Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Nice Guy With a Nice Cause

This coming Monday night, February 6th, the nicest guy to ever play in the Major Leagues will be part of a special event in New York City.

Sean Casey, former Red Sox first baseman and current MLB Network analyst, will be the guest bartender at Foley's Pub and Restaurant, the fine watering hole located on 33rd Street in Manhattan, just a stone's throw from Madison Square Garden. (Foley's is also known as "The Bar That Banned 'Danny Boy'" and will not be serving Sam Adams during the Super Bowl.)

Sean, affectionately known as "The Mayor," will be in to raise money for Casey's Clubhouse, which helps kids with special needs play baseball in his native Pittsburgh.

He's also a member of the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, which is located at Foley's. Monday's event will also mark the 8th anniversary of the great public house as well.

I will also be on hand for all the festivities. It should be a great night. Sean will be guest bartending from 6-9 PM on Monday, February 6th. And Foley's is located at 18 West 33rd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. See you then.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Beatles Go Out On Top (Of the Roof)

It was 43 years ago today that the Beatles did their last live concert together, up on the roof of Apple Records at Savile Row in London.

They were making a documentary film called "Get Back" (eventually changed to "Let It Be" in 1970), and it wasn't going well. There was lots of tension surrounding the film (George Harrison even quit briefly but later returned), and near the end of the production, they had the idea to go up to the roof and play a number of songs.

It attracted fans in the London area, including the police. It was a memorable way for the Beatles to end their historic run together.

It's a shame "Let It Be" is not in print on DVD. It is a bit depressing watching the group come apart, but it's worth it just for the rooftop concert.

Here are the first two songs they played (and two of my favorites), "Get Back" and "Don't Let Me Down." And for more of the rooftop concert, go here and then here.

Two Special Categories For The Price of One

This week we will have two Special Categories for Tuesday Night Trivia at Professor Thom's, with the Q Train lightning round taking the week off. The two Special Categories will be "Florida Trivia," seven questions about the Sunshine State (in honor of the Republican primary happening there tomorrow), and of course, "Super Bowl Trivia," as there will be a football game of some note happening in Indianapolis this coming Sunday.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Ryder Cup is awarded to countries that compete in what sport?"

We will get going just after 9 PM on Tuesday night. We had an amazing turnout this past week, with a record number of teams, 28, taking part. Let's see if we can break that record, so do your part and come out for a great night of Trivia!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jazz Piano At Its Finest

My good friend and jazz pianist Alex Minasian has just begun a YouTube page of some of his best performances, and it's a page definitely worth checking out.

Alex is a really talented piano player who has been playing with the legendary jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott for a few years now. (Alex and I first met during Professor Thom's Trivia Night before I hosted it, and we won the competition on a few occasions.) He's on his way up to the top of the jazz world.

Here is one of Alex's fine performances, playing with Billy Vera on "At This Moment" at the House of Blues in Los Angeles for Jimmy Scott's 85th birthday celebration:

Sherm Was a Red Sox Legend

Today is the 18th anniversary of the passing of the great Sherm Feller, the legendary Red Sox gravelly-voiced PA announcer, best known for his opening line: "Attention please, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Fenway Park."

Sherm was also a beloved radio talk show in Boston and a prolific songwriter, having written over 1,000 songs in his career.

But his career at Fenway is what people remember most about him, and he did it for 27 seasons, beginning in the Impossible Dream season of 1967. I'll never forget his delivery: "Number 27. Carlton Fisk. Catcher. Fisk."

My friend and fellow Trivia Maven Gary Titus was a close friend of Sherm in the last 15 years of his life, and has made it his mission to get Sherm inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. And with this being the 100th anniversary of America's Most Beloved Ballpark, why not make this the year Sherm gets inducted?

Gary has my full support, and I hope the Red Sox vote him in. Gary has an online petition you can add your support to. There is also a website dedicated to Sherm and his career, and a Facebook page you can check out as well.

Let's hope this is the year Sherm is enshrined. It would be a fitting honor to a man many oldtimers like myself associate with being at Fenway. Good luck Gary!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Long Live Juan Epstein

I was saddened to hear the passing of actor Robert Hegyes today. That name might not be too familiar, but if I say the name "Juan Epstein", that should provoke a few smiles.

I was a huge fan of "Welcome Back, Kotter" in my youth, and the four years of the show coincided with my four years at Brooklyn Tech. The show may have made a star out of John Travolta, but I was always a fan of Mr. Hegyes, who played the half-Puerto Rican, half-Jewish wiseass Juan Epstein.

Mr. Hegyes was 60 years old and died of a sudden heart attack in his home in Edison, New Jersey.

Seems like another part of childhood is gone when I hear the passing of celebrities from my youth.

One of my favorite Juan Epstein lines was when he was asked about his mother. "Oh, so she's Puerto Rican," someone I can't remember once asked him. "No, my father's Puerto Rican. My mother's maiden name is Biberman!"

So, in memory of the Great Juan Epstein, I present the one of the coolest TV themes ever, by John Sebastian:



BTW, did you know that the high school featured in the show's opening was New Utrecht High School? And that the "Brooklyn" sign in the first scene (coming off the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge) was stolen so many times that the city ultimately never replaced it?

RIP Mr. Hegyes, and thanks for all the laughs.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trivia Q&A: January 24

We had an historic night at Professor Thom's on Tuesday night, as we had a record 28 teams come in for Trivia. (The old record was 26, done on three other occasions.) There was nothing special happening on the night, just a lot of folks coming in and coming in for Trivia!

