Saturday, October 31, 2009

What in the Name of God Makes Someone Do This?

I was horrified tonight, as well as totally pissed off, when I heard that the 9/11 Memorial Chapel was broken into this morning, and a fire broke out, and the FDNY later determined that it was a case of arson. Here is more on the story.

The chapel is located at the Chief Medical Examiner's office on E. 30th Street, where many of the unidentified remains of the 9/11 victims are stored. Thankfully, none of those remains were damaged in the blaze.

But many of the mementos and candles left by the families of the victims were either stolen or set on fire. The chapel is a beautiful place of reflection for those 9/11 families, especially the ones who have never had any trace of their loved ones properly identified.

Police arrested Brian Schroeder for the crime after he turned himself in. I can only hope they throw the book at this piece of shit for doing such a reprehensible thing. Some people just have no conscience or scruples. The 9/11 families have been through countless heartaches over the past eight years, and it's inexusable things like this that just add to their misery.

Another Traitor

As if Massarotti's column wasn't enough, read this from today's New York Times.

This guy, Joe Nocera, who claims to be a "card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation" since the 1950s and '60s, is actually "warming up to the Yankees" and even refers to them as "underdogs." (Nobody with the payroll they've got are "underdogs.") He seems to get all warm and fuzzy about George Steinbrenner now that he's "old and sick."

Oh, pass the vomit bag, please.

He concludes his betrayal with this:

The Phillies, to be sure, are very good; other, less biased observers have also predicted that they’ll win the series. During that first game, the Yankees were thoroughly outclassed by the star pitcher, Cliff Lee. Around the seventh inning, fans started murmuring to each other: “If we have to face this guy three times, we’ve got a problem.” And that’s when I knew I was rooting for the Yankees.

They were finally the underdog. Isn’t that who Red Sox fans always root for?

No, buddy. Red Sox fans may root for an underdog, but NEVER anyone wearing pinstripes. Your warped mind may think they are an "underdog," but try passing that palaver off on any Sox fan who has ever had "1918" or any of that "curse" crap yelled at them in the past.

Massarotti Has Lost His Mind

Did you see this column written by Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe earlier this week before the World Series began? He comes right out and says that Red Sox Nation should be rooting for the Yankees in this World Series.

Yep, you read that right. Rooting for the Yankees to win their 27th championship.

Not a chance, pal.

Massarotti basically says the spark has gone out of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, and that rooting for them will light a competitive fire under the Red Sox. He doesn't come right out and say it, but he hints that the two championships won by the Red Sox this decade has made them lazy and content with what they've accomplished.

What a load of horse dung this is.

Massarotti just doesn't get it. As a Red Sox fan for most of my life, there is no possible way, no possible circumstance that would EVER have me pull for the New York Yankees. I didn't root for them in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. (And I want to find these "Red Sox fans" who were supposedly pulling for them in that World Series. I have never met even ONE.)

I come from a long line of Mets fans/Yankee haters. I have been around their entitled, obnoxious and arrogant fans my entire life, and seeing them with another title would simply make them that much more arrogant (if that's even possible).

And c'mon, Massarotti, do you think the Sox aren't motivated RIGHT NOW to get better, just seeing New York win another division, and in another World Series?

You don't speak for ANYONE in Red Sox Nation, pal. You want to root for those bastards, go right ahead. Count me out. If they win this series, so be it.

You'll never see me cheer for them. Not under any circumstance. Not for any reason.


The Enterprise Crew Heads to Camelot

My friend Andrea brought this to my attention tonight. It's an absolutely hysterical "mashup" of Monty Python's song "Knights of the Round Table" from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" with selected cuts from the original "Star Trek" series. Whoever put it together did an absolutely superb job matching the Star Trek scenes with the Holy Grail scene where the song plays over.

It's just 1:39 long, but it's simply terrific. I hope you enjoy it. I sure did!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Did Pedro Father a Child In Indiana?

I've never been able to understand why those mental midgets in The Bronx chant "Hoosier Daddy" whenever Pedro Martinez pitches there.

Must be an Indiana thing I'll never understand...

Proud of Petey

I was really proud to watch Pedro Martinez pitch in Yankee Stadium last night. I wasn't at the game, but at the next best place to watch a game from that place: Professor Thom's. And the bar was 80% Phillies Fans/Red Sox Fans/Yankee Haters. It was a joy to be rooting for one of my all-time favorite Red Sox players once again, and on the big stage of the World Series. (And it was the first time we did the strikeout clap during a non-Red Sox game too.)

Pedro went 6+ innings, allowed three runs, walked two and struck out eight. (Including Jesus Christ, er, Derek Jeter, twice. And why the hell was he bunting into a strike out in his last at-bat?) He allowed just a cheap-ass Yankee Stadium homer to Hideki Matsui, and a real one to Mark Teixiera. He put the first two on in the seventh and was yanked, and one scored to complete the New York scoring.

Amidst all the infantile cretins with their outdated chants, Pedro brought back some fond memories for me, including the greatest game I have ever seen pitched: September 10, 1999, when he dominated New York, striking out 17 and allowed just a Chili Davis home run in winning, 3-1. Tonight's performance was anywhere near as dominating, but Pedro was on his game tonight. A.J. Burnett was just a bit better in getting the win.

I envisioned a scenario of Pedro getting the win tonight, the Phillies getting him another ring and seeing him retire off into the sunset, and entering the Hall of Fame in 2015. Well, he didn't win tonight, but the rest is still very much a possibility.

No matter what happens the rest of this series, I am still proud of Pedro Martinez and the job he did on Thursday night.

Thanks Pedro. Red Sox Nation salutes you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Never Get Tired of Remembering

It was two years ago tonight that the Red Sox won their second World Series championship in four years. The first clip is from a Red Sox fan right behind the Red Sox dugout that night, and the second one was from a fan inside Professor Thom's who recorded it on a cell phone. I was somewhere there amidst all that happiness. Enjoy.

Trivia Q&A: October 27

We had a huge crowd in for Trivia Night last night, and 22 teams took part. Many folks were in for the Celtics opener in Cleveland. We debuted our "New and Improved Trivia Night" and I must say it was a resounding success.

"Q Are You?" debuted as a recurring category, and most people really seemed to get into the three facts nature of it. The scores were generally good, and it will return again in the next few weeks.

"Audio Movie Clips Trivia" was fun to do, as we gave the folks 10 short movie lines, and most did well in that too. (We actually had to hold off a few minutes to start as the Celtics game was in its final moments.) I talked to a few regulars afterwards and they liked the idea of having some audio clues. The sound wasn't the best, but it did OK and hopefully it will be even better next time. We will be bringing the audio trivia back on a semi-regular basis.

We also debuted the revamped General Knowledge category with a different point scale, and that was well-received also. We had a good race into IQ Trivia, and the team of Old Friends, New Lovers and The Disabled pulled a great come-from-behind win, getting four of the five correct and winning by a single point. Congrats to the on capping off a memorable night of Trivia.

Current Events
1. The official church of this European nation announced last week they will begin performing same-sex marriages.
2. Five deaths from cholera in this African country last week have sparked fears a new epidemic that killed thousands last year could happen.
3. This female Hollywood star sold a kiss to a lucky fan in a charity auction in San Francisco last week, and a woman bid $140,000 and won a 20-second smootch with her.
4. This legendary comedian died last Wednesday at the age of 83, and his obituary said he took more than 20,000 pies to the face during his illustrious career.
5. The number of bank failures in the US for 2009 topped this milestone number last Friday, and its the most in the US since 1982.
6. This British rock singer collapsed on stage as he was beginning a concert in Swindon, England on Saturday night and had to be rushed to a hospital.
7. This small country's three McDonald's restaurants will all close next weekend, as the franchise holder had heavy debts due to the collapse of the nation's currency.

Answers: 1. Sweden; 2. Zimbabwe; 3. Charlize Theron; 4. Soupy Sales; 5. one hundred; 6. Morrissey; 7. Iceland.

Q Are You?
1. This man was born in Englewood, NJ in 1954. He was twice nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor, in 1977 and 1994. He had a number one single in 1978 as part of a duet from one of his films.
2. This man was born in Brighton, MA in 1942. In 2009, his wealth was estimated at $16 billion. He's never lost a political election.
3. This man was born in Middlesex, England in 1947. He's had 56 Top 40 singles in the US, including the best selling single of all time. He's also been the owner and chairman of the Watford Football Club of England.
4. This woman was born in Greenwich, CT in 1947. She's won 3 Tonys, 4 Emmys, an Obie and 2 Golden Globes, and she's been nominated for 5 Oscars but has never won. Her most memorable character's name is Alex Forrest.
5. This man was born in Anchorage, AK in 1966. He's a three-time World Series winner, with best winning percentage of any pitcher in the postseason (with 10 decisions). He's eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2013.
6. This woman was born in Inglewood, CA in 1973. She's hosted her own reality show as well as talk show. She was the first black model chosen for the cover of the Victoria's Secret catalog.
7. This man was born in Sheffield, England in 1943. He's best known for his comedy writing and acting in TV and movies, and was awarded the Commander of the British Empire in 2000. Today he's best known for his new career as a travel writer and documentarian.

