Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Keep Number 49 Unavailable. Permanently.

I was watching the end of the Dodgers-Rockies game in Colorado yesterday, and the scoreboard at Coors Field showed something that I was wondering if it could have been a mistake.

For last night's Red Sox-Angels game, they had "49" on the board as the Red Sox starter in Anaheim. Wiat a minute, is Tim Wakefield returning, or is Zach Stewart, just called up for the start, wearing the recently retired Wake's number?

When I put on the coverage of last night's game at 10 PM, I had the Angels feed, and they listed Stewart's number as "49." But then they showed Stewart in the dugout, and he was wearing "47."

I find it curious that both places got that wrong. Could Stewart have first taken 49, but then made a last-minute change to 47?

Anyway, I'm glad that Stewart, who got tattooed for 9 runs in 3 innings (it's no wonder he's been with 4 organizations in 5 years), didn't wear Wake's number. I have been an advocate that 49 should be retired. If not, it's one of those numbers that shouldn't be given out for a long while.

Honestly, how would it look someone wearing 49 the year after classy Timmeh called it quits, while the 21 the Texas Con Man wore still hasn't been worn by anyone since Clemens left in 1996? I know the Red Sox have offered that number to players such as Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon over the years, but no one seems to want to wear it. I've always thought it was the respect Clemens has with many players that no one wants to follow him in it.

Oh by the way, who was the last person with the Red Sox to wear number 47? That would be someone named Terry Francona. You remember him, right?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trivia Q&A: August 28

We had 24 teams in for Trivia on Tuesday night, and I was graced with the presence of a friend from Facebook who dropped by and took in our quiz night. His name may sound familiar: John Quinn. And no, he's not related to me. John is from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and he and his girlfriend Jolene stopped in as they were on vacation in New York. We originally met through a now-defunct Facebook group called "People Named John Quinn", which had nearly 100 John Quinns in it until it disbanded some time ago. It was a pleasure to meet them both and have them play on Tuesday night.

The numbers for Republican Party Trivia were better than I would have guessed they'd be, and they were also very good for 2000s Album Trivia and General Knowledge.

We had five teams separated by five points heading into IQ Trivia, but the team going into in first place, Okay Everybody, held on for a slim one point win, with 45 points. Nice job everyone, OK? (Sorry I couldn't resist.)

Second place was actually a tie, and we broke it between Bunch of Bloody Wankers and After He Moonwalked, He Showed Me His Penis (both with 44 points) with the question "How many Republicans are currently in the House and Senate right now?" The answer is 288 (241+47), and The Bunch guessed exactly right and finished in second.

BTW, we will be doing Trivia next Tuesday, September 4th, but the following week we will be doing it on Monday, September 10th at 9 PM, as I will be unavailable for Trivia on September 11th. We will then return to Tuesday nights on September 18th.

Best Team Name: I Like My Girls The Way I Like My Whiskey: Aged 16 Years and Mixed With Coke

Current Events
1. In terms of stock market value, what company recently passed Microsoft as the largest company ever, with a value of over $623 billion?
2. Which country joined the World Trade Organization last week after 19 years of negotiations and it previously had been the world's largest non-WTO economy?
3. Which Asian country is considering banning or limiting access to sites on the Internet such as Twitter and Facebook because of national security fears and threats of violence in the country?
4. Apple won a lawsuit last week against Samsung over a patent dispute and was awarded what dollar amount in damages?
5. What country singer is once again in legal trouble, and received a Class C citation for assaulting a man during an altercation in Texas last week?
6. What rap star collared a burglar in his LA home last week and held down the intruder until the police arrived and arrested him?
7. Mass murderer Anders Breivik was sentenced last week to a term of 21 years in prison for killings of 77 people in what country in 2011?

Republican Party Trivia
1. Who was the first Republican elected US president?
2. What Republican president was born Leslie Lynch King Jr.?
3. What Republican president served two terms and made an ill-fated run for a third term as a third-party candidate?
4. Name 1 of the 2 current longest-serving Republicans in the US Senate.
5. What onetime US Senator was the last Republican who was both an unsuccessful presidential and vice-presidential candidate?
6. Who was the last Republican who represented NY State in the US Senate?
7. John Boehner, the current Republican Speaker of the House, represents what midwestern US state?

2000s Album Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. American Idiot
2. All That You Can't Leave Behind
3. In Rainbows
4. Parachutes
5. The Rising
6. Stankonia
7. Stadium Arcadium
8. Hybrid Theory
9. Rockin' The Suburbs
10. The College Dropout

General Knowledge
1. How many hours time difference is there between London and New York? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the second largest state in the US in land area? ( 1 pt)
3. How many carats are there in pure gold? ( 1 pt)
4. The song "Tomorrow" is from what Broadway musical? ( 2 pt)
5. What is the second book of the Old Testament called? ( 2 pt)
6. What is the most common color of M&Ms? ( 2 pt)
7. As of 2012, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. "Where is Everybody?" is the first episode of what classic science fiction TV series? ( 4 points)
2. "The Carnation Revolution" was a military coup in 1974 and was so named because no shots were fired in what European country? ( 5 points)
3. What British explorer claimed the eastern coast of Australia for King George III and named it New South Wales in the 18th century? ( 4 points)
4. What is the name of the anniversary that is celebrated after 70 years of marriage? ( 4 points)
5. Alligators are native only to the US and what other Asian country? ( 3 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Apple; 2. Russia; 3. India; 4. $1 billion; 5. Randy Travis; 6. LL Cool J; 7. Norway.

Republican Party Trivia
1. Abraham Lincoln; 2. Gerald Ford; 3. Theodore Roosevelt; 4. Richard Lugar and Orrin Hatch; 5. Bob Dole; 6. Al D'Amato; 7. Ohio.

2000s Album Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Green Day; 2. U2; 3. Radiohead; 4. Coldplay; 5. Bruce Springsteen; 6. Outkast; 7. Red Hot Chili Peppers; 8. Linkin Park; 9. Ben Folds; 10. Kanye West.

General Knowledge
1. five; 2. Texas; 3. twenty-four; 4. "Annie;" 5. Exodus; 6. brown; 7. Queen Elizabeth II.

IQ Trivia
1. "The Twilight Zone;" 2. Portugal; 3. Captain James Cook; 4. platinum; 5. China.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On The Second Pitch...

Josh Beckett made his Los Angeles Dodgers debut last night against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. In an interesting coincidence, it was a matchup of the two pitchers who opened the 2007 World Series at Fenway Park: Beckett vs. Jeff Francis.

That night, it was no contest, as the Sox routed Francis and the Rockies, 13-2. Beckett was simply sensational that postseason in leading the Sox to their second World Series title in four years.

But last night, we saw the Beckett that has driven Sox fans nuts in recent years. On the second pitch to leadoff hitter Tyler Colvin, Beckett served up a home run, and the Rockies were on their way. Yet another first-inning run given up to put his team in a hole.

Beckett was decent: 5 2/3 innings, 3 runs, all earned. The Rockies exploded late and won, 10-0.

All I can say is: thank you Magic Johnson for taking Beckett off the Red Sox hands. Not just getting him out of the clubhouse, but because he just isn't a very good pitcher anymore.