The scores were solid for Current Events and The Q Train, but surprisingly lower for January 24th Trivia. We had six teams separated by five points going into the last round, and the team in the lead, I'm Bad at Football and I Love My Country, That Makes Me a "Patriot" (the name was booed lustily many times during the night), got 4 of 5 correct in IQ Trivia, and wound up winning with 47 points. Congrats to Gillian and her crew for another fine victory.

Second place went to Tim Thomas Goes to Washington with 42 points, and third place was a tie between Liz Wong and The Fake Tits, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Drunk (which won for Best Team Name), both with 37 points.

Once again, thanks to all of you for making January 24th a memorable night!

Current Events
1. Actor Sean Penn was made an at-large ambassador to what Caribbean nation last week?
2. What western US city got six inches of snow last Wednesday, shutting the city down and it was the biggest snowfall there since 1985?
3. What member of the House of Representatives was selected by GQ magazine as "The Most Powerful Person in Washington" for 2012?
4. What Hollywood actor recently said in a magazine interview that if he had been on one of the planes that struck the WTC on 9/11 (as he was scheduled to but his plans changed) he would have prevented the disaster?
5. What actor spread a false rumor on Twitter last week that Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning was about to announce his retirement?
6. What Central American country was recently given the dubious title of "The Murder Capital of the World" as it now has the highest homicide rate in the world: 82 murders per 100,000 residents?
7. Yesterday was the Chinese New Year, and 2012 is the year of what animal?

January 24th Trivia
1. On this day in 1848, James Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, CA, which is just outside of what major CA city?
2. In 2011, 35 people were killed and 130 people injured after a suicde bomber struck at Domodedovo Airport in what capital city?
3. Mary Lou Retton, the gymnast and Olympic gold medal winner, was born on this day in 1968. In which Summer Olympics did she win her five medals?
4. Winston Churchill, the British prime minister during WWII, died on this day in 1965. In what field was he awarded the Nobel Prize in 1953?
5. On this day in 1989, serial killer Ted Bundy was executed for 30 murders he committed in 7 states in the 1970s. What US state put him to death?
6. Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice, died on this day in 1993. What US president named him to the Court?
7. On this day in 1990, which Asian country became the first country other than the US or Soviet Union to launch a lunar probe into space?

Oscar-Winning Characters Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Loretta Lynn
2. Virginia Woolf
3. Fast Eddie Felson
4. Queen Elizabeth II
5. R.P. McMurphy
6. Jake LaMotta
7. Claus Von Bulow
8. Clarice Starling
9. Truman Capote
10. Annie Hall

General Knowledge
1. The ancient monument called Stonehenge is located in what country? ( 1 pt)
2. Who was the first US president in office born after WWII? ( 1 pt)
3. Keyzer Soze was a mysterious character in what 1995 film? ( 1 pt)
4. What is the minimum age for a person to serve in the US House of Representatives? ( 2 pt)
5. What Basketball Hall of Famer won a record 11 championship rings? ( 2 pt)
6. What midwestern US city is located on the Cuyahoga River? ( 2 pt)
7. What color has the most shades in Crayola's box of 120 crayons? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What annual award has a design on it of three naked men with their hands on each others' shoulders? ( 4 points)
2. Who was the first film character to be a finalist for Time magazine's "Person of the Year?" ( 4 points)
3. In what US state does 24% of the population claim Irish ancestry, twice the national average? ( 3 points)
4. What female pop singer sang the opening theme song on the 1980s TV kids show "Pee-wee's Playhouse?" ( 4 points)
5. If you suffer from diplopia, what problem do you have? ( 5 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Haiti; 2. Seattle; 3. Eric Cantor; 4. Mark Wahlberg; 5. Rob Lowe; 6. Honduras; 7. Water Dragon.

January 24th Trivia
1. Sacramento; 2. Moscow; 3. 1984 (Los Angeles); 4. literature; 5. Florida; 6. Lyndon Johnson; 7. Japan.

Oscar-Winning Characters Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Sissy Spacek; 2. Nicole Kidman; 3. Paul Newman; 4. Helen Mirren; 5. Jack Nicholson; 6. Robert DeNiro; 7. Jeremy Irons; 8. Jodie Foster; 9. Philip Seymour Hoffman; 10. Diane Keaton.

General Knowledge
1. England; 2. Bill Clinton; 3. "The Usual Suspects;" 4. twenty-five; 5. Bill Russell; 6. Cleveland; 7. red.

IQ Trivia
1. Nobel Peace Prize; 2. ET; 3. Massachusetts; 4. Cyndi Lauper; 5. double vision.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Send In "The Clown"

The Red Sox signed free agent outfielder and 2010 San Francisco Giants postseason hero Cody Ross to a one-year deal tonight, worth about $3 million (plus incentives) for one year.

He can play all three outfield positions, but figures to see most of his time in LF and RF. He hit just .240 for the Giants, with 14 HRs and 52 RBI in 2011.

My friend Ken, who is a big Giants fan, calls him "The Clown." Perfect nickname for a guy who may be coming to a place that could be a three-ring circus in 2012. (Ken tells me that Cody wanted to be a rodeo clown when he was growing up, hence the nickname.)

Roy Oswalt up next? We'll see.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oscar-Winning Characters This Week

This Tuesday night at Professor Thom's, we will have "January 24th Trivia" as the Special Category. It will be seven questions about people, places and things connected with the day in history.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Oscar-Winning Characters Trivia." I will give you the names of ten movie characters whose portrayers won an Academy Award for that role. You just have to tell me the actor or actress who won it. (Like if I said "King George VI", you would answer, "Colin Firth." But sadly, that will NOT be one of the ten characters.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Who was the first US president born after World War II?"

