Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tito Exits With Class

"In my eight seasons as manager of the Boston Red Sox, I have developed a tremendous appreciation for Red Sox Nation. This is a special place with some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in all of baseball. They packed Fenway Park for every game and because of them, I had a special sense of pride coming to work every day. I want to thank John, Tom, Larry and Theo for giving me the opportunity to manage this team through some of the most successful years in this franchise’s history. I wish the entire organization and all of Red Sox Nation nothing but the very best.”

We at Red Sox Nation are eternally in your debt, Terry Jon Francona.

Thanks For Everything, Tito. Godspeed.

I am terribly saddened to learn that the greatest Red Sox manager in my lifetime, Terry Francona, is stepping away as Red Sox manager after eight highly successful seasons at the helm.

744-552 record as Red Sox skipper, from 2004-2011. and most importantly, 8-0 in the World Series, and two championships on his resume.

I honestly believed that he would manage the Red Sox as long as wanted to do it. And I think he is doing just that. Eight years in the Boston fishbowl was probably enough for him. At the press conference at Fenway yesterday, Tito looked tired and drawn. I know he has had some health concerns over the years, and he may have finally decided he'd had enough.

The Sox had two options on him, for 2012 and 2013. They will decline them, so he has not been fired and has not resigned.

Tito was the perfect fit for the Red Sox. Widely respected by the players, fans and media. He knew how to handle the media so well, and that is a big part of managing a team so closely followed as the Red Sox. When he arrived in late 2003, no one knew what to make of him. He had managed the Phillies for four years in the late 1990s with very little success.

I will forever respect him for the way he managed the 2004 club in the postseason. A big part of the Red Sox winning it all for the first time in 86 years was the buttons he pushed. ''

I believe that Tito is frustrated and tired after this terrible finish to the 2011. He has earned the right to walk away on his own terms. I would bet he will take some time off, maybe a year or two, and then get back in the game. There has been speculation he might end up in Chicago, with either the White Sox or Cubs. But I bet he wants to relax a while after all this.

The next Red Sox manager? That's for another post.

I wish you much success and good health in your future, Terry.

Thank you for 2004. And 2007. You're all class, Tito.

You made my life in New York City so much more bearable with both wins.

A Postmortem From Worcester

My friend Rhonda is one of the most passionate and loyal Red Sox fans I have ever known. On Thursday, she sent me an email with her thoughts about the ugliness we all witnessed this past week. I thought this might be some interesting reading.

Thank you Rhonda.

There are so many things swirling around in my brain right now, I barely know where to begin.

But I think the only way for Theo to begin to dissect this is to recognize that when you pick it apart, what we had here this fall was just a snowball effect of failure. That's what it was. It's actually not even that complicated. Here's what shook down:

(1) Our starting pitching literally collapses, via serious enough injury in a couple of cases, and via other guys just not stepping up and executing pitches. Matsuzaka, Buchholz, Lackey, Wakefield and Weiland. Ladies and gentlemen, that is 5/7 of the rotation at the start of the season. 5/7. That were hurt and/or simply failed to perform. At the same time, Beckett suffered his temporary injury. At the same time, Lester suffered one of his classic months, where he can't locate and get out of innings, but rather than that hitting in April--it hit in September. What you have when that there happens, folks, is a team that can't count on its core starting rotation. I don't know if the pitching coach is to blame or not for this. He may be. He may not be to blame. Who knows? But the core pitching shitting the bed then contributes to the next downfall on a baseball team...

(2) Aspects of the bullpen getting gassed/tired/worn out/injured, thereby impacting their effectiveness down the stretch. Bard, Albers, Atchison, to name the biggest offenders. When you take #1 and #2 combined, then you have the next situation...

(3) Not all, but many of the position players playing tight. Pressing at the plate. Making key errors in the field. Also, when the pitching collapses, a team is more prone to committing errors. Things are getting hit all over the field. The ball's getting hit harder. You press more. You make more mistakes. More mental miscues. If you're a rookie and/or a newcomer to the team/Fenway Park, that increases your likelihood of making mistakes all the more.

What else happens? You lose two veteran producers/leaders to injury: Drew and Youkilis. Youk doesn't make mental errors in the field. Not many of them. Drew almost never does. Huge gap there. Absolutely massive.

Again, snowball effect. Then you have the next situation...

(4) In a clubhouse where there aren't a LOT of loose players, where there is enough players who carry themselves more introspectively, more seriously, more (dare I say it) religious in a preachy and public way (Adrian) than past teams, then perhaps a core group of players fail to step forth as leaders? Perhaps they stop having fun (unless they're Ellsbury having the season of his life)? We are not in the clubhouse. So we will never know. But I have personally heard reports from cameramen and heard things mentioned in other places that this Sox team was the most sour group of complainers/whiners ever. That has to count for something. And I can't help but wonder and hate if this culture of complaining about shitty umpiring, which I swear has grown in the past 5 years of watching the Sox, isn't a reflection of the team not having the right attitude? Who knows.

(5) Final points: The newcomers and their inability to come through in the clutch. Where was Carl Crawford this season? Where was Adrian Gonzalez? I think Theo thought he was getting two leaders in these guys. Two people who would put a team on their backs and carry them, in the same way that that's what Theo got when he acquired Ortiz and Millar and Schilling during his tenure. But it's not working out that way. Crawford looks like a defeated man. Gonzalez blames "God's plans" for a baseball team's inability to play quality ball down the stretch. Something is really, really wrong with that. I don't have the answer, but do the men on Yawkey Way have the balls and emotional sensitivities to address it and solve the problem(s)? I don't know.

Finally, the only bright spot about this week was the following, at least for me: Ryan Lavarnway. He struck out in a huge spot in the 9th inning last night, sure. But his 2 home runs the other night were things of legend. And he said all the right things to the media and seemed to really take care of his pitchers the last couple of nights. If that's the future of the Boston Red Sox, I'm staying signed up. Because that's a team I want to root for.

But the team we saw choke in the clutch this past month? Not so much. Here are the players that I know are really, really talented, but who make me squirm and quake as soon as I want to trust them but find myself doubting myself as a fan:

Crawford
Reddick
Gonzalez
Saltalamacchia
Lowrie
Lackey
Papelbon
Bard
Tim Bogar
Curt Young

I trust everyone else. Including Theo and Tito. But I don't trust these guys.

Fix it, Theo. Find a way to fix it all.

Tito Leaving?

Fox Sports is reporting tonight that Terry Francona and the Red Sox brass will meet in Boston on Friday, and the team will decline the options they have on him for 2012 and 2013, rather than fire him. That would officially end his spectacular run with the Red Sox.

Count me in the group that doesn't like this.

Here's the Fox Sports story.

John Tomase has an interesting article in the Boston Herald about Francona and some of the issues with the players during the season that may have led to the September train wreck.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Keep The Faith. Always.

Despite how this season crashed and burned in September, I will remain a Red Sox fan until the day I leave this Earth. I will always treasure the championships of 2004 and 2007, and this experience will make winning it all in 2012 all the more sweeter.

Hang in there, everyone. It's now football season.

139 days until pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers. (It's now reflected in my newest countdown clock.)

Keep the Faith, RSN. Always.

Pain is temporary. Pride lasts forever.

Trivia's On For This Tuesday Night

Since the baseball season is now over, Trivia Night will be happening at Professor Thom's this Tuesday night, October 4th, at 9 PM.

And every Tuesday night from here on out with no interruption, as well.

Absolutely, Positively, Totally Inexcusable

Was that bottom of the ninth inning in Camden Yards tonight a perfect microcosm of the collapse of the 2011 Red Sox?

Jonathan Papelbon gets the first two outs on strikeouts and looks overpowering in doing so.

Then the roof caves in.

Back-to-back doubles and a single to left that Carl Crawford couldn't catch (and it looked like he could), and the Red Sox season crashes and burns against the Orioles, 4-3.