Earlier in the day, the Red Sox concluded an awful month of August at home (5-10 this month) with a 5-1 win over Kansas City, taking 3 of 4. Daisuke Matsuzaka was terrific, going seven strong innings, allowing just an unearned run in the first inning. He challenged hitters all day, something I wished he could have done his entire Sox career.

Dice-K's playing for a new contract with somebody for next year, and if he pitches like this in September, a one-year deal with somebody should be awaiting him. It just won't be in Boston.

Monday, August 27, 2012

GOP Trivia This Week

This Tuesday night, Trivia Night at Professor Thom's will feature "Republican Party Trivia", seven questions about the Grand Old Party and its history, in honor of the national convention going on this week in Tampa. (As you know, I pride myself on playing it down the middle in my Trivia Night, so never fear my Liberal friends. You could probably guess what the Special Category for next week will be.)

The Q Train lightning round for this week will be "2000s Album Trivia." I will give you ten popular album titles from the previous decade, and you tell me the name of the artist who recorded it.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"How many carats are there in pure gold?"

We'll start at the usual time of 9 PM. Remember the crowds continue to be very good this summer, so the earlier you can make it in the better are your chances of getting a good table. Hope many of you can make it this Tuesday night.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Say Hello to Hollywood: Gonzo, CC & Beckett Depart

A new era for the Boston Red Sox will begin today.

The massive nine-player trade between the Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers was completed early this morning, and it will send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and $12 million to LA for first baseman (and free agent-to-be) James Loney and four minor leaguers: pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, outfielder Jerry Sands and infielder Ivan DeJesus.

Wow.

My head is still spinning. And I LOVE this deal. It is the Sox admitting they made some huge financial miscues over the last few years (and it completely blows up Theo Epstein's 2010 moves: the extension to Beckett, the Gonzalez trade, and the Crawford signing), and it's time to retool. I knew they would find a taker for Beckett. He had to move, but I was sure it would be this winter.

But I am absolutely floored that they found ANY taker for Carl Crawford. He just had Tommy John surgery on Thursday, and the Sox were on the hook for six more years at $120 million.

The Sox were reluctant to part with Gonzo, but it's clear the deal would not have happened had he not been involved. He is still owed $127 million, but his numbers have slightly regressed in 2012. A move back to Southern California maybe just what he needs.

Both De La Rosa and Webster are projected as number 2 type starters. But the trade was done for the benefit of getting those massive salaries off the books than getting anything close to equal value for those four players going to Los Angeles.

This is without question the biggest trade in team history, and it is the first time two players (Crawford and Gonzalez) owed more than $100 million in salary have been traded. It will not become official until it is approved by the commissioner's office. LA is taking on over $260 million in salaries. The Red Sox HAD to make this trade. It now gives them financial flexibility, and they don't have to sign big name free agents. They can bring in players via trade as well, and give younger players (like Ryan Kalish) a shot. The Sox can bring in lesser players, like they did in 2003 such as Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller and David Ortiz, and give them a chance to shine.

Everyone involved cleared waivers, with Beckett waiving his 10/5 right to veto, and Crawford, who had a no-trade clause, waived that, too.

As far as I am concerned, this is a gift from heaven. The financial stranglehold that was crippling the Red Sox, and bad clubhouse mix, has been wiped away by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who seem to have a bottomless pit of dough right now, and their new management are spending like drunken sailors on leave.

And we thank them for it.

But does this massive overhaul give Bobby Valentine another year as manager? That is still to be determined.

Today is a good day to be a Red Sox fan, and that hasn't happened in a good long while. A new era is dawning.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Don't Wait. Fire Valentine NOW.

On October 27, 2004, Joe Buck, doing Game 4 of the World Series on Fox, famously said, "Red Sox fans have longed to hear it: the Boston Red Sox are World Champions!"

Today, here are some words Red Sox fans now REALLY long to hear: "Bobby Valentine has been relieved of his duties as manager of the Boston Red Sox."

The Death Spiral continues. The embarrassment known as the 2012 Red Sox continues to reach new depths. They blew a six-run lead to the Angels on Thursday night, and were swept, 14-13.

Valentine, in his infinite wisdom, left Alfredo Aceves, who got torched in the ninth inning, allowing three runs and blowing a save up 12-10. Aceves threw 33 pitches in the ninth, looked horrible, but yet was left in for the 10th, and Kendrys Morales hit his first pitch for a home run. Morales is a left-handed batter, so why was lefty Craig Breslow left in the pen until Aceves gave up yet another hit?

Valentine is a complete disaster as manager of the Boston Red Sox. He was a bad fit for this team, and a lousy in-game manager. The Sox are 6-15 (.285) in August, and are 18-29 since July 1st. Their August numbers are nearly as bad as their numbers from last September (7-20, .259). And remember, most of the Red Sox injuries occurred in the first-half of 2012. (With thanks to my friend Adam for the updated numbers.)

It's been a bad three-ring circus under Valentine. I am truly embarrassed to be a fan of the Boston Red Sox. Don't wait until this season concludes. It's time to pull the plug NOW.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

We Miss You Johnny

Classy tribute to the great Johnny Pesky last night at Fenway. All Red Sox players wore number 6, and the Angels players wore a special patch in his memory. Too bad the Home Nine couldn't have made it more special with a win.


Trivia Q&A: August 21

We had 22 teams in on Trivia Night on Tuesday, which included my old friend Renee and a close friend of hers forming a team. I appreciate seeing old friends come in, as well as the newer ones. It was also a night when the team names were really off the wall, and many involved the loony Congressman from Missouri or Republican vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan.

I was surprised that the numbers for Pop Music Trivia weren't better than they were, as I didn't think I made them particularly difficult. The only category we had any perfect scores in were in the Colleges and Universities Trivia, and six teams did that.

Two teams got 4 of 5 correct in IQ Trivia, and they both finished first and second overall. (We also had the rare occurrence of the team in first place going into IQ Trivia finished outside of the top five.) First place went to Missouri, Now the Show-Me An Asshole Politician State won by the slimmest of margins with 44 points. Second place went to Same Name Every Time with 43 points. Third place was taken by I Traded My Zucchini For a Cucumber with 39 points.

Best Team Name: Sorry I Can't Have Sex With You, My Vagina's Full of Republicans

Current Events
1. Greg Stanton, mayor of what western city, broke his nose last week while attending a practice of his city's WNBA basketball team?
2. According to Forbes magazine, what musical married couple made $78 million last year, the most of any married couple in the US?
3. What South American country granted asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange last week?
4. Bill Gates and his foundation held a two-day showcase in Seattle this past week with researchers about "re-inventing" what household item?
5. Neil Young and the Foo Fighters will be the headline acts for a free concert by the Global Poverty Project on September 29th where?
6. What book trilogy has overtaken the Harry Potter books to become the best-selling series ever at Amazon.com?
7. Melky Cabrera, an outfielder with what NL team, was given a 50-day suspension by MLB last week for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs?