We will get going shortly after 9 PM, and I hope to see you for another great night of Trivia!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Bad Day For Guys Named Harbaugh

It will be the Patriots vs. the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. The Patriots are an early 3 1/2 point favorite.

Tough losses for both Harbaugh coaches today. Kyle Williams, meet Billy Cundiff.

The hype will go into interstellar overdrive for this one, a rematch of the championship game of four years ago. It's also the Jets fan's worst nightmare all over again.

You know the media (for two weeks, ugh) will play up the Boston vs. New York thing ad nauseum. (Funny that neither team plays in either city. It's really the Northern New Jersey vs. Southern Massachusetts rivalry, I guess.)

I just hope I'll see the Minnesota Vikings in another Super Bowl before I die.

It's now 35 years and counting.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Small Market Ball

So much for the Red Sox not going after Roy Oswalt.

The Sox traded Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies for a marginal RHP named Clayton Mortensen. The trade was made for one simple reason: the Red Sox wanted to free up some money to make an "aggressive" bid for Roy Oswalt. (Doesn't this sound like the operations of a small market club?)

There was a rumor that Scutaro was heading to Colorado yesterday, but that was quickly shot down. Another day, another rumor, and this time it's true.

Scutaro was the Red Sox best hitter in September's disaster of a month, hitting .397 while the club went belly up. They also traded away the other regular shortstop in 2011 when Jed Lowrie went in the Mark Melancon deal. It looks like they will go with a tandem of Nick Punto and Mike Aviles at SS until Jose Iglesias is ready, and you figure that won't happen until 2013. (Punto played just a handful of games there last year and Aviles hasn't played SS in three years.)

I have a feeling the Red Sox aren't done as far as the shortstop situation is concerned. They maybe looking to make a deal for another SS. (And I don't mean Hanley Ramirez. He would cost way too much, and he's a dog I wouldn't want on my team anyway.)

Mortensen was one of the pitchers the A's acquired in the Matt Holliday trade, and went 2-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 2011.

The Red Sox also avoided arbitration with Daniel Bard and signed him to a one-year deal worth $1.625 million.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thanks OC

Another One of the 25 from 2004 has entered retirement, and it is Orlando Cabrera, who calls it quits at the age of 37.

He hit .294 for the Red Sox after he was dealt to the club in the Nomar Garciaparra trade on July 31st of that year. He played a solid shortstop, and was a big reason the Sox vaulted into the Wild Card lead that August, and eventually into baseball history.

Cabrera left as a free agent after the 2004 championship, and the Red Sox wound up drafting Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie as compensation for his exit.

From the 2004 team, there are only seven active players left: Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis (still with the Red Sox), and elsewhere in MLB: Johnny Damon, Bronson Arroyo and Derek Lowe.

All the best in your retirement, OC. We'll always remember your slick glove on that immortal club.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lots of Sox News For Mid-January (And Some Non-Sox As Well)

Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Aviles both avoided arbitration and signed one-year deals. Ellsbury signed for $8.05 million and Aviles for $1.2 million. That still leaves Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard and David Ortiz unsigned.

Papi and the Sox are far apart. It was reported that Ortiz wants $16.5 million, and the Sox are offering $12.65 million. I would bet the ranch they will meet somewhere in the middle.

Carl Crawford had wrist surgery yesterday, after feeling pain there around New Year's Day. The doctors discovered cartilage damage and it was repaired. It isn't known if he'll be ready for Opening Day, but that sure isn't a way to get the fans confidence back after having such a miserable 2011. Let's hope he's ready to go in early April.

Big blow for ex-Sox catcher Victor Martinez, as he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and may miss the entire 2012 season. He suffered the injury during his off-season workouts.

More really crazy nonsense from crazy, nonsensical screwball sportswriter Wallace Matthews. It's another one of those "if you don't worship the ground Derek Jeter walks on there must be something wrong with you" articles. Here he compares Jeter to Martin Luther King. (With thanks to my friend Jere for letting me know about the article.)

And please keep the Internet uncensored by signing this petition to defeat the SOPA and PIPA bills in Congress.

Trivia Q&A: January 17

We had 21 teams in on a busy night that included fans in to watch Michigan's basketball team win, but the Boston Bruins lose in St. Pete.

Q-Tip Trivia was a tough round, with the scores generally on the lower side. But every other round the numbers were up, especially in General Knowledge. The team of Happy Birthday Rosanmi! led the entire night and wound up with a perfect score in IQ Trivia to end up with 57 points and the victory. Congratulations to my friends the "teachers" on another impressive win.

Second place went to Tebow Got Gronky Punched with 50 points, and third place went to I'm On a Boat! No Wait, I'm Dead with 47 points.

Best Team Name: All I'm Sayin' Is...The Skipper and Gilligan Didn't Let Anybody Die

Current Events
1. Which European country recently recognized "The Church of Kopimism" or file-sharing, as a religion?
2. Which troubled celebrity is currently being sued by the IRS for over $93,000 in back taxes?
3. Outgoing governor Haley Barbour controversially pardoned 200 lawbreakers in his state last week. What state was he governor of?
4. Hundreds of people egged an Apple store after it didn't open on time to sell the new iPhone 4S last week in what Asian capital city?
5. What northern New Jersey canceled their St. Patrick's Day Parade this year, as the parade's committee sited the city's inability to protect the participants as the reason?
6. What rap star was arrested by US Customs last week on the US-Mexico border for illegal possession of drug paraphernalia?
7. What Oscar-winning actor was struck by a car in Florida while bicycling last Friday but sustained just minor injuries?

