Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Monday, October 31, 2011

Q-Tip (and Josie Wood's) Returns This Week

This Tuesday night, the Special Category will be the return of "Q-Tip Trivia." For the uninitiated, that is when I ask seven multiple choice, general knowledge questions, and the answer can be 1, 2, 3 all 4 of none correct. You will get a point for each correct answer (one point if the answer is none). However, if you guess a wrong answer, you will get no points in total for that question. You can roll some big points, but caution is definitely appropriate in that round.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
Which American general was nicknamed "Old Blood and Guts"?

We get going shortly after 9 PM. A reminder that we will give Josie Wood's another go with Trivia Night this Wednesday night at 9 PM. Hope to see many of you tomorrow and Wednesday nights.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Smart Move

The Red Sox and new GM Ben Cherington began their Hot Stove moves with a real no-brainer: they exercised the $6 million option they hold on Marco Scutaro for 2012.

Scutaro was one of the few bright spots last September, and hit .299 for the season. With Jose Iglesias struggling at Pawtucket in 2011, it made sense to bring Marco back for another season.

Here's more from Extra Bases.

Sometimes It's Better To Be Lucky Than Good

As I was watching the Carolina Panthers come down the field in the final minutes of their game with the Vikings today (on NFL RedZone), I thought for sure the Vikings were going to lose. It was 24-21 Vikings and Cam Newton looked like he was going to rescue the Panthers with a last minute TD.

But the Vikings defense held Carolina at the 14-yard line with 28 seconds to play. That set up a 31-yard FG by Olindo Mare, a chip shot that would have sent the game into overtime.

But Mare shanked it wide left, and the Vikes escaped with their second win of 2011, and their first road win of the season.

It was a battle of rookie QBs, and once again Christian Ponder was impressive. He went 18-for-28, for 236 yards and 1 TD. Cam Newton threw 2 TDs for 290 yards.

Adrian Peterson had 162 yards from scrimmage (86 rushing) and scored 2 TDs, one rushing and one receiving. He continues to lead the NFL in rushing yards.

It was Christian Ponder's first career win, and his poise in leading the comeback was especially impressive. He continues to look like the real thing.

ND Sinks Navy

Notre Dame's longtime rival Navy had been giving the Fighting Irish some real headaches over the past few years, as Navy had won 3 of the last 4 meetings.

But the Irish took out their frustrations early after the tough loss to USC last week. They scored early and often, as Jonas Gray (pictured) and Cierre Wood scored first quarter touchdowns, and ND was off to the races.

It was 35-7 at halftime, as both Gray and Wood scored their second TD in the second quarter. Michael Floyd caught a 56-yard TD from Tommy Rees, and the rout was on.

Both Floyd and Gray scored TDs in the third quarter, and the regulars took the fourth quarter off. Rees went 16-for-22 for 237 yards and 1 TD (a second TD was ruled a rush by Floyd, as he caught his second TD behind the line of scrimmage).

The last Irish TD was scored on a 0ne-yard run in the fourth by freshman George Atkinson III, grandson of the Oakland Raiders defensive back.

The next meeting between Notre Dame and Navy will take place in Dublin, Ireland next season.

The 56-14 romp makes ND now 5-3 on the season, and they take on Wake Forest next Saturday night in North Carolina.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Game 6: Going Down In The An(n)als of History

My pal Jere caught this from Game 6 on Thursday night: the World Series logo coming out the butt of the home plate umpire!

Enjoy:



And thanks to my friend Harry, who came up with the title of this post.

Friday, October 28, 2011

11

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals on winning their 11th World Series championship, 6-2. It was a terrific Series. I feel badly for the Texas Rangers fans out there, especially my pal Jaco in Florida, the biggest Rangers fan I know.

I know exactly how you feel, buddy. Believe me, I do.

And for Cardinals fans, it was a magic ride to another title. 10 1/2 games back on August 25th, and they win it all. I especially congratulate my old friend Steve, who hired me for Tower Records in Greenwich Village in 1984. He's the biggest Redbird fan I know.

So, which was worse: the way the Red Sox season ended, or the way the Texas Rangers season ended?

David Freese (pictured) won the World Series MVP. The Cardinals join the Red Sox as the only teams to win two World Series in the 21st century. Welcome to the club.

Pitchers and catchers report in 109 days. It can't come soon enough for me.

You Knew This Series Had To Go Seven Games

Another Game Six for the time capsule.

It was heart-stopping baseball, on the 7th anniversary of the Red Sox 2004 championship win.

It was also in St. Louis.

David Freese joins Carlton Fisk, Joe Carter, Mookie Wilson, Dane Iorg and Kirby Puckett in World Series Game 6 immortality.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

At 11:40 PM, The World Changed. For The Better.

Seven years ago today.

A stupid, idiotic, media-created "curse" came to a thankful end. I witnessed it at the Riviera Bar and Cafe in the West Village along with 150 or so delirious Red Sox fans. I had champagne poured on me. One of the better nights of my life.

"Swing and a ground ball, stabbed by Foulke. He has it. He underhands to first. And the Boston Red Sox are the world champions. For the first time in 86 years, the Red Sox have won baseball’s world championship. Can you believe it?" --Joe Castiglione

From a Red Sox fan behind the Sox dugout that fateful night:



And Yours Truly turns up a few times in this clip, from "Faith Rewarded", around the 5:10, 5:20 and 6:25 marks:



It never, ever gets old. Thank you always, Red Sox.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

As Ben Cherington Takes Over The Reins

I waited until it became official that Ben Cherington became Red Sox general manager to write this post. I was impressed by his news conference yesterday, as he seemed sincere about his getting the Red Sox back on the right track after the team fell badly off the rails last September.

