Opening Day at Fenway

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Happy 2016 to You All


This is my final post at The Mighty Quinn Media Machine for the year ending 2015. It's been a slower year than any year since I started writing this blog in 2006.

This is just my 94th post of the year (and 4,741st overall). The number is down considerably since I last did any Trivia earlier this year. I haven't landed a new gig yet, but I am still itching to get back in. (Once again, if anyone knows a bar in Manhattan that's looking for a new host, please do drop me a line at: jbq1462@hotmail.com. Thanks.)

It was also another off year for the Red Sox, so I wasn't writing as much had this been a championship year. And with the many improvements they've made since the 2015 season, I suspect I'll be writing more in 2016 about them.

I'll be ringing in the New Year in the comfort of my home, watching the Twilight Zone, The Honeymooners and The Odd Couple marathons on TV. Go to Times Square? No chance. Only three types of people go there on New Year's Eve: cops, tourists and pickpockets.

So let me wish you and yours all the best for 2016. Thanks always for supporting my blog, wherever in this world you hail from.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Hendu Dies at 57

I was terribly saddened to learn that 1986 Red Sox hero Dave Henderson died on Sunday at the age of 57.

He will be remembered by me forever for the two-out, two-strike blast he hit off the Angels' Donnie Moore in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS in Anaheim to give the Red Sox the lead, 6-5, and eventually drove in the game-winning run in the 11th inning to send the Sox on their way to the AL pennant. (He actually would have been a goat had the Red Sox lost Game 5. Totally forgotten is the ball that went off his glove hit by Bobby Grich in the 6th inning for a two-run home run that put the Angels ahead. Remember that?)

And who could forget the blast that started the top of the 10th inning at Shea Stadium in the World Series against the Mets in Game 6 of the World Series? (It's pictured above.) Had the Sox held on and won a statue surely would have been erected for Hendu in front of Fenway Park.

I was in the same place for both events: working at Tower Records in Greenwich Village, and I went crazy both times. Both are memories I will cherish forever (the first more than the second, obviously). And by an amazing coincidence, I was in store DJ booth for both blasts. (I was just turning the TVs back on after midnight after all the customers left the store, and saw Hendu's blast hit above the left field wall.)

Dave Henderson was traded by the Red Sox in 1987, and wound up winning a World Series in Oakland in 1989. He hit 25 home runs and made the All-Star team for the AL in 1991, and retired after playing in Kansas City in 1994. But he will always be remembered in Boston for his wide smile and joy for the game. And for two blasts that nearly brought the Red Sox and their fans to the Promised Land in 1986.

What I never realized was the Dave Henderson had a disabled son, and it was the biggest priority of his life for the last 28 years. He was profiled last year about it in the San Jose Mercury News.

Hendu suffered a massive heart attack yesterday, just one month after receiving a kidney transplant. My deepest sympathies to friends and family. He will be missed, and fondly remembered by Red Sox fans for his 1986 postseason heroics forever.

Godspeed Hendu.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas To You and Yours

I wish all of you out there wherever you are a happy and blessed Christmas.

Never forget the words said by the wonderful Linus Van Pelt:




 As the lovely Yule Log burns bright:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Red Sox Finally Honor Wade Boggs

The Red Sox announced yesterday that they will retire number 26 in honor of Hall of Famer Wade Boggs in 2016.

Interesting day they are retiring his number: May 26th. May is the fifth month, and third base, Boggs' position, is number 5 on your scoresheet. Coincidence? Hmmm...

It's been a mystery why it took the Red Sox so long to honor Boggs, who owns the highest batting average at Fenway Park of any player to play for the Red Sox (.369). He retired in 1999, and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2005. His move to the Yankees in 1993 miffed many in Boston (and especially seeing him on the horse after they won the World Series in 1996), but that was long ago. The Sox really had no interest in resigning him after he had a down year in 1992, hitting just .258. Their were whispers that he was washed up at the age of 34, and no one was banging down his door to sign him. The Yankees were one of the only teams interested, so he went there. The Sox immediately gave out number 26 to another player the next season.

