Monday, January 31, 2011

Note to Self: Eat No Beans While Visiting Malawi

The African country of Malawi is set to make breaking wind a crime.

Yes, farting in public will be dealt with severely in that small African country. No word yet on what the penalties will be, but I've wanted some justice handed out to some of those who've passed wind in public places I've been in in my life.

I can only imagine the sale of beans will drop to near zero should this become the law.

And Lord knows I wouldn't want to be a dog in that country.

Super Night of Super Trivia On Tuesday

With that big football game bearing down on us next Sunday (and do we really need two weeks between the conference title games and the final? I say no) , our Special Category for Trivia Night will be "Super Bowl Trivia." It will be seven questions connected to it, and for those of you who aren't pigskin fanatics, they will all be multiple choice.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
In 1794, Eli Whitney was credited with what invention?

Remember, we have a new Facebook page called "Professor Thom's Tuesday Night Trivia," I post some other trivia stuff, as well as the Sneak Peek and special categories every Friday, a full three days before I post it on my blog.

We will begin Trivia Night at 9 PM on Tuesday night. The weather is supposed to be rather nasty tomorrow (when is it not these days), but we should no trouble having our Trivia at the usual time. So I hope many of you can come out and enjoy the night with us.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Dream For Mets Fans?

My friend Evan over at MLB Facts and Rumors has an interesting article about how Martin Luther King III, son of the legendary civil rights leader, is getting a group together in an attempt to buy majority control of the New York Mets. King claims to have $1 billion in assets in his group.

Apparently, King is getting together with former Mets player Ed Kranepool, Donn Clendenon Jr., the son of the former Mets first baseman, and a group of other investors to try to get more than 50% control of the team. Fred Wilpon made news the past few days in saying he is exploring bringing in minority ownership to the Mets (that is, around 25% of the team). Wilpon has said he wants his family to continue to control the team and has no interest in giving up control or selling the club outright.

Here's more about King and the group he's putting together from the New York Post.

I'm sure the average Mets fan would like to see the back of the Wilpons for good, as they have embarrassed the fans for far too long. A new ownership group could be the tonic the teams needs. For years I have said the Mets need a clean slate at the top, the way the Red Sox got a new one at the end of 2001. We all know how that turned out.

But I'm sure Freddie and Co. wouldn't give up the Mets unless they had to. But you never know how this lawsuit over the Madoff Ponzi scheme will turn out. It maybe a cloud with a silver lining for beleaguered Mets fans.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Putting a Wrap On The Week

As more snow fell here in the East and my prayers for more and more warmer temperatures seem to go unanswered, here are some odds and ends from the week about to conclude.

Sorry to hear that Rocco Baldelli (pictured) has now officially called it a career, after just seven years. He looked like a big time player when he first came up with the Rays in 2003. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year balloting, and comparisons were made to him and Joe DiMaggio. (Really because he's also of Italian descent and wore number 5.)

But a bout with a rare condition called channelopathy, which caused Baldelli muscle fatigue, short-circuited his career in 2007. He played with the Red Sox in 2009, a homecoming for him, as he grew up a Sox fan in Rhode Island. He returned to Tampa Bay in 2010 for ten games, but now at 29, Baldelli has finally ended his once-promising career and will work in the Rays front office.

Rocco's a classy guy and I wish him all the best.

The Hauls of Shame web site has an interesting article about baseball pioneer Al Reach and the search for a missing photograph of him from the New York Public Library's collection.

Our old friend Nomar Garciaparra will be on TV more and more now, as he has landed the prime gig at ESPN as the color analyst on their Wednesday Night Baseball broadcasts. He joins Red Sox radio man Dave O'Brien, who is doing play-by-play, on those telecasts.

Did you hear that the Florida Marlins are moving their interleague series with the Seattle Mariners to Seattle this June because of a U2 concert that same weekend at Sun Life Stadium? Yep, they were kicked out of their own ballpark by a rock band! Pretty pathetic, and I agree with Tony Lee's NESN article that interleague play should be scaled back. Actually, I'm in favor of getting rid of it, but that's a story for another time.

As I write this, Truck Day is just nine days away. Can't come soon enough for me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Harry Doyle

A Happy 76th Birthday to one of my favorites, Bob Uecker. He's had some heart problems over the last few years, but I hope he's getting his health back and returns to the Milwaukee Brewers radio booth next season.

Here's two of Ueck's greatest moments, as Harry Doyle in "Major League," and doing a Miller Lite commercial from 1988 with Flip, er, Tip O'Neill (especially for the Boston market):

Hell With The Snow: Here's Something To Look Forward To

Yeah, it's really abominable outside. Snow on top of snow on top of snow. Here in Brooklyn we've had snow on the ground for 33 consecutive days (the last time there was a snowless street where I am was on Christmas Day). It's depressing and it makes me curse the name of Al Gore with each amount of that blasted white stuff I have to shovel (and don't get me started on THAT subject).

Anyway, on to much warmer, positive thoughts.

NESN announced its Spring Training Schedule for 2011, and it begins with everyone's hated rival, the New York Yankees, on March 4th in Tampa. It's a Friday night game at 7 PM, and they will also broadcast the other game with New York at Ft. Myers on March 14th (a Monday night game at 7 PM).

There are 13 games in total that NESN will show in March, and six of them will see the Sox on the road, including a game with the Mets on March 6th. The finale will be the last game of the spring, against the Astros in Houston on Wednesday night, March 30th. That will be two days before the Red Sox open the season in Texas against the Rangers. (Remember the season starts on a Friday this year.)

The Red Sox will also have games broadcast on ESPN and the MLB Network, and those schedules should be out soon. Here is the Red Sox' complete Spring Training schedule.

So, with thanks to my friend Ian at Sox & Dawgs, here is the complete NESN schedule for March. Just 36 days to go:

NESN’s 2011 Red Sox Spring Training Game Broadcast Schedule
Friday, March 4 Red Sox at New York Yankees (Tampa) 7:00 PM
Saturday, March 5 Florida Marlins at Red Sox 1:00 PM
Sunday, March 6 Red Sox at New York Mets (Port St. Lucie) 1:00 PM
Wednesday, March 9 Baltimore Orioles at Red Sox 7:00 PM
Saturday, March 12 Florida Marlins at Red Sox 1:00 PM
Sunday, March 13 Red Sox at Pittsburgh Pirates (Bradenton) 1:00 PM
Monday, March 14 New York Yankees at Red Sox 7:00 PM
Saturday, March 19 Red Sox at Pittsburgh Pirates (Bradenton) 1:00 PM
Sunday, March 20 St. Louis Cardinals at Red Sox 1:00 PM
Friday, March 25 Toronto Blue Jays at Red Sox 7:00 PM
Saturday, March 26 Minnesota Twins at Red Sox 7:00 PM
Sunday, March 27 Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles (Sarasota) 1:00 PM
Wednesday, March 30 Red Sox at Houston Astros (Houston,TX) 8:00 PM

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Return of Hankenstein

Yes, Hank Steinbrenner (pictured) is still alive.