The club, fans and city were thoroughly embarrassed by the horrendous baseball played by the Red Sox in that awful month. Terry Francona and Theo Epstein both departed town, and a new man with a deep resume with the Red Sox now takes over. Like his predecessor, he's from New England and knows what it's like to be a Red Sox fan. Ben seems to get it.

The fans were damaged by the collapse of last September. There's a lot of fence-mending that has to be made with Red Sox Nation. Apologies aren't necessary. Actions will speak much louder than that.

And yesterday's announcement by Cherington during the press conference that John Lackey will miss 2012 because he needs Tommy John surgery brought me a sense of relief. Relief in that Lackey can't screw up 2012 in any way, shape or form. But I do hope for his sake his surgery goes well.

Cherington will have a busy plate this off-season. He's got a lot of critical decisions to make, on and off the field. But make no mistake about it, there is still a ton of talent here. Before the Lackey announcement, I thought offering Josh Beckett around might be a wise move, but with Lackey gone, Beckett almost surely stays. It also means the Sox will look for a 4th starter behind Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Forget any of these rumors about pursuing C.C. Sabathia. He's going to opt out of his contract with New York, and he will receive a longer deal with them for much more money (the Cash Cow would be foolish if he didn't opt out). The Sox shouldn't get into a bidding war they can't win. And I simply can't see the Sox offering him over $25 million+ per season for pitcher in his thirties who had his second highest ERA of his career in 2011.

The Sox have in-house free agents that are more important anyway. I believe they will resign Jonathan Papelbon and David Ortiz, and exercise the 2012 option they hold on Marco Scutaro. Papelbon had a splendid year in his walk year, but should he ask for too much in terms of years and money, there are other alternatives out there like Heath Bell. Ortiz' best option would appear to be the Red Sox, as the market for DH's over 35 doesn't look too promising. (Forget the Yankees. They have zero interest in him.) And with Jose Iglesias still not appearing to be ready to take over at SS in Boston, Scutaro looks like a good bet to return, as he was one of the few bright spots of last September.

It's also time to say goodbye to two old veterans: Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek. They have both wore the Sox uniform with dignity and class, but their time has passed. It was extremely painful to watch Wake go for his 200th win, and it was a relief when he finally got it. I know he's just 6 wins away from the club record for wins, but last September proved he's got absolutely nothing left. And there is nothing sadder than watching some former great player struggle just to reach a number. He deserves a day in his honor should he retire, with his number 49 to be enshrined in RF. And the same with Tek. He hit all of .077 last September, and just can't throw anyone out on the bases anymore. He should also call it a day and begin his managerial career.

Both Wake and Tek deserve the right to call it a career on their own, but should they not, the Sox would have no option but to outright release them both. That may sound cold, but the club must move forward. And now.

Who will play RF next year? That is anyone's guess. It sure won't be J.D. Drew, who's contract is up and figures not to return. Josh Reddick looked impressive at times but didn't hit much in September. The Sox may want a veteran bat to play the position next year, with names like Carlos Beltran and Grady Sizemore on the FA market. They may want to sign their next RF to a one-year deal. The bench will need an upgrade as well.

I maybe in the minority on this, but I say leave Alfredo Aceves where he is in the pen. He found his niche as a multiple-innings pitcher out of the pen. He was extremely valuable there, and his starting numbers weren't great at all, granted he made just 4 starts. I guess it will depend on what the Sox do with Papelbon and Daniel Bard.

And of course, Cherington's biggest move this off-season will be who he brings in as the new field manager. I won't speculate here, as there are many good candidates out there. He will have to fit the organization's philosophy, and will have to make his presence known to the many veterans and stars on this team. And who they bring in will also have to be "media-savvy" the way Terry Francona was in Boston. The new manager is walking into a minefield and will have to tread very carefully.

This will be the most scrutinized off-season in Boston in recent memory. There's a lot of damage that has to be repaired, and Cherington will be the head repairman. I wish him all the luck in the world.

Yesterday was a good start.

PT's Trivia Q&A: October 25

We had 17 teams in on Tuesday night, on a night when Professor Thom's had their "Crabtoberfest."

We had some strong scores on World Series Trivia, but they were not so strong for New York City Places Trivia, as I guess many of the folks in are either not native New Yorkers or don't know this town as well as I thought.

Four teams got 4 of 5 correct in IQ Trivia, and one of those teams, In Loving Memory of Colonel Qaddafi, would up taking the title with 50 points, and won by four points. Nice job, and their first ever win.

Second place went to This Halloween, The World Population Will Be 7 Billion, So Buy More Candy finished with 46 points, and Third Place went to The Bloodsucking Lawyers From Jurassic Park with 45.

Best Team Name: Is It Halloween or Are We Just In Williamsburg?

Current Events
1. Andrew Holness was named what Caribbean island nation's new prime minister last week?
2. What Oscar-winning actress referred to Pope Benedict XVI as a "nazi" last week?
3. John Bryson was confirmed by the Senate last Thursday to what position in President Obama's cabinet?
4. What Republican presidential candidate's paid staffers in New Hampshire all quit in frustration last Friday?
5. Bank of America, which was America's largest bank, was recently passed in total assets by which bank, which is now number one?
6. Which major TV network paid $425 million to broadcast soccer's World Cup in the US in 2018 and 2022?
7. What country was struck by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake last week, with a death toll reaching over 200?

