All-Star Game at Miami

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Bradley Era Is About To Begin

The Red Sox have made their decision, and Jackie Bradley Jr. will open the 2013 season in a Boston Red Sox uniform when they take the field Monday in New York.

I honestly believe that Bradley should begin the season at Pawtucket, but I don't get paid to make those decisions. He will most likely be in the Opening Day lineup in left field and bat eighth.

David Ortiz will open the season on the DL, and Daniel Bard and Ryan Larvarnway were both sent down to the minors. MIke Carp and Daniel Nava both made the roster as backup 1B/OF.

Here is the Opening Day Red Sox roster:

Pitchers: Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, John Lackey, Felix Doubront, Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey, Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen.

Position Players: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ross, Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Jose Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks, Pedro Ciriaco, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mike Carp, Daniel Nava.

On the DL: David Ortiz, Stephen Drew, Craig Breslow, Franklin Morales, Ryan Kalish.

Friday, March 29, 2013

"Francona: The Red Sox Years"

I have a number of books to read this past winter and spring, but one I needed to read before the 2013 baseball season kicks off is "Francona: The Red Sox Years."

I got an autographed copy back in January when Terry Francona did a book signing in Manhattan. I sat down and finally read it as spring training was winding down. 

Francona put the book together with the writer you love to hate, Dan Shaughnessy. I'll always give CHB his due in that he does have the gift of writing and telling a compelling story. (It's what and how he writes things that's drawn so much hate towards him, but that's a story for another time.) It is NOT Francona telling his story as a narrative, but it is really CHB's book, so please keep that in mind when reading it.

The book is about Tito's life in baseball, but of course, the centerpiece is his tenure as Red Sox manager. Francona is clearly a baseball lifer and loves nothing more than putting on a baseball uniform. It's an interesting read, with a depressing ending, of course. This won't go down as one of the great baseball tomes of all-time (somewhere David Halberstam has nothing to fear), but for Red Sox fans, it is a glimpse into the inner workings of what will go down as a golden age in the team's history.

But as someone who has followed the Red Sox closely for the last 35 years, I can't say there was anything shocking in the book. You'll find what you would expect: Manny Ramirez was a pain in the ass, Pedro Martinez was a high maintenance character, Nomar Garciaparra couldn't wait to get out of Boston after he wasn't traded before the 2004 season started, and that the 2011 Red Sox were a pack of entitled prima donnas who cared more about their stats than looking after each other's backs. 

The book is really Francona getting a number of issues off his chest that have clearly bothered him. His relationship with the Red Sox ownership of John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino was never warm and fuzzy, and he needed to get his version of the way it ended for him after the 2011 disaster out. It's clearly important to him to know who ratted him out to Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe when he wrote the article about the collapse in October 2011, about his alleged abuse of painkillers,which Tito strongly denies. (And to this day, the guilty party or parties still remain unknown).

I still came away from reading the book with the theory I had after Tito resigned (or was fired, take your pick): that he was clearly burned out from his eight years managing in Boston. He won't put it in those exact terms (and I didn't expect him to) but he needed to get away, if only for his own physical and mental well-being. It's no great shock to me that his tenure as Sox manager is now second longest in team history, to Joe Cronin. Boston is clearly a manager-killer baseball town, and probably always will be.

I found it very curious in the acknowledgements that Francona thanks just about everyone who has been special in his baseball life, but thanks the "Boston Red Sox" and doesn't name any of the individual owners. (It's clear that it will take many years for the pain of 2011 to finally abate for him.)

Like I said, there's not a lot to surprise the average Red Sox fan who follows the Sox closely. Once again, keep reminding yourself that CHB wrote this book. It is clearly written through his prism. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

McCarver To Retire: Very Few Fans Upset

I had mixed reactions yesterday when the word came down that Tim McCarver announced his retirement from Fox after broadcasting games there since 1996. He will announce the 2013 season and then step away.

He should have retired years ago, as his mistakes and malaprops made during games in recent years made watching games almost unlistenable. I rarely watch games on Saturdays when he's involved.

McCarver had become a lightning rod for fans in recent years, and the hatred spewed towards him on Internet is legendary.

But I will admit that I was a McCarver fan right after he landed in the Mets broadcast booth in 1983, after doing Phillies games for three years. I actually enjoyed his take on baseball, as he brought a different perspective than I was used to. I liked how blunt he could be, and even pissed off many Mets players. He also made many other ballplayers angry, too. (Remember when Deion Sanders dumped ice water on him after the 1992 NLCS? See photo to refresh your memory.) McCarver was part of a three-man TV team with Ralph Kiner and Steve Zabriskie. (Remember him, Mets fans?) That was actually a good trio to watch baseball with.

McCarver eventually wore out his welcome with Mets management in 1996, and moved over to call Yankees games until 1999. It's there his legendary fascination with Derek Jeter began.

I must admit there are a few moments from the 2004 postseason that McCarver (who many thought was a Yankee homer) was involved with that will always stay with me, and they are actually some pretty good lines.