Q-Tip Trivia
1. Which of the following classic sitcoms were set in New York City? a. All in the Family; b. The Cosby Show; c. The Mary Tyler Moore Show; d. The Bob Newhart Show.
2. Which of these artists had a Billboard number one pop single in 2011? a. Katy Perry; b. Justin Bieber; c. Britney Spears; d. Eminem.
3. Which of these actors have won at least two Oscars? a. Gene Hackman; b. Jessica Lange; c. Anthony Quinn; d. Jason Robards.
4. Which of the following cities has a team in all four major sports: MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL? a. Seattle; b. Los Angeles; c. St. Louis; d. Atlanta.
5. Which of these countries are located entirely below the Equator? a. Australia; b. Argentina; c. Cameroon; d. Indonesia.
6. Which of the following US presidents once served as a US Senator? a. Franklin D. Roosevelt; b. Abraham Lincoln; c. Ronald Reagan; d. John F. Kennedy.
7. Which of these Washington DC landmarks were built in the 19th century? a. Lincoln Memorial; b. Washington Monument; c. Smithsonian Institution; d. Jefferson Memorial.

US Cities Nicknames Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The Queen City
2. Music City USA
3. The City With the Big Shoulders
4. Mistake By The Lake
5. The Steel City
6. The Golden City
7. The Hub
8. The Emerald City
9. Gateway to the West
10. Hitsville USA

General Knowledge
1. What is the capital of the province of Ontario? ( 1 pt)
2. "Moby Dick" was the best known novel from what author?( 1 pt)
3. Ron Paul, Congressman and Republican presidential candidate, represents what state in Congress? ( 1 pt)
4. What U.S. president signed into law making Martin Luther King's birthday a federal holiday? ( 2 pt)
5. What river is dammed by the Hoover Dam? ( 2 pt)
6. What Olympic sport uses the smallest ball? ( 2 pt)
7. In militaryspeak, what is an "aerodynamic personnel decelerator"? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What US state has the largest peach crop? ( 4 points)
2. What famous person was assassinated at the Pan-American Exposition by Leon Czolgosz? ( 4 points)
3. Mount Marcy is the highest point, at over 5300 feet, in what US state? ( 5 points)
4. What world leader was once discovered by the Secret Service drunk and in his underwear one night trying to hail a cab to the White House in 1995? ( 3 points)
5. In 1988, what Hollywood actor starred in both the Oscar-winning Best Picture and the Golden Raspberry Award's Worst Picture that year? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Sweden; 2. Lindsay Lohan; 3. Mississippi; 4. Beijing; 5. Hoboken; 6. Snoop Dogg; 7. Gene Hackman.

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

US Cities Nicknames Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Cincinnati (I also accepted Buffalo and Charlotte); 2. Nashville; 3. Chicago; 4. Cleveland; 5. Pittsburgh; 6. San Francisco; 7. Boston; 8. Seattle; 9. St. Louis; 10. Detroit.

General Knowledge
1. Toronto; 2. Herman Melville; 3. Texas; 4. Ronald Reagan; 5. Colorado River; 6. table tennis; 7. parachute.

IQ Trivia
1. California; 2. William McKinley; 3. New York; 4. Boris Yeltsin; 5. Tom Cruise ("Rain Man" and "Cocktail").

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Forget About Oswalt

The Red Sox added another arm to their mix for the fifth spot in the rotation, when they agreed to a minor league deal with Vicente Padilla.

He pitched in just nine games with the Dodgers before a pinched nerve ended his season. This is also the guy who was released by the Texas Rangers in 2009 for being a "disruptive clubhouse presence."

All this tells me that Roy Oswalt will not be pitching in Boston this season. His price for a fifth starter (despite being willing to sign a one-year deal) is too high, as the Red Sox are concerned about payroll and the luxury tax.

Today is also the day that if any players remain unsigned by noon, the club and players will submit salary requests to MLB and the arbitration hearings would begin on February 1st. The Red Sox have six players in that situation: Alfredo Aceves, Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, Daniel Bard, Mike Aviles and Andrew Bailey. The Sox have not had an arbitration hearing with a player since 2002, and can still sign all six players to contracts even after today and before the hearings are scheduled to begin.

And the English cousins will be coming to America for a visit, as Liverpool will be playing Roma at Fenway this summer.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Brush Up On Your Slang Terms For US Cities

Trivia Night on Tuesday night at Professor Thom's will feature the return of "Q-Tip Trivia," where I ask you seven multiple choice, general knowledge questions, and the answer can be 1,2,3, all 4 or none correct. You get a point for each one you get correct, but a wrong answer will nullify any points for that question. It's always a high scoring round.

The Q Train lightning round will be "US Cities' Nicknames Trivia." I will give you the nicknames of ten major US cities, and you have to tell me the city.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What Olympic sport uses the smallest ball?

We get going shortly after 9 PM on Tuesday night. We should have the usual fine crowd on hand, so I hope many of you will come out tomorrow night.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bye Bye Pack

It was nothing short of a beatdown: Giants 37, Packers 20.

As a Minnesota Vikings fan for nearly four decades, it was nice seeing their bitterest rival get knocked out in their first postseason game. It brings to mind a happy comparison of watching the Yankees get bounced out in the ALDS.

