MLB Regular Season Ends

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thanks Wake

A truly embarrassing three-game sweep by the Toronto Blue Jays was completed tonight, 12-0, as they pounded the Red Sox "B" team. I know that since the Red Sox have wrapped up the postseason berth, it means almost nothing.

But boy, it was simply awful to watch the last three nights.

Manny Delcarmen shouldn't be anywhere near a postseason roster. He gave up two more runs in one inning of garbage time relief. Ugh. I'd rather see Paul Byrd on the roster, as a long relief man.

When was the last time you saw a playoff-bound team put a position player in to pitch? Catcher Dusty Brown pitched the ninth and didn't look too bad, allowing one run. (He sure looked better than Delcarmen.)

And boy, was it painful to watch Tim Wakefield go three innings tonight. He was moving very painfully it seemed, but Wake tried to go out there and make a go of it. I would bet now that he will not be on the ALDS roster. Really sad to see, but I'd bet he'd be the first to say it.

And it also makes me wonder if tonight was indeed the last time he will ever take the mound, and that he will call it quits after the season.

He's been a classy gentleman and one of the best men ever to wear a Boston Red Sox uniform. Whatever he decides, I have to say this:

Thanks Wake. For everything.

Six Out of Seven

The Red Sox staged a thrilling comeback in the eighth inning tonight, but it fell short, as Toronto held on to an 8-7 win at Fenway on Tuesday night.

Clay Buchholz was throwing grapefruits at the Jays, allowing a staggering 5 home runs in 5 innings. He looked like a staff ace the last few weeks, but really got whacked last night.

It was 8-2 in the eighth, and the Sox put five on the board, including a J.D. Drew three-run home run. The Sox threatened in the ninth, but Kevin Youkilis struck out to end the game with two on. But it was amazing that on a night when the Sox gave up six home runs (three to Adam Lind) and hit into four double plays, they still had a great chance to pull the game out on the last pitch.

But the night ended with the L.A. Angels once again doing the Red Sox a favor by beating Texas, 5-2, to put the Red Sox officially in the postseason. No matter how it happened, they are there. No on-field celebrations? Who cares. Now Terry Francona can officially plan for next week, when the Red Sox will travel to Anaheim to open the ALDS at Angel Stadium.

The Red Sox have now made the playoffs six of the last seven years, the lone exception being 2006. It's a pretty impressive accomplishment by Terry Francona, Theo Epstein and the entire Red Sox organization.

My hats off to them.

And Corky Siemaszko can go screw himself.

Trivia Q&A: September 29

We had a decent crowd but only 11 teams taking part in Trivia Night on Tuesday. It's been a bit concerning to me to see the crowds down slightly, but I'm hoping with the postseason playoffs on the horizon, it will spur more folks to come out and play trivia. (I know the two aren't connected, but I can always hope.)

The scores were pretty good throughout the night, and we had a three-way tie going into IQ Trivia. That final round was rather tough, as only three teams got as many as three questions correct. But my old friends The BLOHARDS were one of them, and wound up the champions by just two points.

Congratulations to them on their hard-fought win, and their return to the winners circle after a rather long absence.

Current Events
1. Pope Benedict XVI announced he will be visiting this country this coming January, the first Papal visit there since 1982.
2. The worst dust storm in 70 years swept across this country last week, covering 3 of the major cities there in red dust.
3. A recent survey by Sacred Heart University had this news organization as both the most and least trusted news source.
4. Roman Polanski, the director who was wanted in the US since 1978 on statutory rape charges, was arrested this past weekend in this European country to face those charges.
5. William Safire, a conservative columnist and a former speechwriter for this president, died of cancer on Sunday at the age of 79.
6. An award-winning essay written by this rock superstar as a 10-year-old for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation was discovered in an English library after more than 50 years of lying there undiscovered.
7. This American animated TV series was outlawed by authorities in Venezuela because of an episode promoting the legalization and use of marijuana.

Answers: 1. United Kingdom; 2. Australia; 3. Fox News; 4. Switzerland; 5. Richard Nixon; 6. Paul McCartney; 7. "Family Guy."

Who Was President Trivia
1. When the first $1 bill was issued as legal tender for the first time?
2. When California was admitted to the Union as a state?
3. When the White House became the president's official residence?
4. When the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show?
5. When the US entered World War I?
6. When Charles Schulz' Peanuts comic strip was first published?
7. When the Supreme Court ruled on the Brown vs. Board of Education case, ending school segregation?

Answers: 1. Abraham Lincoln (1862); 2. Millard Fillmore (1850); 3. John Adams (1797); 4. Lyndon Johnson (1964); 5. Woodrow Wilson (1917); 6. Harry Truman (1950); 7. Dwight Eisenhower (1954).

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Mistletoe is the state flower of Vermont.
2. Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great were epileptics.
3. Fred Astaire once said that his favorite dance partner was Gene Kelly.
4. Cyndi Lauper once won an Emmy Award for a role on "Mad About You."
5. Kermit the Frog is right-handed.
6. Helen of Troy was Queen of Sparta.
7. The New York Daily News is America's longest contining published daily newspaper.
8. Uranus has the most moons of any planet in our solar system.
9. "Hang On Sloopy" is the stae of Ohio's official rock theme song.
10. The song "Jingle Bells" was actually composed for Thanksgiving and not Christmas.

Answers: 1. false, it's the Red Clover; 2. true; 3. true; 4. true; 5. false, left; 6. true; 7. false, the New York Post; 8. false, Jupiter; 9. true; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. In 1958, sociologist Michael Young coined what phrase to term to describe a society that picks its leaders based on their level of intelligence?
2. In Sudoku, how many individual digits are there once the entire grid is completed?
3. Pompanos and porgies are two types of what?
4. What unit of energy gets its name from a Latin word meaning "heat?"
5. President Obama once joked that what politician was writing a memoir titled, "How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People?"
6. Timothy Geithner currently holds what position in the Obama administration?
7. Based on the classic Pentomino tile puzzle, what widely popular video game celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009?

Answers: 1. meritocracy; 2. eighty-one; 3. fish; 4. calorie; 5. Dick Cheney; 6. Treasury Secretary; 7. Tetris.

IQ Trivia
1. The Cordillera Oriental and the Cordillera Occidental are two of the principal ranges in what enormous mountain system? ( 4 points)
2. By definition, someone who is "skirling" is playing what musical instrument? ( 4 points)
3. Author Henry James once famously wrote that "the two most beuatiful words in the English language" are what? ( 5 points)
4. In the acclaimed 2008 movie "The Wrestler," Mickey Rourke plays an aging pro wrestler who goes by what ring nickname? ( 3 points)
5. In what Shakespeare work does the famous phrase "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" appear? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. Andes; 2. bagpipes; 3. "summer afternoon;" 4. The Ram; 5. Henry VI, Part 2.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NY Arrogance at Full Blast (From Some Guy Named "Corky")

My friend Adam sent this to me this morning. Some jackass "writer" named Corky Siemaszko wrote this piece of shit this morning in the New York Daily News, which actually appeared on page 3 called "Red Sox Nation OK With Loser Status."

This is one of the main reasons why I don't read the New York papers any more. And how in the world does a paper like the News allow their third page to go to such brainless nonsense as this?

Basically, he's saying that we as Red Sox fans are "losers" because the Yankees won the division and the Sox are only going to the playoffs as a Wild Card.

Losers? Hey, Corky, do you think that the 22 teams and their fans that will be watching the postseason on TV would love to trade places with the Red Sox and their fans? And do I need to remind you that three teams have won the World Series this decade who were Wild Card winners, including the Red Sox in 2004? And that four other teams have reached the Fall Classic from the Wild Card in the 2000s? I know, it would be too taxing on your brain, as well as other Yankee fans of your ilk, to actually remember things like that.

And you've got your nerve saying we in Red Sox Nation are in "denial." Need I remind you about the night of October 20, 2004 and how your boys haven't won a playoff series since?

I also remember in 2007 how Yankee fans were saying that "anything can happen" in October, just as long as you get to the postseason. (The Sox won the World Series that year and New York took their usual first-round swan dive that year.) Funny how they don't feel that way this year since they won the division.

This so-called column is just your typical arrogant, obnoxious behavior from Yankee fans who think they have already won the World Series because they have a division title under their belts. (Or as my friend Jere likes to say, the Yankees have already won their World Series with this divison title.) I believe that Yankee fans who have any sense would wince at a column like this, as they know their team hasn't won anything yet, and anything short of a World Series title is considered a lost season. It's like putting the kiss of death on their team.

And ol' Corky quotes such Yankee fan "experts" as "NCparrothead" and "Stuckinsopranoland."

A really brilliant piece of American journalism, pal. (And besides, how can you take anything seriously someone named "Corky" writes in a newspaper anyway?)

It's no wonder why the Yankees and their fans are so despised, with crap like this wasting perfectly good newsprint. And it will be so sweet to look back on this once the Yankees do their usual tumble out of the playoffs this year.

Tie Clinched

The LA Angels did the heavy lifting for the Red Sox last night, whacking the Texas Rangers 11-0, to win the AL West title and giving the Red Sox a tie for the AL Wild Card. It was a rare night I was pulling for the Halos, and something I sure as hell won't be doing next week.