"Curt Schilling's performance tonight will long live in New England baseball lore."--Said by McCarver as Curt Schilling was leaving the mound at the end of his performance in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS, the famous "Bloody Sock" game

"The Red Sox are doing everything right. The Cardinals are doing nothing."--Said by McCarver right after Trot Nixon's bases loaded double to give the Sox a 3-0 lead in Game 4 of the 2004 World Series

And that's about all I can complement Timmy on. Glad to see him ride off into the sunset finally. Too bad he can't take Joe Buck with him as well.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Trivia Q&A: March 26

We had a fine crowd in at The Mad Hatter on Tuesday, as I was concerned that the Passover holiday might keep many folks away. It was bigger than last week, and hopefully that trend will continue. I was also nice to see my old friend Rob in at the new place for the first time, as he was one of my dedicated regulars from the old place.

The team of Twitter Turned 7 Years Old & Now The Catholic Church Is All Over It (also Best Team Name, as it wasn't a good night for names) came from six points down after the third round and wound up tying The Belfast Bangers by getting 3 of 5 correct in IQ Trivia (they were only one of two teams to get three right), and forcing a tie breaker question. It was: "What is the current population of Indonesia?" (Indonesia was the answer to the last question in the round.) The Twitter boys guessed 225 million, and were closest to the correct answer (it is 237 million). Congratulations to the duo on their win. Third place went to Purple Parrots with 40 points. (Nice comeback by the boys after getting just one right in the first round.)

Current Events
1. What British rock star had his first UK number one album in 20 years with his current album, which topped the charts in its opening week of release?
2. The family of what former president is supporting new legislation to scrap the design for a planned memorial honoring him?
3. What European airline was forced to cancel more than 500 flights last week after more than 30,000 workers at the company walked out on strike over a wage dispute?
4. YouTube announced last week that they reached what milestone number of unique users last month?
5. What US city's officials announced last week they will close 54 schools this year to try to close a $1 billion deficit?
6. What Asian country declared a state of emergency after Buddhist-Muslim clashes left at least 20 people dead?
7. Singer Tony Bennett said in a recent interview that he will be recording a jazz album later this year with what female pop singer?

Q-Tip Trivia
1. Which countries have never hosted an Olympic Games? a. Japan; b. Hungary; c. South Africa; d. France.
2. Which of the following cities have populations of less than 1 million as of 2010? a. Detroit; b. Boston; c. Houston; d. San Diego.
3. Which of these Americans have won the Nobel Peace Prize? a. Woodrow Wilson; b. Martin Luther King; c. Al Gore; d. Franklin d. Roosevelt.
4. Which of these historical figures were victims of assassination? a. Mahatma Gandhi; b. Charles de Gaulle; c. Idi Amin; d. Pol Pot.
5. Which of the following planets have no satellites? a. Mars; b. Neptune; c. Venus; d. Mercury.
6. Which of these US presidents also served in the US Senate? a. James Monroe; b. Harry Truman; c. John F. Kennedy; d. Lyndon Johnson.
7. Which of these films were never nominated for an Academy Award? a. Reservoir Dogs; b. Citizen Kane; c. Once Upon a Time in the West; d. M*A*S*H.

Comedy Movies Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. A Fish Called Wanda
2. Bridesmaids
3. Monty Python and The Holy Grail
4. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
5. The Blues Brothers
6. A League of Their Own
7. The Seven Year Itch
8. The Producers
9. Animal House
10. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World

General Knowledge
1. How many oceans are there in the world? ( 1 pt)
2. What musical instrumental is featured on Guinness' logo? ( 1 pt)
3. What is the only city in the European Union with a population greater than 4 million? ( 1 pt)
4. Between the North Pole and South Pole, which one has a lower average winter temperature? (2 pt)
5. What European country won the Hundred Years War? ( 2 pt)
6. In what year were the Winter Olympics first held only two years after the Summer Olympics? ( 2 pt)
7. The Jutland Peninsula is found in what two European countries? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What comic book superhero was created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee in 1962? ( 3 points)
2. What pop singer was the voice behind the McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It" ad campaign, and was paid $6 million for it? ( 4 points)
3. What war film's concluding scene is American troops marching into battle singing the theme to "The Mickey Mouse Club?" ( 4 points)
4. How did Governor William Woods Holden of North Carolina make history in 1871? ( 5 points)
5. What Muslim-dominated country has the highest population in the world? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. David Bowie; 2. Dwight D. Eisenhower; 3. Lufthansa; 4. 1 billion; 5. Chicago; 6. Burma; 7. Lady Gaga.

Q-Tip Trivia
1. b,c; 2. a,b; 3. a,b,c; 4. a; 5. c,d; 6. all; 7. a,c.

Comedy Movies Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 1980s (1988); 2. 2010s (2011); 3. 1970s (1975); 4. 2000s (2002); 6. 1990s (1992); 7. 1950s (1955); 8. 1960s (1968); 9. 1970s (1978); 10. 1960s (1963).

