MLB Regular Season Ends

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Immovable Objects Always Win

I honestly feared this game. The Red Sox had won back-to-back games in New York, and I thought returning to Boston there might be an immediate letdown. Clay Buchholz gave up a home run to the Tigers' Austin Jackson on the second pitch and a double to Quintin Berry. My fears were growing. I turned my TV off and had dinner.

I returned to find the Red Sox up 2-1, as Jacoby Ellsbury walked to open the first, Carl Crawford tripled him in, and Dustin Pedroia's ground out made it 2-1.

Buchholz allowed Detroit to tie it in the third, and it stayed 2-2 until the sixth when Pedroia blasted a two-run shot to but the Sox up, 4-2. It was 5-3 in the 8th when Will Middlebrooks hit a line shot in the Monster seats to make it 7-3.

In that same inning, Ryan Sweeney was robbed off a hit by Omar Infante, who made a great diving stop in the hole at second and threw him out. Sweeney was visibly upset entering the dugout, and in the top of the ninth, Cody Ross took over in RF for Sweeney. That didn't make much sense to me. Sweeney is the better OF, why would Ross go in for defense?

Turns out that Sweeney was so upset he punched a door (or was it a wall?) in frustration and injured his hand. He will have an MRI today, and it appears he maybe heading for the DL.

Note to Ryan: going three rounds with immovable objects in and around the dugout is never a good idea. Objects almost always win.

Anyway, Buchholz got his 9th win, going 8 innings and allowing just 2 earned runs. He is unquestionably the ace of the Red Sox staff right now.

The trading deadline is at 4 PM today. I don't anticipate the Red Sox doing anything major today.

UPDATE: Ryan Sweeney has a broken hand, and will miss up to 8 weeks. Ryan Kalish will be called up from Pawtucket to take his place.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Let The Games Begin On Tuesday

This Tuesday night, we will have as the Special Category for Trivia Night: "Summer Olympics Trivia," in honor of the 30th Olympiad that just started in London this past weekend. It will be seven questions about the Summer Games only.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Album Trivia." I will give you ten famous albums from over the past forty years or so along with the year they came out, and you have to tell the artist who recorded it.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What western US state has the smallest population of any state as of 2010?"

We'll get going around the usual time of 9 PM. Once again, the crowds have been great, so getting in a little earlier is always a good thing. Hope many of you will come out for a great night of Trivia on Tuesday night.

Pedro Ciriaco: Yankee Killer

The Red Sox took the weekend series from New York on Sunday night with a 3-2 win in 10 innings, courtesy of a bloop hit by the newest Yankee killer: Pedro Ciriaco.

The relatively unknown infielder is simply amazing against New York this season: 11-for-22, with 6 RBI. He was in last night as Mike Aviles was nursing a sore toe.

Felix Doubront pitched one of his best games of the year last night: 6 1/3 innings, 1 earned run.

The bullpen blew the lead for the second straight day as New York tied it in the 8th on Russell Martin's RBI single. Ryan Sweeney drove in the Sox' first two runs with an RBI double. Will Middlebrooks was involved in some controversy in the 10th, as he was clearly hit by a pitch attempting to bunt, but the umps ruled the ball hit the bat. Morons as usual, but justice was served as Middlebrooks singled in front of Ciriaco's game-winning single.

Back to .500 yet again, at 51-51.

Taking a series from New York is always fun (and most welcomed right now), but I can't say I'm jumping for joy over this. It was tough road trip the Sox finished against Texas and New York, going 3-3. I honestly thought 0-6 or 1-5 might be where it would wind up.

Now, they must build on it, and RIGHT NOW. The schedule gets no easier. They start a 10-game homestand against Detroit, Minnesota and Texas tonight. And the following ten-game road trip is not easy either: Cleveland, Baltimore and New York (again). These 20 games will show what kind of heart and desire this team has. They need to win 14 or 15 of these games to really make any kind of a move in the Wild Card standings. Am I dreaming? Probably am. If they come out with a half-assed effort in the Detroit series, and can only split against the Twins (only one of three teams with a worse record against them in the AL), that will tell you all you need to know. That this is a mediocre, overpaid team with no hope of playing beyond October 3.

The time is now, boys. Only 60 games left. I have pretty much written this season off. It was a good weekend in New York. Build on it.

And once again, prove me wrong.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dignity Returns (For a Day)

Jon Lester went out there on Saturday evening at "iconic" Yankee Stadium and was decent. Nothing great (6 innings, 4 earned runs), but was miles better than his last start last Sunday. (I put iconic in quotation marks because I recently heard that den of inequity referred to by that moniker. How can any stadium that has been opened just 3 years be "iconic"?) Lester needs to build on this start.

Adrian Gonzalez continued his hot hitting with a three-run shot and 3 hits, Will Middle brooks doubled in two in the first and Pedro Ciriaco had three hits, scored three runs, and had the crushing blow of the game in the ninth with the score tied: a fly ball that Curtis Granderson totally butchered that allowed Jacoby Ellsbury to score the go-ahead run. Ciriaco then scored on Dustin Pedroia's sac fly. (With thanks to Surviving Grady for the pic.)

The Sox blew a 6-1 lead, and it was capped by Mark Teixeira's two-run home run off his former buddy Vicente Padilla. Horse Face took his sweet time getting out of the batter's box, admiring his home run. Their next meeting should be must-see TV, no?

Alfredo Aceves got New York 1-2-3 for the save, in an 8-6 win.

Can't get overly excited about this win. Happy for the win, but the Red Sox need to go on a tear like the Oakland A's are on right now (18-3 in July) for this to have any meaning. They've driven us bananas all year with these small winning streaks, only to give it back.

A win tonight would be a good start. But even that wouldn't have me jumping for joy. I really doubt this team has an 18-3 run in them.

Prove me wrong guys.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Bright Side Keeps Getting Darker

Carl Crawford hit his first home run of 2012 on Friday night. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Dustin Pedroia also hit solo home runs.

I can't think of anything else positive to write about Friday's game.

It was Game 100, and the Red Sox are two games under, at 49-51.

I'll stop there.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another Series Lost

Josh Beckett pitched last night against Texas, and I had little hope the Red Sox would win this game and the series.

Beckett wasn't awful, but he wasn't good either. Texas won the game on a wild pitch in the seventh, and went on to win, 5-3. The Rangers scored three off Beckett in the fourth, as the Sox were leading, 2-0 at the time.

The Sox got home runs from Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia, and Pedey drove in the first run of the game as he hit into a DP that brought in Jacoby Ellsbury. (No RBI of course on the play.)

Back under .500, at 49-50. Game number 100 in the Bronx on Friday night.

The Red Sox will have to play .650 ball the rest of the way to reach 88 wins. That's a 105 wins over 162 games clip.

I guess you can tell my enthusiasm for this baseball season continues to wane.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Batman With Class

You may have heard that Christian Bale made a surprise visit to the hospital in Aurora, Colorado where many of the theater shooting victims were recuperating yesterday.

Very classy gesture by Mr. Bale. He did it with no fanfare or publicity, but the word got out he was in town and it became an event.

Love this picture, for obvious reasons:


That was Mr. Bale with shooting victim, Carey Rottman, who I'm guessing is a Red Sox fan.

Did He Strike Out On a Fastball Or a Curve?

My mom and dad actually told me about this video yesterday. Rather clever.

You will either love this or hate this video, depending on your world view.

"Obama at the Bat":


Just When I Thought I Was Out...

They pull me back in. At least for one night.

OK, I wouldn't go that far. But Clay Buchholz was terrific again, allowing just one run to the powerful Texas Rangers lineup in seven innings. Buch seems like the most reliable Sox starter these days, as the Red Sox ended an odious four-game losing streak, 2-1.

Mike Aviles' bloop single drove in Daniel Nava in the ninth inning to break a 1-1 tie. Alfredo Aceves walked one batter in the ninth (the Red Sox killer Mike Napoli), but that was it.

The Red Sox can win the series tonight, but it will take a good start from Josh Beckett to do it.

I can dream, can't I?

Trivia Q&A: July 24

We had 22 teams in for a spirited night of Trivia, and that included a Red Sox victory in Texas that happened just as our night concluded. A little icing on the cake of a nice night.

There was some strong scores for Current Events, but we had no perfect score in True or False Trivia (The Q Train usually has at least one team run the table), and the teams were incredibly bunched up going into IQ Trivia: the top seven teams were separated by just a single point (including a three-way tie for first and a  four-way tie for fourth).

Three teams got all five IQ Trivia questions correct, and they ended up being the top three teams for the night. The winners were Pater-No Means No got 47 points and their second straight win on Trivia Night. My congratulations to Joe and his crew, and they'll go for the hat trick next week.