And New York blows a 7-0 lead in St. Pete, and the Rays win it in the 12th on an Evan Longoria home run, 8-7.

The Sox dropped five of the last seven against Baltimore, a team they dominated over the season. They also had upteen opportunities to add more runs throughout the night on Wednesday, leaving runners all over the place in the last three innings.

The collapse is now done, and part of history. I won't defend it, or make excuses for it. A 9-game lead on September 4th with 24 games to play, and it disappeared. It's worse than 1978. Worse than their worst collapse ever: 1974. They died at the finish line.

But as horrific as this is, the 1964 Phillies are still the gold standard for collapses at the finish line.

(And on a side note, someone I know on Facebook wrote that he "never had to hear about the Yankees choking in the 2004 ALCS again after what happened to the Red Sox this year." Is he kidding? These are two completely different animals. The New York collapse in 2004 happened in the postseason, in a short series. This happened over nearly four weeks. The NYY collapse WILL live forever because it has never been equaled in 108 years of MLB postseason baseball, and every time a team in MLB, NHL or NBA falls into a 0-3 hole in a 7-game series, the Sox amazing comeback is always mentioned. And always will be.)

The Sox blew it, plain and simple. I don't blame Terry Francona, Theo Epstein or the coaches. It's all on the players. All of them. Changes, and I bet big changes, are on the way. Everybody and his godfather picked the Sox to not only win the pennant, but also to win the World Series.

Take a good long look in the mirror, boys. That's where the blame belongs. You embarrassed not only your loyalest fans and city, but yourselves. And you can plug the blame mostly on the starting pitching, which was simply putrid coming down the stretch. And Josh Beckett and Jon Lester in particular. They were supposed to be the stoppers, but they stopped nothing.

Well, that wraps up another baseball season. A long winter awaits.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Legend of Lavarnway

Last Friday, Ryan Lavarnway was the Red Sox player who appeared at the BLOHARDS meeting at the Yale Club. He was interviewed the Red Sox' announcer Dave O'Brien, and he came across as a nice guy, and supremely confident in the Red Sox' chances of going to the postseason and doing some real damage.

Now I can understand why.

Lavarnway became the latest Red Sox cult hero, as he banged two home runs in the 8-7 defeat of the Orioles at Camden Yards. He was pressed into service at catcher, as both Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were nursing injuries.

Ryan even threw a runner out at third base, Adam Jones trying to steal, in the second inning.

Erik Bedard gave the Sox only 3 1/3 innings before Terry Francona, who was managing like it was the postseason, pulled the plug and brought in Alfredo Aceves. He was superb, allowing just a solo homer in pitching 3 2/3 innings and getting his 10th win.

Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon were both rocky, allowing three runs in the final two innings, but a huge W went up and with Tampa Bay's win over New York, both teams are now tied at 91-70 going into the final game of the regular season on Wednesday night.

But it was Lavarnway's night, as he drove in four runs, and probably would have driven in three more had it not been for a sensational catch that Nick Markakis made with the bases loaded between his slams.

Jon Lester gets a huge chance to redeem his September, as he goes on three days rest against Alfredo Simon tonight at 7:05.

Keep the Faith, y'all.

PT's Trivia Q&A: September 27

We had 16 teams in on a night that brought out a number of Red Sox fans for the Orioles game. We actually halted Trivia Night for about 15 minutes midway in so we could watch Jonathan Papelbon walk the tightrope in the ninth. I appreciate all of the Trivia players indulgence with this.

This might have been the easiest night of Trivia I have ever done. The scores were extremely high all night (except for the Q Train), with a load of perfect scores for the final two rounds. We had 7 teams with perfect scores in the last round, with the team of Stephen Hawking's Workout Video Jam getting 54 points and making Trivia Night. They became the forst team ever to get every question correct, and "pitched a perfect game." Congratulations to them on their great win.

And I promise tougher questions next week.

Second place went to My Other Microphone Is a Pink Karaoke Machine, and they won a tie-breaker with Marcus Bachman's Honor Students, as both had 53 points.

Best Team Name: If Chris Christie Jumps Into The Race, He'll Crush Everyone

Important Note: Next week's Trivia Night is tentatively scheduled for next Tuesday, October 4th at 9 PM. If the Red Sox have a playoff game that night, we will move to Trivia to a new day and time. Check back with this blog for updated details.

Current Events
1. Who did Forbes magazine say was the richest person in the US, with a worth of $59 billion, for 2011?
2. What American rock band announced they were officially splitting up after 32 years together?
3. Pope Benedict XVI made a state visit to which European country last Thursday?
4. Which Republican candidate for president won Florida's straw poll last Saturday with an amazing 37% of the vote?
5. Boeing delivered to All Nippon Airways in Japan, the first of what numbered airplane, after delays of over three years?
6. What country decreed last Sunday that women will for the first time have the right to vote and run in local elections in 2015?
7. Patrick Makau of Kenya set a new record for marathon running with a time of 2:03:38 in what European city last Sunday?

Universities Trivia (Name the State)
1. Cornell
2. Villanova
3. Wake Forest
4. James Madison
5. Oral Roberts
6. Air Force Academy
7. Johns Hopkins

Oscar Winners' Film Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Whoopi Goldberg
2. Tommy Lee Jones
3. Helen Mirren
4. William Hurt
5. Charlize Theron
6. George Clooney
7. Robert Duvall
8. Helen Hunt
9. Nicolas Cage
10. Jennifer Hudson

General Knowledge
1. Hepatitis affects what organ of the human body? ( 1 pt)
2. Professor Moriarty was the arch-enemy of what fictional character? ( 1 pt)
3. A male goose is called what? ( 1 pt)
4. "The Jungle Book" was written by what English author? ( 2 pt)
5. What was the name of Othello's wife in the famous Shakespeare play? ( 2 pt)
6. What color is the cross on the Swedish flag? ( 2 pt)
7. What series of movies features a detective named Riggs? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Ulaanbaatar is the capital of what country? ( 5 points)
2. Which NFL team holds the all-time record for most consecutive losses, with 26? ( 3 points)
3. Which celebrity was found dead of a drug overdose outside the Viper Room in Los Angeles? ( 4 points)
4. According to the US Postal Service, to whom is the most outgoing mail addressed to annually? ( 4 points)
5. What is the number one selling trademarked board game of all-time? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Bill Gates; 2. REM; 3. Germany; 4. Herman Cain; 5. 787; 6. Saudi Arabia; 7. Berlin.

Universities Trivia
1. New York; 2. Pennsylvania; 3. North Carolina; 4. Virginia; 5. Oklahoma; 6. Colorado; 7. Maryland.

Oscar Winners Film Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Ghost; 2. The Fugitive; 3. The Queen; 4. Kiss of the Spider Woman; 5. Monster; 6. Syriana; 7. Tender Mercies; 8. As Good As It Gets; 9. Leaving Las Vegas; 10. Dreamgirls.

General Knowledge
1. liver; 2. Sherlock Holmes; 3. gander; 4. Rudyard Kipling; 5. Desdemona; 6. yellow; 7. "Lethal Weapon."

IQ Trivia
1. Mongolia; 2. Tampa Bay Bucs; 3. River Phoenix; 4. Santa Claus; 5. Monopoly.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let's See How Many Other Players Do This

Dustin Pedroia, after last night's latest debacle:

"I'm going to go out and play hard and leave it all on the field tomorrow and not have any regrets myself, that's for damned sure."

Prove me wrong, guys. I'll happily admit it here on this blog if you make it to October.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lester & Beckett: A September Disgrace

The AL Wild Card race is now officially a tie after 160 games.

A complete and utter disgrace.

The two so-called "aces" of the Red Sox staff, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett, are a big reason why the Red Sox are in the dire straits they are right now.

They are an absolutely putrid 1-5 combined with an ERA of 8.18 since September 11th.