Josh Beckett couldn't go last night, as an upper back spasm forced Terry Francona to pull him earlier in the day in favor of rookie Michael Bowden. Unfortunately, he had nothing and gave up four runs in the first, and three in the third that put the Red Sox in a 7-2 hole against the Blue Jays. Not his fault, as I would guess most folks didn't have high hopes once Beckett was yanked.

The Red Sox brought in two more rookie pitchers after that, and it was 11-5 in the seventh when the heavens opened up and the game was called as a Toronto win later in the night as the rain poured down.

Had the Sox won last night, the Angels win would have clinched it all, so Clay Buchholz will take the mound tonight with the opportunity to officially put the Sox in the playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven years.

Monday, September 28, 2009

White House Denizens Trivia on Tuesday

This week's Trivia Night Special Category will be "Who Was President Trivia." I will give you an event from American history and you will tell me who was occupying the White House at the time it happened.

The Q Train lightning round will be "True or False Trivia."

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What unit of energy gets its name from a Latin word meaning 'heat?'"

We'll get going right around 9 PM, so I hope many of you can come out and take part in the fun. See you then.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Brett Favre: Now a "True" Minnesota Viking

It looked for all the world like the San Francisco 49ers were going to upset the Vikings in their home opener at the Metrodome.

That is, until the Ghost of Comebacks Past made an appearance in the final 1:29 of the game.

Brett Favre and the Vikes were 80 yards and no timeouts from the end zone with the Vikings down, 24-20. Vikings had reviled Favre in the past for pulling off comebacks against the Vikings in the past, and now it was time to see if he could find that old magic in his bag of tricks.

With just under two minutes to play, the Vikings were stopped near their 30 yard line, and it looked the Niners would walk away with the upset win. But a very fortunate thing was in the Vikings favor: they had all three timeouts left. They used them all, stopped Frisco cold and got the ball back.

Favre got the Vikings down to the 32 with 12 seconds remaining. I was at Bar None in Greenwich Village and the packed house was roaring on every play. Favre heaved a desperation pass to the end zone, and I thought it was going out of the end zone. But little-used Greg Lewis snared it, kept his back foot just inches inside the back line and got the other foot down. The bar roared as one, but I didn't get excited until the referee signalled touchdown. It was reviewed and confirmed as a Vikings TD.

27-24. Holy mackerel.

The Vikings literally grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat on a day when they mostly outplayed the Niners. SF blocked a FG at the buzzer of halftime and returned it for a TD to graba 14-13 lead. No problem, I thought. The Vikings were losing at the half in their two previous games, and they should come back in this one.

But they looked mostly flat in the second half. Adrian Peterson was basically shut down going into the final drive, and the only Vikings score was Percy Harvin's kickoff return for a TD in third.

The Vikings are now 3-0, and Favre became the first Viking QB to throw for at least 300 yards in a game since Daunte Culpepper did it in 2005.

And next week is a big one for Favre: he goes up against his old buddies from Green Bay next Monday night at the Metrodome.

Joe Mauer Gets My Vote (If I Had One)

To every New York newspaper, Fox, ESPN, and every other media outlet that treats a certain New York shortstop like he can walk on water and should be voted 2009 AL MVP, I present this:


With thanks to Surviving Grady for the great pic.

OK, Wrap It Up at Fenway

The Red Sox Magic Number dropped to two today, as the Tampa Bay Rays staged a big time comeback in Texas against the Rangers, scoring three in the eighth and four in the ninth to win, 7-6.

The Red Sox can clinch the Wild Card with a win tomorrow night at Fenway Park against Toronto, and a Texas loss to the LA Angels in Anaheim. The Texas game is a late start, so I would bet if the previous scenario were to happen, there wouldn't be anybody waiting to celebrate at Fenway.

Who cares. The Sox have bigger fish to fry than that.

Dice-K Continues His Renaissance

I didn't see much of the Red Sox game on Saturday, but Daisuke Matsuzaka once again pitched a good game in his return from his two-month layoff. He held New York down to one run in seven innings. It was a "vintage Dice-K" performance, as he walked five and got out of a bases loaded-no out jam in the fifth, which included Slappy's three-foot roller that Victor Martinez made a fabulous play getting Jesus Christ, er, sorry, Jeter, out at the plate (pictured).

I walked into Foley's Pub in Manhattan as there was two out and one on in the ninth, but Mike Lowell struck out to end the game as the Red Sox had just two hits and lost, 3-0. Terry Francona right now seems more interested in getting the Wild Card than in making a push to at the division, as he sat three of the regulars. Can't really blame him that much, as New York's win on Friday night basically made the Wild Card the Red Sox' only hope now.

Texas slaughtered Tampa Bay Saturday night, so the Red Sox Magic Number continues to be stalled at 3.

I had a great night on Saturday checking out Lenny Clarke at Comix Comedy Club on 14th Street. He was at his acerbic and vile best. Afterwards I returned to Foley's on 33rd Street to see Tina Cervasio and his charity auction for his charity. I met her before the event and she really is a sweetheart. She auctioned off all kinds of stuff from the Red Sox, Yankees, Giants, Knicks and other teams. I saw CHB himself, Dan Shaughnessy, in the crowd, as well as Red Sox announcer Joe Castiglione on hand.

And the evening ended as watched in the bar what looked to be Notre Dame blowing a 17-7 second-half lead, but a fourth-down pass by Jimmy Clausen with less than a minute to play gave the Fighting Irish a 24-21 win over Purdue. Once again it was a struggle for ND, and Charlie Weis doesn't have to update his resume, at least not for this week.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

We Can All Breathe Easier

In a truly scary moment at Yankee Stadium last night, Jon Lester took a line drive off his right leg from a liner hit by Melky Cabrera in the third inning and had to leave the game. As he laying on the ground in obvious pain, I saw the entire Red Sox postseason going down the drain right there. The replays made it look like he took the shot right in the right knee.

Professor Thom's went silent, but once Lester got to his feet and walked off under his own power, we all knew that was a good sign. A short time later, the word came down that Lester was not hit in his knee, but in his quad, and it was just a contusion and is officially listed as day-to-day.

Whew.

Forget last night's 9-5 loss. The positions for the playoffs are just about set anyway. (Texas beat Tampa Bay last night so the Magic Number remains at 3.) The Red Sox said after the game that Lester may even make his next start, which would be his final one of the regular season, on Thursday night against Cleveland. Losing Lester would be a disaster the Red Sox would not be able to overcome in October.

However, Hideki Okajima returned to Boston yesterday, as he has soreness in his side. He will be treated by acupuncture for the soreness and won't be available for either game against New York this weekend.

I will say one thing about last night's game. Jason Varitek should occupy a seat on the bench in the ALDS. He was a one-man wrecking crew of destruction against the Red Sox last night: two strikeouts, a double play that killed an inning, and New York stole 7 bases against him. His BA is now approaching .200. This should be an easy choice for Terry Francona.

Tek maybe the captain, but Victor Martinez should be behind the plate in October. He gives the Sox the best chance to win, and Tito should make that decision with his head and not his heart.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Three and Counting

Clay Buchholz was terrific on Thursday night, and won his fourth game in September as the Red Sox rolled to a 10-3 win over Kansas City and a split in their four-game series. The Sox lowered their postseason Magic Number to 3 with the win and Texas losing at Oakland.

The Royals just about handed this game to the Sox, making five errors. David Ortiz is now red hot, as he blasted his 26th home run, and drove in two more in the ninth to up his RBI total to 91. Would you have thought in May that Papi would have a shot at 100 RBI with 10 games remaining in the season?

Buchholz took a shutout in the seventh, but after two outs he put two on and Terry Francona came out with the hook. Clay now has the lowest ERA on the Red Sox starting staff: 3.21.

It got interesting in the eighth, as Kansas City scored three runs off Ramon Ramirez (this guy's been scaring me the last few months). Takashi Saito came in to get a double play with the bases loaded to end the KC rally at 6-3. The Sox iced the game in the ninth with four runs, and now they are off to New York for three games with the Yankees this weekend.

New York can wrap up the division this weekend, or the Red Sox can wrap up a postseason berth with two wins. Both are forgone conclusions, so there's not too much drama this weekend. Jon Lester takes the hill against the Drunken Headhunter at the Wind Tunnel at 7:05 PM.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

KC Gets The Hits, But The Sox Get The Runs

It was a bit of a bizarre game in Kansas City on Wednesday night.

Josh Beckett scattered 12, yes 12, hits to the Royals in six innings, but Kansas City could push across just two runs as the Red Sox came from behind to beat the pesky Royals, 9-2. Beckett also struck out seven.

Beckett was in dutch in the first four innings he pitched, and Kansas City finally scored two in the fourth to break a scoreless tie. Luke Hochevar was pitching very well for the first four innings, allowing just one hit.

But the Red Sox finally woke up and realized that it wasn't Zack Greinke on the mound, and tagged him for six runs in the fifth innings. Mike Lowell made the first out of the inning, and the next eight men all reached with six scoring. Then Lowell banged into a double play to conclude the rally.

Yep, Lowell made all three outs in the inning on two at-bats. That sure doesn't happen every day.