Second place went to Why Don't They Just Move His Statue to the Showers with 45 points, and third place went to Lazy Teachers On Vacation with 44 points.

Best Team Name: Trivia Killed the Radio Star (And did I get booed for that pick! Lots of 'Penn State-oriented' names on Tuesday night. Decorum prohibits me naming the more colorful ones.)

Current Events
1. Boxer Floyd Mayweather was named the top earning athlete for 2011 in Sports Illustrated's annual poll, eclipsing what athlete who held the top spot since 2004?
2. What comedic actress topped Forbes' list of the top earning actresses on TV the past 12 months, displacing the last chart-topper, Kim Kardashian?
3. What 1990s pop group announced they will reunite and take to the stage for the first time in years at the closing ceremonies of this summer's Olympics?
4. Bradley Wiggins became the first ever winner of the Tour de France cycling race this past Sunday from what country?
5. 14 people were killed and 9 injured when a crowded pickup truck veered off a highway and crashed last Sunday in what US state?
6. Jeremy Lin of the Knicks left as a free agent last week and signed a three-year deal with what team?
7. What female Grammy winner was named to the judging panel of "American Idol" on Monday?

1980s Trivia
1. "Theatre of Pain" was an album from 1985 from what American heavy metal band?
2. What film in the initial "Star Wars" trilogy did Jabba the Hut make its first appearance?
3. What event occurred on November 9, 1989, symbolizing the beginning of the fall of communism?
4. "Go ahead, make my day" was a famous quote by Clint Eastwood in what "Dirty Harry" sequel film?
5. What 1980s TV star had a pop album in 1986 entitled "Heartbeat?"
6. Sally Ride passed away yesterday at the age of 61. In 1983, she became the first American woman in space as a crew member of what space shuttle?
7. What championship NFL team had a rap hit in the mid-1980s called "The Super Bowl Shuffle?"

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Air Force One is not called Air Force One unless the president is on it.
2. There is no corn in corned beef.
3. Buckingham Palace has over 1,000 total rooms in it.
4. "Steal This Book" a book written by Abby Hoffman, is actually the most shoplifted book in history.
5. More than 1,000 languages are spoken on the continent of Africa.
6. Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached only at one end.
7. There are more chickens than people in the world.
8. Vermont is the second smallest US state in area.
9. There are twice as many kangaroos as people in Australia.
10. Chicago has the most registered bowlers than any other US city.

General Knowledge
1. How many bones are there in the adult human body? ( 1 pt)
2. Hudson Bay is located in what nation? ( 1 pt)
3. The Social Security Act was enacted under what US president? ( 1 pt)
4. What is a shot made in golf that is two below par called? ( 2 pt)
5. The majority of Lake Tahoe is found in what US state? ( 2 pt)
6. "The House of the Rising Sun" was a 1964 hit song for what rock band? ( 2 pt)
7. How many successful Apollo missions landed astronauts on the moon? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The countries of Russia, Greece, Scotland and Romania all share the same patron saint. What is his name? ( 4 points)
2. What Oscar-winning actor played Alfred the butler in the 2005 film "Batman Begins?" ( 3 points)
3. Beluga and Sevruga are two of the main types of what food? ( 4 points)
4. The Balearic Islands belong to what European nation? ( 5 points)
5. "Luckiest Man" and "Iron Horse" are the titles of two biographies of what famous American? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Tiger Woods; 2. Sofia Vergara; 3. The Spice Girls; 4. England; 5. Texas; 6. Houston Rockets; 7. Mariah Carey.

1980s Trivia
1. Motley Crue; 2. "Return of the Jedi;" 3. Berlin Wall falls; 4. "Sudden Impact;" 5. Don Johnson; 6. Challenger; 7. Chicago Bears.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. true; 3. false, 600; 4. false, The Bible; 5. true; 6. true; 7. true; 8. false, Delaware; 9. true; 10. false, Detroit.

General Knowledge
1. 206; 2. Canada; 3. Franklin D. Roosevelt; 4. eagle; 5. California; 6. The Animals; 7. six.

IQ Trivia
1. St. Andrew; 2. Michael Caine; 3. caviar; 4. Spain; 5. Lou Gehrig.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Guess We Can Finally Drop The Pretense

That this Red Sox team has any realistic shot at making the postseason for 2012, that is.

Another dispiriting 9-1 loss to the mighty Texas Rangers in Arlington. Another crappy start, no offense at all against a guy, Scott Feldman, who was making a spot start. Felix Doubront gave up six runs in 5+ innings.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a home run for the lone Sox run.

The Red Sox are now back under .500, at 48-49. Four games out of the Wild Card and falling. Could be the beginning of what maybe the week that knocks the Red Sox completely out of it for 2012.

Do you really think this team will be buyers at the trading deadline next week?

NY Acquires a Guy With a .281 OBP

As the whole world knows by now, the Yankees decided to rent Ichiro Suzuki for three months, as they traded two middle-of-the-road prospect pitchers to the Mariners to acquire him on Monday.

Suzuki is a free agent at the end of the season, and his numbers have been in steady decline the last two years. He's 38 years old, with a .261 BA and a .281 OBP, going into last night's game. (Or as Allan at Joy of Sox calls him, "Mike Aviles without the power.") But he wants a shot at a ring, and he clearly won't ever get that in Seattle again.

I don't have any problem with this trade. It could work for both parties, or it might not. And probably just for the remainder of 2012. (Jerry Remy, on last night's Red Sox-Rangers game, said that Suzuki finally wanted to play on "a winner." I guess he doesn't remember that in Suzuki's first season in Seattle, 2001, the Mariners set the all-time AL record for wins in a season, with 116. But they didn't win the World Series. Or even make it to the Series. That team is totally forgotten now, a mere footnote in baseball history.)

But I find the timing VERY curious. They traded for two prospects, two guys who may help them down the road. Why would you make this deal BEFORE the series started? Why didn't Seattle wait until AFTER this series was over, AFTER the Yankees left town? The trading deadline is a week from today, so there was no pressure to do it immediately. Looks like they really don't care much for winning this series, as they made the Yankees better (if just slightly) with the trade.

I can only guess that by putting Suzuki in pinstripes, it will put more fannies in the seats for this three-game series, as more Mariners fans would want to come out to say goodbye to him, or just for the curiosity factor.

Once again, it's a case of money talks, BS walks.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The '80s Are Back, On Tuesday

This Tuesday night at Professor Thom's we will have "1980s Trivia" as the Special Category. It will be seven questions, mostly about pop culture, concerning that decade that some of us still remember quite well.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Social Security Act was enacted under what US president?"

We get going at the usual time of 9 PM. The crowds continue to be quite large this summer, so I highly recommend getting in a little early to secure a good table. Hope to see many of you tomorrow night!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

An Absolutely Disgraceful Weekend

I did something I've never done before watching the Red Sox in all the time I've been a fan of the team: I saw the first pitch of the game, and turned off the TV, knowing the game was over and the Red Sox were heading for another loss.

Brett Lawrie took Jon Lester onto Lansdowne Street. 1-0 Toronto.

I had seen enough.

A total disgrace of a performance by Lester. 11 earned runs in 4 innings. That is a 24.75 ERA for a guy who pitched nearly half the game. It's the first time a Red Sox pitcher has allowed that many runs in a game since the infamous Doug Bird turned the trick in 1983. (It's never a good thing when you've matched a record Bird holds.)

I don't know if Bobby Valentine was sending a message to Lester by leaving him as long as he did. Or perhaps he didn't want to tax the pen, with a difficult road trip ahead.

I followed the game on my iPhone and, every time I checked, Lester was putting men on base and Toronto was changing the scoreboard. Even when the Red Sox showed some fight and tried to get back in the game, like when Adrian Gonzalez blasted a three-run shot in the first to make it 5-3, Lester reached into his bag of tricks and made sure the offense couldn't catch up.

A 15-7 final.

The Red Sox lost 6-1, 7-3 and 15-7 to a team that was reeling with injuries, in last place and had just been swept in New York. (And now the Sox are the last place team.) Pete Abraham tweeted tonight that the Red Sox pitchers have a 5.70 ERA at Fenway in their last 67 games. That's an even bigger disgrace.

Lester and Josh Beckett were the biggest culprits in the season that went down the crapper last September. I thought they might be two guys on a mission this season, to prove that last season's finish was an aberration. Right now, both are reinforcing that they are two overrated pitchers, and are killing the Red Sox chances of making the postseason this year. They both need to take very long looks in the mirror.

I have no idea what's wrong here. An injury? You've got me. I don't get paid to figure these things out.

Some might still be holding on to hope. You know, "The Red Sox are only 3 1/2 games back in the Wild Card. There's still time." Can you honestly look at this team's starting pitching and have confidence that everything will be alright?