Nick Cafardo wrote an interesting article in the Boston Globe about it, and seems to think it is may not be a coincidence that with Larry Lucchino leaving the Sox, management now felt is was time to honor Boggs.

Boggs becomes the ninth Red Sox player honored with his number retired by the team. Is Roger Clemens next?

Brock Holt, currently with number 26, will wear number 12 next season.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Felt Good To Be Doing Trivia Again

I had the distinct pleasure of doing a round of Trivia today for the first time in many months at the headquarters of HBO for a private gathering. And it sure felt good to be doing it again.

One of my old Trivia regulars from Professor Thom's, Dave, works for HBO, and sent me an email last week asking me if I'd be interested in doing some Trivia for him and many of his colleagues at HBO. I jumped at the chance, as I've been on the sidelines too long, and have been itching to find a new place to do it at.

I put together three categories: Classic TV Trivia, Movies Trivia, and HBO Trivia. I kept the questions more contemporary, and the last round called HBO Trivia would be questions based on TV shows, sports and specials seen on the network in its history.

Each category had ten questions, and we had six teams in a very nice conference room at HBO's midtown offices. We also had two teams join us via video conference from HBO's Seattle offices. That was definitely a first.

Most of the people playing were in their thirties and forties, a nice mixture of all different kinds of men and women. They were no prizes involves, just bragging rights inside the company.

There was definitely a feel of competition in the air, as there was plenty of trash talk going on, but all of it good-natured. It was a close game throughout, but the winning team ended up taking it by three points. (I didn't save my scoresheet, so apologize to everyone involved, including the winners, for not mentioning any team names.)

Unfortunately, due to time considerations, I could only do 5 of the HBO questions out of 10, but I will include the ones I did not ask in the following Q&A.

I want to thank Dave and everyone at HBO for making the day really special. I really enjoyed being with all of you, and I got some really nice feedback from many of the Trivia players afterwards.

If anyone out there wants to have a private Trivia party, please do contact me, as I am available to do so. You can email me at jbq1462@hotmail.com, and we can arrange something.

And of course, I am still looking for a new venue to do my Trivia Night, and if anyone knows a good establishment looking to start a new Trivia Night or just needs a new host, please do contact me at the above address. I'm just looking to get back in the Trivia saddle!!

OK, folks, here is the Q&A from earlier today, I'll include the answers at the end of the last round.

Classic TV Trivia
1. What rock band performs the opening theme to the TV series "The Big Bang Theory?"
2. What Saturday Night Live cast member left the show in 1994 after being in a record 153 shows?
3. What TV series was set in the year 2030 with the main character recounting events of his past to his children?
4. "The Regal Beagle" was the bar that characters from what 1970s/80s sitcom hung out at?
5. "I Want to Believe" was a phrase featured on a poster in what 1990s TV series?
6. "Venus Flytrap" and "Johnny Fever" were two characters on what 1990s sitcom?
7. Every episode of "Seinfeld" contains an image or reference to what superhero?
8. McKinley High School was one of the main settings on what 2010s TV series?
9. What current TV talk show almost singlehandedly made the term "truthiness" a word in the dictionary?
10. What legendary comedian was the first ever host of "Saturday Night Live" in 1975?

Movies Trivia
1. What TV actor had to reject the offer to follow Roger Moore in the 1980s to play James Bond because of his TV series commitments, but eventually did play Bond?
2. The 1985 book "Wiseguy" was eventually turned into a very successful 1990s film under what title?
3. What was Woody Allen's first film to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay?
4. "Mean Streets" and "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" are two of the earliest films from what Oscar-winning director?
5. What actor or actress has been nominated for the most Academy Awards?
6. What was the highest-grossing film in the US in the decade of the 1980s?
7. The 1986 film "Platoon" was set during what war?
8. What city was featured in the films "Good Will Hunting", "A Civil Action" and "Field of Dreams?"
9. What Oscar-winning actor starred in the 1977 comedy "Slap Shot?"
10. In what NYC borough did the legendary car chase in the film "The French Connection" take place?