Beckett went the first six, and the bullpen core of Hideki Okajima, Billy Wagner and Jonathan Papelbon shut down Kansas City the rest of the way. David Ortiz, who had four RBI, had three of them in the ninth, as he hit a bomb to right field, his 25th home run of the year to conclude the scoring.

Beckett is now 16-6. The Red Sox Magic Number drops down to 5 (it will go to four if Texas loses tonight, and they are up by three runs as I write this).

Terry Francona also tied Mike Higgins for second on the Red Sox' all-time wins list with 560 with the win on Wednesday. He's still a long way away from the record of 1,071 set by Joe Cronin.

Clay Buchholz concludes the four-game set on the hill tomorrow night in Kansas City.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy 60th, Bruce

Could it be that Bruce Springsteen is now in his 60s? Well, it is true, as The Boss turned 60 today. The man can still rock, and one of the best shows I've ever seen was he and the E Street Band at Giants Stadium many years back.

Happy 60th birthday, Bruce. And in honor of that, here's a clip from YouTube of "The Rising," from his "Live in Barcelona" concert from 2003.

Sox Can't Touch This Year's Cy Young Winner

More and more, any chance the Red Sox had at making a late dash at the AL East crown seems to be coming to an end.

Zack Greinke vs. Paul Byrd didn't look too promising for the Sox, and Greinke lived up to his billing. He held the Red Sox to just two hits in six innings for his 16th win, and he looks more like this season's Cy Young Award winner.

Byrd on the other hand got hit for five first-inning runs, walked two batters (I thought he didn't walk anyone?) and put the Red Sox in a 5-0 hole they couldn't climb out of. The only blessing was that Byrd settled down after that and took the Red Sox into the seventh inning, this saving Terry Francona the agony of having to blow out the bullpen early. (Byrd actually pitched longer than Greinke did.)

The Red Sox avoided the shutout in the eighth, when Victor Martinez drove in a run on an RBI groundout. He also extended his hitting streak to 21 games.

Texas lost in Oakland, and the Red Sox Magic Number for a playoff berth is now at 6. New York won in Anaheim and cliched a playoff berth, and the Red Sox are now 6 back in the East with 12 to play.

Josh Beckett tonight and Clay Buchholz tomorrow will try to get the Red Sox a split in this four-game series against a Royals team making it tough on the visitors.

Trivia Q&A: September 22

We had 17 teams in for Trivia Night on Tuesday night. The crowds have been a bit smaller in the last couple of weeks, and I hope it just because of the transition of summer turning into fall.

The night got off to a fascinating run between two teams, and they were both perfect through the first three rounds. I made a mention of it after The Q Train and someone out there accused me of being Yankee shill announcer Michael Kay (who always makes mention when a pitcher's got a perfect game going). Well, I guess I should have kept quiet as both teams got questions wrong in the General Knowledge round.

But it was still quite a horse race, and the team of Evolution is Not an Opinion was ahead by one point, and six points over Keep Choking The Chicken going into IQ Trivia. But KCTC had the best round of everyone, getting 4 of the 5 questions correct. I originally had Evolution getting three right and a one point victory. But Matt of that team came over to me and pointed out my mistake, that they only got two right, and the correction gave KCTC the win by three points.

My apologies to everyone for the miscue. The Mighty Quinn goofs up every once in a while. I appreciate Matt's honesty, and the real winners did, too. My congratulations to everyone on a most interesting night of Trivia.

Current Events
1. This British rock star was recently prohibited from adopting a year-old boy from the Ukraine because that country prohibits unmarried couples from adopting.
2. Jody Powell, who was White House press secretary to this president, died of a heart attack last week at the age of 65.
3. Jack Kramer, who was a World number 1 player in this sport during the 1940s, died last week at the age of 88.
4. This rock star suffered a seizure on a plane bound for Miami last Friday, and after an emergency stop, was cleared to return to Florida where he was promoting a clothing line.
5. This former presidential candidate won a straw poll of a major social conservative group for their choice for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination last Saturday.
6. This series won its second consecutive Emmy award for Best Drama Series at the Primetime Emmy Awards last Sunday night.
7. This 1970s/80s sitcom actress, who beat breast cancer in 2005 without chemotherapy, said it was the chemotherapy that Patrick Swayze was taking that was ultimately responsible for his recent death.

Answers: 1. Elton John; 2. Jimmy Carter; 3. tennis; 4. Scott Weiland; 5. Mike Huckabee; 6. "Mad Men;" 7. Suzanne Somers.

2000s Trivia
1. The Chicago White Sox won their first World Series in 88 years in this year.
2. US troops captured Saddam Hussein as he was hiding in a hole in Tikrit, Iraq.
3. Fidel Castro resigns as Cuba's president, effective that February.
4. "Gladiator" wins Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
5. Athens, Greece hosts the Summer Olympics.
6. Brazil wins soccer's World Cup in Japan for a record fifth time.
7. Vermont becomes the first US state to recognize same-sex civil unions.
8. The Pittsburgh Steelers become the only team to win the Super Bowl six times.
9. Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives.
10. The International Astronomical Union officially demotes Pluto to the status of "dwarf planet."

Answers: 1. 2005; 2. 2003; 3. 2008; 4. 2001; 5. 2004; 6. 2002; 7. 2000; 8. 2009; 9. 2007; 10. 2006.

Did They Win An Oscar Trivia
1. Gwyneth Paltrow
2. Jim Carrey
3. Johnny Depp
4. Goldie Hawn
5. Christopher Walken
6. Peter Fonda
7. Jessica Lange
8. Tom Cruise
9. Walter Matthau
10. Will Smith

Answers: 1. yes ("Shakespeare In Love"); 2. no; 3. no; 4. yes ("Cactus Flower"); 5. yes ("The Deer Hunter"); 6. no; 7. yes ("Tootsie" and "Blue Sky"); 8. no; 9. yes ("The Fortune Cookie"); 10. no.

General Knowledge
1. A pullet is what type of young animal?
2. What well-known product has been made on Louisiana's Avery Island since 1868?
3. In the 1500s, explorers from what country brought the domesticated horse to North America?
4. In what sport do you score points by getting "ringers" and "leaners"?
5. Although associated with Hawaii, what foreign country are macadamia nuts actually from?
6. The "A" in AM radio stands for what?
7. David Duchovny once played a cross dressing DEA agent on what TV series?

Answers: 1. chicken (hen); 2. tabasco sauce; 3. Spain; 4. horseshoes; 5. Australia; 6. amplitude; 7. "Twin Peaks."

IQ Trivia
1. A pangolin is a mammal also known as the "scaly" what? ( 4 points)
2. What is the only Beatles song where all four Beatles play an instrumental solo, including Ringo Starr's only drum solo with the band? ( 4 points)
3. Which NYC building was the city's tallest for 44 years, even though officially it only has one floor? ( 5 points)
4. What famous athlete once declined to take a stand on a certain political issue by saying, "Hey, Republicans buy sneakers, too!"? ( 3 points)
5. If you travel due east of New York City all the way to Europe, what country will you hit first? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1, anteater; 2. "The End;" 3. Trinity Church; 4. Michael Jordan; 5. Portugal.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Win Tickets To Saturday's Red Sox Game

Celebrities For Charity, a group I have helped out spreading the word about their raffles in the past, currently has another going, and you can win tickets to one of the Red Sox-Yankees games this coming weekend.

It's for Saturday's game at the new Yankee Stadium (it's a 4 PM start). You can win two premium tickets to the game, along with a $200 gift certificate to a fine restaurant in Manhattan.

Time is running out though, as the deadline to join the raffle is 11 AM tomorrow morning. Tickets are $2 each, with a minimum of five tickets purchased.

The raffle is to benefit the The Alpha Omega Council, and if you'd like more information and to get in on the raffle, just click this link.

A Putrid Loss to a Putrid Team on a Putrid Night

I'm not going to write much about this horrible loss by the Red Sox tonight. (But I did feel like doing what the pictured gorilla is doing after the bottom of the sixth ended.)

They walked 11 batters tonight, the most since August 2006. And they let a golden opportunity to make up ground in the AL East go right down the toilet.

They squandered a six-run lead on a rainy night to the awful Royals, who clearly aren't rolling over to the Red Sox like the Orioles did. I hope this wakes the Sox up and they take note.

It reminded me too much of that awful night in Baltimore in July. A rainy night when I was praying five innings could be played so the Sox could get perhaps a rain-shortened win. Starter leaves and the bullpen implodes.

And I do NOT want to see Manny Delcarmen in anything but garbage time for the remainder of this season. Or in October, for that matter.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Trivia From This Decade on Tuesday

Last week we postponed "2000s Trivia" as the Q Train lightning round, as we did a round of Patrick Swayze trivia to honor the late actor. So on Tuesday, we will do that round of "2000s Trivia" as the Special Category this week instead.

It will be a special ten question round, and I will give you a fact about a year in this decade, and you will tell which year it occurred. The special part of this category is that each answer will be a different year between 2000 and 2009, and there will be no repeated answers.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Did They Win An Oscar Trivia." I will give you the name of a famous movie star and you will tell me if they won an Oscar or not in their careers.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
In the 1500s, explorers from what country first brought the domesticated horse to North America?

We will get going at our usual time of 9 PM. The Red Sox have a game with the Kansas City Royals that starts at 8 PM, but we should get cracking without delay. Hope to see many of you then.