World Series Trivia
1. Last Saturday, Albert Pujols became the third player ever to hit three home runs in a World Series game. Name one of the other two.
2. What Yankees Hall of Fame player holds the record for playing on the most World Series winners, ten in all?
3. What team did the New York Mets defeat in the 1969 World Series to win their first ever title?
4. Among the following expansion teams: Tampa Bay Rays, Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies, which is the only one that has won a World Series?
5. How many World Series did Joe Torre win as Yankees manager?
6. Name 1 of the 3 expansion teams to win the World Series twice.
7. What current manager is one of just two managers to win the World Series in each league?

New York City Places Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Sunset Park
2. Fort Wadsworth
3. Marble Hill
4. Pelham Bay Park
5. Snug Harbor
6. Red Hook
7. Co-Op City
8. Willets Point
9. Gerritsen Beach
10. Fort Totten

General Knowledge
1. "Go ahead, make my day" was a line made famous by what movie actor? ( 1 pt)
2. What was the name of the first Beatles movie? ( 1 pt)
3. Which vowel (a,e,i,o,u) does not begin the name of a US state?
4. Which war brought the words to the American national anthem? ( 2 pt)
5. The city of Sydney is located in which Australian state? ( 2 pt)
6. The Rosetta Stone was found in what country? ( 2 pt)
7. Which legendary figure got his famous nickname after he was attacked with a knife at a Brooklyn nightclub in 1917? (3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Which European capital city is divided into 20 arrondissements? ( 3 points)
2. Which European country adopted its current national anthem in 1770, and to this day it still has no official lyrics? ( 5 points)
3. Which Las Vegas casino has a $9 million lion habitat in its lobby? ( 4 points)
4. What singer recently broke Bob Dylan's record of being the oldest artist to reach number one on the Billboard album chart? (4 points)
5. What is the only horror film to be nominated for at least 10 Academy Awards? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Jamaica; 2. Susan Sarandon; 3. Secretary of Commerce; 4. Michelle Bachmann; 5. JP Morgan Chase; 6. Fox; 7. Turkey.

World Series Trivia
1. Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson; 2. Yogi Berra; 3. Baltimore Orioles; 4. KC Royals; 5. four; 6. Mets, Blue Jays and Marlins; 7. Tony LaRussa (and Sparky Anderson).

New York City Places Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Brooklyn; 2. Staten Island; 3. Manhattan; 4. The Bronx; 5. Staten Island; 6. Brooklyn; 7. The Bronx; 8. Queens; 9. Brooklyn; 10. Queens.

General Knowledge
1. Clint Eastwood; 2. "A Hard Day's Night;" 3. E; 4. War of 1812; 5. New South Wales; 6. Egypt; 7. Al Capone.

IQ Trivia
1. Paris; 2. Spain (La Marcha Real); 3. MGM Grand; 4. Tony Bennett; 5. "The Exorcist."

Addition By Subtraction

During his introductory press conference on Tuesday, new GM Ben Cherington announced that John Lackey would miss the entire 2012 season, as he will shortly have Tommy John surgery.

I had only reaction to that news: a sense of relief.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Josie Wood's Trivia Returns Next Week

After a hiatus of just over a month, we are going to give it another go at Josie Wood's pub, at Waverly Place and Mercer Street.

Wednesday Night Trivia will return on November 2nd at 9 PM. I'll have more info about it in the next few days.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Classic Q&A This Week

The Special Category for Tuesday Night Trivia at Professor Thom's this week will be "World Series Trivia", in honor of the Fall Classic currently going on. For those of you who aren't huge baseball fans, it won't be a very hard set of questions. But you may want to head over to Baseball Reference and brush up a little.

The Q Train lightning round will be "New York City Places Trivia." I will give you ten places in our fair city and you will tell me what borough you will find them in.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
The city of Sydney is located in which Australian territory?

We get going just after 9 PM on Tuesday night. It will be an off-day for the World Series, so there will be no baseball on the screens. Hope to see many of you tomorrow night.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A New Gunslinger In Town

In what has become a lost season in Minnesota, the Vikings may have just discovered they have a franchise quarterback on their hands in Christian Ponder.

They are now 1-6, having lost to undefeated Green Bay in Minneapolis today, 33-27. They trail the third place Chicago Bears by three games. They seem a shoo-in to drop at least 10 games.

But Ponder showed me something today. He made his first ever NFL start against the defending Super Bowl champions and nearly led them to an improbable comeback win. (Why did Leslie Frazier order a punt with 2 1/2 minutes to play?)

The Vikings led 17-13 at halftime, but you knew that wouldn't last. Green Bay scored 20 points in the third quarter, and it looked like the rout was on. But the Vikings showed life, and Ponder his Michael Jenkins with a 24-yard TD to cut the lead to six. Ponder also threw a 72-yard pass to Jenkins to open the game, and Jenkins was ruled down at the one yard line. He hit Visanthe Shiancoe with his first TD two plays later.

Ponder's numbers may not be world-beating: 13-for-32, 219 yards, with 2 TD and 2 interceptions. But his poise and mobility have been impressive, along with a strong and accurate arm.

Granted, he's only started one game, but Ponder shows lots of promise. It's a lost season in Minnesota, but the future may have been on hand for all to see.

Nothing But Class From Theo

Today's Boston Globe includes a full-page thank you from Theo Epstein to all Red Sox fans:

609Theo_thank_you.jpg

From all of us, Theo, thank you. You made my life in New York City so much more bearable. Good luck in Chicago.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Yankee Fans Like To Kill People

And here's proof (another classic from the New York Post from Friday):

And that last line. Ol' Slappy's really taking it on the chin these days, eh?