Pop Music Trivia
1. "Straight Up" was a number one song in 1988 for what female pop singer?
2. MTV made its debut in what year?
3. Who replaced David Lee Roth as Van Halen's lead singer in 1986?
4. Andrew Ridgeley was a member of what 1980s pop group?
5. What "American Idol" winner has racked up the most total album sales in their career?
6. What rap star was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in 1997?
7. What R&B/pop singer's duets album has sold the most units of any album released so far in 2012?

Colleges and Universities Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Marquette
2. US Air Force Academy
3. Johns Hopkins
4. Dartmouth
5. Quinnipiac
6. Drexel
7. Bowdoin
8. Creighton
9. SMU
10.Morehouse

General Knowledge
1. What planet is nicknamed "The Red Planet?" ( 1 pt)
2. How many squares are there on a standard chess board? ( 1 pt)
3. What foreign city was home to the first Hard Rock Cafe? ( 1 pt)
4. At over 2300 miles, what is the longest river in the US? ( 2 pt)
5. Nike is the Greek goddess of what? ( 2 pt)
6. The world's longest border is between what two countries? ( 2 pt)
7. In the second century BC, what was the first city in the world to reach a population of one million? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. In ancient times, what constellation was known as "The Dragon's Wing?" ( 5 points)
2. The Battle of Fort Dearborn was fought during the War of 1812 in what current US city? ( 4 points)
3. Stretching over 4400 miles, what is the world's longest mountain range above sea level? ( 4 points)
4. What small European country is the only nation in the world ruled by a duke or duchess? ( 4 points)
5. In what religion would you find the gods Vishnu and Ganesha? ( 3 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Phoenix; 2. Beyonce and Jay-Z; 3. Ecuador; 4. toilet; 5. Central Park; 6. "The Hunger Games;" 7. San Francisco Giants.

Pop Music Trivia
1. Paula Abdul; 2. 1981; 3. Sammy Hagar; 4. Wham!; 5. Carrie Underwood; 6. Notorious B.I.G.; 7. Lionel Richie.

Colleges and Universities Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. WI; 2. CO; 3. MD; 4. NH; 5. CT; 6. PA; 7. ME; 8. NE; 9. TX; 10. GA.

General Knowledge
1. Mars; 2. 64; 3. London; 4. Missouri; 5. victory; 6. US and Canada; 7. Rome.

IQ Trivia
1. Ursa Minor ("The Little Dipper); 2. Chicago; 3. Andes; 4. Luxembourg; 5. Hinduism.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Let The Bloodletting Begin

The first of what should be many dismissals on the Red Sox brain trust occurred today, as pitching coach Bob McClure was fired.

Assistant coach Randy Niemann takes over for the remainder of the year. Niemann becomes the third pitching coach for the Sox since the highly respected John Farrell left to become the Blue Jays manager in 2010.

Carl Crawford's season has come to an end, as he will have Tommy John surgery this Thursday. It is expected that he will make a full recovery. Whether he will be ready in time for the start of the 2013 season is questionable, as the surgery's recovery time for non-pitchers is still from 6-9 months. It's a wise move by the Red Sox, as playing him any more in this lost season is simply foolish.

8-12

When the Red Sox beat New York at Yankee Stadium on July 29th to take that series 2 games to 1, I took a long look at the upcoming schedule for the first three weeks in August.

They had two upcoming ten-game periods: one at home, and one on the road.

I thought to myself that in order to get back in the Wild Card race, they both needed to be great overall successes. And that on August 20th, the day after the road trip ended, we'd know all we needed to know about the 2012 Red Sox.

And now, on that day, we know. They are a dismal failure.

I figured they had to win 14 of those 20 games in some way, shape or form to really make a charge at one of the two Wild Card slots. But, they went 4-6 in the first 10, and again, 4-6 in the last 10.

The numbers don't lie. It was all on the line this month, and they mailed it in.

As I write this, the Red Sox are 59-63, and 7 1/2 games out of the WC. Had they done what I hoped, they'd be 1 1/2 games back, and no one would be talking about whether Kelly Shoppach really sent that "text message", requesting a meeting with Red Sox owners.

I maybe in the minority on this, but who really cares all about this "texting" nonsense? The players detest Bobby Valentine. Wow, that's news? And they met with the Red Sox owners to voice their displeasure? Whatever. It's one and done for the Smartest Guy In The Room when this season ends.

I hope.

Change Can Be a Good Thing

Those of you who regularly come here and read my rantings may have notice a subtle change here in the last week or so.

I've decided to move away from my day-to-day commentary about every Red Sox game. I've enjoyed doing that, but it can get a bit tiresome, especially in a season heading for a rotten conclusion.

I will, of course, be writing about the Red Sox, and will always have my Sneak Peek Trivia question up every Monday, and the Trivia Night Q&A up every Wednesday.

It was just time for a change. I'm not planning any other changes at this time. BTW, for good game-by-game analysis of Sox games, I recommend "Joy of Sox" and "Fenway West" for that, among the many good Red Sox bloggers out there..

Talkin' 'Bout Pop Music


This Tuesday night, the Special Category for Trivia at Professor Thom's will be "Pop Music Trivia," seven questions about pop music of all forms, and a category most people seem to like.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Universities Trivia." In honor of the coming school year, I will give you the names of ten popular colleges around the US, and you tell me which state you find that institute of learning.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What foreign city was home to the first Hard Rock Cafe?"

We will get going at usual time of about 9 PM. Once again, the crowds continue to be rather large, so getting in a bit early will make your chances of getting a table that much better. Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I Don't Ask For Much For Christmas, But...

My friend Joe Pickering Jr. has put together four CDs over his career, and they are mostly baseball-themed albums. He is currently working on his fifth album, and one of the songs is "All I Want For Christmas Is The Yankees to Lose." And with our favorite team going down the crapper yet again this season, it is a sentiment I couldn't agree with more.

His new album will be available some time down the road, at CDBaby.com, but Joe sent me a YouTube clip of the song. The vocals are done by Phil Coley:


You can also check out more of Joe's music at King of the Road Music. Here is one of Joe's best songs, "Hell Freezes Over", from 2004. (It should make Sox fans feel a little better.)

Good luck with the new album, Joe. If the Red Sox aren't in the winner's circle this season, I'll have a better off-season if it is also not occupied by anyone wearing pinstripes.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another Season of 5 or More No-Nos

As you all know, Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday. It was the 6th no-hitter, and 3rd perfect game tossed in MLB this season. (And it was the third time in four years Tampa Bay has had a perfecto tossed at them.)

My friend Dave did a little research, and 2012 is the 11th time a modern season has had 5 or more no-hitters in it. Here they are:

1908 - 6 no-hitters, starting with Cy Young's third (and his first since his perfect game) and ending with Addie Joss's perfect game.  Joss's Cleveland teammate also no-hit the Red Sox, although they scored to lose 2-1.  Except for a Giants-Phillies game caught by Roger Bresnahan, they were all AL games.

1915 - 6, only except for a pair of Giants games they were all in the Federal League and don't count.  Worst-pitcher-in-the-Hall Rube Marquard is the only HOFer here.

