MLB Regular Season Ends

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Old Hoss Wishes You a Happy Opening Day

My buddy Pete Nash has a great retrospective of Opening Day pictures, including a great one of Old Hoss Radbourn flipping the bird to the camera (top row, far left) on Opening Day, 1886.

Check it out at Deadspin.

Bill Madden is a Big Fat Idiot

Most baseball pundits are picking the Red Sox in 2011 to win the World Series, AL Pennant or AL East (or some combination of the three). I am as optimistic as just about any of them.

But of course, you'll always have your doubters, and in that category is one Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. (I also realized I hadn't added anyone to my "Big Fat Idiot" series in nearly two years. Welcome to the club, Billy.)

I have never been a fan of this writer. He's been a professional Red Sox basher since the 1980s. He's gone out of his way to rip the club, whether they have deserved it or not. And for some reason beyond my comprehension, they actually inducted this guy into the Hall of Fame last year in the writer's wing. (Wonder who he paid off to make that happen?)

But Madden has taken his Sox bashing to a new level this spring.

He is actually picking the Red Sox to finish third in the AL East, behind even Tampa Bay.

Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays, who got slaughtered in the free agent market last year, losing Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and their whole bullpen, and were forced to trade Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett, and they will finish ahead of the Red Sox, according to this guy.

Madden has the Red Sox winning just 88 games, and that's one game less than they won in their injury-riddled 2010 season. (Most pundits have the Red Sox in the 95-102 games won area.)

So let me get this straight, Billy boy. The Sox add Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler, and get back Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and Jacoby Ellsbury from a year lost to injuries, and they will win one less game?

What the hell has Madden been smoking? Nothing probably. He just likes going against the Red Sox. I don't say that every New York sportswriter is biased against the Red Sox, but Madden has shown over the years he has no use for the team. For whatever reason.

So, you want a good laugh? Read this.

I can't wait to see the Red Sox stick it to this asshole come October.

Your 2011 Opening Day Lineup

For tomorrow afternoon at Texas. Courtesy of Extra Bases:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Carl Crawford LF
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Cameron RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Marco Scutaro SS
Jon Lester P

J.D. Drew sits with C.J. Wilson on the mound, as he is particularly tough on lefties.

Lineup's still pretty damned good.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Old Stomping Grounds Is Now...

The home of the MLB Fan Cave.

The former site of Tower Records Greenwich Village on the corner of East 4th Street and Broadway is now the new home of the "MLB Fan Cave."

You may have heard that two people would be picked to watch every single MLB game in 2011 (2,430 in all plus the playoffs), and be paid to do it, too. It's called "MLB Dreamjob." I had more than a few people encouraging me to enter it, but I would have to give up my Trivia Night and background acting jobs in order to do it, so I passed.

Mike O'Hara and Ryan Wagner were selected, and will be watching the games on 15 TVs at the former Tower store. It will include a pool table, bar, '50s diner, memorabilia museum, fantasy baseball counter, and pitch-speed tester.

Well, at least they are putting the old Tower site to good use. I'll have to stop by and check it out.

That location is also where I watched Dave Henderson hit the home run in the 9th inning of Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS, and it's also where I was when the Red Sox took a 5-3 lead in the 10th inning of Game 6 of the World Series two weeks later. (Sure doesn't seem like 25 years ago.)

Good luck, gentlemen.

As The Bell Is About To Ring For 2011

My friend Adam, who I have quoted many times on this blog, sent me his thoughts on the Red Sox for 2011 today, and I thought I'd pass them along to you.

I still see the AL East as a close three-team race. A lot will depend on injuries.

The Sox look good on paper. But they still have question marks (all teams do). Here are a few:

(1) Boston's line-up is overwhelmingly left-handed. While this is not generally a problem (most pitchers are right-handed), the AL East is home to some of the better lefties in the AL: Cash Cow, Price, Romero, Cecil, and Matusz. Also, it makes the Sox susceptible to left-handed relief match-ups in big spots.

(2) The rotation. This has been mentioned before, but a lot will depend on how well Beckett and Lackey bounce back. Lester is legit and I don't see Dice-K as a problem. While Buchholz is good, I don't expect his results to be as good as they were in 2010. If all goes well, the Sox could have one of the top rotations in baseball. Even if Beckett and Lackey struggle, Boston's rotation should still be good--but maybe not as good as the other AL contenders' rotations.

(3) The bullpen. They look good on paper. But bullpens are tough to predict. How good are Paps, Jenks, and Wheeler? Wheeler is a pretty extreme fly ball pitcher. How well will he do at Fenway? Jenks had good secondary numbers last year. He was hurt by BABIP, which could be bad luck (although his LD rate was up). As for Paps, who knows? Dannys Reyes is a LOOGY. However, his numbers against lefties last year weren't great (5.21 BB/9 v. left-handed hitters). Albers is nothing special.

The Sox do appear to have bullpen depth in the minors, though. Atchison, Aceves, and Doubront are decent pitchers.

(4) Catcher. Jarrod Saltalamacchia/Jason Varitek. 'Nuff said. If Salty can play average defense and OPS around .750, the Sox will be OK at the position. He's no lock to do either. His career OPS is .701.

(5) Defense. Drew, Crawford, and Pedroia (assuming no loss of range due to last year's injury) are good defenders. Gonzalez is good, but not as good as Youk, at 1B. Youk isn't likely to be as good as Beltre was at 3B last year. Scutaro is average at best at short. So far in his career, Ellsbury is a better corner OF defender. Salty has been solidly below average at catcher. There's a chance that the Sox may be below-average defensively at three premium positions: C, SS, and CF. I'd really rather see Lowrie start at SS. He has much more upside than Scutaro, and I don't see him getting more than 250 AB as a "super sub" (assuming everyone is healthy).

Overall, if healthy, the Sox should be a lock for 95-97 wins. Last year's team was decimated by injuries, had a historically bad bullpen, a poor defense, and still won 89 games, despite a struggling Beckett and Lackey. While I don't see this year's team as being that much better than last year's team on paper (except in the pen and bench--Cameron, McDonald, Lowrie, and Tek are a great bench), the Sox would have won the division if they hadn't lost so many good players to injuries. So if they're healthy this year, I expect them to win the East.

Trivia Q&A: March 29

We had a lighter crowd than last week, with 13 teams taking part in Trivia Night. But we had a very vocal crowd as well.

We had some strong scores for Elizabeth Taylor Trivia, as I guess many folks went straight to Wikipedia right after I announced the Special Category on Monday! The scores were generally good throughout the night.

Going into IQ Trivia we had a tie for first place, but it was the third place team, E=MC Hammer, who pulled out the win, as they were the only team to get 4 of the 5 questions correct and wound up winning by three points with 44 total. Congratulations to them on their very first Trivia Night victory.

We had a tie for second, so we broke the tie when I asked both teams to add up the ages Liz Taylor was when she won both of her Oscars. She was 28 when she won for "Butterfield 8" and 34 when she took the prize for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" The team of Cereal Whores guessed 62 on the nose. The team of These Have Always Brought Me Luck (And I'm Not Talking About White Diamonds) took third place.

Best Team Name: The Old Fogeys (It was a rough night for team names.)

Current Events
1. What legendary guitarist of a classic English rock band recently told Uncut magazine he regretted forming his group because it wrecked his health, giving him hearing, knee and wrist problems?
2. What company announced last week it was buying T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion?
3. Jose Socrates, prime minister of what country, resigned last Wednesday after his country's parliament rejected his government's deficit-cutting plan?
4. An air traffic controller was suspended after he had fallen asleep while on duty last week and two planes had to land without supervision at what US city's airport?
5. What national historic site was enlarged last Friday when the Department of the Interior acquired a 95-acre golf course where a major battle was once fought there?
6. Thirteen record companies that are suing a file-sharing online company are demanding as much as $75 trillion in their lawsuit. What company are they suing?
7. Earlier today, the US Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the largest sex discrimination suit ever, brought by over 500,000 women against what company?

