announcement from my friend Sully Baseball.

882

We had a record number of hits on The Mighty Quinn Media Machine yesterday, as the sad news about Jerry Remy sent fans scrambling for news about it. And we had an amazing 882 hits here on Wednesday, breaking the previous record of 583, set back in November of 2006.

When the news hit on NESN at 7 PM, my SiteMeter went crazy, and we had nearly 200 hits in that hour, the most we've ever had in that time period.

The hits were from everywhere, but of course most were from New England.

Hope I was able to help you all with the news. Thanks to all of you for stopping by.

Jason Bay. Thank God.

My dad called me from Florida this afternoon and asked me if I heard the news. At first I thought some terrible disaster had happened. Then he gave me the news.

Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games by MLB for failing a drug test. Harold Reynolds on the MLB Network said today he was watching the Dodgers game last night and it appeared Ramirez appeared down and wasn't enjoying last night's game. And there were rumors in the press box in LA last night that a positive drug test was about to be announced in the next 24 hours.

And it was Manny. Holy mackerel. More from ESPN.

He says he took a drug from a doctor for a "personal issue" that has been identified as the drug HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). It boosts testosterone and is prescribed for fertility treatment and also to treat hypogonadism, which is sometimes a by-product of anabolic steroid use.

Yikes.

Ramirez will now sit for 50 games, and barring rainouts, he will not be eligible to return until July 3rd, when the Dodgers play the Padres. He will also lose approximately $7.7 million in salary. What will this do to his Hall of Fame credentials? It will take a big hit no doubt.

When I heard that Manny got nailed my first reaction was that I was glad this didn't happen while he was in a Red Sox uniform. (And I wonder how big the smile was on Theo Epstein's face was when he got the news about Manny today?)

And thankfully Jason Bay is in one.

RemDawg. In His Own Words.

Here is the statement that Jerry Remy sent out about his current condition. My thanks to Rafe at SawxHeads for passing it along.

In November I had a very small, low-grade cancerous area removed from my lung. I was fortunate that it was discovered at an early stage. Except for the surgery, I required no additional treatments. I left the hospital with a clean bill of health.

Unfortunately, following the surgery, I developed a bad infection further compounded by a case of pneumonia. It was the pneumonia and the infection that set me back. This all happened just as I was leaving for spring training.

In hindsight, it was a mistake to go and I am paying the price for it now. As NESN announced, I am taking a leave of absence so that I can fully recover.

First of all, I would like to thank all of you for the outpouring of concern you have given me recently. I honestly appreciate it. Secondly, I want to emphasize that I am in good shape now.

While physically I have no issues, the past few months have been emotionally draining, and exhausting for both my family and I. Along those lines, I would like to thank NESN and the Red Sox for allowing me to take as much time as I need. I am not certain exactly when I will return, but I will keep you posted. I want to make sure that when I do return I can be with the team all the way to the 2009 World Series!

I hope that by stating all this publicly it will emphasize the dangers of smoking to everyone, especially children. So, once again, I appreciate all your support and I would like to emphasize – if you don’t smoke, don’t start, and if you do smoke, try to quit! I don’t say that lightly because I know how difficult it can be.

Thanks,
Jerry