Opening Day at Fenway

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Hat Trick In One Decade

Champions.

For the third time in ten years, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, with a convincing 6-1 win at Fenway last night. It was the first championship won in Boston since 1918.

David Ortiz was the MVP (of course), and this punches his ticket to the Hall of Fame for sure.

Shane Victorino had four RBIs last night, including a bases-loaded triple in the third inning that got the Sox on their way.

Stephen Drew finally came out of his postseason funk with a fourth inning solo home run.

John Lackey was simply magnificent, going 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run, and completing his redemption tour. Love the fact he did not want to come out in the 7th when St. Louis was threatening, saying very clearly "This is my guy!" John Farrell then gave him one more hitter (who he wound up walking). Good for him.

Koji Uehara locked it all down with a typical 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Just the second team in history to go from worst to a World Series title, joining the 1991 Minnesota Twins.

For me, it was incredibly emotional afterwards at Duke's, on the East Side, where I watched it with my pals the BLOHARDS. Tears flowed afterward, then the champagne did.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Red Sox.

What an incredible year. What an incredible team.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

On The Cusp Of History


One more.

The Red Sox are just one win away from one of the greatest turnarounds in baseball history, as Jon Lester was simply brilliant for 7 2/3 innings and the Red Sox won the pivotal Game 5, 3-1.

The Sox opened with back-to-back doubles in the first from Dustin Pedroia and the Baddest Man On The Planet, David Ortiz. Papi had three more hits last night, and now has 11 for the World Series. he's two off the all-time record, and is hitting an absolutely astounding .733. He tied the record for most consecutive WS appearances reaching base with 9, and now has the highest lifetime batting average ever for a WS player with at least 50 PA at an incredible .465.

Lester threw one bad pitch to Matt Holliday in the fourth, and that tied the game at 1. It is the only run he has allowed in three WS starts in his career, and became only the second lefty in Red Sox history (along with Babe Ruth) to win 3 World Series games.

The Sox rallied in the 7th off Adam Wainwright, as with two on and one out, David Ross hit a ground-rule double to put the Sox ahead to stay. After Lester grounded back to the pitcher, Jacoby Ellsbury singled in Stephen Drew, while Ross was thrown out at home. It wouldn't matter.

Koji Uehara came on with two outs and a man on in the eight, and struck out Matt Adams to end the inning. St. Louis went 1-2-3 in the ninth to wrap up the game and but the Sox up 3-2 in the World Series.

Boy, the Red Sox have been in some tailspin since that wacky ending to Game 3, huh? It shows the resolve of this incredible team, that after such a horrible way to lose a World Series game on Saturday night, they come right back and beat the Cardinals twice in a row at home. (St. Louis was the NL's best home team this year.)

It's still far from over, as John Lackey will take on Michael Wacha again, a repeat of the Game 2 starters. The Red Sox will try to win the World Series at home for the first time since 1918.

It was the Red Sox' 107th win of 2013, 38 more than they had in 2012. Win number 108 will make history.

Monday, October 28, 2013

We'll Give The Series Another Go


Well, thankfully the World Series is still going, and there will be a Game 6 on Wednesday night.

On Tuesday night, October 29th at 8 PM, we will have "World Series Trivia" as the Special Category at The Mad Hatter, in honor of the Fall Classic, which is currently tied at 2 games apiece, with Game 6 taking place at Fenway Park with Your Boston Red Sox taking on the St. Louis Cardinals the following evening. It will be seven questions about the Series, and they will be multiple choice, so those of you who aren't big baseball fans have a fighting chance.

The Q Train lightning round will be "1-25 Trivia." I will ask you ten questions, where the answer will be a number from 1 through 25. (Every answer will be a different number.)

 The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Molson and Labatt beer are both brewed in what country?"

We get going shortly after 8 PM. The Mad Hatter is located at E. 26th Street and 3rd Avenue.

Don't forget that a week from Tuesday (on Election Night, November 5th), we will be having a special night of Trivia to send a representative team to the 2013 NYC Bar Trivia Tournament, to be held at a place and time still to be determined.

Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night for a great night of Trivia!

The Title Will Be Decided At Fenway


Another night, another wacky finish.

But this one benefitted the Red Sox. Pinch-runner Kolten Wong was picked off first base with two outs in the ninth inning by Koji Uehara to even the World Series at two apiece, 4-2.

Yes, it was the first time a World Series game ended with a runner picked off first base. (And it was not a "walkoff pickoff", as the home team always wins when that term "walkoff" is used. Whatever.) It also would have been nice to see the pickoff, as Fox was focusing on yet another crowd shot when Koji pulled off the pickoff.

This was another game that saw some unusual stuff happen. David Ortiz called an impromptu meeting in the corner of the dugout in the top of the sixth inning to rally the troops and say "we can hit this guy." It sure as hell worked, as Jonny Gomes blasted a three-run home run with two outs in the inning to break a 1-1 tie and put the Sox up, 4-1.

And you can thank Shane Victorino's stiff back for that, as Gomes was not in the original lineup, and went into LF when Victorino was a late scratch.

John Lackey made his first relief appearance in the 8th inning, only allowing one batter to reach, on a Xander Bogaerts error.

Clay Buchholz gutter through 4 innings, allowing just an unearned run. Felix Doubront came on and was terrific for 2 2/3 innings, allowing just a single after retiring the first 8 men he faced. John Farrell then decided for some unknown reason to bring in the struggling Craig Breslow, who allowed a single and a walk. Junichi Tazawa retired the last hitter, Matt Holliday, on a ground out, keeping the game at 4-2.

It's now a best-of-three, and the new World Series champion will decided at Fenway Park for the first time since 1975 later this week. Tonight will be a rematch of the Game 1 starters, Jon Lester vs. Adam Wainwright. And I don't even want to thank what kind os screwball finish we'll see in this one.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

It Was a Loss, No Matter How It Ended


Unfortunately, it was the right call.

Game 3 of the World Series ended on an obstruction call against Will Middlebrooks and the Red Sox. A first for sure.

The Sox played fast and loose with the baseball again in Game 3 when Jarrod Saltalamacchia made an ill-advised throw to third to try to nail Allen Craig at third base after Dustin Pedroia made a fabulous play in the drawn-in infield and threw home to get Yadier Molina at the plate. Salty's throw went off Middlebrooks' glove and into foul territory in left. Craig then got up and fell over Middlebrooks, who was still on the ground.

Umpire Jim Joyce ruled obstruction, and awarded Craig home, giving the Cardinals a 5-4 win. The Sox fought back from 2-0 and 4-2 deficits, to have it get away in the ninth.

It was the right call. From MLB Rule 2.00:

"If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered 'in the act of fielding a ball.' It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the 'act of fielding' the ball. For example: an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner."

So be it. It is a miserable way to end a World Series game. But the bottom line is that the Red Sox never led in this game. And they continue to struggle at the plate (they didn't get their first hit until the 4th inning). The team is hitting .188 for the World Series, and ,225 for the postseason. Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew are black holes in the Red Sox lineup. That angers me more this morning than the way last night's game ended.

And John Farrell, who I like as manager, made some really odd decisions near the end of the game. The most glaring one was letting Brandon Workman, who has never batted in his entire pro career, hit with one out in the ninth. He was no match against Trevor Rosenthal, striking out on three pitches. Farrell should have double-switched in the bottom of the eighth, taking Salty out (who made the last out in the inning) and have David Ross catch and bat ninth.

I'm betting the way last night's game ended has left a bad taste in the players' mouths, and can't wait to get out there to avenge what happened. The Sox have had some bad losses this season, and have quickly bounced back from them. Now they are down 2-1 in the World Series, and need to do just that tonight, with Clay Buchholz facing Lance Lynn. Buchholz has struggled this postseason, and the Sox bats need to back him up, as you don't know how long he's good for.

How they hit tonight will say a lot about how they put last night's loss behind them.

Friday, October 25, 2013

OK, It Won't Be a Sweep This Time

It was a tough Game 2 of the World Series for the Red Sox, as a second David Ortiz home run in the series wasn't enough, and St. Louis went on to a 4-2 win.

John Lackey was terrific, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing one run before exiting with two runners on. Craig Breslow came on and walked Daniel Descalso before getting Matt Carpenter to hit a fly ball to left. Jonny Gomes threw wide to plate and off Jarrod Saltalamacchia's glove (he should have come away from the plate to block it and concede the run), and Breslow picked it up and threw wide, and allowed another run to score. Carlos Beltran then singled in St. Louis' final run, making it 4-2.

Breslow's error will be remembered, but that wasn't the key play. It was walking Descalso, a left handed hitter. If he strikes him out, and Carpenter still flies out, the game is still 2-1 Sox. And even if Breslow makes a perfect throw to third, it wasn't clear if the runner would have been out. Granted, you don't play baseball in a vacuum, but then Beltran still singles in two runs and it would still have been a two-run Cardinals lead.

The Sox did little against the St. Louis pen, but had two on and two out in the eighth, but Mike Napoli popped up to end the threat. Michael Wacha went six strong innings, allowed just three hits, including the Ortiz blast into the Monster seats.

It ends the Red Sox World Series winning streak at nine. I had a sneaky feeling this would not be a repeat of 2004.

It's now a Best-of-Five, with Jake Peavy going against Joe Kelly as the series moves to St. Louis on Saturday. The major concern now is Clay Buchholz, who has been moved to Game 4. The Sox are obviously worried over his shoulder, and the they probably feel they can get one final start out of him for 2013. They also don't want him lined up for Game 7, as if he couldn't go if it reaches that point, they would have to start either Ryan Dempster or Felix Doubront. So going with Peavy before Buchholz makes even more sense, and gives Buchholz an extra day to rest. We'll see how it all works out.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

An Enjoyable, Nice and Easy Game 1


The Red Sox scored early and often to open the 109th World Series on Wednesday night, and coasted into an easy 8-1 win at Fenway. I took in at Duke's, in Midtown Manhattan with many of my pals from The BLOHARDS.

It couldn't have been a better night for the Sox. Jon Lester was dominant, pitching 7 2/3 shutout innings. He pitched out of two jams, striking out eight and walking one. It was Lester's third postseason win of 2013, with a career 2.07 postseason ERA in 10 starts.

The Sox scored three in the first, capped off by Mike Napoli's bases loaded double. It was aided by Pete Kozma's error on a possible DP ball hit by David Ortiz. Kozma clearly had the ball relayed by Matt Carpenter hit off the tip of his glove, but Dana DeMuth, the ump just a few feet away, called Dustin Pedroia out. It was originally an horrific call, but the umps got together and properly reversed the call, svaing DeMuth further embarrassment.

The Sox had the bases loaded again in the second with one run in on Dustin Pedroia's single, and David Ortiz hit a towering shot to right that Carlos Beltran grabbed before it landed in the Cardinals bullpen. It was a great catch and a sacrifice fly, but Beltran hurt a rib slamming into the wall and left the game. His status for tonight is not yet known.

Papi got his revenge for the catch by blasting a majestic home run in the seventh, over the Red Sox bullpen that made it 7-0. Xander Bogaerts' sac fly in the 8th capped the night for the Sox.

It was a terrible night for the Cardinals. Not only losing Beltran, but they made 3 errors, let a pop up between Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina drop for a hit, and couldn't a clutch hit when they had two golden opportunities to get back in the game. Only Matt Holliday's home run off Ryan Dempster in the 9th kept St. Louis from being shut out.

After all the tough nail biters in the postseason, it was pleasure to have an easy win for the Red Sox to open the World Series. Three wins to go, and John Lackey will go against Michael Wacha tonight in Game 2.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hope To See You Next Tuesday

Well folks, we didn't have enough teams to have a proper Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter last night, so Trivia was called off. It is really disappointing when nights like last night happen. It has been a constant struggle week in and week out at the new place getting Trivia players in, and for a variety of reasons. I realize for many of you, Trivia is not a weekly thing, and I certainly understand the reasons why. Real life interferes, and other more important things take priority.

I thank all of you who have come out, and have shown your loyalty to me. Believe me, it is NOT taken for granted. I honestly don't know how much longer Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter will continue, especially after we have the Trivia Tournament Night in two weeks. I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart who have made my Trivia Night something special for me over the years. I really hope we can continue at The Mad Hatter, as they have a good staff and have treated me really well. We just have to get more folks to come out. Any ideas are welcome, and you can email me privately at: jbq1462@hotmail.com with any suggestions. Be well everyone, and hope to see you next Tuesday, October 29th, at 8 PM.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Lost Season

A season that got off to a bad start got even worse last night for the Vikings, as they lost to the winless Giants, 23-7, at the Meadowlands.

I've been busy with the great Red Sox postseason run this October, so I haven't written much about my favorite football team. And it looks like I won't be writing much more positive stuff this year.

The Vikings, now at 1-5 in last place in the NFC North, look like a sinking ship. And bringing in Josh Freeman at QB makes it look like the Vikings are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

In his defense, it certainly isn't easy learning a new team's offense on the fly like this. But Freeman brought the Vikings no spark. They scored only 7 points against a team that is near the top in points allowed in the NFL this season. And that wasn't even on the offensive side of the ball, as Marcus Shrels brought back a punt 86 yards for a TD in the second quarter.

Freeman was 20-for-53 for 190 yards and an interception. Adrian Peterson was held to just 28 yards but what has been a very porous Giants defense this season.

How bad has this Vikings season been so far. Look at these offensive stats:

Points per game scored: 22.0 (19th in NFL)
Yards per game: 316.0 (25th in NFL)
Passing yards per game: 214.3 (24th in NFL)
Rushing yards per game: 102.0 (19th in NFL)

Obviously, the rushing yards are down because the Vikings have had to throw the ball more often. It's safe to say Peterson won't be rushing for 2,000 yards again this year.

The defense looks sloppy, the offensive line is a mess. There's very little I can look at that gives me any hope this season will turn around for the Vikings. And Green Bay is up next, on Sunday night at the Metrodome.

I'm glad I have Game 4 of the World Series to keep me occupied that night.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Fall Classic Takes Center Stage On Tuesday


On Tuesday night, October 22nd at 8 PM, we will have "World Series Trivia" as the Special Category at The Mad Hatter, in honor of the Fall Classic, which kicks off at Fenway Park with Your Boston Red Sox taking on the St. Louis Cardinals the following evening. It will be seven questions about the Series, and they will be multiple choice, so those of you who aren't big baseball fans have a fighting chance.

The Q Train lightning round will be "1-25 Trivia." I will ask you ten questions, where the answer will be a number from 1 through 25. (Every answer will be a different number.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Molson and Labatt beer are both brewed in what country?"

We get going shortly after 8 PM. The Mad Hatter is located at E. 26th Street and 3rd Avenue.

Don't forget that in two weeks from Tuesday (on Election Night, November 5th) will be having a special night of Trivia to send a representative team to the 2013 NYC Bar Trivia Tournament, to be held at a day and place still to be determined.

Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night for another great night of Trivia Q&A!

UPDATE (10/23): We didn't have Trivia Night on Tuesday, as we didn't have enough teams to make it a proper contest. Very disappointing, and thanks to the few who did make it out. And thanks for your loyalty always. Hopefully we'll have enough people for Trivia Night next Tuesday. See you then.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

13th Flag In '13


The Red Sox did it on Saturday night, winning their 13th American League championship with another tense game, winning it on Shane Victorino's grand slam in the 7th inning, 5-2.

Koji Uehara slammed the door in the ninth, and was awarded the ALCS MVP Award.

I watched most of the game on Saturday at my old haunt, the Riviera Cafe, with a packed house of delirious Red Sox fans. My buddy Chris and I enjoyed the win together. I have a million pleasant memories of the Riv from 2004, and it was a joy to be back, and see another great memory.

It was one of the most tense, roller-coaster series I have ever witnessed. It probably took about five years off my life.

But I love these boys. They drive me to drink at times, but it was worth every nerve-wracking moment.

Thank you, Red Sox.

Now on to the World Series, which will open on Wednesday night at Fenway. Bring on the Cardinals.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Early Runs Put The Sox On The Brink


I was thinking about last night's game all yesterday afternoon that it was important that the Red Sox jump out early and get a couple of runs, and not wait until the 5th inning to get their first hit.

Good work, boys. They had hits in all of the first five innings. Including four runs.

Mike Napoli hit a 460-foot bomb to center in the second off Anibal Sanchez (I knew he wouldn't repeat his Game 1 success), and the Sox were off. They added two more in the inning, and another on a wild pitch (scored by Napoli, who had three hits, and just a triple short of the cycle) in the third, and it was 4-0. I was hoping that would be enough.

It was. Just barely.

Detroit chipped away, and it was 4-3 by the 8th. Jon Lester went 5 1/3 innings, allowed two runs. Not vintage Lester, but certainly good enough. The pen took over, and after Junichi Tazawa allowed a run in the 7th, Craig Breslow got two outs before Koji Uehara retired the last five Tigers to nail down the 4-3 win.

Uehara is simply money in the bank.

The win puts the Red Sox one win away from their 13th American League pennant. My pal Jere at A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory has some fun facts at his blog today about the ALCS. I never knew the Red Sox have never lost a Game 6 in their ALCS history (obviously since 1985, when it went to a best of seven series), and are 5-0. Also that they have never led 3-2 in their ALCS history, and have never played in a six-game ALCS (their last four ALCS appearances have gone the full seven).

Game 6 will happen Saturday, with Clay Buchholz taking on Max Scherzer. The time is till to be determined. If the NLCS is over tonight, the game will be at 8 PM, if the NLCS has a Game 7 tomorrow, the Sox and Tigers will play at 4:30 PM ET.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wake 2, Boone 0

Yesterday was an important anniversary, and I didn't comment on it here. I guess I should have.

Of course, it was the 44th anniversary of the Mets incredible 1969 World Series triumph over the heavily-favored Baltimore Orioles. That is still one of my favorite all-time baseball moments.

And oh yeah, it was also the 10th anniversary of another baseball event: Tim Wakefield giving an 11th inning home run to Aaron Boone giving the Yankees the 2003 AL pennant.

I passed the NY Daily News on a newsstand yesterday (I don't read that rag any more) and saw some kind of headline on their back page about it, and kept on walking. (I will never forgive them for their headline the day after the pennant was won: "The Curse Lives!" No, Not "Yankees Win Pennant On Boone Slam" or something like that.)

Looking back on that awful moment in my Red Sox fandom, I can actually smile now by the way it played out after Boone's home run. He got hurt in the off-season, and the Yankees came up with the brilliant idea of trading for Alex Rodriguez.

As I write this, Tim Wakefield owns 2 World Series rings. Aaron Boone owns none.

And it was 9 years ago today that this happened, and it changed everything. Thanks always, Mr. Roberts:


The AL Pennant Will Be Decided At Fenway

A crapfest of a second inning doomed the Red Sox last night, and the Tigers took Game 4, 7-3.

Jake Peavy was not sharp at all, as he walked three batters, including the struggling Austin Jackson. They all came in to score in a five-run inning. It could have been just one run, as Dustin Pedroia mishandled a ground ball by Jose Iglesias that could have been a DP to end it. (And the Sox were fortunate to get one out, as Stephen Drew was far off second base taking Pedroia's relay.)

Peavy gave up seven runs, and the Sox were basically finished. The bullpen actually did a good job after Peavy left, allowing Detroit nothing in the last five innings.

The Red Sox showed some offensive life last night and chipped away, getting it to 7-3 in the ninth. They got 12 hits, matching their total for the first 3 games. Jacoby Ellsbury had four of them. But they wasted too many opportunities early on, as they were 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

Xander Boegarts doubled and scored in the ninth, and John Farrell may indeed go to him for Game 5. Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks are both in big time struggles this postseason. A lineup shakeup, which Jim Leyland did in Game 4 with successful results, maybe happening tonight for the Sox.

It's now a Best-of-3, with Jon Lester getting the ball tonight against Anibal Sanchez, a repeat of the starters for Game 1. No matter what happens tonight, the new AL champions will be crowned at Fenway Park this weekend.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

America's New Fad: Huntering

Here's a cool shot of two soldiers recreating the now-famous shot of Torii Hunter falling into the Red Sox bullpen on Sunday night, and Boston police officer Steve Horgan's priceless reaction.

It now has a name: "Huntering."

It was taken aboard the USS George H.W. Bush.

Thank you for your service, gentlemen.

The Head Beard Is The Difference


Most of the baseball world probably figured Tuesday afternoon's game would be an easy win for the Tigers, as they had an incredibly hot pitcher going against one who had struggled in his last few starts for the Red Sox.

John Lackey got the W. Justin Verlander got the L.

Lackey was sensational for 6 2/3 innings, allowing just four hits. And sure was miffed when John Farrell pulled him out in the 7th. But the pen picked it up for him, with Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara pitching out of a 1st and 3rd, one-out jam in the 8th. And of course, Koji pitched around a single, getting a DP and a strikeout to end an exciting 1-0 Red Sox win.

All the Sox needed was a Mike Napoli home run in the 7th. Napoli was really struggling going into the at-bat, having struck out in all six of his previous ALCS at-bats.

The Red Sox once again waited around to get their first hit, which happened on Jonny Gomes' infield grounder in the fifth. Verlander was simply dominant, and striking out six in a row at one point. But Lackey matched him, striking out 8 in his likewise dominant performance.

It was another game were the Red Sox walked along the edge, and got a win. They are incredibly hitting just .133 in this series so far, and lead it 2-1. Two more wins to get into the World Series.

I watched the game in two different bars, at Duke's with my friends from The BLOHARDS (for the first 7 innings), and then scooted down to The Mad Hatter before my Trivia Night with a few other Red Sox fan friends. The ending made my Trivia even more enjoyable last night.

Jake Peavy goes up against Doug Fister at Comerica Park in Game 4 tonight.

Trivia Q&A: October 15

Trivia Night began just a few minutes after the Red Sox won Game 3 of the ALCS, so as you might guess, I was in a good mood all night.

We had another fine crowd in, and a close night throughout between the top teams. The top four teams were separated by just four points, and we had four teams get all five correct in IQ Trivia. (I'll have to make it a little tougher next week.) One of those teams was Happy Birthday Charles!, which took the winner's circle with 52 points. Congrats to Charles and his friends on their win.

Second place went to Spermologers (my friend Dave from the BLOHARDS and a number of his friends) with 49 points, and third place went to Ship of Fools with 48 points.

Current Events
1. Rafael Correa, the president of what South American country, said in an interview that President Obama calling America "exceptional" was reminiscent of "Nazism?"
2. What rock superstar made a surprise performance at a Queens high school last week, as well as one in Times Square the next day?
3. Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Shiller all won the Nobel Prize in what field earlier this week?
4. What Asian country was hit by a cyclone yesterday, with 18 deaths reported?
5. Former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, of what US city, was sentenced to 28 years in prison for racketeering, conspiracy and tax crimes?
6. What female pop singer was in Thailand recently and tweeted about a lewd sex show in a bar she was in and it led to the arrest of the bar owner?
7. What retail chain announced they will open most of their stores for the first time ever on Thanksgiving Day, breaking a long-standing tradition of being closed on the holiday?

Blue Trivia
1. What 19th century classical composer wrote "The Blue Danube?"
2. "True Blue" was a 1986 album by what pop singer?
3. What was the name of Paul Bunyon's Blue Ox?
4. John Popper is a member of what rock band?
5. "The Bluegrass State" is a nickname for what US state?
6. "Big Blue" is a nickname for what major American company?
7. Dennis Franz and Jimmy Smits starred in what 1990s TV crime drama?

Name The City's Last Champion Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Miami
2. Los Angeles
3. Atlanta
4. Tampa
5. Boston
6. San Francisco
7. Cleveland
8. Philadelphia
9. Baltimore
10. Detroit

General Knowledge
1. Orly Airport is located in what European city? ( 1 pt)
2. Fresh water, 2% of the earth's surface, is made of oxygen and what element? ( 1 pt)
3. In the Bible, Isaac is the son of Sarah and who? ( 1 pt)
4. In what year was the Falklands War fought between Great Britain and Argentina? ( 2 pt)
5. What is the traditional color of the sari that a bride wears at an Indian wedding? ( 2 pt)
6. What was the name of the dog in the Garfield comic strip? ( 2 pt)
7. Tennis players Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin were born in what European country? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What 19th century historical figure died at the Petersen House? ( 4 points)
2. What science fiction film was set on the fictional moon called Pandora? ( 3 points)
3. Since 2005, the world record for the fastest men's 100-meters has been owned by runners from what nation? ( 4 points)
4. Fred Jones, Daphne Blake and Velma Dinkley were 3 of the main characters from what popular 1970s cartoon series? ( 5 points)
5. Robert Rayford, who died in St. Louis in 1969, is now believed to be the first American to have died from what cause? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Ecuador; 2. Paul McCartney; 3. economics; 4. India; 5. Detroit; 6. Rhianna; 7. Macy's.

Blue Trivia
1. Johann Strauss; 2. Madonna; 3. Babe; 4. Blues Traveler; 5. Kentucky; 6. IBM; 7. "NYPD Blue."

Name The City's Last Champion Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Heat; 2. Kings; 3. Braves; 4. Lightning; 5. Bruins; 6. Giants; 7. Browns; 8. Phillies; 9. Ravens; 10. Red Wings.

General Knowledge
1. Paris; 2. hydrogen; 3. Abraham; 4. 1982; 5. red; 6. Odie; 7. Belgium.

IQ Trivia
1. Abraham Lincoln; 2. "Avatar;" 3. Jamaica; 4. "Scooby-Doo;" 5. AIDS.

Monday, October 14, 2013

We'll All Have The Blues On Tuesday

Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter this Tuesday will feature "Blue Trivia." I will ask you seven questions that have something to do with the color blue. We've been on a color kick lately, having done green and red the past two weeks. So why not blue?

The Q train lightning round will feature "Name The City's Last Champion Trivia." I will give you ten American cities and you name the sports team that has won the last title in the four major sports in that locale.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Fresh water, which makes up 2% of the earth's surface, is made of oxygen and what other element?"

We get started right after 8 PM. I hope to see many of you for another great night of Trivia on Tuesday!

Big Papi: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

When David Ortiz stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the 8th with the bases loaded, two outs and down 5-1, my thoughts were that the series, and indeed the season was on the line. I looked up to the sky and wondered if it was asking too much if he could belt one out.

I guess it wasn't.

Papi's blast in the 8th, and Jose Iglesias' error in the ninth on Jonny Gomes' infield hit (followed by Jarrod Saltalamacchia's single) capped a comeback for the ages, and the Sox, who were frustrated all night by Max Scherzer, even the series, 6-5.

Big Papi's blast rivals the one he hit in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. He simply turned this series on its ear, and in another direction. And his Hall of Fame resume just got even bigger.

Thank you, Papi.

And just before Papi stepped to the plate, I saw this video on Facebook, I think it really helped:



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Too Damn Close


In the immortal words of the great Harry Doyle in "Major League", "What, only one goddamn hit?"

That's all the Red Sox could muster in a putrid 1-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Fenway on Saturday night, an ignominious start to the ALCS. They were no-hit for the first 8 1/3 innings.

Do you remember Detroit's last visit to Fenway, on September 4th? A 20-4 Red Sox laugher, with 19 hits. They sure didn't look like that team tonight.

The Sox struck out an amazing 17 times against Anibal Sanchez and four other pitchers. Sanchez allowed no hits and six walks through 6 innings. He threw 116 pitches and was done after 6. They could muster nothing against an inferior Detroit bullpen, until Daniel Nava singled with one out in the ninth to avoid the embarrassment of being the third team ever to be no-hit in the postseason.

They hit only four balls to the outfield all night long. Even had the Red Sox been no-hit, I would still be more pissed off about the "0" in the runs column. (No-hitters are embarrassing for about 24 hours, but the pathetic offense displayed tonight has me plenty concerned about the rest of this series.)

Jon Lester was terrific, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing one of the AL's best offenses just one run. He definitely did not deserve a loss. I'd feel better about things if the Sox had lost say a 3-2 or 4-3 game. If they had just been edged out late the Tigers in a game they hit I'd be a bit more confident. Last night was worrisome, especially with the quality of Detroit's starting pitching.

The Sox are in a hole, dropping the first game of this ALCS. The Tigers have accomplished what they needed to do, win one on the road, and have Max Scherzer, who may very well win the Cy Young Award, going on Sunday. The Sox have to come out firing tonight, and show that the Game 1 loss with just one "goddamn" hit was just an aberration. They absolutely, positively can't go to Detroit down 0-2, not with Justin Verlander waiting in the wings.

Friday, October 11, 2013

For All The AL Marbles Starting Tomorrow Night

It's the Red Sox vs. the Detroit Tigers for the championship of the American League, starting tomorrow night at the Fens.

Here's what we know so far:

Game 1: October 12th at Fenway Park, 8:07 PM ET, Jon Lester vs. Anibal Sanchez

Game 2 : October 13th at Fenway Park, 8:07 PM ET, Clay Buchholz vs. Max Scherzer

Game 3: October 15th at Comerica Park, 4:07 PM ET, John Lackey vs. Justin Verlander

Game 4: October 16th at Comerica Park, 8:07 PM ET, Jake Peavy vs. Doug Fister

Game 5: October 17th at Comerica Park (if necessary), 8:07 PM ET, Pitchers TBA

Game 6: October 19th at Fenway Park (if necessary), 4:30 PM ET (8:07 PM if the NLCS is over), Pitchers TBA

Game 7: October 20th at Fenway Park (if necessary), 8:07 PM, Pitchers TBA

Tigers won the season series, 4-3. The Red Sox will go with the same 25-man roster they went with in the ALDS. Should be a terrific ALCS. I like the Red Sox in 6.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Consider 2008 Avenged


I must admit, it was a nerve-wracking Game 4 last night.

I did Trivia at The Mad Hatter while the Red Sox-Rays game was going on. By the fifth inning, it was complete and I could keep my full concentration on the game.

I thought that line drive DP that Stephen Drew hit into that ended a big threat in the second would come back to haunt the Sox. It was a marvelous play by James Loney and kept the Sox off the scoreboard.

They finally got on the board in the 7th, on a wild pitch that scored Xander Boegaerts, and the second on an infield hit by Shane Victorino that scored Jacoby Ellsbury. The third run came in on Dustin Pedroia's bases loaded sac fly in the 9th.

Jake Peavy was...Jake Peavy. 5 2.3 innings, and allowed Tampa Bay's one run. He struck out 3 and didn't walk anyone. It's a shame he didn't get the win.

But Craig Breslow did. He was the bridge to the late innings and was phenomenal, especially striking out the side, the meat of the Rays' order, in the 7th.

The 8th was Breslow for one out, Junichi Tazawa for one out, and Koji Uehara for one out.

And Koji got the last three in order in the ninth to erase the bad memory of Monday night and put the Sox in the ALCS for the first time since 2008.

The Sox will open the ALCS at Fenway on Saturday night against the winner of the Tigers-A's Game 5 on Thursday night in Oakland.

And here's a cool tribute to the great Koji Uehara, played to the song "Sea Cruise":


Trivia Q&A: October 8

We had another bigger crowd on Tuesday night, as it's nice to see the number of teams continue to increase at The Mad Hatter. As the Red Sox were on their way to an ALDS-clinching victory, it was another spirited night of Trivia. Let's keep that going!

Your Madre's A Whore, Ted Cruz! won the night, getting 4 of the 5 IQ Trivia questions correct and ended up with 45 points. Conrats to Pian and friends on the victory. Second place went to Don't Stop 'Til I Come...Up With a Better Name with 41 points, and third place went to I Think You Scored Us Wrong with 38 points.

Current Events
1. What celebrity is currently the best-selling Halloween costume of 2013 so far?
2. What 1980s rock star is currently in a public feud with troubled pop singer Miley Cyrus, going so far as sending her advice and slamming her in an open letter last week?
3. The US Treasury released a brand new bill of what denomination today, after nearly 2 1/2 years of production delays?
4. This past weekend, US Navy SEALs launched raids in two countries trying to nab Al-Qaeda militants. Name 1 of the 2 countries they were done in.
5. What female pop singer revealed in an upcoming issue of Harper's Bazaar that she was raped at gunpoint after she moved to New York before her career took off?
6. Esquire magazine named what 28-year-old actress as its "Sexiest Woman Alive" for 2013, seven years after naming her that for the first time?
7. Francois Englert and Peter Higgs were yesterday awarded the Nobel Prize for 2013 in what field?

Red Trivia
1. What author wrote the best-selling novel "The Hunt For Red October?"
2. Which MLB team has won the more World Series, the Boston Red Sox or the Cincinnati Reds?
3. "The Crimson Permanent Assurance" was a short film at the beginning of what Monty Python movie?
4. What actor/director won an Academy Award for Best Director the 1981 film, "Reds?"
5. Anthony Kiedis and Chad Smith are two of the four members of what popular rock band?
6. Ellie Boyd "Red" Redding was a main character in what Oscar-nominated film?
7. The Red Sea is a saltwater inlet of what large body of water?

Born In The USA Or Not Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Robert Downey Jr.
2. Martin Lawrence
3. Tom Hanks
4. Mila Kunis
5. Keenu Reeves
6. Natalie Portman
7. Nicole Kidman
8. Bryan Cranston
9. Jerry Springer
10. Johnny Depp

General Knowledge
1. What color is the cover of the current American passport? ( 1 pt)
2. Marco Polo Airport is located in what Italian city? ( 1 pt)
3. What is the current time difference in hours between Chicago and Athens? ( 1 pt)
4. What is the second hottest planet in the solar system, after Venus? ( 2 pt)
5. What is the name of the "hidden city" described in James Hilton's 1933 novel "Lost Horizon?" ( 2 pt)
6. Six of the seven Nobel Prizes are awarded in what city? ( 2 pt)
7. What country has the world's longest coastline? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Three of the four oldest current players in the NFL all play what position? ( 3 points)
2. Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the US, is located in what western US state? ( 4 points)
3. Bright's disease affects what organ of the human body? ( 4 points)
4. How many cards are in a standard pinochle deck? ( 4 points)
5. Blue Flyers, Foresters and Great Greys are three types of what animal? ( 5 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Miley Cyrus; 2. Sinead O'Connor; 3. $100 bill; 4. Libya and Somalia; 5. Madonna; 6. Scarlett Johansson; 7. physics.

Red Trivia
1. Tom Clancy; 2. Red Sox (7-5); 3. "The Meaning of Life;" 4. Warren Beatty; 5. Red Hot Chili Peppers; 6. "The Shawshank Redemption;" 7. Indian Ocean.

Born In The USA Or Not Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. yes; 2. no; 3. yes; 4. no; 5. no; 6. no; 7. yes; 8. yes; 9. no; 10. yes.

General Knowledge
1. Blue; 2. Venice; 3. eight; 4. Mercury; 5. Shangri-La; 6. Stockholm; 7. Canada.

IQ Trivia
1. Placekicker; 2. Oregon; 3. kidneys; 4. forty-eight; 5. kangaroo.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

OK, No Sweep

A bizarre Game 3, to say the least.

Clay Buchholz struggled, barely got through 6 innings, and gave up a three-run shot to Evan Longoria.

The Red Sox defense had a rare bad inning in the 8th, when Tampa Bay got the lead run.

But then in comes Fernando Rodney, who has been simply awful against the Red Sox this season. He walked Will Middlebrooks to open the inning, and you could see this game at least being tied. And it was, after Dustin Pedroia grounded out with runners on 2nd and 3rd, making it 4-4.

Koji Uehara made short work of the first two hitters, and I started thinking to myself, "Mike Napoli leads off the 10th...", when Jose Lobaton hit a shot over the wall in right center to give Tampa Bay the win, 5-4.

I just stared at the screen in amazement.

Jake Peavy goes for the series win tonight:


Monday, October 07, 2013

Coming Soon: NYC Bar Trivia Championship

I don't have too much information on it right now, but The Mad Hatter will be taking part and sending a representative team into the 2013 NYC Bar Trivia Championship.

The Trivia Night that we do on November 5th will determine what team will represent The Mad Hatter at the tournament. There will be 16 teams competing on night not yet determined.

The team that wins the overall tournament will win a custom trophy, championship t-shirts, a full year of bragging rights, and a $200 gift certificate per team member. There will be a limit of six people per team.

I will have more information in the coming weeks. And it will be a special night of Trivia on November 5th to see who will represent The Mad Hatter for the title.

Please do spread the word. More coming soon!

Don't Let Red Stop You On Tuesday


This Tuesday night at The Mad Hatter, which is at E. 26th Street and 3rd Avenue,, the Special Category for Trivia Night will be "Red Trivia," seven questions connected in some way to the color red. (Hey, we did green last week, why not red this week? Especially since a certain MLB team is in the playoffs.)

The Q Train lightning round will be "Born In The USA Or Not Trivia." I will give you the names of ten famous people, all of whom are still around. You have to tell me if they were born in our wonderful country or not.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Marco Polo Airport is located in what Italian city?"

We'll get started shortly after 8 PM. We might have a larger crowd should the Red Sox have a Game 4 in their ALDS series with the Rays. We'll see what happens tonight. Hope to see many of tomorrow night!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Two-Nil


My Saturday Night softball league resumed a couple of weeks ago, and with some really good weather yesterday, I decided to play, and use the iPhone to follow Game 2 from Fenway.

I was in the Village just as the game in Boston was starting (the field is actually in the West Village), and found myself near the MLB Fan Cave, on 4th and Broadway. I got there just in time to see the Red Sox score their first two runs, including the first of David Ortiz' two bombs on the day.

Being there is such a surreal experience, as many of you know that I used to work there when it was Tower Records. I have ten million memories of that place, and have been inside the MLB Fan Cave on two occasions. I worked at Tower the night of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. I couldn't help but flash back to that night as I watching the Red Sox on their TVs scoring runs.

Could that really have been almost 27 years ago?

Anyway, I kept my iPhone on me throughout my softball game, getting updates in-between innings. (I had a successful night, going 3-for-6 with 4 RBI in an 18-6 romp.)

John Lackey didn't have his best stuff on the night, walking 3 through 5 1/3 innings. But it was one of those games when the offense backed up the pitching, and the Red Sox never trailed after jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in a run, and Stephen Drew tripled in another.

Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa both slammed the door on Tampa Bay, getting inning-ending double plays in the 7th and 8th. And Papi put a capper on the evening with a majestic shot to right in the 8th for his second blast of the day, the first time he has ever hit two home runs in a postseason game.

Koji Uehara was...Koji Uehara, striking out the first two batters of the ninth on six pitches, then getting a grounder to first to wrap up the 7-4 win.

The Sox go for the sweep on Monday night at 6 PM at St. pete with Clay Buchholz taking the mound for the Sox against Alex Cobb. Only five teams in ALDS history have ever come back from an 0-2 deficit, and two of them are the Red Sox: in 1999 against the Indians, and in 2003 against the A's.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Everybody Gets In On The Fun In Game 1


The Red Sox won their first postseason game since 2009 yesterday at Fenway, with a resounding 12-2 win over Tampa Bay to get the ALDS off to a great start.

Jon Lester was terrific for 7 2/3 innings, allowing just two solo home runs, and three hits. The first home run really never should have happened, as he clearly had Sean Rodriguez struck out on a 2-2 pitch that was called a ball. Lester then threw a meatball down the middle of the plate that Rodriguez belted into the Monster seats for a 1-0 lead.

The Sox were down 2-0 in the fourth when the Sox scored five runs. With a man on first, David Ortiz hit a ball that from the angle of the cameras was going out to right. But at the ball was coming down, it was clear that Wil Myers could have caught the ball on the warning track. But he pulled up, thinking that Desmond Jennings was going to take it, and it one-hopped into the bullpen for a double. Jonny Gomes doubled in two runs to tie it.

Stephen Drew hit a roller to first base with two outs, and beat the throw to first base with the pitcher covering by an eyelash, and the hustling Gomes came around to score. Will Middlebrooks doubled in a run, and after Jacoby Ellsbury reached on a strikeout and passed ball, Shane Victorino made Tampa Bay pay with a single to cap the scoring.

In the fifth, Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled in two runs and Will Middlebrooks drew a walk with the bases loaded.

The Red Sox added four more in the 8th for good measure. Shane Victorino singled in a run, Mike Napoli walked with the bases loaded, Gomes hit in a DP bringing in another run, and Salty singled in 12th and final run of the day.

My pal Jere was at the game yesterday, and has a good summation of the events over at his blog.

It was a day when everybody got in on the act, as for just the third time in postseason history, the starting nine of a team each had a hit and a run scored. 7 of the 9 starters also had at least one RBI. And the Red Sox did it all without a single home run. (They were out-homered by Tampa Bay 2-0, and won, 12-2.)

John Lackey goes for the Sox this afternoon in Game 2 at Fenway against David Price.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Avenge 2008

The Red Sox now have an opponent for the ALDS: the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat the Indians in Cleveland last night, 4-0 in the Wild Card playoff game.

Game 1 begins at 3 PM tomorrow at Fenway, with Jon Lester taking on Matt Moore.

The rest of the series will have John Lackey pitching Game 2, Clay Buchholz in Game 3, and if necessary, Jake Peavy in Game 4.

It appears the Red Sox will go with 11 pitchers for the ALDS, and there is a possibility that Felix Doubront maybe left off the roster, as he did not pitch well in his last few outings, and he got hit hard in Baltimore coming out of the pen on the last day of the season. Doubront, Franklin Morales and Matt Thornton appear to be line for the final pen spot.

The roster will be finalized shortly before game time on Friday.

The Red Sox faced the Rays 19 times in 2013, beating them 12 times.

And of course, they faced each other only once before in the postseason: 2008 ALCS, when the Red Sox came from 3-1 down in games (and 7-0 in the 7th inning) to force a Game 7 at Tampa Bay, that the Rays won and went to the World Series.

Game 2 will be on Saturday at 5:30 PM at Fenway. Game 3 will be Monday at St. Pete, Game 4 (if necessary) will be Tuesday, and Game 5 will be Thursday (back at Fenway if necessary). No times have been released yet for the two games at St. Pete.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Trivia Q&A: October 1

We had another good turnout on a beautiful night in Manhattan. It was also great to see how The Mad Hatter has put up some really cool Halloween decorations throughout the bar. (A dear friend of mine, who passed away many years ago and would have celebrated her birthday on Tuesday, really would have loved it.)

We had a rare event on Tuesday, as we had a tie between two teams in every round. That is, except after the night was all over. The team of House of Turds won the night by getting 4 of the 5 IQ Trivia questions correct, and wound up with 48 points and two-point win.

Second place went to We Never Come Up With Good Names with 46 points, and third place went to John Quinn's Playoff Beard Is All Knowing of All Things Trivia (love that team name) with 40 points.

Current Events
1. What MLB player's jersey was the top-selling jersey for the first time ever for him for the year 2013?
2. Kanye West ranted on Twitter this past week about a skit what late night TV host did about him, and many fans believe the whole thing may just be a parody?
3. The Oracle Team USA won the America's Cup last week in a stunning comeback, winning seven races in a row over a team from what country?
4. Up to 50 students were killed at a college in what African country on Sunday when Islamist terrorists stormed the school dressed as army soldiers and carried out the attacks?
5. What cable TV network canceled production on an upcoming biopic of Hillary Clinton, as both Democrats and Republicans would not cooperate with the project?
6. Kenyan runner Wilson Kipsang set a new world record for the marathon in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds last Sunday in what European capital city?
7. What TV series made history last week with the first ever same-sex marriage proposal on network TV?

Green Trivia
1. "Green River" was a hit single for what 1960s rock band?
2. Which Nickleodeon TV show was known for dropping green slime on its characters?
3. What is the name of the main character in the book "Green Eggs and Ham?"
4. Martin Balsam portrayed "Mr. Green" in what 1974 NYC-based action film that was remade in 2009?
5. What north African country's flag is completely green?
6. What is the name of the pigment in green plants that gives them their color?
7. What city's river is dyed green every St. Patrick's Day?

Time Zones Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Las Vegas, NV
2. Cheyenne, WY
3. Toronto, ONT
4. Salt Lake City, UT
5. Detroit, MI
6. St. Louis, MO
7. Cleveland, OH
8. Mexico City, MX
9. Vancouver, BC
10. Austin, TX

General Knowledge
1. The clavicle is also known as what bone? ( 1 pt)
2. Who played the role of Tony Stark in the movie "Iron Man 3?" ( 1 pt)
3. Equatorial Guinea is a small country found on what continent? ( 1 pt)
4. Lake Pontchartrain is found in what US state? ( 2 pt)
5. What is the most populous Canadian province? ( 2 pt)
6. How many fluid ounces are there in a US gallon? ( 2 pt)
7. The first Beatles concert in America took place on February 11, 1964 in what city? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What is the smallest state capital city in the US in total population? ( 4 points)
2. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in what country? ( 4 points)
3. Ichthyology is the branch of zoology devoted to the study of what? ( 5 points)
4. Stephen Harper is the current prime minister of what country? ( 3 points)
5. What infamous 19th century bank robber was the leader of The Wild Bunch Gang? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Mariano Rivera; 2. Jimmy Kimmel; 3. New Zealand; 4. Nigeria; 5. CNN; 6. Berlin; 7. "Modern Family."

Green Trivia
1. CCR; 2. "You Can't Do That On Television;" 3. Sam; 4. "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three;" 5. Libya; 6. chlorophyll; 7. Chicago.

Time Zones Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Pacific; 2. Mountain; 3. Eastern; 4. Mountain; 5. Eastern; 6. Central; 7. Eastern; 8. Central; 9. Pacific; 10. Central.

General Knowledge
1. Collar bone; 2. Robert Downey Jr.; 3. Africa; 4. Louisiana; 5. Ontario; 6. 128; 7. Washington, DC.

IQ Trivia
1. Montpelier, VT; 2. United Kingdom (Scotland); 3. fish; 4. Canada; 5. Butch Cassidy.