Granted I don't dislike the Packers with the ferocity I do the Yankees, but it nice seeing those fans who have given the Vikings faithful so much crap over the years knocked down a peg. That "Lambeau Leap" has become such a cliche anyway.

A few weeks ago, I said that the Packers were making a mistake in not playing Aaron Rodgers in their final regular season game, if only for a quarter or two. He looked rusty, and his receivers looked no better either. The Packers defense was really exposed as well.

We may actually see the Patriots play the Giants in the Super Bowl again.

Wouldn't that be fascinating?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Throw Them Against The Wall, See Who Sticks

The Red Sox have signed a number of players over the last week with MLB experience. They signed Aaron Cook from Colorado, who pitched against the Red Sox in the 2007 World Series, pitchers Justin Germano and Carlos Silva, and infielder Brad Emaus, who was in camp with the Mets last spring.

They are also bringing in pitchers Jesse Carlson, Brandon Duckworth and Rich Hill, who pitched effectively out of the Red Sox bullpen last season before an injury ended his season. They are also inviting nine other players to camp this spring as well.

It makes sense to bring as many players with previous experience to camp this spring. Most obviously won't go north with the big club, but if any show the club something, they will most likely be on Pawtucket's roster.

And now word comes that Jason Varitek will be invited to Spring Training as a non-roster player. I really think the Sox are doing this out of courtesy and respect to their longtime catcher. I really don't see where Tek could possibly fit in for 2012. I would guess he will be in Ft. Myers for a short time and then officially announce his retirement. It would be a classy way for both sides to see him exit this way.

Tonight the Yankees traded stud catching prospect Jesus Montero to the Mariners for pitcher Michael Pineda, who was an All-Star last season. And they also signed Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal. And of course I'm seeing some panic among some Red Sox fans online, that the Sox must counter this by signing someone like Roy Oswalt.

Take it easy, folks. I'm also seeing some NYY fan friends of mine who are VERY unhappy that New York traded Montero. They upgraded their rotation for sure, but the Sox rotation is still strong. The Red Sox upgraded where they really needed to this winter: their bullpen.

Nobody's won anything yet, folks.

A Passing Fad or The QB of The Future?

As the year of 2012 dawns, the big sports story right now is one person: Tim Tebow.

Time for my take on Tebowmania.

I think Tebow is a good kid. Respectful to the media and fans, loved by his teammates, doesn't seek out publicity, helps kids, and is a really decent individual. He'll never be on the police blotter. He has caught the football world's attention over the amazing victories he's pulled off for the Denver Broncos in 2011, especially the OT win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday. The Broncos appeared to be playing out the season when Tebow was made the starting QB, and now they are just two wins from the Super Bowl.

But his rise to NFL prominence has caused plenty of controversy. He clearly isn't in the same league as a QB as the NFL's elite, such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. I'm not overly impressed with Tebow as a QB, and he reminds me a lot of the old-time Vikings signal caller Joe Kapp. Kapp, like Tebow, didn't throw a beautiful spiral or put up eye-popping numbers. But he got the Vikings to victory (except in Super Bowl IV), and would take on linebackers and usually win.

And Tebow's star rising has caused a lot of resentment. He was ripped in a vile and disgusting way by Bill Maher, who I have no respect for (and don't get me started on him). Maher made a putrid statement on Twitter about Tebow and Jesus that I wouldn't even link to here. And Charles Barkley recently called Tebow "a nightmare."

Maher and Barkley are nothing but the worst kind of media whores, who'll say anything for attention, no matter how vile or stupid. Maher has a hard-on against anything to do with religion, and is obviously threatened by someone like Tebow who isn't afraid to talk about God or Jesus openly. I'm sure Tebow could care less about Maher or Barkley.

Peter Gammons wrote a pointed and right-on-the-mark statement on Twitter last Sunday after the Broncos OT win:

To cynically mock (Tim) Tebow's deep, sincere beliefs defies conscience, as does Pols who scream freedom, then try to tell us what we can believe.

Tim Tebow has every right to state his beliefs openly, like any celebrity has the right to voice their support for any political candidate openly as well. And openly praising God is nothing new in sports. How many times have we heard a sports figure give "all praise to God" in a post-game interview? And in baseball, I remember some Latin players entering the batter's box and blessing themselves. Today we see players like David Ortiz and Albert Pujols pointing to the sky after they hit home runs. I don't see anyone ripping them for that, do I?

But I also think the media has gone WAY overboard on Tebow. Deadspin just put up a post about a recent edition of SportsCenter on ESPN, and they mentioned Tebow's name a staggering 160 times in a 60-minute show. That's just a typical example of media overkill, and it will breed resentment.

The Broncos are a 13 1/2 point underdog against the Patriots on Saturday, and many people think the Tebow bubble will finally burst. I'm sure if the Pats win easily, Tebow will be ripped unmercifully no matter how he plays. But if they pull the upset...

The NFL has had a lot of bad publicity recently, like the guy in Chicago who got nabbed by the Feds for selling drugs. They really need all the Tim Tebows it can get. Is Tebow just hype? Perhaps. If the Broncos stop winning games with Tebow at the helm, the bubble will have truly burst, and he'll become just a memory. We'll see.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Meet The New Boss

He sure isn't the same as the old boss.

My friend and WFAN radio host Ed Randall will be hosting his first annual Red Sox Hot Stove Report with new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine at Rippowam Middle School in Stamford, Connecticut, which just happens to be the new manager's stomping grounds.

It will be an "Inside the Actor's Studio" type of event, in front of audience. It will be held on January 29th from 5:30-7:30 PM.