And again tonight against a team the Red Sox should (and absolutely needed to) beat, Beckett spit the bit again. He allowed four runs in the sixth inning, six in total in those six innings. His walks killed the Red Sox, and it led to Robert Andino's inside-the-park home run, a ball that Jacoby Ellsbury made a terrific grab of, but lost it when he hit the wall. It was not Ellsbury's fault. It would have been a fabulous catch had he made it.

The offense doesn't get off in all this. The Sox wasted opportunities early, and after the score became 6-2, they rolled over like beaten dogs. They even loaded the bases in the 8th with one out, but naturally did nothing.

So much for the optimism after last night's emotional 14-inning win. Before this game, I thought that this game would tell us all we needed to know about this team. This was a MUST WIN, pure and simple.

Where's the guts? Where's the heart? And where's the pride?

I don't see it.

The Red Sox are now under a .250 winning percentage for the entire month of September (6-19). It is their worst September since 1962.

Last time they had a below .250 winning percentage for a month: April of 1966 (3-10).

Simply shameful.

So How Smart Are You About Colleges?

This week at Professor Thom's Tuesday Night Trivia, the Special Category will be "Universities Trivia," in honor of the students who have just returned to school. (Gotta find something to connect to September with.) I will give you the names of seven well-known colleges or universities in the US, and you have to tell me which state you will find them in. (Obviously, Ohio State or Florida State will not be two of the choices.)

The Q Train lightning round will be "Oscar Winners' Films Trivia." I will name 10 Oscar winners in the four major acting categories, and you will name which film they copped their statue for. It will actors or actresses who have won just once, and within the last generation.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What was the name of Othello's wife in the famous Shakespeare play?

We get going shortly after 9 PM on Tuesday night. The Red Sox play a very important game against the Baltimore Orioles tomorrow night (didn't I just write that last week?), so there should be a good crowd in. I hope to see many of you for Trivia as well.

You Play 60 Minutes, Not 30

Yesterday until 11:34 PM was simply murder.

The Red Sox sleepwalked through Game 1 of the doubleheader, then I had the pleasure of watching the Detroit Lions pull off an amazing comeback over the Vikings, 26-23 in overtime, the first Lions win against the Vikings in 13 games.

When I saw it was 20-0 at halftime, I thought that the Vikings better score early in second half, and not repeat what happened against Tampa Bay last week, and San Diego on the opening weekend: namely, pissing away a halftime lead.

Sure enough, once I saw Detroit on the board with back-to-back scores at 20-10 and the Vikings doing nothing, I knew another comeback was in the offing. The Lions aren't the patsies they've been over the last 30 years or so, and are now 3-0 for the first time since 1980.

The Vikings look like a Super Bowl contender in the first half, and candidates for a high draft selection in the second half.

It's going to be a long season in Minnesota, folks.

As I was ready to go completely bonkers yesterday, Jacoby Ellsbury saved me from destroying my TV set late last night. And I am very grateful to him for that.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Season Teeters On The Brink: Ellsbury Rescues It

Your 2011 MVP, Jacoby Ellsbury, singlehandedly rescued the Boston Red Sox season, cracking a three-run shot in the 14th inning, as the Sox beat New York, 7-4, after dropping the first game, 6-2.

Ellsbury hit three home runs in the twinbill, and became the first Red Sox player to be in the 30/30 club: 30 homers and 30 steals. He also currently leads MLB with 356 total bases.

Bullpen was superb, pitching eight shutout innings. And John Lackey (Lackey?) got just the 3rd Red Sox quality start in 21 games, going 6 innings and allowing 3 earned runs. He settled down after a rough first, when New York scored three times.

Tampa Bay's win means that the Red Sox have a one game lead in the Wild Card race, with three to go.

The Sox head to Baltimore, to take on the anything-but-a-doormat Orioles, while Tampa Bay takes on New York for three in St. Pete.

Do we have to go through that again?

I guess we do. The Magic Number is now 3.

Three Hundred Grand

We had our 300,000th visitor to The Mighty Quinn Media Machine since I put up the SiteMeter tracker in April 2006 (a month after I started the site) at 4:00 AM this morning, a person who came to my blog from New York via my Facebook post about the good things that happened yesterday.

I appreciate all of you who take the time every so often to check out my ramblings here. All you make it such a joy for me to write this blog. Thank you so much.

I am off this morning to my annual 5K Tunnel to Towers Run, recreating the route that hero Firefighter Stephen Siller took on the morning of September 11, 2001 in giving his life that fateful day. Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Two Good Things About Saturday

And they are: Notre Dame came from behind to beat Pittsburgh, 15-12.

Nothing pretty about it, but a win is a win, especially on the road.

The Fighting Irish are now 2-2, and face Purdue next Saturday.

And Yours Truly was mentioned today in a New York Times article about the BLOHARDS meeting at the Yale Club on Friday.

My thanks to David Margolick for the shout-out.

Lester Owes Every Red Sox Fan An Apology

You know pretty much what to expect when you have to send Tim Wakefield out to the mound on a consistent basis these days, as well as John Lackey. (And both pitch on Sunday. God help us.)

Same with Kyle Weiland, and Andrew Miller.

But what the bloody hell is up with Jon Lester? Three straight shitty performances from him, and when the Red Sox and their fans need him most. In the last three outings, he's has this embarrassing line score: 13 2/3 innings, 21 hits, 16 runs, 10 Ks, 8 walks, 10.54 ERA.

Eight hits and eight runs against New York today in 2 2/3 innings. Beyond putrid.

In the last 19 games, the Sox have exactly two quality starts. Collectively, they are embarrassing their city, their loyal fans and themselves.

Lester is supposed to be an ace, but he sure doesn't look like one. Today was another important game, and he simply let the Sox and their fans down.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Down To Four

Mother Nature didn't cooperate on Friday night in New York, and the Red Sox and Yankees were rained out and will now play a day/night doubleheader on Sunday. They will play at 1:05 PM and 6:35 PM.

The Blue Jays beat the Rays in St. Pete, 5-1, so the Red Sox Magic Number is now down to four. So all the Red Sox have to do is win four of their remaining six games, and it won't matter what either the Rays or Angels do.

Jon Lester will pitch for the Sox tomorrow against Freddy Garcia (Friday night's matchup), and the twinbill on Sunday will have Tim Wakefield and John Lackey (what a combo) going up against Ivan Nova and A.J. Burnett.

Wonder if Lackey will face Burnett? That epic matchup should produce double figures for both teams before the third inning.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Now We Are All Blue Jays Fans

The Toronto Blue Jays will have a big say in who gets the Wild Card in the AL.

They take on the L.A. Angels tonight in Toronto, and the Angels are now looming dangerously in the race, as they have caught up to Tampa Bay and trail the Red Sox by 2 1/2 games.

L.A. goes home to play Oakland over the weekend and then Texas next week.

Toronto then hits the road to play the Rays in St. Pete for three this weekend.

BTW, you might be wondering about ties when it comes to the AL Wild Card. If the Sox and Rays are tied, they will play a one-game playoff in St. Pete on September 30. If the Sox and Angels are tied, they play the game in Boston. (Both are determined by head-to-head matchup.) If it's Tampa Bay and L.A., it will come down to best record in their respective division matchups, as they split their head-to-head matchup. (Both teams have games inside their divisions, so it hasn't been determined yet.)

A three-way tie? What a mess that will be, and MLB will have a drawing to designate the three teams: "Team A" "Team B" and "Team C." B would be at A on September 29, and then that winner would play at C the next day to get a Wild Card winner.

Let's Go Jays!

I've Run Out Of Adjectives

The second-worst team in the American League and the third-worst team baseball came into Fenway Park this week and won three out of four games against a team claiming to be the Boston Red Sox.

I warned you all not to take the Baltimore Orioles for granted.

I'm getting angrier by the day.

The Magic Number maybe down to five, but now I'm wondering if the Red Sox can win another game the rest of this season.