1917 - 6. Interesting bookends:  The first this season was Eddie Cicotte, whose battery-mate Ray Schalk played to win the Black Sox series and was one of three members of the 1919 team to make the Hall. The last one was Ernie Shore's "perfect" game in relief of Babe Ruth, who threw 0.0 IP.

1962 - 5.  Forty-five years until we see it again.  Earl Wilson and Bill Monbouquette each did it for the Red Sox, but Sandy Koufax's first is the one you remember, but the only NL game. 

1968 - 5.  Well, duh.  Catfish Hunter and Gaylord Perry.  3-2 NL advantage.

1969 - 6.  Huh---they lowered the mound and more teams got no-hit.  Jim Palmer's only no-no is also the only one for the AL this year.

1973 - 5. MVP Joe Torre did not catch any.  Nolan Ryan's first two, and Phil Niekro, aged 34.  Niekro's game for the Braves was the only NL no-no; even with the DH, the AL held the advantage.  Well, okay, Nolan Ryan held it.

1990 - 7.  Another drought in these intervening years.  The 80s didn't see scoring, but there weren't a lot of no-hitters, either.  First combined no-hitter on this list (if you don't count the Babe-Shore game), as Mike Witt, who previously had thrown a no-hitter, closed out the last two IP for California.  Nolan Ryan's 6th and Randy Johnson's first.  4-2 AL advantage.

1991 - 7.  Two combined no-nos this year, for Baltimore (4 pitchers) and Atlanta (3).  Ryan's seventh, Saberhagen, and Dennis Martinez's perfecto.  4-3, AL.

2010 - 6, not counting Armando Galarraga's shoulda-been-perfect game.  Another drought---this one more understandable---comes to an end.  Braden and Halladay's perfect games.  4-2 NL, or 4-3 with Galarraga.

2012 - 6.  Includes the combined no-no (Kevin Millwood +5 relievers) for Seattle.  Humber, Cain, King Felix throw perfectos.  4-2 AL.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wipe the Slate Clean

Don't ask me to figure out this mess.

I sure don't get paid to do it.

The drama that is the Red Sox ' 2012 season took another turn yesterday after an article by Jeff Passan of Yahoo revealed that many of the Red Sox players had a meeting with upper management before the Red Sox series with New York in the last week in July. Passan describes the meeting as "heated" and has painted as the Red Sox players, led by Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia, as wanting Valentine gone.

There was lots of spinning about this yesterday, from many people. Pedroia even said after last night's game that he doesn't want Bobby V fired.

But it also turns out that this meeting with the Red Sox players is old news, at least according to Buster Olney, who tweeted yesterday that the NY Post's Joel Sherman reported on this back on July 31.

Would be hearing any of this if the Red Sox were smack in the middle of a pennant race? Of course not. Winning cures everything. (Remember last season when we didn't hear a thing about the "chicken and beer" nonsense when the Sox were hot during the summer, and nothing was revealed until the season was over?)

I don't know about you, but I'm really getting tired of all this bullshit. Underperforming team, a manager who doesn't get on with most of the players, everything you read is negative. It's a lost season, and it's clear to me that Bobby Valentine is not the right man to lead this team. It's clear he lost the clubhouse back in April with the Kevin Youkilis incident.

However, it is also apparent to me that this team has too many clubhouse lawyers, too many players who feel they should be pampered and entitled. I can't help but feel this team needs a major overhaul. It reminds me too much of the 2001 Red Sox. Underperforming players griping with a manager they didn't respect (remember Joe Kerrigan?). Valentine maybe getting a raw deal here, but I simply can't see how you bring him back in 2013 with a similar roster as it's now constituted.

First order of business after this season mercifully ends is for upper management to address Valentine's situation (and I mean the DAY after it's over, no waiting). He's either in charge in 2013 or he's gone. It's not fair to let him twist in the wind.

There's no one person or thing to blame here. There's lots of blame to go around everywhere. Personally, I would clean house totally. Send Valentine and all his coaching staff packing. Clean slate for 2013 (like in 2002). Move some of the underachievers and clubhouse problems out, too. Eat salary if you must. Who to bring in as manager, or trade away? You've got me. Again, I don't get paid to figure those things out.

In 2002, the new Sox management fired the manager, GM, and got rid of many of the underachievers (remember guys like Dante Bichette, Carl Everett and Mike Lansing?). The stink that was 2001 was a distant memory in a few short years. Time to do the same here.

This season has been a monumental failure on so many levels. Once again, we as fans have been embarrassed not just by the play on the field but the needless drama off it. The Red Sox have gone off the rails, and the success of the 2000s seems like a distant memory these days.

It maybe best to forget 2012 as soon as it ends. Clean out as much as possible over the winter and begin anew. This version of the Boston Red Sox clearly isn't working.

Trivia Q&A: August 14

We had 22 teams in on a busy Tuesday night of Trivia.

Current Events was pretty tough this week, and the scores reflected that. The True or False Trivia category was likewise a little more on the tougher side as well.

We had a tie for first place going into the IQ Trivia round, but the team of Mitt Romney Spent the Weekend Giving Paul Ryan Fountainhead secured the win by getting four of the five IQ questions correct, and wound up winning by five points. It's their third straight win on Trivia Night. Congrats to Joe and company for pulling off the hat trick.

Second place was a tie between Ugly Yellow Hat and Henrik Rummel's Shaft, with 40 points. We broke it by asking, "What was the late Ron Palillo's age when he started on 'Welcome Back Kotter' back in 1975?" (He had just died earlier in the day. And I gave the hint he was older than a typical high schooler.) Ugly Yellow Hat guessed 25, and they were closest and got the win. (He was 26.)

Best Team Name: I Like My Women Like I Like My Chicken: Battered and With My Dick In Them

Current Events
1. What actress, who was arrested last April on a DUI charge, once again has car troubles, and has been accused of a hit-and-run after leaving the scene of a minor accident in CA?
2. What country singer was charged with DWI and threatening law officers when he crashed his car last week, and was found naked at the scene?
3. In what Olympic sport did the USA fail to garner an Olympic medal in any category for the first time since 1936?
4. What North African country appears to be on the verge of being elected to the UN Human Rights Council despite a warrant being issued by the ICC for the country's president for crimes against humanity he committed?
5. What early 1990s sitcom has replaced the Harry Potter films as the favorite viewing among prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba?
6. What country was rattled with a pair of earthquakes last Saturday, with more than 300 deaths reported?
7. What NFL star was arrested on domestic violence charges on Saturday after he allegedly head-butted his wife during an argument and was released by his team the next day?

2000s Trivia
1. In 2001, what European country became the first to legalize same-sex marriage?
2. What was the name of the Space Shuttle that disintegrated on re-entry in 2003?
3. What American was given an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002?
4. Name 1 of the 2 teams to win the Super Bowl at least twice from 2000-2009.
5. According to Rolling Stone magazine, who was the best-selling music artist of the 2000s?
6. Name 1 of the 2 players who won the NL MVP Award at least twice in the 2000s.
7. What 2009 film was the highest grossing film at the box office in the US in the 2000s?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. George Washington grew marijuana in his garden.
2. Online Farmville players outnumber real farmers in the US by a ratio of 60-1.
3. About once an hour someone in the world reports seeing a UFO.
4. "Jedi" is an official religion in Australia.
5. French was once the official language of England.
6. Rome is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
7. The song "Happy Birthday to You" is copyrighted.
8. When the Apollo 12 astronauts landed on the moon, its impact created a new crater 13 feet across.
9. Mosquitoes have no teeth.
10. Babe Ruth once held the record for consecutive shutout innings pitched in the World Series.