Tickets will be $40, and all money raised will go to fight prostate cancer, a disease that Ed beat and relentlessly helps to fight. If you'd like to get tickets, go to Ed's website: www.fans4the cure.org.

With thanks to my friend Peter Collery at the BLOHARDS, who brought this event to my attention.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Would Have Voted For "The Friendly Fascist"

If I had been in New Hampshire on Tuesday, I would have voted for one Vermin Supreme to be our next president. (Funny, I would have thought Bill Maher was "vermin supreme.")

You've got to love a guy who shows up to a political forum wearing a fishing boot on his head, speaks out against the scourge that is gingivitis and advocates giving everyone ponies. This clip, from a lesser known presidential candidates forum last December, is absolutely hilarious:



Don't give up Mr. Supreme. Get 'em in 2016!

Trivia Q&A: January 10

We had a late-arriving crowd to Professor Thom's on Tuesday night, but 20 teams turned out, with many of the regulars returning as well.

Current Events turned out to be a tough round with mostly low scores, but most teams did very well in the following three rounds heading into IQ Trivia. The team leading the entire night, Got Me Looking So Mommy Right Now, held on and one by just a single point, 43 in total. Second place went to That Shit Cray (What She Order?), who got 4 of the 5 IQ Trivia questions right, wound up with 42 points. Third place went to If God Cheats at Football, Why Can't We Cheat at Trivia? with 37 points.

Best Team Name: Tebows and Tiaras

Current Events
1. A man at a Walmart store in North Carolina was arrested last week when he tried to pay for $476 worth of items with a ball of what denomination, which he insisted to store employees was real?
2. A guitar belonging to what British rock star was discovered in Curacao last week, over 30 after a plane crashed containing the star's equipment there?
3. Name 1 of the 5 nations that became non-permanent members of the UN Security Council this past week.
4. The National Weather Service said last week that which US state had its driest year on record in 2011, as well as its second hottest year ever?
5. US News and World Report selected what diet, for the second straight year, as the Best Diet for 2011?
6. According to the online company CafePress, which current political figure is selling the most of their paraphernalia in terms of t-shirts, bags, etc.?
7. What new release film eclipsed the new Mission Impossible sequel this past weekend and became the number one film in America?

New Hampshire Trivia
1. Who were the Democratic and Republican winners of the New Hampshire primaries of 2008?
2. What is the largest city by population in New Hampshire?
3. What mid-19th century president was the only one born in New Hampshire?
4. Of the six New England states, where does New Hampshire rank in total population, as of the 2010 Census?
5. How many states does New Hampshire border?
6. What is the New Hampshire state motto?
7. The highest peak in the Northeastern US is in New Hampshire. What is that mountain's name?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The original owner of the Marlboro tobacco company died of lung cancer.
2. Oak trees don't produce acorns until they reach the age of 50.
3. The flowers known as perennials flower for only one year.
4. Both a pig's squeal and the noise from a jet plane can exceed 100 decibels.
5. Play-Doh was originally sold as wallpaper cleaner.
6. Identical twins also have identical fingerprints.
7. In Mark Twain's novel, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Huck is 14 years old.
8. Mistletoe berries are poisonous.
9. The Fortress of Solitude was the headquarters for the superhero The Green Lantern.
10. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" was written by James Joyce.

General Knowledge
1. "The Land of 10,000 Lakes" is the nickname of what US state? ( 1 pt)
2. What popular annual sporting event has been called "The Most Exciting 2 Minutes In Sports?" ( 1 pt)
3. The CIA once attempted to assassinate what foreign leader with an exploding cigar? ( 1 pt)
4. Pat Garrett, a lawman in the Old West, shot and killed what infamous outlaw in 1881? ( 2 pt)
5. What is the name of the company that gave us the Frisbee, Hula Hoop and SuperBall? ( 2 pt)
6. The island of Formosa in Asia is today known by what name? ( 2 pt)
7. The last Beatles album recorded by the group in the summer of 1969 is called what? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What superstar rock band was banned from the city of Boston in 1975 and never played there again after thousands of fans caused $50,000 worth of damage just before tickets to their show went on sale at Boston Garden? ( 4 points)
2. "Amerika" was the original name of the private 12-car armored train of what 20th century leader? ( 5 points)
3. What TV and movie series featured a super-secret underground government agency known by the acronym IMF? ( 4 points)
4. Who was the first US president with a four-letter last name? ( 3 points)
5. What is the world's best-selling musical instrument? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. $1 million; 2. Peter Frampton; 3. Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan, Togo; 4. Texas; 5. DASH Diet; 6. Ron Paul; 7. "The Devil Inside."

New Hampshire Trivia
1. Hillary Clinton and John McCain; 2. Manchester; 3. Franklin Pierce; 4. fourth; 5. three; 6. Live Free Or Die; 7. Mount Washington.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. true; 3. false; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false; 7. true; 8. true; 9. false, Superman; 10. false, Oscar Wilde.

General Knowledge
1. Minnesota; 2. The Kentucky Derby; 3. Fidel Castro; 4. Billy the Kid; 5. Wham-O; 6. Taiwan; 7. Abbey Road.

IQ Trivia
1. Led Zeppelin; 2. Adolf Hitler; 3. Mission: Impossible; 4. James K. Polk; 5. harmonica.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Back On Tuesday Night, Where We Belong

On Tuesday night at Professor Thom's, we will have a round of "New Hampshire Trivia," as the Special Category, in honor of that day's Republican primary. We'll have seven questions about the Granite State, and not all of them will be political.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Pat Garrett, a lawman of the Old West, shot and killed what infamous outlaw in 1881?"

