Ellsbury Returns To Fenway

Sunday, September 30, 2012

46 Years To Lose 90

On October 27, 2004, most Red Sox fans saw something they had never seen happen in their lifetime: their team won a World Series.

And, on September 30, 2012, most Red Sox fans saw something they had never seen happen in their lifetime: their team lost 90 games.

It's the first time they have lost 90 games since they went 72-90 in 1966. They will have to sweep New York just to match that.

69-90 with 3 games in the Bronx left.

The Orioles and Yankees are tied after 159 games, and the Sox will have a big say on who will be the American League East champions for this season.

And hopefully after Wednesday night's finale, we get our team back.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Best Baseball Story 0f 2012

You could argue MLB's best story is Miguel Cabrera's bid to become the first player since Yaz in 1967 to win the Triple Crown, the emergence of players such as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, or the winning seasons of the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles.

But for me, it is the 20-win season of R.A. Dickey.

Dickey was a journeyman knuckleballer who had been released by three teams, when Omar Minaya, who had always liked him, signed him to a minor league contract with the Mets in 2010. (I actually wrote something nice about Minaya. Wonders never cease.)

And now, he has a legitimate shot to win the National League Cy Young for 2012. He won number 20 yesterday with a 13-strikeout performance in a 6-5 win over the Pirates at Citi Field.

He wrote an excellent biography of his life called "Wherever I Wind Up", which is one of the more honest books I have ever read. And a new documentary called "Knuckleball" is a terrific story of Dickey, Tim Wakefield and the others who turned to that strange pitch to salvage their careers.

And if that wasn't enough, Dickey climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa earlier this year.

He is now 20-6, with an ERA of 2.69 and 222 strikeouts. He is the first pitcher to win 20 games on a losing team since 1997, and the 6th pitcher in Mets history to turn the trick. And at 37, he is the third oldest pitcher to win 20 for the first time.

Dickey is without question the feel-good story of 2012 in MLB.

As well as the best. Congrats, R.A.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Please Walk a Few Feet to the Left, Bobby

Could not resist posting this picture.

The players, coaches and even so-to-be-former manager Bobby Valentine greeted fans along Yawkey Way tonight, taking pictures and signing autographs on the night of the final home game at Fenway.

Valentine greeted fans as they came into the park. Note the sign above the door.

The Bobby V Error ends a week from tonight.

(With thanks to DirtyWater Boston for posting this on Facebook.)

Thanks For Nothing, NESN

Tonight was the final home game for the Red Sox for 2012, and they capped it off by announcing the All-Time Fenway team.

I sat down to watch it as the pregame show was concluding. It got going at about 6:50 PM, with Don Orsillo and Joe Castiglione announcing the winners of the fan poll, with three sets of players at each position.

As Rich Gedman was being announced at catcher, NESN dumps out of the festivities for a repeat of the Dennis and Callahan WEEI morning radio show.

I was furious.

I get NESN National on my TV, as I live outside of New England. That also means I don't get Red Sox games live on NESN. (A friend has a theory that it is because they want fans to buy the Extra Innings package, which I already have. I think he is right.) So as soon as the pregame is over, they leave when the Sox game is coming on.

Is it REALLY too much to ask to stay with this special pregame event, and then leave when it concludes? Tonight's game is scheduled for 7:20 PM, and not 7:10 PM. (The event actually ran longer than anticipated, and the first pitch was thrown at 7:26 PM.)

Absolutely absymal job by NESN, screwing over fans outside New England.

Perfect ending to a lousy 100th anniversary season.

2004. Still Awesome.

Last night was a Trivia Night for me, so I was busy preparing for the evening, but I did manage to catch the video of the ceremonies at Fenway Park honoring the 2004 World Series Champions.

The champs came in on duckboats from center field, with championship trophy in hand, and throwing baseballs to the fans. Great seeing Terry Francona, as well as Nomar Garciaparra and everyone else who could be there. (All players who wore the Red Sox uniform in 2004 were invited.) There were a few who obviously couldn't be there, like the guys on other teams now, such as Derek Lowe, Bronson Arroyo and Dave Roberts. There were all seen on the video with messages to the fans. (Interesting that there wasn't one of Kevin Youkilis.)

Noticeable by their absence was Curt Schilling, Johnny Damon, Doug Mirabelli and Bill Mueller. My pal Jere was there, and also noted that Pokey Reese and Curtis Leskanic were among the missing as well. And speaking of Jere, he was in attendance for the ceremonies last night, and took some great shots and video of the event. Check it out here.

My favorite of Jere's pics is probably this one above. Keith Foulke threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Jason Varitek. And then Tek ran over to him and jumped into his arms, recreating the beginning of the celebration after that famous final out that ended the 86-year drought. Classic stuff.

For a brief time last night, it made us all forget the mess the Red Sox are right now. It brought back some of the most cherished memories I have as a baseball fan. Thanks always, 2004 Red Sox. For me, it will never, ever get old.

Trivia Q&A: September 25

We had 25 teams in on the first Trivia Night at the new time of 8:30 PM, and it sure brought out the players. It was a noisy night with many teams basing their names on the NFL replacement refs.

The Q-Tip numbers were very good, as were the ones for True or False Trivia. The numbers for General Knowledge were down slightly, as I think I made the category a bit harder this week. We had seven teams within seven points of the lead going into IQ Trivia. But the team in second place, Mitt the Twit, got three of the five questions right (one of just five teams to do so), and jumped into the winners circle with a three point win, with 47 points. Nice job as always by Emily and her team.

Second place went to The Seahawks & Fiona Apple Love Joint Possession with 44 points, and third place went to The Replacement Refs Suck So Much, The Least They Could Do Is Swallow with 43 points.