Four Back In The Loss Column

The Red Sox completed the demolition of the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday with a 9-3 win behind the continuing rebirth of Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Dice-K looked good once again, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs, striking out five and walked just one. His command was very good again, although he did throw a season-high 110 pitches. It was his third win of the year, and his second in two starts since returning from the DL.

The Red Sox offense scored early and often, and made it easy for Dice-K. Mike Lowell singled in two runs in a three-run first, and it was 7-0 by the fourth. Jason Bay hit his 35th home run, and Jacoby Ellsbury added another to ice the game late.

The Red Sox conclude their season series with Baltimore a stunning 16-2 record. The Red Sox are now 8 games up in the Wild Card race as Texas continues to plummet. They have now won 10 of 11, and are 27-11 since August 10, the best in MLB since then. That was also the day after the four-game sweep by the Yankees in the Bronx.

BTW, has anyone else noticed the New York lead is now down to 5 games, and 4 in the loss column. They had a supposedly ironclad 9-game lead with 23 to play, and dropped a series in Seattle this past weekend. It was a pleasure to see Chamberlain getting his head handed to him by Ken Griffey and his Mariner teammates yesterday. Chamberlain allowed seven runs in the first two innings, and his ERA is now approaching 5.00. It makes me laugh when Hank Steinbrenner (remember him?) said over the winter he was MLB's most dominating pitcher. Hardly.

New York now faces their longtime nemesis, the LA Angels, in Anaheim this week, as the Red Sox go to Kansas City to play the last-place Royals for four games. It's still a longshot, but the AL East may still be up for the taking. By Thursday night, we may have a better idea if that is a real possibility.

271

I didn't see the Vikings game on Sunday, as I was wiped out from working all day on Saturday, so I stayed in and took in the Patriots-Jets game and the Red Sox sweep in Baltimore. So it was an old fashioned day of checking updates on other channels for the Vikings-Lions game in Detroit.

Almost every update in the first half had the Lions ahead. That's not a good thing, and I wasn't taking the Lions, who hadn't won a game since 2007, for granted.

It was 10-7 Detroit at halftime, but I thought of last week's win in Cleveland, where the Vikings were also behind at the half against an inferior opponent, and came roaring back in the second half and won easily.

And that's exactly what happened yesterday.

It was a fine day for Brett Favre, who on the first snap of the game set a new NFL record for consecutive games played, breaking legendary Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall's record of 270. Favre went 23-for-27 for 155 yards and two TDs. He hit Visanthe Shiancoe with one TD in the second quarter, and Percy Harvin with another in the fourth to put the game away.

The Vikings took control in the third quarter, tying the game on a Ryan Longwell field goal, and shortly after that a 27-yard TD run by Adrian Peterson. He rushed for a total of 92 yards on 15 carries.

It was also a big day for LB Chad Greenway, two picked off two passes from rookie Matthew Stafford and also recovered a fumble.

The Vikings are now 2-0, and will have their home opener in the Metrodome next Sunday against the 2-0 San Francisco 49ers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"The Last Great Rivalry"

A good 14-page (on the Internet) article appears in today's New York Daily News called "The Last Great Rivalry," a very well-written piece by the News' fine writer, Wayne Coffey. It's about Red Sox and Yankees fans and the rivalry between the two clubs. The BLOHARDS and Professor Thom's are both featured in it (on pages 4 and 5).

I had the pleasure of meeting Wayne when he was writing the article this past spring when he made a few visits to Thom's. (And no, Yours Truly is not in the article. My media whoredom was not in display this time.)

It's a long article, but definitely worth taking the time to read.

15-2

I spent an exhausting day yesterday in my job as a background extra, doing my first commercial on Wall Street, in the shadow of George Washington's statue (pictured). I was down there for nearly 12 hours being part of a commercial for Reuters. I really didn't think it would go on so long, and I wound up missing Notre Dame's 33-30 win over Michigan State. (But it was interesting watching literally hundreds of tourists stopping to watch the shoot, taking pictures of us.)

But I met up with a few friends in the Village last night and watched the Red Sox 11-5 win over the Orioles, the 15th time the Sox have given the O's a beatdown. (And think, it could be 16 if not for that hideous comeback loss back in July.)

At the start it looked like Jon Lester was going to have a rough night, as he gave up hits to the first three hitters he saw and it was already 1-0. But he pitched out of any further trouble, and Josh Reddick belted a two-run shot to right to make it 2-1 in the second.

But Lester allowed solo homers to Ty Wigginton and Melvin Mora, and it was 3-2 in the fourth. But soon enough, the Red Sox realized they were playing the Orioles and put some crooked numbers on the board in the seventh and eighth, which were capped by J.D. Drew's opposite field blast to make it 10-3. Even bench guy Brian Anderson hit a blast to deep center to cap the Sox' scoring.

Manny Delcarmen came in in the ninth and had absolutely nothing, and gave up back-to-back homers and then put the next two on. Terry Francona called on Ramon Ramirez, who is no sure thing either but got a double play with the bases loaded to end the game and give Lester his 14th victory of 2009.

The Orioles' misery against the Red Sox will conclude today at Camden Yards, with Daisuke Matsuzaka getting his second start back after his long stint on the disabled list.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Buchholz Keeps Rolling

Clay Buchholz pitched six sharp innings against the Orioles on Friday night in getting his sixth win of the year as the Red Sox got back to their winning ways and opened the series at Camden Yards with a 3-1 win.

Buchholz allowed just a Luke Scott solo home run and scattered five hits in striking out three. The bullpen was even sharper, as the combination of Daniel Bard, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon allowed only one baserunner in three innings, that being a Bard walk in the seventh.

Papelbon got his 37th save of the season.

Jason Bay got his 34th home run of the season, but left the game shortly afterwards left because he was showing flu-like symptoms. (These days you're lot more careful with that sort of thing.)

Buchholz' performance tonight was the 11th straight start where Red Sox starters have allowed three or fewer runs in a start. Over the last eight games they are 5-0 with a 1.72 ERA.

The Red Sox win combined with Texas' loss to the Angels drops the Red Sox Magic Number to 9, and their Wild Card lead goes to an ever-widening 7 games.

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

I missed last night Red Sox-Angels finale, as I was doing some extra work on a TV show in Queens. But my trusty cell phone was helping follow the proceeds at Fenway.

I was shocked to see the Angels had once again scored a run last night after a batter had struck out with a man on third and a pitch got away from the catcher. My cell said it was a wild pitch on Josh Beckett.

But I caught the replay when I got home, and it was another passed ball by Jason Varitek (even it wasn't ruled one), like the one that cost the Sox four runs on Wednesday night.

Beckett pitched a good game, once again putting his recent struggles in the rearview mirror. He went eight innings and gave up three runs. He was supported by home runs by Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Bay. Billy Wagner gave up the go-ahead run in the ninth on Howie Kendrick's bloop single with a man on second. The Angels took the finale of the series, 4-3, ending the Red Sox 7-game winning streak. The Red Sox went 7-1 on a very successful homestand.

More and more it appears the sun may finally be setting on Jason Varitek's Red Sox career. He's hitting .212, his defense is suffering and Victor Martinez continues to make a good impression with the Red Sox faithful.

The Sox now head to Baltimore for three with the Orioles, the start of the final road trip of the regular season. It will encompass 10 games, with stops in Kansas City and New York to follow.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Don't Let the Yankee Fan Win

I received an email this morning from a young man named Tom Hartwell. Tom, a big Red Sox fan, is doing something special for the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation, which helps those afflicted with autism.

As many of you know, two of my nephews are affected by this terrible disease, which has no known cure. Tom is currently raising funds to fight it, and he's also in a battle with a colleague of his who is also raising money for the organization. That, of course, is a good thing.

But Tom also told me that if his rival wins the contest, he will present a check to the Foundation wearing a Yankee hat at Fenway Park!

So Tom reached out to me in search of help. So, we can't let this guy show up in Fenway wearing such a monstrosity, so I encourage you all to help him out in his quest and pass this Yankee fan so Tom can present a check wearing his proud Red Sox paraphernalia.

Tom's running down on time, as he has until just this coming Monday to pass the Yankee fan. I encourage all my loyal readers to give Tom a hand in his quest. And you'll be doing something special for all of those affected by autism, and those who love and care for them, too.

Click this link to see Tom's fundraising page, and where you can donate.

Good luck, Tom. The Nation's behind you all the way!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An Epic at Fenway

Brother, where do we start with Wednesday night's game?

The Red Sox fell behind with Paul Byrd on the mound, 3-0. It looked the Angels had this game, as Joe Saunders was cruising after five shutout innings. But the Red Sox scored five runs and knocked him out, and it looked like the red Sox might be on their way to another win.

But Jason Varitek mishandled a third strike after Kendry Morales struck out, and it kept the sixth inning alive. And the Angels took advantage and scored four runs off Ramon Ramirez to make it 7-5.

The Red Sox tied it up in the eighth on Jacoby Ellsbury's single, but Daniel Bard gave up the go-ahead run in the ninth after two were out and no one on base.

Brian Fuentes came in to close out the ninth for the Angels and got the first two outs. But three straight hits loaded the bases, and brought up Nick Green.