And now if this weekend wasn't bad enough, the Red Sox now hit the road and play two of the best offensive teams in the AL this week: Texas and New York. This could get REALLY ugly. (The Red Sox are 1-7 against Texas and New York this season. And all eight games were played at Fenway Park.)

You can only win over the long haul if you pitch. Especially from your starting pitching. Lester and Beckett aren't being traded by July 31st, sent to the bullpen or the minors to straighten themselves out. The only hope the Sox have is that they get things right while starting. There's no other choice.

48-48 with 66 to play. It's not early anymore.

Once again, the Red Sox embarrassed their loyalest fans with some absolutely putrid baseball. And I've written that last line on more than one occasion this year. And I have a feeling it won't be the last.

Thanks Anyway, Tek

On a night when the Red Sox honored their retired captain Jason Varitek, they at least could have had the decency to beat the last-place Toronto Blue Jays.

Good start with an early Jarrod Saltalamacchia three-run bomb in the second. Then the offense totally went to sleep, as they got just two hits the rest of the way.

Aaron Cook was sharp early, but allowed two home runs in the 6th and 7th, and the night was basically lost, 7-3.

I've rarely seen a more maddening Red Sox team than this one. They open the second half by taking 2 of 3 from Tampa Bay, beat the White Sox 3 of 4 with a fantastic finish to cap the series. So I think we might finally be seeing them come together and make some hay, especially having to go to Texas and New York next week. Then two ugly losses to the team in last in their division at home.

You'll pardon me if my enthusiasm isn't running wild right now.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Clunker

The most emotional win of the season last night is followed by...an absolute stinker pitched by Josh Beckett.

The pitcher with the second most odious contract of any Sox hurler (after that guy who had Tommy John surgery late last year, his name currently escapes me) gave up two runs in the first (is that a new rule on the Sox, you must give up first inning runs?) and two in the second, and the Red Sox were gone for the night.

The immortal Aaron Laffey was on the mound for the Toronto Blue Jays, and they couldn't do a thing with him. Another guy they make look like Sandy Koufax. The Jays are all banged up, and were just swept in New York.

6-1, Toronto.

I really thought last night's big time win could be the beginning of better things to come.

Not with crappy efforts like this.

Beckett continues to keep memories of  last September alive in the minds of Red Sox fans.

Earl Weaver Would Love Cody Ross

I was watching last night's game at Professor Thom's with my buddy Joe and it was a frustrating evening to say the least.

Jose Quintana was very sharp for the White Sox, allowing the Red Sox just five hits in eight innings before leaving. Clay Buchholz was terrific too, allowing just a sacrifice fly in the 4th inning, and he also went eight innings.

The Red Sox had few chances to score, the best being in the 7th, when they had the bases loaded with one out, but Will Middlebrooks hit into a double play. It appeared like the night was going to end with a frustrating 1-0 loss.

I turned to Joe just before Cody Ross stepped up with two on and one out in the ninth and reminded him of his three-run home runs heroics of the night before. The Rodeo Clown struck again, hitting an Addison Reed inside fastball and crushing it into the Monster seats for an important 3-1 win, and a 3-1 series win over the White Sox.

I don't want to sound like a broken record on this subject, but the antics at home plate after the home run were just play stupid. Listen, I was excited that Ross won the game with a big time home run. But as many of you may know, I have been going on about these idiotic home plate (and infield) celebrations that teams do just because someone wins a game in their last at-bat at home. And what the Red Sox did last night left me holding my breath last night: Ross getting his jersey ripped off, littering pounding on him, and that dumb nonsense with the Gatorade bucket (see picture, with thanks to Joy of Sox).

I may sound like some kind of killjoy, but every team does this dumb nonsense. Does ANYONE remember Kendrys Morales and what happened to him at home plate in May 2010? Of course not. That idiocy only cost him a year and a half of his career.

Another accident WILL happen. Mark my words. MLB will only do something about this lunacy when a star player gets injured. I only pray he's not wearing a Red Sox uniform.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

No One Will Ever Be Elected Unanimously. Count On It.

On Facebook yesterday, the MLB Fan Cave put up a picture of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter with this question for the fans: "Will New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter be the first player unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame?"

As you might have guessed, that question attracted tons of responses, many of which were from Yankee fans no doubt, who thought overwhelmingly yes, Jeter would be the first.

They are in for a rude awakening five years after Jeter calls it quits: he will NOT get every vote.

Many fans like me thought he would not and gave resonable explanations as to why he won't, but the question garnered some really airheaded responses, like these:

100% yes....anyone who thinks otherwise, love or hate the Yankees, does NOT know baseball.

No, prolly get 95% of the vote and that is unfortunate but reality.

Sorry to say no , Boston has a B.A.A. writer with a vote , and will not vote for him on Jeters first time on ballot , just out of spite,like they did on the M.V.P.!! Kinda makes this guy look like an IDIOT though when everbody else will & and Jeter gets elected to H.O.F. on his first try!!He should. But some jealous Red Sox writer will vote no.

Jeter will be elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. I don't think there is any doubt about that. I won't list his accomplishments here, but most are Hall of Fame-worthy. (Forget the Gold Gloves he won; they were given to him as birthday presents. He wasn't the best AL shortstop in any of those years he was given them.)

But I just know that in the months leading up to Jeter being on the ballot for the first time, MLB Fan Cave's question will be the subject of much speculation (assuming no one has done it in the years leading up to it). But it won't happen, and for various reasons.

Derek Jeter is not the greatest all-around SS in MLB history. I would rank Honus Wagner, Cal Ripken and Ernie Banks ahead of him for sure, and some might include Ozzie Smith above him, too. Jeter has his detractors in the media, and some will have votes when he is eligible. Is there an anti-NY or anti-Yankees bias among some voters? Possibly. And there are just some writers who will NOT vote for a slam-dunk candidate in his first year of eligibilty, no matter who he is.

This got me thinking, that if no one has ever been elected unanimously, how did some of the all-time greats do?

Tom Seaver holds the record for the highest percentage of the HoF vote in history, with 98.84%. When he was elected in 1992, there were five writers, for whatever reason, did not vote for him. Four writers left Ty Cobb off in 1936. Nine left Henry Aaron off in 1982, 13 left Tony Gwynn off in 2007, and astoundingly, 11 left Babe Ruth, who I consider MLB's all-time greatest player, off in 1936.

And some other really all-time greats were left off even more ballots (of course, some years have had many more ballots cast than others): Ted Williams was left off 20, Stan Musial 23, Willie Mays 23, Joe DiMaggio 28 (he wasn't even elected on the first ballot), Roberto Clemente 31, Mickey Mantle 43, Sandy Koufax 52, Yogi Berra 57, Ernie Banks 62, Bob Gibson 64, Warren Spahn 65.

Walter Johnson, considered by many the greatest pitcher of all-time, was left off 37 ballots in 1936, and received only 83.6% of the vote. An amazing 16.7% of writers deemed him not worthy.

Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente were both elected in special votes, as both died in the primes. But neither of them were elected unanimously. Here is the complete list of Hall of Famers and the votes they got, courtesy of Baseball Almanac.

So maybe if some of these nitwit Yankee fans were to see the list, they might realize that even some of those Yankees already enshrined in Cooperstown were left off tons of ballots. So if Jeter is left off a few, for whatever reason, it's no big deal. He will probably get elected with between 90-95% of the vote. It will certainly be interesting to see what the final tally for him will be when the time comes.

Consider this scenario. When Jeter is eligible, there could be about 520 writers eligible to vote. If 26 decide not to vote for him, he still would have received exactly 95% of the vote, and that would be good for 13th highest in HoF history. But knowing these Yankee fans as I do, they'll be pissed off at those 26 who passed him over, and consider that an act of treason of some kind. No one will ever be elected unanimously, no matter how great any player is in his era, there will be writers who won't vote for him. It's been that way down through history. 

Yeah, many sportswriters are total nitwits. And yeah, a handful will not vote for Jeter. Who cares. I'm sure Jeter won't when it happens. But those Yankee fans. Jeesh. I'm sure there will be loud screeching from them on the writers who don't vote for him.

The worshiping and genuflecting at the Altar of Captain Tange will never end.

Ross' Two Big Dongs Lead To Victory

Cody Ross was boss on Wednesday night.

The Rodeo Clown belted two three-run shots onto Lansdowne Street to give the Red Sox a 10-1 win over the White Sox. Ross hit another booming shot that I thought from the camera angle might be home run #3, but it went just halfway up the Monster. Ross went 3-for-5 with 6 RBI and scored three runs.

It was also a big night for Adrian Gonzalez, who hit another shot into the Monster seats and had three hits, and for Jacoby Ellsbury, who also had three hits and scored three times.