Elizabeth Taylor Trivia
1. Name one of the two films Liz Taylor won an Academy Award for. (2 points awarded for naming both.)
2. What religion did Liz Taylor convert to in 1959?
3. Who was Elizabeth Taylor's first husband?
4. What entertainer's two children was Elizabeth Taylor the godmother of?
5. What TV character did Liz Taylor lend her voice to, and only one word at that?
6. Who is the only woman to appear on the cover of People magazine more times than Liz Taylor?
7. For what film did Elizabeth Taylor become the first actress to make $1 million for a movie?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. It took 25 years for the stock market to reach its pre-October 1929 peak once again after the infamous crash.
2. The "Mona Lisa" painting has no eyebrows or eyelashes.
3. Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII's second wife, was beheaded on charges of witchcraft.
4. There are more germs on a toilet seat than on a car steering wheel.
5. Al Pacino's real first name is Alfredo.
6. The actor George Burns lived to be 100.
7. Leon Trotsky, one of the founders of Russian communism, once acted in a Hollywood movie.
8. The capital of Michigan is Ann Arbor.
9. The kilt, closely associated with Scotland, was actually invented by an Englishman.
10. A human has more DNA material than a green pea does.

General Knowledge
1. "The Land of 10,000 Lakes" is what state's nickname? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the largest city in population in Northern Ireland? ( 1 pt)
3. What legendary comedian nearly lost his life while freebasing cocaine in 1980? ( 1 pt)
4. Before the current NFL lockout, which was the last of the four North American sports to have a lockout? ( 2 pt)
5. Besides "The King's Speech," what 1998 Oscar-winning film starred both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush? ( 2 pt)
6. "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof" was written by what American playwright? ( 2 pt)
7. 2,300 miles of The Tropic of Capricorn runs through what country? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Which distant planet experiences 42 earth years of constant summer followed by 42 earth years of dark winter? ( 3 points)
2. Which current European capital was once called Lutetia by the Romans? ( 4 points)
3. A person who is an enophile enjoys what? ( 4 points)
4. What director was nominated for a record 12 Academy Awards, and won three times? ( 5 points)
5. In 1965, what legendary English rock band changed their name from The High Numbers to the name they achieved worldwide fame with? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Pete Townshend; 2. AT&T; 3. Portugal; 4. Washington, DC; 5. Gettysburg; 6. LimeWire; 7. WalMart.

Elizabeth Taylor Trivia
1. "Butterfield 8" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf;" 2. Judaism; 3. Conrad Hilton; 4. Michael Jackson; 5. Maggie Simpson; 6. Princess Diana; 7. "Cleopatra."

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. true; 3. false, adultery; 4. false; 5. true; 6. true; 7. true; 8. false, Lansing; 9. true; 10. false (pea has five times more).

General Knowledge
1. Minnesota; 2. Belfast; 3. Richard Pryor; 4. hockey (2004); 5. "Shakespeare In Love;" 6. Tennessee Williams; 7. Australia.

IQ Trivia
1. Uranus; 2. Paris; 3. wine; 4. William Wyler; 5. The Who.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cute, and Not So Cute

Here's a cute item for the young tyke in your life who loves baseball: baseball flash cards.

Doug Keith has put together the 26 letters of the alphabet in the shape of players and fans alike on flash cards called "B is for Baseball: Alphabet Cards." For instance, the letter A is an Oakland A's player holding a bat in the shape of an A. And for the letter B, an umpire and manager are in an argument nose-to-nose in the shape of a B.

"B is for Baseball: Alphabet Cards" is a nice little item, and if I had any young kids, I'd certainly use them!

And on a more serious note: uniforms that were supposedly worn by Gary Cooper in the classic film "Pride of the Yankees" currently in circulation are forgeries. More from Hauls of Shame.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Here's The 25

The Red Sox have set their 25-man roster for Opening Day. They have settled the bullpen, sending Alfredo Aceves and Hideki Okajima to Pawtucket (how the mighty have fallen), and purchased the contracts of Dennys Reyes and Matt Albers.

So here is the 25-man roster that will open the 2011 season in Texas on Friday afternoon:

Pitchers
Jon Lester; John Lackey; Clay Buchholz; Josh Beckett; Daisuke Matsuzaka; Jonathan Papelbon; Daniel Bard; Dan Wheeler; Bobby Jenks; Tim Wakefield; Dennys Reyes; Matt Albers.

Position Players
Adrian Gonzalez; Dustin Pedroia; Marco Scutaro; Kevin Youkilis; Jed Lowrie; Carl Crawford; Jacoby Ellsbury; J.D. Drew; Mike Cameron; Darnell McDonald; David Ortiz; Jarrod Saltalamacchia; Jason Varitek.

Remembering An Icon On Tuesday

The Special Category for this Tuesday night's Trivia will be "Elizabeth Taylor Trivia." In honor of the passing of the iconic actress last Wednesday (we ironically had her in a question last Tuesday) we will have seven questions on her life. We've done this before with the recent passing of legends, such as Paul Newman and Michael Jackson.

BTW, I never knew Elizabeth Taylor recorded an album. (Actually, it is a score composed by the recently-deceased John Barry based on TV special the actress did in 1963.)

The Q Train lightning round is back with "True or False Trivia."

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Land of 10,000 Lakes is what US state's nickname?"

We get going right after 9 PM, and we've had some big crowds the last few weeks, so getting to Professor Thom's early might be a good idea. Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Chasshole Smears Stan The Man

Murray Chass, who was once a sportswriter and is now a bitter old man who despises bloggers but has a blog of his own, wrote a shameful column about Stan Musial recently getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama and how he didn't deserve to get it.

Stan is one of baseball's (as well as America's) better citizens, and The Chasshole (as we unaffectionately call this clod) talks about a time when Curt Flood was turned away from Stan's restaurant back when they were teammates in the early 1960s. It's a putrid column that the great baseball writer Joe Posnanski wrote a very eloquent rebuttal and defense of Stan the Man and what a complete moron Chass is.

Take the time to read it. Click here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

There'll Be Other Trophies To Win In 2011

Twins 9, Red Sox 8. 8-1 lead in the eighth goes up in smoke thanks to some lousy Dan Wheeler and Bobby Jenks pitching and some equally lousy defense by some guys who won't be on the Opening Day roster.

The four-time defending Mayor's Cup (pictured) winners see their trophy go to the other side of Ft. Myers. (With thanks to my buds at Surviving Grady for the pic.)

Got a sneaky feeling this won't be the last time I'll be complaining about Jenks in 2011.

Give Kids a Break This Summer

My friends at The Fresh Air Fund are looking for families to sponsor kids and give them a summer they will never forget.

If you'd like to take part, please click this link, and it will tell you how to make it possible. The Fresh Air Fund has been helping inner city kids since 1877, and they can't do it without your help.

They are good people and I am proud to support them.

T Minus Six Days

The Red Sox trimmed their roster down yesterday by sending Ryan Kalish, Andrew Miller, Randy Williams, Rich Hill, Brandon Duckworth, Michael Bowden and Scott Atchison to the minors. Kalish makes sense as he'll get far more at bats at Pawtucket than he'll get with the Red Sox. Atchison had one more option remaining, but figures to be back up in Boston at some point.

Daisuke Matsuzaka donated $1 million to the Red Sox Foundation to help Japan in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck his native country.

BTW, did you know that the Red Sox have lost eight straight games in spring training? No, neither did I.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pedro's Heading For The Smithsonian

A painting done of future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez is heading to the Smithsonian Institution, courtesy of Peter Gammons.

No, Gammo didn't paint it, but it was purchased by him and he is donating it to the museum. It was painted by Susan Miller-Havens and it is called "El Orgullo y La Determinacion." That is translated as "Pride and Determination."

The portrait is of Pedro in a Dominican Republic uniform rubbing up a baseball on the mound. The painting is part of a show called "Recent Acquisitions" show and debuts at the Smithsonian tomorrow.

And elsewhere, guess who's employed once again? Yes, the man who stole the Mets' money over the last few years (no, not Bernie Madoff), Oliver Perez, as he was signed by the Washington Nationals to a minor league contract after he cleared waivers. Just a bit ironic that his last game in a Mets uniform was against the Nats last week, and two guys who won't be on the Nats Opening Day roster blasted home runs off him that sealed his fate. I guess they liked so much what they saw that Perez was worth taking a gamble on.