JW's Trivia Q&A: September 21

We actually had a loud and at times rowdy crowd in at Josie Wood's on Wednesday night, and the team of Gang Green wound up winning overall with 33 points, a five point win over Team Quiz On My Face.

Trivia Night will NOT be happening at Josie Wood's next week, as there is a party scheduled for the bar. We will be back in two weeks, on Wednesday night, October 5th at 9 PM.

Q-Tip Trivia
1. Which of these countries were officially neutral during WWII? a. Switzerland; b. Ireland; c. Greece; d. Canada.
2. Which of these films starred Will Ferrell? a. Semi-Pro; b. Step Brothers; c. Blades of Glory; d. Bewitched.
3. Which of these US presidents also served as vice-president? a. John Adams; b. Dwight D. Eisenhower; c. Theodore Roosevelt; d. John F. Kennedy.
4. Which of these actors/actresses have never won an Oscar? a. Robert Duvall; b. Angelina Jolie; c. Julia Roberts; d. Tim Robbins.
5. Which of these states were not in the Original 13 Colonies? a. Tennessee; b. Georgia; c. Florida; d. Kentucky.
6. Which of these cities has never hosted a Super Bowl? a. San Francisco; b. Minneapolis; c. Atlanta; d. Houston.
7. Which of the following albums were recorded by Green Day? a. Disciplined Breakdown; b. Kerplunk; c. American Idiot; d. Riot Act.

Oscar Winners' Films Trivia
1. Paul Newman
2. Faye Dunaway
3. Jeremy Irons
4. Kathy Bates
5. Geoffrey Rush
6. Catherine Zeta-Jones
7. Christopher Walken
8. Cate Blanchette
9. Kevin Kline
10. Rachel Weisz

General Knowledge
1. A solo performance in an opera is called what?
2. What famous comet recently made appearances in 1910 and 1986?
3. What US state has the largest population?
4. What pop group had a number one hit in the late 1970s with "Stayin' Alive?"
5. In what state was the former president Bill Clinton born?
6. Santo Domingo is the capital of what Caribbean nation?
7. How many sides does a trapezium have?
8. Brazil declared their independence from what country in 1822?
9. What character from Peanuts famously played the piano?
10. According to the Gospel of Luke, what angel appeared to Mary and announced her impending pregnancy?

IQ Trivia
1. Victoria is the capital of what Canadian province? ( 3 points)
2. The chemical symbol Fe stands for what in the Periodic Table? ( 4 points)
3. Titania is the largest moon of what planet? ( 4 points)
4. In what state is the largest national park in the US found? ( 4 points)
5. Which foreign capital city in 2007 was given the dubious title "Kidnapping Capital of the World?" ( 5 points)

Answers
Q-Tip Trivia
1. a,b; 2. all; 3. a,c; 4. none; 5. c,d; 6. a; 7. b,c.

Oscar Winners' Films Trivia
1. The Color of Money; 2. Network; 3. Reversal of Fortune; 4. Misery; 5. Shine; 6. Chicago; 7. The Deer Hunter; 8. The Aviator; 9. A Fish Called Wanda; 10. The Constant Gardener.

General Knowledge
1. aria; 2. Halley's Comet; 3. California; 4. Bee Gees; 5. Arkansas; 6. Dominican Republic; 7. four; 8. Portugal; 9. Schroeder; 10. Gabriel.

IQ Trivia
1. British Columbia; 2. iron; 3. Uranus; 4. Alaska; 5. Baghdad.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reverse Psychology

Curt Schilling said this about the Red Sox' dimming playoff chances:

“I don’t think they’re going to make it. I don’t know they have the horses. I hope they do, I want them to, but I think there’s been a huge momentum shift and I can see Tampa winning out.”

To which Terry Francona said:

"I don't give a s**t."

I think this is Schilling using reverse psychology here. Tito and his troops need someone or something to get mad at, and Schilling comes out with this. Hope Tito put this on a bulletin board in the Sox clubhouse, and this makes their opposition pay.

OK, I maybe grasping at straws here, but I need something to hang on to.

What Did I Tell You About The Orioles Last Weekend?

Don't take them lightly.

Now the Red Sox have to win on Wednesday night just to split the four game series.

Josh Reddick's third inning error opened the door for three Baltimore runs in the third and knocked Erik Bedard out of the game after throwing a mind-blowing 51 pitches in that inning.

Daniel Bard pitched a flawless seventh inning with a 5-4 lead, but put two on in the 8th, and Jonathan Papelbon got the second out, but gave up two straight hits, and Baltimore went on to a 7-5 win. Bard is now an appalling 2-9 on the season.

Once again, the last-place O's have at least split this series.

Only good news was that New York's win over Tampa Bay reduced the Red Sox Wild Card Magic Number to 7.

The Red Sox have also now gone an astounding 22 games without winning two straight. It's the longest such streak since 1994.

Bloody hell.

PT's Trivia Q&A: September 20

We had 19 teams in for Trivia on Tuesday night, as the night started off a bit slow, but got going as we got into the later rounds. The numbers for True or False were a little lower than I would have thought, as they also were for General Knowledge. Guess I made both harder than I thought.

The winners were He Was No Jack Palance, with 45 points. Second place went to John Quinn's Turtleneck: Don't Ask, Don't Tell? with 43 points. Third place was a tie between The Bar and I'd Like to Talk Like a Pirate, But I Don't Speak Somali, both with 39 points.

Best Team Name: Rice & Palin: In Michigan Be Nail'n

Current Events
1. Which European country elected its first ever female prime minister last Thursday?
2. The Census Bureau released data on poverty and median income last week, and which southern state was ranked lowest in the US in both?
3. What actor pulled out of last Sunday's Emmy Awards show after the Fox network cut a joke he was going to do about the phone hacking scandal?
4. 10 people were killed last Friday when a plane crashed into a crowd of spectators watching an air race in what US state?
5. What Central American country was rocked by four earthquakes on Monday, resulting in one death?
6. What singer/guitarist canceled two concerts and will delay the release of his newest album until next year due to a granuloma on his vocal cords?
7. What company announced they will be splitting into two services, with their DVD service now being called "Qwikster?"

September 20th Trivia
1. On this day in 1633, what famous astronomer was put on trial for teaching that the Earth orbits the Sun?
2. In 1881, what US president was inaugurated after the assassination of James Garfield?
3. On this date in 1973, Billie Jean King won the famous "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match against what male rival?
4. In 1962, James Meredith was barred from becoming the first blacks tudent at what southern university? ( He would enter 11 days later.)
5. On this day in 1970, Doors singer Jim Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure and profanity during a 1969 concert in what US city?
6. In 1982, which US sports league saw the start of a 57-day players strike, one in which replacement players were used?
7. In 1519 on this day, which European explorer set out to circumnavigate the globe, but was killed before he could complete it?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The state of Alaska has more caribou than people.
2. The average man is five inches taller that the average woman.
3. The most landed on space on the Monopoly game board is Reading Railroad.
4. The manual for IRS employees includes provisions for collecting taxes after a nuclear war.
5. Cleopatra, "Queen of the Nile," was not Egyptian.
6. Charles Lindbergh was the person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
7. Four pairs of US presidents have been related.
8. If Earth's total existence was measured in a total day, human existence of 40,000 years would cover less than one second.
9. Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta was named after two of the city's mayors.
10. No defensive player has ever won the Super Bowl MVP Award.