General Knowledge
1. What is the only planet named after a female? ( 1 pt)
2. The American flag has how many red stripes? ( 1 pt)
3. A tetragram is a term for any word of how many letters? ( 1 pt)
4. What unusual instrument did George Harrison play on the Beatles' song "Norwegian Wood?" ( 2 pt)
5. The Rhone is the deepest river found in what European country? ( 2 pt)
6. An ugli is a fruit produced by crossing an orange, a tangerine and what other fruit? ( 2 pt)
7. A Brannock Device is an instrument to measure what? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Mehmet Ali Agca, who attempted to kill Pope John II in 1981, was originally from what country? ( 3 points)
2. What animal is the most common sports mascot of US colleges and universities? ( 4 points)
3. What 19th century US president held the first "kitchen cabinet" meetings? ( 4 points)
4. Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island and is found off the coast of what country? ( 4 points)
5. Scotophobia, nyctophobia and lygophobia are all similar fears of what? ( 5 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Amanda Bynes; 2. Randy Travis; 3. sailing; 4. Sudan; 5. "Fresh Prince of Bel Air;" 6. Iran; 7. Chad Johnson.

2000s Trivia
1. Netherlands; 2. Columbia; 3. Rudy Giuliani; 4. New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers; 5. Eminem; 6. Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols; 7. "Avatar."

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. true; 3. false, once every 3 minutes; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, Damascus; 7. true; 8. false; 9. false; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. Venus; 2. seven; 3. four; 4. sitar; 5. France; 6. grapefruit; 7. feet (at a shoe store).

IQ Trivia
1. Turkey; 2. Eagle; 3. Andrew Jackson; 4. Australia; 5. darkness.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Johnny Pesky: 1919-2012

It's a sad day for Red Sox fans everywhere as the great Johnny Pesky passed away today at the age of 92.

He did everything you could possibly do for the Sox: player, manager, coach, broadcaster. He was also the Red Sox goodwill ambassador, and a very nice man.

Johnny was one of "The Teammates", along with Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio. (Bobby is now the lone living one.) Johnny batted a career .313 with the Red Sox, and overall .307. His career spanned from 1942-1954. (He missed three years due to World War II.)

He will forever be remembered not for the Enos Slaughter "mad dash" in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series where he allegedly "held on to the ball" (film of it seems to disprove the shallacking Pesky took for it), but for the "Pesky Pole", the right field foul pole named for him for his ability to wrap home runs just inside of it.

He was the first man to greet Carlton Fisk after Pudge blasted his game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, as he was the Sox' first base coach that year.

Everyone in Red Sox Nation was thrilled when Johnny was still with us to see the club win two titles. He was still active until a few years ago. The Sox retired his number six back in 2008.

God bless you, Johnny.

The Amazing Two Thousands?

This coming Tuesday night at Professor Thom's, the Special Category for Trivia Night will be "2000s Trivia," seven questions about the most recent decade that we completed. (And you know I had to include a picture like the one I did!) The questions will be mostly of the pop culture variety (and sorry Sox fans, none on the 2004 ALCS. Maybe next time.)

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What unusual instrument did George Harrison play on the Beatles' song 'Norwegian Wood'?"

We'll get going right after 9 PM. Once again, tables have been going fast for Trivia Night with the big crowds coming in, so make sure you get in early enough. Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fenway Couldn't Have Tasted Better

The Red Sox split the four games series with the Indians this weekend in Cleveland. On Saturday, a dreary 5-2 loss, and on Sunday, a 14-1 win, which included an eight-run fifth inning, and Jon Lester's first victory in six weeks.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of being at the Bleacher Bar, which is located on Lansdowne Street, right at Fenway. The grated window in center field is where the bar is located (pictured).

My good friend and Governor of Red Sox Nation, Chris Wertz, had his birthday at the bar, and it was a surprise party as well. Chris was very surprised. And we all had a great time at the bar.

The center field window was open, but unfortunately, the Fenway employees were setting up the stage for Bruce Springsteen's concerts at the Fens on Tuesday and Wednesday right there, so we couldn't get a good view of the park.

But Chris had an amazing birthday cake.

We all agreed it was a shame we had to eat the Fenway Birthday cake. But it did taste good. (A friend asked me what section I ate from. I think it was from the press box.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Just When It Can't Get Any Worse

It does.

Will Middlebrooks suffered a broken right wrist after getting hit by a pitch from Indians' reliever Esmil Rogers in the ninth inning on Friday night. This will probably end the rookie's impressive season.

If so, Middlebrooks will end 2012 with 15 home runs, 54 RBI and a .288 average.

Danny Valencia will be called up to replace him. He was acquired last weekend from the Twins in a minor league deal.

Third base will probably be split among Valencia, Nick Punto and Pedro Ciriaco.

Get well soon, Will.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Beauty From Buchholz

I still watch the Red Sox these days because I'm a fan, as the season has gone down the crapper a while back. I walk in with no expectations, and try to enjoy the game and hope my team wins.

Clay Buchholz made Sox fans still watching happy on Friday night, as he spun a beauty at the Indians for his 10th win of 2012.

He allowed just a home run and a double to Asdrubal Cabrera, as the Sox won, 3-2. One of the runs he allowed was on two infield errors in the sixth, so just one run was earned.

Cody Ross blasted a home run to dead center in the sixth with one on that was enough for Buchholz.

Will Middlebrooks was hit on the wrist by a pitch from Esmil Rogers in the ninth inning. He was taken for x-rays, and no word yet on the extent of his injury. Terrific. Just what the Red Sox needed.

Don't Pitch. Don't Win. Simple.

Felix Doubront pitched well enough to win in the four innings last night against the Indians.

Then it all came apart in the fifth, as he allowed four runs total in 4 2/3 innings.

5-3 loss. 55-58. Three under for the first time in 2012.

Something positive? OK. Will Middlebrooks is just the second player to hit 15 home runs in his first 73 games in MLB, with the Red Sox. The other? Ted Williams. You remember him.

That's all I've got.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

4-6

An actrocious homestand came to an end on Wednesday afternoon with the precise reason why the Sox are in the dire straits they are.

Another crappy performance by Josh Beckett.

Beckett allowed three home runs, and eight runs in five innings, and was booed lustily as he left the field as Bobby Valentine mercifully pulled the plug on him. Allan at Joy of Sox wrote on his blog this afternoon (from ESPN's Jeremy Lundblad) that this is the seventh time Beckett has allowed eight or more runs in a start at Fenway in his career, tying Red Ruffing for the most ever in the live ball era.

Beyond awful.

The Sox actually bailed his ass out, tying the game in 7th on Will Middlebrooks' three-run shot at 9-9. But Texas grabbed the lead and the win in the 9th, on a sac fly by Adrian Beltre.