He was great fodder for all of us on the Internet with all of the stupidity that came out of his mouth a few years back. But then the Yankee brass made a smart move for them in shutting him up. But Hank's back in form and he gave an exclusive interview to the New York Post. And Hankenstein didn't disappoint, with this beauty:

"It really comes to avoiding injuries," he said. "It's like what happened to Boston last year. We had the injuries three years ago and, of course, nobody ever makes excuses for us. If the Red Sox have injuries it's 'Oh, the injuries.' If the Rays have injuries, if the Phillies have injuries, it's 'the injuries.'

"If the Yankees have injuries, nobody in the media acknowledges that."

Is he kidding with rubbish like this? Nobody in the media talks about the Yankees when they get hit with key injuries? Nobody makes excuses for them? Bloody hell.

This guy is some piece of work.

It sure was dull when Hank had a muzzle on his mouth.

The rest of the Yankee brass better go back and find that muzzle. Nice to have you back, Mr. Hankee.

With thanks to Matt at Fenway West for alerting me to this story.

Trivia Q&A: January 25

We had a nice turnout on Tuesday night, with 14 teams taking part in Trivia Night. We had some strong scores early on, especially for Q-Tip Trivia. The Q Train was a little harder than I originally thought it would be, and the scores for General Knowledge were a little low as well.

The scores in IQ Trivia were very interesting. Two teams that were at third and sixth place had excellent scores (the high was 13 points for the round) and put themselves in winner's circle and second place. The winner was The Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness with 44 points (their first ever win), and runner-up was Quiz In My Pants, four points behind. Third place went to I'd Rather Be Watching The State of The Union with 39 points. A nice job by all three teams.

Best Team Name: Tequila Mockingbird

Current Events
1. Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps, died last week at the age of 95. When he was a vice-presidential candidate, who was his running mate?
2. What rock star plead guilty to a DUI charge in Las Vegas from last June and will serve two weeks in jail next month?
3. It was announced last week the Larry Page will replace Eric Schmidt this April as CEO of what company?
4. What country last week claimed to overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world's leader in proven oil reserves, with a claim of nearly 300 billion barrels?
5. Sasha Baron Cohen has signed on to star in a comedy film "The Dictator," and will portray what man in the title role?
6. A pro-Kremlin party in Russia is sponsoring a poll asking Russians to vote on whether to bury what onetime iconic leader, whose embalmed body still lies on display in a mausoleum?
7. What film led the way in receiving 12 Academy Award nominations earlier today, with the awards to be given out next month?

Q-Tip Trivia
1. Which 20th century US presidents were also once vice-presidents? a. Franklin D. Roosevelt; b. Richard Nixon; c. Woodrow Wilson; d. Herbert Hoover.
2. Which current NFL teams were once original teams of the AFL in 1960? a. Buffalo Bills; b. Indianapolis Colts; c. Denver Broncos; d. Miami Dolphins.
3. Which of the following films featured Joe Pesci? a. Donnie Brasco; b. Casino; c. Throw Momma From the Train; d. Raging Bull.
4. Which of these states were added to the Union before the Civil War? a. Montana; b. California; c. Missouri; d. Illinois.
5. Which of the following celebrities were born in Puerto Rico? a. Joaquin Phoenix; b. Rita Moreno; c. Ricky Martin; d. Mike Lowell.
6. Which of the following celebrities were killed in plane crashes? a. Buddy Holly; b. Jayne Mansfield; c. James Dean; d. Knute Rockne.
7. Which of these recent films won the Oscar for Best Picture? a. There Will Be Blood; b. Brokeback Mountain; c. Mystic River; d. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

10-100 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The number of thieves in the fictional adventure tale of Ali Baba.
2. The interstate highway number that connects New York and San Francisco.
3. The diamond wedding anniversary is this number.
4. The national speed limit in the UK is this number.
5. Andrew Jackson appears on this US denomination bill.
6. The distance between home and first in baseball is this number feet.
7. Wilt Chamberlain scored this NBA record number of points in a 1962 game.
8. Capricorn is this number sign of the Zodiac.
9. The book of Genesis in the Bible contains this number of chapters.
10. The game of Chinese checkers contains this total number of pieces.

General Knowledge
1. What color does litmus paper turn when exposed to acid? ( 1 pt)
2. Who was the last president of the Soviet Union? ( 1 pt)
3. What is the capital of Connecticut? ( 1 pt)
4. In 1997, who was the first Speaker of the House to be disciplined by the House itself for ethical misconduct? ( 2 pt)
5. President George H.W. Bush threw up on the prime minister of what country during a state dinner in 1992? ( 2 pt)
6. At what temperature are the readings on both Fahrenheit and Celsius thermometers exactly the same? ( 2 pt)
7. What animal is the source of the most widely consumed red meat in the world? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. In 2007, what was the first southern state to offer an apology for their role in slavery? ( 4 points)
2. The Order of the Arrow is the honor society of what national organization? ( 5 points)
3. What rock superstar became part owner of Forbes magazine in 2006? ( 4 points)
4. What do you fear doing if you suffer from spectrophobia? ( 4 points)
5. What state has been hit by more than half the earthquakes recorded in the United States? ( 3 points)

Current Events
1. George McGovern; 2. Vince Neil; 3. Google; 4. Venezuela; 5. Saddam Hussein; 6. V.I. Lenin; 7. "The King's Speech."

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

10-100 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 40; 2. 80; 3. 30 (I also accepted 60); 4. 70; 5. 20; 6. 90; 7. 100; 8. 10; 9. 50; 10. 60.

General Knowledge
1. red; 2. Mikhail Gorbachev; 3. Hartford; 4. Newt Gingrich; 5. Japan; 6. -40 degrees; 7. goat.

IQ Trivia
1. Virginia; 2. Boy Scouts of America; 3. Bono; 4. Looking into mirrors; 5. Alaska.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lots of Zeros On Tuesday

Trivia Night on Tuesday will feature the January edition of "Q-Tip Trivia." That is when I ask you seven general knowledge questions which will all be multiple choice, and four possible answers. The answers can be 1, 2, 3, all 4 or none correct. You will get a point for each one you get right, but if you give any incorrect answers, you will get no points for that question. So you have to exercise caution in this round.