Best Team Name: It's My Birthday, Clap Really Loud If You Want Me To Lose My Virginity

Current Events
1. According to Forbes' latest rankings, who is the richest person in the US, with a current net worth of $66 billion?
2. What late British rock superstar was recently voted the "Ultimate Icon" in the English music magazine New Musical Express' recent poll?
3. Nielsen reported last week that which speaker was the most watched of any who spoke at either political convention in August or September?
4. Travel & Leisure magazine recently took a poll of tourists, and what major US city was voted "The Dirtiest City in America?"
5. What drama series ended "Mad Men"'s run of four straight Emmy awards for Best Drama Series at last Sunday's awards and won four major awards?
6. The State Department slammed what news organization for using slain Libyan ambassador Chris Stevens' journal that was found in the embassy in a recent report?
7. Apple sold how many units of its iPhone 5 over the first three days since it went on sale to the public, which was actually less than many analysts expected?

Q-Tip Trivia
1. Which of the following events happened in the 20th century? a. Assassination of President James Garfield; b. The first World Series is played; c. Frank Sinatra dies; d. The iPod is introduced for the first time.
2. Which of the following cities have hosted the Winter Olympics? a. Montreal; b. Moscow; c. Helsinki; d. Tokyo.
3. Which of these US states does not have a team in any of the four major North American sports leagues? a. Oregon; b. South Carolina; c. Nebraska; d. Oklahoma.
4. Which of these singers were born in Canada? a. Sarah McLachlan; b. Joni Mitchell; c. James Blunt; d. Jim Morrison.
5. Which of these planets have more than one satellite? a. Mars; b. Uranus; c. Neptune; d. Saturn.
6. Which of the following states are considered key "swing states" in this year's presidential election? a. Connecticut; b. Georgia; c. California; d. Ohio.
7. Which 20th century US presidents were elected with less than 50% of the popular vote? a. Dwight D. Eisenhower; b. Richard Nixon; c. Ronald Reagan; d. Bill Clinton.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The Bank of America was originally called the Bank of Italy.
2. Chicago built the first subway system in America in 1897.
3. Next to man, the gorilla is the most intelligent creature on earth.
4. The Secret Service was originally formed to capture Confederate spies during the Civil War.
5. The best-selling Baskin Robbins flavor ice cream is vanilla.
6. A typical lead pencil can draw a line that is 35 miles long.
7. It costs about 20 cents to make a $1 bill.
8. "The Flintstones" was the first 30-minute cartoon aired on prime time TV.
9. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country that has never been colonized by a Western power.
10. Ireland's national symbol is the shamrock.

General Knowledge
1. What soft drink once billed itself as "The Uncola?" ( 1 pt)
2. In "Superman", Clark Kent was a reporter for what major metropolitan newspaper? ( 1 pt)
3. The geographic term "America" is derived from the first name of what 16th century explorer? ( 1 pt)
4. Which sports league was the first to cancel an entire season due to a labor dispute? ( 2 pt)
5. In a game of craps, if the dice show "boxcars", what was your roll? (2 pt)
6. The "Teapot Dome" scandal occurred during what US president's administration? ( 2 pt)
7. What European country's name is derived from a Phoenician word meaning "land of rabbits?" ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The West Side Highway was renamed in 1999 after what baseball legend? ( 3 points)
2. What company's stock ticker symbol at the NYSE is "ZZ"? ( 5 points)
3. Which southern African nation has an AK-47 assault rifle on its national flag? ( 4 points)
4. US police departments buy more than 60% of their firearms from the Glock gun maker, which is located in what European country? ( 4 points)
5. Bay Street is the center of what major Canadian city's financial district? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Bill Gates; 2. John Lennon; 3. Joe Biden; 4. New York City; 5. "Homeland;" 6. CNN; 7. 5 million.

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

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. false, Boston; 3. false, porpoise; 4. false, catch counterfeiters; 5. true; 6. true; 7. false, 3 cents; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, Celtic harp.

General Knowledge
1. 7-UP; 2. The Daily Planet; 3. Amerigo Vespucci; 4. NHL; 5. two sixes; 6. Warren G. Harding; 7. Spain.

IQ Trivia
1. Joe DiMaggio; 2. The Sealy Corporation; 3. Mozambique; 4. Austria; 5. Toronto.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Q-Tip Returns On Tuesday at 8:30 PM

This Tuesday night, we will have our first Tuesday Night Trivia night at Professor Thom's at the new time of 8:30 PM. And we will have an old favorite back as the Special Category: "Q-Tip Trivia." That is when I ask seven multiple choice questions, and the answers can be 1,2, 3, all 4, or none correct. You get a point for each answer you get right. (One point if "none" is correct.) However, any wrong guesses will leave with a zero for the entire answer. So you have to be careful.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"In 'Superman', Clark Kent was a reporter for what major metropolitan newspaper?"

I'm really pleased that we will now begin a half-hour earlier. Looking forward to seeing many of you for Trivia on Tuesday night.

I'm Calm & I Believe: Good Start In Minnesota

How about those Minnesota Vikings?

It was a great football weekend, with Notre Dame beating Michigan on Saturday, and the Vikings pulling off one of the upsets of 2012 with a 24-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers at the Metrodome on Sunday.

I follow the NFL on Sundays on NFL RedZone, which I highly recommend. It gives looks into all NFL games played during Sunday afternoons, and I love it. I followed the Vikings -49ers game there all day.

And every time I looked, the Vikings seemed to be doing something positive.

Big day for Christian Ponder. He threw two TD passes to Kyle Rudolph, and both times he was under some heavy pressure. Love the kid's poise.

The Vikings played the first half without a penalty or turnover, while the Super Bowl-favorite Niners looked flat. Ponder threw for 198 yards, while Adrian Peterson had a solid game, rushing for 86 yards on 25 carries.

The Vikings also ended Alex Smith's team record for not throwing an interception, as he was picked off late in the 4th as the Niners were driving. His record ended at 250 attempts.

The Vikings are now 2-1. I like what I see so far, and I was curiously optimistic during preseason. They finished 3-13 last season, but I really felt they weren't nearly that bad and still had some talented players. They have another tough test next week, as they play the Lions in Detroit.

Believe.