The offense showed some life today, but couldn't overcome a hole Beckett put them in. I dare you to give me one legitimate reason this guy should be in a Red Sox uniform in 2013.

After the two wins in New York on the last road trip, I sat down and looked at the upcoming homestand of ten games. It was a tough one, with Detroit and Texas on it. I figured they had to win at least seven of them (and eight would have been even better). Taking the first two against the Tigers gave me a slight bit of hope. But that was erased with the awful Minnesota series.

And the two losses to Texas makes the homestand a losing one at 4-6. If you can't win at home, how do you expect to have ANY playoff aspirations?

Back In The Dempster Again

On my Trivia Nights, there's only so much of the Red Sox games I can concentrate on. I watched most of the game when it was a scoreless tie going into the sixth.

Jon Lester was terrific going into that inning, allowing the heavy-hitting Rangers just two hits. But they finally broke through with two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings, and that was the night for Lester.

Will Middlebrooks blasted a pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh. It was reviewed to make sure it had cleared the wall and no fans had reached over.

Dustin Pedroia was tossed out of the game in the ninth inning after arguing with first base ump Paul Nauert over a check-swing he was called out on in the eighth inning.

But 4-3 was as close as the Sox would come. The pen allowed single runs in the 8th and 9th, and that was it, 6-3.

Too much Ryan Dempster again, as he allowed three unearned runs on Middlebrooks' blast. (Ian Kinsler committed an error on the batter before the home run.) Dempster also befuddled the Sox back in June, pitching eight shutout innings at a game at Wrigley Field as a member of the Cubs.

Back to one game under .500. The yo-yo act continues.

Trivia Q&A: August 7

We had 21 teams in on a busy night at Professor Thom's. There was a gathering of folks from Tufts University in the bar a couple of hours before we got going, and there was a fear that Trivia Night might start on time. But that was proven not to be the case, as we started right at the stroke of 9 PM, which is rare indeed.

I made the 1990s Trivia a little too tough, as the scores were lower than I would have thought. But the scores rebounded nicely in The 1-10 Trivia, as most of the scores were 8 or above.

No one got all five correct in IQ Trivia, but six got at least four correct, and one of them was the team that led almost the entire night, the winners The Fighting Squeezers, who ended up with 50 points. Congratulations to them on their first ever Trivia Night win.

Second place went to The Wheel Is Still Turning But The Hamster Is Dead with 47 points, and third place went to We Didn't Start The Fire In That Mosque In Missouri with 45 points.

Best Team Name: I Call My Dick "Cheney" Because It Shoots People In The Face

Current Events
1. The Straphangers Campaign selected which subway line as the best in the city in their recent report?
2. Mayor Julian Castro of which Texas city was selected last week to deliver the keynote speech at the Democratic convention next month?
3. Michael Phelps broke the all-time record for the most Olympic history, which had been 18 by Larisa Latynina of the Soviet Union in the 1960s in what sport?
4. Name 2 of the 3 countries that had a total of 8 Olympic badminton players ejected from the Games "for not using one's best efforts to win a match."
5. What Oscar-winning actor had misdemeanor battery charges against him dropped last weekend from an incident recently in a New Orleans bar?
6. A severe thunderstorm suspended all activities and forced the evacuation of nearly 100,000 from the Lollapalooza music festival in what US city last Saturday?
7.CNN apologized yesterday after playing part of what Billy Joel song that was deemed inappropriate after a segment about the shootings in Wisconsin last Sunday?

1990s Trivia
1. What film, released in June 1993, became the highest-grossing movie of all-time, passing "ET" ("Titanic" broke its record in 1997)?
2. Wayne Gretzky, hockey's greatest player, retired in 1999 as a member of what NHL team?
3. What girl group of the 1990s sung the theme song to the sketch comedy TV show "All That?"
4. What pop single, released in 1997, sold 33 million worldwide and is recognized as the biggest seller of all-time by Guinness World Records?
5. What was the only MLB team to make it to the playoffs every year from 1991-99, except for the strike year of 1994?
6. Who was the best-selling rap/hip-hop artist of the 1990s?
7. What number one best-selling book from 1993 by Robert James Waller was later made into a fil by Clint Eastwood?

1-10 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. This is the number the Yankees retired for the legendary Babe Ruth.
2. Including this past Sunday, this is the total number of successful spacecraft landings on Mars.
3. In a "Seinfeld" episode, George Costanza wanted to give his first-born son this number as a first name.
4. Capricorn is this number sign of the Zodiac.
5. Pennsylvania is this number US state.
6. This is the number of points in a pentagram.
7. This is the number of suits in a standard deck of playing cards.
8. The right fielder in baseball is represented by this number.
9. All spiders have this many legs.
10. The number of Oscars won by Al Pacino in his storied career.

General Knowledge
1. Which of the Marx Brothers said volumes by never uttering a word on-screen? ( 1 pt)
2. Who famously played "The Star Spangled Banner" at the Woodstock Festival in 1969? ( 1 pt)
3. A gubernatorial candidate is a candidate for what office? ( 1 pt)
4. What musician is the founder and president of Farm Aid? ( 2 pt)
5. In the board game "Clue", what educator is represented by the purple piece? ( 2 pt)
6. What 1960s TV series featured the characters of Col. Klink and Sgt. Schultz? ( 2 pt)
7. Lake Mead is found in what two western US states? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The CIA Headquarters in Langley, VA is named in honor of what US president? ( 4 points)
2. A "Full Ginsberg" is a buzzword for a person who appears on all five Sunday morning TV interview shows at the same time, and it is named for a lawyer of what 1990s newsmaker? ( 5 points)
3. Nick Rhodes and John Taylor were members of what popular 1980s pop/rock band? ( 3 points)
4. The Basketball Hall of Fame is located in what US city? ( 4 points)
5. Signed by more than 500 assemblymen, "The Tennis Coat Oath" was a pivotal event that sparked what historic 18th century event? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. The Q train; 2. San Antonio; 3. gymnastics; 4. South Korea, China and Indonesia; 5. Cuba Gooding Jr.; 6. Chicago; 7."Only the Good Die Young."

1990s Trivia
1. "Jurassic Park;" 2. New York Rangers; 3. TLC; 4. "Candle in the Wind (1997);" 5. Atlanta Braves; 6. Tupac Shakur; 7. "The Bridges of Madison County."

1-10 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. three; 2. six; 3. seven; 4. ten; 5. two; 6. five; 7. four; 8. nine; 9. eight; 10. one.

General Knowledge
1. Harpo; 2. Jimi Hendrix; 3. governor; 4. Willie Nelson; 5. Professor Plum; 6. "Hogan's Heroes;" 7. Nevada and Arizona.

IQ Trivia
1. George H.W. Bush; 2. Monica Lewinsky; 3. Duran Duran; 4. Springfield, MA; 5. The French Revolution.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

At .500 For The 125th Time This Year

A convincing 9-2 win over Texas and Yu Darvish last night by the Red Sox.

Aaron Cook was superb: one run over seven innings, as his sinker was sinking.