The Q Train lightning round will be "10-100 Trivia." Every answer will be a number between 10 and 100 and every one will end with a zero. (No, not the late, great Mr. Mostel, as pictured here.) Every correct answer will be a different number, no there will be no repeats.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What color does litmus paper turn when exposed to acid?

We get going at 9 PM on Tuesday. The weather should be fine on Tuesday night, so there will be no excuses for failing to attend Trivia Night on Tuesday!

And remember, you can now join us on Facebook: Professor Thom's Tuesday Night Trivia.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Steelers-Packers For All The Marbles

Earlier today, my father asked me who I would be rooting for in the NFC championship game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. Well, since both teams swept my Minnesota Vikings in 2010, I could only come up with one answer.


Like the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, I had no one to root for in this battle. But the Packers are on one of those postseason rolls, and I'm not surprised they clipped the Bears, 21-14.

Boy, if you had said to me in August that two teams from the NFC North would be playing for the NFC title, I would have bet my very existence that the Vikings would have been one of those teams.

I had a feeling it would be a tight contest between the Jets and Steelers for the AFC championship. I was about to give up on the game when the Steelers rolled out to a 24-0 lead just before the half. But the Jets came back and played a nice second half, and nearly pulled off a terrific comeback. But the Steelers will go to their 8th Super Bowl with the 24-19.

Super Bowl XLV should be a great game, with two classic teams matched up. Green Bay is a 2 1/2 point favorite so far.

I'll take the Steelers winning Super Bowl number 7. Or should that be VII?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Manny & Judas Land In The Same Place On The Same Day

And that spot is: St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Tampa Bay Rays have reportedly signed not One but Two of the 25 from 2004 on Friday: Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. Damon will be signed to a one-year deal worth $5.25 million, and Ramirez will also sign for one year at just $2 million.

Of course, both are clients of Dr. Evil himself, Scott Boras. With Manny getting just a $2 million deal, that tells me there was absolutely no market for him at all. Red Sox fans will see plenty of them both next season, and it will be interesting to see the reaction Damon gets in Boston this April, after spurning a possible Fenway return last August.

Left field is open in Tampa (where did their last left fielder go to again?), as well as designated hitter. Both will probably see time in both spots there, although Ramirez' days in the outfield are pretty much a thing of past now. It's not a bad gamble for the Rays, as they are paying just over $7 million for both players combined and for just one year. Might work out, might not. We'll see.

More from Rob Bradford.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Trophy Returns To Thom's. Well, Next Door Is Close Enough.

Tonight I found out that the World Series trophy won by the San Francisco Giants in 2010 is coming to the place the Giants once called home this weekend: New York City.

And it will be on display for Giants fans in NYC to see at Finnerty's, which is the bar that is right next door to Professor Thom's on 2nd Avenue in the East Village. It will be there on Saturday from 3-5 PM.

Finnerty's has been a Giants/Niners hangout for just a couple of years, but they attract huge crowds for the football on Sunday and it was packed for the World Series last October. It's run by my friend and onetime softball teammate Dieter Seelig. We've always had a good natured rivalry with Finnerty's, and it's good to see them celebrating in this fashion.

I've been at two World Series trophy viewing parties, one for the 2004 Red Sox title at the Yale Club next to Grand Central Station in November of that year, and the other for the second Sox title of 2007 at Professor Thom's in January 2008 (that's me pictured at it). The New York Post covered the Yale Club viewing in 2004.

And the film "Blessed! Still We Believe 2" that my friends and I appeared in about the 2007 championship season of the Red Sox covered the Thom's viewing in 2008 at the end of the movie.

It's really funny that this would be the third time the World Series championship trophy will be coming to New York in the last six years not having been won by a New York team. (But it's cool the Giants remember their roots and bring it back to where it all started for them. The Red Sox brought down the trophy here to honor their huge New York-area fan base, while at the same time tweaking the Yankees a bit in their own backyard.)

Trust me when I say that it is a fun time being at one of these gatherings, and being next to that beautiful hardware. I said after the 2004 viewing that when I die I want a picture of me that was taken at it (which I also sent out as a Christmas card that December) to be blown up, but on an easel and displayed next to me, as I want that to be what people remember me for.

One of the happier moments of my life.

Here's more about the Giants trophy and it journey back to the East. So if you support the Giants and are in the city on Saturday, I would suggest going to Finnerty's to check out the trophy. It's an experience you will remember forever.

Trust me on that, too.

What Should I Do?

I have to admit this Brett Favre parody commercial is very funny.

But, be careful, lots of colorful language and subject matter in this:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Trivia Q&A: January 18

We had 15 teams in for Trivia Night on a rainy night in Manhattan. We had some strong numbers for the One Time Oscar Nominees category, but they were a lot less for Female Vocalist Trivia. (I honestly didn't think I made it that difficult.)

IQ Trivia was going to be a lot less difficult than last week, and the scores reflected it. We had three teams run the table and get a perfect score. But the team of Maybe Your Mom Should Have Used Birth Control, Cathie Black wound up winning by five points, with a total of 61 points. They only got two questions incorrect all night, in the Q Train round. It is one of the best finishes ever. (We have never had a team have a perfect score, although we did have a team get just one wrong a few years back.) Congratulations to Pian and her team on their second consecutive win.

Second place went to The Blood Libels with 56 points and third place went to Agony of Da Feet with 55. (They had left by the time the pitcher of beer for third place could be awarded, so it went to the team of Sluttily Ever After, some nice ladies who really enjoyed themselves all night long.)

And don't forget that we have a new Facebook page: Professor Thom's Tuesday Night Trivia.

Best Team Name: You Lying. You Ain't Never Met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Current Events
1. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes may boycott this year's Oscar ceremony due to a feud they have with what actress, who recently parodied Holmes on "Saturday Night Live?"
2. The ETA, a separatist group in what European country, announced last week they were declaring a permanent ceasefire there?
3. What NFL Hall of Fame player pleaded guilty last week to two misdemeanor offenses and is now required to register as a sex offender?
4. Federal authorities plan to move the trial of the alleged gunman in the Tucson shootings to what city outside of Arizona because of the extensive pretrial publicity in that state?
5. The British Medical Journal says that a doctor who claimed a link between vaccinations and this brain disorder did it in a scheme to make over $43 million.
6. Protests and riots swept what North African country last week, which forced the country's president of 23 years to flee the country to Saudi Arabia?
7. Teresa Scanlan was crowned Miss America last Saturday night in Las Vegas. What midwestern state did she represent?