Anyway, I'm sure that Libyan has no idea who the New York Yankees are. Still, one less terrorist in the world is a good thing (especially one the magnitude of Khadafy), no matter who fired the parting shot. (With thanks to Joy of Sox for providing the Post cover.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Theo Resigns


It's now official: Theo Epstein has resigned as Red Sox GM to take over as president of baseball operations for the Cubs.

The teams agreed on compensation for Theo's move, but no further word is coming until Tuesday, due to the World Series, when both teams will hold press conferences. Ben Cherington is expected to be named Red Sox GM then.

Thanks for everything, Theo, especially for the glorious years of 2004 and 2007.

Papi. Pudge. Theo.

Congratulations to David Ortiz on having been awarded the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable service. He becomes the second Red Sox player in as many years to win the award, as Tim Wakefield won last year.

And it was 36 years ago today that Carlton Fisk gained immortality:



And Theo Epstein might finally become president of the Cubs today, as a deal to send compensation from the Cubs to the Red Sox maybe close. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"We Shocked The World! We Shocked The World Today!"

It sure doesn't seem like seven years ago:



And more here.

The greatest comeback in the history of American team sports. It was one of the best nights of my life. Walking through the streets of Greenwich Village with my friends after the game like we owned the place.

And seven days later, the feeling was even better.

Keep the Faith everyone. Better days will return.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sock of Blood

The gutsiest performance I've ever seen on a baseball field happened seven years ago today:



And Keith Foulke wrapped up the win with the immortal words, "Gotta make it interesting!"

PT's Trivia Q&A: October 18

It was a bit of a mellower night at Professor Thom's on Tuesday night, with 16 teams in.

The scores were a bit lower than I would have thought for October 18th Trivia and for General Knowledge (I was accused of making the latter category too hard, perhaps that is true). And we had a two-team race for first place going into IQ Trivia, but the team of Team Plotz got four of five correct to win the title by an amazing 15 points, one of the highest margins of victory ever. Congratulations to Dave and Anton on another victory with 49 points.

Second place went to "Occupy My Pants", A John Quinn Movement (again you have to have a thick skin in this business) with 34 points, and Third place was a tie between Is Richard Pryor The Answer to Number Two? and An App For Pancreatic Cancer Would've Done The Job, both with 33 points.

Best Team Name: Ken Can't Get Barbie Pregnant Because He Cums In a Different Box

Current Events
1. What country's former prime minister was sentenced to 7 years in prison after being found guilty of abuse of office after a 2009 gas dispute with neighboring Russia?
2. Name 1 of the 2 southern cities that were at the top of Travel & Leisure magazine's list of "America's Worst Drivers?"
3. Prime Minister Iveta Radicova's government fell last week after failing a vote of no confidence over the European Financial Stability Facility. What European country was she prime minister of?
4. What Oscar-nominated actor asked an audience at a tribute to him last Friday to give Mel Gibson, who made a surprise appearance there, a second chance after all his well-documented troubles?
5. Dan Wheldon, two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, was killed in a 15-car crash last Sunday at a race in what US city?
6. The YouTube channel for what popular children's show was temporarily shut down on Monday after hackers loaded x-rated material on it?
7. A letter written by what rock superstar over 50 years ago to an unknown drummer asking him to tryout for his band was recently found at a yard sale and will be auctioned off for $11,000 next month?

October 18th Trivia
1. On this day in 1851, what classic novel was first published under the title "The Whale?"
2. In 1944, the Soviet Union began the liberation of what eastern European country that had been under Nazi control since 1939?
3. In 1867 on this date, the US took possession of what territory, that had been purchased from Russia?
4. In 1967, the Soviet probe Venera 4 became the first spacecraft to measure another planet's atmosphere. What planet was it?
5. On this day in 1968, US athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos were suspended by the USOC for giving the black power salute at what city's Olympic Games?
6. In 1767, the Mason-Dixon line was agreed upon, as a boundry between which two US states?
7. On this date in 2004, David Ortiz drove in Johnny Damon in the 14th inning to win Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS, the midway point of the Red Sox historic comeback. Who was the Red Sox winning pitcher that night?

Robert DeNiro Characters Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Travis Bickle
2. Jake LaMotta
3. Jack Walsh
4. Bruce Pearson
5. Rupert Pupkin
6. Ace Rothstein
7. Jimmy Conway
8. Paul Vitti
9. Jack Tiberius Byrnes
10. Al Capone

General Knowledge
1. Who has been the only bachelor President of the United States? ( 1 pt)
2. Julius was the real first name of which of the Marx Brothers? ( 1 pt)
3. What is the second largest city in Canada by population after Toronto? ( 1 pt)
4. What current African nation was formerly called Rhodesia? ( 2 pt)
5. Bianca, Miranda and Portia are all moons of which distant planet? ( 2 pt)
6. The daiquiri cocktail is named after a town in what Caribbean country? ( 2 pt)
7. What initials are shared by the winners of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar from 1978-81?

IQ Trivia
1. What was the first southern state capital to fall to Union troops during the Civil War in 1862? ( 4 points)
2. Name 1 of the 2 Central American countries that has the "colon" as their official currency, named in honor of Christopher Columbus. (3 points)
3. What island's official language is Kalaallisut? ( 5 points)
4. This past September, which college football team topped the AP poll for the 100th time, the first ever to do so? ( 4 points)
5. What classical composer's music serves as the official anthem of the European Union? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Ukraine; 2. Miami and Atlanta; 3. Slovakia; 4. Robert Downey Jr; 5. Las Vegas; 6. Sesame Street; 7. Paul McCartney.