Godspeed, Six

The Red Sox put together a touching tribute to the late, great Johnny Pesky at Fenway Park after yesterday's 2-1 win over the Orioles. I was able to watch it on NESN, and it lasted just over 90 minutes.

It was great to see just about the entire team there, along with many former Sox greats, everyone from Luis Tiant, Pedro Martinez, Rich Gedman, Jim Rice and even Roger Clemens was there. (It's pretty clear to me that he is looking to mend fences with the team and fans especially, and put a lot of the ill will behind him.)

Red Sox Nation Poet Laureate Dick Flavin was there, and spoke eloquently of Johnny. (I met him at a BLOHARDS meeting a few years back.) Groups of former players spoke about their cherished memories of Johnny, and my favorite was from the great Bill Lee, after pointing to a picture of Johnny with "The Teammates":

"See those guys? They're from the West Coast. The land of fruits and nuts." 

It instantly made me laugh, and brought back cherished memories for me, as my beloved late Uncle Paddy, who once lived in the Bay Area, used to say the same line about California.

The memorial included film clips of Johnny's life and career (note to NESN: what was with the commercial in the middle of one of them?), the players leaving roses at a huge number six in the dirt at shortstop, and at the end, with the music of "Field of Dreams" playing in the background, the current and former players went to a newly-painted yellow Pesky Pole and signed it with markers. 

I had a hard time not shedding a few tears.

It was a nice way for the team to remember one of it's most beloved figures. 

We miss you, Number Six.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

4-0

It has been a disaster area for the baseball teams I pull for in 2012. Spring Training for 2013 can't come soon enough.

It's football season now anyway.

I haven't written much about football so far this year, but it is finally time to turn more of my attention to it. And my boys from Notre Dame have bolted from the gate at 4-0 for the first time since 2002 with a 13-6 grind-it-out win over rival Michigan last night at South Bend.

It looked it was the "Turnover Bowl" last night, as both teams made many mistakes, but MIchigan made more. ND picked off five passes, four off  QB Denard Robinson. And two of them were by LB Manti Te'o, who was playing with a heavy heart after two recent deaths in his family.

Notre Dame switched quarterbacks in the second quarter, as Tommy Rees came on for the ineffective Everett Golson, who was picked off twice. It paid off immediate dividends as Rees ran in from two yards on what appeared to be a busted play which turned out to be the only TD of the game.

The Irish defense was the stars of the game, adding a fumble recovery to their five interceptions. It was also the second straight week they have not allowed a TD.

The Irish are off next week, and will play Miami in Chicago on October 6th.

Second Worst. For Now.

Yesterday's Red Sox loss to the Orioles in 12 innings (can you believe they have still not won a game in extra innings this season?) now means that the Sox have lost 85 games in 2012.

I have been a Red Sox fan since 1977, and this year will be at least the second-worst Red Sox season in all the years of my fandom.

I took a look back at the numbers and the worst is 1992, when the Sox dropped 89, with a winning percentage of .451. Right now they are 68-85, with a percentage of .444. It will be the all-time worst if it holds up at the end of the season. (And I have no reason to believe it will get any better.)

The second-worst is the "strike" season of 1994, when the Red Sox finished 54-61, with a .470 WP. That would have been a 76-86 season had the players not taken an early vacation that year. Barring the Red Sox running the table right now, 2012 will undoubtedly be worse than that awful year.

The Sox have finished 78-84 three times during my years with the team: 1983, 1987 and 1997.

This will only be the 7th time in 36 seasons that the Red Sox have finished under .500 in the years I have rooted for them. They have had 28 winning seasons, with one year (1985) at .500 exactly. So despite what has happened most recently, the Sox have put some very good teams on the field, especially in the last decade. (They have finished with a .600 WP three times: 1977, 1978 and the magical season of 2004.)

So, if the Red Sox drop 5 of the remaining 9 games, they will be the worst Red Sox team I have ever rooted for. The first I have ever witnessed as a fan that has dropped 90 games.

So long, Bobby V.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Animal at Fenway

I was surprised to see that my favorite wrestler of all-time, George "The Animal" Steele, threw out the first ball at Fenway Park last before the Sox' game with the Baltimore Orioles.

I also never knew that he once wrestled at Fenway, back in 1969. I also never knew that Fenway once hosted a wrestling card.

Naturally, the Animal took a bite out of the baseball before he threw it.

I guess he was the most interesting thing at Fenway last night, as the Orioles won, 4-2. (Have you noticed that the Sox and O's have exactly switched places since last September? Only the results haven't changed.)

Speaking of the Animal, I met him back in late October of 2004 at a swap meet in New Jersey. He was a nice guy, could speak English perfectly, and he saw my Red Sox hat (the Sox won the World Series three days earlier) and we chatted briefly about their historic win.

Then I got an autographed picture with him, and he asked me if I'd like to choke him out or he would choke me out in the pic. I said, "I would be honored if you choke me out, Mr. Steele."

So here it is. One of my prouder moments.

Long live The Animal.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Would Mr. Moneyball Have Brought The Sox More Titles?

My friend Dan sent me an interesting email yesterday. He's as big a Red Sox fan as I am, and he was at a conference attended by Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane.

The man who was the inspiration for "Moneyball" was a keynote speaker, and Dan picks it up from there:

I was fortunate enough to be able to ask him a question (in front of the 800 attendees) and before my question about his stadium, I prefaced my question by stating I was a Red Sox fan and that I had friends that think of him as one of the most important people in Red Sox history in that if he hadn't turned them down they may not have won two championships to which he quickly retorted that I was right, because he would have won 4 by now, and jokingly stated that no matter what he would have the franchise in better shape this year. 


Was a fun moment.

Would the Red Sox have four championships since 2003 had Billy Beane taken the reins of the Red Sox as GM?  It's an interesting thing to think about, but of course, there's no way to know for sure if that would have happened. Billy Beane still hasn't won his first title in Oakland yet.

Beane was set to become GM after the 2002 season, but backed out because of family factors, and Theo Epstein got the job instead.