One Time Oscar Nominee Trivia
1. Forest Whitaker
2. Alan Alda
3. Marlee Matlin
4. Harrison Ford
5. Helen Hunt
6. Reese Witherspoon
7. Burt Reynolds

In Q's iPod: Female Vocalist Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Donna Summer--Heaven Knows
2. The Go-Gos (Belinda Carlisle)--We Got The Beat
3. Carly Simon--You're So Vain
4. Sade--Hang On To Your Love
5. Anita Baker--Sweet Love
6. Natalie Cole--This Will Be
7. Bonnie Raitt--Nick of Time
8. The Pretenders (Chrissie Hynde)--Brass In Pocket
9. Carole King--It's Too Late
10. Aretha Franklin--I Say a Little Prayer

General Knowledge
1. Acapulco is found in what country? ( 1 pt)
2. "Land of Lincoln" is what US state's nickname? ( 1 pt)
3. In 2002, President George W. Bush fainted after choking on what type of snack food? ( 1 pt)
4. How many articles does the US Constitution have? ( 2 pt)
5. What US city's airport is home to the Tom Bradley International Terminal? ( 2 pt)
6. Manuel Noriega was deposed as dictator of what country by a US invasion in 1989? ( 2 pt)
7. In the famous Abbott and Costello routine "Who's On First?" the third baseman name is? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What man did Time magazine select as their "Person of the 20th Century?" ( 4 points)
2. "These are the times that try men's souls" is a quotation attributed to what American historical figure? ( 5 points)
3. What Oscar-winning 1992 film originated in a 1976 script called "The Cut-Whore Killings?" ( 4 points)
4. The Barents and Beaufort Seas are part of which ocean? ( 4 points)
5. Who was the only artist to have a Billboard number one single every year during the decade of the 1990s? ( 3 points)

Current Events
1. Anne Hathaway; 2. Spain; 3. Lawrence Taylor; 4. San Diego; 5. autism; 6. Tunisia; 7. Nebraska.

One Time Oscar Nominees Trivia
1. The King of Scotland (yes); 2. The Aviator (no); 3. Children of a Lesser God (yes); 4. Witness (no); 5. As Good As It Gets (yes); 6. Walk the Line (yes); 7. Boogie Nights (no).

General Knowledge
1. Mexico; 2. Illinois; 3. pretzel; 4. seven; 5. Los Angeles; 6. Panama; 7. I Don't Know.

IQ Trivia
1. Albert Einstein; 2. Thomas Paine; 3. "Unforgiven;" 4. Arctic; 5. Mariah Carey.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Theo's Still Perfect

Today was the deadline for teams and players to avoid arbitration, and once again, Theo Epstein kept a perfect record of never going to a hearing with a Red Sox player since he took over as GM in 2002.

In what could be his final contract with the Red Sox, Jonathan Papelbon and the Sox agreed to a one-year, 412 million deal, avoiding arbitration, as expected.

The other player the Sox avoided arbitration with was Jacoby Ellsbury, and they agreed to a one-year deal for $2.4 million. There's also a bonus clause of $50,000 for Ellsbury should he reach 600 and 700 plate appearances.

And on the football front, Mike Singletary is the new linebackers coach for the Vikings, joining his former Bears teammate Leslie Frazier on his staff. And apparently, the Brett Favre Flying Circus is now over, as he officially filed his retirement papers with the NFL yesterday.

I know, I know. He's done that before. But I think this is finally The End. We'll see.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Loopy Wally's At It Again

Wallace Matthews, who for some reason has a job writing for ESPN New York, wrote a really hilarious column on Saturday, and he now believes that the Yankees have "won" the off season when they signed Rafael Soriano, and are now the favorites to win the AL East in 2011.

You remember this clown. He did a hatchet job on Tim Wakefield back in 2007 that I talked about (and I still get a lot of hits on my blog about it), and I am truly amazed that anyone would pay this hack to write about sports.

Here is what he wrote about the Yankees signing Soriano.

And later on today, my friend Adam sent me this, his refuting Matthews' nonsense. (The italics are excerpts from Matthews):

If it were possible to win a division in January, then the Yankees would be American League East champions today.

That's how good a pickup Rafael Soriano looks like from the vantage point of a mid-winter's day, before a single pitch has been thrown or a single game has been played.

This is dumb on so many levels. One, the MFY are virtually the same team as last year--albeit one year older--and they still haven't re-signed their second-best starter from last year (or replaced him). It's important to remember that New York didn't win the division last season. Also, Andy Pettitte, despite injury, threw about twice as many innings as Soriano last year. The number of innings a pitcher throws is important. Soriano has only thrown 70+ innings twice in his career. Pettitte was worth between 3.1 wins (Baseball-Reference WAR) and 2.3 wins (Fangraphs WAR). Rafael Soriano had his best year in 2010, and was worth 2.6 WAR (B-R) and 1.6 WAR (Fangraphs). In other words, an injured Pettitte was worth half a win more than Soriano in his best year. That's because Pettitte, or any other starter, will throw more innings that a relief pitcher--even a very good one like Soriano. Fans and the media tend to overstate the impact of one reliever.

But no team addressed a key weakness as effectively as the Yankees did with the signing of Soriano, who not only solves an immediate problem -- who will pitch the eighth inning in 2011? -- but might also solve an even bigger one in the future: namely, who will pitch the ninth after Mariano Rivera says farewell?

We can look at this two ways. First, the MFY had a good bullpen last year. Thus, the pen wasn't a "key weakness." In contrast, New York's starting rotation of Cash Cow, Hughes, Burnett, Mitre, and Nova is a definite question mark. Rafael Soriano isn't a starter; so getting him didn't address the key weakness of the MFY.

Another thing Matthews misses is that Soriano's contract is structured in such a way that he cannot be Rivera's replacement. Here are the facts: Soriano can opt-out after 2011. Mariano is signed through 2012. Scott Boras is Soriano's agent. There are three likely scenarios: (1) Both pitchers are good; (2) Mariano finally shows his age and Soriano pitches well; (3) Mo is still good and Soriano's 2010 is a fluke. The most likely scenario where the MFY retain Soriano's services is number three. Any scenario where Soriano pitches well will lead Boras to seek more money for Soriano, either as a closer of another team or as the MFY closer. In other words, if Soriano pitches well, he'll most likely be on another team in 2012 (and the MFY will have lost a first round pick for 65-75 innings of set-up work).

But what the Soriano deal really does is take a team that seemed stuck in the mud all winter and set it off and running again.

Just like that, the Yankees go from a wild-card team at best to favorites to win their division.