General Knowledge
1. five; 2. harp; 3. London; 4. South Pole; 5. France; 6. 1994; 7. Denmark and Germany.

IQ Trivia
1. Spider-Man; 2. Justin Timberlake; 3. "Full Metal Jacket;" 4. First governor impeached and removed; 5. Indonesia.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Q-Tip Makes Its Mad Hatter Debut

This Tuesday night at The Mad Hatter, the Special Category for Trivia Night will be "Q-Tip Trivia," which we have not done since we made the move over to the new place. I will ask you seven general knowledge, multiple choice questions. There will be four choices, and one, two, three, all four or none can be correct. You will get a point for each answer you get correct (if it is none, you get one point). However, if you give an incorrect answer, that will negate the entire question, so you have to be careful!

The Q Train lightning round will be "Comedy Movies Trivia." I will give you ten comedy classic films and you have to tell me the decade of its original release. It will be from the original film, not the remake (if there was one).

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What is the only city in the European Union with a population greater than four million?"

We will get started at 8 PM on Tuesday night. I look forward to seeing many of you at The Mad Hatter, on 3rd Avenue and E. 26th Street, for a great night of Trivia!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

One Week In Florida Left

I haven't written much this spring about the Red Sox, as I take spring training with a grain of salt.

But I have been impressed with the Red Sox pitching in games I have seen on TV so far. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz have been really impressive, and both pitchers have an ERA under 1.00 in all of their starts. And John Lackey looks like he's on a mission, too. He's lost about 20 pounds and his fastball has reached 92 MPH this spring. I'm sure most Red Sox fans have little faith in this guy, but he may actually surprise some people this year. Lester and Buchholz must pitch well for the Sox to succeed, but a healthy Lackey will give the Red Sox innings, and that cannot be underestimated.

The Red Sox will open the season with possibly four key players on the DL: David Ortiz, Stephen Drew, Franklin Morales and Craig Breslow. Fortunately, the Sox appear to have one of the deepest bullpens in baseball, but losing two lefties out of the pen will hurt. No word yet on how long Papi will be out for, but we should have a better idea where he stands this week, as the final roster will be announced soon. It looks like Drew will open the season out, but it may not be for very long, as he was given the green light to begin baseball activities after being beaned earlier this month. Jose Iglesias will most likely open the season in Boston.

No word yet on the fate of Jackie Bradley Jr. and where he will begin the season. He has been hugely impressive this spring, but for many reasons, I still bet he will open the year in Pawtucket.

I have been thinking about what the AL East finish will be in 2013. It's as wide open as it has been in its history. My bold prediction is:

1. Blue Jays
2. Red Sox
3. Rays
4. Yankees
5. Orioles

In the immortal words of Dennis Miller: "That's just my opinion, I could be wrong."

I think this Red Sox team can win between 85 and 90 games. Can they make the playoffs? Maybe. A lot has to go right for them to be playing this October. They especially need to break from the gate in good shape this year. The bad starts of the last two years foretold big trouble.

I'm sure most of the "pundits" will pick the Red Sox either fourth or fifth. Doesn't matter to me. They might ultimately be right. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Trivia Q&A: March 19

We had another nice crowd on Tuesday night at The Mad Hatter, on a day when it rained early, but fortunately the skies cleared and it brought some folks out.

The scores were strong for States' Largest City Trivia (it was the only round that featured any perfect scores all night) and it was close heading into IQ Trivia, with the top three teams separated by one point. But the team of Do I Really Have To Give My Vermeer Back? got 4 of the 5 correct in the round, and wound up winning by five points, with a total of 46 points. Second place went to Blue Barracudas with 41 points, and third place went to Women's College Basketball with 37 points.

Best Team Name: Condoms & Rattlesnakes: Two Things I Don't F*** With

Current Events
1. What southern state's lawmakers passed a bill last week banning limits on portion sizes in restaurants, calling it the "Anti-Bloomberg Bill?"
2. What southern state's lt. governor resigned last week after she was linked to an illegal online gambling scheme?
3. What Hollywood star's Haiti charity was awarded $8.75 million from the World Bank last week and it will be used to build homes for the 2010 earthquake victims?
4. What bankrupt singer was approved by a Nevada court last week to sell 280 exotic animals he owns to an Oregon wildlife center?
5. Russian president Vladimir Putin appeared last week with what Hollywood tough guy actor in an effort to encourage Russian youth to return to a "Soviet-era" style of physical fitness?
6. Lawmakers in what eastern US state voted to repeal the death penalty last Friday and if signed by the governor it will be the 18th state to abolish it?
7. Who won the presidential straw poll last Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference?