Epstein left a decidedly mixed legacy in Boston. A lot of great things, but he also left the club a mess as well. Would the collapse of September 2011 have happened under Beane's watch? Again, we'll never know for sure.

I don't want to sound like a Yankee fan, saying things like "we should have won more titles." The Sox have two championships since 2004, and I am grateful for that. We went a long time waiting for that elusive championship that finally arrived in spectacular fashion in 2004. 2007 was wonderful, too. But a good majority of baseball fans in America don't see their team win one, left alone two titles, in their lifetimes.

However, I really believe that Bobby Valentine wouldn't have come anywhere near the Red Sox manager's office had Mr. Moneyball been at the controls.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Uncle

I was out most of Thursday at one of my background acting gigs, and checked some baseball scores on my breaks, and saw the Red Sox with the lead midway through the Tampa Bay game.

I'm still a Sox fan and even with this season deep in the crapper, I'm still checking them out and hoping for a little dignity as 2012 ends.

I checked and saw Clay Buchholz was marvelous, pitching 7 shutout innings.

It was 4-1 entering the ninth inning, Red Sox.

I got home just in time to see a complete meltdown by Andrew Bailey, and Vicente Padilla giving up a three-run shot to B.J. Upton, and the Rays acting like crazed six-year-olds, simply because they won a game in their last at-bat.

7-4 final. Last night it officially became a losing season, and this loss put the cherry on top of that.

Dammit, this 2012 crapfest simply can't end fast enough for me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Trivia Q&A: September 18

We had 20 teams in for Trivia on a very rainy night in New York. Glad to see so many folks braved the weather and came out. Folks have to have their Trivia!

We had some really good scores for 1970s Trivia, and for TV Networks Trivia (I think I made it a little too easy to be honest). We had no perfect scores for General Knowledge, but we did have two teams who got all five questions in IQ Trivia correct, including the winners, Did Sgt. Brody Beat Off On Our Nachos, who wound up with 51 points and won by a comfortable 10 points. Second place was a tie, and we broke it by asking, "How many electoral votes did Jimmy Carter get in his 1976 presidential victory?" It was 297, and the team of Tax Panther: 47% of the Time It Doesn't Pay Income Tax Every Time was closest and won, with Mustard Squid 3.0 Deluxe finishing in third.

We will also be moving the start time of Tuesday Night Trivia permanently to 8:30 PM starting next week. I've had some requests to begin a bit earlier from the regulars, and so we will do that starting on September 25th. (I got nothing but smiles and applause when I announced that on Tuesday night!)

Current Events
1. Over 300 people were killed in two separate garment factory fires in what Asian country last Tuesday?
2. Name 1of the 2 singers who were named as judges on the TV show "American Idol" for its 12th season this past week.
3. Lawyers are currently seeking an injunction to prevent a French magazine from publishing photos of what famous woman sunbathing topless in the south of France?
4. Thousands of people took to the streets for the independence of Catalonia from Spain last Tuesday. The marches were held in what city, which is Catalonia's capital?
5. Apple reported record pre-order sales of its new iPhone 5, selling approximately how many in the first 24 hours, which was double the previous record of the iPhone 4?
6. What female pop singer will be singing the theme song to the new James Bond film "Skyfall," which will be released next month?
7. What movie sequel garnered over $21 million at the box office and earned the title of the number one film in America?

1970s Trivia
1. In 1978, "I Will Survive" was a number one disco hit for what female singer?
2. Cult leader Jim Jones and over 900 of his followers committed mass suicide in 1978 in what South American country?
3. In 1970, four students were killed by National Guard members during a Vietnam War protest at what midwest university?
4. Steve Cauthen gained international fame in the late 1970s in what sport?
5. In what year of the 1970s did South Vietnam unconditionally surrender after it was invaded by North Vietnam?
6. Barry Gibb wrote the title track to the 1978 film adaptation of what hit Broadway musical?
7. For what film did Jack Nicholson win his first Academy Award in 1975?

TV Networks Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Modern Family
2. Dexter
3. Parks and Recreation
4. Mad Men
5. Boardwalk Empire
6. Family Guy
7. Boss
8. Survivor
9. Dallas
10. White Collar

General Knowledge
1. After how many years is the golden wedding anniversary celebrated? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the fewest number of US states one can go through to go from Canada to Mexico? ( 1 pt)
3. In front of what famous structure did Martin Luther King deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech? ( 1 pt)
4. Tierra Del Fuego is located in what two South American countries? ( 2 pt)
5. "The Hippy Dippy Weatherman" was a character created by what famous comedian? ( 2 pt)
6. What river runs through the Grand Canyon? ( 2 pt)
7. How many points are on the maple leaf on the Canadian national flag? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What African nation was the first country in the world to recognize the United States as an independent country in 1777? ( 4 points)
2. "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was a novella written in 1958 by what author? ( 3 points)
3. In the NATO phonetic alphabet, what word represents the letter "F"? ( 4 points)
4. "Tactical Nuclear Penguin" is a name given to what? ( 5 points)
5. Robert Recorde was a 16th century Welsh mathematician and physician. Name 1 of the 2 mathematical symbols he is credited with introducing. ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Pakistan; 2. Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj; 3. Kate Middleton; 4. Barcelona; 5. two million; 6. Adele; 7. "Resident Evil: Retribution:"

1970s Trivia
1. Gloria Gaynor; 2. Guyana; 3. Kent State; 4. horse racing; 5. 1975; 6. "Grease;" 7. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

TV Networks Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. ABC; 2. Showtime; 3. NBC; 4. AMC; 5. HBO; 6. Fox; 7. Starz; 8. CBS; 9. TNT; 10. USA.

General Knowledge
1. fifty; 2. three; 3. Lincoln Memorial; 4. Argentina and Chile; 5. George Carlin; 6. Colorado; 7. eleven.

IQ Trivia
1. Morocco; 2. Truman Capote; 3. foxtrot; 4. Scottish beer; 5. Equals (=) and plus (+) signs.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Take a Trip Back to the '70s on Tuesday

On Tuesday night at Professor Thom's, the Special Category for Trivia Night will be "1970s Trivia", seven questions about that decade, mostly in history and pop culture.