General Knowledge
1. Valley Forge is located in what US state? ( 1 pt)
2. What color is the maple leaf on the Canadian flag? ( 1 pt)
3. Who was the first democratically elected president of Russia? ( 1 pt)
4. The world-famous opera house known as La Scala is located in what European city? ( 2 pt)
5. Where in London is Speakers Corner located? ( 2 pt)
6. The Panama Canal connects the Pacific Ocean with what other body of water? ( 2 pt)
7. Billy Batson is the alter-ego of what comic book character? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What game is played in an arena known as a fronton? ( 4 points)
2. Josephine Cochrane invented what household appliance in 1886? ( 5 points)
3. The Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join together to form the Ohio River at what US city? ( 3 points)
4. What 17th British leader was hanged and decapitated two years after he died? ( 4 points)
5. What popular beverage was first developed at the University of Florida? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Denmark; 2. Mississippi; 3. Alec Baldwin; 4. Nevada; 5. Guatemala; 6. John Mayer; 7. Netflix.

September 20th Trivia
1. Galileo Galilei; 2. Chester A. Arthur; 3. Bobby Riggs; 4. University of Mississippi; 5. Miami; 6. NFL; 7. Ferdinand Magellan.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. true; 3. false, Illinois Avenue; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, first solo; 7. true; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, six have won it.

General Knowledge
1. Pennsylvania; 2. red; 3. Boris Yeltsin; 4. Milan; 5. Hyde Park; 6. Caribbean Sea; 7. Captain Marvel.

IQ Trivia
1. Jai-alai; 2. dishwasher; 3. Pittsburgh; 4. Oliver Cromwell; 5. Gatorade.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lackey Is Now Officially The Bottom of the Barrel

John Lackey was given 11 runs by the Red Sox offense last night, and for just about any other pitcher, it would mean a victory.

But Lackey pulled an A.J. Burnett last night, and allowed eight runs to the woeful Orioles, and Terry Francona wisely pulled the plug with one out in the fifth, so Lackluster couldn't get a win he clearly did not deserve.

It was the ninth time this season that Lackey has allowed more earned runs in a start than innings he pitched. Talk about putrid.

And if that wasn't bad enough, my friend Derek at SawxBlog points out that Lackey now has an ERA of 6.39, and if he doesn't pitch again in this regular season, he will earn a very dubious distinction: he will have the worst ERA of any qualifying Red Sox starter in team history.

Now, think about that for a second. The Sox have been in the American League for 111 seasons, and have some awful pitchers on some really awful teams. But Lackey will be the Worst of the Worst.

Do you really want to see this guy with a ball in his hands in any meaningful situation this coming October?

I can't think of a single reason the Red Sox shouldn't eat the remaining three years of his deal, no matter how much it is, and release him this winter.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bad September: Better October?

My friend Adam sent me an email tonight about some recent examples of teams having bad stretches in the final games of the regular season who went on to have success in the postseason.

So, Red Sox fans, take note:

In 2000, the MFY were 3-15 in their final 18 games. They won the WS. The team they beat in the ALDS, the Oakland A's. went 14-3 in their final 17 games.


The 2001 Seattle Mariners won 116 games, and were hot going into the post-season. They won 20 of their final 27 games. The M's lost in the ALCS to the MFY, a team that won 21 fewer games in the regular season. Incidentally, New York was 7-8-1 (yes there was a suspended tie game) in their final 16 games. By the way, Seattle only won 1 game in the 2001 ALCS.

The 2002 Angels lost 8 of their final 13 games. The 2002 MFY won 10 of their final 13 games. The Angels bounced New York in 4 games, on their way to the championship.

The 2006 Tigers went 10-13 down the stretch, losing their division lead. They lost the last 5 games of the season. They lost the WS to the Cardinals, a team that had a losing record after August 1st and won 3 of their final 13 regular season games.

The 2007 Sox finished the season 7-8. The Cleveland Indians won 11 of their final 16. The Sox beat them in the ALCS.

Those are just a few examples. All that matters is making the playoffs. Once there, anything can happen. Let's not do a post-
mortem until the Sox are dead.

Keep the Faith, y'all.

So How Brutal Has The Last Three Weeks Been?

A split with the lowly Orioles at Fenway today. Another brutal loss in the first game, 6-5, and basically a laugher in the second, 18-9. John Lackey, who hopefully will be released this winter, was determined to give away an 11-5 lead, went just 4 1/3 innings and allowed 8 runs. It was the ninth time this season he has allowed more runs than innings pitched in an outing.

The Sox' Magic Number to clinch a playoff berth is now at 8.

I took a look at the last 21 games since the last time the Red Sox won two in a row, and that was the doubleheader sweep over Oakland. They are 6-15 since then. Here is a breakdown of each game since August 27 ("fell behind early" is within the first three innings):

1. Aug. 30 vs. NY: Fell behind early, never had the lead, lost, 5-2.
2. Aug. 31 vs. NY: Fell behind early, got the lead, lost lead, regained it and won, 9-5.
3. Sept. 1 vs. NY: Fell behind early, grabbed lead, lost lead and lost, 4-2.
4. Sept. 2 vs. Tex: Fell behind early, never scored, lost 10-0.
5. Sept, 3 vs. Tex: Fell behind early, scored 8 runs in the 4th, won 12-7.
6. Sept. 4 vs. Tex: Fell behind early, scored four late inconsequential runs late, lost, 11-4.
7. Sept. 5 at Tor: Lost on a HR in the 11th inning, 1-0.
8. Sept. 6 at Tor: Scored 14 unanswered runs, won, 14-0.
9. Sept. 7 at Tor: Scored 3 runs in the 1st, gave up the lead in the 3rd, got the lead back, lost in the 8th: 11-10.
10. Sept. 8 at Tor: Fell behind early, never had the lead, lost, 7-4.
11. Sept. 9: at TB: Fell behind early, never had the lead, lost 7-2.
12. Sept. 10 at TB: Fell behind early, tied the game in the ninth, lose in the 11th, 6-5.
13. Sept. 11 at TB: Fell behind early, never had the lead, lost, 9-1.
14. Sept. 13 vs. Tor: Early lead, fell behind by the third, got lead back and won, 18-6.
15. Sept. 14 vs. Tor: Fell behind early, got the lead in the third, gave it up in the 8th and lost, 5-4.
16. Sept. 15 vs. TB: Fell behind early, never had the lead, lost, 9-2.
17. Sept. 16 vs. TB: Fell behind early, got the lead in the 4th and won, 4-3.
18. Sept. 17 vs. TB: Fell behind early, never had the lead, lost, 4-3.
19. Sept. 18 vs. TB: Fell behind early, never had the lead, lost, 8-5.
20. Sept. 19 vs. BAL (game 1): Fell behind early, never had the lead, lost, 6-5.
21. Sept. 19 vs. BAL (game 2): Fell behind early, get the lead in the first, and win, 18-9.

The Sox fell behind early in 17 of the 21 games, and lost all but two of those games. They never lead in seven of them. Interesting that of the six Sox wins in this awful stretch, they scored nine or more runs in 5 of the 6.

Now, let's see if the ship is finally righted and they can win two straight for the first time since August 27th on Tuesday night.

Get The Troops Together & Play Trivia On Tuesday

Professor Thom's Trivia on Tuesday night will feature "September 20th Trivia," seven questions about the date in history. The Q Train lightning round will be "True or False Trivia."

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Valley Forge is located in what US state?"

We get going shortly after 9 PM. The Red Sox have a suddenly important game against the Baltimore Orioles tomorrow night, but that won't stop us from doing Trivia at the usual time. Hopefully things go well in Boston or your Trivia Maven will not be in a good mood. See you tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Last Place. And Probably To Stay.

The Minnesota Vikings did it again this week.

Blew a halftime lead and lost, this time in their home opener to the Tampa Bay Bucs, 24-20. The Vikings led 17-0 at halftime, and played a near-flawless first half. Then didn't show up for the second half. (I'm certainly glad to be seeing the last of those Tampa Bay teams.)

Green Bay and Detroit both won, and are 2-0. Chicago is 1-1, having lost in New Orleans.

I recently got NFL Red Zone on my TV, and it's pretty cool, as they go in and out of all games all day, and saw some of the Vikings-Bucs game, including Tampa Bay's winning TD with 31 seconds left.