October 18th Trivia
1. Moby Dick; 2. Czechoslovakia; 3. Alaska; 4. Venus; 5. Mexico City; 6. Pennsylvania and Maryland; 7. Tim Wakefield.

Robert DeNiro Characters Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Taxi Driver; 2. Raging Bull; 3. Midnight Run; 4. Bang The Drum Slowly; 5. The King of Comedy; 6. Casino; 7. Goodfellas; 8. Analyze This; 9. Meet the Parents; 10. The Untouchables.

General Knowledge
1. James Buchanan; 2. Groucho; 3. Montreal; 4. Zimbabwe; 5. Uranus; 6. Cuba; 7. M.S. (Maggie Smith, Meryl Streep, Mary Steenburgen and Maureen Stapleton).

IQ Trivia
1. Nashville, TN; 2. Costa Rica and El Salvador; 3. Greenland; 4. Oklahoma Sooners; 5. Ludwig Van Beethoven, "Ode to Joy."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Papi's Heroics Part 2

It was seven years ago today that David Ortiz drove in Johnny Damon in the bottom of the 14th inning to give Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox a 5-4 win over the Yankees and sent the 2004 ALCS back to New York. It was probably the most physically draining of the four wins on me as a fan. In honor of that wonderful memory, here is a clip from "Four Days In October" featuring Game 5.



And by the way, I have mentioned a number of times that MLB was filming in the Riviera Cafe in New York where my friends and I were watching the ALCS, and they used footage from Game 5 in the 2004 World Series Official Film and in "Four Days In October." You check me and my pals out here. (And look closely for the guy wearing the Sox hat and home jersey sitting at the bar.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Let The 7th Anniversaries Begin

Remember the better times. And it was seven years ago today that Dave Roberts led The Comeback. This clip is still one of my favorites, from a fan in the right field bleachers.

Enjoy always:

Bobby D Has Played Many a Storied Character

Trivia Night at Professor Thom's tomorrow night will feature "October 18th Trivia," seven questions about that date in history, as the Special Category. And the Q Train lightning round is "Robert DeNiro Characters Trivia," as I will give you the names of 10 characters the Oscar-winning actor has portrayed in his legendary career, and you have to tell me what movie that character is from. (Why Robert DeNiro? I say, "Why not?")

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
The daiquiri cocktail is named after a town in what Caribbean country?

We get started just after 9 PM on Tuesday night. It will be the first time in six months we won't have a baseball game to worry about tomorrow, as the World Series doesn't begin until Wednesday. Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How Long Until Pitchers & Catchers Again?

A truly dreadful night for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. A thoroughly awful 39-10 loss to the Chicago Bears. They are now 1-5 and on the road to nowhere.

But we had a glimpse at the future in the 4th quarter, as Christian Ponder came in, in relief of Donovan McNabb. Ponder was 9-for-17 for 99 yards. But I liked what I saw, as the rookie showed some good mobility, a strong arm and good poise.

The Vikings take on undefeated Green Bay at the Metrodome next week.

Might as well play for 2012 and give Ponder his first start.

BTW, it's 121 days until Spring Training begins, as you can see in my Countdown Clock above this post.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Let's Hope He Doesn't Win This Award Again

Finally something about the Sox that doesn't involve character assassinations or fried chicken.

Jacoby Ellsbury was named the 2011 AL Comeback Player of the Year.

The first Red Sox 30/30 player was one of the few who showed up last September, and this could be the first of more hardware to come for him.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Ultimate Let Down

My friend Jere brought this to my attention tonight. Not sure where this is from, but it speaks volumes.

Cherington Waits In The Wings

As the entire baseball world knows by now, Theo Epstein is leaving the Red Sox, as he has reached a deal with the Chicago Cubs on a five-year deal to basically get the Cubs to their first World Series since 1945.

His Cubs deal his expected to net Epstein $15 million, along with a $5 million bonus. The only thing holding up the deal is what compensation the Sox will receive, as he still has a deal with the Red Sox for 2012. It is expected that the Red Sox will receive minor league players from the Cubs, and no one at the MLB level.

Theo's loyal assistant GM, Ben Cherington, is expected to take over as the new general manager once Epstein's deal is official. Cherington has been with the Red Sox since 1999, and along with Jed Hoyer (pictured above), was named co-GM when Theo took a powder and left Fenway in the gorilla suit in October 2005.

Here's a good, long look at Cherington in an article written by Alex Speier at WEEI earlier today.

And also being widely talked about today is Bob Hohler's article in the Boston Globe about the Red Sox infamous collapse of last month.

Read it and draw your own conclusions.

And here's Gordon Edes' take on Terry Francona being "the victim of the Red Sox front office's latest smear campaign." Are we going to see a similar article about Theo Epstein after he's gone, too?

Mr. Cherington's got a lot of work to do this winter.

PT's Trivia Q&A: October 11

We had another splendid turnout on a nice night in New York, with 21 teams coming into Professor Thom's for Trivia.

There were some tough rounds, like Current Events and True or False Trivia. And IQ Trivia was no walk in the park either, but the team of I Wish This Microphone Were Six Inches Farther From My Face led the entire night, got 4 of the 5 questions correct, and won easily by nine points, with a total of 50. Congrats to Rob, Melinda and their friends on their victory.