I couldn't help but think of that adage about raising your sons to throw left-handed, as there will always be a market for any pitcher who throws left-handed. I honestly don't have a clue what the Nationals are thinking here.

Somehow, I don't think anyone's going to be doing any portraits of Oliver Perez anytime soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Report. You Decide.

A new video debuted recently called "This Is Boston" which is the "anthem" for the 2011 Red Sox season. It features all different Red Sox players and fans in it.

Any video that includes Heidi Watney has its merits.

But I must admit I am no fan of rap music (there's not a single rap song in my iPod), so take this "comedic" video for all it's worth:

Trivia Q&A: March 22

We had a wacky night of Trivia on Tuesday night, with 18 teams coming in and filling up Professor Thom's. Once again it's great to see so many folks coming in on Tuesdays and enjoying the Trivia Nights!

We did "Celebrity Math" for the first time, and gave the Q Train the night off (it will be back next week). With many edits in the days before we finally did it last night. The scores were very low, with only two teams getting at least 6 points out of 10. However, overall most people seem to like the category, but my buddy Chris and I will fine tune it for the next time we do it, which should be some time in April. Hopefully the scores will improve then.

Just before IQ Trivia we announced the winner of Best Team Name, and by vote of the Thom's staff on hand, the team of Remember To Tip Your Bartenders and Servers Well was picked, and the bar booed the choice in unison, chanting "No tip!" Never saw such vitriol from the Trivia players, but Jim our bar manager said to me to pick another team and give them the prize of a pitcher of ale. I announced it and the bar broke into applause. I think Jim saved the night! (We picked "I Tried To Use 'Penis' As My Password But The Computer Said It Was Too Short.")

Despite being picked the original Best Team Name winners, Remember to Tip Your Bartenders and Servers Well wound up winning the night overall and by two points. They were also one of the few teams that got at least 3 questions right in IQ Trivia. It was their second win in three weeks and my congratulations to them.

Second place went to Your Mother's a Whore, Scott Walker, who were just two points behind at the end with 36 points, and staged a nice comeback in the last two rounds. Third place was a tie at 32 points between John Quinn Supermooned Me and You've Just Been Ousted As The Mayor of Planned Parenthood.

Current Events
1. What actor was fired by the company he does commercials for over tasteless remarks he made on Twitter about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami?
2. What talk show host lost a legal battle to keep Natalie Holloway's mother from testifying in a defamation suit two men brought against him in the Holloway case?
3. English soccer club Fulham are putting up a statue of what late pop singer outside their London stadium next month only because he was friends with the club's owner?
4. What controversial NFL player will try out this week with Sporting Kansas City of MLS?
5. NASA's Messenger spacecraft made history last Thursday as it became the first space probe to orbit around what planet?
6. What Hollywood superstar actor testified in a NYC court last week against a woman accused of stealing over $60,000 from the sale of two paintings by the actor's father?
7. Warren Christopher died last week at the age of 86. He was secretary of state during the entire first term of what US president?

Q Are You?
1. This woman was born in Wynewood, PA in 1958. She's a rock guitarist, singer, producer and actress. She's best known for her number one single she and her band had in 1982, and three of her albums have gone platinum or gold.
2. This man was born in San Diego, CA in 1931. He's one of the most respected actors of his generation. He began his career doing episodic TV and theater in 1959 before moving to films. He's won an Oscar for Best Actor in 1983, as well as two Emmy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards.
3. This man was born in West Baden, IN in 1956. he's an NBA Hall of Famer and coach. He was his team's number one pick in 1978, three-time NBA MVP and champion, 12-time All-Star and he was also NBA Coach of the Year (with a different team) in 1998.
4. This man was born in Queens, NY in 1926. He's one of the great male vocalists of jazz and standards, and he's won 15 Grammys in his storied career, two Emmys, the Kennedy Center Honors and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
5. This man was born in Dunwoody, GA in 1974. He's been a TV and radio host, producer and actor. He's hosted a number of highly-rated reality shows, two syndicated weekly radio shows and currently a nightly gossip show on the E! channel.
6. This woman was born in Cleveland, OH in 1966. She's an actress and former fashion model. She's won an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe and SAG Award, and an historic Academy Award in 2001.
7. This man was born in Denver, CO in 1977. He is one of MLB's best pitchers, a 7-time All-Star who has pitched two no-hitters, won Cy Young Awards in both leagues and led both leagues in wins.

Celebrity Math
1. The Brady Bunch children plus the Partridge Family children?
2. Larry King marriages multiplied Elizabeth Taylor marriages?
3. Meryl Streep total Oscar nominations divided by Katherine Hepburn Oscar wins?
4. "Rocky" movies minus "Rambo" movies?
5. "Simpsons" seasons plus "South Park" seasons? (2 pt)
6. "Friday the 13th" movies minus "Halloween" movies? (2 pt)
7. "Saturday Night Live" seasons divided by number of Kardashian sisters? (2 pt)

General Knowledge
1. What NFL team plays their home games at Soldier Field? ( 1 pt)
2. According to the New Testament, how many days did Jesus spend fasting in the wilderness? ( 1 pt)
3. What is India's most populous city? ( 1 pt)
4. Dr. Heywood Floyd was a character in what 1968 Stanley Kubrick film? ( 2 pt)
5. Emerald is the traditional birthstone for what month of the calendar year? ( 2 pt)
6. Evacuation Day is a holiday celebrated every March 17th in a county of what eastern US state? ( 2 pt)
7. Which Oscar-winning film holds the record with more than 300,000 people used as extras? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. When "The Odd Couple" opened on Broadway in 1965, what future Academy Award-winning actor teamed with Walter Matthau as Felix and Oscar? ( 5 points)
2. The 1967 film "Head" was co-written by Jack Nicholson for what pop music group? ( 4 points)
3. Which game, now a popular sport, was originally called "wiff waff" in the late 19th century? ( 4 points)
4. "Chunkylover53@aol.com" is the email address of what popular TV character? ( 3 points)
5. The technology standard Bluetooth is actually named for a 10th century king from what country? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Gilbert Gottfried; 2. Dr. Phil McGraw; 3. Michael Jackson; 4. Chad Johnson (Ochocinco); 5. Mercury; 6. Robert DeNiro; 7. Bill Clinton.

Q Are You?
1. Joan Jett; 2. Robert Duvall; 3. Larry Bird; 4. Tony Bennett; 5. Ryan Seacrest; 6. Halle Berry; 7. Roy Halladay.

Celebrity Math
1. (6+5) 11; 2. (8x8) 64; 3. (16 divided by 4) 4; 4. (6+4) 10; 5. (22+14) 36; 6. (12-10) 2; 7. (36 divided by 3) 12.

General Knowledge
1. Chicago Bears; 2. forty; 3. Mumbai; 4. "2001: A Space Odyssey;" 5. May; 6. Massachusetts; 7. "Gandhi."

IQ Trivia
1. Art Carney; 2. The Monkees; 3. ping pong; 4. Homer Simpson; 5. Denmark.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Trying To Get Back To Respectability

The Mets took a couple of small but necessary steps to gain some much needed respectability the last few days when they released two players who summed up their recent futility: Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez.

They are the symbols of the regime of Omar Minaya and the Wilpons, and they had to go. Period.

They were probably the two worst signings in the history of the franchise, and neither had any place on the Mets, especially Perez, who was given every opportunity to make the team this spring and promptly blew it. He had an awful winter in Mexico, so I surprised to see him in a Mets uniform this spring. But he was making $12 million in the final year of his three-year deal, so obviously the Mets were reluctant to eat that kind of money. They will be munching down $18 million between the two, but they did what was necessary for the franchise and that was a good thing.

The Phillies claimed Castillo off waivers on Sunday, with Chase Utley having knee problems and may start the year on the DL. My guess as to Perez' next stop: independent ball. (I saw a stat the other day that Derek Lowe, who the Mets were close to signing three years ago, is third in the NL in wins over the past three years. The Mets passed on him because he wanted a four-year deal and resigned Perez for about the same money per year. Ugh.)