We get going shortly after 9 PM. We're back on Tuesday nights to stay, and I don't anticipate any movements away from Tuesday until at least the beginning of the Red Sox' season in April. I hope to see many of you this Tuesday night.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Happy 77th, King

In honor of Elvis Presley's birthday today, here is one of my favorite songs of his:

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Happy Birthday Tony C

In memory of the great Tony Conigliaro, who would have been 67 today, here is the hit single he recorded in 1965, when he was the height of popularity. It's a clever little pop ditty called "Playing The Field."



With thanks to my friend Don in Nova Scotia, who made me aware of the clip on YouTube earlier today.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

18,262


OK, time for a Trivia question.

This post is entitled "18,262" for what reason?
a. It is the number of times ABC and ESPN called The Rose Bowl "The Grandaddy of Them All" on Monday;
b. The actual number of people who voted in the Iowa caucus on Tuesday;
c. The highest attendance the Mets will get at any game in 2012;
d. The total number of days I have walked this earth.

Pat yourself on the back if you said "d." (Sorry there's no prize involved.)

18, 262 days adds up to exactly 50 years. Yes, as of 2:41 AM this morning, I have been a member of the human race exactly half a century. That adds up to:

600 months.
2,608 weeks (and 6 days).
438,288 hours.
26,297,280 minutes.
1,577,836,800 seconds.

Boy, that's a long time.

And I'm grateful to each and everyone of you who have been a part of my life.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Good Luck Derek

My friend and fellow Red Sox blogger Derek Hixon is retiring today. Or should I say he is retiring his excellent Red Sox blog "SawxBlog," today. Derek put up his final post today, and made an analogy to Jason Varitek about stepping away. (Rumors are now going around that Tek may not be leaving after all. I really hope the rumors aren't true, and Tek walks away with dignity. Like Derek is doing today.)

I had the pleasure of meeting Derek at my Trivia Night last summer, as he came down for a Red Sox game at Professor Thom's. He has always done his blog with intelligence and fairness, and I'll miss his take on our beloved team. We are short one less good Red Sox blogger today, and I am sorry to see that happen.

Good luck Derek, in whatever road you choose to go down.

My friend Chris Jaffe over at the Hardball Times has an interesting article on the upcoming Hall of Fame balloting (which will be announced next Monday), and predicts that just one player will be elected.

And the always fascinating Pete Nash at The Hauls of Shame web site has a review of 2011, and includes stories about the FBI's continuing probe of stolen letters from the New York Public Library and the Hall of Fame's continued refusal to pursue letters stolen from them.

Trivia Q&A: January 2

On Monday's special edition of Trivia, we had to follow the Oregon-Wisconsin Rose Bowl game, and there were many Wisconsin fans in the bar. We got Trivia going shortly afterwards, and we had a smaller but enthusiastic crowd in, 10 teams.

It was close throughout the night, but the team called Dead Black Birds came away with the win, as they led through the entire night. They got 3 of the 5 IQ Trivia questions correct, and wound up winning with 43 points.

Second place went to Happy 30th Birthday, John Quinn! with 37 points and third place went to Chicks With Dicks with 34 points.

And special thanks to Trivia regulars Gillian, Christina and all their friends, who surprised me with a birthday cake just before the final round began. (You might have guessed they were the team that finished in second.) I am so touched that they did that, and I love you all of you for such a sweet gesture. You're all the best!

Thanks to everyone at Trivia Night for the nice birthday wishes. I love you all!

BTW, we return to our usual Tuesday nights next week, January 10th at 9 PM. We should be back on Tuesday to stay until at least April.

Best Team Name: Frodo T. Baggin'

Current Events
1. What film was the number one grossing film for 2011, bringing in over $381 million in the US?
2. What retail giant is planning to close 100-120 stores in 2012 after having a sluggish holiday season?
3. The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum announced that what milestone number had been reached last week in total number of visitors to their site since it opened to the public last September 12th?
4. What '80s rock star announced last week that she was divorcing her current husband, a man she met on the Internet, after only 18 days of marriage?
5. President Obama signed into law last weekend tough new sanctions targeting the central bank and financial sector of what country?
6. What New York City university is offering a class next semester called "Occupy Wall Street", where 30 students will go out into the field at actual protests?
7. Thousands of dead blackbirds rained down in a town in what southern state on New Year's Eve, and officials there suspect it was due to a number of fireworks celebrations?

New Year's Day Trivia
1. What was the homeland of the first immigrant registered at Ellis Island when it opened on New Year's Day in 1892?
2. The Emancipation Proclamation took effect on this day in what year of the Civil War?
3. On this date in 1971, what was officially banned from American TV and still is to this day?
4. In 1959, Fulgencio Batista was overthrown as dictator of what Caribbean nation?
5. In 1984 on this day, Brunei gained its independence from what nation?
6. On this day in 1902, the first college bowl game was played, between Michigan and Stanford. What was that bowl game's name?
7. In 1994, actor Cesar Romero died on this date. What recurring character did he play on the 1960s Batman TV series?