Second place went to Team Cat Piss...Meow! with 41 points, and we had a tie for third between Is Richard Pryor The Answer to Number 2? and Apple Corpse..Too Soon? (which also won for Best Team Name), both had 36 points.

Current Events
1. Tomas Transtromer of Sweden was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize last Thursday in what field?
2. Fans of what late comedy legend have garnered over 6,500 names on a petition to have a street in his old Upper Manhattan neighborhood renamed in his honor?
3. A Florida lawmaker introduced a bill last week to reintroduce what barroom spectacle, which was outlawed in the state in 1989?
4. Al Davis, longtime owner of what NFL team, died last Saturday at the age of 82?
5. Joe Francis, who founded what famous video series, was ordered by the Nevada Supreme Court to repay a $2 million credit to a Las Vegas casino last week?
6. A new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown of California recently banning people under the age of 18 from doing what indoor activity?
7. An actress was sentenced last Saturday to a year in prison and 90 lashes for her role in a film about the limits imposed on artists in what country?

TV Trivia
1. What TV series was set on Wisteria Lane?
2. On the series "Glee," what was the name of the high school on the show?
3. On "Lost," what were the mysterious inhabitants of the island known as?
4. Bob Keeshan hosted what children's TV show from 1955-1984?
5. In 1984, which star had his hair set on fire while filming a Pepsi commercial?
6. What actor portrayed The Penguin on the 1960s TV series "Batman?"
7. What future "Saturday Night Live" star had a recurring role on "Pee Wee's Playhouse" in the mid-1980s?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. A goldfish's attention span is three seconds.
2. Asia is the highest continent on earth.
3. There are more telephones than people in Washington DC.
4. A human brain weighs less than one pound.
5. The temperature of the sun can reach 15 million degrees Fahrenheit.
6. The world's biggest pyramid is in Egypt.
7. The tongue is the fastest healing part of the body.
8. New York County (Manhattan) is the smallest county in area in the US.
9. "Q" was the last letter added to the alphabet.
10. "Mind your own business" was the motto on the first US penny.

General Knowledge
1. What planet is named after the Roman god of war? ( 1 pt)
2. "Messiah" was written by what classical composer? ( 1 pt)
3. The anti-slavery novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was written by what author? ( 1 pt)
4. What color is the necklace worn by Marge Simpson? ( 2 pt)
5. Nathan Detroit was a main character in what stage musical? ( 2 pt)
6. How many state capitals have the word "city" in them? ( 2 pt)
7. The furcula is what part of a chicken? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Which Beatles song did Frank Sinatra once call "the greatest love song of the 20th century?" ( 4 points)
2. One in every six doctors in the United States was trained in what major US city? ( 4 points)
3. The moons of the planet Uranus were named after characters from what writer? ( 3 points)
4. Tivoli Gardens is a famous amusement park and pleasure garden in what European capital city? ( 4 points)
5. Illich Ramirez Sanchez is better known by what other name? ( 5 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. literature; 2. George Carlin; 3. dwarf tossing; 4. Oakland Raiders; 5. "Girls Gone Wild;" 6. using tanning beds; 7. Iran.

TV Trivia
1. "Desperate Housewives;" 2. McKinley High; 3. The Others; 4. "Captain Kangaroo;" 5. Michael Jackson; 6. Burgess Meredith; 7. Phil Hartman.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. false, Antarctica; 3. true; 4. false, three pounds; 5. true; 6. false, Mexico; 7. true; 8. false, a county in Hawaii is smaller; 9. false, J; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. Mars; 2. Handel; 3. Harriet Beecher Stowe; 4. red; 5. "Guys and Dolls;" 6. four (NV, MO, OK, UT); 7. wishbone.

IQ Trivia
1. "Something;" 2. Philadelphia; 3. William Shakespeare; 4. Copenhagen; 5. Carlos The Jackal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just Trivia at Thom's This Week (And Next Week)

Trivia is happening tonight at Professor Thom's at 9 PM, but the future of Trivia Night at Josie Wood's is right now not clear.

It will not be happening tomorrow night, October 12th, or next week, October 19th, due to other events occurring at the bar those nights.

I will pass along updates when I get them.

Good Job, Tito

I enjoyed hearing Terry Francona as the color commentator during the first two games of the ALCS. He was knowledgeable, likeable and rather self-deprecating in his brief stint in the Fox booth. Unfortunately, it was just for the first two games.

Tito certainly has a future in the broadcast booth should he choose to take a year or two off before heading back to the dugout.

Fox can now go back to Ruining Baseball, with the usual condescension and pontificating from the lead analyst's seat.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Boob Tube Trivia This Tuesday

This week's Special Category for Tuesday Night Trivia at Professor Thom's will be "TV Trivia." It will be seven questions about TV shows down through the years.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Nathan Detroit was a main character in what stage musical?"

We get going shortly after 9 PM, so I hope many of you can make it out on Tuesday. The crowds continue to be impressive, so make sure you get to Thom's early if you want a good seat!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Finally

The Vikings finally got a much-needed win today over the Arizona Cardinals, 34-10 at the Metrodome.

They rolled up 28 points in the first quarter, as Adrian Peterson scored three TDs, and Donovan McNabb ran for another. Arizona coughed up the ball, and Kevin Kolb was also intercepted, and the Vikes cashed both in. They are now 1-4 on the season.

It was 28-3 at the half. Was I nervous at that point? I sure as hell was. They had previously blown three halftime leads this season, so I was hoping they could put the ball in the end zone to put the game on ice.