March 19th Trivia
1. Televangelist Jim Bakker resigned on this day in 1987 as head of the PTL Club due to a sex scandal involving what woman?
2. In 1931, what US state became the first to legalize gambling?
3. C-SPAN was created on this day in 1979. What future vice-president made the first speech broadcast that day on the network?
4. Notorious Nazi Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann was born on this day in 1906. In what South American country was he caught by Israeli Mossad agents and later executed?
5. On this day in 1953, the Academy Awards were broadcast for the first time ever and on what TV network?
6. Edgar Rice Burroughs died on this day in 1950. Which literary character is he best known for having created?
7. Film producer Harvey Weinstein was born on this day in 1952. What 1998 film won Best Picture and his only Oscar as producer?

States' Largest Cities Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. North Carolina
2. Kansas
3. Missouri
4. Florida
5. Alaska
6. Texas
7. Connecticut
8. Delaware
9. Tennessee
10. New Jersey

General Knowledge
1. Peter Falk portrayed what TV detective in the 1970s? ( 1 pt)
2. "The Count of Monte Cristo", the novel by Alexandre Dumas, was primarily set in what European country? ( 1 pt)
3. What model car does Marty McFly use to travel through time in the 1985 film "Back to the Future?" ( 1 pt)
4. What color are the helmets worn by UN peacekeeping forces? ( 2 pt)
5. What 1968 Beatles song was number one on the Billboard Pop cgart for 9 weeks, the longest of any of their number one hits? ( 2 pt)
6. What English city does legend say Lady Godiva rode naked on a horse through? ( 2 pt)
7. Besides New Jersey and Nevada, what is the only other state that allows online gambling? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What is the least populous state capital in the United States? ( 4 points)
2. Who is the youngest entertainer to ever host "Saturday Night Live?" ( 4 points)
3. What famous comedienne wrote the 2009 mystery novel "Murder at the Academy Awards?" ( 4 points)
4. "Every Time I Eat Vegetables It Makes Me Think Of You" is a 1983 song by what American rock group? ( 5 points)
5. What current TV series was created by Robert and Michelle King after they watched news footage of Silda Spitzer at a press conference in 2008? ( 3 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Mississippi; 2. Florida; 3. Sean Penn; 4. Wayne Newton; 5. Steven Seagal; 6. Maryland; 7. Rand Paul.

March 19th Trivia
1. Jessica Hahn; 2. Nevada; 3. Al Gore; 4. Argentina; 5. NBC; 6. Tarzan; 7. "Shakespeare In Love."

States' Largest Cities Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Charlotte; 2. Wichita; 3. Kansas City; 4. Jacksonville; 5. Anchorage; 6. Houston; 7. Bridgeport; 8. Wilmington; 9. Memphis; 10. Newark.

General Knowledge
1. Columbo; 2. France; 3. DeLorean; 4. blue; 5. "Hey Jude;" 6. Coventry; 7. Delaware.

IQ Trivia
1. Montpelier, Vermont; 2. Drew Barrymore (7); 3. Joan Rivers; 4. The Ramones; 5. "The Good Wife."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Know Your Big Cities On Tuesday


On Tuesday night at The Mad Hatter, Trivia Night will feature "March 19th Trivia", seven questions about the day in history. It's always a popular category, with all kinds of people, places and things connected to the date.

The Q Train lightning round will be "States' Biggest City Trivia." I will give you the names of ten US states and you have to tell what the largest city by population in that state as of the 2010 Census.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Count of Monte Cristo, a novel by Alexandre Dumas, is set in what European country?"

We get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. It's been a great start at The Mad Hatter these first five weeks and thank you all for your support. The Mad Hatter is located at 360 3rd Avenue, between 26th and 27th Streets, and the bar's phone number is 212-696-2122. I look forward to seeing many of on Tuesday for another great night of Trivia!

Almost Perfect

I don't put too much stock into Spring Training baseball. I've watched a little bit this spring. My only concern with the Red Sox is "did anyone get hurt?"

The Red Sox staff nearly pitched a perfect game yesterday, and it would have been the first time since March 2000, when Pedro Martinez and 6 other pitchers turned the trick. Jon Lester pitched six perfect innings over Tampa Bay yesterday, and was followed by perfect frames by Anthony Carter (didn't he used to play for the Vikings?) and Joel Hanrahan.

Then some guy wearing number 96 allowed a hit to guy on the Rays I never heard of with one out, and there went the perfecto. No problem, but the Rays broke up the shutout, and the Sox still won, 5-1.

Lester, who will undoubtedly pitcher the opener in New York in two weeks, has been lights out this spring, as in 20 innings, he has allowed just two earned runs for a 0.90 ERA.

Again, I don't get too excited about the games that don't count, but the Sox pitching has been very good so far. Jackie Bradley Jr. has been a revelation in the outfield this spring, and there has been talk of his making the Opening Day roster. That would only be a good idea if he plays just about every day, as to keep him on an MLB bench as opposed to every day in AAA won't be beneficial to a kid who looks like he's on the fast track to success. I'd rather see Bradley tear up AAA and force the Red Sox into a serious decision should one of their outfielders be struggling or if one goes down.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

2013 Nominees For The IABHoF Announced

It's appropriate that this weekend, as we honor St. Patrick, the 2013 nominees for the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame were announced, and it is quite a diverse group.