Felix Doubront allowed a first inning run to Chicago, and I thought to myself, "Here we go again giving up first inning runs." But the Red Sox matched it in the bottom of the inning on Gonzo's RBI single. Doubront went six innings, allowing just that one run, and got his 10th win. The bullpen combo of Matt Albers, Mark Melancon and Andrew Miller retired all nine hitters they faced.

And I have to admit, when it turned into "Silly Time" in the NESN booth with the blowout and Don and Jerry were talking about singing, seeing RemDawg singing a few notes from The Beatles classic hit "Help" from an earlier time nearly made me fall off my bed with laughter.

David Ortiz was placed on the DL today with the heel injury, and could be reactivated on August 1st if all goes well. Mauro Gomez came back from Pawtucket and was the DH on Wednesday night.

The Sox are now one game back in the Wild Card race.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Firm Grasp of the Obvious

My friends over at Fenway West have this as their quote of the day today:

"I'm letting the team down." --Jon Lester

No sh*t, Sherlock.

Another subpar performance by Lester last night. Again, he puts the Red Sox in a hole in the first inning (and the Sox were lucky to escape giving up just two runs). Lester has been a monumental disappointment in 2012, especially after he was one of the main culprits that the Sox' 2011 season went down the crapper last September.

He, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz have been nothing better than mediocre in 2012, and these are three guys the Red Sox need to count on if they have any chance this October.

With the score 3-2 Chicago in the 4th with two outs, Lester threw a 3 and 2 meatball down the middle of the plate to Kevin Youkilis, and Youk banged it into the Monster seats, and that was all for Lester. (At first, Lester fell behind Youk 3 and 0, and you might have thought he would put him on and take his chances with Adam Dunn on deck. Youk made him pay.)

Junichi Tazawa pitched 4 effective innings in relief, allowing just one run. Carl Crawford had a great night, getting three hits and stealing three bases.

The Red Sox tried to get back into it, down 7-2 in the 8th. Kelly Shoppach hit a two-run shot to make it 7-5, but that was as close as the Red Sox got.

Four Grand

This is my 4,000th post on The Mighty Quinn Media Machine. It's an historic post for sure, but I had nothing planned for when it rolled around. And as you can see, I still don't.

Post #3,000 occurred on September 11, 2010, and I have discovered I am posting less as time has gone on. I think that maybe the Facebook factor, as I write there as well.I started the blog in March 2006, so it took me six years and four months to reach this milestone. Not bad.

Anyway, I just want to say thanks to all of you who come here from time to time to check on my ramblings. It's still a great pleasure to write this blog. I have no specific plans to change anything in the near future, but who knows?

Trivia Q&A: July 17

We had 24 teams in on a hot night in New York. I gave out maybe half that many sheets to the players in my rounds around the bar, but I had a whole slew of folks come up just as we were about to start and wanted to talk part.

We had some strong scores for The Q Train and General Knowledge, and a close race into IQ Trivia, with five teams within three points of each other. But we had two teams who got all five questions correct in the final round, and one of them was the second-place team Good Luck at UMich Jay, We'll Mich You (which also won for Best Team Name) getting the win by two points, with 56 points. Second place went to Purple Monkey Dishwasher with 54 points, and third place went to All This Nazi Hunting Is Making Me Hungry with 52 points.

And a bon voyage to Jay, from the winning team tonight, as he will be attending the University of Michigan this fall and tonight was his final night as a Thom's Trivia regular. Always sad to my regulars moving on from our little Tuesday night gathering place.

Current Events
1. Which rock group celebrated its 50th anniversary of their first performance last Thursday?
2. Which Protestant denomination is set to become the first major religious denomination in the US to approve a rite for blessing gay marriage after its bishops recently approved it?
3. Nielsen recently released the results of a survey of TV viewers and what event was the number one "Most Impactful TV Moment" of the last 50 years?
4. What pop singer is being sued by a woman for $9.2 million, after she claims that she suffered hearing loss from "a wave-like effect of screaming" from fans at his concert?
5. What female singer topped Forbes' list of the top earning celebrities under the age of 30, from May 2011 to May 2012, earning $57 million?
6. Jill Stein was nominated for president of the United States by what third-party's convention last weekend?
7. A French political party is suing what female pop singer after the singer showed a video at a Paris concert containing an image of the party's leader with a swastika on her forehead?

Q-Tip Trivia
1. Which of these US presidents were elected to the highest office twice? a. Grover Cleveland; b. Harry Truman; c. James K. Polk; d. Lyndon Johnson.
2. Which of the following gangsters were shot dead by the police? a. Al Capone; b. John Dillinger; c. John Gotti; d. Baby Face Nelson.
3. Which of these male baby names were in the Top 10 in the US for 2011? a. John; b. Jacob; c. Michael; d. William.
4. Which of these English rock stars have been knighted by Queen Elizabeth? a. Rod Stewart; b. Elton John; c. Paul McCartney; d. Eric Clapton.
5. Which of these countries currently have either a female president or prime minister? a. Australia; b. Germany; c. Argentina; d. India.
6. Which of these countries does the equator pass through? a. Brazil; b. Costa Rica; c. Nigeria; d. The Philippines.
7. Which of these directors have won an Oscar for Best Director? a. Alfred Hitchcock; b. Tim Burton; c. Sidney Lumet; d. Robert Altman.

Country of Their Birth Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Russell Crowe
2. Cate Blanchette
3. Eddie Van Halen
4. Pamela Anderson
5. Colin Farrell
6. Bjork
7. Dave Matthews
8. Natalie Portman
9. Salma Hayek
10. Bruce Willis

General Knowledge
1. What country was reggae legend Bob Marley from? (1 pt)
2. What is the Roman Numeral for 500? ( 1 pt)
3. Who invented the telegraph code? ( 1 pt)
4. Of the six official languages of the United Nations, which is first alphabetically? ( 2 pt)
5. What American city bills itself as the largest Polish city outside of Poland? ( 2 pt)
6. The Seminole American Indian tribe is native to what US state? ( 2 pt)
7. A person who is a numismatist collects what? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What notorious gangster's shirt, which was bloodies and bullet-riddled in a fatal ambush, sold for $85,000 at a 1997 auction, 63 years after his death? ( 4 points)
2. In what grueling annual race is the Red Lantern Award given to the last person to cross the finish line? ( 4 points)
3. According to popular legend, what branch of the US Armed Forces was formed in a Philadelphia tavern in 1775? ( 4 points)
4. Catalan is the only official language of what European country? ( 5 points)
5. "Wuthering Heights" was the only published novel by what English novelist and poet? ( 3 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. The Rolling Stones; 2. Episcopalian; 3. September 11 Attacks; 4. Justin Bieber; 5. Taylor Swift; 6. Green Party; 7. Madonna.

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

Country of Their Birth Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. New Zealand; 2. Australia; 3. Netherlands; 4. Canada; 5. Ireland; 6. Iceland; 7. South Africa; 8. Israel; 9. Mexico; 10. Germany.

General Knowledge
1. Jamaica; 2. D; 3. Samuel Morse; 4. Arabic; 5. Chicago; 6. Florida; 7. Coins and paper money.

IQ Trivia
1. Clyde Barrow; 2. The Iditarod Dog Sled Race (I also accepted Tour de France, as it also gives out that award) ; 3. US Marine Corps; 4. Andorra; 5. Emily Bronte.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Best of All Worlds: Youk, CC Return; Bosox Win

It was a memorable and emotional night at the Fens on Monday.

Kevin Youkilis made his return to the park he called home for eight years and got the standing ovation he richly deserved in the top of the first. (Another one of those moments that made me proud to be a Red Sox fan.) He promptly singled and scored the first run.

It was a big night for Youk, as he went 3-for-4, including two doubles. (My pal Jere at A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory has many cool pictures and clips from the game.)

But in the bottom of the first, Carl Crawford made his Fenway debut for 2012, and did the same thing Youk did: singled and scored, and that tied the game at 1.

Aaron Cook was terrific. He went seven innings and allowed the White Sox just one run. In the eighth inning, Crawford opened with a walk, as did David Ortiz. And Adrian Gonzalez sent a booming drive to left that landed in the Monster seats. Every Red Sox fan had to let out a cheer for A-Gon for that one. A big time clutch home run, something we haven't seen in a quite some time.

The Red Sox added another run in the eighth, and won, 5-1.

As David Ortiz was coming home during the home run, he was slow to reach the dugout, and had to be helped down the steps. He bruised his heel earlier in the game on a base hit, and will have an MRI later today. He may only miss a handful of games. Keep your fingers crossed.