More and more, I believe the Mets are at a point the Red Sox were in during the 2001 season: they need to be sold and fresh, new blood at the top needs to run the team. (And we know how the sale to John W. Henry went.) I believe Sandy Alderson as GM is a good move, but he needs a full season to evaluate players and shake up the franchise. The two players being released this weekend also tells me that Alderson is calling the shots as far as personnel moves go, and that is a very good thing for the franchise.

But having the Wilpons at the top is a black cloud over the franchise, and even if they beat this $1 billion lawsuit that's hanging over the heads concerning the Madoff Ponzi scheme, it won't change most fans' minds about the way the team has been run. It's been shoddy at best, with awful player and front office moves that have sunk the Mets into a laughing stock position.

I predict the Mets will be sold by the Wilpons by the time 2011 is over, as they will finally have no choice to but to get as much as they can. This lawsuit will get very messy for them. And for the fans, it's the best thing that could possibly happen.

The last few days have been a glimmer of hope for Mets fans. The team got rid of some deadwood, but more of it needs to go. Like at the top.

Two Special Categories Are Better Than One

We're going to something a little different this week with Trivia Night.

The Q Train will take this week off, and we will instead have two Special Categories. The Q Train will return next Tuesday night.

The first one will be the March edition of "Q Are You?" the category where I give you clues to a current celebrity, and you tell me who I am talking about.

The other Special Category will be "Celebrity Math." I will ask you to add, subtract, multiply or divide some numbers concerning celebrities, TV shows, movies, that sort of thing, and you have to give me the number it comes out to. The first four will be worth one point each, and the last three, a little bit more difficult, will be worth two points. (So it will match the regular Q Train's worth of ten points.) Should be an interesting category, and it could become a regular feature if it goes well.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What NFL team plays their home games at Soldier Field?

We get going at just after 9 PM on Tuesday night. We've been getting some bigger crowds lately, so I hope you get in early enough to get a table! See you tomorrow night.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Did We Ever Get Mooned Or What?

Just wondering something. That was one helluva moon out the past two nights.

When the sun shining bright outside, it's sunny.

When there's lots of clouds in the sky, it's cloudy.

When the rain is coming down hard, it's rainy.

So when we have a moon like last night, shining brighter in the night sky than any full moon over the last 19 years, shouldn't we say it was "moony" out?

I know, I have way too much free time on my hands.

With thanks to my friend Ellie for the cool photo.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Begins Tomorrow; The Regular Season Looms

Just 20 days until the Red Sox opener at Fenway against Those Guys!

With thanks for to my cousin Mary for the image.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lackey's Number Two

A bit of a surprise that John Lackey was picked as the number two starter in the Red Sox rotation by Terry Francona. That also means he will pitch the opener at Fenway Park on April 8th against the Yankees.

Jon Lester is the ace, followed by Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett (with a lot to prove in 2011) and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

That rotation means Tim Wakefield's in the bullpen (and that assuming he's on the roster at all, but I would bet he will be).

And speaking of the pen, Jonathan Papelbon got lit up by the Mets in the ninth inning yesterday, giving up four earned runs. You don't get excited either way about spring training results, but it's been a miserable spring for Paps. His ERA is 12.60 so far. (7 earned runs in five innings.)

I still believe no matter what happens in 2011, we are seeing Papelbon's final season in Boston.

The Red Sox also cut their roster down by optioning 1B Lars Anderson, C Luis Exposito, SS Jose Iglesias, and infielder Yamaico Navarro to AAA Pawtucket. OF Juan Carlos Linares was reassigned to minor league camp.

Jealousy, Plain and Simple

Did you hear about this lame article that GQ did about the "Worst Sports fans In America" that said that Red Sox fans were the second worst baseball fans in America? Only the Phillies fans, who were number one in the poll overall, topped the Sox fans.

You mean to sit there and tell me Red Sox fans are worse than Yankee fans?

Yeah, right.

Whatever to this article. It seems to imply they liked us better when we were that "lovable loser" crap. I think that fans of teams that only come out when the team is winning and can't be bothered in bad times are far worse.

And there seems to be a lot of jealousy that the Red Sox have built a model organization and have given their faithful fans a winner. Hey, every winning team gets bandwagon fans who couldn't name more than one member of the team's bullpen. And most teams on this list are teams that have been recent winners. What does that tell you?

Shove your "insufferable hyprocrites." I know envy and jealousy when I see it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Liberace Wishes You a Happy St. Patrick's Day

From his 1950s TV show, the late, great Liberace doing "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover":



Thanks to my friend Ellen, who posted the clip on Facebook.

May those who love us, love us and for those who don't love us may God turn their hearts: And if he can't turn their hearts may he turn their ankles so we'll know them by their limping. --An Irish blessing (With thanks to my friend Don for those words of wisdom.)

And a Happy St. Patrick's Day from me to you!

2011 Irish American Baseball HOF Nominees

Earlier this week, the nominations were made public by Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant for the 2011 Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, and what better day than St. Patrick's Day to put up a post about it?

Here is the complete list of those being considered for the Class of 2011, the Hall's fourth ever induction:

HALL OF FAMERS and LEGENDS
Big Ed Walsh
Baseball’s All-Time ERA Leader

Wee Willie Keeler
A .341 lifetime hitter who shares the longest ever NL hitting streak (44 games) with Pete Rose

Mighty Casey of the “Mudville Nine”
Character in Ernest Thayer’s famous poem

CURRENT LIVING EX-PLAYERS
Nolan Ryan
Baseball’s All-Time Strikeout Leader, now president of the Texas Rangers

“Super Joe” McEwing
Popular versatile player, now a White Sox minor league manager

Jeff Nelson
Four-time World Series champion, now a broadcaster with MLB Network

MANAGERS
John McGraw
Legendary New York Giants manager

Tom Kelly
Minnesota Twins two-time World Series champion manager

“Walpole Joe” Morgan
Former Boston Red Sox manager

TEAM EXECUTIVES
Gene Monahan and Steve Donohue
Longtime New York Yankees trainers

Mike Kindle
President of Baseball Ireland (Dublin)

ENTERTAINERS
John Fogerty
Writer/Singer of “Centerfield”

Terry Cashman
Writer/Singer of “Talking Baseball”

John Fitzgerald
Filmmaker of “The Emerald Diamond”

I'm really pulling for John Fitzgerald, who I met many years ago at a screening of "The Emerald Diamond", which is an excellent film about baseball and its growth in Ireland. And of course, I also have to pull for Joe Morgan, he of the "Morgan Magic" Red Sox, who took over the Sox at the 1988 All-Star break and led the team to the AL East crown that year. And Joe McEwing too, as he was one of those "everyman" type of ballplayers: not a lot of great talent but a utility guy who always gave 150% every day.

And how could I not root for John Fogerty, as I'm a huge Creedence Clearwater Revival fan, and "Centerfield" is one of my favorite baseball songs (with a great old time baseball video as well).

Anyway, the inductees will be announced during the 2011 season. I'll have a post up on my blog when they are announced. For more info, check out the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame's web site.

Good luck to all the nominees!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yo Adrian: Slaves Don't Get Paid

I love Adrian Peterson to death, but he really put his foot in his mouth yesterday when he compared the locked-out NFL players to "modern-day slavery."

Is it just me, or whenever pro athletes get into a labor dispute, someone pulls out the "we're just slaves" card?

No, Adrian, NFL players are NOT slaves. In this dispute with the owners, my sympathies are lying more with the players. They want to keep the status quo, and the owners are looking to take back some of the gains of the past 25 years, as well as impose an 18-game schedule, which many players are against.

If you want to see REAL modern-day slavery, it's going on in places like Africa, where Muslims have enslaved Christians in Sudan.

To me, it's just abhorrent when any rich athlete thinks that he's some kind of "slave" and compares himself to those poor unfortunate folks who really are. Watch your words next time, Adrian.

New York's Greatest Athlete?

Siena College recently took a poll of New Yorkers to find out who they think the greatest athlete in the history of New York sports is. Now, off the top of my head, the first players that come to my mind are: Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Joe Namath, Joe DiMaggio, Tom Seaver.