The Vikings are 0-2 and picking up the rear. Why do I have this feeling they are likely to stay there?

Liverpool got rolled by Tottenham Hotspur, 4-0 earlier today in London.

At least Notre Dame's win over Michigan State kept this from being another lost weekend.

Evil Empire Will Have To Help The Sox This Week. Whether We Like It Or Not.

Everything I feared today came true.

Another worthless, half-assed effort from the Red Sox today. They fell behind early, and they were dead. Don't be fooled by the three runs they scored in the seventh inning. It was over long before that. David Price even got knocked out of the game with an injury after four innings. It appeared to make no difference.

The Red Sox look like a team playing out the schedule. No life, no fire, no spark. These games mean more on the surface than it appears. The Rays may still have an uphill battle on their hands, but they look prepared for a fight. The Red Sox look like they care more about playing golf on September 29th.

Tim Wakefield should retire after the season. Forget that stupid team record for wins. He has nothing left, and shouldn't be in the rotation. There are fewer things sadder in sports as seeing a once-great athlete just hanging on to reach a number. I hope he retains his dignity and retires with honor this winter. The Sox miss Clay Buchholz and even Daisuke Matsuzaka very badly, as they have to trot out Wakefield, Kyle Weiland, John Lackey and Andrew Miller out there in their place, and it has really cost the Red Sox big time.

And again, don't take the Baltimore Orioles for patsies right now. They have played some good ball over the past ten days, and you know Buck Showalter will put out his A-team for this coming four game series. You know they will be motivated to stick it to the Sox this week, as the Red Sox have beaten them in all five meetings at Fenway this season. All the Red Sox have to do is take care of the Orioles, play good ball and it should work out for them. But what I've seen over the past three weeks, I'm not so sure of that happening.

Tomorrow's doubleheader starters for the Red Sox will be: Weiland and Lackey.

Bloody hell.

The Yankees can do the Red Sox a big favor by taking care of the Rays, as the Sox clearly can't seem to do it. They went 6-12 against Tampa Bay this season.

And BTW, don't believe any comparisons you might be hearing to what happened to the Red Sox in 1978. That season was a great late-season comeback by the Sox, as they won their last eight games as New York blew a 3 1/2 game lead with 12 games to go. It is more like 1974, when the Sox were 7 games up on August 23rd, and proceeded to go down the elevator shaft, losing 24 of their last 38 and finished in third place, seven games back.

1974 was far worse than 1978, but I have come to one conclusion as to why few fans remember 1974: the New York Yankees were not involved, as it was the Orioles who passed the Sox and won the division that year.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I'd Rather Have All My Back Teeth Pulled Out With A Pair of Pliers

That is, than have to root for the New York Yankees on any occasion.

But the Red Sox are slowly forcing me to have to make a decision in that direction.

Another loss at home to Tampa Bay, 4-3. Jon Lester is shaky once again. The bats are for the most part silent again. (1-4 hitters in the lineup went 1-for-12 with 5 Ks. Ugh.)

11 games to play. 13 losses in 18 games since Hurricane Irene, and seven losses out of eleven games at Fenway.

They have simply been brutal. No way to sugarcoat it.

A Tampa Bay win over the Red Sox on Sunday (it's Wakefield vs. Price), and the Wild Card lead is cut to 2 games. On Monday, the Sox have a four-game series starting with Baltimore at Fenway. And please don't take the Orioles for granted. They took two of three from Tampa Bay earlier this week, and beat the Yankees twice last week. They've won 6 of their last 9, and aren't rolling over for anyone.

The Rays then head to New York to play the Yankees four times. New York is now 4 1/2 up in the East. It looks like the Sox aren't going to catch them for the division title.

So, what do we do with that series next week?

The Red Sox could make it very easy if they would just win some bloody ball games.

Well Worth All The Torture

I was working again last night, on a two-night shoot of a movie in Times Square. (I was wrapped at 6 AM. It was a brutal last two days in terms of sleep deprivation.) For the second consecutive night, I had to follow the Red Sox on my cell, and it inexplicably started to lose power as the game began (it's an old cell and I think it's time for an iPhone), so I had to check for updates every 15 minutes and turn my cell off each time.

As I was watching a scene being filmed on West 48th Street, most updates were encouraging. I couldn't tell what was happening in terms of who was driving in runs or how Josh Beckett was pitching, as I had to conserve as much power as possible.

But I breathed a sigh of relief when it went to a 4-3 Red Sox final. I later learned Beckett pitched well, going six innings and allowing three runs. When it was still a one-run lead in the 8th I wondered "Is Daniel Bard pitching?" I thought he might get the night off, but Terry Francona threw him off the deep end of the pool, and Bard responded with striking out the side while walking one. Encouraging.

Joanthan Papelbon struck out the side, too, and continues to be devastating. Mike Aviles hit a home run that was the difference, and the Red Sox won their biggest game of the season, and returned their Wild Card lead to 4 games.

New York's loss in Toronto now means the Sox are 3 1/2 back for the division. Still not over.

And today, I will miss the Sox for a third straight day, which is a very rare event in my life, and it has nothing to do with me filming movies. It has everything to do with Fox ruining baseball, as the New York area will get the Mets-Braves instead of the Sox-Rays at 4 PM.

So it will be more cell-checking with Jon Lester on the mound today. And it's all recharged and ready to go.

Friday, September 16, 2011

There Goes The 100-Win Season

For the 65th consecutive season, the Red Sox will not win 100 games. At one point in mid-August, the 100 win total in the regular season really looked attainable. So much for that. They are now 86-63, with 13 games to play.

Another brutal loss in this September slide, 9-2 to Tampa Bay. The Sox have lost 7 of 8, and 12 of 16 since their doubleheader win over Oakland at the end of August.

I'm glad I witnessed none of it, as I was filming a movie in Times Square last night, and got all the bad news on my cell phone.

And the same deal again for today. Back to midtown later tonight, and hoping for better news with Josh Beckett on the mound.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

JW's Trivia Q&A: September 14

We had a couple of large groups of NYU students in on Wednesday night at Josie Wood's, and it certainly made for a spirited night of Trivia. They are my newest regulars, and I thank them for their continued support.

But the winner was not one of the student groups, but a couple known as Muhammad, Jugdish, Sidney and Clayton (love the Animal House reference) who scored 37 points and won by five points. They even donated their prize to the second place team, as they already paid their bar tab. Very classy, and a nice job all around.

21-30 Trivia
1. MLB Hall of Famer Willie Mays wore this number.
2. The number of days February has in leap years.
3. This was the number amendment that ended Prohibition in 1933.
4. In a normal deck of cards, there are this many red cards, as well as black cards.
5. The most famous psalm in the Bible was this number, also known as the Shepard Psalm.
6. The Arabic alphabet has this many letters.
7. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ for this many pieces of silver.
8. This is the roster size for all MLB teams.
9. Rock stars Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain all died at this age.
10. This is the total number of soccer players that can be on the field at any one time.

True or False Trivia
1. The Super Bowl actually got its name from the Wham-O Superball.
2. The President and his family pay for their own food and incidentals while in the White House.
3. Transylvania is part of Albania.
4. Tampa Bay Rays 3B Evan Longoria is a distant relative of actress Eva Longoria.
5. Sylvester Stallone was once nominated for an Oscar and a Razzie Award (for Worst Actor) for playing the same role.
6. "Call Me Ishmael" is the first line from the book "Moby Dick."
7. Wimbledon is the first tennis tournament of the Grand Slam every calendar year.
8. "Flyer" was the name of the Wright Brothers plane.
9. The term "rock and roll" was coined by DJ Alan Freed.
10. George Washington appeared on the first US postage stamp.