He took a 3-2 pitch that looked like strike three for sure. But the ump called it ball four and it was tied again. (I bet Mike Scioscia is still complaining about it and with good reason. Amica Pitch Zone on NESN had the pitch nearly down the middle of the plate.) And Alex Gonzalez, who continues to be a godsend with the bat, hit a bloop single to left to give the Red Sox a thrilling 9-8 win and a seven-game winning streak. (I thought Juan Rivera would and could catch that fly. He didn't make the best effort to grab it.)

Texas dropped another at home, and got just one hit as Oakland won, 4-0, so the Sox are now a strong 6 1/2 games ahead of them in the Wild Card, and the Magic Number for the playoffs is now at 11.

A Pitcher With A Lot To Prove

It was probably the biggest start of Daisuke Matsuzaka's career, other than his two big postseason starts in 2007. And, lo and behold, he brought his "A" game to the table.

Most Red Sox fans were probably praying for five innings and the score to be relatively close against the Angels. It's been a lost year for Daisuke, and many fans were beginning to sour on him, that he might have just been some shooting star who had finally crashed to earth.

No one, and I mean no one, could have predicted six shutout innings against the playoff-bound Angels and John Lackey. Dice-K didn't allow his first hit until the fifth inning, and was never really in any trouble. He walked Chone Figgins twice, but he allowed just three hits and one other walk. He struck out five. It was a splendid performance by a pitcher who had a lot to prove since getting booed off the mound in his last Fenway start in June.

David Ortiz hit his 24th home run in the eighth, setting a new record for designated hitters, his 270th dinger of his career, breaking Frank Thomas' all-time record. The Sox went out there last night without Kevin Youkilis, who had back spasms, and Victor Martinez, who was back in Cleveland attending to a family matter. (Both figure to be out again tonight, but should be back and available on Thursday.)

The Sox scored two in the sixth, and added insurance in the eighth. The bullpen was terrific again, with Jonathan Papelbon allowing just a run with two outs in the ninth. It was the sixth straight win for the Red Sox, and just Daisuke's second win of the season.

It was a great night for the Sox, as the Texas Rangers continue their plummet, as they were beaten by the Oakland A's again, 6-1, at home, so the Red Sox lead in the Wild Card is now at 5 1/2 games. The Red Sox' Magic Number to wrap up a playoff berth now stands at 13. (And I have now put up the official countdown on the right side of this blog.)

New York lost at home in a game that featured a brawl with the Blue Jays, so their lead in the AL East is now at 6 1/2 games. No, they haven't wrapped up anything yet. (And the Red Sox will open and close the 2010 season against New York as well, and both at Fenway Park. Bet your bottom dollar the opener will be hijacked by ESPN for a Sunday night game. I'm cold just thinking about it.)

Paul Byrd takes the mound tonight against Joe Saunders as the Sox try to extend their winning streak to 7 games.

Trivia Q&A: September 15

We had 18 teams in for Trivia Night, and the crowd was a bit down, and many of the regulars were absent. We made a last-minute switch with The Q Train, as with the passing of Patrick Swayze on Monday night, I decided to have a round of "Patrick Swayze Film Trivia, " where the folks have to guess whether he was in a certain film or not. ("2000s Trivia" which was originally scheduled for this week, will be moved to another week, possibly next week.)

The numbers were actually pretty good for it, as the late Mr. Swayze obviously had some fans at Thom's last night. We also had some strong numbers for NFL Trivia and General Knowledge, and a close contest heading into IQ Trivia.

The top three teams were separated by just two points, and the third place team got the highest score of the round, 11 points (the only team with three out of five correct), and wound up tying the team at the top. So we had a tie-breaker question, based on a lot of the hubbub going on the past week: "With Derek Jeter setting the new Yankees record for hits last week, what number is he now on the all-time hits list?" The team of I Swear to God I Will Shove This F'n Pen Down Your F'n Throat, who was leading going into IQ Trivia, guessed it right on the nose: 53rd place, and were declared the winners.

Another win for Matt and his friends. Good work, folks.

Current Events
1. This Hollywood actress lashed out at blogger Perez Hilton, calling him a pedophile last week after he linked a photo of her 15-year-old daughter baring a bit of cleavage.
2. A woman journalist in the Sudan was convicted of public indecency for doing this, which most westerners do every day, but will not be flogged for her trouble.
3. This rock superstar, along with such stars as Robert DeNiro, Mel Brooks and Dave Brubeck, was selected for the Kennedy Center Honors, to be given out this December.
4. This TV star was selected the fourth judge on "American Idol", replacing the departing Paula Abdul.
5. Larry Gelbart, one of the creators of this classic 1970s/80s sitcom and a long time writer and producer, died of cancer last week at age 81.
6. This TV actor gave a rambling interview this past September 11th, blaming the terrorist attacks of eight years ago on a conspiracy by George W. Bush, and urged President Obama to investigate it.
7. Juan Almeida Bosque, who was a vice-president of this country, died of a heart attack last Friday at the age of 82.

Answers: 1. Demi Moore; 2. Wearing trousers; 3. Bruce Springsteen; 4. Ellen DeGeneres; 5. "M*A*S*H;" 6. Charlie Sheen; 7. Cuba.

NFL Trivia
1. Which team won the 1991 Super Bowl by only one single point?
2. Who is the only team to go 0-16 in an NFL season, since 1978?
3. What was the original nickname of the New York Jets from 1960-63?
4. What NFL Hall of Famer was Super Bowl MVP a record three times?
5. What NFL city was known as "Titletown USA" in the 1960s?
6. Who broke Jim Brown's all-time rushing record for a career in 1984?
7. Who was the first running back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season?

Answers: 1. New York Giants; 2. Detroit Lions (2008); 3. Titans; 4. Joe Montana; 5. Green Bay; 6. Walter Payton; 7. O.J. Simpson.

Patrick Swayze Film Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Navy Seals
2. Uncommon Valor
3. Oxford Blues
4. Road House
5. Bad Influence
6. Donnie Darko
7. Stakeout
8. The Outsiders
9. Steel Dawn
10. Young Guns

Answers: 1. no; 2. yes; 3. no; 4. yes; 5. no; 6. yes; 7. no; 8. yes; 9. yes; 10. no.

General Knowledge
1. What best-selling author sold copies of his first novel "A Time to Kill" out of the trunk of his car?
2. The first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896 held swimming events in what body of water?
3. What was the tallest man-made structure for over 43 centuries?
4. In the logo for the TV series "The Sopranos," which letter appears as a gun?
5. In 2002, what actor co-founded The Tribeca Film Festival?
6. What number race car did the legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. race with?
7. In farm lingo, the eggs laid by one hen during a single nesting period are known as what?

Answers: 1. John Grisham; 2. Aegean Sea; 3. Pyramid at Giza; 4. r; 5. Robert DeNiro; 6. three; 7. clutch.

IQ Trivia
1. The Ireng River in Guyana borders what other South American country? ( 4 points)
2. What 19th century US president was the last president who never had a vice-president? ( 5 points)
3. Cerumen is the medical term for what bodily secretion? ( 4 points)
4. What current magazine was founded by Briton Hadden and Henry Luce in 1923? ( 4 points)
5. The word "boycott" comes from Charles C. Boycott, who was ostracized in 1880 for not reducing rents of his tenants in what country? ( 3 points)

Answers: 1. Brazil; 2. Chester A. Arthur; 3. earwax; 4. Time; 5. Ireland.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Late Trivia Change

In honor of the late, great Patrick Swayze, who passed away on Monday, The Q Train lightning round tonight will now be "Patrick Swayze Trivia." We originally had "2000s Trivia," but that will now be postponed to a later date.


Sorry for the late notice of the change. See you all at 9 PM tonight.

Monday, September 14, 2009

NFL Trivia On Tuesday

Well, ladies and gentlemen, another football season is upon us. Both New York (or is that New Jersey?) teams won yesterday, my Minnesota Vikings were victorious (courtesy of the player featured, Adrian Peterson, the best in the game), and the Patriots go on Monday Night Football tonight. So in honor of that, we will have a round of "NFL Trivia" as the Special Category on Tuesday night. It will be seven questions about the wonderful world of professional football.

The Q Train lightning round will be "2000s Trivia." It will be ten statements about things that have happened this decade, and each answer will be a different year in the decade. (I will give you time to think about each answer, but they won't be repeated at the conclusion.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
In 2002, what actor co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival?

We should get rolling right around 9 PM. The Red Sox take on the Angels in an important AL matchup of two teams heading for the playoffs. We had a great crowd last Tuesday, and hope many of you can make it out for another round of Trivia this week.

Seems Like Old Times

Remember those days when the Tampa Bay Rays were the punching back of the AL and the Red Sox used them to warm their fists on? Well, we had a return to those days this past weekend, and a doubleheader sweep on Sunday, as the Red Sox whipped Tampa Bay, 3-1 and 4-0.

The pitching this weekend was nothing short of spectacular, as the Big Three, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, held Tampa Bay to just two runs in 23 innings. The Rays have now lost 11 in a row and taking the express elevator down the shaft right now.

Dustin Pedroia was the hero of Game 1, as he scored the first run and hit a two-run dinger to give the Red Sox a 3-1 opener win. Clay Buchholz was terrific once again. He went seven innings and got a no-decision, but that doesn't take away from the great game he pitched, as he allowed just the one run.

Jon Lester was fabulous yet again, going eight innings in the second game and allowing just two hits. The Sox got their runs on a ground out, and bad hop two-run single by Jason Varitek, and a home run down the right field line by Jason Bay.

Texas split their twinbill yesterday with Seattle, so the Red Sox Wild Card lead is now four games. The Sox have the day off today and welcome the LA Angels to Fenway on Tuesday, with the return of Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wall-to-Wall Purple. In Greenwich Village.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Chris recommended to me a bar that I might like to check out. It was a gin mill called "Bar None," on Third Avenue in Greenwich Village. Chris knew I was a huge Minnesota Vikings fan, and told me some Vikings hung out there and watched their games together. So with today being the opener of the NFL season, I decided to give the place a try. (I had heard last year there was a place in New York where there were Vikings fans watching the games together, but I had no idea where it was.)

When I turned up Third Avenue with the game in progress (I was delayed by the subway getting in) I heard a big roar, and to my amazement, I saw a jam-packed bar loaded with Vikings fans. The game had just been tied at 3 in the first quarter.

I was stunned to see so many folks decked out in purple in one place, and especially in New York City! It reminded me of the first time I stepped foot in the Riviera Cafe in 2003 and saw so many Red Sox fans in one place. I felt like I had just died and woke up in downtown Minneapolis.

But Bar None is unlike any bar I've ever been to, because the back of the bar is loaded with nothing but New Orleans Saints fans, rooting on their beloved team with a big screen to boot.

Yep, the bar is half-Vikings, half-Saints. It must be something to see when the Vikings play the Saints in that place!

The bar was up and roaring all game. And whenever the Saints scored (and they did a lot against the Lions today) you could hear the wild cheers from the back.

Most of the fans there were Minnesota transplants, as I saw a number of folks with Twins hats, and the accents I could decipher sounded very Midwestern. Most of the fans were wearing the newer Vikings jerseys, while I had on my old timey Cris Carter one. One guy was blowing a horn, and another was wearing a Vikings helmet with horns on it. Every play got some kind of reaction to it.

Most of the fans were in their 20s or 30s, so I would have been one of the older Vikings fans there. Nice to see lots of females there, most of whom were wearing Vikings gear.

Adrian Peterson was a popular choice with the jerseys, and he had one spectacular game today. He rished for 180 yards and scored three TDS, and Percy Harvin scored the other on a pass from Brett Favre. Favre wasn't great, but did just enough to get the Vikes the win over Cleveland, 34-20. They were down 13-10 at halftime, but I wasn't too worried. The Browns don't have a good offense (the lone TD in the first half was a punt returned for a TD), but it was strange rooting against Brady Quinn. He was from Notre Dame, and I like guys named Quinn (for some odd reason).

Peterson ran off a 70-yard TD in the fourth and the bar went bananas. It was a thing of beauty and proved why he is the best offensive player in the NFL. The Vikings ran out the clock (gave up a garbage time TD in the last minute), and in the second half proved why they are a favorite to go to the Super Bowl. They dominated on both sides of the ball, and everyone from Bar None went home happy. (Including the Saints fans, who saw their boys win, 45-28 over Detroit.)

It was quite an afternoon at Bar None. A great spirited crowd having a blast watching their boys win. And now I have a place in New York to watch the Vikings games every week with like-minded souls. I loved every minute of it.

I don't feel so all alone watching them any more. See you next week, guys.

Skol Vikings!

The Commander Is Back

It was 9-1 at Fenway Park, the Red Sox were leading, and the rain really started to pour down. The game had already been delayed two hours before it even began. With two on and two outs, I was practically yelling at the TV screen for Josh Beckett to throw strikes and stop fooling around. It was the top of the fifth, and one more out for an official game.

It had been a frustrating day earlier, watching Notre Dame blow a three-point lead to Michigan, thanks to Charlie Weis' dubious play calling with three minutes to go. (You run the ball Charlie, to make Michigan use their timeouts!) A Red Sox win in a crucial game would surely improve my night. But I worried that even harder rain might stop the game and cost the Red Sox an easy win, even with just one out to go.

He got Carl Crawford to line out to center, and I could breathe a little easier. Once the game reached the top of the sixth, Evan Longoria slipped off second base after a double, and the umps knew right then to roll the tarp on the field.

And that was the end of the night. About an hour later, the umps called the game, a 9-1 Red Sox win. The Josh beckett of earlier 2009 was back, allowing just the one run in the fifth. The Sox backed him up with eight runs off rookie Wade Davis in the third, with Alex Gonzalez starting the rally with a single, and capping it with a three-run double. He has been some revelation since his return from Cincinnati, especially at the plate.

Today is a big day for the Red Sox, as they have a day/night doubleheader with Tampa Bay, who basically look like they are bagging the rest of this season, having lost nine straight. Texas, who lost last night in the rain to Seattle at Arlington, play the Mariners in a doubleheader. The Rangers are now 3 back of the Sox in the Wild Card chase.

The Red Sox send Clay Buchholz to the hill in Game 1 at noon, and Jon Lester up there for Game 2 at 5 PM. I'll be checking my cell for updates as I watch the Vikings season begin in Cleveland at 1 PM today.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Let's Play Two Tomorrow

The Red Sox-Rays game that was postponed last night will be made up as a doubleheader on Sunday. The postponed game will be played at 12 noon, and the regularly scheduled game will be played at 5 PM. Yep, yet another "day/night doubleheader."

Jon Lester, who started last night's washout, will go in the second game tomorrow. Josh Beckett will pitch tonight in his regularly scheduled start.

Texas was also rained out last night against Seattle, so the Red Sox Wild Card lead still remains at two games.

Long, Wet and Emotional

It was a very emotional day at Ground Zero for me and my friends yesterday. But before I get into the day, I have to comment on something.

As Dennis Miller used to say, "I don't want to get off on a rant here...," but I think I will.

Count me in as one of those who find this Derek Jeter Genuflecting to be really sickening. Last night, Eyewitness News here in New York actually led off their 11 PM news with Jeter's Yankee hit record. And both of New York's tabloid papers have it all over the front pages today. (And as my friend Adam pointed out this morning to put it in perspective, Jeter is now 52nd all-time in hits, just ahead of Rusty Staub.) At least Newsday, based on Long Island, dedicated their front page and their first four pages to yesterday's remembrance.

Sorry, but what happened in Lower Manhattan eclipses that and most anything else yesterday. Yes, I maybe totally biased on this, but Jeter's record (And could any Yankee fan tell what the team record was before this season and who held it? I bet few could.) is NO WAY more of an important story than the 8th anniversary of the worst day in this city's history. Shameful.

Sorry, I had to get that crap off my chest. Now on to the real story of this post.

It was a lousy, miserable day in New York on Friday. I prayed the weather would hold, as it did the two previous days. But I woke up to a steady rain. I met my friend Deborah at her apartment, and we went with a friend of hers from her building. We arrived on Broadway and Cortlandt Street just after 7:30 AM, and we took out our framed pictures of out friend Joyce. A reporter noticed us, and we chatted with her. Then all of a sudden, about 6 or 7 of them descended on us, and we spent the next few minutes talking about our friend, the state of Ground Zero, and why we were there.

We proceeded down Liberty Street, and a number of photgraphers saw us and began taking pictures. They asked us about Joyce, and we were quoted in today's Bergen Record. (Check on the last two paragraphs.) The pictures of her are so beautiful, and instantly attract anyone who sees them.

The crowds were definitely down, because of the rain. But so many braved it, and that was heartening to see. We heard our friend's name at about 9:20, and we proceeded into the site shortly before 10. This year, they placed a circle in a portion of the site that has been built upon, just off West Street where the memorial will be. Loved ones placed roses into the circle, which was filled with water.

It was another walk on sacred ground, where the worst atrocity in New York's history occurred. It was really emotional being in there again, but I was proud to have done it. We spent about a half hour in there, and then went to the Tribute Center on Liberty Street.

It was a long day, as every September 11th is for me. The day always has a different feel for me than any other day of the year. It was a Friday, but absolutely didn't feel like one.

We went to lunch, and then to the preview of the 9/11 Memorial, on Vesey Street, across from St. Paul's Chapel. It was really nice and I enjoyed being there. The day finally concluded shortly after 5 PM. (I was sad not to see "The Tribute in Light," the two blue beams of light shown in the sky from Lower Manhattan, but the fog and bad weather prevented that.)

I was really exhausted when it was all over, and I'm glad I got through another anniversary. But there was no other place in the world I could have been yesterday. It's an obligation for me to be there, and every anniversary for the rest of my life I will be there.

For Joyce, and for all the victims of the worst day in our history.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Most Sacred Of All Days

Today, my life stops.

The Red Sox take a back seat, as well as just about everything else.

It can all wait.

Those of you who have been following my blog for some time know that September 11th is the saddest of all days for me. It was eight years ago today that my dear friend Joyce Carpeneto was taken from us, as she was one of the 2,749 victims of the second attack on the World Trade Center.

I have honored her memory and those of all the 9/11 victims on this blog every anniversary since I started the blog in 2006. This year I have been given the honor of being a part of a wonderful web site called Project 2996, which has bloggers from around the world remember at least one victim every September 11th. Today I am remembering Joyce, and I am including the memorial I wrote for her in October 2001 called "Our Joyce: A Dear Sweet Friend," and the poem I wrote for her in January 2002 called "There's an Angel Watching Over Us."

If you'd like to check out Project 2996, please click the link, and you can read some wonderful remembrances of some beautiful souls who left this world way too soon. My thanks to Dale Challener Roe, who runs the site and allowed me to remember my friend.

I will be at Ground Zero today, along with thousands of others to remember the 9/11 victims. I have been there for all eight remembrances, and I will continue to be there for every anniversary until the day I die. It's a sacred obligation for me.

I am so proud of the following memorial and poem. They are two of the proudest accomplishments of my life.

But I am even prouder to call Joyce my friend.

"Our Joyce: A Dear Sweet Friend"

In the summer of 1985, I been working for the Tower Records store in Greenwich Village for about nine months. I soon met the newest "Front Desk Girl", a 24 year old, brown haired, brown eyed girl from Long Island. Her name was Joyce Carpeneto.

Joyce and I became fast friends. Her warmth and kindness shown through almost immediately. In late 1985, our store was undergoing a management change, and Joyce gave me one of the nicest compliments I have ever gotten. One day she said to me, "You should be managing this store". And I was just a rock floor clerk! I really believe that Joyce had more faith in me than I had in myself.

Joyce and I worked together in the Tower Village store for over 4 years. She eventually moved downstairs to the cassette department and I became the rock CD buyer. We both became supervisors and we closed many nights together. I remember many times Joyce would come to me with a problem and I was only to happy to help her.

Joyce left the store for TRIP (Tower Records Import Product) in 1990 and I left as well at the end of that year. I too landed at TRIP in early 1991, and I was very fortunate to have Joyce already there. She was a rep, and I became her assistant. I covered the Tower stores at the Village and Carle Place, LI for her. I was a bit nervous taking over the job, as I wasn't sure if I'd fit in. Joyce made it easy for me, as she showed me the ropes and introduced me to a lot of the people I'd have to deal with in the new job. It was wonderful to share an office with her. One Friday, Joyce and Barbara Lang, our other rep, were discussing where to send me the next week.

I covered stores for both of them on a rotation basis. On this day they both needed me the next week. So in the middle of all of this, Joyce turns to me and says, "Don't you love the fact you have two women fighting over you?" I could only laugh and smile, and when I think of that story, it will always make me smile and remember Joyce's wonderful sense of humor.

By mid-1993 TRIP (or MTS Sales as it became known) merged with another company, and Joyce was let go. It was terribly unfair to her, but she didn't let it get her down. Joyce picked herself up, dusted herself off, and joined Tower's Art Department. I discovered that she was a very talented artist, and I saw her work in many of the Tower stores.

After the MTS position ended, Joyce and I would always run into each other in places like the Village Record and Village Video store. It was always a pleasure to see her and talk about what was going on in our lives and reminisce about the old days. All of my memories of Joyce are fond ones, and and will remain that way for the rest of my life. Together, and with many of our Tower friends, we enjoyed art shows, Tower parties and bowling after work. It was so much fun, and it all seems like just yesterday.

The weeks since the tragedy have been the longest, and without question, the saddest time of my life. For all of us who love and care for her, Joyce will always be a special part of our lives. She will always have a special place in my heart, and a day will not go by that I will not think of her.

In the days following the tragedy, Joyce's mom and Russ Giffen set up a website looking for more information about her. The first time I saw it I burst into tears. The picture of Joyce was just stunning, and the words included on it were incredibly poignant: "If you knew her you had to be her friend. She loves everyone." I cannot improve on those words. Just incredibly beautiful.

And all of us loved you, Joyce.

I thank God that Joyce Ann Carpeneto came into my life. She's one of the most dearest, sweetest people I have ever known, or will ever know. We are all better for having her friendship, kindness and support. I will always remember her beautiful smile and her wonderful laugh. She will always live in my heart, and no one can ever take that away from me.

Back when we worked in the Tower store in Greenwich Village in the 1980s, I always felt that Joyce and I were part of an extended family with all of our other friends who worked there. Now, one of our family is no longer with us. So we grieve for our missing sister, in the hope that she has found peace.

I will always love Joyce for the rest of my life. No matter where I go, she'll always be with me.

She'll always be Our Joyce. She'll always be Our Cookie. And now, Joyce will forever be Our Angel.


John Brian Quinn
Brooklyn, NY
October 19, 2001

Please drop me an e-mail to let me know your thoughts. I would be honored if any of you would pass this along to any other of Joyce's friends. Thank you so much.
All the best
John

On New Year's Night, I sat down and wrote a poem that night that would alter my life in ways that I could never have imagined. I wrote about a visit I made to Ground Zero that past November with my friend Deborah. I eventually put it on September 11, 2001 Victims as well, and I got even emails from people around the world, and I have become friends with many of those kind folks.

Here is the poem I wrote that night:

THERE'S AN ANGEL WATCHING OVER US
By John Quinn

This poem is dedicated to my dear sweet friend Joyce Ann Carpeneto, who is always and forever in my heart.

It's a gray, overcast day
In late November
The fourth time I've been
Down this way
The pain in my heart rises
As soon as I walk out
The subway station
But I had to be here for you
I'm not afraid to be here
Because I know
There's an Angel watching over us.

Our eyes fill with tears
Pictures line the walls
And the picket fences
Thousands of dreams
Shattered in an instant
A soft rain starts to fall
Could it have been sent
By you?
To show us both
The depth of your love
And the tears still within you
It's an unmistakable sign
There's an Angel watching over us.

Loved ones write their own
Words of sorrow and grief
On a huge makeshift sheet
I struggle through my tears
To tell you those precious words
I couldn't tell you
When you were here
In this life
Now the rain and the tears
Have both left together
And the sun peeks
Through the clouds
Now I am so confident
There's an Angel watching over us.

I've been down this way
Three times before
But this will be the last
Time I come down here
The heartache for me
Is just too great
Seeing that terrible site
Where you left this world
I'd rather remember
The good times we shared
You'll always be
Safe in my heart Sweetie
I'll never break
The Promise I made to you
On the Brooklyn Bridge
You'll always be alive
In my heart forever
I'll never be afraid to die
Because I'll see you again
One day I know
And that because from above
There's an Angel watching over me.

John Brian Quinn
Brooklyn, NY
January 2, 2002.


God bless you all.
John

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Staying Two Steps Ahead

Paul Byrd took the mound at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, looking to better acquit himself after the really lousy start he had in Chicago on Friday night. And he certainly made amends, going five innings against the Orioles and allowing just two runs.

He left with a 3-2 lead, but the bullpen couldn't hold it. Manny Delcarmen came in in the sixth and promptly walked in a run after loading the bases. And Ramon Ramirez gave up a hit on the first pitch he threw with the bases loaded and one out to give Baltimore the lead.

But Ramirez bounced back, striking out the next two hitters, including the ever-dangerous Nick Markakis.

The Red Sox promptly tied the score in the bottom of the inning, and got the lead back on pinch-hitter Victor Martinez' bases loaded-double to put the Sox up, 7-4.

Billy Wagner and Daniel Bard pitched 1 2/3 solid, scoreless innings (Wagner was really impressive, striking out two), and Joanthan Papelbon got the final four outs for his 34th save to wrap up a two-game sweep of the O's, 7-5.

This was a game the Sox badly needed, as Texas completed a sweep in Cleveland, 10-0, and this stay two games back of the Red Sox. The Sox are off on Thursday. Tampa Bay, who just got swept in New York and are seeing their playoff hopes go down the trash chute, come to Fenway starting Friday night for a three-game series.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sox Deep Six O's

Well, these are the teams you have to beat up on, and the Red Sox did just that on Tuesday night, whacking the Orioles, 10-0.

The heavy lumber was out on display, as they took Baltimore pitching deep six times, including twice in the first inning. It was a season-high in home runs last night. Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis opened the blitz with two shots in the opening inning, and the Sox were on cruise control after that.

Pedroia went deep in his second at-bat, and J.D. Drew belted a three-run shot, Alex Gonzalez hit one (and just missed another) and David Ortiz completed the barrage in the seventh that finished the scoring at 10-0. Clay Buchholz was superb, retiring the first 11 hitters he faced, and allowed just four hits in seven innings. It brought back memories of his no-hitter of September 2007 (and even the final score was the same, 10-0).

Michael Bowden pitched the final two innings, and with the September callups, both teams took out their regulars and the game took on the feel of a Spring Training game by the end. The Red Sox now lead the season series over the Orioles, 12-2.

Texas won a doubleheader in Cleveland, so the Sox actually lost ground in the Wild Card race, and their lead is now 2 games.

The Nines Are Wild

In honor of today being 9/9/09, I can't think of a more perfect video to put on the blog than this one:



The Beatles are everywhere today, with the release of the new digitally remastered CDs. That brings back very pleasant memories for me, like the day the first Beatles CDS came out in 1987, and the media flocked to Tower Records to talk with me about it, as I was the pop/rock/soul CD buyer.

22 years ago. Holy mackerel.

My thanks to my dear friend Eileen, who posted "#9 Dream" on Facebook earlier today.

Trivia Q&A: September 8

We had 17 teams in for Trivia Night, as the end of the Labor Day weekend seemed to keep some of the regulars away. Hopefully we'll have a bigger turnout next week. But we still had a good evening of Trivia.

The numbers on Tennis Trivia were actually fairly good, but the question about the last man to win the Grand Slam was a bit cloudy, as Roger Federer was the last to win it, but not all in the same calendar year. (Rod Laver was the last to do that, in 1969.) I tossed out the question and gave everyone a point.

During the evening, we gave out free passes to the Harpoon beer tasting night this Friday night at Thom's to every team that won a round. We had a good response to that (everyone likes free beer, even just to taste!).

The numbers in the final two categories were among the lowest I have seen in awhile, as I made it a bit harder. We had five teams within two points of the top going into IQ Trivia, and one of the teams tied for first, Oudin't Come to Trivia, had the best score of the final round, with just 11 points, to hold on and win by only 2 points.

Nice job guys, and Matt, of the winning team, informed me that his team won last year in the Labor Day edition of Trivia Night, which also featured a round of Tennis Trivia.

Some traditions never die.

Current Events
1. This company acquired Marvel Entertainment, which included all the superheroes from Marvel Comics, for a staggering $4 billion last week.
2. This legendary baseball announcer was named by the Wall Street Journal "Baseball's Chattiest Announcer," as he averaged more than 140 words per minute during his team's broadcasts.
3. Steve Mazan, a standup comic dying of liver cancer, achieved a dream he wanted before his death and finally appeared on this TV show last Friday, and a documentary about his dream is currently in production.
4. LeGarrette Blount, a running back from this Pac-10 school, was suspended for the 2009 season after punching a Boise State player in the face following his team's loss last Thursday.
5. A group noted for domestic terrorism claimed responsibility for knocking down two radio towers in this western state last week, claiming radio waves cause higher rates of cancer and harms wildlife.
6. This man was accused by a choreographer of fixing the last few Miss Universe pageants, as he is said to meet with the contestants and decides who will make it to the final six.
7. Van Jones, who held this position in the Obama administration, resigned on Sunday over some past inflammatory statements he made, but also said he quit because of a "vicious smear campaign" against him.

Answers: 1. Disney; 2. Vin Scully; 3. "The Late Show With David Letterman;" 4. Oregon Ducks; 5. Washington; 6. Donald Trump; 7. Green jobs czar.

Tennis Trivia
1. Who has won the most career singles titles in professional men's tennis? a. Jimmy Connors; b. John McEnroe; c. Bjorn Borg; d. Pete Sampras.
2. Which female tennis player won more French Open singles titles than anyone else? a. Billie Jean King; b. Martina Navratilova; c. Chris Evert; d. Venus Williams.
3. Who was the last man to win the Grand Slam, the 4 major tennis titles in the same year? a. John McEnroe; b. Roger Federer; c. Bjorn Borg; d. Andre Agassi.
4. Which of the four major tennis tournaments are played on a clay court? a. Wimbledon; b. US Open; c. Australian Open; d. French Open.
5. Which tennis player won the first "Golden Slam," the Grand Slam plus an Olympic Gold Medal, in 1988? a. Steffi Graf; b. Monica Seles; c. Pete Sampras; d. Boris Becker.
6. Which of the four majors is the oldest tournament? a. French Open; b. US Open; c. Wimbledon; d. Australian Open.
7. What country was Roger Federer born in? a. Austria; b. Switzerland; c. France; d. Canada.

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

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 7-Eleven stores got their name from the original store's hours of operation in 1946.
2. Bill Clinton never received more than 50% of the popular vote in either of his pesidential victories.
3. The second "D" in DVD stands for download.
4. Lake Nasser is found mostly in the nation of Kenya.
5. Benjamin Franklin designed the first pair of bifocal lenses.
6. The explorer Eric the Red is credited with the discovery of Iceland.
7. The original name of the TV series "Friends" was "Insomnia Cafe."
8. Simon Legree was a villain in the novel "Tom Sawyer."
9. The samurai of medieval Japan were members of the warrior class.
10. When you see a lunar eclipse from Earth, a person on the Moon would see a solar eclipse.

Answer: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, disc; 4. false, Egypt; 5. true; 6. false, Greenland; 7. true; 8. false, Uncle Tom's Cabin; 9. true; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. The Civil War battles of Bull Run are known by what other name?
2. What NL pitcher once hurled no-hitters in four consecutive seasons?
3. What classic sitcom's very first line in its first show was "I'd give anything if Ralph would get me a set?"
4. Name 1 of the 2 planets that rotate on their axis in a different direction than the other six planets of our solar system.
5. What state's toll booths are the only ones that accepts pennies?
6. What actor, best known for his comedy work, won three consecutive Emmy awards from 1966-68 as Best Drama Actor?
7. What is the third largest country in area in the world after Russia and Canada?

Answers: 1. Manassas; 2. Sandy Koufax; 3. "The Honeymooners;" 4. Venus and Uranus; 5. Illinois; 6. Bill Cosby; 7. China.

IQ Trivia
1. What baseball Hall of Famer hit his 500th home run in 1984 at Anaheim (now Angel) Stadium, the same place he hit his first home run? ( 3 points)
2. If you are suffering from a condition called podobrohidrosis, what exactly do you have? ( 4 points)
3.What immortal actor provided the voice of the never-seen Robin Masters on the TV series "Magnum PI" from 1981-85? ( 4 points)
4. What British actor was the first male to appear on the cover of Playboy magazine in 1964? ( 5 points)
5. What 20th century US president was the last one to wear a mustache while he was still in office? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. Reggie Jackson; 2. smelly feet; 3. Orson Welles; 4. Peter Sellers; 5. William Howard Taft.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Kotsay Gets His Revenge

The Red Sox made some rather dubious moves over the past couple of months, but one that came back to bite them over the weekend was trading away Mark Kotsay late in July.

Kotsay (pictured being thrown out at home yesterday) drove in the two go-ahead runs on Sunday, as the White Sox took three of four from the Red Sox, 5-1. Kotsay hit two home runs and drove in six runs in the four-game series, and made the Sox pay for letting him go for Brian Anderson, an outfielder with no stick whatsoever.

Kotsay was odd man out when the Sox traded for Adam LaRoche, who was eventually traded nine days later for Casey Kotchman, who basically occupying a seat on the bench.

Josh Beckett (14-6) pitched a whole lot better than he has over the last month, allowing three runs over seven innings. But he was outpitched by Mark Buehrle, who allowed the Sox just one run over seven innings. It was still a 3-1 game in the 8th when Hideki Okajima came in and allowed a two-run home run to Carlos Quentin. Okajima continues his big time struggles, and may lose the eighth inning setup position with efforts like this.

The Red Sox lost a chance for a winning road trip with Sunday's loss, going 3-4 in Tampa and Chicago. Texas was rained out last night, so the Sox lead the Wild Card by 2 1/2. Texas plays a doubleheader in Cleveland tonight.

The Red Sox return home tonight to play a two-game series with Baltimore with Clay Buchholz pitching, and then three with Tampa bay beginning Friday night. Fortunately, the rest of the schedule is very favorable, as only 10 of the remaining 25 games are on the road, and seven of them are against the Orioles and Royals.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day Means Tennis

This Tuesday night, in honor the US Open currently being played out at Flushing Meadows, the Special Category on Trivia Night will be "Tennis Trivia." It will be seven questions about about the wonderful world of tennis, and for those of you who aren't big fans, the questions will be of the multiple choice variety.

The Q Train lightning round this week will be "True or False Trivia."

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
The Civil War battles of Bull Run are also known by what other name?

We will begin at the usual time of 9 PM. The Red Sox have a game with the Orioles on Tuesday, but that shouldn't stop us from getting going on time. We had a nice bounce back in terms of team numbers last week, so don't be late on Tuesday night!

Ace

I think it's safe to say that the title of this post belongs to one Jon Lester, who simply dominated the Chicago White Sox yesterday in putting the Red Sox back on the winning path, 6-1.

Lester was superb, allowing just four hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking two. He was in trouble just once, in the first, when with two on and no out, Dustin Pedroia made a sensational over-the-shoulder grab and doubled Scott Podsednik off first base. After that, Lester was in full dominant mode. Lester also became the first Sox lefty to get 200 strikeouts in a season, when he struck out Alexi Ramirez to end the fourth.

The score remained scoreless until Mike Lowell hit a two-run homer in the fifth. It was all Lester needed, and Chicago scored their only run when Ramon Castro hit a home run off his former Mets teammate Billy Wagner in the eighth.

Victor Martinez put the win on ice with a three-run shot in the ninth to close out the scoring, and Jonathan Papelbon closed out the game in the ninth without too much trouble (allowing just a scratch single with two outs). The loss by Texas puts the Sox back up in the Wild Card race by 3.

Lester is now 12-7, and without question the best Red Sox starter right now. Josh Beckett, who once had the title earlier this year, will try to right his own personal ship today in the final game of today's wrap-around series with the White Sox, and it is the final game of this road trip, and a win would give the Red Sox a winning record of 4-3 on it.