The offense didn't do that, but this time the defense held Arizona to just one TD in the second half. The Vikings got two field goals for the 34-10 victory.

Nothing special from McNabb today (10-for-21, 169 yards), but it was good enough for the win. But Peterson continues to be the main man on offense, running for 122 yards on 29 carries.

The Vikings take on the 2-2 Chicago Bears at Soldier Field next Sunday night.

Love

Today would have been John Lennon's 71st birthday, so in honor of that, I present my favorite solo John song. A simple, beautiful song:



Happy Birthday John.

ND Made This Look Easy

I can't remember the last time Notre Dame scored TDs on its first six possessions, but that's what happened in the first half yesterday as the Irish rolled to a 59-33 romp over Air Force at South Bend.

That makes four straight wins for the Irish.

Seven different Irish players scored touchdowns, and Tommy Rees threw four of them. He was 23 for 32 for 261 yards, and left in third quarter. It was all over by halftime, as the Irish led, 42-16.

It was a record-setting game, as it was the most combined points by two teams ever at Notre Dame Stadium, and the most scored by the Irish in a game since 1996, when ND beat Rutgers, 62-0.

Next week is a bye week, but the rivalry game with USC happens in two weeks at Notre Dame Stadium.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

"A Moment In Time"

Like Bill Buckner and Mickey Owen, Brooklyn Dodgers' pitcher Ralph Branca is remembered for only one moment in his distinguished career: a home run to Bobby Thomson that gave the Giants the 1951 National League pennant.

Branca is now 85-years-old and has released a book on his life, co-written with David Ritz called "A Moment In Time: An American Story of Baseball, Heartbreak and Grace."

If you know anyone who was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan in the 1940s and '50s, definitely recommend this book to them (and I know plenty).

Branca talks of his life coming from a large Italian-American family in Mt. Vernon, NY and he grew up a New York Giants fan. He's a man of great faith in himself, his family, his country and God. But of course, the book is centered around that October day in 1951, when Branca's name became a household word, and all the trouble it caused him down the years.

But he goes into great detail about how the pennant was actually robbed from the Dodgers, as the Giants instituted a sign-stealing method at the Polo Grounds using binoculars and a buzzer system (which was first brought to the public's attention in Josh Prager's 2006 book "The Echoing Green"). Branca tells of learning the scheme from his Detroit Tigers teammate Ted Gray in 1954. And for over five decades, Branca kept the secret to himself, as he didn't want to come off as some sore loser. But now Ralph tells the world what he knew back then, and you can tell what a cathartic thing it is for him.

He also tells of the friendship he forged with Bobby Thomson in the years following the home run. He talks of what a good man he was, but Branca is clearly disappointed that right up to his death in 2010, Thomson never admitted to any wrongdoing regarding the Giants cheating scandal.

Branca also goes into his relationships with his Dodger teammates, like his close friendships with Gil Hodges and Jackie Robinson, and his distaste for his managers, and even defends Walter O'Malley's moving the Dodgers to California (that won't make my dad happy). I also read in the book that when the Dodgers nearly caught the Phillies for the NL pennant in 1950, the Phillies nearly blew a large, late season lead. (And I looked it up. If the Dodgers had won the last game against them and forced a playoff, the Phillies will have blown a 7 1/2 game lead with 11 to play. Even worse than what the Phillies did in 1964, the worst collapse in baseball history.)

"A Moment In Time" is an enjoyable read from an old timer whose love of baseball has never dimmed down the years. Ralph Branca was a very good pitcher, and clearly a man who should never have been defined by just one play in his career.

I think Bill Buckner can agree with that.

Friday, October 07, 2011

A Message To The Trio?


Courtesy of the good folks at Deadspin, Tito makes a statement with a t-shirt as he was interviewed by a Boston TV station yesterday.

And I'll be looking forward to hearing Tito this weekend, as he'll be replacing Tim McCarver in the booth for the first two games of the ALCS, as McCarver will be having a minor surgical procedure and will return for Game 3.

I would guess Tito will not be wearing that shirt.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

NYY Elimination Night

And guess who made the last out, whiffing to end the Yankee season?

Slappy.

It sure doesn't make up for what happened last month, but Joe Girardi can keep his number 28 for next season.

See ya!

In 2012.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

PT's Trivia Q&A: October 4

We had a terrific turnout on Tuesday night for Trivia, as 21 teams took part. There was playoff baseball on the TVs, but most of the folks in wanted their Trivia, and they got it.

I made the Q&A a bit harder this week, as the scores last week were just too high. And the harder questions were reflected in the scores. We only had two perfect scores before the IQ round.

I thought I made IQ Trivia rather difficult this week, but four teams ran the table and got the full 20 points in the round. One of those teams, The Dead Are Walking The Earth and Winning Nobel Prizes, wound up winning by four points with 49. Congratulations to Dave and Anton on their win.

Second place went to Like iPhone 4G, I'm Still Too Wide, I Don't Last Very Long and I'm Totally Overrated, and Third Place was a tie between Goodbye Baseball! Hallo, Ween! and Oh Wow, They're Making an Arrested Development Movie. I Can't Wait To Take the 2nd Avenue Subway to See It (who also won Best Team Name), with 44 points.