Just when this lineup was finally coming together...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Q-Tip & Foreign Stars Featured On Tuesday

This Tuesday night, Trivia at Professor Thom's will feature "Q-Tip Trivia" as the Special Category. We haven't done it in a while, so, why not? That is the category where I ask seven general knowledge, multiple choice questions, and one, two, three, all four, or none can be correct. You will get one point for every correct answer. (If it is "none", you will get one point.) However, any incorrect answers nullify any correct ones in that question, and you will get a zero. So you have to be careful.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Country of Their Birth Trivia." I will give you the names of ten current celebrities who were not born in the United States, and you have to tell me which foreign nation they were born in. (And no, Arnold Schwarzenegger will not be one of the stars featured.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What is the Roman numeral for 500?"

We get going shortly after 9 PM. The crowds have been building again in recent weeks, so coming in early might be a good idea to secure a good table. Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Another Rotten Beckett Beginning: And a Win!

It looked like Josh Beckett was going to make our lives miserable in the first inning again on Sunday.

Three straight hits and Tampa Bay had a run (which tied the game), and then another single with the bases loaded gave the Rays a 3-1 lead.

But Beckett settled down after the first and allowed Tampa Bay nothing more, and Mike Aviles and Daniel Nava both blasted home runs off James (My Next Big Game Will Be My First) Shields.

Beckett went six innings, and the Sox pen shut the Rays the rest of the way (although Alfredo Aceves was screwing around in the 9th but got the game finished with no further damage) for a 7-3 win, and series win in St. Pete.

New York lost so the Red Sox are now 9 1/2 games back. The Orioles lost so the Sox are 1 1/2 back in the Wild Card race.

Tomorrow we welcome back Kevin Youkilis to his old stomping grounds (and could the Smartest Guy In The Room keep his trap shut tomorrow as well?), and also welcome back Carl Crawford on the same night, as he will be activated from the DL on Monday.

Youk: All Class

The Red Sox will reunite with Kevin Youkilis tomorrow night, as he will be in town for the first time since he was traded to the White Sox. He asked ESPNBoston.com to pass along a letter he wrote for the fans. Here it is:

What an amazing run I have had these past 8 1/2 years in Boston!

It has been an honor and a privilege to play every home game of my career in Boston before a sold out Fenway Park. I would like to thank everyone who gave me an opportunity in Boston, and stood behind me through all these years. To the Spinners, the Sea Dogs, the PawSox, and to all those teammates on the Red Sox since 2004, I am forever grateful.


I want to thank the Red Sox ownership for all the hard work and dedication to making the Red Sox and Fenway Park a special place to play. They have always supported me on the field, and have helped out in many ways off the field. I can't thank them enough for my time in Boston.


To Terry Francona, who led us to 2 World Series championships in 2004 and 2007, I thank you for your support and personal guidance through my career with the Red Sox. I thank you for being there for me not just as a manager but as a friend off the field. Thank you for the opportunity to play in 3 All-Star Games, winning 2 World Series, winning the Hank Aaron Award and a Gold Glove. I could have never accomplished all this without all my great teammates and coaches who made me a better player.


I want to thank my parents and brothers for all their support from the day I got drafted. Without my Dad's hard work building that batting cage, and my Mom tirelessly schlepping me around to all my games, I would never have lived my dreams in Boston. I want to thank my beautiful wife Julie and all her family for all their support. We will always cherish Boston since it was the city in which we met and married.

 

I also want to thank all the philanthropic people around New England and across the country who supported my charity in the past and continue to support Youk’s Kids. Since its inception, we have raised over $3 million to support the neediest of children in Red Sox Nation. While my days of playing for the Red Sox have ended, I am still committed to serving the New England area through my charity. I thank all the charity’s sponsors for all they have done, and their continued support going forward.

And, last but no means least, to all the Red Sox Nation, the home of the most dedicated and knowledgeable fans in baseball, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. That final game at Fenway was the most emotional day of my life on the baseball field. It could not have been scripted any better. And to all those kids out there in Red Sox Nation, I can give you my Dad’s advice. “Life is like a throw to first base, always aim high.”

I love you all, and thanks,


Kevin Youkilis


Thanks for all the memories, Youk.

The Mediocrity Continues

I missed last night's game, as I was at my niece's party on Long Island. The iPhone got another serious workout.

Clay Buchholz pitched well for six innings, allowing just 2 runs on 3 hits in his first start off the DL. But he left with two runners on with a 3-2 lead in the 7th. Matt Albers allowed both runners to score, and Tampa Bay went on to win, 5-3.

Will Middlebrooks banged a two-run homer, Jacoby Ellsbury had two hits.

And now it looks like the Sox will lose a valuable member of the pen, as Scott Atchison will be placed on the DL today. No reason has yet been given as to why. Junichi Tazawa will be brought up in his place.

The Red Sox are now 10 1/2 games back in the East. They needed to break from the gate strong in the second half, go on a 15 of 20 or 20 of 25 run, something like that. (Remember August 2004? That's what the Sox did after a couple of so-so months, and it lifted them into the postseason.) I'm not confident something of that nature will happen.

1-1 since the All-Star Break. 44-44 on the season. The mediocrity continues.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Legend of the New Pedro Grows

How about that Pedro Ciriaco?

Three more hits to open the second half, and one of his hits drives in two runs, as the Sox got off on the right foot in St. Pete, 3-1.

Ciriaco continues to shine in the absence of Dustin Pedroia. He also stole a base last night, and became the first Sox player ever to have three straight games of three hits and a stolen base in each game. He is 10-for-12 in those three games.

Ride him for as long as it lasts.

David Ortiz hit his 23rd home run in his first at-bat of the second half, a bomb to right. He had taken a call strike on a 3-0 count that was clearly outside, and wasn't happy about it. He sure made the Rays and Jeremy Hellickson pay for it.

Franklin Morales went 5 innings for the win. He walked the bases loaded with two outs but got out of it by striking out Luke (Birther Boy) Scott. The bullpen was again stellar, with only an unearned run off Scott Atchison in the 6th.

Jacoby Ellsbury made his return to the lineup since his shoulder injury in April by going 1-for-5. Clay Buchholz returns from the DL tonight to make the start against David Price.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ranks of the Walking Wounded Thin

The second half opens for the Red Sox on Friday (as well as the rest of MLB), and they will get back many of their injured players over the next few days.

Jacoby Ellsbury will be activated on Friday after being hurt in the home opener, and Will Middlebrooks should be back in the lineup tomorrow as well after injuring his hamstring nearly two weeks ago in Seattle. Clay Buchholz will be activated to make the start in St. Pete on Saturday night.

Carl Crawford will most likely be activated on Monday when the Sox return to Fenway to play the White Sox. He's playing for Pawtucket this weekend, and for those of you with NESN, Pawtucket will play Buffalo tonight at 7 PM and you can catch him in action.

No word yet on when Dustin Pedroia will come off the DL. He is eligible to be activated on July 19th, but he just had the cast removed from his thumb and maybe ready to go on the day he comes off.

It's a big boost to get the injured guys back, especially psychologically, but the underperforming guys who've been around all year (Gonzalez, Lester, Beckett, Pedroia) have to play better than they have if the Sox really stand a chance to make it to the postseason.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Trivia Q&A: July 10

We had 21 teams in for Trivia on Tuesday night, on the night of the MLB All-Star Game. That rarely brings out many people, so the overwhelming majority were in for a good night of Trivia.

The scores were good for TV Trivia and MLB Players Trivia (I didn't make that category particularly difficult), and we had a bunch of teams all jockeying for the lead.

Going into IQ Trivia, we had two teams tied for first, and five teams tied for fifth, all separated by two points. Two of the teams tied for third jumped over the leading teams, getting 4 of the 5 questions correct, so we had a tied for first, at 45 points. I asked "How many feet is The Shard, Europe's newly tallest building that just opened in London?"

The team of This Time It Counts In Trivia guessed 1,100 feet, and the team of Remember the Last Time a Politician Wouldn't Release His Tax Returns & It Turned Out He Didn't Have Anything to Hide? Me Neither guessed 1,150 feet. It was 1,017 and This Time won the night. Congrats to David, David, Larry and company on their win.

Third place went to Katie Kept Her Promise To Stay With Tom Until Suri Was Taller Than Him with 44 points.

Best Team Name: Sandusky 'Til Dawn

Current Events
1. What actor, who has been in the news recently, topped Forbes' list of the highest-paid actors for 2011 with earnings of $75 million?
2. On July 4th, a glitch caused a fireworks display in what West Coast US city, that was supposed to last 20 minutes, to burn up all at once in 15 seconds?
3. What R&B singer is suing her ex-accountants, charging they caused her to lose tens of millions of dollars because of shoddy bookkeeping?
4. The Shard, which last week became the tallest building in Europe, opened in what capital city?
5. What pop singer was ticketed for speeding on an LA freeway last week, and claimed he was being chased by paparazzi at the time?
6. The housekeeper of what superstar rock band's bass player was found guilty of stealing more than $3.6 million from him last Friday?
7. Roger Federer won his 7th Wimbledon title on Sunday, and also broke what recent male tennis legend's record of 286 weeks as the world's number one player?