HBO Trivia
1. On the TV series "The Sopranos", which character killed Tony Blundetto, who was played by Steve Buscemi?
2. On "Boardwalk Empire", English actor Stephen Graham played what real-life American crime figure?
3. What future Oscar-winner appeared on all 56 episodes of the series "Oz?"
4. How many seasons did the show "Entourage" run for?
5. What NFL team, which had just come off a Super Bowl win, was the first one featured in the HBO series "Hard Knocks" in 2001?

Questions Not Used
6. George Carlin's first HBO special was filmed in 1977 at what West Coast university?
7. What baseball immortal was featured in an HBO documentary that debuted in 2009?
8. What comedian had a live HBO series that ran from 1994 to 2002?
9. What actor played "Mr. Big" on the HBO series "Sex and the City?"
10. What former baseball star caught a baby thrown from a burning building in one of the final episodes of "Curb Your Enthusiasm?"

Answers
Classic TV Trivia
1. Barenaked Ladies; 2. Phil Hartman; 3. "How I Met Your Mother;" 4. "Three's Company;" 5. "The X-Files;" 6. "WKRP In Cincinnati;" 7. Superman; 8. "Glee;" 9. Stephen Colbert; 10. George Carlin.

Movies Trivia
1. Pierce Brosnan; 2. "Goodfellas;" 3. "Annie Hall;" 4. Martin Scorsese; 5. Meryl Streep (19); 6. "ET"; 7. Vietnam War; 8. Boston; 9. Paul Newman; 10. Brooklyn.

HBO Trivia
1. Tony Soprano; 2. Al Capone; 3. J.K. Simmons; 4. eight; 5. Baltimore Ravens; 6. USC; 7. Ted Williams; 8. Dennis Miller; 9. Chris Noth; 10. Bill Buckner.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

On the Outside Looking In, For Good

It's pretty clear to me that Pete Rose just doesn't get it.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred rejected his appeal for reinstatement this past Monday, and now it looks for all the world that Rose will not be elected to the Hall of Fame in his lifetime.

Rose signed an agreement with MLB back in 1989 after it was determined that had bet on baseball while he managed the Cincinnati Reds. Rose figured he'd sit out a year and would appeal to Commissioner Bart Giamatti to be brought back in baseball's good graces. But Giamatti suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after the ruling, and every commissioner that has followed him has denied Rose readmission into the game.

I caught part of that bizarre press conference he held in Las Vegas yesterday. Rose talked about how he is just a "recreational" gambler these days, and being in Las Vegas, the bets he makes aren't illegal. And he told this to Manfred when they met in New York last September.

That just left me shaking my head. Gambling has cost Rose dearly. Ruined his reputation and kept him out of the Hall of Fame. And he admits he is STILL gambling?

Manfred had no other choice but to deny Rose. He clearly has not turned away from what is baseball's mortal sin among their personnel. He had to show the commissioner that betting, even legally, is no longer part of his life. It's clear that just isn't the case.

Rose went the entirely wrong routs after he was suspended in 1989. He denied, denied, denied for 15 years. Took all of his fans for suckers. In the early 2000s, I was coming over to Rose's side and thought maybe it's time we take a serious look at possibly bringing him back. And then, Charlie Hustle goes and ruins it by finally admitting that he did indeed bet on baseball and other sports in 2004. And it was just to sell another "autobiography." Just to make another buck. That convinced me that Rose should be kept out until after he dies.

What Rose should have done after his suspension was admit the truth about his gambling, and go out and get help for it. Yes there would have been some short term consequences, but if he showed the public that his degenerate gambling was out of his life, public opinion would have turned in his favor.