The top of the lineup (Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez) carried the offense, with 8 RBI, 7 runs scored and 8 doubles.

Two straight wins. Back to .500 yet again.

Is this team ready for a "run"? Yeah, I know, we've been down this road before. Too many times.

Owner John Henry came out in support of Bobby Valentine yesterday. Why do the words "kiss of death" ring in my ears right now?

Monday, August 06, 2012

The '90s: It Wasn't So Long Ago

This Tuesday night, the Special Category for Trivia Night at Professor Thom's will be "1990s Trivia." It will be seven questions about that roaring decade, and most of the Q&A will be of the pop culture variety.

The Q Train lightning round will be "1-10 Trivia." Every answer will be a number from 1-10, and every answer will be a different number.

The Sneak Peek question is:
"What musician was the founder and president of Farm Aid?"

We get going at the usual time of 9 PM. Again, we've been continuing to get some great crowds on Trivia Night, and I encourage you to get in as soon as possible so you can secure a table. See you on Tuesday night.

A Salvage Job

A perfectly awful weekend against the lowly Minnesota Twins ended on a high note, despite the Red Sox determination to give another one away.

Franklin Morales pitched six innings and allowed just one earned run in his return to the rotation. Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford continued their hot streaks. Gonzalez hit a two-run shot into the Monster seats and Crawford had three hits, scored two runs and stole a base.

It was 6-1 in the ninth, and Vicente Padilla, who has struggled as of late, had nothing. He gave up a walk and two home runs, and it was 6-4. Bobby Valentine had to bring in Alfredo Aceves, which something he would rather have not done.

But Aceves shrugged off Saturday night's debacle, and got Minnesota 1-2-3 on nine pitches to wrap up the Red Sox win. It ended the four-game losing streak.

4 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race with five teams in front of them. Now, the Texas Rangers come to town.

And the word on David Ortiz' Achilles injury is he's still in pain.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Finding New & More Impressive Ways to Lose

I thought the first two losses this weekend to the Minnesota Twins were bad.

This one was beyond the pale.

Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox ace, was terrific again. 7 strong innings, one earned run. Couldn't ask any more from him.

The bullpen was complete crap.

Five runs in the final two innings allowed, including a three-run shot by Joe Mauer off Alfredo Aceves with Minnesota down to their last strike. (And the pitch before that was a ball. Clearly outside.)

The Twins, who are playing like they are in the hunt for a playoff spot, win 6-4.

Another disgraceful loss. It's the ninth straight loss by the Red Sox to a team under .500.

And if the Twins win on Sunday, I really wonder if Bobby Valentine will still be employed on Monday.

Playing Out The String

So much for just winning one series after another.

The lowly Minnesota Twins came back from a 5-1 deficit and beat the Red Sox last, 6-5 in 10 innings. The Sox blew many chances late in the game to take the lead after the score was tied, 5-5, but flushed them down the crapper.

Just like they have effectively done to the 2012 season.

Any momentum garnered from the series wins over Detroit and New York are gone.

Even if they win the last two games of this series, they can only split with Minnesota. Not good enough.

That's mediocre. Just like this team is.

Friday, August 03, 2012

The Road Ahead: It's Not Easy

The Red Sox have 56 games left on the schedule. And it clearly isn't an easy one.

They have played nearly two-thirds of the schedule and are 53-53. 24 games left at home, 22 on the road. Of the home games, only 10 of those games are against teams with losing records. And they also play 10 games on the road against teams currently under .500.

They play New York 9 more times (6 at Yankee Stadium, including the final three of the season). They have one more West Coast swing through all three cities beginning August 28th. The final game of that trip, September 5th in Seattle, will be the final game the Sox play against a team outside the AL East.

They play Texas for three after Minnesota at home. They also start the next homestand against the LA Angels on August 21. Of the lesser lights, they have four in Cleveland, four at home against Kansas City (they play them after LA), and three in Seattle.

September and October will feature 11 home games, and 18 road games. Every team they play those months has winning records except for Toronto and Seattle. (And they've both given the Sox fits this season.)

Barring some herculean effort from this team, the numbers are simply against them.

83-85 wins. Maybe.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Absolutely, Positively Inexcusable

The Minnesota Twins are one of the worst teams in MLB.

Only the Kansas City Royals have worse record in the AL. They were 44-60 coming into tonight, with a run differential of -80. They had some guy named Samuel Deduno (yeah, who?) on the mound against Jon Lester at Fenway tonight to open the four-game series.

Lester was better than his last start in New York, and allowed three runs in eight innings. He certainly pitched well enough to win.

So how do the Red Sox do on offense? They don't bother to show up, and got only two bloody f***ing hits in six innings against this guy, and then against the Minnesota bullpen (not one of the AL's best), they do absolutely NOTHING. Three innings, four strikeouts, NO baserunners. They make this guy Deduno look like Justin Verlander (who they beat two days ago).

Absolutely shameful.

I'm sorry if I'm getting off on a rant here, but I just knew this team would turn in a real clunker like this against one of MLB's lesser lights. I wasn't jumping for joy when they took two of three from both New York and Detroit. I knew something like this could happen. And now they are back at f***ing mediocrity again: 53-53. (Pete Abraham of the Globe tweeted tonight that this is the 16th time in 2012 the Sox have been at .500. Hideous.)

The Sox have a brutal schedule coming up. They have to play New York 9 more times, have another West Coast swing, Texas and the L.A Angels to play at home. You have to beat the hell out of weak teams like Minnesota. They need to sweep the remaining three games to avoid a split, which is really unacceptable against a team like this. There is just no excuse whatsoever for turning in a miserable performance like this. None.

Don't play the injury card. It ain't working this time.

This is just a mediocre, overrated team. Period. More than once I have asked these guys to prove me wrong.

Right now I'm betting they won't. This is an 83-84 win team at best.

Staying Positive

The Red Sox won another series last night, despite losing to the Detroit Tigers, 7-5.

Aaron Cook pitched well for the first four innings, and the game was tied going into the fifth at 1-1. Then the wheels came off, as Cook allowed five runs, including back-to-back home runs to the scary combination of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder (on consecutive pitches as well).

The Sox fought back, getting three in the sixth and another in the seventh, including a home run by Carl Crawford. But it ended there, as the Detroit bullpen shut the Sox down after that, with the last nine hitters going down in order.

That's two straight series won, with the winning streak ending at four games.

Now the Minnesota Twins come in for four games, another series the Red Sox need to win.

And One of the 25 finds himself in limbo this morning, as Derek Lowe was DFA'd by the Indians last night after another rough outing. D-Lowe is one of just five players (along with David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Johnny Damon and Bronson Arroyo) from the 2004 World Series champions still active in MLB.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Rain, Boos Cascade Down at the Fens Last Night

The Red Sox won a rain-shortened game against the Tigers at Fenway, 4-1. It was raining throughout the game, and it was finally called in the 6th, when the Tigers had the bases loaded and two outs.

The Sox beat Justin Verlander for the second time this season. The Red Sox have now four straight. Clayton Mortensen got the win in relief of Josh Beckett. And on that subject...

Beckett left in the third inning after he walked in a run with two outs. He felt something in his back and called out the trainers, and he left.