TV Trivia
1. Ernest Borgnine, who died this past Sunday, had the voice of a recurring character in what animated children's TV series?
2. The HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" is centered in what US city?
3. What rock band performs the opening theme to the TV series "The Big Bang Theory?"
4. What Saturday Night Live cast member left the show in 1994 after being in a record 153 shows?
5. "Westeros" is the name of the continent in which what TV series takes place in?
6. What TV series is set in the year 2030 with the main character recounting events of his past to his children?
7. "The Regal Beagle" was the bar that characters from what 1970s/80s sitcom hung out at?

MLB Players Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Willie Mays
2. Wade Boggs
3. Kirby Puckett
4. Jackie Robinson
5. Roberto Clemente
6. Cal Ripken Jr.
7. Harmon Killebrew
8. Tony Gwynn
9. Pete Rose
10. Bo Jackson

General Knowledge
1. What country is the Taj Mahal located in? ( 1 pt)
2. Who won an acting Oscar for the film "Shakespeare In Love?" ( 1 pt)
3. What was the name of Michael Jackson's chimpanzee? ( 1 pt)
4. What color would you get if you mixed equal amounts of yellow and blue? ( 2 pt)
5. The Statue of Liberty is coated with a thin layer of what metal? ( 2 pt)
6. What disease must you have already had in order to get shingles? ( 2 pt)
7. Prince William Sound is located in what US state?

IQ Trivia
1. The largest pyramid in the world is found in what country? ( 4 points)
2. What South American country has 37 official languages? ( 5 points)
3. Henry Cabot Lodge was the running mate for what 20th century candidate's unsuccessful bid for the presidency of the United States? ( 4 points)
4. The Appalachian Trail extends from Maine to which southern state? ( 3 points)
5. What's the only Best Picture Oscar winner to spawn a hit TV series, which ran on network TV in the 1990s? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Tom Cruise; 2. San Diego; 3. Rhianna; 4. London; 5. Justin Bieber; 6. U2 (Adam Clayton); 7. Pete Sampras.

TV Trivia
1. "SpongeBob SquarePants;" 2. Atlantic City; 3. Barenaked Ladies; 4. Phil Hartman; 5. "Game of Thrones;" 6. "How I Met Your Mother;" 7. "Three's Company."

MLB Players Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. NL; 2. AL; 3. AL; 4. NL; 5. NL; 6. AL; 7. AL; 8. NL; 9. NL; 10. AL.

General Knowledge
1. India; 2. Gwyneth Paltrow; 3. Bubbles; 4. green; 5. copper; 6. Chicken pox; 7. Alaska.

IQ Trivia
1. Mexico; 2. Bolivia; 3. Richard Nixon; 4. Georgia; 5. "In The Heat of the Night."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Idiots Meet Sgt. Pepper

Since there's no baseball to talk about right now, I was checking out some videos on YouTube the other day, and discovered this one. It's of two of my favorite things together: the Red Sox and the Beatles.

It's actually "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"/"A Day In The Life" with video highlights from the Red Sox 2004 postseason (mostly the ALCS). It's cleverly done, and I believe it was shown on NESN a few years back (as the NESN logo and scores scroll at the bottom).

I never get tired of seeing those long faces in Yankee Stadium in Game 7.

Things today may not be going terribly well, but let's relive some great memories:

Monday, July 09, 2012

TV and MLB: Perfect Trivia Together

This Tuesday night, the Special Category will be "TV Trivia," seven questions regarding everyone's favorite medium. (And no, there will be no questions about "Hogan's Heroes".) The Q Train lightning round will be "MLB Players Trivia." In honor of the All-Star Game, which will taking place while we are doing Trivia, I will give you the names of ten famous baseball players and you have to tell me which league they played their careers in. (I won't include players who played in both.) So, for those of you who are not huge baseball players, you still have a 50/50 chance of getting the answers right.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Statue of Liberty is coated with a thin layer of what metal?"

We will going shortly after 9 PM. We had another huge turnout last week, so I would urge you to get to Thom's as early as you can to get a prime table (or any table for that matter). Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.

Just 76 More Games To Slog Through

You want to run with the big boys, you've got to show up and make a statement.

The Boston Red Sox surely didn't do that this past weekend.

Crap starting pitching doomed this team. (12 of the last 14 home games the starters have allowed runs in the first inning.) Pedro Ciriaco gave the club a nice boost on offense, but how can you count on him? You don't pitch, you can't win. Very simple.

This team needed to go on a huge run, like in 2004 when they won 20 of 25 in mid-August that brought them out of a mediocre stretch and put them securely in the Wild Card driver's seat. Every time it appears it might be happening, poof. (I thought it might have been happening when the team went out to the West Coast on the last trip. I'll say no more.)

The Red Sox finish the first half at 43-43. Yeah, I know, lots of injuries. But guys who've been counted on to perform at a high level (Adrian Gonzalez, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett) have simply not gotten the job done. Optimists out there will point to the fact the Sox are only 2 1/2 back in the Wild Car race, and of course, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia and Andrew Bailey will be back shortly.

But honestly, can you picture this team making it to the World Series this year?

No, neither can I.

43-43. Reminds of another year when the Sox underperformed and were 43-42 at the break: 1988. And management took the drastic step of firing the manager during the break, namely John McNamara. (The REAL reason the Red Sox lost the 1986 World Series, but don't get me started on that subject.) And Walpole Joe Morgan took over, the Sox won 24 straight games at home (still an MLB record), and won the AL East.

I certainly don't expect Bobby Valentine to get canned right now. I'm not overly impressed by him as an in-game manager, and of course, all of this is not on his head.

Dropping more games at home (and especially to your closest division rival) doesn't fill me with a ton of optimism for the second half. By July 31 (just three weeks away), it will be interesting to see what the Red Sox will do. Will they make a big trade, like they did in 2004, and bring some hope back? I honestly wouldn't bet on it. I have no idea who to trade for. I don't get paid to make those decisions.

So, how many days until pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers for 2013?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Staying Above Water

I made a decision before the four-game series with New York this weekend: I was going to pass on it.

The first three game have been played, with the Red Sox finally winning one on Saturday night. And I haven't seen one pitch thrown in the series.

I've found other things to do: Brooklyn Cyclones game on Friday (they beat Williamsport, 7-6, in 11 innings), I watched a film on DVD I did an as an extra on Saturday afternoon, "Man On a Ledge." (Not a bad film actually. I looked for myself in the crowd scenes on Madison Avenue and thought I saw myself. I still have some of the fake money that was used in the movie as souvenirs.) On Saturday night, I played softball (actually just practiced as we couldn't get enough guys to play).

I especially avoid the New York games, especially when Fox has a game (my friend Jere talks about some of the BS they pulled yesterday). I find the national, and especially YES coverage, to be totally unwatchable. I heard that Tim McCarver pulled a real boner yesterday, goofing on what is actually a children's cancer charity called Locks of Love.

Nice to see the Red Sox bringing up more guys from Pawtucket who are contributing, like Mauro Gomez and Pedro Ciriaco (always nice to have a guy named Pedro on the Red Sox). Gomez had three hits in the second game, and Ciriaco with four hits while driving in three in the 9-5 win. The victory also kept the Red Sox above .500, at 43-42.

The Red Sox are 2 1/2 games behind Baltimore for the final playoff spot. The first half ends tonight. I'm still not convinced this team is a postseason club, even with the expanded playoffs.

Prove me wrong guys.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Pedey To The DL

Bloody hell. The Injury Parade rolls on.

Dustin Pedroia will be placed on the DL today, after re-injuring his thumb last Tuesday in Oakland. He will be eligible to come off on July 19th if all goes well and the injury isn't serious.

Infielder Pedro Ciriaco will be brought up to take his place.

Sounds like Will Middlebrooks will play this weekend, and will not be put on the DL.

Let's Cut The Crap: Papi Belongs In The MVP Race

David Ortiz is having a resurgent year for the Red Sox, and at times has practically carried the team on his back. He just hit his 400th career home run, and will be the lone Red Sox representative at next week's All-Star Game in Kansas City.

Josh Hamilton right now appears to be the leader in the MVP race. But Papi is right in there as well. And this is the first time he has been a serious candidate since his stellar year of 2006, when he broke the Red Sox record of 50 home runs, and blasted 54 on the year.

But naturally, the prejudice against him being a DH surfaced, and he wound up losing out to Alex Rodriguez. I heard from many so-called "experts" that since Papi only played the field in interleague games, that more or less should remove him from any MVP consideration.

BS.