And I believe he would have been elected to the Hall of Fame 20 years ago.

I keep hearing these comparisons to the PED users of the last couple of decades, but this has nothing to do with them. There was no penalty for those users back in the 1990s and early 2000s, and most of those alleged users are still eligible for the Hall of Fame. It's apples and oranges as far as I am concerned, a whole separate issue for another time.

What is troubling, and rather hypocritical, is the fact that MLB has an agreement with the betting site "DraftKings." Sure, MLB personnel are prohibited from making wagers there, but getting into bed with gambling sites, despite being legal in most states, seems to go against the integrity of the game that was tarnished by the Black Sox scandal of nearly a century ago. But, of course, there is money to be made.

Pete Rose will continue to plead his case to the American public about how he belongs in Cooperstown, and will now do that for the rest of his life, posing himself as a martyr. He did it all to himself, and made some terrible mistakes after all the evidence was mounted against him. He had a shot at a second chance years ago, but his ego wouldn't let him do it. Sorry, Pete, you get no sympathy from me.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

A Power Arm For the Pen

Dave Dombrowski struck again on Monday, as he sent Wade Miley to Seattle in a four-player deal that included reliever Carson Smith.


Also included in the deal was reliever Jonathan Aro going to the Mariners, with starting pitcher Roenis Elias coming to Boston.

Smith was very solid for the Mariners last year, going 70 innings and striking out 92. He posted a 2.31 ERA while going 2-5 in 70 games. He figures to be a solid setup man with Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara. Smith is 26 years old from Texas. Here's more about him.

Elias is a 27-year-old Cuban-born lefty (born in Guantanamo) who has started most of the last two seasons in Seattle. He was 5-8 with a 4.14 ERA in 2015, and figures to be a back-end of the rotation starter. He still has options left and most likely will begin 2016 at Pawtucket. His more about him.

Miley was probably the most tradeable of the Red Sox starters last year. He was an innings eater last year, nothing spectacular but consistent.

The good folks at Fangraphs seem to like this trade, and think Smith could be a bullpen ace down the road.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

A Heavy Price For an Ace

I would call this making a big splash, no?

Dave Dombrowski promised that the Red Sox would bring in a top starting pitching, and probably via free agency. And that's what he did, as the Sox agreed to a seven-year, $217 million deal with free agent David Price.

This is the biggest deal in baseball history ever given to a pitcher.

Rumors were flying yesterday that Price would land in St. Louis, and the Sox had started negotiating with free agent Zack Greinke. But it was apparent that Price was their man, and the Red Sox offer was $30 million more than what the Cardinals were offering.

In this megadeal, there is an opt-out clause for Price after three years. Price is 6-1 with a 1.95 ERA in 76 innings at Fenway Park lifetime.

It was quite apparent to anyone with eyes that the Red Sox needed a top draw starter for their rotation. This reminds me of December 1997, when the Sox were coming off a year when they had no clear ace of the pitching staff, and finished the year 78-84 (just like in 2015). So they traded for Pedro Martinez. While Pedro was four years younger than David Price, it made all the difference in the world as the Sox won the Wild Card in 1998. This move also takes the heat off Rick Porcello to be the ace, and can now move to the number two slot.

Yesterday's signing also proves what a big mistake the Sox made in lowballing Jon Lester in contract negotiations in 2014. Price is actually a year younger than Lester is now. They would have been overpaying Lester had they resigned him then, so overpaying Price is something they would had to have done anyway. While the Sox spent a truckload of money yesterday, they lost no draft picks in the signing, and get an ace without touching the core of their young players.

Dombrowski said after the 2015 season ended that there were three slots he had to fill this offseason: an ace (Price), a closer (Craig Kimbrel) and a fourth outfielder (Chris Young). He's done alright so far, but you have to think he is not yet finished. Another power arm in the pen maybe next, and trying to find a new home for Hanley Ramirez may also be a possibility. The Winter Meetings begin next Monday in Nashville.