And he left to a loud chorus of unhappiness from those in attendance.

Personally, I would NEVER boo any player leaving the field with an injury. I can't picture this happening to any other Sox player (well, maybe John Lackey). It doesn't speak well to those fans at Fenway last night, but it also speaks volumes for the dislike the fans have of Josh Beckett. The embarrassment of last September is still fresh in the minds of the fans, and most think of Beckett as the main reason for last season going down the crapper, whether that is true or not.

Beckett has done next to nothing to repair is image as a surly individual. He took no responsibility for what happened last year, and seems to have pushed the fans further away. Many fans were hoping he'd have been traded yesterday at the deadline, but that was simply unrealistic. He maybe the most disliked Sox player since Roger Clemens.

Baseball has always been a "what have you done for me lately" game. No Red Sox fan should forget how dominant he was in the 2007 postseason. But that is seemingly like much more than five years ago now.

The fans spoke last night, and Beckett had to hear it. He didn't comment on it after the game. His injury was back spasms, and there's no word how long this could keep him out.

The Red Sox Traded For This Guy?

No, not THAT Steven Wright.

The Sox dealt Lars Anderson right at the deadline on Tuesday to the Cleveland Indians for a knuckleball pitcher named Steven Wright. He's a 27-year-old pitcher with a 9-6 record and a 2.49 ERA at Double A Akron.

I'm not sure if the newly-acquired Wright has a thick beard or not.

The Sox did Anderson a favor, as he was stuck behind Adrian Gonzalez and his chances of playing for the Sox in the future didn't appear to be too bright.

The Sox also sent reliever Matt Albers and OF Scott Podsednik to Arizona for lefty reliever Craig Breslow.

Breslow pitched for the Sox in 2006, and with another lefty in the pen, Franklin Morales will likely move to the rotation. Albers was overall decent with the Sox, but Bobby Valentine wasn't using him late in games. Podsednik was back at AAA after coming off the DL recently, and his good numbers while with the Red Sox made him a movable commodity.

I didn't expect the Red Sox do make any major deals, and they didn't. The Breslow trade is a good minor move.

And on the subject of the comedian Steven Wright. He's been at my Trivia Night at Professor Thom's on a couple of occasions. Steven comes into the bar every once in a while to watch  Red Sox games as he's a huge fan and sits at the end of the bar. I remember he once asked me something about one of my Trivia questions.

For the life of me, I can't remember what it was.

But I'm betting he likes the Steven Wright trade.

Trivia Q&A: July 31

We had 19 teams in on a great night for Trivia. The Red Sox won a rain-shortened game in Boston, the Yankees got hammered by the Orioles in the Bronx, and the folks were really into the Olympics coverage all night long.

The Olympics Trivia numbers were very good and the Albums Trivia numbers were slightly less than that. Six teams were within four points of each other going into IQ Trivia. And Yours Truly made a spelling error on the final question, writing "Lambeth Place" instead of "Lambeth Palace" in that question, so I awarded everyone four points and tossed out the question. The Omnipotent Q goofs up from time to time.

Olympic Trivia is Redundant wound up the winners, getting all five IQ questions correct (the only team to do so), getting a total of 49 points. Second place was a tie between Kiss My Ass, Show Some Respect and Straddle My Balance Beam and I'll Show You My Breast Stroke (the Best Team Name of the night) with 43 points, and we broke the tie with an Olympics question: "How many total medals did the US win at the 2008 Summer Olympics?" The Straddle team was closest and wound up winning second place (the answer was 110).

Current Events
1. An Internet security company received a report last week that nuclear plants in Iran were hit with a virus that made their computers play music by what heavy metal band?
2. The mother of MLB Hall of Famer was abducted from her home last week, but was found unharmed 24 hours later?
3. Name 1 of the 2 automakers that issued recalls of cars with the same problem of the cruise control cable that could lead to unintended acceleration.
4. Which part of the United Kingdom is considering legalizing same-sex marriage, and if approved, would take affect in 2015?
5. Divers found a WWII-era German U-Boat nearly 70 feet after it sank off the coast of what eastern US state?
6. Which central African nation has had an outbreak of the Ebola virus this month, which has left at least 14 people dead?
7.The US drug czar says that cocaine production in what South American country has dropped 25% since last year and they are no longer first but third in production of pure cocaine?

Summer Olympics Trivia
1. What American track star won four gold medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics?
2. The "Dream Team" USA basketball team won a gold medal at what Summer Olympics host city in 1992?
3. What color is the center ring of the five interconnected Olympic rings?
4. Who lit the torch that started the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta?
5. What country has won at least one gold medal in every Summer Games?
6. In 1972, the USA basketball team was defeated in the Olympics for the very first time ever, controversially by what country?
7. What city will be the host for the next Summer Olympics in 2016?

Album Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Back to Black (2006)
2. Slippery When Wet (1986)
3. Bridging the Gap (2000)
4. The Fame (2009)
5. Quadrophenia (1973)
6. Parallel Lines (1978)
7. Come On Over (1997)
8. Bat Out of Hell (1977)
9. Appetite For Destruction (1987)
10. Only By The Night (2008)

General Knowledge
1. "O" is the symbol for what element on the Periodic Table? ( 1 pt)
2.  A positive Wassermann Test means you have what disease? ( 1 pt)
3. What was Confederate General Robert E. Lee's middle name? ( 1 pt)
4. The leek vegetable is the emblem for which country within the UK? ( 2 pt)
5. Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico in 1940 by what method? ( 2 pt)
6. In 1547, who was crowned the first tsar of Russia? ( 2 pt)
7. What US state has the smallest population of any state as of 2010? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The novel "The Moon and Sixpence" by Somerset Maugham is loosely based on the life of what famous painter? ( 4 points)
2. The 1994 film "Pulp Fiction" received seven Academy Award nominations, but won just one Oscar. What category did it win for? ( 3 points)
3. Hagiography is the study of what group of people? ( 5 points)
4. What future dictator once wrote a letter to the president of the United States as a 12-year-old, asking him to send him a ten-dollar bill because he had never seen one before? ( 4 points)
5. Lambeth Palace in London is the main residence of what person? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. AC/DC; 2. Cal Ripken; 3. Ford and Mazda; 4. Scotland; 5. Massachusetts; 6. Uganda; 7. Colombia.

Summer Olympics Trivia
1. Carl Lewis; 2. Barcelona; 3. black; 4. Muhammad Ali; 5. Great Britain; 6. Soviet Union; 7. Rio de Janeiro.

Album Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Amy Winehouse; 2. Bon Jovi; 3. Black Eyes Peas; 4. Lady Gaga; 5. The Who; 6. Blondie; 7. Shania Twain; 8. Meat Loaf; 9. Guns N'Roses; 10. Kings of Leon.

General Knowledge
1. oxygen; 2. syphilis; 3. Edward; 4. Wales; 5. stabbed with an ice pick; 6. Ivan the Terrible; 7.Wyoming.

IQ Trivia
1. Paul Gauguin; 2. Best Original Screenplay; 3. saints; 4. Fidel Castro; 5. Archbishop of Canterbury.