And now I'm hearing the same thing again, and they are using the same BS again: that whoever is in the running with Ortiz is having a great "defensive" year, and that should make the difference in the voting. They said the same thing about Slappy in 2006. So tell me, was ANYONE talking about any MVP candidate's defense in any year's voting that didn't involve Papi or any other DH making a difference? Was anyone talking about how much better a defensive year Ryan Braun had over Matt Kemp in 2011? Of course not.

And can you remember the last time a guy had a great offensive year but was a lousy fielder and it cost him an MVP? I can't. There have been terrible fielders who've won league MVP awards (Reggie Jackson and Jose Canseco come to mind). An MVP is judged on his offensive numbers and where his team is in the standings. Defense means NOTHING.

In my opinion, ANY baseball player can be an MVP, and that includes position players, starting pitchers, relief pitchers and designated hitters. 

And I guarantee you that if Papi's numbers continue to grow larger and larger as the year goes on, you'll hear this "defensive" crap argument ("so and so is having a great year in the field this year") rear its ugly head once again with force.

Last time I looked DH's are part of baseball, and have been for four decades. David Ortiz is clearly the Red Sox' MVP so far in 2012. And he merits consideration for the AL MVP for 2012.

And BTW, speaking of Papi, it might be in his best interest to quit whining about his contract status. The other day, he gave an interview to USA Today and said how he was "humilated" and "embarrassed" by the fact he had to settle for a one-year deal last winter for $14 million.

Papi: the average fan is tired of hearing about athletes complaining about money, especially one who got a "paltry" $2 million raise over 2011. And I understand your frustration in a way, as there are players on your team with multi-year deals making more who've done squat this year. And do you remember who was "humilated" and "embarrassed" in 2011? It was all of Red Sox Nation, for what we went through last September. And you were a big part of that humiliation as well.

It was really a smart move by the Sox to offer Papi arbitration last winter, and it smart for him to accept it. The market for a 36-year-old DH was almost non-existent, and there's no way he would have gotten a better deal from any other AL team. (And he can't use the Yankees as leverage, because New York is doing a smart thing with their DH, using it as a "DH by committee" for their aging starters, and getting some good production from it.)

Fans, especially in this economy, are fed up with baseball players whining about money, Papi. Go out and win that MVP award. Worry about 2013 after this year is done. There's no "humilation" in getting an eight-figure salary.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Six Named to the Irish-American Baseball HOF

The Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame announced the inductees for 2012, and among them are former Red Sox manager Joe Morgan.

The other five to be enshrined on July 27 at Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant are former Yankees Gene Michael and Jeff Nelson, former Minnesota Twins manager Tom Kelly, sportswriter Jimmy Breslin, and MLB Hall of Fame outfielder Wee Willie Keeler.

Here's more from The New York Times.

This will be the fifth class to enter the Hall, and the six will join such immortals as John McGraw, Nolan Ryan, Connie Mack, Vin Scully, Paul O'Neill and Bill James.

Congrats to Walpole Joe, and the five other inductees!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Darnell's Putting On Pinstripes

Darnell McDonald was claimed off waivers today by, of all teams, the New York Yankees.

That means we may see him at some point in the four-game series this coming weekend.

I would really hope that Red Sox fans would give Darnell a nice ovation in his first at-bat. I've always thought he was a class act, and he handled his release from the Red Sox with grace as well. I had the chance to meet him at the BLOHARDS meeting in 2010, and he came across as a really good guy.

And back in January 2011, he really showed me something when he attended the wake of Christina Taylor Green, who was one of the victims in the shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Darnell later explained that Christina's father, John Green, was the scout who signed him for the Orioles back in 1996, and he wanted to pay his respects to his family.

Darnell is a baseball lifer, a guy who loves the game, and just wants to play. He's a guy who is easy to root for. I was hoping he would land with another MLB team, but I never would have guessed it would be in New York.

Booing him at Fenway would just be stupid. Obviously, no team with a worse record than New York wanted him, so I can't begrudge him putting on the pinstripes.

I wish Darnell McDonald all the luck in the world. Just not this weekend.

Yeah, Now Bring On The Yankees!!

A thoroughly embarrassing West Coast trip ends with another lackluster performance by the Red Sox offense, 3-2. They were crap all seven games, scoring just 14 runs in 7 games.

Another game where they turn another young pitcher (A.J. Griffin) into a guy who looks like he's in the running for the Cy Young Award. Aaron Cook wasn't bad for the Sox, going 6+ innings, giving up all three runs. (The ex-Sox combo of Coco Crisp, Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick were murder in this series, hitting four home runs and driving in nine. Moss hit second one of the series today.)

Just three bloody hits today. One was the 400th home run in David Ortiz' career. Congratulations to the Large Father on reaching another milestone.

On Papi's next turn at the plate after the homer, the A's PA announcer said he had hit his 400th home run in the previous at-bat. Folks gave him a nice standing ovation. Lots of Red Sox fans in the stands, but the A's fans showed some real class giving Ortiz the standing O.

New York won at St. Pete, and that drops the Sox down to 7 1/2 back in the AL East. Now New York comes to Fenway for four with the Red Sox this weekend. As you can guess, I'm not loaded with optimism that the Red Sox will gain any ground by the time the break starts on Sunday night.

42-40, and on a pace to win 84 games.

When does the NFL season begin again?

A Losing Road Trip

Dammit.

I'm sorry, you can't lose yet another series to the Oakland A's and expect to be contenders.

The Sox go to Seattle and Oakland, neither of whom will come anywhere near the playoffs this year, and go 2-4 with one game remaining on Wednesday.

A good effort by Jon Lester, who allowed just a single run in 6 2/3 innings while striking out 9, flushed down the crapper.

The offense continues to be AWOL. They've scored a paltry 12 runs in 6 games (and 7 runs in 5 games if you take out the five they scored last Friday). Opportunities out the wazoo in the final three innings and the Red Sox get nothing to add to a 2-1 lead. And it cost them yet another game, and another chance to gain on New York in the standings, as they lost again in St. Pete on Tuesday night. Alfredo Aceves gave up three hits in the ninth, and Ryan Kalish, who has not impressed me in the outfield with his defense, overran a ball that allowed runners to move up, and it was lost on a Coco Crisp sac fly.

I'm pissed off and I'm going to bed.

Happy Fourth of July.

Trivia Q&A: July 3

We had an amazing turnout on the night before the Fourth, with 29 teams (one off the record of 30) taking part. I figured we might have either a light turnout, or a really heavy one. Almost everyone's off on Wednesday, so many folks took advantage of it.

The Current Events and General Knowledge rounds were some of the lower scores of seen of those categories in some time. But they were made for in the July 4th and True or False rounds.

The two teams that were tied for second place going into IQ Trivia both got 4 of the 5 questions right, and leapfrogged over the leaders to claim a tie for first, both with 41 points. We had a tie-breaker question of: "How many feet is the CN Tower when it opened as the world's largest free-standing structure in 1976?" The answer was 1,815, and the team of We Rolled the Dice-K and Lost guessed closer than the second place team of My Man's a Loser! Nice job by both teams tonight, both of whom had not been at Trivia Night in quite a while (and it nice to see them both).

Third place went to It's Not Thom's Ale, It's a Tax with 39 points.

Best Team Name: What Did One Tampon Say To The Other? Nothing, They Both Stuck Up Bitches

Current Events
1. The rock band The Flaming Lips set a Guinness World Record last week by playing how many different shows in a 24-hour period, from Memphis to New Orleans?
2. In the Euro 2012 soccer championship this past Sunday, what country repeated as champions, having won it back in 2008 also?
3. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange declined an order by London police to surrender this past week and continues to remain in what South American country's London embassy until he is granted asylum?
4. What California city of about 300,000 declared bankruptcy last week, becoming the largest city in the US ever to do so?
5. The European Court of Justice rejected an appeal by what American corporation last week, and confirmed a nearly $1.1 billion fine for its abuse of its dominant position in the market?
6. The son of what NBA legend was arrested last weekend on charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in Omaha, NE?
7. What hot-headed actor shut down his Twitter account for the second time this past weekend and also told Vanity Fair he wanted to murder his ex-wife's lawyer with a baseball bat?

July 4th Trivia
1. On this day in 1855, "Leaves of Grass", a book of a dozen poems written by what famous Long Island-born poet was first published?
2. It is well-known that former US presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on this day in 1826. But what other president of that era died on this day in 1831?
3. On this day in 1954, an Ohio woman named Marilyn Sheppard was beaten to death and her doctor husband was charged with her murder. What TV series and movie were later inspired by the case?
4. In 1881, Tuskegee Institute opened in what southern US state?
5. On this day in 1997, NASA's Pathfinder becomes the first US spacecraft in over two decades to land where?
6. In 1946, what Asian country gained its independence after 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various countries?
7. In 1976 on this day, Israeli commandoes rescued passengers on a hijacked airliner at Entebbe Airport in what African country?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Lemons ripen after you pick them, but oranges do not.
2. Long Island is the largest island in area in the continental US.
3. Anchorage is the capital of Alaska.
4. Bolivia, a landlocked country, currently has a navy.
5. 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute.
6. The distance from the foul line to the headpin in bowling is 70 feet.
7. Peanuts grow on peanut trees.
8. Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia.
9. Led Zeppelin were once denied entry into Singapore because their hair was too long.
10. The US bought Florida in 1819 from England.