Over/Under/Exactly 50 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Tom Cruise
2. Michael J. Fox
3. Michelle Pfeiffer
4. Jon Stewart
5. Christie Brinkley
6. George Michael
7. Alec Baldwin
8. Marisa Tomei
9. Charlie Sheen
10. Barack Obama

General Knowledge
1. What is the technical name for one's voice box? ( 1 pt)
2. In 2003, who became the first African-American woman to appear on Forbes' list of the wealthiest Americans? ( 1 pt)
3. English and Maori are the official languages of what country? ) 1 pt)
4. Stella Kowalski is a character in what Tennessee Williams play? ( 2 pt)
5. The atomic bombs dropped on two Japanese cities in 1945 were how many days apart? ( 2 pt)
6. In George Orwell's "Animal Farm," Old Major, Napoleon and Snowball are what type of animals? ( 2 pt)
7. Who was the leader of the first group to reach the Geographic South Pole in 1911? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What is the only planet in our solar system that rotates clockwise? ( 4 points)
2. What Spanish explorer is credited with discovering the Mississippi River in 1541? ( 3 points)
3. Alektorophobia is the fear of what animal? ( 5 points)
4. What Italian city was made the first capital of Italy in 1861, and is currently the capital of the Piedmont region? ( 4 points)
5. Cape Agulhas is the southernmost point of what country? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. "Harry Potter and The Deathly Gallows Part 2;" 2. Sears/KMart; 3. One million; 4. Sinead O'Connor; 5. Iran; 6. Columbia; 7. Arkansas.

New Year's Day Trivia
1. Ireland (Annie Moore); 2. 1863; 3. cigarette ads; 4. Cuba; 5. United Kingdom; 6. Rose Bowl; 7. The Joker.

Over/Under/Exactly 50 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Under (49); 2. Exactly (50); 3. Over (53); 4. Under (49); 5. Over (57); 6. Under (48); 7. Over (53); 8. Under (47); 9. Under (46); 10. Exactly (50).

General Knowledge
1. larnyx; 2. Oprah Winfrey; 3. New Zealand; 4. "A Streetcar Named Desire;" 5. three; 6. pigs; 7. Roald Amundsen.

IQ Trivia
1. Venus; 2. Hernando DeSoto; 3. chickens; 4. Turin; 5. South Africa.

Monday, January 02, 2012

That Wraps Up Another Football Season. Thankfully.

2011 was as bad as 1984 for the Vikings, which was the worst year in team history. They end the year at 3-13.

Yesterday's 17-13 loss to the Bears at the Metrodome means they end this awful campaign with a 1-7 record at home. They beat Arizona back in October for their only home win.

They were also swept in their division, at 0-6, for the first time in club history.

Only bright spot of the finale was Jared Allen, the Vikings' Pro Bowl representative, got 3 sacks to lead the league, and missed Michael Strahan's record of 22 1/2 by just a half, as Allen finished with 22.

The Vikings will get the number three pick in the NFL draft in April, after Indianapolis and St. Louis. And now the real fun begins as to whether the Vikings get a new stadium in Minnesota, or will be calling another locale home next fall. They can legally leave Minnesota as of February 1st.

Let's hope the deal for a new home gets done.

Now bring on the baseball season.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Let's Butcher The Beatles Night

I was channel-surfing last night on New Year's Eve and had the great misfortune to come across two sights that made my skin crawl.

Justin Bieber attempting to sing "Let It Be", and some other singer named Cee Lo trying to do the same with "Imagine" at Times Square as 2011 was drawing to close.

Watching both these "singers" put a gas can to two of the greatest songs ever done in rock history was truly a pathetic sight, and I'm glad I was only exposed to them for just a few seconds.

Popular music has rarely been so incredibly awful than it is now. Makes me VERY glad the iPod was invented.

They both receive no forgiveness for me for these capital crimes. And just who's wonderful idea was it to let this happen?

Our 7th Year of Trivia Begins Monday Night

Our first Trivia Night of 2012 will be a special Monday edition, due to the plethora of Michigan fans who will be in Professor Thom's for their bowl game on Tuesday. So, we will have "Over/Under/Exactly 50 Trivia" as the Q Train lightning round. I will give you the names of ten current celebrities and you have to tell me if they are over, under or exactly the age of 50. (Wow, what a coincidence, since your Trivia Maven turns 50 years of age on Wednesday. Yes, just a coincidence!)

The Special Category will be "New Year's Day Trivia." Yes we are a day late, but technically January 2nd is the holiday, so we will have seven questions about New Year's Day in history.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
English and Maori are the official languages of what country?

We will get started at 9 PM on Monday night. We will return to our usual Tuesday nights on January 10th. I hope to see many of you on Monday as we kick off our 7th year of Trivia at Professor Thom's!

A New Record To End 2011

We ended 2011 on a really high note as far as this blog is concerned, as we had the most hits ever in one day at The Mighty Quinn Media Machine: 706. (The old record of 583, set in November 2008, was left in the dust.)

It was a combination of factors. We always get a ton of people coming on here to read my Top 20 Twilight Zone Episodes, as the marathon is currently going on at the SyFy Channel. (It's also the most popular post I have ever put up in the history of this blog.) I always post my favorite Honeymooners clip, the "Hello Ball" one when Ed Norton teaches Ralph how to play golf, and many folks look for that. ("The Honeymooners" marathon is also running all day today on WPIX in NYC.)

And I also posted a picture that said "Goodbye 2011" last week for the Trivia Sneak Peek last Monday, and that brought a whole lot of folks here. (A slew of people were googling it, and they ended up here.)

We had an amazing 63 hits to begin the day, in the midnight hour. It was the most in any hour all day. We had over 200 after the first four hours. I can't explain that, to be honest! The overnight hours are when the numbers are generally lowest.

Anyway, I hope all of you enjoyed coming here on New Year's Eve, and hope you return again many times in 2012. Thanks for making it a record-setting day.