The Q Train lightning round will be "TV Networks Trivia." In honor of the new TV season that is kicking off, I will give you the names of ten current TV shows, and you will tell me which network it is currently on (and it includes both free and cable TV as well). Every answer will be from a different network.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"In front of what famous structure did Martin Luther King deliver his famous 'I Have a Dream' speech?"

We will get going at about 9 PM. We are back on Tuesdays again for the foreseeable future, as there won't be any Red Sox postseason games that will interrupt our Tuesday nights. Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.

No Playoffs. No Winning Record. Official On The Same Day.

The Red Sox were officially eliminated from any playoff possibility when they lost Sunday's series finale to Toronto, 5-0.

It seems like they were eliminated the moment Bobby Valentine was named manager, doesn't it?

Yesterday's loss was number 81, so it also means the Sox will not have a winning record for the first time since 1997.

And they are still on a pace to drop 90 for the first time since 1966. They are currently 66-81. Going 6-9 over the final 15 will accomplish that.

Bobby Valentine? Bloody hell. What were the Trio thinking?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Guess The NYY Don't Celebrate Walkoffs, Suzan?

Allan over at Joy of Sox posted a link to an article on his site that was written by the New York Daily News' Bob Raissman that really got my attention this morning.

Last Wednesday, on WCBS, Suzan Waldman commented to her Yankees radio boothmate John Sterling about the Red Sox' 9th inning win over New York at Fenway on September 11th:

"John, you would've thought they won the World Series the way they celebrated."

News flash to Waldman: EVERY team does that celebrating crap after they win a game at home in the 9th or extra innings. Every single one.

As many of you who read my stuff here know, I have been railing for years about these idiotic "celebrations" that happen every time a team wins a game in their last at-bat at home. Teams acting like they won the damned World Series just because someone won it in their last at-bat. I wasn't pleased to see the Red Sox acting like wild idiots after the win on Tuesday. I was happy for the win, but I'm always concerned of a needless injury happening in those "pig piles." No one remembers the devastating home plate injury Kendrys Morales suffered after he had to leap in the air after hitting a home run to win a game in 2010. It only cost him a year and a half of his career.

The celebrations have gotten wildly out of control. Earlier this week, I saw when the Orioles beat the Rays in the ninth inning, the Oriole players literally picked up hero Nate McLouth and it looked like he was crowd surfing (see photo). I can only imagine the outcry if McLouth fell and had a serious injury happen to him.

I guarantee you that there will be another serious injury to a player doing this stupid nonsense in the near future. It's not a matter of if, but when and who.

As I have written before, MLB will do nothing about until a major star gets hurt. Kendrys Morales clearly isn't a big star, and his injury is pretty well forgotten.

Waldman has her gall to criticize the Red Sox for their celebrating on Tuesday, when the team she covers and the other 28 do the exact same thing, after every single win in their last home at-bat.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Great Job, Gov

My good friend and Governor of Red Sox Nation for New York State, Chris Wertz, was the "Guest In The Chair" this past Tuesday as the guest PA announcer at Fenway Park for the Red Sox-Yankees game.

And Chris had some game to announce: a 9th inning Red Sox 4-3 win.

Chris did a terrific job in the Chair, and the Red Sox made a really classy move by letting Chris' brother Gerry annouce a couple of innings during the game. The game was on September 11th, and Gerry is a World Trade Center survivor. He worked for Marsh and McLennan, and manged to escape from the North Tower on that fateful morning 11 years ago.

This link from MLB.com is Chris announcing during the pregame ceremonies honoring the 9/11 victims, with the Boston Fire Department A Cappella Quartet singing the National Anthem.

Tuesday was another emotional day for me, as I was at the 9/11 Memorial with my dear friend Deborah. We've been at the site for all 11 remembrances, and I was pleased that no politicians spoke, as it was just the victims' loved ones reading the names. As it should be.

Yesterday I discovered that a Reuters photographer took a photo of me at the site holding a picture of my late friend Joyce. It was another special day, and I was very proud to be there to honor the 9/11 victims. I'll be there every September 11th for the rest of my life.

And I thank all of you for your kind words and good wishes on that day. It means the world to me.

Trivia Q&A: September 12

We had 16 teams in on our special Wednesday night edition of Trivia. It was a good turnout despite the change of day and time, and I thank those folks who were able to change their schedule and come out.

The numbers were rather low for Current Events, but they perked right back up for September 12th Trivia. I expected big numbers for NFL Stadiums Trivia and wasn't disappointed.

It was really a two-horse race heading into IQ Trivia, and both teams got just 2 of 5 correct in the final round, and the team of Romney's Comments On Libya Display the Patriotism of Someone Who Keeps His Money In Switzerland got a total of 43 points and the win. Second went to Love In a Time of Collared Greens with 42 points, and third went to Clay, Bill Clay (the only team to get four correct in IQ Trivia) with 39 points.

We will return to our usual day and time next week: Tuesday night, September 18th at 9 PM.

Best Team Name: I'll Bet You $5 John Quinn Can't Say "Onomatopoeia" On His First Try

Current Events
1. Which recently disgraced athlete was officially banned from running in the Chicago Marathon next month?
2. Canada officially severed diplomatic ties with what nation last Friday, citing the country's foreign policy and security concerns for its diplomats?
3. What American rock band issued a cease and desist order against Fox News, after they used a song of theirs during its coverage of the DNC?
4. Tony Mack, the mayor of what city in New Jersey, was arrested on Monday on corruption charges by the FBI?
5. What English rock superstar was awarded with France's highest public distinction, the Legion of Honor, this past weekend?
6. Serena Williams won the US Open tennis tournament last Sunday and has now won the US Open how many times?
7. Which pop singer believes that a recent benign brain tumor she had was caused by frequent cellphone use?