Nope, none of those six sports icons won it. It was won by...Derek Jeter.

Bloody hell. You've got to be kidding me.

Jeter is a better athlete than The Babe? The Mick? Tom Terrific?

I know how worthless these polls can be (I really hate those "Who's your favorite New York baseball team?" polls, but that's another story), but Jeter as New York's Greatest Athlete? My friend Lisa at Subway Squawkers (and a huge Yankee fan) has a good article on this (and thanks to her for pointing it out to me) and notes that 41% of those polled AREN'T EVEN SPORTS FANS! So how in the world can you take this seriously?

More ridiculousness: Carmelo Anthony, who has been on the New York sports scene for about ten minutes, outpolled Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig and Willie Mays (who didn't even make the Top 10). Here is the poll's Top 10:

Derek Jeter: 14%
Babe Ruth: 11%
Joe DiMaggio 4%
Mickey Mantle 4%
Joe Namath 4%
Patrick Ewing 3%
Carmelo Anthony 3%
Lou Gehrig 2%
Jakie (sic) Robinson: 2%
Jim Kelly 2%

I guess the Siena poll of 801 people took into account the state of New York, with Jim Kelly number 10. (He was a better athlete than Phil Simms or OJ Simpson?)

But Jeter number one? There's not much hope left for New York sports fans out there.

Lester Opens In Texas

In a move the surprises no one, Terry Francona has named Jon Lester as the Red Sox' Opening Day starter in Texas on April 1st. The mantle has officially been passed and now you can Lester the Red Sox ace.

His Hollywood story continues.

Both Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima have made a video in English to ask the Red Sox fans to help Japan in their time of dire need. You can click here to watch it and make a donation. (With thanks to my friend Jere for the link.)

You can also donate to the Red Cross via your cell phone (like I did) by texting REDCROSS at 90999.

Trivia Q&A: March 15

I was very pleased to see 19 teams and a full house at Professor Thom's for Trivia on Tuesday night. Great to see the consistent terrific crowds come out. Let's hope it keeps going.

The scores for Green Trivia were very solid (and I got through the last question of the category pretty much unscathed, especially after I had to repeat it!) as they were for In Q's iPod as well. I don't think I made the questions for General Knowledge terribly difficult and the scores reflected that.

The team called Quiz In My Pants Returns led the entire night, and had a very good IQ round and held on to the win by three points with 46. We had a tie for second place and broke it with this: "Add up the ages of current media whores Charlie Sheen, Muammar Khadafy and Justin Bieber." The team of It's Hell Week, And Not In a Good Way guessed 130 and hit it right on the nose. Too Tsunami? finished third. (I knew someone would use the Japanese disasters as a team name, and they weren't the only ones.)

Best Team Name: Rattlesnakes and Condoms: Two Things I Don't Screw With

Current Events
1. What rock star announced his retirement on his web site last week, and sited taking care of his two young sons as the reason?
2. Queen Elizabeth II of England will make her first ever state visit to what country this May, the first ever Royal visit there since 1911?
3. According to Forbes magazine, there are now two other countries besides the US that have more than 100 billionaires. Name 1 of the 2.
4. What European nation became the first country to recognize the National Transitional Council, which was formed by anti-Khadafy rebels, as Libya's legitimate government last Thursday?
5. What midwestern US state repealed the death penalty last week?
6. What movie star pleaded no contest to a charge of spousal battery last Friday and received three years of probation?
7. A US aid contractor, Alan Gross, was convicted of crimes against what country, which accused him of working on a US funded "subversive project" and sentenced him to 15 years there in jail.

Green Trivia
1. What is the name of the pigment in green plants that gives them their color?
2. Martin Balsam portrayed Mr. Green in what 1974 NYC-based action film that was remade in 2009?
3. "Green River" was a hit single for what 1960s rock band?
4. What Nickelodeon TV show was known for dropping green slime on its characters?
5. What North African country's flag is completely green?
6. What is the name of the main character in the book "Green Eggs and Ham?"
7. Which ageless children's song features the lyric: "Oh, the flea on the feather, And the feather on the bird, And the bird on the nest, And the nest on the leaf, And the leaf on the twig, And the twig on the bough, And the bough on the branch, And the branch on the limb, And the limb on the tree, and the tree in a hole, And the hole in the ground?"

In Q's iPod: Name The Decade ("The Q Train")
1. 1999-Prince
2. Come As You Are-Nirvana
3. C'mon Everybody-Eddie Cochran
4. Last Train To Clarksville-The Monkees
5. Macho Man--The Village People
6. Whole Lotta Love-Led Zeppelin
7. I'm Too Sexy-Right Said Fred
8. I Will Survive-Gloria Gaynor
9. I'm Shipping Up To Boston-Dropkick Murphys
10. Goody Two Shoes-Adam Ant

General Knowledge
1. What famous dog made her TV debut in 1954? ( 1 pt)
2. Who was the fourth President of the United States? ( 1 pt)
3. Who was the youngest boxer to win the heavyweight title? ( 1 pt)
4. Gonzaga University is found in what US state? ( 2 pt)
5. What American author published the pamphlet "Common Sense" in 1776? ( 2 pt)
6. "Crazy In Love" was what female singer's first solo number one single, in 2003? ( 2 pt)
7. The 1981 film "Endless Love" was the first movie role for what current Hollywood superstar actor? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What English band's 1985 megahit album was the first ever to sell one million copies on compact disc? ( 5 points)
2. What legendary American figure owned the largest commercial whiskey distillery in the US in the 18th century? ( 4 points)
3. What is the largest country in Africa in total area? ( 3 points)
4. Which Oscar winner for Best Actress is the only Academy Award winner with an Oscar-winning mother and father? ( 4 points)
5. Canopus, Rigel and Regulus are all types of what? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Phil Collins; 2. Ireland; 3. China and Russia; 4. France; 5. Illinois; 6. Mel Gibson; 7. Cuba.

Green Trivia
1. Chlorophyll; 2. "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three;" 3. Creedence Clearwater Revival; 4. "You Can't Do That On Television" (I also accepted "Double Dare" as they also did it); 5. Libya; 6. Sam; 7. "The Green Grass Grows All Around."

In Q's iPod: Name The Decade ("The Q Train")
1. 1980s; 2. 1990s; 3. 1950s; 4. 1960s; 5. 1970s; 6. 1960s; 7. 1990s; 8. 1970s; 9. 2000s; 10. 1980s.

General Knowledge
1. Lassie; 2. James Madison; 3. Mike Tyson; 4. Washington; 5. Thomas Paine; 6. Beyonce Knowles; 7. Tom Cruise.

IQ Trivia
1. Dire Straits (Brothers In Arms); 2. George Washington; 3. Sudan; 4. Liza Minnelli; 5. stars.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Only Color That Matters Is Green

Trivia Night this week will feature as the Special Category "Green Trivia" in honor of the celebration of St. Patrick's Day this Thursday. It will be seven questions that in some way relate to the color green. (No, there won't be any environmental questions in this category.)

The Q Train lightning round will be the March installment of "In Q's iPod," the audio round we do every so often. And the subject of it will be "Name That Decade." I will play 10 pop songs and you have to determine the decade they came out. Of the ten, one was in the 1950s, two in the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s, and one in the 2000s. You have to tell me which is which.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What famous dog made her TV debut in 1954?

We get going shortly after 9 PM on Tuesday night. We had another big crowd last Tuesday, and it's been like a pendulum lately that we have a big crowd one week, and a smaller one the next, then another big one after that. I hope that trend concludes, and hopefully see many of you on Tuesday night.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Still a Going Concern After 5 Years

It was five years ago today that Yours Truly formed The Mighty Quinn Media Machine, and after all these years we're still going strong.

Whether it's my Red Sox rantings, my Trivia Night wrapups, my 9/11 remembrances, funny Irish Christmas messages or even people finding out about Doug Mirabelli's day, so many of you have come here, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for doing so. I had no idea back in 2006 I would still be doing this in 2011.