Current Events
1. What country launched their first ever space station, nicknamed "Sky Palace 1," last week?
2. What Emmy-winning actor is releasing another of his spoken word-cover albums and one of the songs on it will be Black Sabbath's "Iron Man?"
3. Stephen King announced he is writing a sequel to what 1977 novel of his, which was turned into one of the scariest movies of the 1980s?
4. 15 people have died around the US over the last 3 weeks from consuming what contaminated fruit grown in Colorado?
5. Which film took in over $14 million this past weekend in its second weekend of its release to become the number one film in America?
6. What airline announced that they will offer classes on how to survive plane crashes, but just to their Executive Club members only?
7. What female superstar was heavily rumored yesterday to be performing at this February's Super Bowl?

Pop Music Trivia
1. Who composed the music for the film "West Side Story?"
2. John Bonham was what classic rock band's drummer?
3. Cameron Crowe's documentary "Twenty" is a film about what rock band?
4. Kylie Minogue, "The Pop Princess," is a native of what country?
5. In 1985, what pop duo became the first Western pop group to perform in China?
6. In 1988, what future pop star was runner-up on "Star Search," with a version of Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All?"
7. Pop star Alecia Moore was born in Puerto Rico in 1979, and by what one-word name is she known by?

1-25 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. This number is needed to win a game in badminton or table tennis.
2. At the Last Supper, ther were this many people around the table.
3. The number of holes in a stipulated round of golf.
4. This number has been retired for MLB Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Reggie Jackson.
5. Abraham Lincoln was this number US president.
6. Jim Carrey starred in a 2007 film about an obsession with this number.
7. A toatl of this many men walked on the moon.
8. This is the total number of points on a Star of David.
9. Aquarius is this number sign of the Zodiac.
10. This is the number of frames per second at which motion picture film is usually projected.

General Knowledge
1. What country was once known as Siam? ( 1 pt)
2. The Islamic month of fasting is called what? ( 1 pt)
3. The Boll Weevil is damaging to what crop? ( 1 pt)
4. What country did the Battle of Waterloo take place in? ( 2 pt)
5. What two US states' most populous cities share the same name? ( 2 pt)
6. What 1970s detective lived ina trailer on the beach? ( 2 pt)
7. The Algiers Accords, in the 1980s, ended what 14 1/2 month long standoff? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What day of the year ranks second only to Thanksgiving when it comes to the highest food consumption in the US? ( 4 points)
2. Bodoni, Garamond and Univers are among the top ten most popular what? ( 4 points)
3. What English city is nicknamed "The City of Dreaming Spires?" ( 5 points)
4. What famous woman, who died in England in 1536, was the youngest daughter of Columbus' patrons Ferdinand and Isabella? ( 5 points)
5. What did Alfred Butts first call "Alph" and later "Criss-Cross" when he invented the game in 1948? ( 3 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. China; 2. William Shatner; 3. "The Shining;" 4. cantaloupe; 5. "Dolphin Tale;" 6. British Airways; 7. Madonna.

Pop Music Trivia
1. Leonard Bernstein; 2. Led Zeppelin; 3. Pearl Jam; 4. Australia; 5. Wham!; 6. Christina Aguilera; 7. Pink.

1-25 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 21; 2. 13; 3. 18; 4. 9; 5. 16; 6. 23; 7. 12; 8. 6; 9. 11; 12. 24.

General Knowledge
1. Thailand; 2. Ramadan; 3. cotton; 4. Belgium; 5. Maine and Oregon; 6. Jim Rockford; 7. Iran hostage crisis.

IQ Trivia
1. Super Bowl Sunday; 2. typefaces (fonts); 3. Oxford; 4. Catherine of Aragon; 5. Scrabble.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Everyone Loves Pop Music, Right?

On Tuesday night at Professor Thom's, the Special Category will be "Pop Music Trivia," seven questions about the world of popular music down through the years.

The Q Train lightning round will be "1-25 Trivia," where every answer will be a number between 1 and 25. No answer will be the same, of course.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
The Boll Weevil is damaging to what crop?

We get going shortly after 9 PM. There will be some postseason baseball on tomorrow, but don't ask me who, as I have very little interest. Hope to see many of you tomorrow night.

Trivia Night at Josie Wood's on Wednesday night has been postponed again this week. It will return on Wednesday night, October 12th at 9 PM.

At Least They Didn't Blow a Halftime Lead

The Minnesota Vikings took on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in a battle of 0-3 teams. Something had to give, unless the game ended in a tie.

No such luck.

Adrian Peterson never could get going, as he rushed for only 80 yards. Ryan Succop kicked five field goals for KC, and tied the team record for the longest field goal, at 54 yards. A 22-17 loss.

The Vikings are 0-4 for the first time since 2002.

There are now only two undefeated teams left in the NFL, and naturally they are both in the NFC North: Green Bay and Detroit.

A long year continues to get even longer.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

ND Rolls Purdue

Michael Floyd and Cierre Wood led the attack for the Fighting Irish as Notre Dame rolled to an easy 38-10 win at Purdue on Saturday night.

Sure beat watching any of the baseball on my TV last night.

Floyd (pictured) caught 12 passes for 137 yards, including scoring the opening ND TD to begin the game.

Cierre Wood rushed for 191 yards on 20 carries, including a 55-yard TD gallop in the second quarter that made it 21-0. The combination of Wood and Jonas Gray (94 yards on the ground) spurred the Irish attack.

It was a solid game for Tommy Rees, who threw three TDs, and went 24-for-40 for 254 yards.

In all the Irish had 551 yards in total offense, and they dominated on both sides of the ball, as the defense held the 11th ranked Purdue rushing offense to just 84 yards on the ground.

It was the best performance of the year for the 3-2 Irish, and they take on Air Force at South Bend next Saturday.