Answers: 1. John Travolta; 2. Michael Bloomberg; 3. Elton John; 4. Glenn Close; 5. Curt Schilling; 6. Tyra Banks; 7. Michael Palin.

Audio Movie Clips Trivia
Answers: 1. Caddyshack; 2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; 3. The Godfather; 4. Back to the Future; 5. 2001: A Space Odyssey; 6. Full Metal Jacket; 7. Cocktail; 8. Airplane!; 9. The Princess Bride; 10. Apocalypse Now.

General Knowledge
1. The island of Malta can be found in what sea? ( 1 point)
2. A solo performance in an opera is called what? ( 1 point)
3. Olympic Airlines is the national airline of what country? ( 1 point)
4. In what country did the Boer War take place? ( 2 points)
5. What is the largest gland in the human body? ( 2 points)
6. What member of the British royal family wrote the book "The Old Man of Lochnagar?" ( 2 points)
7. How many black keys are there on a standard piano? ( 3 points)

Answers: 1. Mediterranean; 2. aria; 3. Greece; 4. South Africa; 5. liver; 6. Prince Charles; 7. thirty-six.

IQ Trivia
1. Ishihara is a test to determine what? ( 4 points)
2. In what South American country would you find Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world? ( 5 points)
3. The nations of Australia and New Zealand are separated by what body of water? ( 4 points)
4. The eagle on the Great Seal of the United States grasps the right talon with an olive branch bearing how many olives and leaves each? ( 3 points)
5. On which Hawaiian island is Pearl Harbor located? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. color blindness; 2. Ecuador; 3. The Tasman Sea; 4. thirteen; 5. Oahu.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We'll Always Have 2004

1,827 days ago. It sure doesn't seem like five years. I was in the Riviera Cafe and Sports Bar that night when Keith Foulke grabbed Edgar Renteria's grounder. It set off ten minutes of sheer pandemonium and joy like I had never experienced before.

Here's a tribute to that wonderful team. Happy Anniversary everyone.

The Mets Fans' Worst Nightmare?

I've been reading about how this World Series matchup between the Phillies and Yankees is "the Mets fan's worst nightmare," and that they have no one to root for because they hate both teams. While that matbe true of some fans, I would still bet those Mets fans who really care will be pulling for the Phillies. And I'll tell you why.

I remember back in 1986 how they were calling the Red Sox-Mets World Series "the Yankee fan's worst nightmare." The team's AL East rival taking on the team they share the same city with. I honestly believed going in that the Yankee fans hated the Red Sox more, so you'd be seeing most of them (probably silently) pulling for the Mets.

I could not have been more wrong. Among a core group of Yankee fans I knew back then, I was shocked to see many openly hoping to see the Red Sox take it. (All that "curse" BS had not infected the landscape yet.) The hatred for the Mets was definitely there, and pretty blatant, deep and vocal.

I came to the conclusion that while the Red Sox were the hated rival, the team who occupies the same city and who Yankee fans interact with more was definitely more despised. I remember seeing George Steinbrenner interviewed right after that World Series and congratulating the Mets on their win. (And I knew that had to be killing him to be so magnanimous, as I also recall how much he wanted to beat the Mets so badly in spring training games back in the 1970s.)

The Mets and the Phillies have been rivals, but not really for very long. It only really got going in 2007, when the Phillies staged that incredible comeback to take the NL East on the final day. For years, either the Mets were good and the Phillies were bad (like in 1969 and the early 1970s, and the late 1980s and late 1990s), the Phillies were good and the Mets were bad (the late 1970s, or the early 1990s) or both teams were bad. So there never really was a time when both teams went at each other in a pennant race to really form a heated rivalry before 2007.

So far what I've heard from Mets fans has been across the board. Many are treating it like the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s ("I hope they end up killing each other"). But I would still bet that most will end up hoping (many silently) that the Phillies end up winning it all. (And besides, wouldn't you want to see the former Met pitcher pictured here win another World Series ring at the Yankees expense? I sure would.)

I would bet many will be going along the lines of what my father once said years ago, and still lives by even today:

"Anybody but the Yankees."

Phillies in six.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Changes Are A-Comin'

We are going to begin to make a few changes to our beloved "Tuesday Night Trivia" starting this week. It won't be anything of a radical nature, but it's always nice to bring in new things to give them a try.

This week, the General Knowledge category will still be seven questions, but they will now have different point values, much like "IQ Trivia." There will now be three 1-point questions, three 2-point questions, and one 3-point question, for a total of 12 points for the round.

We will also be having as a recurring Q Train category, an audio round. This week it will be "Audio Movie Quotes." There will be 10 famous quotes from movies and you will tell which film it is from. But since the Q Train is a lightning round, they will only be repeated once, and not be repeated at the conclusion. So, as always, do pay close attention from the beginning of the round.

This week's Special Category will also be a recurring category, called "Q Are You?" I will give you three facts about a current celebrity, and you will tell me who it is.

So I hope that all of you who have been loyal to our Trivia Night will enjoy these changes. We will still have five categories and end with the 20-point IQ Trivia, so as you can see, the format we have been successful with these 3 1/2 years will remain. Feedback is always encouraged, so you're welcome to drop me a line to let me know what you think.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
A solo performance of an opera is called what?

We'll get rolling at 9 PM tomorrow night, and we had a big crowd last Tuesday. So I hope to see many of you then for the "New and Improved Trivia Night!"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

BS Ref Call Ends Vikings Winning Streak

As soon as I saw it happen, I knew it would cost the Vikings dearly.

Brett Favre threw a touchdown pass to Sidney Rice with more than 6 minutes to play to put the Vikings up on the Steelers, 16-13, only it didn't count, as one of the referees threw a flag on tight end Jeff Dugan, claiming he had tripped James Harrison as Favre threw the pass. The replays, showed that it was the wrong call, and the Fox announcers agreed as well.

And sure enough, on the next play, Favre was stripped of the ball and it was returned for a Pittsburgh touchdown, and instead of 17-13 Vikings, it was 20-10 Steelers, and it sent the game in a whole new direction.

Granted, you can't play football in a vacuum, but it may very well have cost the Vikings their seventh straight win, as Pittsburgh went on to a 27-17 victory. It was a tough game all day, as it was 10-7 Pittsburgh at the half.

Percy Harvin then returned the next kickoff 89 yards for a TD to make it 20-16. (Did anyone else notice on the kickoff that Dugan collided with one of the refs and the injured man had to leave the field? Revenge perhaps?)

But the Vikings comeback came to crashing end with a minute to play, as Favre attempted a pass to Chester Taylor and it went through his hands (he should have caught it) and was returned for a TD to ice Pittsburgh's win.

This was a hard loss to take, but the Vikings showed that they can play with the so-called "glamour" teams of the NFL, and it's one they really could have (as well as should have) won. One big knock on the Vikings was that they made way too many penalties (10, and one that shouldn't have been called), and that has to be addressed.

They have a big game next week, as the rematch with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau next Sunday awaits.

ND Holds Off Late BC Rally

The Cardiac Kids were at it again in South Bend yesterday, as Notre Dame had yet another nail biter, this time against Boston College, but this time they broke a six-game losing streak against the Eagles in pulling off a 20-16 win.

Brian Smith intercepted a pass from Dave Shinskie with just over a minute to play as BC was driving down the field to cap the Irish win.

It was a huge day for both Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate, as Clausen went 26-for-39 for 246 yards, which included two TD passses to Tate, who caught 11 on the day for 128 yards.

The defense struggled at times, but BC coughed up the ball on three separate occasions as they were driving, and they gave up the ball a total of five times on the day.

ND led 13-9 at halftime, and it included a safety by BC, when Clausen was caught for intentional grounding in the end zone for the Eagles' first points. BC had the lead 16-13 in the fourth when Cluasen hit Tate for the second TD from 36 yards out (pictured).

It was a struggle at times for the Irish, but they found a way to win. They are now 5-2, and have a rare Saturday night game at South Bend against lowly Washington State.

Friday, October 23, 2009

What LAA Is Up Against (With Stats You'll Like)

OK, the LA Angels forced the ALCS back to New York, and are now down 3-2 in the series. (Alright, I HAVE been paying attention, so sue me. But I watched none of it last night, just followed it on my cell phone while watching an old friend of mine's jazz trio in Manhattan.)

Only three teams have come back from 3-1 in a League Championship Series and won the last two on the road to take the series: the 1985 Kansas City Royals, the 2003 Florida Marlins and yes, your 2004 Boston Red Sox (who as we all know, came from even further back than that). All three teams went on to win the World Series.

And only one team in MLB history has come back three times in a postseason series from 3-1 down to win the series. Yes, once again, your Boston Red Sox. In addition to 2004, they turned the trick in the ALCS in 1986 and 2007.

I never get tired when the "comeback" stats appear on the screen when a team falls behind 3-1 in a seven-game series (and of course when they are behind 3-0 especially) not just in baseball, but in basketball and hockey. And the Year of Our Lord 2004 makes yet another appearance.