General Knowledge
1. What is the last letter of the Greek alphabet? ( 1 pt)
2. What pop group has had the only number one song from a James Bond film, "A View to a Kill?" ( 1 pt)
3. What is the greatest number of Friday the 13ths possible in a single calendar year? ( 1 pt)
4. Sabermetrics is the study of statistics in what sport? ( 2 pt)
5. How many days total were Americans held captive in the US Embassy in Teheran during the Iran hostage crisis? ( 2 pt)
6. In terms of pounds consumed, what is the top selling fruit in the United States? ( 2 pt)
7. Who was the Roman emperor when Jesus Christ was crucified? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The Best Actor Oscar winners of 1995, 2003 and 2006 all appeared together in what teen 1982 comedy film? ( 5 points)
2. "Nollywood" is the nickname of what African country's film industry? ( 4 points)
3. What is the most commonly fractured bone in the human body? ( 4 points)
4. The northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world is found in what country? ( 3 points)
5. What Pulitzer Prize-winning book was voted in 1999 as the best novel of the 20th century by American librarians? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. eight; 2. Spain; 3. Ecuador; 4. Stockton; 5. Microsoft; 6. Michael Jordan; 7. Alec Baldwin.

July 4th Trivia
1. Walt Whitman; 2. James Monroe; 3. "The Fugitive;" 4. Alabama; 5. Mars; 6. The Philippines; 7. Uganda.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. true; 3. false, Juneau; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, 60 feet; 7. false; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, Spain.

General Knowledge
1. Omega; 2. Duran Duran; 3. three; 4. baseball; 5. 444; 6. bananas; 7. Tiberius.

IQ Trivia
1. "Fast Times at Ridgemont High;" 2. Nigeria; 3. clavicle (collarbone); 4. Canada (Nunavut); 5. "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

I Love The Red Sox, It's Just The Media I Hate

My pal Jere over at A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory is organizing an "Anti-Boston Sports Media Weekend" at Fenway Park for this weekend's four-game series with the Yankees.

Like many of you Sox fans out there, Jere is tired of the BS the media (especially the Boston media) pulls, especially on the fans. They thrive on negativity around our team, and this weekend, Jere will be bringing signs to the games, and is encouraging fans to bring their own as well.

Jere emphasizes staying away from profanity and keeping the signs down when the game is going on. Here are some of his sign suggestions:

The only thing TOXIC around here is the MEDIA

Boston Sports Media: Shut Up / Leave Our Red Sox Alone / Leave Papi (or whoever) Alone / Nobody's Here to see You / Save the drama for your mama / LET THEM PLAY

Beer / Chicken / Golf / Charity Work IS NOT A CRIME

Players & Fans: BOYCOTT the Boston Sports Media

Let's run the MEDIA out of town

I love the Red Sox, it's the media I hate

Go Red Sox, Go Home Media

Boston Sports Media Does Not Represent Red Sox Fans

Sports Radio Callers Are NOT Fans

I only boo the MEDIA (and the Yankees)


I will admit there are some members of the Boston media who have my respect (like Gordon Edes and Steve Buckley), but too many write and spew their crap just to make a name for themselves, and it has tarnished the reputation of good Red Sox and Boston fans everywhere. (I have absolutely given up on listening to sports talk radio, as it's a haven for nitwits. And I've also given up totally on the tabloid papers here in NY.) I won't be at any games this weekend, but I fully support Jere's efforts.The games will be on many national outlets this weekend, like Fox, ESPN and the MLB Network.

Keep it clean and respectful if you choose to join in, folks. Go get 'em, Jere!

Night of the Ex-Sox

Monday night's game got off to an encouraging start, as Daniel Nava opened with a double off the A's Jarrod Parker, and Dustin Pedroia singled him in. 1-0.

But David Ortiz banged into a double play, and the night went downhill from there.

Daisuke Matsuzaka had absolutely nothing, as he gave up a home run in the bottom of the first to Josh Reddick, which was his 19th homer of 2012. (How on earth does Reddick have 19 dingers playing in that airport?)

And it got worse in the second, as Dice-K allowed a three-run shot to another former Red Sox player, Brandon Moss. Matsuzaka put two more on with a single and four-pitch walk, and Bobby Valentine pulled the plug on his night. (Turns out Dice-K was having neck problems again, and might be heading for the DL.)

The Sox basically sleepwalked through the rest of the game in losing 6-1. They could do nothing against Parker. Clayton Mortensen pitched well in relief for the Sox, going five innings and allowing just the last run.

Jon Lester pitches tonight for the Red Sox. Everyone in the AL East but Tampa Bay lost, so the Red Sox stay in third place, tied with the Rays 6 1/2 games back.

Monday, July 02, 2012

A Patriotic Night Of Trivia On Tuesday

This Tuesday night, Trivia at Professor Thom's will feature "July 4th Trivia," seven questions about the day of our country's independence in history. Yep, a lot of other things have also occurred on that historic date.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What pop group has had the only number one song from a James Bond movie, 'A View to a Kill'?"

We get started around the usual time of 9 PM. The Red Sox have a late night game in Oakland on Tuesday, so Trivia will be in full swing by the time it gets going. Once again, the crowds have been pretty large lately, so I would suggest getting in early to get a good table. Hope to see many of you on the eve of the Fourth for Trivia.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Out Of Nowhere, A Split

The Red Sox were sleepwalking through what looked to be another lackluster loss to the weak Seattle Mariners on Sunday afternoon. I was really having trouble wrapping around the fact the Sox were going to drop 3 of 4 to a team with one of the weakest lineups in baseball.

Jason Vargas, Seattle's starter, had a 7.36 ERA in the month of June, but the Sox made him look like Sandy Koufax for 7 1/3 innings. But finally Dustin Pedroia took him deep to tie the game at 1.

Pinch hitter Ryan Kalish narrowly missed a home run with out in the 10th, settling for a double. Pedroia singled him to third, and David Ortiz, the Red Sox lone All-Star representative this season, hit a long fly to right to make it 2-1.

Alfredo Aceves got Seattle 1-2-3 in the 10th, and the Sox got some dignity back after a lousy weekend when the bats took the weekend off. It's a split of a four-game series on the road, and I'll take it.

Felix Doubront went 4 1/3 innings and allowed the Seattle run. He left the game with the bases loaded in the 5th, and Matt Albers got out of the jam with one pitch, getting a double play to keep it at 1-0.

Scott Atchison faced six batters and retired them all. Vicente Padilla pitched a scoreless ninth for the win. The bullpen continues to shine, as they allowed just one hit and no runs in 5 2/3 innings of work.

New York's win keeps the Red Sox 6 1/2 back in third, and with everyone else losing in the AL East today, they now trail second place Baltimore by just a half-game. The Sox now head to Oakland to open a three-game series with the A's on Monday night.

Another Loss At Home Plate

I could accept the loss to Seattle last Thursday night. The Red Sox faced Felix Hernandez, still one of the top quality starters in the game. No shame in getting no runs against him, as he's done that to some even better offensive clubs.

Last night was simply brutal. The Mariners are absolutely one of the worst offensive teams in the game (the lower half of last night's Seattle lineup were all around the .200 mark in BA for 2012), and their starter, Erasmo Ramirez, left the game after retiring the first eight hitters with an injury. So the Sox were also into the Seattle bullpen, which is no great shakes either.

They get just two runs last night. One on a fielder's choice, and another on a passed ball (which was really a wild pitch) in the seventh. The Sox wasted big chances in the ninth and tenth, as they had first and second in both and came up empty.

And like on Thursday, the game ended at the plate, on a throw from the outfield Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn't handle. Nothing like staying up until 2 AM and watching your club lose to a vastly inferior team. The Red Sox suffered their fifth loss in extra innings, and they still haven't won one in extra time.

Josh Beckett pitched very well coming off the DL, allowing his first hit in the 5th, and two of the first Seattle runs in the 6th. Seattle won it on Chone Figgins sac fly in the 11th off Alfredo Aceves.

A win today for the Red Sox would garner a split in the series. Felix Doubront will try to make that happen.

And a fond farewell to Darnell McDonald, who was DFA'd before last night's game, as Beckett was activated off the DL. Darnell was a great guy in the clubhouse, and I had the pleasure of meeting him at the BLOHARDS meeting back in 2010. I wish him well wherever he lands, as he's a class act.