Matthews seems to belong to the any move is a good move school of thought.

Here's food for thought: It's unlikely that Soriano's results next season will be as good as Kerry Wood's with the MFY. Wood, acquired at the Trade Deadline last year, had a 0.69 ERA with New York. You can't really have better results than that. While many cite the Wood trade as a key move last year, the MFY were 66-37 (.641) from April through July and 29-30 (.491) after August 1st. Thus, having "lights out" relief in the 8th and 9th innings didn't offset the loss of Pettitte, who only threw 13.1 innings after July 18th. This seems to belie Matthews argument that the Soriano signing makes up for a weak rotation.

Matthews' argument is dumb. Even if Soriano throws 70 scoreless innings next year, he won't be as valuable as a good starter. Starting pitchers throw many more innings. Also, not every inning a closer or set-up man throws are high-leverage.

The MFY still have a good offense and bullpen. Their defense and, most importantly, their starting pitching is suspect. Right now, the MFY look more like last year's team that had Kerry Wood and no Andy Pettitte. While I don't think the MFY are an under .500 team, I certainly don't see them as being better than the Sox on paper.

Oscar Nominees & Female Singers On Tuesday

Trivia Night this week will feature as the Special Category, "One Time Oscar Nominees Trivia." I will give you seven recent Oscar nominees from the four major acting categories and you have to tell me what film they were nominated for, and if they won or not. So the category will be worth two points each.

The Q Train lightning round will be "In Q's iPod: Female Vocalist Trivia." I will play audio snippets from ten songs, and you have to tell me who the female singer is, and if they are part of a group, I will accept the group name as well.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
Acapulco is found in what country?

For those of you on Facebook, I just formed a new group, called "Professor Thom's Tuesday Night Trivia." I will posting the Sneak Peek and the special categories there every Monday, and the Q&A from Tuesday night there every Wednesday morning, plus a few other things related to trivia. Please feel free to join.

We begin Trivia Night at 9 PM on Tuesday night. We've had some terrific crowds the past three weeks and I hope that will continue. See you then.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Foot Man 28, Mumbles 21

It's a rough day for all of you out there who are New England Patriots fans, and you have my sympathies. Getting beaten by a rival from New York in an important postseason game is never an easy thing to handle.

They were simply outplayed by a hungrier Jets team, especially when the Jets were on defense.

Tonight's loss takes me back to when the Pats lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl in 2008. I was in Professor Thom's and my Pats fan friends were all down and depressed. But I left them with this when I departed.

The last time I saw my team, the Minnesota Vikings, even in a Super Bowl was in January, 1977, a week after my 15th birthday. And that is 31 (now 34) years and counting. So, how many Super Bowl rings does Tom Brady and his teammates currently own?

And now, the Vikings are coming off a truly miserable season, finishing at 6-10 and tied for last. The Pats this season finished 14-2 and fooled a lot of experts who thought they might be on the decline. So there's a lot to look forward to for next season.

Don't forget too, on this terrible day for you, that Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez report to Spring Training in about five weeks.

That should make you feel just a little bit better, no?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stuff For a Chilly Saturday

My friend Pete over at Hauls of Shame has an update on a now-infamous picture from the cover of a 1985 Sporting News edition that featured a number of former players wearing classic old time uniforms that were allegedly worn by some of the game's greats supplied by the late Barry Halper's collection.

It turns out the one worn by Yogi Berra in the photo (pictured here), which was supposedly worn by John McGraw during the 1905 World Series, was actually a fake. And it's not the only one.

This past Wednesday night, Darnell McDonald of the Red Sox made a special trip to Arizona, to attend the wake of Christina Taylor-Green, the little 9-year-old girl who was killed in the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords last Saturday in Tucson.

Turns out that Darnell was signed originally signed to his first pro contract in 1997 by John Green, Christina's dad and the son of former Phillies manager Dallas Green.

Darnell continues to be a real class gentleman. I had the pleasure to meet him at the BLOHARDS meeting last May. He's one of baseball's good guys. And I hope the Red Sox have a place for him in 2011.

And on the soccer front, my friend Radu has a new soccer web site you might like to check out, called Ultimate Football Quiz. It contains not just quizzes, but lots of cool stats and articles. My friend Jamie has a cool Liverpool FC site you may like to check out as well: The Liverword.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Words We Can All Live By

"Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children, or our community, and whether our priorities are in order. We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or fame, but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others."

The words of President Barack Obama last night in Tucson, Arizona, in a very good speech he gave at the memorial service for the six victims of the shootings from last Saturday. (With thanks to my friend Leah who posted them up on Facebook this morning.)

I don't wish to sound like a spoil sport or anything, but to me that memorial service sounded too much like a pep rally at times, with people practically screaming when the President and his wife entered.

But if it helps those people heal their grief in a small way, I guess it was a good thing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Trivia Q&A: January 11

On a night when yet another snow storm was about to come down on New York, we had a tremendous turnout once again on Trivia Night: 18 teams braved the conditions because they had to have their Trivia! (And I appreciate every one of you who came out.)

We had some very strong scores through the first four rounds of Trivia. We had many perfect scores in 11-100 Trivia and a few in General Knowledge, and the scores were very close through the entire evening.

But then I rolled out IQ Trivia, and the scores sank like a stone. (I guess it was one of those weeks I made it just too hard.) There were two questions that no one in the house got right. Four teams got only two correct (seven points in all, one of the lowest high scores in IQ Trivia history), and seven teams got shut out. But the team of Hoping For a Snow Day led the entire night and held on and won by just two points(42 in total), for their second consecutive win. Nice job as always, guys. Second place went to Rex Ryan's Agony of Da Feet (40) and On-Duty Sanitation Workers on Drink #1 finished third with 39.

Best Team Name: Scalabrine's Eeny, Meeny, Teeny Linguine D**k

Current Events
1. "Bend It Like Beckham" became the first Western-made film to be shown on what country's state-run television recently?
2. Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab in what Asian country, was assassinated last Tuesday?
3. Which one-time talk show host was fined $484 last week for carrying a marijuana pipe through security at Milwaukee's airport?
4. A plane crashed in this Middle Eastern country on Sunday, killing more than 70 people on board.
5. A homeless man, who was once a radio announcer in what midwestern state, became a YouTube sensation last week when he was filmed saying a couple of lines with his "God-given gift of voice?"
6. What film became the number one movie in America last week, after finishing its first two weeks outside the top spot?
7. What NFL team, the first team ever in the postseason with a losing record, stunned the defending champion New Orleans Saints, 41-36, in a Wild Card matchup last Saturday?