General Knowledge
1. What name has been shared by the greatest number of popes?
2. Snoopy's best friend on the comic strip "Peanuts" was a small yellow bird named what?
3. What General Mills cereal contains stars and clovers and claims to be "magically delicious?"
4. For what film did Susan Sarandon win the Oscar for Best Actress in 1995?
5. What US president got Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat together at Camp David?
6. In the UK, what day of the year is Boxing Day celebrated?
7. What time zone is Denver, CO found in? ( 2 pt)
8. Winnipeg is found in what Canadian province? ( 2 pt)
9. Joseph Smith founded what religion in the early 19th century in upstate New York? ( 2 pt)
10. In what African country was the film "Blackhawk Down" set? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Which western US state is the only one with a bilingual constitution? ( 4 points)
2. Which of the Great Lakes does not border Canada? ( 3 points)
3. Who is America's only Nobel Prize-winning playwright? ( 5 points)
4. "Submitted For Your Approval" was a 1995 documentary about what TV legend? ( 4 points)
5. What restaurant chain is owned by Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger? ( 4 points)

Answers
21-30 Trivia
1. 24; 2. 29; 3. 21; 4. 26; 5. 23; 6. 28; 7. 30; 8. 25; 9. 27; 10. 22.

True or False Trivia
1. true; 2. true; 3. false, Romania; 4. false, unrelated; 5. true; 6. true; 7. false, Australian Open; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, Ben Franklin.

General Knowledge
1. John; 2. Woodstock; 3. Lucky Charms; 4. "Dead Man Walking;" 5. Jimmy Carter; 6. December 26; 7. Mountain; 8. Manitoba; 9. Mormon; 10. Somalia.

IQ Trivia
1. New Mexico; 2. Lake Michigan; 3. Eugene O'Neill; 4. Rod Serling; 5. Planet Hollywood.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Can't Blame This On Lackey

You simply can't give away games like the one on Wednesday afternoon and expect to go far in October.

Daniel Bard gave it away in the 8th inning to Toronto, as he walked the first two batters he faced and you could hear the bells tolling. An error, a ground out, and a single brought in three runs. A 4-2 lead turned into a brutal 5-4 loss.

Bard has been complete crap in his last three outings, losing all three and allowing a staggering 9 runs and now has a record of 2-8.

John Lackey gave up two runs in the first inning, and I was ready to throw something at my television set. But Lackey settled down, got the Sox to the 6th inning with a 3-2 lead. Franklin Morales and Alfredo Aceves did a nice job getting the game to the 8th inning before the latest Bard Disaster unfolded.

To me, it looks like Bard is tired from all the work, that is if he's not hiding an injury. He is an important piece of the puzzle, and if he isn't right, the Sox have big trouble.

And speaking of trouble, Adrian Gonzalez left the game after hitting a home run in the 6th inning with a tight calf. Pray that that is nothing.

It's early to start looking towards next season, but if you'd like to, here's the Red Sox 2012 schedule.

Hallelujah Wake!

The long national nightmare is finally over.

Tim Wakefield notched his 200th win at Fenway on Tuesday night. It wasn't the best win of his career, but the Sox came to his aid when he needed runs, and they blasted Toronto, 18-6.

Wake allowed five runs in the first three innings, and I thought this wasn't going to be the night. But he held the Jays down over the middle three innings, and the Sox exploded for 14 unanswered runs to give Wake his milestone win.

Dustin Pedroia busted out big time, hitting two homers and two doubles with five RBI, and Jacoby Ellsbury also had four hits and was just a triple short of the cycle.

It was a huge win for the Sox, as Tampa Bay lost in Baltimore, so they extend their Wild Card lead to 4 games.

But the story of the night was Wakefield, who finally got a monkey the size of King Kong off his back. He's still six wins behind the all-time Sox leaders at 192 (for the club lead): Cy Young and The Texas Con Man. But this is one to savor.

Congratulations to one of the classiest guys ever to wear a Red Sox uniform.

PT's Trivia Q&A: September 13

We had a nice bounce back after the last two weeks when the crowds were a bit off for Trivia Night at Professor Thom's. 20 teams were in, and the crowd was really into the Trivia.

The team of I Loathe Hydrangeas got 4 of 5 correct in the final round to secure a two point win, with 48 points. Second place went to We Clicked Heels Together and Dorothy Came Back. There's No Place Like Thom's finished in second, two points back (and won Best Team Name), and Third Place was a rare three-way tie at 42 points between You Say Boehner, I Say Boner, Fifth Place and Manny Beating Mrs. Manny.

Current Events
1. What Hollywood actress was struck by a car in Santa Monica, CA last Wednesday while jogging but was not seriously injured?
2. What milestone number of total users did Twitter announce they currently have last Thursday?
3. A plane crashed last week that killed 43 people, including all members of a professional hockey team, in what country?
4. The most destructive wildfire in the history of what state destroyed more that 1300 homes in one county recently?
5. Samantha Stosur won the US Open women's singles title last weekend and became the first woman since 1973 to win it from what country?
6. The journal Pediatrics claims in a study done recently that what children's program was found to impair preschoolers' thinking?
7. What magazine's October issue will cost only 60 cents when it is released on Friday, and the editors have styled it with a retro look matching 1961?

Multiple Answers Trivia
1. Name 4 of the 6 smallest US states in population.
2. Name 3 of the 5 most common surnames in the US.
3. Name 4 of the top 6 most visited cities in the US by tourists.
4. Name 3 of the last 5 teams to win the World Series.
5. Name 3 of the 5 largest cities in Canada.
6. Name 3 of the 5 largest countries of Europe in terms of land area.
7. Name 3 of the last 6 monarchs to rule over the UK.

US States Nicknames Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The Show-Me State
2. First in Flight State
3. The Spud State
4. The Silver State
5. The Last Frontier
6. Razorback State
7. Terrapin State
8. The Pelican State
9. North Star State
10. Green Mountain State

General Knowledge
1. Emperors of Rome usually associated with what color? ( 1 pt)
2. The Utah Jazz play in what professional sport? ( 1 pt)
3. The concept of "perestroika" or "openness", was introduced by what Russian leader? ( 1 pt)
4. "Suspicious Minds" was the last number one single in 1969 in the career of what singer? ( 2 pt)
5. What was the subtitle of the 1984 film "Star Trek III?" ( 2 pt)
6. What composer wrote "Rhapsody In Blue?" ( 2 pt)
7. Besides FDR, what US president is the only man to win the popular vote in three consecutive presidential elections? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The largest man-made waterfall in North America is found at what place? ( 4 points)
2. A cruciverbalist is an enthusiast in what activity? ( 4 points)
3. Worthington Foulfellow was a character in what Disney film? ( 3 points)
4. What European city is located on the Tagus River? ( 5 points)
5. A chapter entitled "I Am Born" opens what Charles Dickens novel? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Reese Witherspoon; 2. 100 million; 3. Russia; 4. Texas; 5. Australia; 6. SpongeBob SquarePants; 7. Playboy.

Multiple Answers Trivia
1. Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware; 2. Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones; 3. New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, Las Vegas; 4. Giants, Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Cardinals; 5. Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary; 6. Ukraine, France, Spain, Sweden, Germany; 7. Elizabeth II, George VI, Edward VII, George V, Edward VII, Victoria.

US States Nicknames Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Missouri; 2. North Carolina; 3. Idaho; 4. Nevada; 5. Alaska; 6. Arkansas; 7. Maryland; 8. Louisiana; 9. Minnesota; 10. Vermont.

General Knowledge
1. purple; 2. basketball; 3. Mikhail Gorbachev; 4. Elvis Presley; 5. "The Search For Spock;" 6. George Gershwin; 7. Grover Cleveland.

IQ Trivia
1. World Trade Center; 2. crossword puzzles; 3. "Pinocchio"; 4. Lisbon, Portugal; 5. "David Copperfield."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Numbers In The 20s Featured On Wednesday

On Wednesday night at Josie Wood's pub, the Special Categories will be "21-30 Trivia" and "True or False Trivia." 21-30 Trivia will be ten questions where the answers will be a number between 21 and 30, with none of the answers being the same number. And of course, True or False Trivia will be ten statements and you have to tell me which are true and which are false.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What name has been shared by the greatest number of popes?"