September 12th Trivia
1. On this day in 2003, the UN lifted sanctions against what country after they accepted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103?
2. In 1974, Haile Selassie, leader of what African nation, was deposed after a military coup ended his 58-year reign?
3. In 1964, Canyonlands National Park was designated an official national park, and is located in what western US state?
4. On this date in 1913, Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens was born. How many gold medals did he win at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin?
5. In 1993, the Lacey V. Murrow Bridge was rebuilt in what western US city, and made it possible for a person to drive from coast to coast without leaving Interstate 90?
6. Nikita Khrushchev was elected Soviet leader in 1953 on this date, officially succeeding whom?
7. In 2003, "The Man In Black", Johnny Cash died. Name 1of the 2 California prisons he recorded classic live albums at in the late 1960s.

NFL Stadiums Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Lambeau Field
2. Lincoln Financial Field
3. Candlestick Park
4. Metrodome
5. Gillette Stadium
6. Ralph Wilson Stadium
7. Raymond James Stadium
8. Heinz Field
9. Paul Brown Stadium
10. Arrowhead Stadium

General Knowledge
1. What fictional character's nose grew longer when he was lying? ( 1 pt)
2. Calgary is a major Canadian city found in what province? ( 1 pt)
3. In the Bible, who famously denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed? (1 pt)
4. The Ganges River runs through what two Asian countries? ( 2 pt)
5. What is the most commonly used letter in the English language? ( 2 pt)
6. What type of creature is a gudgeon? ( 2 pt)
7. What is the largest artery in the human body? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Which Democratic US president is the only president who never met with Queen Elizabeth II during her sixty-year reign as monarch? ( 4 points)
2. Through 2011, what athlete has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated most often? ( 4 points)
3. What event did Prince Albert of Monaco compete in at the 2002 Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City? ( 5 points)
4. Who is famous for the sculpture he made called "The Thinker?" ( 3 points)
5. What man was famously arrested, at least initially, for the murder of a police officer named J.D. Tippit? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Lance Armstrong; 2. Iran; 3. R.E.M.; 4. Trenton; 5. Paul McCartney; 6. four; 7. Sheryl Crow.

September 12th Trivia
1. Libya; 2. Ethiopia; 3. Utah; 4. four; 5. Seattle; 6. Josef Stalin; 7. Folsom and San Quentin.

NFL Stadiums Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Green Bay Packers; 2. Philadelphia Eagles; 3. San Francisco 49ers; 4. Minnesota Vikings; 5. New England Patriots; 6. Buffalo Bills; 7. Tampa Bay Bucs; 8. Pittsburgh Steelers; 9. Cincinnati Bengals; 10. Kansas City Chiefs.

General Knowledge
1. Pinocchio; 2. Alberta; 3. Peter; 4. India and Bangladesh; 5. E; 6. fish (I also accepted "bird"); 7. aorta.

IQ Trivia
1. Lyndon Johnson; 2. Michael Jordan; 3. four-man bobsled; 4. Auguste Rodin; 5. Lee Harvey Oswald.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

11 Years

The day has come around again.

One I hold to be very sacred.

11 years ago today, my friend Joyce Carpeneto was among those innocent people who were killed at the World Trade Center. Every year on this blog, I remember her and all the victims, and I will be at the 9/11 Memorial with thousands of others to remember them on Tuesday.

There's simply no other place on earth I could be on September 11th.

For those of you who have not seen my past tributes, here they are:

2006: Forever Missed. And Forever Loved.
2007: Never Forget. Ever.
2008: We Can Be The Ones Who Remember
2009: The Most Sacred of All Days
2010: 3000
2011: Ten Years After

Every year, I have remembered the victims in another special way. I have done two 5K runs: "The Run to Remember" and "The Tunnel to Towers Run." Unfortunately, "The Run to Remember" was canceled this year due to repairs being done to the roads on Governor's Island.

But I will be running in "The Tunnel to Towers Run" on September 30th. It is the route the late firefighter Stephen Siller took from his Brooklyn firehouse to the burning Towers. Thousands of runners go that route, and I have done it the last two years. It is not only fun, but very inspiring, especially with thousands of folks there cheering you on. I run not only for Joyce, but for all the victims. This year, I am raising money that will go to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. If you would like to sponsor me, please follow this link, and it will take you to my page. (If you would like to send me a check directly, please send me an email at: jbq1462@hotmail.com.)

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Please do say a prayer for all the victims of the September 11 attacks today, but especially for their loved ones and those sick first responders.

May God bless them all.

We Will Be The Ones Who Remember

I put up this quote every year on September 11th. It is from the TV show, "Third Watch," and it was said by actor Bruce Weitz, after a memorial for a fallen firefighter from that fateful day:

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

God bless all the 9/11 victims. We miss you all.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Special Wednesday Trivia Edition This Week

Trivia Night will be happening on a special day and time this week: Wednesday night, September 12th at 8 PM (as Wednesday Night Bingo will follow Trivia). I will not be around on Tuesday, as I will be at the 9/11 Remembrance that morning.

The Special Category for Trivia this week will be "September 12th Trivia," seven questions about people, places and things connected to the day in history.

The Q Train lightning round will be "NFL Stadiums Trivia." In honor of the new football season that has just kicked off, I will give you the names of ten current NFL stadiums, and you will tell me which team calls it home.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Calgary is a major Canadian city found in which province?"

This special Wednesday edition is just for this week only. We will return to our usual day and time, Tuesday nights at 9 PM, next week, September 18th. I hope many of you can make it to Professor Thom's on Wednesday night!

Uglier and Uglier Numbers

Can you remember the last time the Red Sox won a series? Me neither. (Actually, it was when they took 3 of 4 from Kansas City August 24-27. Does that seem like a few months ago?)

Swept at home by the Blue Jays, another team with nothing to play for except not finishing last.

63-78. The last time the Red Sox were 15 under .500 was 1992.

10-27 since July 31.

Now the Sox try to play spoiler against New York, who are fighting for their playoff lives right now.

I'll find other things to do, especially tomorrow.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Last. Again.

I watched a bit of last night's rain-soaked 9-2 Red Sox loss to the Blue Jays last night. It was one of those "I should turn away but I can't" things, like passing a car wreck.