Q Are You?
1. This man was born in Boston, MA in 1971. He's an actor, musician and producer. He first made it big in the early 1990s with a rap group, but moved over to films in the mid-1990s, and was nominated for an Oscarin 2006. He has also executive produced two cable TV series.
2. This man was born in Concord, CA in 1920. He's a legendary jazz musician who has released over 100 albums in his storied career. He and his quartet had the first million-selling jazz album ever and was the first jazz artist ever on the cover of Time magazine.
3. This woman was born in Houston, TX in 1981. She's a singer and actress who was part of one of the best-selling girl groups ever, has won 16 Grammy awards and every one of her studio albums have won the Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B album.
4. This man was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1933. He's an author, narrator and lecturer. He's won the Pulitzer Prize twice and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Two of his books have been adapted into an HBO film and miniseries and he has narrated many documentaries, most notably for Ken Burns for PBS.
5. This man was born in Majorca, Spain in 1986. He is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all-time. He's won 9 Grand Slam titles, an Olympic gold medal and is third all-time in total earnings.
6. This woman was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1982. She's a respected actress who garnered her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress in 2008, had three box offices hits in 2010, and hosted the Nobel Peace Prize concert last December.
7. This man was born in Marshall, TX in 1949. He's been many things: heavyweight boxing champion, Olympic gold medalist, an ordained Baptist minister and a successful entrepreneur. He's the oldest heavyweight boxing champions ever and has five sons all named after him.

11-101 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Washington DC and Puerto Rico have often been mentioned as this future numbered state.
2. May and October have this total days in each month.
3. This is the total number of different characters on a standard English keyboard, excluding upper case letters.
4. James K. Polk was this number US president.
5. This is the number of dalmatians in the famous Disney animated film.
6. Roger Maris set the home run record for a season in 1961 by hitting this many homers.
7. If you have a penny, nickel, dime, quarter and half dollar, you have this many cents.
8. New York Mets Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver had this number retired by the team.
9. Prohibition ended with this number amendment to the Constitution.
10. The NFL's Terrell Owens has worn this number throughout his career.

General Knowledge
1. Tony the Tiger is the mascot for what specific breakfast cereal? ( 1 pt)
2. The holiday known as Festivus gained popularity because of what TV sitcom? ( 1 pt)
3. What figure skater was attacked in 1994 by four assailants connected to her rival Tonya Harding? ( 1 pt)
4. In 1932, Iraq gained its independence from which country? ( 2 pt)
5. There are 12 flower shape designs on each side of what popular cookie? ( 2 pt)
6. The pro football team formerly known as the Titans changed their name to what, their current name, in 1963? ( 2 pt)
7. What US president is the only person to be named Time's "Person of the Year" three times? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What D.H. Lawrence novel was banned in the US from 1928-1959? ( 4 points)
2. What current US airline started in 1934 under the name "Varney Speed Lines?" ( 5 points)
3. "The Naked and The Dead" was written by what 20th century author? ( 3 points)
4. The American indie rock band Death Cab For Cutie got its name from a song performed in what Beatles film? ( 4 points)
5. Robert LeRoy Parker was the real name of what 19th century outlaw? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. North Korea; 2. Pakistan; 3. Montel Williams; 4. Iran; 5. Ohio; 6. "True Grit;" 7. Seattle Seahawks.

Q Are You?
1. Mark Wahlberg; 2. Dave Brubeck; 3. Beyonce Knowles; 4. David McCullough; 5. Rafael Nadal; 6. Anne Hathaway; 7. George Foreman.

11-101 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 51; 2. 31; 3. 71; 4. 11; 5. 101; 6. 61; 7. 91; 8. 41; 9. 21; 10. 81.

General Knowledge
1. Frosted Flakes; 2. "Seinfeld;" 3. Nancy Kerrigan; 4. United Kingdom; 5. Oreo; 6. New York Jets; 7. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

IQ Trivia
1. "Lady Chatterley's Lover;" 2. Continental; 3. Norman Mailer; 4. "Magical Mystery Tour;" 5. Butch Cassidy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Geddy's Back As Ramirez Departs

The Max Ramirez Era in Boston has come to very fast end, after just five days, as the Red Sox lost the catcher they picked up last Wednesday to the Chicago Cubs. They put Ramirez on waivers so they could add the recently-signed Hideki Okajima on the 40-man roster (as Ramirez had no options left to be sent to the minors).

My friend Ken put it best about this news on Monday:

"Let me be the first to point out that the Sox never lost a single game during the Max Ramirez Era."

Yep, something Max can brag to the grandkids about one day.

But as Ramirez leaves, old friend Rich Gedman is back with the Red Sox organization, as he was named the Lowell Spinners batting coach for 2011. My buddy Jere is understandably ecstatic over this news.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Q Are You? Debuts For 2011

The monthly category "Q Are You?" makes its first appearance in 2011 this Tuesday night, and that is when I give you clues to a current celebrity and you have to tell me who in the world I'm talking about. Always a fun category.

The Q Train lightning round will be "11-101 Trivia." In honor of our Trivia Night falling on 1/11/11, I will give you ten questions, and every answer will be a number ending in one, between 11 and 101 (every answer will be different with no repeats).

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
Tony the Tiger is the mascot for what specific breakfast cereal?

We get rolling at 9 PM on Tuesday night. We've had some nice crowds over the past couple of weeks, and hopefully that trend will continue. See you on Tuesday night.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

"Remembering Fenway Park"

Earlier last week, I pleasure to meet the noted author Harvey Frommer, who is the author of 41 books, mostly about sports, specifically baseball. His last book was the well-received "Remembering Yankee Stadium" in 2008. His newest project is called "Remembering Fenway Park," which comes out this March 1.

And I am proud to say that I am included in this book.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Frommer by phone in 2008 and told him about some of my experiences being in America's Most Beloved Ballpark. His book includes many beautiful and historic pictures of Fenway throughout the years, and remembrances by players as well as fans.

For myself, I told him about my first time at Fenway in 1986, as well two of my most memorable times there: the Pedro-Clemens Game 3 of the 1999 ALCS, which I call "The Clemens Massacre"; and Derek Lowe's no-hitter against Tampa Bay in 2002. They all recounted in the book. (And thank you for the nice brief bio in the beginning, Mr. Frommer. It made me smile.)

"Remembering Fenway Park" goes decade by decade, in the same way that "Remembering Yankee Stadium" does. It is styled in a very similar fashion as that book. And "Mr. Red Sox," Johnny Pesky, does the book's forward. Over 140 people talk about their memories of the Fens.