Just another additional benefit of what occurred five years ago. I look forward to hearing those stats for the rest of my life.

God bless The 25 from 2004.

And also, Matthews the Moron strikes again. Wallace Matthews actually wrote in Newsday that if the Yankees cough up the ALCS to the Angels this year, it would be worse than what happened five years ago against the Red Sox. Is he kidding? Try getting the average Yankee fan to believe that losing an ALCS to the Angels would be worse than losing to the "dreaded" Red Sox.

I'm still amazed that someone actually pays this idiot to write such nonsense.

With thanks to Allan at The Joy of Sox for the link.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My 20 Favorite Monty Python Sketches

I've been watching the Monty Python-a-Thon every night this week on IFC (except for Tuesday when I taped it because of Trivia Night), and have really been enjoying it, especially, "Monty Python: Almost The Truth," the six-part documentary series that is also a part of it. The five living members of the group have been extensively interviewed for it and it's been really fascinating getting the insights of their careers.

A few nights ago, they also asked some famous Python fans about what their favorite sketch is, and that got me to thinking about mine. Picking just one for me is like asking me who my favorite all-time Red Sox player is, but I gave it a whirl and came up with a Top 20 list, and I limited it to just from the TV show.

Actually, I will list my Top 5 in order, and then list the remaining 15 in no particular order. So, here goes, with the 6-20 first.

Upper Class Twit of the Year: I love the fact they give these guys guns at the end to kill themselves. Too bad nothing like this exists in real life.
Cheese Shop: Learned a lot about cheese from around the world just from all the names.
Dirty Vicar: How didn't Terry Jones win an award for this? And it's my dad's all-time favorite sketch.
Travel Agent: I'm still amazed at Eric Idle's performance as Mr. Smoke-Too-Much.
Ministry of Silly Walks: John Cleese's least favorite Python sketch, and one he'll never escape.
Michael Ellis: Love the "It is now Chris Quinn Week" at the end, as well as the sudden ending. Always think of this sketch when I see Mark Ellis of the Oakland A's, for some reason.
The Cycling Tour: Eartha Kitt makes a cameo appearance (well, not really).
Putting Things On Top Of Other Things: "Why are we wasting our lives with such nonsense?"
Science Fiction: Blancmanges try to take over the world, turn all Englishmen into Scotsmen, and nearly win Wimbledon.
Dennis Moore: Bloody lupins!!
Mr. Neutron: Teddy Salad has to go walkies.
The Killer Joke: I once tried to translate the actual joke from the German words. It's all jibberish.
The Argument: I told you once. No, you haven't...
Undertaker: One of the more controversial of all the sketches they did. Still makes me laugh out loud. "Fred, I think we've got an eater..."
Crunchy Frog: It's always made me wonder what an Iraqi frog tastes like.

And the Top 5:
5. The Piranha Brothers: Dinsdale!! Must be tough for a hedgehog who is 800 yards long to get around.
4. Dead Parrot: Sheer brilliance from John Cleese and Michael Palin. Love all the synonyms for "dead" in it.
3. Lumberjack: Crazy barber turns into a lumberjack who wears women's clothes. The least favorite sketch of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
2. Spam: This sketch always reminded me of the Marx Brothers. Total lunacy at the end. I always loved all the singers dressed as Vikings in the restaurant singing "Spam." And I always wondered what the makers of Spam thought of this sketch, which led to their beloved product becoming a byword for Internet junk. An all-time classic.

And Number One...

1. The Spanish Inquisition: Nobody expected this! Monty Python at their absolute craziest. And I always watch this sketch on New Year's Day.

I'm sure there's a great one I've left off this list. So many sketches, so little time. Thanks for all the laughs, guys.

Your Humble Correspondent Is Everywhere

Lisa Swan, one of the more intelligent of Yankee bloggers out there, interviewed Yours Truly and nine other Red Sox bloggers about this postseason at "The Faster Times" web site. Check it out. And stopping by her site, "Subway Squawkers" is always worth your time.

Thank you, Lisa.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pudge in Five Seconds

It was 34 years ago today that this event occurred at the Fens:

It was a long drive, it stayed fair, and it was a home run.

Trivia Q&A: October 20

We had a big crowd in for Trivia Night on Tuesday, as 20 teams took part in the fun. We had some strong scores for both US Historic Places Trivia and Russell Crowe Film Trivia, and especially for the latter (eight teams got perfect scores). General Knowledge was a bit tougher, but the same team, Captain Planet Just Got Arrrested For Sexual Harrassment, led throughout the night going into IQ Trivia.

Only two teams managed to get as many as three correct in IQ Trivia, as it was another tough round. But one of them was the afformentioned first place team, and they wound up winning comfortably by six points. Congratulations to them, as it was their first ever win on Trivia Night.

Current Events
1. This member of Barack Obama's staff was chosen as "The Most Powerful Person in DC" in the annual poll conducted by GQ magazine.
2. Captain Lou Albano died last Wednesday at the age of 76. In what field did he originally become famous?
3. A contestant named Jeff Kirby appeared on "Jeopardy" recently, but his third-place prize was revoked by producers, for something that hadn't happened in the show's history. What was it?
4. Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson shared the Nobel Prize for 2009 in this field, it was announed last week.
5. This Australian pop singer made her debut in a movie in India last week, and it is believed that the film "Blue" is the most expensive Bollywood film ever made.
6. This American singer had a "wardrobe malfunction" while performing her new single on UK television on Sunday, as the strap on the back of her dress broke apart, but she completed her performance without further incident.
7. Three runners died while competing in this American city's marathon on Sunday, and autopsy results were pending on all three.

Answers: 1. Rahm Emmanuel; 2. pro wrestling; 3. It was the second time he was on the show; 4. economics; 5. Kylie Minogue; 6. Whitney Houston; 7. Detroit.

US Historic Places Trivia

1. Mount McKinley
2. Leavenworth Prison
3. Yellowstone National Park
4. Mount Rushmore
5. Fort Knox
6. Little Big Horn
7. Tombstone, home of the OK Corral

Answers: 1. Alaska; 2. Kansas; 3. Wyoming; 4. South Dakota; 5. Kentucky; 6. Montana; 7. Arizona.

Russell Crowe Film Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Memento
2. Ned Kelly
3. Mystery, Alaska
4. The Quick and The Dead
5. Rules of Engagement
6. Virtuosity
7. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
8. 3:10 to Yuma
9. Monster's Ball
10. Romper Stomper

Answers: 1. no; 2. no; 3. yes; 4. yes; 5. no; 6. yes; 7. no; 8. yes; 9. no; 10. yes.

General Knowledge
1. What actor played Mr. Magorium in "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium?"
2. By what name is Erich Weiss otherwise known?
3. What was the name of the town run by Gene hackman in the film "Unforgiven?"
4. Victoria is the capital of what Canadian province?
5. Which Beatle was the first to have a solo number one song in the UK?
6. The chemical symbol Fe stands for what in the Periodic Table?
7. What is the nationality of Edvard Munch, who painted "The Scream?"

Answers: 1. Dustin Hoffman; 2. Harry Houdini; 3. Big Whiskey; 4. British Columbia; 5. George Harrison ("My Sweet Lord"); 6. iron; 7. Norwegian.

IQ Trivia
1. What English king was married to Berengaria of Navarre? ( 4 points)
2. Titania is the largest moon of what planet? (4 points)
3. Which Roman emperor was assassinated by his own Praetorian Guard in 41 AD? ( 3 points)
4. Orology is the study of what? ( 4 points)
5. What country do the Madeira Islands in the Atlantic Ocean belong to? ( 5 points)

Answers: 1. Richard the Lionheart; 2. Uranus; 3. Caligula; 4. mountains; 5. Portugal.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Favorite Baseball Game of All-Time

I was in the Riviera Cafe and Sports Bar on the night of October 20/morning of October 21, 2004, and witnessed baseball history. History that may never be repeated. Ever.

10-3. Four straight. After being down 0-3, and three outs from being swept.

On the day I die, I'll still be smiling about it.

Here's a YouTube clip celebrating it. Enjoy:

Keep The Balloons In The Stands, Folks

Here is one of the weirder goals you'll ever see scored in a soccer match.

Sunderland beat my boys from Liverpool last Saturday, 1-0. I caught the second half of the match on the Fox Soccer Channel, but I missed the goal in the 5th minute. It was scored by Darren Bent, and it was assisted by a balloon (or a beach ball, take your pick), which was tossed on the field moments earlier by some Sunderland fan. (It had to be as there were nothing but Sunderland fans behind the goal.)

Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina was clearly distracted when the soccer ball connected to the balloon, as you can see in the video. The referee should have called a dead ball for the interference, but no call was made. And he was demoted for not making the proper call. Boy, what a rotten way to lose your fourth match in nine games this season.

Come on Liverpool! Still a long way to go. Don't let beach balls get in the way of Premiership title dreams!

Monday, October 19, 2009

American Historic Places On Tuesday

On Tuesday night, the Special Category will be "US Historic Places Trivia." I will give you the names of seven historic places around our great nation and you will tell me which state it resides in. (And of course, Arlington National Cemetery, pictured, will not be one of the choices.)

The Q Train lightning round will be "Russell Crowe Film Trivia." I will give you the names of ten films and you will tell me if the Oscar-winning actor starred in that film.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
By what name is Erich Weiss otherwise known?

We'll get going at the usual time of 9 PM. Game 4 of the ALCS will be going on as we play (the Red Sox aren't in it, so I have no clue who's playing in it), but I hope to see many of you tomorrow night.

Just Two Words: Game Six

Could it really be five years since one of the gutsiest performances in postseason baseball happened?

Thanks always, Curt.

And from a fan who witnessed the event live, the concluding pitch:

That final out always makes me nervous when I watch it on video, even though I know how it turns out. Boy, what could have happened...

Wide Left

Well, I guess it's better to be lucky than good sometimes.

With 8 minutes to play yesterday, the Vikings looked to be on cruise control, as they had just gone up, 27-10, and while I was watching the game at Bar None in Manhattan, someone in the bar yelled out: "Bring on Pittsburgh!!" (The Vikings play the Steelers next Sunday.) I was thinking that was a bit premature, and I was proven correct.

The Baltimore Ravens came storming back and scored three TDs in the fourth, and within five minutes it was 31-30, and I was wondering what the hell just happened (and where the Vikings defense disappeared to). Ray Rice scored on a 33-yard run and was barely touched in the process, and it was apparent the defense was asleep at the switch and Baltimore had gained some late-game momentum.

From the beginning it looked like a Vikings cakewalk, as they scored two TDs in the first two possessions. But that was it for the first half, as it was 14-3 at halftime.

The Ravens got back into it in the third quarter, but the Vikings answered back each time, and by the fourth it looked all but over. Brett Favre threw two TDs to Visanthe Shiancoe, and one to Bernard Berrian, and Ryan Longwell had kicked three field goals. Adrian Peterson rushed for his highest yard total since opening day, 143 yards. But a key injury to safety Antoine Winfield took him out of the game in the second quarter and Baltimore exploited that late in the game. (It was a foot injury, still to be determined how long he will be out.)

The Vikings got the ball with just over three minutes to play, and long pass from Favre to Sidney Rice set up Longwell's fourth FG. But Baltimore still had just under two minutes and no timeouts, and a short kickoff gave the Ravens good field position. They moved the ball to the Vikings 27 with two seconds to play, and it set up a Steve Hauschka 44-yard field goal attempt.

As soon as it left his foot, you could see it going wide left of the goal post. As it was, the memory of Gary Anderson's infamous 38-yard miss in the 1998 NFC title game flashed in my mind, as it almost in the same exact spot. But Sunday's miss gave the Vikings the victory, 33-31, and set Bar None off in delerium, although most of it was more relief than anything else.

Once again, the Vikings dash bullets in the final seconds and pull out a win. They are now 6-0, still perfect, and put that undefeated record on the line next Sunday against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Late Heroics Come Up Just Yards Short

Notre Dame came close to pulling off a big upset on Saturday against USC, but wound up coming short in the end.

It was 34-13 early in the fourth quarter, and it looked like the game would turn into a big time rout. But the Irish turned it around, and it eerily reminded me of the USC game of 2005 but it reverse, when USC pulled it out in the final seconds on the infamous "Bush Push" play.

It was another classic USC-Irish battle, but the Trojans held on for dear life in the end. Jimmy Clausen struggled to begin the game, going just 3 for his first 10. USC led 7-0 when ND faked a field goal and Robby Paris (who caught nine passes on the day) caught a pass that brought the Irish down to the 2. Robert Hughes ran the ball in on the next play to tie the game.

It was 13-7 at the half when USC took command, scoring three touchdowns on three consecutive possessions to build up what looked like a comfortable 20 point lead. Clausen scored on a two-yard run to make it 34-20, but the extra point was blocked, and that could have proved to be a big play.

Notre Dame scored on their next possession, with Clausen finding Golden Tate with a 15-yard TD to trim the deficit to seven. Tate had a fabulous game, catching eight passes for 117 yards and 2 TD. His previous TD was a spectacular over the shoulder catch.

The Irish drove down the field on their final possession, getting down to the four yard line. Clausen threw three times into end zone, all incomplete as the clock ran out. He was 24-for-43 for 260 yards and 2 TDs, but was sacked five times by a tough USC pass rush.

It was USC's eighth straight win over the Fighting Irish, and the 7th straight loss by ND to a Top 10 ranked team. (USC was ranked 6th going in.) That matches a school record set from 1984-86, set during the Gerry Faust bad old days.

Still, you have to be proud of what ND did in the fourth quarter yesterday. They showed a lot of drive and determination against a better opponent. Notre Dame takes on Boston College at South Bend next Saturday.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dave Roberts. Thanks Forever.

Well, here in New York, it's cold, more rain is on the way, the Red Sox season is over and the Yankees won Game 1 of the ALCS. So what to do to boost your spirits? How about this:

Dave Roberts. Just hearing his name makes me feel better. It was five years ago today. It changed everything, and thank goodness for that.

My thanks to my friends at Surviving Grady for the video.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Day For Anniversaries

Plenty to remember on October 16th through the baseball years. Most of it good.

It was 40 years ago today that the New York Mets shocked the baseball world by upsetting the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series with a 5-3 win at Shea Stadium, when Davey Johnson flied out to Cleon Jones, setting off one of the wildest celebrations in New York history.

Four decades. I can still remember rushing home from school to catch the remainder of the game after watching it in school.

It was 10 years ago today that the famous "Clemens Massacre" took place at Fenway Park, as the Texas Con Man got blitzed by the Red Sox and Pedro Martinez, as the Sox won easily, 13-1, in Game 3 of the ALCS. Clemens got hooted off the mound by the Fenway Faithful after less than three innings, and Yours Truly is proud to say he was one of the many thousands doing the hooting.

It was 6 years ago today that the Red Sox lost Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS in the 11th inning, when some guy, whose name escapes me right now, hit a home run off Tim Wakefield to end the season, and allow Terry Francona to become manager just a month later.

A year to the day later, the Red Sox were beaten in Game 3 of the ALCS, 19-8, and were put in an 0-3 hole in that series. It was their final loss of 2004, setting up the greatest comeback in MLB postseason history.

Notice a pattern here? In 1969, the World Series was ending. By 2004, the ALCS was in the middle, and today, the ALCS hasn't even begun yet. One of these years, the season will still be going on Christmas Day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dates To Look Forward To

My friend and Mighty Quinn Media Machine reader Don sent me the Boston Globe's Baseball Calendar for the rest of 2009 and 2010. So here's a few things to look forward to as the weather turns colder.

October 2009
Oct. 15 — NLCS begins, Dodgers vs. Phillies, 8:07 p.m.
Oct. 16 — ALCS begins, Yankees vs. Angels, 7:57 p.m.
Oct. 28 — World Series begins, city of American League champion
Oct. TBA — Hank Aaron Award winners announced

November 2009
Free agent filing period: first 15 days after World Series ends
Nov. 9-11 — General managers meetings, Chicago
Nov. TBA — NL Gold Glove Award winners announced
Nov. TBA — AL Gold Glove Award winners announced
Nov. TBA — Red Sox Hall of Fame Induction Gala
Nov. TBA — AL and NL Rookie of the Year award winners announced
Nov. TBA — NL Cy Young award winner announced
Nov. TBA — AL and NL Manager of the Year award winners announced
Nov. TBA — Louisville Slugger "Silver Slugger" award winners announced
Nov. TBA — AL Cy Young award winner announced
Nov. TBA — The first day teams can sign any free agent
Nov. TBA — NL Most Valuable Player award winner announced
Nov. TBA — AL Most Valuable Player award winner announced
Nov. 20 — Day to file reserve lists for all minor league levels and major leagues
Nov. 30 — Players Association executive board meeting, Scottsdale, Ariz.

December 2009
Dec. 1 — Last day for teams to offer salary arbitration to their former players who became ranked free agents in order to be eligible for compensation
Dec. TBA — Tickets for early-season Red Sox games go on sale
Dec. TBA — Hall of Fame candidates announced
Dec. 7-10 — Baseball winter meetings, Indianapolis
Dec. TBA — Red Sox spring training games at City of Palms Park go on sale
Dec. TBA — Last day for free agents to accept an arbitration offer from former team
Dec. TBA — Hall of Fame Veterans Committee voting announced
Dec. 10 — Major League Rule 5 Draft -- Winter Meetings, Indianapolis
Dec. 12 — Last day for teams to offer 2010 contracts to unsigned players
Dec. TBA — Christmas at Fenway; select tickets on sale

January 2010
Jan 5-15 — Salary arbitration filing period
Jan. 6 — Hall of Fame BBWAA voting announced
Jan. TBA — Boston Baseball Writers' 71st Awards Dinner
Jan. TBA — The fifth annual Hot Stove Cool Music roundtable
Jan. TBA — Hot Stove Cool Music concert
Jan. TBA — Owners' meetings
Jan. 19 — Exchange of salary arbitration figures
Jan. TBA — Tickets for the bulk of 2010 Red Sox home games go on sale

February 2010
Feb. TBA — Truck Day: Red Sox equipment truck will leave Fenway Park for arrival in Fort Myers, Fla.
Feb. 1-21 — Salary arbitration hearings period, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Feb. 18 — Spring training: MLB voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players
Feb. 23 — Spring training: MLB voluntary reporting date for other players
Feb. TBA — Spring training: Reporting day for Red Sox pitchers and catchers
Feb. TBA — Spring training: First workout for Red Sox pitchers and catchers
Feb. TBA — Spring training: Reporting day for Red Sox positional players
Feb. TBA — Spring training: First Red Sox full-squad workout
Feb. TBA — Mandatory reporting date for players
Feb. TBA — Red Sox spring training games begin

March 2010
March 2 — Spring training: Mandatory reporting date for players
March 2-11 — Teams may renew contracts of unsigned players
March 3 — First Red Sox spring training game
March 17 — Last day to place a player on unconditional release waivers and pay 30 days termination pay instead of 45 days
March 31 — Last day to request unconditional release waivers on a player without having to pay his full 2010 salary

April 2010
April 3 — Last Red Sox spring training game
April 4 — MLB Opening Night: Teams TBA; active rosters reduced to 25 players
April 5 — Opening Day: Red Sox vs. Yankees at Fenway Park
April 12 — Target Field opening: Twins vs. Red Sox

May 2010
May 21 — Interleague play begins: Red Sox at Phillies

June 2010
June 7-9 — First-Year Player draft, Secaucus, N.J.
June 18-20 — Dodgers visit Red Sox: Manny Ramirez return?

July 2010
July 13 — 81st MLB All-Star game, Angel Stadium, Anaheim, Calif.
July 25 — Hall of Fame inductions, Cooperstown, N.Y.
July 31 — Trade deadline: Last day to trade a player without securing waivers

August 2010
Aug. 15 — Last day to sign selections from 2010 amateur draft who have not exhausted college eligibility

September 2010
Sept. 1 — Active rosters expand to 40 players

October 2010
Oct. 3 — Last game of regular season: Red Sox vs. Yankees at Fenway Park

November 2010
Free agent filing period: first 15 days after World Series ends

December 2010
Dec. 4-7 — Baseball winter meetings, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Dec. 12 — Last day for teams to offer 2011 contracts to unsigned players

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

RIP Captain Lou

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Captain Lou Albano today, the legendary wrestling manager, at the age of 76. Another icon of my early youth is gone.

I remember many years ago when the WWWF was on Channel 9 locally here in New York, on Saturday nights at midnight. I was a fan, and watched it pretty faithfully. I always thought wrestling was a bit of a hoot back then, when it was "underground" and hadn't gone mainstream and before Vince McMahon took it to a level of "respectability."

Albano was one of a trio of "bad guy" managers, with Freddie Blassie and The Grand Wizard in the mid-to-late 1970s. Albano was loud and boisterous, and I'll never forget the trademark rubber bands in his goatee. His speciality was managing tag team champions, and he managed more than 50 wrestlers to more than two dozen titles. He was terrific in doing interviews, generating tons of heat and the wrath of the wrestling fans.

Lou will forever be remembered for the music videos he did with Cyndi Lauper in 1984 when she hit the big time with "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." I remember the wrestling angle they did in regard to it, that Albano was really her manager. Here's more on Lou.

Thanks for the memories, Captain.

Trivia Q&A: October 13

We had 16 teams in for Trivia Night, on the first night without a Red Sox game in a long time. The scores were so-so on October 13th Trivia, as well as True or False, but there was a nice bounceback in the General Knowledge section.

IQ Trivia was a bit harder this week, and only three teams got as many as three of them correct. It was close going into the round, but the team in fourth place, Butt For, was one of those three teams and managed to squeak into first place by just two points. Nice job guys.

My friend and Trivia Night regular Tara is going in for surgery on Wednesday and will be out for a couple of weeks. I'll be thinking of you, Tara, and hope all goes well.

We will be having Trivia Night next Tuesday at 9 PM, as the Red Sox season is now over, so there's no reason to move it to another day next week.

Current Events
1. A Romanian-born German named Herta Mueller won the 2009 Nobel Prize in what field of endeavor last week?
2. This company filed a $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube last week, accusing employees of uploading unauthorized content to the site.
3. "The Red Book," a manuscript written by this author and psychiatrist from 1914-30 but was never published or shown publicly, will be published for the first time next month.
4. The BET Network announced they will be doing an eight-part docu-series on this pro athlete set to air early next year.
5. 3,000 people demonstrated on Saturday in this Russian city over a proposal to build a 77-story building there, which they felt would ruin the city's skyline.
6. 186 people were killed by floods and landslides in this Asian country this past weekend.
7. This controversial talk show host is attempting to buy the NFL's St. Louis Rams, and a few players on the club said they would quit the team if he becomes owner.

Answers: 1. literature; 2. Viacom; 3. Carl Jung; 4. Michael Vick; 5. St. Petersburg; 6. The Philippines; 7. Rush Limbaugh.

October 13th Trivia
1. On this day in 1944, Riga, the capital of this Eastern European country, was seized by the Russian army away from the Nazis.
2. In 1960, Bill Mazeroski won the World Series for this team over the New York Yankees with a home run in the bottom of the ninth for a 10-9 win.
3. This legendary comedian, who was arrested for obscenity in 1964 and was later pardoned posthumously, was born on this day in 1925.
4. In 1843, Henry Jones and 11 others founded this organization, the oldest Jewish service organization in the world.
5. In 1923 on this day, Istanbul was replaced by this city as the capital of Turkey.
6. Le Duc Tho, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 and the only one ever to turn it down and hailed from this country, died on this day in 1990.
7. Chris Carter, director and producer of this 1990s sci-fi series and two films based on it, was born on this date in 1956.

Answers: 1. Latvia; 2. Pittsburgh Pirates; 3. Lenny Bruce; 4. B'nai B'rith; 5. Ankara; 6. Vietnam; 7. "The X-Files."

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")

1. Presidential retreat Camp David is named after Dwight Eisenhower's grandson.
2. The 1976 Winter Olympics, at Innsbruck, Austria, were originally going to be in Denver, Colorado.
3. The White House is the most popular US government web site.
4. Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine are brother and sister.
5. Johnny Weismuller, who played Tarzan in the movies, won gold medals in the Olympics.
6. Mosquitoes are toothless.
7. If the month starts on a Sunday, it will have a Friday the 13th.
8. Rhode Island is the US state with the fewest counties.
9. The first Super Bowl was played in 1965.
10. French was the official language of England for over 600 years.

Answers: 1. true; 2. true; 3. false, Dept. of Commerce; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, they have them; 7. true; 8. false, Alaska; 9. false, 1967; 10. true.

General Knowledge

1. In what US state is Kent State University?
2. According to the Bible, what took 7 months and 17 days to arrive at the mountains of Ararat?
3. What British unit of weight is equal to fourteen pounds?
4. What month and day every year is the "Free Slurpee Day" promotion held every year?
5. What nation was ruled by The Sun King from 1643 until his death in 1715?
6. Who was the Greek god of music?
7. Who wrote the opera "Madame Butterfly?"

Answers: 1. Ohio; 2. Noah's Ark; 3. stone; 4. July 11; 5. France; 6. Apollo; 7. Giacomo Puccini.

IQ Trivia
1. What is the only sports venue to host the World Series, the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four? ( 5 points)
2. Who was the last third-party presidential candidate to win more than one electoral vote? ( 4 points)
3. The village of Panmunjom sits on the border of what two countries? ( 3 points)
4. What singer was nicknamed "Red Headed Stranger" after his hit 1975 album of the same name? ( 4 points)
5. What was "Operation Z" the codename for in World War II? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. The Metrodome; 2. George Wallace (1968); 3. North and South Korea; 4. Willie Nelson; 5. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Deja Vu All Over Again

Huston Street (which as everyone in New York knows, should be pronounced "How-ston" Street) had a big time meltdown in the ninth inning tonight, as the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies came from two runs down to win the NLDS over the Colorado Rockies, 5-4, and will now play the LA Dodgers for the NL pennant.

The Rockies were one out from Game 5, with Street needing one out to get the win with a 4-2 lead. There was a man on when he walked Chase Utley, and then Ryan Howard doubled two in to tie it, and then Jayson Werth singled him in to get the Phillies the lead.

And even Brad Lidge couldn't blow it in the bottom of the ninth, striking out Troy Tulowitzki to get the Phillies to the NLCS.

Yep, let's see: one out from the win, two run lead, home team fighting to survive in the series. Opposition scores three runs, home fans boo, closer removed from the game, home team doesn't score in the bottom of the ninth.

Where have I seen this before? I'll think of it.

October 13th Trivia on Tuesday

This Tuesday night we will be having another round of trivia about the day in history, which Tuesday will be "October 13th Trivia." It will be seven questions about people, places and things connected to the day.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What British unit of weight is equal to fourteen pounds?

Well, the Red Sox season is now completed, so we will be having Trivia Night next Tuesday night at its usual day and time. And we will get rolling at 9 PM tomorrow night, and we hope you can come out for it.

Starting to Like This Favre Guy

I didn't see any of the Vikings-Rams game on Sunday, as I was at Professor Thom's for the Red Sox ALDS game and the TVs were on other NFL games. (None of the other regulars are Vikings fans, and grabbed the limited space for the other games.) So I had to rely on updates from those other games going on.

Games against inferior teams like the Rams always scare the hell out of me, as I always fear a letdown or possible overconfidence. But there was nothing to worry about in St. Louis yesterday, as the Vikes came out firing, and won easily, 38-10.

Brett Favre just turned 40 on Saturday, and he sure didn't show his age. The Vikings went down the field on the opening drive, and Adrian Peterson ran it in on the left side 5 yards for the first Vikings score. On the Rams first drive, Kyle Boller fumbled, and Jared Allen picked it up and ran 52 yards for the score to make it 14-0, by the middle of the first quarter.

The rout was on. It was 17-3 at halftime, and the Vikings put it away in the third quarter. Favre hit Visanthe Shiancoe with a 13-yard pass to make it 24-3. Adrian Peterson scored his second TD early in the fourth, and the Vikings completed the romp over the hapless Rams when Chester Taylor went in from one yard with two minutes to play.

Favre went 18-for-24 for 232 yards, one TD and one interception. Peterson had an average day, gaining 69 yards on 15 carries (but with 2 TDs), but the onus wasn't on him to carry the offense, and Favre spread the love all around. The Vikings are now 5-0, won their career 400th game as a franchise, and their sixth straight win on the road going back to last year. The Vikes also lead the NFL in points scored with 156. They join Denver, New Orleans, Indianapolis and the NY Giants as the last remaining undefeated teams.

The next three weeks will be quite a test for these Vikings. They have Baltimore at the Metrodome, then off to Pittsburgh and the rematch with the Packers at Green Bay.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Best Baseball Decade of My Life

As the suddenness of the ending of the baseball season happened today, I thought about the fact that the next Red Sox game I see will be in a brand new decade: the 2010s. (Good Lord, where did the time go?) And with the decade of the 2000s ending, I looked back on it with some amazement.

The Red Sox ended the 1990s with an ALCS loss, and with little success in the first two years of the 2000s. They had the best pitcher in the game in Pedro Martinez, but couldn't get over the hump of winning it all. 2001 was a disaster, as the Sox were a dysfunctional team who fired a manager and replaced him with someone who never managed before. It was a rough time to be a Red Sox fan, with the Behemoths From The South (you know who they are) winning pennants and World Series.

But the end of 2001 brought in new management and a house cleaning at the top. Finally, someone who seemed to care about the fans and about winning. Fenway Park was saved and renovated, and is the crown jewel of all baseball parks.

What followed is like a gift from the heavens. Six of the last seven years have brought postseason baseball to Boston, something that never happened before. And of course, two World Series championships, with the most amazing comeback in the history of postseason baseball in the 2004 ALCS. And nothing could make it any better than to have put the choker tag on the New York Yankees.

It has been like a golden renaissance of baseball in Boston. The Red Sox have been competetive every year since Theo and The Trio took over. And that's all I want as a fan. A team that will go out and play and give the fans hope of seeing another title. We've seen two this decade, the first time since the 1910s that that has happened in Boston.

I DO NOT expect a championship every season (unlike some unnamed team's fans who expect it every year and feel is their birthright). The Boston Red Sox have given me some thrills this decade that I will remember and appreciate for the rest of my life. Naturally, I am disappointed that there won't be a championship flag flying over Fenway Park next season.

But I am really proud of my team, and really proud to call myself a Boston Red Sox fan.

It didn't happen in 2009. That's the way it goes sometimes. We'll get 'em in 2010.

And That Wraps Up Another Baseball Season

It all came to a sudden and crashing end at Fenway Park today as the Los Angeles Angels scored three runs with two outs and none on in the ninth to advance to the ALCS with a 7-6 win over the Red Sox.

Jonathan Papelbon was trying for a four-out save and got three of them. Then the roof fell in, as he gave up a single to Erick Aybar, walked Chone Figgins (that was the key at-bat), gave up a double to Bobby Abreu to make it 6-5. Torii Hunter was walked intentionally, and then Vladimir Guerrero hit a ball that when it left the bat I thought was going to be caught, but it fell in front of Jacoby Ellsbury to make it 7-6.

It was the first three runs Papelbon had surrendered in the postseason ever (did anyone else notice that TBS flashed that stat the moment before the hit?). The loss is totally on the shoulders of Papelbon, who for all his saves, had a shaky season overall, walking too many hitters and making too many saves look much more difficult than they should have. His last appearance of 2009 is what fans will take into the winter of him.

But, you have to take your hat off to the Angels. They deserved to win this series. They outhit, outpitched, out defensed, out everythinged the Red Sox. I see a lot of "2004 Red Sox" in this club. They don't quit and seemed to play with more passion and intensity in this series. They simply wanted it more.

I wish the Angels well in the ALCS. I won't be watching, but I hope they do well. It wouldn't shock me to see them carry this momentum all the way to a World Series title. They've overcome a lot, like losing Mark Teixiera to free agency and the tragic death of Nick Adenhart.
So that takes care of the 2009 baseball season for me. I'll be talking about the Sox over the winter for sure, as it will be an interesting time to seewhat changes they make.

Four months until pitchers and catchers report. Until then, bring on the football season.

Remember This?

"Don't let us win tonight. Just don't let us win tonight."
--Kevin Millar, October 17, 2004

The Red Sox were down 0-3 on the day KFC uttered those profound words. You know the rest.

Let's hope the Sox can channel his words and will be playing baseball tomorrow night.

Keep the Faith, everyone.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I've Seen This Movie Before

Well, here we go again. The Red Sox are in yet another 0-2 hole in the ALDS, with no wiggle room for error. Jered Weaver shut the Red Sox down, 4-1, and in two playoff games, the Red Sox have exactly one run in eighteeen innings.

Not the best time for a collective team batting slump.

You have to take your hat off to the Angels pitching. It's been quite effective and efficient. Josh beckett pitched six solid innings, allowing one run in that time span. But he ran out of gas in the seventh, and with another run in and two on, I thought for sure Terry Francona would pull him for Billy Wagner with left-hand hitting Erick Aybar coming up.

But in a move that will be rehashed incessantly, he left Beckett in and he gave up a triple to Aybar, and it was 4-1. The game was over at that point. The Sox got two on in the ninth with two out, but Mike Lowell's fly ball but the Red Sox behind the eight-ball once again.

The question now remains: do the Sox have the lumber to get back in this series? The AWOL bats have to wake up, or the long cold winter will arrive on Sunday night.

Remember that the Red Sox are one of just four AL teams to come from 0-2 down in the ALDS and win, and they've done it twice: 1999 against the Indians, and 2003 against the Athletics.

And of course, they've had other great postseason comebacks, like in 1986 and 2007. And the most famous of them all, in 2004. All in the ALCS.

Yep, I've seen this movie before. We'll find out soon enough if it still has a happy ending.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Birthday John

John Lennon would have been 69 years old today. He'll always be missed by all of his fans, which include me.

I'll be listening to plenty of Beatles and John songs on my iPod today.

But then again, I do that every day.

Obama Wins 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

Very controversial to say the least. Well, everyone has an opinion on this subject, which exploded onto the news this morning. And this really made me scratch my head:

The nominations for 2009 had to be in by last January 31st to win the award. So Barack Obama was president for exactly 11 days when his name had to be in for it.

It leaves me speechless.

The Onus Is Now on The Commander

Not the greatest effort by the Red Sox on Thursday night against the Angels as they opened the 2009 postseason.

Jon Lester was terrific for the first four innings, before throwing a grapefruit over the plate to Torii Hunter, who mashed a three-run shot into the rocks in left center. John Lackey was even better, going 7 1/3 shutout innings to get the win, 5-0. The Sox only had one legitimate threat, but that went nowhere in the sixth when Kevin Youkilis bounced to third with two on to squash a possible rally.

It was the first time the Angels had beaten the Sox in the postseason in Anaheim since Game 4 of the 1986 ALCS. (That's four ALCS' ago, for those of you scoring at home.)

The Sox played some shoddy defense, making three errors. Only Jason Bay's over throw at third cost a run (but it was already 4-0 at the time in the seventh). But I have rarely in my life seen such extremely bad first base umpiring than I saw from C.B. ("Clearly Blown") Bucknor last night.

He blew three calls at the base (two against the Sox and one against LA) that had a jam-packed Professor Thom's up in arms. The last one was so egregious that MLB should look into replacing this total incompetent as an umpire. (And how did this guy get a postseason assignment in the first place? As a birthday present?) Bucknor is just fortunate that none of his three blown calls impacted the game in any significant way. (The home plate umping by Joe West left a lot to be desired also, as he appeared to be squeezing both starters, especially Lester.)

He called Howie Kendrick safe on a play at first where Mike Lowell threw the ball high to Youk, but he made a great play and beat Kendrick by at least half a step (pictured). Yet, Bucknor, who wasn't blocked off the play, called him safe. It didn't hurt the Sox in the long run, as Kendrick did not score. But it was so obvious that Bucknor blew it, and it will be interesting if he has the decency to admit he screwed up big time. But knowing these overblown umps, he'll make some lame excuse why he got it wrong.

And the scary thing is, Bucknor, who named baseball’s worst umpire in a 2006 players’ survey by Sports Illustrated, has home plate on Friday night's Game 2, as Josh Beckett takes the hill.

Well, Commander Kick Ass has to come to the forefront and show some of that 2007 bravado and get it knotted at 1 so the Sox can get back in the ALDS in Boston.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Baldelli Out; Anderson & Gathright In

Rocco Baldelli will not be active for the ALDS with the Angels, due to his hip flexor problem. He will be eligible for the ALCS should the Red Sox advance.

That means that Brian Anderson and Joey Gathright will be on the roster. Anderson has a terrific glove but absolutely no stick. Neither are a big threat off the bench, so Baldelli's presence will be missed.

Here is the final Red Sox ALDS roster:

Jon Lester; Josh Beckett; Clay Buchholz; Daisuke Matsuzaka; Paul Byrd; Hideki Okajima; Daniel Bard; Billy Wagner; Ramon Ramirez; Takashi Saito; Jonathan Papelbon

Victor Martinez; Jason Varitek; David Ortiz; Kevin Youkilis; Dustin Pedroia; Jed Lowrie; Alex Gonzalez; Mike Lowell; Jason Bay; Jacoby Ellsbury; J.D. Drew; Brian Anderson; Joey Gathright; Casey Kotchman.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Lowrie, Byrd In For The ALDS

The Red Sox made a wise move tonight, activating Paul Byrd for the ALDS and shelving Manny Delcarmen for the series. Byrd figures to be long man out of the pen, someone the Sox can turn to if they need someone to eat up valuable innings should a starter go down or be terribly ineffective. Delcarmen did nothing over the final games to show he belongs as anything other than a garbage time pitcher.

Jed Lowrie will also be on the ALDS roster, as Nick Green will not be on, due to his leg problems. The Sox are also bringing Gil Velasquez to California as an emergency backup infielder, and interesting choice over Chris Woodward, who has more MLB time that velasquez does.

No decision has yet been made on the backup outfielder positions, and the Sox have until tomorrow morning to make those choices. Rocco Baldelli, Joey Gathright and Brian Anderson are fighting for those two spots.

Trivia Q&A: October 6

We had 15 teams in for Trivia Night on Tuesday night, and an exciting AL Central tiebreaker game going on. The scores were decent for Current Events, and a lot better for Postseason Baseball Trivia. It was close throughout the night, and going into the final round, four teams were separated by three points.

The scores were very good for IQ Trivia, and we had two teams that were tied for second place pass the first place team, and wound up tying each other for the prize. I pulled out a question from last week, and used a different part of it to break the tie. I asked "Jupiter has the most moons of any of the planets in our solar system. Exactly how many does it have?"

Both teams guessed on the lower end, but the team of Roman Polanski Touched My Pianist was closest (the actual answer is 63), and were crowned Trivia champions for this week. They had lost the recent tiebreaker we had a few weeks ago, so it was nice to see them come out on top.

Our next round of Trivia is the regular time and day next week, but should the Red Sox advance in the playoffs to the ALCS next week, we will be moving the regularly scheduled night of Trivia on Tuesday, October 20, to the next night, Wednesday, October 21, as Tuesday would be Game 4 of that series, and the next day is an open date (should the series still be going).

Hope to see many of you next Tuesday night.

Current Events
1. Men from this European country were voted "the best lovers in the world" in a recent international poll of 15,000 "well-traveled" women.
2. This comedy troupe celebrated its 40th anniversary yesterday, and will have a reunion at a theater in New York later this month.
3. This name was chosen in a contest to give to Mrs. Butterworth, the famous buttered syrup, and the two winners won $500 and a year's supply of syrup.
4. Rio de Janeiro was chosen as the 2016 Summer Olympics host last Friday over Madrid, Chicago and Tokyo by the IOC in this city.
5. This classic film, which won 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Director, Actor and Screenplay, was named in a recent poll from Moviefone as "Best 1950s Film."
6. According to a recent poll by Forbes Traveller, this southern capital city, which is Lance Armstrong's hometown, is America's number one bike-friendly city.
7. The UN ranked this northern European nation as the number one country in the world to live in, based on such criteria as life expectancy, literacy and income levels.

Answers: 1. Spain; 2. Monty Python; 3. Joy; 4. Copenhagen; 5. "On the Waterfront;" 6. Austin, Texas; 7. Norway.

Postseason Baseball Trivia
1. How many total games does a team have to win in a postseason in order to win a World Series title?
2. What Red Sox player was the MVP of the 2007 World Series?
3. What team holds the record for playing in the most consecutive postseasons?
4. Name 1 of the 2 players who have ended a World Series with a home run.
5. Of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, which team has not won a World Series in this decade?
6. Besides this year, what is the only other season when the postseason ended in November?
7. What Yankee immortal played on 10 World Series winners and 14 pennant-winning teams?

Answers: 1. eleven; 2. Mike Lowell; 3. Atlanta Braves (14); 4. Bill Mazeroski and Joe Carter; 5. Los Angeles Dodgers; 6. 2001; 7. Yogi Berra.

Odd Numbered Trivia
1. Both the Mets and Yankees have retired this number in honor of manager Casey Stengel.
2. This is the number of years of marriage marked in a silver wedding anniversary.
3. The number of points required to win a game in badminton.
4. WWI ended on this day, month and hour in 1918.
5. The number of flavors in Baskin-Robbins ice cream.
6. Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified at this age.
7. In tennis, this number represents the first point gained in a game.
8. In Islam, Muslims are required to pray this many times a day.
9. The number of letters in both the Turkish and Norwegian languages.
10. Sports Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Dan Marino wore this number.

Answers: 1. 37; 2. 25; 3. 21; 4. 11; 5. 31; 6. 33; 7. 15; 8. 5; 9. 29; 10. 13.

General Knowledge
1. In 1958, what country adopted a disasterous financial plan called "The Great Leap Forward?"
2. In 1969, Indian protestors began a 19-month occupation of what famous location?
3. On "SNL," a segment of observations by Jack Handey were called what?
4. What musical act has had the most Billboard number one albums in history?
5. What are the two official colors of the Cub Scouts?
6. What interstate highway begins in Houlton, Maine and ends in Miami, Florida?
7. Who is the only actor to be nominated for an Emmy Award for the same character on three different shows?

Answers: 1. China; 2. Alcatraz Island; 3. "Deep Thoughts;" 4. The Beatles (19); 5. blue and gold; 6. 1-95; 7. Kelsey Grammer ("Cheers," "Frasier" and "Wings").

IQ Trivia
1. Scientists use the Torino Scale to measure potential damage caused by what? ( 4 points)
2. What individual, who owns over two million acres, is America's largest landowner? ( 4 points)
3. What current rock superstar guitarist's real name is David Howell Evans? ( 3 points)
4. What eastern US state is the only state that does not by law require drivers to wear safety belts while operating a motor vehicle? ( 5 points)
5. Lake Titicaca borders Peru and what other South American country? ( 4 points)

Answers: 1. asteroids; 2. Ted Turner; 3. The Edge; 4. New Hampshire; 5. Bolivia.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Two of the Greatest From Monty Python

As many of you know, I am huge Monty Python fan, and in an upcoming future post, I will be listing my 20 favorite Monty Python sketches. But with this being a huge anniversary for us Python fans, I thought I would honor the boys with two of my faves from YouTube that will be appearing on that list.


Favre Gets His 32nd Victim: The Packers

The matchup everyone was looking at before this NFL season absolutely lived up to its incessant hype, and Brett Favre was nothing short of superb as the Vikings beat archrival Green Bay, 30-23, on Monday night at the Metrodome. (Actually, did you know the Metrodome has a new official name? Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Oh brother.)

Favre now owns a win over all 32 NFL teams, something no other NFL QB has done. He threw three TDs, went 24-for-31 for 271 yards ina game the Vikings never trailed. He threw TDs to Sidney Rice, Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe.

Adrian Peterson also scored on a one-yard TD, and Jared Allen got a safety early in the 4th quarter, when he sacked Aaron Rodgers in the end zone. The Vikings also sacked Rodgers eight times on the night.

The Packers stopped Peterson most of the night, as he rushed for just 55 yards on 25 carries. But the story of the night was of course, Favre, facing his former club for the very first time. It was apparent from the start that Favre was pumped up for this game, and the Vikings led 21-14 at halftime.

Favre engineered a terrific drive to open the third quarter, as he drove the Vikes 80 yards, ending with a 31-yard pass to Berrian to make it 28-14.

The Vikings are now 4-0, and face the hapless St. Louis Rams next Sunday. They will see the Packers again, on November 1st, in Green Bay. Mark your calendars for that one.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Monty Python Turns 40

It was 40 years ago today that one of my all-time favorite programs, "Monty Python's Flying Circus" debuted on the BBC, to little fanfare.

But little did anyone know it would become one of the most influential comedy shows ever.

On the same day the Mets won Game 2 of the NLCS in Atlanta, "Monty Python's Flying Circus" came into the world. It was a hit in the UK and ran for four series, but would not be known in America until 1974, when it was shown by ABC, in a butchered form that garnered little critical praise.

But a PBS station in Dallas began showing it in its entirety a year later, and it took off from there. I got hooked on it the first time I saw it, on PBS' Channel 13 here in New York. They showed it every Sunday night at 10:30 PM for nearly 6 years. I rarely ever missed it, and loved talking about episodes with friends of mine the next day when I was in high school.

I've had the pleasure of meeting Michael Palin on three occasions at book signings, and he is the consummate English gentleman. I also met Carol Cleveland in 2004 at a show in New Jersey and she couldn't have been nicer. It's hard to believe it's been four decades since the show's debut, and 20 years since the death of the multi-talented Graham Chapman, who died of cancer in 1989, and the day before the 20th anniversary.

Every so often I pop an episode of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on my TV (I have them all, of course), and it never fails to make me laugh. I remember back on September 10, 2002, as I was preparing to go to Ground Zero for the first time for the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the night before I put "Monty Python's Flying Circus" on, because I knew the next day would be a day of total sadness, and I needed something to prepare myself for it. It was perfect.

So, I want to wish the members of Monty Python a happy 40th anniversary, and I thank them for all the laughs they have provided me over the years. And especially at those times when I really needed it.

And IFC will be showing a week of Monty Python, starting October 18th. They will be broadcasting three of their films, along with a six-part documentary, "Almost the Truth: The Lawyer's Cut," airing that week as well. For more, check this link.

October Baseball Trivia on Tuesday

Well, it's the month of October, and the Red Sox are in the postseason for the sixth time in seven years. So, Trivia Night will celebrate that fact with a Special category round of "Postseason Baseball Trivia." Seven questions about things that happened in baseball's second season. (It won't all be about just the Red Sox. But wouldn't that be a great idea?)

The actual postseason this year doesn't kick off until Wednesday night, so there won't be any games on (although the tiebreaker game between the Twins and Tigers should be concluded by the time we begin).

The Q Train lightning round will be "Odd Numbered Trivia." It will be 10 questions with the answer being an odd number between 1 and 50.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What interstate highway begins in Houlton, Maine and ends in Miami, Florida?

We'll get going at the usual time of 9 PM. The Red Sox probably won't begin their postseason quest for glory until Thursday, so I hope to see many of you tomorrow.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Two Hundred Grand

We had the 200,000th visitor to The Mighty Quinn Media Machine since I installed SiteMeter back in April, 2006 (about five weeks after I founded this site). It was shortly after 8 PM tonight and it was a person from Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, checking out the funny Doug Mirabelli post through Facebook.

I thank you all who come here and make writing this site such fun for me.

Thursday Night, at 9:37 PM. Be There.

Game 1 of the ALDS between the Red Sox and Angels will most likely commence at 9:37 PM ET on Thursday night at Angel Stadium, with Jon Lester taking the mound against John Lackey. (It's almost a certainty that New York will select the "A" playoff scenario, and will play the AL Central winner Wednesday night in Game 1. There will be a playoff on Tuesday to determine the Central winner and their choice will be announced at the conclusion of that game.)

Game 2 will be on Friday night, also at 9:37 PM ET, with Josh Beckett matched against Jered Weaver.

Game 3 will have Clay Buchholz going up against Scott Kazmir. It will be played on Sunday at Fenway, with a time still to be determined.

Game 4 will also be in Boston, if necessary of course. The most logical matchup for that game, which would be played on Monday, would be Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Joe Saunders.

And Game 5, if necessary, would be back in Anaheim on Wednesday, and you'd figure the Game 1 starters would be on the mound for that one. (Thanks to Joy of Sox for the probable Angels rotation.)

The Red Sox completed their regular season today at 95-67 (a third straight year with at least 95) with a 12-7 drubbing of the Cleveland Indians, and a four-game sweep of the series. Clay Buchholz stuggled through three innings, giving up six runs, but was bailed out by 5 Red Sox homers, including two by J.D. Drew.

Jacoby Ellsbury stole his MLB-best 70th base, and David Ortiz had two RBI, to finish his season with an amazing 99 for the season. (Nobody in late May could have seen that as a possibility.)

Now, it's on to the postseason, for the sixth time in seven years. Go get'em, Sox!!

ND Defense Saves The Day

It was a real seesaw battle in South Bend yesterday, as the upstart Washington Huskies came into Notre Dame Stadium and gave the Fighting Irish some fight. But the Irish prevailed in overtime, 37-30.

The MVPs of the game were the Irish goal line defense, who stopped Washington cold on three separate series at the one yard line. They kept ND in the game without question.

But the glory will go to Jimmy Clausen, who went 23 for 31 and 2 TDs. He threw for a career-high 422 yards. He threw a 67-yard TD to Golden Tate, and a 77-yard pass that set up a field goal. It was Tate's biggest day ever, as he caught nine passes for 244 yards.

ND was down 27-22 with 1:20 to play when Clausen hit Kyle Rudolph with a 12-yard TD to give Notre Dame the lead. They went for two points and got it, due to the bulldog running of Robert Hughes. He appeared to be stopped short a few yards of the goal line, but his surge forward got it. It turned to be crucial, as Washington kicked a game-tying FG in the finals econds to send the game into overime.

The Irish got the ball first and scored on Hughes' one-yard run. The Notre Dame defense stopped Washington when their turn came up, and a desperation pass to the end zone fell short and gave ND the win.

The Irish are now 4-1 and get a week off before playing USC on October 17th at South Bend.

Dust Storm

Josh Beckett looked really shaky in the first two innings of last night's game with the Indians, allowing four runs in the first two frames. He missed his previous start, so there may have been rust to shake off.

But the Red Sox picked him up, scoring one in the first on Dustin Pedroia's home run, and seven in the second, which included a grand slam by Victor Martinez. From there, Beckett went five innings, struck out five in getting his 17th win of 2009.

Paul Byrd pitched three innings after that, allowing a two-run homer to Shin-Soo Choo. In the eighth, Dusty Brown hit his first MLB home run, a blast over the Monster seats and into Lansdowne Street. The chants of "Dusty" filled the park as the catcher came out and acknowledged the crowd.

Dustin Richardson completed the ninth inning on the mound for the Sox, and then I realized something. If the Indians had a man on first in the ninth (they didn't, they went 1-2-3) who tried to steal, and Pedroia took the throw, it would have gone from Dustin (pitching) to Dusty (catching) to Dustin (second base). Wow, dust everywhere.

But then again, my mind tends to wander during blowout games at the end of the season.

Clay Buchholz will complete the season today for the Red Sox, as they get ready for the playoffs next week.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

From Last Night

The Red Sox won behind Daisuke Matsuzaka last night as they complete the schedule, 3-0. He went six innings, allowed two runs and struck out seven in getting his third straight win since returning from injury. He looked solid, and now the speculation begins about whether he will start Game 3 or 4 of the ALDS against the Angels.

Jacoby Ellsbury swiped his 69th base last night to add to his club record total.

The Sox had two significant injuries last night, as Rocco Baldelli left with a hip flexor problem, but that is not considered serious. Alex Gonzalez got hit on the hand in the eighth inning on a pitch by Kerry Wood and left the game. X-Rays were inconclusive last night, and he will have further tests today. Losing Gonzalez would be a critical blow to the Red Sox, as he's done a solid job since coming over in August. With Nick Green still hurting and Jed Lowrie just off a tough year with injuries, it remains to be seen if either could step in and play every game and be effective.

Anybody else notice that C.C. Sabathia, going for his 20th win at Tampa Bay last night, got torched for 9 runs in less than 3 innings? He's got a lifetime ERA in the month of October near 8.00. And it wasn't just any old start either. The Yankees had the "A" team out there last night, and Cash Cow was going for a milestone win. A portend of things to come?

And also yesterday, the legacy of Ted Williams took another hit, as a former employee of Alcor, in a new book, claims that the head of the all-time great was abused by employees of the company where he has been frozen. I have no idea whether this is true or not, but once again, Ted Williams is more fodder for dumb late-night talk show jokes, and it really angers me to see this happen. Not just as a Red Sox or baseball fan, but as a human being. Beyond sad.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Baseball Show on Saturday

Yours Truly will be making his third appearance (or at least my voice will) on "The Baseball Show," on Comcast SportsNet New England, on their "Web Sox Nation" bloggers segment, at 9:55 AM.

I've got something interesting to chat about, so if you can see the show, I hope you will tune in.