The wreck that is the Boston Red Sox dropped back into last place last night. It couldn't be more depressing. Two rain delays, lousy pitching, and the numbers don't lie: 63-77, 15 1/2 games out of first place. Lost 10 of their last 11. These numbers are just unfathomable to me. The Red Sox now look like a sure bet to lose 90 games for the first time since 1966.

Last night was significant in that Daisuke Matsuzaka may have made his last start ever in Boston. And it wasn't pretty: 1 1/3 innings, 5 runs. He's a free agent, and figures to be elsewhere next season. He wasn't a total bust in his six years with the Sox. He was a big part of the 2007 championship team, and won 18 games in 2008. But he should have been so much better.

The misery concludes in 24 days. (See countdown clock.)

Now I can turn my attention to football. So far the news is encouraging, as Notre Dame won their home opener over Purdue, 20-17. It wasn't pretty, but the Irish break from the gate 2-0.

The Minnesota Vikings open their season today at the Metrodome against Jacksonville. I am strangely optimistic about this season.

Friday, September 07, 2012

26 Days Until The Agony Ends

I'm guessing that EVERY MLB manager has wanted to punch out some reporter (or ten) in his career after being asked a really stupid question.

But Bobby Valentine, who is setting new records for embarrassing Red Sox fans, said it out loud to WEEI's Glenn Ordway the other day during a telephone interview on his radio show.

Valentine has no edit button and just blurts out nonsense like this. Listen, I understand this has been a very trying year for Valentine, on all fronts. The vultures are circling, and he knows it. And there are times when Boston media deserves a collective belt in the mouth.

The incident reminds me of those classic press conferences that Bill Parcells had when he was coaching the New York Giants. Someone would ask something really inane, and Parcells would just look at the guy and say, "That's a stupid question" and move to the next guy.

If Valentine was really joking, he should have just laughed off Ordway's question about whether or not he had "checked out" and said, "Of course not. Next question."

And once again for the 4,387th time in 2012, something incredibly stupid gets blown out of proportion. Larry Lucchino knew that Valentine was a drama queen (or is that "drama king?") when he hired him. (And make no mistake, Lucchino was the one who wanted him. It makes me wonder how this season would have gone if Ben Cherington got the man he wanted, Dale Sveum, as manager.)

As I've written before, I have never used the word "embarrassing" more than I have about the Red Sox than I have in 2012. No, not everything is Valentine's fault, but is Bobby V part of the problem, or the solution? That answer should be obvious. Like just about every other Red Sox fan out there, I am just sick and tired of this nonsense. Drama comes with the territory in rooting for the Sox, but enough is enough.

I'll bet the farm that Valentine gets the axe once the season concludes. But if ownership announces they will give Valentine one more year to straighten out the ship, that will be all I need to conclude that they are treating us like morons, and I will have NOTHING to do with the Boston Red Sox in 2013. I'll keep my money in my pocket and avoid Fenway like the plague until Valentine gets the kick in the ass out the door he deserves.

This week, Valentine is the cover boy on the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, with the title, "How The Red Sox Lost Their Way."

Have I said that this is embarrassing? Yep, I may have used that word once or twice this season.

The Red Sox return to Fenway tonight to play the Toronto Blue Jays (with future Red Sox manager John Farrell?). I can only imagine right now the reception Valentine will get the first time he goes out to remove a pitcher this weekend.

It won't be pretty.

October 3rd can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Hallelujah

The Red Sox won't go 0-9 on the West Coast after all.

They beat the Seattle Mariners last night, 4-3, behind Jon Lester and with home runs by Cody Ross and Ryan Lavarnway.

The West Coast Death March comes to an end tonight.

And speaking of death marches, you may have noticed that the New York Yankees have officially blown a 10-game lead for the first time, as the Baltimore Orioles caught them last night with their win in Toronto, and New York's loss in St. Pete.

The tabloids in New York are having a field day, with headlines like "Tankees" and "One Fine Mess."

But I am not jumping for joy here, as there still is plenty of games left to play, and the math says the Yankees are still very much in the race, despite their recent slump.

The tabloids bozos are calling this the worst collapse in the history of the franchise. I guess they forget about a certain four-day period back in October 2004...

Trivia Q&A: September 4

It was a rather mellow night on Tuesday, with the Labor Day weekend having just finished, so we had 15 teams in for Trivia. What I expected as we begin September.

We had some good numbers for Democratic Party Trivia, and also for General Knowledge. The top three were separated by five points heading into IQ Trivia, but it was rendered moot when the team in first, Once More Into The Breech, was the only team that got all five correct and wound up with a six point win, having gotten 53 points. Congratulations to Emily, Pian & Co. on their first win in a while.

Second place went to Proud Graduates of the Russell Crowe Kayaking School with 47 points, and third place went to Hey! My Uncle Ted Got Invited Onstage at the Republican Convention (they also got Best Team Name) with 45 points.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT NEXT WEEK: We will be having Trivia next week on Wednesday, September 12th at 8 PM. We originally had moved it to Monday, but Wednesday was a better day to have it next week, and at a special time. I will be at the Remembrance at the 9 /11 Memorial on Tuesday, so we will move Trivia Night just for next week. The Sneak Peek question and special categories will still be posted here next Monday. We will return to Tuesday night on September 18th at 9 PM.

Current Events
1. The NBA's Los Angeles Lakers recently announced that they will unveil a statue of what legendary player at the Staples Center during the upcoming season?
2. A national emergency was declared in the African nation of Sierra Leone last week after 300 people died from an outbreak of what disease?
3. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Michael Douglas is set to portray what 20th century American leader in an upcoming film?
4. What Oscar-winning actor got lost while kayaking in the waters off Long Island Sound last Saturday and was assisted back to LI by the US Coast Guard?
5. What female country singer voluntarily entered a 30-day program to treat her anxiety and stress problems this past week?
6. What major US city is bracing for a possible teachers strike on September 10th if no agreement is reached by that date?
7. What former number one American tennis player announced he will retire from the sport when the US Open concludes this week?

Democratic Party Trivia
1. Who was the first Democratic president of the 20th century?
2. Which Democratic senator, who has served his western US state for 49 years, is currently the longest serving senator?
3. Which Democrat succeeded George Pataki as New York state's governor?
4. What former US senator is the only Democrat to lose both a presidential and vice-presidential election?
5. Who was the first Democratic president to be impeached?
6. John Glenn, the former astronaut and Democratic senator, represented what midwest state?
7. What eastern US state was the only one that Democrat George McGovern won in his 1972 presidential defeat to Richard Nixon?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. There are approximately 6800 languages in the world.
2. The first sailing boats were built in China.
3. Singing in the shower can actually help lower your cholesterol.
4. Men are four times more likely to be struck by lightning than women.
5. Pope John Paul II was once named an "Honorary Harlem Globetrotter."
6. The sun is about 10,000 times larger than the earth.
7. Rice paper has no rice in it.
8. Toenails grow faster than fingernails.
9. "Q" is the least used letter in the English alphabet.
10. There are about 50,000 earthquakes in the world every year.

General Knowledge
1. How many countries border Australia? ( 1 pt)
2. What NBA team did Larry Bird go on to coach after leaving the Boston Celtics? ( 1 pt)
3. The earth's atmosphere is composed of 78% of what element? ( 1 pt)
4. The Azore Islands belong to what European country? ( 2 pt)
5. What military base includes the hangar that is the home of Air Force One? ( 2 pt)
6. The ABC Islands are located in what body of water? ( 2 pt)
7. An antiemetic is a drug that is effective against what common problem? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What color robes are worn by the Dalai Lama and all Tibetan Buddhist Monks? ( 4 points)
2. In what US state is the Crater of Diamonds State Park, where people can mine for diamonds and keep what they find? ( 5 points)
3. "The Jesus Tablet" is a nickname for what? ( 3 points)
4. Willis Carrier was an engineer who is credited for inventing what modern appliance? ( 4 points)
5. Steven Spielberg refused to accept a salary for directing what film? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; 2. cholera; 3. Ronald Reagan; 4. Russell Crowe; 5. LeAnn Rimes; 6. Chicago; 7. Andy Roddick.

Democratic Party Trivia
1. Woodrow Wilson; 2. Daniel Inouye; 3. Eliot Spitzer; 4. Walter Mondale; 5. Andrew Johnson; 6. Ohio; 7. Massachusetts.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. false, Egypt; 3. false; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, 330,000 times larger; 7. true; 8. false, fingernails grow 4 times faster; 9. true; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. none; 2. Indiana Pacers; 3. nitrogen; 4. Portugal; 5. Andrews AFB; 6. Caribbean Sea; 7. vomiting and nausea.

IQ Trivia
1. maroon (I also accepted "red" and "saffron"); 2. Arkansas; 3. iPad; 4. air conditioner; 5. "Schindler's List."

Monday, September 03, 2012

It's the Democrats Turn This Week

We did Republican Party Trivia last week at Professor Thom's, so this week our Special Category will be "Democratic Party Trivia", seven questions about the Democrats and their history in honor of their convention in Charlotte this week. Like I have said many times here, we are fair and balanced at Trivia Night.

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


The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What NBA team did Larry Bird go on to coach after leaving the Boston Celtics?

We'll get started right around 9 PM this Tuesday night. We continue to have great support every week, and I thank you all for that. Get in early to secure a good table, and I'll see you tomorrow for another great night of Q&A!

I Wouldn't Have Guessed This

The Red Sox and San Diego Padres both have the same record on Labor Day: 62-73. (And even more amazingly, the Yankees and A's have the same record as well: 76-57.)

Simply stated the Red Sox got their asses kicked in Oakland this past weekend. The numbers surrounding it are butt ugly: outscored 33-5, they are 0-6 on the 9-game West Coast swing, and it was the first time the Red Sox have lost eight straight to the A's in a season since 1932, which also happens to be the worst season in Red Sox history: 43-111.

Getting outscored 33-5 was the biggest margin the Sox have been outscored in a three-game series in their history. The pitching has been simply atrocious (ERA over 9.00) and the bats silent (.231 on the trip). All the hallmarks of a team mailing it in.

Just when you think 2012 can't get any worse, it does. Records for ineptitude either get set, or it's the worst since a previous awful year in Red Sox history (such as 1932, 1966 or 1997).

Now, Ben Cherington and John Henry have joined the team in Seattle. Their presence has been downplayed, but you just know another crappy performance in this three-game series with the Mariners may mean that Bobby Valentine won't make it back to Boston alive.

Why bother waiting? Do everyone, including Valentine a favor, and put an end to this misery right now.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Another Putrid Month Ends: 9-20 For August

A truly embarrassing month of August ended with the Red Sox nearly as horrific as they were last September: 9 wins, 20 losses since July 31. (They were 7-20 in last year's final month.)

And they ramped up the embarrassment even further by getting absolutely smoked by the Oakland A's tonight, 20-2. (I think I have written the word "embarrassment" and "embarrassing" more on this blog in 2012 than I have in all previous years I've written here combined.)

Ladies and gentlemen, this terrible Red Sox team could not only be the first team under .500 since 1997, but it maybe the worst Sox team since 1966, when that crew went 72-90. (You remember what happened next for that team? Dick Williams came in, took over the club and made history.)

I really thought the A's were going to be horrific this year, and a candidate to drop at least 100. They sure have proved me wrong, and that was certainly on display for the world to witness on Friday night.

This is also a Red Sox team that has clearly bagged it. Bobby Valentine should do all of us a favor and just walk away now. This team will NOT win with him as the manager. The credibility and stability that were hallmarks of the last decade's team is completely gone.

Time to start fresh. Get rid of The Smartest Guy In The Room and tell him to take his coaches with him. Like everyone else in Red Sox Nation, we are fed up and tired of this crap. Big changes are needed throughout the locker room.

And the manager's office is a good place to start.