This year, former Mets Rusty Staub and "Super" Joe McEwing are on the ballot, and are joined by Yankee Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford, former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, Dead Ball era stars Roger Bresnahan and "Big Ed" Delahanty, World Series-winning managers Joe McCarthy and Jack McKeon, two-time NL MVP Dale Murphy, White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, baseball writers Bill Madden and Dan Shaughnessy (neither of whom would get my vote if I had one), writers Doris Kearns Goodwin and Hal McCoy, and actors Jimmy Fallon and Charlie Sheen.

The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame is located inside Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant, which is located at 18 West 33rd Street, right across the street from the Empire State Building.

The class of 2013 will be announced by Foley's later this spring.

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Closer"

Just finished reading an interesting book called "Closer: Major League Players Reveal The Inside Pitch On Saving the Game" by Kevin Neary and Leigh Tobin, authors of "Major League Dads."

The authors chatted with and about baseball's closers from throughout the history of when the position of closer came to prominence: from the early ones like Elroy Face and Jim Konstanty, when the role came to more note like Rollie Fingers, Tug McGraw and John Hiller, to when it became a one inning standard today like Craig Kimbrel, Mariano Rivera and Jonathan Papelbon.

Each closer tells how they got the role and how they embrace it. Some were groomed to be closers from the beginning of their professional career, but many becoming a closer was a savior of the career, and others just fell into it. But the book makes it clear that those who are a part of it feel they are a part of a fraternity.

"Closer" ranges from the humorous (Al Hrabosky, Mitch Williams), to the tragic (Donnie Moore), to the ones with short careers (John Rocker, Eric Gagne), to the future Hall of Famers (Rivera, John Smoltz, Trevor Hoffman). It's interesting to hear from the 1970s closers like Goose Gossage and Fingers, who would regularly throw more than one inning to get a save. I got the impression from them that being a closer back in the old days was a lot tougher, and the age of specialization has made the current closer an easier gig.

The book also centers around the mindset of the average closer. Most talk about the short memory a closer must have, and how they are a close knit group. Papelbon thanks Rivera for picking his brain after he got the Red Sox closer. "You have to have a short term memory", he told Pap.

Brad Lidge does the forward, and it's a comprehensive history of one of baseball's toughest positions, in the words of the men who do the job themselves. The book is available now through Running Press Publishers.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tito and The Tribe Shake

I think this "Harlem Shake" thing has finally gone too far.

Here is Terry Francona (why isn't he wearing 47?), the man who led the Red Sox to two championships in the last decade, leading his new troops, the Cleveland Indians, in a truly bizarre version of the dance "craze" currently sweeping the nation.The Indians players are dressed in all different types of costumes as the mayhem begins.

Warning: Tito actually attempts to dance. Not pretty at all. He's also in the "big baby" costume. You've been warned.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Seven Great Years

It was seven years ago today that I started The Mighty Quinn Media Machine, and I want to thank you all for making it such a success for me.

I write mostly about the Red Sox, but that has decline a bit in the last few years. (I guess a bounce back Red Sox season in 2013 might change that.) My Trivia Night also occupies a lot of space here as well. (When I set out I decided I wasn't giving this site a "Red Sox" name, as I knew I'd be writing about more than just baseball.)

When we made the transition to The Mad Hatter for Trivia last month, that occupied a good part of my time, so I hope you Red Sox fans understood. But I am looking forward to the 2013 season, and once again, I will not be writing about every game, just at selected times.

Once again, thanks to all of you who stop by here every once in a while to check on my ramblings. Your support means a lot to me.

Trivia Q&A: March 12

It was a rainy day and nght in New York on Tuesday, and the crowd was a bit light, but were definitely enthusiastic. The folks knew their Ireland Trivia, as the scores were on the higher side, and they also did well knowing what parts of the British Isles the celebrities are from.

We had a tie going into IQ Trivia, but the team of One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato Famine! got 4 of the 5 questions correct, and won the night with 46 points. (They also won Best Team Name as well.) Second place went to Blue Barracudas with 42 points, and we had a tie for third between Erin Go Barf! and The Chelsea Landmark Sucks No Matter What Floor You're On with 41 points. Erin Go Barf! won the tie-breaker question: "What is the record for most PGA titles won (by Sam Snead)? They guessed 82 on the nose.

Current Events
1. What Asian country has the world's fastest internet connection speeds, according to a new article in Forbes magazine?
2. The Hawaii state senate passed a celebrity privacy bill last week, and named it after what American rock star?
3. A book tour by what controversial NFL player was canceled by Barnes & Noble this week after the player received many threats of violence made toward him?
4. To the closest hour, how many hours was Sen. Rand Paul's epic filibuster to deny John Brennan's nomination as CIA director?
5. According to Parade magazine, what athlete earned $57.5 million in 2012 and was the highest-paid celebrity in America?
6. What lead singer of a heavy metal band stooped a show in Sydney, Australia last weekend and was rushed to a hospital for an emergency operation for kidney stones?
7. What film grossed over $80 million last weekend in its opening, making it the biggest opening weekend for any film in 2013?

Ireland Trivia
1. Which Irish saint is said to have explored America 1000 years before Columbus? a. Patrick; b. Finbar; c. Brendan; d. Thomas.
2. Larry Mullen Jr. is a member of what Irish rock group? a. Black 47; b. U2; c. The Pogues; d. Thin Lizzy.
3. How many counties are there in the Republic of Ireland? a. 19; b. 26; c. 30; d. 33.
4. During which major holiday did the 1916 uprising in Ireland against Great Britain take place? a. Easter; b. Christmas; d. New Year's; d. Queen's birthday.
5. What is Ireland's most popular team sport? a. soccer; b. rugby; c. cricket; d. Gaelic football.
6. What year did Ireland become an independent nation? a. 1916; b. 1918; c. 1922; d. 1926.
7. What movie, set in Ireland, won an Oscar in 1992 for Neil Jordan's screenplay? a. The Commitments; b. The Crying Game; c. In The Name of The Father; d. Far and Away.

Born In The British Isles Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Kate Winslet
2. Elvis Costello
3. Ewan McGregor
4. Pierce Brosnan
5. Christian Bale
6. Van Morrison
7. Rod Stewart
8. Catherine Zeta-Jones
9. Sean Connery
10. Bono

General Knowledge
1. XC is what number in Roman numerals? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the principal ingredient in the Russian soup borscht?( 1 pt)
3. Who was the first rap group to have the number one album on the Billboard Pop Album chart? ( 1 pt)
4. What is the name of the course in Scotland that is regarded as the birthplace of golf? ( 2 pt)
5. What 1970s heavyweight champion has five sons, all of whom have the same given name as him? ( 2 pt)
6. What continent is the world's largest producer of peanuts? ( 2 pt)
7. What is the state bird of Maryland? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What funnyman, in his days as a struggling comic, appeared on three episodes of the TV series "Benson" in the role of "Frankie" before being fired? ( 4 points)
2. The Khyber Pass is a route between Pakistan and what other country? ( 4 points)
3. What futuristic novel opens with the line, "It was a pleasure to burn?" ( 4 points)
4. What rock guitar legend had a cameo role in the 2007 film "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End?" ( 3 points)
5. What is the more common term for the medical procedure known as a rhytidectomy? ( 5 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. South Korea; 2. Steven Tyler; 3. Michael Vick; 4. thirteen; 5. Lebron James; 6. Vince Neil; 7. "Oz The Great and Powerful."

Ireland Trivia
1. c; 2. b; 3. b; 4. a; 5. d; 6. c; 7. b.

Born In The British Isles Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. England; 2. England; 3. Scotland; 4. Ireland; 5. Wales; 6. Ireland; 7. England; 8. Wales; 9. Scotland; 10. Ireland.

General Knowledge
1. ninety; 2. beetroot; 3. Beastie Boys; 4. St. Andrew's; 5. George Foreman; 6. Asia; 7. Baltimore Oriole.

IQ Trivia
1. Jerry Seinfeld; 2. Afghanistan; 3. "Fahrenheit 451;" 4. Keith Richards; 5. face lift.

Monday, March 11, 2013

This Doesn't Look Good

The Red Sox have officially shut down David Ortiz for 5-7 days, due to pain he is experiencing in both heels.

He tore his right Achilles tendon last July and that ended his season. An MRI he just had confirmed he had inflammation in both heels, but the one in his right heel was related to his intense offseason workout, and not the Achilles injury.

His status for Opening Day, just three weeks away, is right now uncertain. He could very well open the 2013 season on the Disabled List. The Red Sox placed righty reliever Craig Breslow on the DL to open the season with shoulder problems last week.

If Papi opens the year on the DL, the Sox will have to make a decision who will be the DH. Mike Napoli would seem the logical choice, or perhaps Mauro Gomez. I guess we'll have a better idea where we stand after Ortiz rests for a week.

Fortunately, the news on Stephen Drew is better, as he suffered a concussion after getting hit in the head with a pitch last Thursday and rested the last three days. He hasn't been cleared by team doctors yet, but he could be seeing action by the end of the week. The Red Sox aren't going to rush him back.

And congratulations to the USA on their win over Canada in the WBC tournament yesterday, as they scored three in the 8th inning and four more in the ninth for a 9-4 win. They now advance to the double-elimination round, and will face Puerto Rico in the first game in Miami on Tuesday night.

There'll Be No Questions About Green Beer Or Leprechauns

This Tuesday night, Trivia at The Mad Hatter will feature "Ireland Trivia", seven multiple choice questions connected to the Emerald Isle, in honor of the St. Patrick's Day holiday coming up on Sunday. (I do Ireland Trivia every St. Patrick's Day, so why mess with tradition, right?)

The Q Train lightning round will be "Born In The British Isles Trivia." I will give you the names of ten current well-known celebrities who were born in either Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales. You have to tell me which one it is.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Who was the first rap group to have the number one album on the Billboard Pop chart?"

We will get started at 8 PM. Once again I want to thank all of you who have made our new Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter so successful so far, and making the other place a distant memory. I hope to see many of you on Tuesday night for another great night of Trivia Q&A!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fight Night at the WBC

Canada and Mexico mixed it up pretty good in their WBC game in Phoenix on Saturday, with both benches emptying after both teams were warned and Canadian batter Rene Tosoni got hit by Mexican pitcher Arnold Leon right in the back.

And it turned into some fight, and guess who was in the middle of this barroom brawl? No other than Red Sox reliever/whackjob Alfredo Aceves, who is pitching for Mexico.

I still wouldn't be surprised if Aceves is on another team by the end of spring training. And this surely doesn't help his case for staying in Boston.

And I thought the WBC stood for the World Baseball Classic, not the World Boxing Council.

Anyway, here's a few minutes of the mayhem:

Friday, March 08, 2013

Chalk Up Another Victim of the Boston Media

So, Carl Crawford thinks it's all the media's fault that he played like total crap in his short time in Boston.

"Burying people in the media, they think that makes a person play better. That media was the worst thing I've ever experienced in my life."

I'm no fan of the Boston media, either. But it was a bad fit from the start, and the Sox should have known better than throw $20 million a year at this guy. But they had to "feed the monster." You take the big money, big things are expected of you. Crawford should have known that, and taken lesser money in a less pressured environment.

Whatever. That August 27th trade with the Dodgers last year is looking better with each passing day. The Sox landed two bigtime prospects and jettisoned a quarter-billion dollars in salary and deadwood like Crawford may prove this trade to have been a steal down the road. We shall see.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Good Luck Ryan

Sad to hear today that Ryan Westmoreland, the Red Sox prospect who had two brain surgeries and tried so hard to return to baseball, retired today at the age of 22.

Westmoreland was a feel-good story after he had his first brain operation in 2010. He was determined to make it back. He had a cavernous malfunction on the brain, and last July he had to be operated on again.

He hit .296 with 7 HRs. 35 RBI, and 19 stolen bases for the Lowell Spinners of the short-season New York-Penn League before his career was cut short.

Here's more from ESPN.

Good luck to you, Ryan, and more importantly, good health to you.

Trivia Q&A: March 5

We had 11 teams at The Mad Hatter for another enjoyable night of Trivia. Thanks to all of you who come out each week. Once again, it has been so great to be in the new place, with such a terrific staff, as I feel like I am a reborn Trivia Maven!

The night was like a pendulum: the scores for Current Events, General Knowledge and IQ Trivia were on the lower side, but for the two special categories they were rather high. And the team of Six Girls, One Trivia Night led from start to finish, and wound up the night with 41 points and winning by five points. Another classy win for Alex and his crew.

Second place went to You Go, Hugo! with 36 points, and third place went to Hey Chavez! Hu-Going to Hell! with 34 points.

Best Team Name: The Piano Sounds Like a Carnival & This Microphone Smells Like a Penis

Current Events
1. Beer lovers from across the US are suing which brewing company in a class-action suit, claiming that their beers are watered down to less than the 5% alcohol they claim?
2. A statue of what civil rights icon was unveiled in the US Capitol last Wednesday?
3. A hot air balloon crashed after an in-flight explosion last week, killing 19 people in what country?
4. The annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index ranked which western state as America's Healthiest State for the fourth year in a row?
5. Rumors have started that Jay Leno will retire as the host of "The Tonight Show" next year, and that he will be replaced by whom?
6. What legendary rock star recently told Rolling Stone magazine that he intends to retire from touring when he reaches the age of 70 in 2015?
7. Singer Morrissey canceled an appearance on what TV talk show last week after he discovered he'd be on the same show with the cast of the TV show "Duck Dynasty", who he called "animal serial killers?"

John Q. Public Trivia
1. In 1988, Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards took the world by storm at the Winter Olympics by placing last overall in what sport?
2. Clara Peller became famous in 1984 for the "Where's the Beef?" TV commercial for what fast food restaurant?
3. Jimmy McMillan, a man who ran for the NY State governor in 2010 with rather fierce facial hair, ran on what bizarrely-named party's ticket?
4. One-hit wonders The Baha Men had a major hit song in 2000, , which also made many "Worst Songs of All-Time" lists, called what?
5. George Lazenby played what iconic movie character just once and quit, and went off into obscurity?
6. Nadya Suleman gained a whole lot of publicity, and what nickname in January 2009?
7. What was the name of the football league founded by wrestling impresario Vince McMahon, but folded after just one season in 2001?

Who's Older Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Michael J. Fox or Barack Obama
2. Paul McCartney or Keith Richards
3. Al Pacino or Robert DeNiro
4. Bill Clinton or Al Gore
5. Adele or Lady Gaga
6. Cindy Crawford or Mariano Rivera
7. Queen Elizabeth II or Mel Brooks
8. Meryl Streep or Helen Mirren
9. Matt Damon or Ben Affleck
10. Jay Leno or David Letterman

General Knowledge
1. La Paz is the capital of what South American country? ( 1 pt)
2. "3" was a number one hit song for what female pop singer in 2009? ( 1 pt)
3. In what US state was the Mormon religion founded in 1830? ( 1 pt)
4. What color are the drapes and altar cloths used in most churches during the observance of Lent? ( 2 pt)
5. What mystery author is the creator of the character Sam Spade? ( 2 pt)
6. What country was third to send a man into space? ( 2 pt)
7. To the closest pound, how much does a gallon of whole milk weigh? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Mel Brooks, Joan Rivers and Gene Wilder did voice overs for what 1970s children's TV program? ( 3 points)
2. What was the first wildlife animal featured on a US postage stamp, in 1923? ( 4 points)
3. What Oscar-winning Hollywood legend turned down the role of The Penguin in the 1966 TV series "Batman" after his demand to kill Batman was rejected? ( 5 points)
4. What is the most populous state capital in the US? ( 4 points)
5. The first job of what US president was at Baskin-Robbins, where he scooped ice cream during his high school summer vacation? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Anheuser-Busch; 2. Rosa Parks; 3. Egypt; 4. Hawaii; 5. Jimmy Fallon; 6. Eric Clapton; 7. Jimmy Kimmel.

John Q. Public Trivia
1. Ski Jumping; 2. Wendy's; 3. The Rent Is Too Damn High; 4. "Who Let the Dogs Out;" 5. James Bond; 6. Octomom; 7. XFL.

Who's Older Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Fox (both 51, two months older); 2. McCartney (70-69); 3. Pacino (73-69); 4. Clinton (66-64); 5. Gaga (26-24); 6. Crawford (47-43); 7. Queen (both 86, two months older); 8. Mirren (67-63); 9. Damon (42-40); 10. Letterman (65-62).

General Knowledge
1. Bolivia; 2. Britney Spears; 3. New York; 4. purple; 5. Dashiell Hammett; 6. China; 7. 9 pounds (8.6 to be exact).

IQ Trivia
1. "The Electric Company;" 2. buffalo; 3. Spencer Tracy; 4. Phoenix, Arizona; 5. Barack Obama.

Monday, March 04, 2013

They Had Just 15 Minutes


Tuesday Night Trivia at The Mad Hatter tomorrow night will feature as the Special Category, "John Q. Public Trivia", seven questions connected to people, places and things that had just "15 minutes of fame" and disappeared back into relative obscurity.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Who's Older Trivia." I will give you ten sets of famous people, and you have to tell which person is the older of the two. Of course, they are all still living, and some maybe connected, and some are just thrown together.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"La Paz is the capital of what South American country?"

We get started at 8 PM at The Mad Hatter. I appreciate all of you have been kind enough to call ahead to make reservations if you are coming with a party of folks, and if you can continue to do that, that would be great. The Mad Hatter's number is: 212-696-2122. I look forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday night for another great night of Trivia!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

So Far So Good

We're into Spring Training a little over a week, and so far for the Red Sox, it has been so good.

I never get too high or too low when it comes to the exhibition season, and the results really don't matter very much. The Sox are 5-4 this spring, but the good news is that the soap opera crap is gone (and headed to Sacred Heart University), and just about quiet this spring in comparison.

It's not a big surprise with John Farrell now in charge. It's clear he is universally respected by the players, especially the pitchers. Jon Lester has been throwing the ball well this spring, and that may well be a very good sign of things to come.

I have been especially pleased to see that pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster have been opening up eyes in camp, both with fastballs near 100 MPH. (And Carl Crawford is back on shelf in Dodgers camp with problems in the elbow he had the Tommy John surgery on. I have a feeling that down the road we may look at last August's trade with LA as one of the best Red Sox trades in recent history.) Neither will be on the MLB roster coming April, but they are both worth keeping an eye on during the season on their respective farm teams.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has been ripping the ball in camp, and there has been some talk of bringing him north to Boston. He will be a big time player, but he needs a full year at AAA before he makes the big jump.

I saw Xander Bogaerts playing for the Netherlands in the WBC game against South Korea this morning and he was impressive in the field. Hadn't seen him in any Red Sox spring games yet.

Glad to see Will Middlebrooks returned today after missing two games with the pain he experienced swinging the bat the other night against the Orioles. That scared me seeing him clutching the wrist he had surgery on after getting hit by a pitch in Cleveland last August. He reported no pain after playing today, and the Sox can ill-afford to lose him for any long stretch this coming season.

It's a little more than four weeks until we reach Opening Day, and it's good to have the Red Sox back, after the lousy 2012 we all suffered through. The results don't make much difference. My first thoughts on any game are: "Did anyone get hurt?" If the Sox stay healthy, they really could surprise some people. We shall see.