We've had over 277,000 hits here since April of 2006. And I especially thank all of you who come back from time to time to read my posts. It really means a lot to me.

So once again, thank you for stopping by. Hopefully we are off to bigger and better things in the future. (And by the way, the Doug Mirabelli post is still the most popular thing I have ever posted on this blog. Even with Doug a few years into his well-earned retirement, I still have folks coming here looking for it.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Unique Way To Make a Buck

As many of you know the iPad 2 went on sale yesterday at the Apple Store. And whenever something like this makes its debut, it attracts a crowd that just has to be first to get it.

A woman named Amanda Foote was first at the store in line, and she was there for nearly two days before she sold that "coveted" first spot to a guy from Brazil for $900. (That is worth nearly doubled what the new iPad sells for.)

I'll never understand this "I've gotta be first before anyone else to get this new gizmo" mentality. And to wait outside and brave the elements for days to be first is even more stranger. But Ms. Foote turned it into a money-making thing, and I can't blame her too much for that.

Here is a clip of the story:



But the big question I have of this whole story is: where was Greg Packer, that professional pest who once posed as a fake Red Sox fan at the Riviera the night the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series and big time media whore (far bigger than me) in this whole thing? He always seems to turn up at these things.

Have the Apple people finally gotten wise to this guy?

Players Coming, Players Going

The Red Sox made their first round of cuts to their roster, sending a whole slew of players to their minor league camp. No real surprises here:

Catchers Ryan Lavarnway and Tim Federowicz; Infielders Oscar Tejeda, Brent Dlugach and Hector Luna; Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin; and pitchers Jason Rice, Alex Wilson, Kyle Weiland, Tony Pena Jr, Stolmy Pimentel, and Cleveland Santeliz.

Today the Red Sox take on the Florida Marlins in Ft. Myers, but the big news is that Adrian Gonzalez plays in his game action with the Red Sox this spring. He will play first base and bat third, and should get just a couple of plate appearances before taking the rest of the game off.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I Love a Challenge

And here it is: can a Red Sox fan like me write an impartial review of a Derek Jeter book?

I'll do my best.

The good folks at Press Box Publicity offered me a copy of "Derek Jeter: From the Pages of the New York Times". At first I was reluctant as you might have guessed, but then I looked at it as a kind of challenge. Could I write a fair and balanced review of this new tome about Captain Intangibles?

I've read a number of books about Yankee legends, like Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. They've generally been well-written books, fairly written bios about their good and bad sides, and enough time has elapsed since they played in the Bronx to read them without getting violently ill. But with Jeter still active in pinstripes, this would be a bit different.

Well, here goes.

It's not really a biography, but a coffee table book about the Yankee captain and shortstop, with a number of articles written by many of the New York Times sportswriters like Dave Anderson, Tyler Kepner and Jack Curry. It draws from a number of days in Jeter's career, with many insights from people like his late boss, George Steinbrenner, his mentor Mr. Joe Torre, and teammates like Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, his former good buddy, Alex Rodriguez.

It contains about 100 photographs from Jeter's career, such as when that kid, who will remain nameless, interfered with the Orioles' Tony Tarasco in the outfield in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, giving Jeter a home run, to the night in 2004 when he made the third best defensive play of the night on July 1st against the Red Sox, robbing Trot Nixon of an RBI hit and landed in the stands. (You remember the plays A-Rod and Pokey Reese made in that game, don't you?)

If you have a Jeter fan in your life, I'm sure he or she will enjoy the book.

Now I just have to decide which Jeter fan I will give this book to now.

So, was that fair and balanced enough?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Trivia Q&A: March 8

On the night of Mardi Gras, we had 21 teams in for Trivia Night, a really loud and boisterous crowd as well. (Strange thing. I handed out 27 sheets, and I thought we might set a new record for teams at Trivia Night, as the current high is 26. But six of those sheets never came back to me.) And yes, references to Charlie Sheen, winning and Tiger Blood in team names were in full force.

It was a mixed bag night of Trivia. The scores were rather low for Odd Numbered Trivia, rather high for General Knowledge, and in the middle for the other two categories going into the final round. But the IQ round proved to be the toughest of all, as no team got more than two questions correct. The team of No Fly Zone, who led in the previous two rounds, was one of those teams who got two right and held on and won by just a single point, with 39 in total. Congratulations to Emily and her friends on another Tuesday night victory lap.

Second place went to Libya Is Gaga For Tiger Blood and third place went to They Continue To Breach, Like So Many Whales, three points behind with 36.

Best Team Name: The Only Team Name Not About Charlie Sheen, Tiger Blood Or Winning..Oh Wait.

Current Events
1. Frank Buckles of West Virginia died last week at the age of 110. What was the great significance of Mr. Buckles' passing?
2. What country is objecting to the logo for the 2012 Olympics, calling it "racist" and may boycott the games next year?
3. What actress filed a $50 million libel suit against Star magazine after they published a cover story insinuating she is a drug addict?
4. What female pop singer announced last week she was donating the money she made appearing at a party for Muammar Khadafy's son in 2007 to charity?
5. Suze Rotolo, the onetime girlfriend of a rock icon and who also gained fame by being featured on the second album he put out in 1963, died recently at the age of 67. Who was the rock icon?
6. What legendary rock guitarist is putting 70 of his guitars on the auction block this week to benefit an alcohol and drug treatment center he founded in Antigua?
7. What company, according to the Wall Street Journal, recently passed McDonald's as the world's largest restaurant chain?

March 8th Trivia
1. In 1974, the current sixth largest airport in the world opens in Paris, which is named for what famous person?
2. On this date in 1862, the famous Confederate ironclad warship, the Merrimack, was relaunched under the name of what Confederate state?
3. On this day in 1973, what rock superstar was fined $240 after pleading guilty to growing marijuana outside of his Scottish countryside farm?
4. Hines Ward, NFL wide receiver and Super Bowl XL MVP from what team was born on this day in 1976?
5. William Howard Taft, 27th President of the US who, in 1921, was named to what important position eight years after the leaving the White House, died on this date in 1930.
6. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan, in a Florida speech, gave the Soviet Union what nickname?
7. In 1957, the Ba'ath Party came to power in what Middle Eastern country after left wing army officers staged a coup d'etat?

Odd Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. This is the number of billiard balls in a standard game of eight-ball pool.
2. This was the number worn by NBA Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
3. Andrew Johnson was this number US president.
4. The silver wedding anniversary is celebrated after this number of years.
5. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were both assassinated at this same age.
6. Baskin-Robbins ice cream has this number of flavors.
7. Aquarius is this number astrological sign of the Zodiac.
8. Both the Mets and Yankees retired this number in honor of their manager Casey Stengel.
9. The last Super Bowl, played last month in Dallas, was this number.
10. This is the number of points in a pentagram.

General Knowledge
1. Who played Rooster Cogburn in the original version of "True Grit?" ( 1 pt)
2. What is the capital of New Hampshire? (1 pt)
3. The country of Namibia is found in what continent? ( 1 pt)
4. What English rock band has had a record 36 top ten albums in the US charts? ( 2 pt)
5. What US president served in between the two non-consecutive terms of Grover Cleveland? ( 2 pt)
6. What celestial body is known as "The Blue Planet?" ( 2 pt)
7. What songstress of the 1940s and '50s was known as "The First Lady of Song?" ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Before it was officially taken out of circulation in 1969, what US president was on the $1,000 bill? ( 5 points)
2. Which album by Billy Joel was the first pop album ever released on compact disc in 1983? ( 4 points)
3. What country has the world's longest set of land borders with other countries? ( 4 points)
4. According to UNICEF, what African country has the most land mines in the world? ( 4 points)
5. In the 1993 film "Groundhog Day," what song awakens Bill Murray's character on the clock radio every morning? ( 3 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Last living WWI veteran; 2. Iran; 3. Katie Holmes; 4. Nelly Furtado; 5. Bob Dylan; 6. Eric Clapton; 7. Subway.

March 8th Trivia
1. Charles de Gaulle; 2. Virginia; 3. Paul McCartney; 4. Pittsburgh Steelers; 5. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; 6. "The Evil Empire;" 7. Syria.