We now start at 9 PM at Josie Wood's, which is on Waverly Place and Mercer Street. Winner gets $25 off their bar tab, so come out tomorrow night and have some fun with Trivia!

Emotional. Magnificent. Proud.

I spent just about all of Sunday in Lower Manhattan, beginning with the 10th anniversary ceremonies at the World Trade Center. I met up with my friends Deborah and Joan and we went in together. We hooked up with some other 9/11 family members, and entered the site at Murray Street. Security was extremely tight, due to all the terrorist threats. We walked passed three security checkpoints.

Deborah made a beautiful collage of pictures of our friend Joyce, and all day the media kept coming up to us and asking about it. We talked to media outlets from all over New York and the world. The pictures were just so stunning, and it was simply amazing that every time we walked a few feet, someone would stop us and ask us about it, or just take pictures of it. (BTW, the photo above is Deborah, taken by the New York Daily News as she waited for Joan and I in front of St. Paul's Chapel, which had thousands of white ribbons on its gates in memory of the victims.)

The crowds at the site were enormous, as with the opening of the memorial would bring out many more family members. The reading of the names took much longer this year due to the fact the names of the victims from the Pentagon and Shanksville were also included. Politicians of course were there, but were limited to readings and no speeches.

We had to wait nearly an hour to get into Memorial Plaza itself, as the crush to get in was huge. But I simply amazed by how much had been done since last September 11. It was hard to believe I was in the same place. We walked along the plaza to the North Tower footprint, where Joyce's name was with her colleagues from her company. It was a really emotional moment to see her name there, and we left roses right next to it.

The waterfalls in the footprints of the towers are simply magnificent. Just an incredible sight to behold. (If you've seen them on TV, it doesn't do it justice.) I was really proud to have been in Memorial Plaza with the other victims' family members, and I have to say that it certainly was worth the wait to have gotten the memorial done right.

After we finished in the site, we went for lunch at SouthWestNY in the World Financial Center, which for years has offered a buffet for the families, which is such a kind gesture by their owners. We also went to the Tribute Center on Liberty Street and met a very nice serviceman named Brian, and we took him to the Family Room on Church Street, which is a place reserved for the families to leave mementos of their loved ones.

The day was winding down (or so I thought) when we encountered some bagpipers from the FDNY playing on Cedar Street, and that attracted a big crowd and was fun to watch. We then went into O'Hara's pub on the corner, and met a couple of firefighters from the Boston area (who were impressed I was a Red Sox fan). Together we went to another pub uptown, but the night ended shortly after that for me.

Couldn't help thinking of that old David Letterman line when I was heading home: "You're tired, but you know what, it's a good kind of tired." It was another long, emotional day, marking the decade that had passed since the worst day in our country's history.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Multiple Answers Trivia Returns

Trivia Night at Professor Thom's this Tuesday night will feature "Multiple Answers Trivia." I will give you 7 questions that have multiple answers to them. An example would be "Name 4 of the 5" and if you name them all, you'll get an additional point.

The Q Train lightning round is "US States Nicknames Trivia." I will ask give you the names of ten state nicknames and you will tell me what state I am talking about.

The Sneak Peek question is:
"The Utah Jazz play in what professional sport?"

We'll get going shortly after 9 PM. Tim Wakefield will make his 50th (or so it seems) attempt to win his 200th MLB game that night against Toronto, but we'll start right on time. Hope to see you then.

A Lost Sports Weekend

My attention wasn't fully focused on the sporting world this past weekend, as I had other, more important affairs in Lower Manhattan to deal with. (More on that in an upcoming post.) But it was a bloody awful weekend, with my teams.

Notre Dame's last-second loss to Michigan Saturday was really brutal. ND had a 17-point lead go up in smoke in the fourth quarter, but Tommy Rees engineered a great drive that got the irish into the end zone with 30 seconds to play and a 31-28 lead. Who would have guessed that that was too much time? The Irish defense went to sleep, and Michigan scored a game-winning TD with 2 seconds to play, 35-31.

Notre Dame is now 0-2, and Michigan State awaits them at South Bend next Saturday.

I saw none of the Vikings-Chargers game in San Diego, just checked updates. The Vikings led at one point 17-7, and the season actually got off to a blistering start, as Percy Harvin ran back the opening kickoff 103 yards. But it sounded like Donovan McNabb's Vikings debut was less than stellar, throwing for only 39 yards. The Vikings as a team disappeared in the second half, and San Diego won it on a 19-yard TD pass from Philip Rivers with 5 minutes remaining.

Best news of the weekend concerning the Vikings was Adrian Peterson's new 7-year contract.

And what do I say about the Red Sox? And absolutely abominable week from hell, as they went 1-6 in Toronto and Tampa Bay. To say that what we saw, especially in Tampa Bay, is totally unacceptable at this time of year, goes without question. It's like the first two weeks of the season all over again.

The pitching is absolute crap right now, as even Jon Lester gave a horrible showing on Sunday. (111 pitches in 4 innings?) The offense in AWOL right now, and simply didn't show up against James Shields on Sunday.

In the series, the Sox went 1-for-15 with RISP, and the team's starting pitcher ERA was just under 10.00. A deadly combination.

Since the doubleheader sweep of Oakland two weeks ago, the Red Sox are 3-10. They have let the Rays and Angels back in the Wild Card race, and Tampa Bay is now 3 1/2 games back. TB now plays Baltimore starting tonight. The Red Sox are off today, and play Toronto at Fenway starting tomorrow night. This begins the final homestand of the regular season: two with Toronto, four with Tampa Bay (how important are those games now?) and four with Baltimore.

More crappy efforts like this past weekend, and the Red Sox could easily find themselves in third place by this weekend. They have too much talent for that. It better get better.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years After

10 years. 3,652 days.

On Sunday morning, I will be Ground Zero for the tenth consecutive year to honor the memory of my friend Joyce Carpeneto and those precious 3,000 lives that were lost there, and in Washington DC and Pennsylvania, a decade ago. (And now it's time to stop calling the site "Ground Zero." With the memorial being dedicated, it is time to call it the World Trade Center again.)

The memorial will be the only place for many of the families to grieve for those loved ones who were never found. It will be an emotional and difficult day for all of us involved. Please say a prayer for all the 9/11 victims and their families on this holy day.

As I have written in the past on this day, it is a sacred day for me. There is no other place in the world I can be but at the site.

There are many things in this life I am proud that I have accomplished, like all the things connected to the Red Sox, my blog, my Trivia Nights and the background acting gigs I have done. I am extremely proud of all of that.

But there is nothing that I am prouder having done than what I have written for my late friend Joyce, especially the poems and memorial. It has touched many lives, and I hope I have made her proud.

This is the sixth consecutive year I have honored the 9/11 victims on this blog. For those of you who would like to read any of the other five, here they are:

2010: 3000
2009: The Most Sacred of All Days
2008: We Can Be The Ones Who Remember
2007: Never Forget. Ever.
2006: Forever Missed. And Forever Loved.

I conclude with a favorite quote I have written on this blog on September 11th on a few occasions. It is from the TV show "Third Watch," and it was said by actor Bruce Weitz, in an episode about the funeral of a 9/11 victim. These words have always resonated with me:

"It's been 233 days since September 11th. I've been to 28 funerals and memorial services and I should have gone to more, but some days I just couldn't face it. 233 days and in a few weeks it's going to be over. Everyone and everything that was going to be found will have been found. Won't be any place to dig. And then we are just going to have to walk away. And there will be a park with a marble monument with names that will slowly stop seeming like real people. Soon enough it will be just us. We will be the ones who remember. That's what we can do to honor the people we loved and lost. We can be the ones who remember."

We love you, Joyce. And we'll always miss you.