I had the pleasure of getting a sneak preview of the book last week and it is just stunning. Mr. Frommer told us gathered that he really enjoyed putting the book together and that the Red Sox could not have been more cooperative in making it a reality. He even said it turned him into a Red Sox fan. He worked for years with the Yankees on various projects, and is currently a professor at Dartmouth.

The book comes out in March, and it is definitely a keeper, even if I am associated with it.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Happy 70th, Gray

Today is of course, the birthdays of rock legends Elvis Presley and David Bowie. But it is also the 70th birthday of the late, great Graham Chapman, one of the genuises behind Monty Python. It's hard to believe Graham has been gone over 21 years now, but as long as people laugh, his work will live on forever.

So, in his memory, here's one of my favorite Monty Python sketches.

Thanks always, Gray:

Henry Fires The Manager. No, Not Tito.

John W. Henry made his second firing of a manager, and it wasn't someone in a Red Sox uniform. (You remember the first, don't you? The guy who left Pedro in too long. The name escapes me at the moment.)

It was Liverpool's manager Roy Hodgson, who left the team after six months and by "mutual consent." A dispiriting loss to bottom feeders Wolverhampton earlier this week meant the end to Hodgson, as Liverpool slipped back into the bottom half of the Premiership standings. And the big news is the return of legendary Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish, who comes in on an interim basis, or as "caretaker manager." Here's more from NESN.

Dalglish was part of one of Liverpool's most successful runs in the 1980s, and was part of 7 league titles, 3 European Cups and 5 domestic cup wins.

Dalglish also steps into the deep end of the pool, as Liverpool takes on Manchester United at Old Trafford in the a third round FA Cup match tomorrow.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Sox Get Ramirez. No, Not THAT One.

The Red Sox picked up catcher Max Ramirez off waivers from Texas yesterday. That name may sound familiar, as he was the player going to the Sox from the Rangers last year in the aborted Mike Lowell deal.

Ramirez batted .217 in 25 games at Texas last year, and .286 at AAA Oklahoma City in 56 games.

The Sox also picked shortstop-turned-reliever Tony Pena Jr., the son of the onetime Red Sox catcher, earlier this week and signed him to a minor league contract.

Also, the plan to expand the bullpens at Fenway is now on hold, and possibly scrapped, due to the fact the Sox won't get any tax breaks from the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Circle Bert a Hall of Famer

On his 14th attempt at the Hall of Fame, the great Bert Blyleven was finally elected today, along with Roberto Alomar, who was on the ballot for the second time.

Alomar received 90% of the vote, and Blyleven 79.2%. Barry Larkin was third and he received 62.1%. That bodes well for him next year, as there are no strong first-time candidates for 2012.

On the "steroid" front, first-time candidates Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez fared rather poorly. Palmeiro got just 11%, while Gonzalez barely got over the 5% cutoff point to be considered next year, at 5.2%.

Mark McGwire again came nowhere close, and his numbers actually dropped after his tearful TV admission last year. He went from 23% to 19% this year. It's pretty clear he will never join the immortals at Cooperstown.

It's also pretty clear that Alomar was penalized for the infamous spitting incident in Toronto in 1996 and was kept out because of it on the first ballot in 2010. He received 73% last year.

I am very pleased to see Blyleven get in, as he has been deserving and his vote totals have increased as the years went on. Here's more from

Congratulations to both Alomar and Blyleven, as they are both well-deserving. They join Pat Gillick, who was selected last month in the veteran's committee vote, as 2011 Hall of Famers.

Trivia Q&A: January 4

We had a terrific turnout for the first Trivia Night of 2011, with 18 teams taking part in the festivities. The scores were generally strong throughout the evening, and they were particularly good in January 4th Trivia, which was our Special Category of the evening.

It was tight going into IQ Trivia, with the top six teams separated by only three points. But the team of Sorry Jets Fans: The Jets Don't Have "Happy Endings," Just Ask Favre ran the table by getting all five questions right and wound up winning by five points, getting a total of 49. It was their first ever Trivia Night win, and my congratulations to them.

For the third straight week, we had a tie for second place (this time only two teams), and I had an interesting tie-breaker question: "Since today was my birthday, how old am I?" I let both teams get a good look at me. The team of Nach-yo Garbage guessed 43 (and I appreciate that), but the team of I Pull Out But My Couch Doesn't guessed 48 and wound up winning second place.

I also want to thank all of you for bringing out a birthday cake and singing a chorus of "Happy Birthday" before the IQ Trivia round. I was very touched by it, and especially the team of It's The Trivia King's Birthday who presented me with a lovely card and a really delicious cupcake as the night got going.

You are all the best.

The Best Team Name: Did 4000 Birds Fall Out Of The Sky Or Is It John Quinn's Birthday?

Current Events
1. The Associated Press picked what event from last April as their Top Story For 2010?
2. What rock superstar and his partner welcomed a baby boy recently to their family, who was born to a surrogate?
3. What American city was chosen last week as the host of the America's Cup yacht race for 2013?
4. The UConn women's basketball team's streak of 90 straight wins was ended by what West Coast team, the same team that last defeated them in 2008?
5. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico declined to give a pardon to what infamous 19th century outlaw 130 years after he was shot dead, saying the facts of the case didn't merit a pardon?
6. Gerry Rafferty, lead singer of the group Stealer's Wheel, died today at the age of 63. Their big hit "Stuck In The Middle With You" was used during a memorable scene in what hit1992 film?
7. On January 1st, five new non-permanent members were named to the UN Security Council. Name 2 of the 5.

January 4th Trivia
1. On this date in 1948, Burma regained its independence from what nation?
2. In 2010, the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest man-made structure at 2,717 feet, was opened in what Middle Eastern city?
3. On this date in 1999, former wrestler and independent candidate Jesse Ventura was sworn in as governor of what state?
4. Don Shula, who led this NFL team to two Super Bowl wins in the early 1970s, was born on this date in 1930.
5. Phil Lynott, who was the lead singer of this Irish rock band whose biggest hit was "The Boys Are Back In Town" in 1976, died on this day in 1986.
6. What western US state was admitted to the Union as the 45th state on this day in 1896?
7. Michael Stipe, lead singer of this Georgia-based rock band, was born on this day in 1960.