Odd Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 15; 2. 33; 3. 17; 4. 25; 5. 39; 6. 31; 7. 11; 8. 37; 9. 45; 10. 5.

General Knowledge
1. John Wayne; 2. Concord; 3. Africa; 4. Rolling Stones; 5. Benjamin Harrison; 6. Earth; 7. Ella Fitzgerald.

IQ Trivia
1. Grover Cleveland; 2. "52nd Street;" 3. China; 4. Egypt; 5. "I Got You Babe."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Vino For a Good Cause

My friends over at Longball Cellars are releasing two more Red Sox player wines that benefits charity, and this time features two of the newest mainstays of the Red Sox rotation: Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester.

Both wines will go for $14 a piece, and the players will forward all profits to charity.

For Clay, it will go to the Jimmy Fund. Clay's wine is called "ChardonClay."

For Jon, his profits will go the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. His wine is called "CabernAce."

The wines will be available this coming May. Retailers can place their orders now. They can be purchased online at www.charitywines.com.

There will be a launch party for the wines on May 11th following the Red Sox afternoon game that day at the Foundation Room at House of Blues on Lansdowne Street. The lovely and talented Heidi Watney will emcee the festivities.

The Red Sox player-themed wines have been very successful in the past, and these sound like a winner once again.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Odd Numbers On An Even Numbered Night

This Tuesday night we will be featuring a category that we do from time to time: this day in history. So our Special Category will be "March 8th Trivia." It will be seven questions connected to the day in history in some way, shape or form.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Odd Numbered Trivia." It will be 10 questions whose answer is a number between 1 and 50. (OK, 1 and 49.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Who played Rooster Cogburn in the original version of 'True Grit'"?

And of course the answer is NOT Rosie O'Donnell. You maybe wondering why I have a photo of her head on top of that murdering terrorist's body? None really. I found it while doing a Google search and it cracked me up. No other one really.

We get going at the usual time of 9 PM. Hope to see many of you for what should be a great night of Trivia on Tuesday night.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Does "The Winner" Really Own The Babe's Ring?

Everyone knows what a circus Charlie Sheen's life has become since he took to the airwaves and decided to go after everyone who has done him wrong in the whole "Two and a Half Men" mess.

My friend Pete Nash has a really good article at Deadspin about Tiger Blood's claim that he owns Babe Ruth's 1927 World Series ring. Sheen is a big memorabilia collector, and once owned the infamous ball that Mookie Wilson hit that ended Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. With all his trouble and rehab stints, he sold off most of his collection, but held on to the Ruth ring.

Ruth's descendants don't believe it's the genuine article.

It very well maybe Ruth's ring, but Sheen claims to have gotten it from the now-disgraced collection of Barry Halper, who Pete has chronicled in the past at his Hauls of Shame web site.

Good Guys In Red 3, British Evil Empire 1

The biggest match of the season for Liverpool happened today at Anfield, and their opponent was their longtime rival Manchester United.

It was like the Red Sox vs. Yankees at Fenway. And it was no contest.

It was a case of Men vs. Boys, and Liverpool dominated the match, on the backs of Dirk Kuyt's hat trick, as Liverpool rolled to a 3-1 win over ManU.

Kuyt scored in the 34th and 39th minutes of the first half, and the rout wwas on. Kuyt scored his first hat trick in six years twenty minutes into the second half, and it was all over but the shouting. It was the first hat trick by any player in the rivalry since Peter Beardsley did it for Liverpool in 1991.

United avoided the shutout in injury time with Javier Hernandez' goal. In American terms, this was like the Red Sox beating up on the Yankees 10-0 at Fenway, with New York breaking the shutout with two outs in the ninth. Here's more on the match from Soccernet.

Liverpool is now sixth in the Premiership, and trail Tottenham by five points for fifth and Chelsea by six points for fourth place and a place in the European Champions League.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Beating the Westboro Bastards

Nice clip here of a group of biker veterans forming a human shield at a fallen soldier's funeral in Kansas to protect the family from those miserable, publicity-seeking creeps. They do it with flags and patriotic music:



There's just not enough bad things in this life that can happen to these brainless Westboro morons that would satisfy me.

Bench Guys 5, Other Team's Stars 3

It was good to see the Red Sox playing for the first time last night, against the Yankees at Tampa. 2011 baseball is finally under way.

I watched it at Professor Thom's with many of my comrades in Red Sox Nation-New York. But this being New York City, the NESN feed was naturally blacked out, so we had to deal with YES and their notorious Yankee shill, Michael Kay.

They got off to a dubious beginning, as the first game action they showed was Ryan Kalish up at-bat with one out already. So, what did Darnell McDonald, the lead-off hitter do in that at-bat? I had no idea until my friend Dan sent me a message on Facebook later that he grounded out. Terrific.

My friend Joe also told me that Kay was whining on his radio show earlier in the day about the fact the Red Sox left just about all their stars back in Ft. Myers. He thought they were somehow "cheating" those fans who had come out for last night's game. Listen, I'm sure when the Yankees play the Sox later this month, they will leave most of their star players back in Tampa. That's just a fact of life in spring training. Kay needs to get a life.

And to round out this night with the Yankee Shill, in the fourth inning, Alex Rodriguez hit a deep fly ball to left that appeared it might go out. Naturally, it was a big moment for Kay, and you could hear him start his annoying "See Ya" home run call with "Ssss..." when the ball fell short of the left field wall and Slappy pulled in with a double. He never ceases to be a total ass. (Talking here about Kay, not Slappy. Well, Slappy too.)

Fortunately, by the fifth inning, the bar had the good sense to turn the sound off and but on some music. Thank goodness. A night in hell with Michael Kay came to a merciful end.

In the end it was Red Sox B-Team 5, Yankee Stars 3. I don't get too excited about spring training games, but a Red Sox win any time of the year over The Evil Empire is a nice thing. Nobody got hurt, so we move along.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Putting The Heated Rivalry Aside

Here's a nice story from the Wall Street Journal the other day about the horrific injury Red Sox first base coach Ron Johnson's daughter suffered last year, and who came to the family's aid when they needed help: the New York Yankees.

Ron's daughter lost a leg when she was riding a horse and car ran into them. It happened last year and Johnson missed a good part of the season attending to his injured daughter. When Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long found out the Johnson family needed financial help, he gathered the Yankee players together for a meeting and told them what had happened.

Long and Johnson were old friends, as Johnson had helped Long get his first job in coaching. The Yankee players wrote out checks and sent them to Long, who sent them to the Johnson family.

Very classy and heartwarming move by Kevin Long and the Yankee players.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

"Scorecasting"

I recently read a very interesting book called "Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won" by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim.

They are childhood friends: a college professor from the University of Chicago and a writer from Sports Illustrated, and they take on some of the cherished "myths" of modern day sports and turn them on their head.

For instance:

Is there really momentum in sports? What really drives home field advantage? Does defense really win championships? Why are .299 hitters more rare than .300 hitters? And one of my favorite chapters: "Are the Chicago Cubs really cursed?" (The authors are both Cub fans and give an interesting take on them.)

The authors challenge all kinds of sports "truisms" and traditions and reveal many of the hidden influences of the game. And they do it with some good humor as well. (Being Cub fans I guess that is expected.) The book is centered on the three biggest sports in America, baseball, football and basketball, but the authors also look into sports like golf, hockey and soccer.

After reading this book you'll think differently about such things as coaches "icing" opposing field goal kickers, 3-0 pitches in baseball, and teams punting on fourth down and short yardage. And of course, why the Cubs are now without a World Series title in 102 years.

The book will definitely make you think differently about sports, and the authors also go beyond all the stats and explore areas like how biases affect sports as well.

"Scorecasting" is definitely worth taking the time to sit and read. It's thought-provoking and fascinating, and will make you think of both "Moneyball" and "Freakonomics" at the same time.

Bravo, gentlemen.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Happy Birthday Compact Disc

It was 28 years ago today that the compact disc was introduced to the world, and it revolutionized the music industry.

And it put vinyl records (remember them?) out of business.

Billy Joel's "52nd Street" album was the very first pop album released on CD, and shortly after that 16 titles from CBS Records were released to the public. The explosion was on, and by 1988, a staggering 400 million CDs were printed that year.

I have a very soft spot in my heart for CDs. I worked at Tower Records in Greenwich Village and got to see CDs take off first hand. In late 1985 I became the store's pop/rock/soul CD buyer, and it was amazing to see it happen. I remember when the Beatles CDs came out for the first time in early 1987, and the publicity surrounding the release was pretty intense. I was interviewed by many media outlets that day, on TV and radio and in print. (My media empire began that day.)

The advent of the mp3 and iPods in the early 2000s changed the way people buy music and CD have dropped considerably over the last decade. I finally joined the revolution and got an iPod in 2008. But I still have my CD collection, and it totals about 1,000. These days I go to a number of used CD stores in New York to get cheap CDs I've never owned to fill in the iPod. (My goal is to hit 10,000 songs by the end of 2011. Right now I have just over 8,800.) It's cheaper than having to fork over 99 cents (or $1.29) to iTunes for every song.

And besides, I like having the CD. Brings back fond memories of my Tower days.

Happy Birthday, CDs. You'll always have a place in my home.

Henry Was Fined By Thin-Skinned MLB Overlords

John Henry revealed yesterday that he was fined $500,000 by MLB for comments he made back in 2009 about baseball's revenue sharing system.

With thanks to the Joy of Sox, here is a story from the Boston Globe from December 2009 about what Henry originally said.

It boggles my mind that you can criticize the President of the United States, but you don't dare criticize Bud Selig or any of his minions. I guess if you aren't in perfect lockstep with them and have a different opinion they don't like, they will separate you from your money.

And now, MLB may actually levy some kind of punishment on Henry for revealing that he was fined for his original comments.

Beyond unbelievable.

Trivia Q&A: March 1

We had 14 teams in for Trivia Night on Tuesday. It's been like a pendulum lately: one crowded night one week, the next week a bit less. Haven't been able to finger on exactly why.

The numbers for Current Events were as low for that round as I have ever seen them. (Did I make it too difficult this week? I really didn't think so.) But there was a nice bounce back for Q Tip Trivia, as the scores were generally on the higher side.

They were again on the so-so side for General Knowledge, but one team did well throughout the night and pulled away to a very comfortable win: Just Plain Tater Tots and Square Pizzas wound up winning by eight points, and they got four of five correct in IQ Trivia. It was there first win on Trivia Night. (I understand many of the members of that team belong to Mensa. I hope they come back to defend their title, as I do love a challenge.)

We also had an odd coincidence tonight. As soon as IQ Trivia ended, "Always Look On the Bright Side Of Life" came up on my iPod (and it was on shuffle), which is connected into the bar's sound system. The question about George Harrison and Handmade Films had just been asked, and he started the company to get "Life of Brian" filmed, which included that song as its finale. I think George might have been watching us.

Second place went to I'm On a Drug, It's Called John Quinn with 45 points, and third went to Better Than Bacon with 44 points.

Best Team Name: I'm On a Drug, It's Called John Quinn (and yes, Charlie Sheen was a popular figure for team names)

Current Events
1. What major US city had a light dusting of snow, its first significant snowfall in 35 years last Friday?
2. What South American country became the first country to break relations with Libya last week?
3. What Asian electronics giant rolled out a new digital camera last week that allows posting pictures and videos directly to sites like Facebook and YouTube?
4. What space shuttle went on its 39th and final mission last week?
5. What US state legalized same-sex civil unions last Wednesday?
6. What pop star debuted a new hair style last week and immediately lost nearly 80,000 followers on Twitter?
7. What British actress was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire last weekend, and was later punched in a scuffle with paparazzi at her hotel?

Q Tip Trivia
1. Which of the following planets have satellites? a. Mars; b. Saturn; c. Venus; d. Uranus.
2. Which of these states did not secede from the Union before or during the Civil War? a. Missouri; b. Tennessee; c. Kentucky; d. Arkansas.
3. Which of these rock groups was Eric Clapton once part of? a. Buffalo Springfield; b. Cream; c. Traffic; d. Blind Faith.
4. Which of these countries are currently in the top 10 of the most populous countries in the world? a. Nigeria; b. Japan; c. Pakistan; d. Indonesia.
5. Which of these countries are not in the European Union? a. Switzerland; b. Russia; c. Iceland; d. Hungary.
6. Which of these rock icons died outside of the United States? a. Jim Morrison; b. Sid Vicious; c. Kurt Cobain; d. Jimi Hendrix.
7. Which of these US currency bills does not have a president on them? a. $10; b. $20; c. $50; d. $100.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Strawberries have more Vitamin C than oranges.
2. Niagara Falls is the highest waterfall in the world.
3. The leopard is the fastest mammal on earth.
4. The San Diego Zoo has the largest collection of animals in the world.
5. Cows have four-chambered stomachs.
6. Fort Knox is located in Tennessee.
7. A rat can last longer without water than a camel.
8. During WWII, the Oscars were made of plaster.
9. Plato was the teacher of Socrates.
10. The entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was filmed in New Zealand.

General Knowledge
1. The island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea belongs to what country? ( 1 pt)
2. What country awards the Nobel Peace Prize? ( 1 pt)
3. Who was the last US president to serve in the 19th century? ( 1 pt)
4. What explorer gave the Pacific Ocean its name? ( 2 pt)
5. What country is the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world? (2 pt)
6. What "Saturday Night Live" sketch was turned into a hit feature film in 1992? ( 2 pt)
7. "Eureka" is the motto of what US state? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Lara Lor-Van was the biological mother of what famous fictional character? ( 3 points)
2. What onetime presidential candidate was the subject of the 2006 documentary film "An Unreasonable Man?" ( 4 points)
3. What 1995 action film, which bankrupted its production company, is listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest box office flop of all-time? ( 5 points)
4. Conchology is the scientific study of what? ( 4 points)
5. What late rock superstar produced a number of feature films for, as well as founded, Handmade Films? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. San Francisco; 2. Peru; 3. Samsung; 4. Discovery; 5. Hawaii; 6. Justin Bieber; 7. Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Q Tip Trivia
1. a,b,d; 2. a,c; 3. b,d; 4. all; 5. a,b,c; 6. a,d; 7. a,d.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. false, Angel Falls; 3. false, cheetah; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, Kentucky; 7. true; 8. true; 9. false, Socrates taught Plato; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. Italy; 2. Norway; 3. William McKinley; 4. Ferdinand Magellan; 5. Great Britain; 6. "Wayne's World;" 7. California.

IQ Trivia
1. Superman; 2. Ralph Nader; 3. "Cutthroat Island;" 4. seashells; 5. George Harrison.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

An Unlikely Rivalry

My good friend and Governor of Red Sox Nation for New York State Chris Wertz has a terrific article on his site "The Governor's Sox" about an interview he did with the late Otey Clark, who pitched for the Red Sox in 1945 and was one of the oldest living major leaguers until his death last October at the age of 95.

Mr. Clark pitched to Jackie Robinson, Sam Jethroe and Marvin Williams in their April 1945 tryout at Fenway Park. The article is called "Otey and Jackie: An Unlikely Rivalry."

It's definitely worth the time to read.

A Fraud, and Some Good Stuff

Another fascinating article from Pete Nash and Hauls of Shame. This time the auction house Sotheby's sold a fake Jimmy Collins Red Sox jersey to a Boston collector in 1999 for $26,000. Collins is a Hall of Famer and one of the great third basemen in baseball history.

It's yet another item from the late Barry Halper's collection.

The Red Sox won their first game of the spring yesterday against MLB competition, a 7-6 win over the Minnesota Twins, that featured a three-run blast from David Ortiz. The Sox are now 1-1 in 2011. Josh Beckett got hit in the side of the head by a ball during batting practice yesterday, but fortunately just suffered a mild concussion. Sounds like he will be fine.

And the new book from Harvey Frommer, "Remembering Fenway Park" is now currently available. Yours Truly is proud to be quoted three times in the book. It's a wonderful book with many rare photos and 140 folks connected with the club are in it. It's worth every cent.