Film Characters Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Andy Dufresne, Ellis "Red" Redding, Samuel Norton
2. Col. Nathan Jessup, Captain Jack Ross, Lt. JG Daniel Kaffee
3. Dean Keaton, Verbal Kint, Todd Hockney
4. Kevin McCallister, Marv, Harry
5. Tommy DeVito, Jimmy Conway, Paul Cicero
6. Sam Wheat, Molly Jensen, Oda Mae Brown
7. President Merkin Muffley, Gen. Buck Turgidson, Gen. Jack D. Ripper
8. Shelley "The Machine" Levine, Ricky Roma, Dave Moss
9. Eric Stratton, Kent Dorfman, John Blutarsky
10. Jules Winnfield, Vincent Vega, Marsellus Wallace

General Knowledge
1. In 1969, the Official Languages Act in Canada gave equality to English and what other language? ( 1 pt)
2. "Nevermind" was the second studio album released in 1991 by rock band? ( 1 pt)
3. What famous theme park first opened to the public in July of 1955? ( 1 pt)
4. Germany and what other country declared war on the US on December 11, 1941? ( 2 pt)
5. What color navigation light shines from the starboard side of a ship? ( 2 pt)
6. George Takei played what character on the original TV series "Star Trek?" ( 2 pt)
7. What sea captain led the first English circumnavigation of the globe that set sail in 1577? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What country has not fought in a war since 1815? ( 4 points)
2. What sitcom star spent a year teaching English in a Philadelphia high school for a 2010 reality show? ( 4 points)
3. Pierre Omidyar and Michael Dean Johnson founded what current online company in 1995? ( 3 points)
4. German-American inventor Emile Berliner patented what invention in 1887? ( 5 points)
5. The Battle of Wakefield took place during what 15th century conflict? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. BP Oil Spill; 2. Elton John; 3. San Francisco; 4. Stanford; 5. Billy the Kid; 6. "Reservoir Dogs;" 7. South Africa, India, Colombia, Germany and Portugal.

January 4th Trivia
1. United Kingdom; 2. Dubai; 3. Minnesota; 4. Miami Dolphins; 5. Thin Lizzy; 6. Utah; 7. REM.

Film Characters Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The Shawshank Redemption; 2. A Few Good Men; 3. The Usual Suspects; 4. Home Alone; 5. Goodfellas; 6. Ghost; 7. Dr. Strangelove; 8. Glengarry Glen Ross; 9. Animal House; 10. Pulp Fiction.

General Knowledge
1. French; 2. Nirvana; 3. Disneyland; 4. Italy; 5. green; 6. Mr. Sulu; 7. Sir Francis Drake.

IQ Trivia
1. Switzerland; 2. Tony Danza; 3. eBay; 4. gramophone; 5. The War of the Roses.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Welcome Back Billy Buck

I was surprised to learn today that Bill Buckner is returning to baseball, but this time as manager of the Brockton Rox of the independent Cam-Am league.

The Rox have a colorful history connected to the nearby Red Sox (who they have no official affiliation with), as Bill Lee pitched for them briefly last year, and Oil Can Boyd pitched for them a few years back.

The Rox also had a day back in 2009 where they gave away replicas of Yankee Stadium being hit by a mini wrecker's ball to all their fans.

Buckner signed a two-year deal with them. Good luck, Billy Buck. Nice to have you back in the game.

Monday, January 03, 2011

You Could Get Red Sox Replica Gear In 1919

My friend Pete over at Hauls of Shame web site has a very interesting article about how Red Sox gear was available to the buying public as early as 1919, and it even has Babe Ruth featured in a Boston Globe ad, shortly before his infamous sale to You Know Where.

And coincidentally, today is the 91st anniversary of Ruth leaving Boston for Other Parts, although the deal was actually finished the previous December 26th.

They Made Films Memorable Kicks Off 2011

This Tuesday night we will have our first edition of Trivia Night for 2011. As the Special Category, we will have "January 4th Trivia," stuff that happened on that day in history. And no, there will be no questions about the Trivia Maven's birthday. Oops, I let that slip. Oh well...

The Q Train lightning round will be "Film Characters Trivia." I will give you three main characters from a popular film and you will tell me what film it is. (And there will be none from "Escape From New York." I always liked that photo of Snake Plissken.) We hadn't done any movie category trivia in a while, so I thought since everyone loves movie trivia, let's start off the year right.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Nevermind" was the second studio album, released in 1991, by what rock band?

We get going just after 9 PM. We had a huge crowd last Tuesday, and I hope we get 2011 off to a good start. See you tomorrow night.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Brett Favre Era Finally Ends. I Guess.

The disaster that was the 2010 Minnesota Vikings season came to a merciful end and with a thud as the Detroit Lions beat the Vikings, 20-13, for their fourth straight win at Ford Field in Detroit.

Brett Favre was once again inactive and briefly took it all in from the sidelines.

The loss means the Vikings finish in last, as they ended up tied with Detroit at 6-10. A season that began with some promise after 2009's trip to the NFC title game ended as a lost season. The Lions showed today that they are a team on the rise. The Vikings have tons of work to do this off season.

Leslie Frazier will indeed be back for the 2011 season as head coach. An announcement is forthcoming this week.

It is the first time the Vikings have lost 10 games since 2006, and just the 7th time in their 50 year history they have lost that many games. It is also the first time since 1990 they finished in the basement, and the previous last-place finish before that was the worst season in Vikings history, 1984. (3-13, remember Les Steckel as head coach?)

Favre is FINALLY done. (I hope.) The experiment failed. Time to move on.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Bet You Weren't Expecting This

I always observe many traditions on this, the first day of the New Year.

I run up and down my block like a madman just after midnight (although I really could do that this year due to the icy street) to usher in the New Year. I also put out my three day-by-day calendars for the year (don't know how I settled on three of them), and this year's calendars are from Monty Python, The Baseball Hall of Fame and a Trivia one. (And I'm sure I'll be using a few of them in my future Trivia nights.)

I also watch The Twilight Zone and Honeymooners marathons on TV while also checking in on the college football bowl games. (Notre Dame played yesterday so I have no serious rooting interest today.) BTW, terrible job by WPIX Channel 11 today, interrupting the Honeymooners at 7 AM for six hours of cartoons. Hey, the cartoons can wait guys! But the marathon will resume at 1 PM with the famous "Hello Ball" episode (see previous post).

I was also pleasantly surprised to see a Marx Brothers movie marathon last night on TCM. That would be a nice yearly New Year's thing for them to do.

I also watch the first Monty Python episode of the year on New Year's morning, and it is always the one with my favorite all-time sketch, "The Spanish Inquisition." (I think that started because the sketch begins with the caption: "NEW YEAR'S EVE--1911.") Never ceases to put me in stitches. And in honor of this New Year of 2011 (and the Ones running wild today: 1/1/11), here are the Python boys as Cardinals Ximinez, Biggles and Fang at their very best: