Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another Night Without RemDawg

Jerry Remy posted this on Twitter today:

“I’m OK. My previous health issues have everybody concerned. Please don't be."

I had a lot of hits on my blog today with fans looking to see what was wrong with the Red Sox announcer. He missed his fourth straight game tonight, replaced by Dennis Eckersley.

He was said to be "under the weather." I really hope this has nothing to do with the cancer surgery he had back in 2009.

Get back soon, Remdawg.


This Saturday night was the first softball game in my Saturday night league, and I missed everything but the bottom of the ninth inning of the Red Sox-Mariners game.

Am I glad I did. Sounds like John Lackey didn't pitch badly, but no one bothered to support him. Seems like every time I checked my cell during the game, the Sox threatened, only to get zilch. (The Sox are also now 0-14 when trailing after 8 innings. Ugh.)

0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Bases loaded, no outs in the fifth and they get nothing. (BTW, the title of this post is what the Red Sox are currently batting with runners in scoring position. Worst in the AL. Pathetic.)

Against the Seattle Mariners, who they just dropped a series to at home.

And Felix Hernandez pitches for Seattle on Sunday. Tim Wakefield will replace Clay Buchholz tomorrow, as he has what is termed "internal distress."

I'll find something else to do tomorrow.

Trivia Night Next Week Is Now Tuesday Night

Another change next week to Trivia Night. It is now TUESDAY NIGHT, May 3rd at 9 PM, and it will be happening upstairs in The Loft, with the Celtics game happening downstairs.

I apologize to all of you for all of this flip-flopping.

I will also say that THIS WAS NOT MY DECISION, and I will leave it at that.

The Sneak Peek will be posted here on the blog on Monday.

I hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.

Also: If any of you know of any bars in Manhattan or Brooklyn looking for a Trivia Night host, please drop me a line at: My Trivia Empire is looking to expand.

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's Official. Bobby Jenks Is A Stiff.

Despite sitting out tonight suspended for bashing the umps on Twitter, Ozzie Guillen's probably having a good laugh in Chicago tonight.

His former least-favorite reliever Bobby Jenks led the Red Sox Bullpen Arsonists in handing a win to the Seattle Mariners, giving up three runs in the seventh inning and blowing a two run lead, 5-4. His ERA on the young season is now a very embarrassing 8.64.

And losing to the bottom team in the AL West at home is never a good thing. And now the Red Sox officially will have a losing record for April.

Seems like the only reliever Terry Francona can count on these days is Jonathan Papelbon.

Jenks maybe a stiff, but Daisuke Matsuzaka felt stiff, left in the fifth inning, allowing one earned run and the reports were he had elbow tightness.

Uh-oh. That is NEVER a portend of good things ahead.

Mike Cameron hit two solo home runs, but the offense disappeared in the final four innings, as the last 12 hitters went down consecutively.

All the best to Jerry Remy, who missed another game in the booth on Friday night, as NESN said he was "under the weather." Let's hope it's nothing more than that. Get well soon, RemDawg.


That football-like score (and I don't have the slightest idea what that photo I put up means) is the current record Jon Lester now possesses against the Baltimore Orioles, as he became the first pitcher ever to defeat a team 14 straight times without ever losing to them.

It looked like it was in some jeopardy when he gave up a run in the first and the first three Birds runners reached. But he settled in and went eight innings, allowing two runs.

The Red Sox were leaving runners everywhere before they finally busted open the game in the eighth, when Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury (another one who feasts on the O's) drove in runs to put the game on ice at 6-2.

I was hoping the Red Sox would go 5-4 on the just concluded road trip. They bested that with 6-3, despite losing the final series in Baltimore. The Sox are now 11-13 on the season.

The Red Sox return to Fenway Park tonight to face the Seattle Mariners. Today is the 25th anniversary of Roger Clemens' spectacular 20-strikeout game in 1986, which coincidentally came at Fenway against the Mariners. (Somehow I can't see Daisuke Matsuzaka equalling that feat.)

As many of you know, I am a fan of Babe Ruth, and the site College Crunch has an interesting article up called "10 Babe Ruth Facts Every Baseball Fan Should Know." Definitely check it out.

My friend Pete Nash always has something fascinating at Hauls of Shame, and today it's the story of a Lou Gehrig jersey from 1938, and a long, strange road it went down.

And the news comes today that our old friend Derek Lowe is in trouble, as he was arrested last night Atlanta on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trivia Night's Happening Again Next Monday

Well, both Boston playoff teams were successful in their opening round playoff series, and the Celtics will play the Miami Heat next Tuesday in Game 2 of their series. So that means that Trivia Night will once again be happening on a Monday night, May 2nd at 9 PM.

There will be a Bruins playoff game that night as well, but we will work around that and have our Trivia Night. Again, I apologize for all the moving around, but I thank all of you who have made the move over to Monday.

The Sneak Peek will once again be up on the blog on Sunday.

Hope to see many of you this Monday night at 9 PM.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The 8th: Great Top, Lousy Bottom

I was out having dinner with a friend on Wednesday night and I missed all but the top of the ninth of the Red Sox-Orioles contest.

First time I checked on my cell the Sox were in a 4-0 hole in the 6th, on home runs in the 4th inning by Adam Jones and Luke Scott (who couldn't have been happy this morning seeing President Obama releasing his birth certificate for all the world to see). Rats, the Homer Happy Beckett was back.

It was 4-1 when I checked back in the 8th, with Kevin Youkilis up and two on. I thought that Earl Weaver's favorite play was in order here (and in the city he once managed), and wouldn't you know it, Youk went deep, and it was a new ballgame at 4-4.

I then walked in my door to see it 5-4, Birds. Crap, what happened here? After the Sox went down weakly against Kevin Gregg, I discovered that Daniel Bard had another rotten outing, allowing three hits and an unearned run, as Jason Varitek allowed runners to move up on a passed ball, and allowed another to get by him, but Bard made a great play tagging out Nick Markakis to keep it tied. But Vlad the Impaler singled on the next pitch to give the O's the win and the series.

The Sox have the worst catching tandem in baseball, with one guy over the hill who can't hit his hat size and another who is clearly over his head behind the plate. But remember, Theo loves this guy.

I knew it was a mistake last winter when the Red Sox didn't sign Russell Martin.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Buch Had Problems Tuesday. Carl Has a Bigger One.

It was a night that Clay Buchholz really didn't have it. Allowed four runs on twelve hits in 6 2/3 innings in Baltimore.

Red Sox five-game winning streak ends, 4-1. Jed Lowrie and Carl Crawford both took the collar.

Buchholz was in trouble it seemed like all night. Reminded me of the last game he pitched in Oakland, and he could have given up even more runs but pitched out of trouble most of the game, then and tonight at Camden Yards.

And speaking of being in trouble, Carl Everett wound up in the slammer in Tampa last night after getting into an altercation with his wife and threatening her with a gun.

I don't condone what he did last night, but Jurassic Carl will always have my eternal respect for doing what he did in this game.

Trivia Q&A: April 25

We had a much smaller crowd on this Monday night's special edition of Trivia Night than we had last Monday, as there were no sporting events involving Boston teams on Monday. 11 teams came in and took part in the night's festivities.

The scores were generally very good throughout the night. The team in first place never had more than a one point lead in any round. We had a tie going into IQ Trivia, and I thought the scores in that round might be a bit low, as I thought I made those questions a bit harder. But the scores were really good, and most teams got at least 3 of the 5 questions right.

But the team of My Futon Pulls Out But I Don't eeked out a one-point win, and each succeeding team going down to fourth place was one point behind the next. Congratulations on their first win after many weeks. The team of Happy Birthday Gillian finished second (and we gave them Best Team Name of the night in honor of longtime Trivia regular Gillian's birthday) and Screw John, He's Not Here finished third.

As of this writing, we don't know exactly which night Trivia will take place next week. The Celtics second round schedule has not been determined yet, and the Bruins are still fighting to get to their next round. I would guess Trivia Night will be either next Monday or Tuesday night. Please check back with this site during the week, and as soon as we can make a determination, it will be posted here.

Current Events
1. Cast members from what iconic 1970s ABC sitcom are suing for tens of millions of dollars in merchandise royalties they say are owed them?
2. MLB announced last week it is taking over the business operations of what team, after they needed a personal loan to meet its payroll?
3. According to a recent survey, what MLB Hall of Famer's legendary record was chosen as the greatest sports record of all-time?
4. John Ensign, a Republican senator from what western state, resigned last Thursday after being put through an ethics investigation by the Senate?
5. What Middle Eastern country lifted a "State of Emergency" law it operated under since 1962 in response to anti-government protests last week?
6. What former American politician traveled his past weekend with 3 former European leaders to China and the Koreas to try to reduce tensions in the Korean peninsula?
7. What west coast city began enforcing a ban on sitting or lying on the city's main sidewalks last weekend?

1990s Albums
1. Ready to Die
2. Dangerous
3. Jagged Little Pill
4. Nevermind
5. The Slim Shady LP
6. Dookie
7. Achtung Baby

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Michael Collins, command pilot of Apollo 11, actually suffered an epileptic seizure during his time alone in the command module.
2. The son of Alexander Hamilton was, like his father, killed in a duel.
3. The city of Washington DC was designed by a French engineer.
4. Tiger Woods' real first name is Edward.
5. Canada is the second largest country in total land area.
6. "Dreamt" is the onoly word in the English language ending in "mt."
7. Louis Armstrong gained fame by playing the saxophone.
8. The world's largest McDonald's restaurant is found in China.
9. "E" in e-mail stands for "electronic."
10. Brazil has the largest number of Christians in its population than any other country.

General Knowledge
1. Midway Airport is located in what midwestern city? ( 1 pt)
2. The Battle of verdun was fought during what war? ( 1 pt)
3. What US state is nicknamed "The Bay State?" ( 1 pt)
4. What major California city is bisected by a mountain range? ( 2 pt)
5. Port of Spain is the capital city of what country? ( 2 pt)
6. Marcel was the pet monkey of a character on what TV sitcom? ( 2 pt)
7. Corellia was the home planet of what legendary sci-fi movie character? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. According to a 2008 US government report, what extreme sport was considered to be the most dangerous, accounting for 25% of all outdoor sports injuries? ( 5 points)
2. What famous 20th century American novelist wrote the short story upon which the 2008 film "The Curious case of Benjamin Button" was based? ( 4 points)
3. In what 1988 film did Matt Damon make his screen debut, saying the line, "Mom, do you want my green stuff?" ( 4 points)
4. What world leader was barred from visiting Disneyland in 1959 for security reasons? ( 3 points)
5. What Asian country has the only national flag that is not rectangular or square? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. "Happy Days;" 2. Los Angeles Dodgers; 3. Joe DiMaggio; 4. Nevada; 5. Syria; 6. Jimmy Carter; 7. San Francisco.

1990s Albums
1. Notorious B.I.G. ( 1994); 2. Michael Jackson (1991); 3. Alanis Morissette (1995); 4. Nirvana (1991); 5. Eminem (1999); 6. Green Day (1994); 7. U2 (1991).

True or False ("The Q Train")
1. false; 2. true; 3. true; 4. false, Eldrick; 5. true; 6. true; 7. false, trumpet; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, United States.

General Knowledge
1. Chicago; 2. World War I; 3. Massachusetts; 4. Los Angeles; 5. Trinidad and Tobago; 6. "Friends;" 7. Han Solo.

IQ Trivia
1. snowboarding; 2. F. Scott Fitzgerald; 3. "Mystic Pizza;" 4. Nikita Khrushchev; 5. Nepal.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Live and In Person With Harvey Frommer

Harvey Frommer, the author of "Remembering Fenway Park," will be embarking on a tour to promote his terrific book (which Yours Truly is proud to be a part of). I thought I would alert you all where he will be appearing, from May 4th until June 19th. On May 13th, Mr. Frommer will be doing a signing at Professor Thom's, on the night of the first Red Sox-Yankees game in New York this season. Here is the schedule:

Wednesday May 4th: 7pm RJ JULIA 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT 203-245-3959

Thursday, May 5th: 7:30-9:40pm Varsity Letters. Happy Ending Lounge, 302 Broome St. (between Forsyth and Eldridge) NYC 212.334.9676

Monday May 9th: (NYC) Talk/Signing Dartmouth Alumni Group, Professor Thom's Red Sox bar East Village. 7 - 9pm

Thursday, May 12th: Capital Grille 155 E 42nd St NYC Cocktail Party/Book Sales

Friday, May 13th: BLOHARDS - Noon luncheon at the Yale Club Vanderbilt and 44th St 20th Floor NYC Talk/Book Signings

Friday, May 13th: Professor Thom's (Red Sox Bar) 219 2nd Avenue NYC (212) 260-9480 evening (time tba)

Saturday May 14th: 2:00pm Greenwich CT Library Talk/Book Signing

Thursday, June 16th: 3pm to 4:30pm Barnes & Noble Downtown Lowell, 151 Merrimack St., Lowell, MA

Thursday, June 16th: READING/SIGNING 7PM Boston Public Library 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

Friday, June 17th: 1:00p-3:00p SIGNING at Barnes & Noble 96 Derby Street, Hingham, MA. (781.749.4751)

Friday, June 17th: 12:30-2:00pm READING / SIGNING Borders 10-24 School Street Boston, MA

Friday, June 17th: 7:00p-9:00p ET (Burlington, MA). SIGNING at Barnes & Noble 98 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, MA. (781.273.4167)

Saturday, June 18th: 2:00-4:00pm SIGNING Wellesley Booksmith. 82 Central Street, Wellesley, MA. (781-431-1160)

Saturday June 18th 6 PM SIGNING at Barnes & Noble 210 Andover Street, Peabody, MA. (978.573.3268)

Sunday, June 19th (Father's Day): 3:00-5:00pm READING/SIGNING Concord Bookshop. 65 Main Street, Concord, MA. (978.496.5447)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Under The Rug

On the same day the Celtics swept the Knicks out of the NBA playoffs, the Red Sox did the same thing to the LA Angels, with another shutout, 7-0.

Another game on the West Coast, another terrific performance by John Lackey: eight innings, no runs allowed. (Let's hope he can pitch this way back East as well.)

It was the first Red Sox four-game sweep in Anaheim since 1995. (Correction: it was the first Red Sox sweep of any kind in Anaheim since 1995. That last one was a three-game sweep. With thanks to my friend Jere for setting me straight.) Carl Crawford hit his first Red Sox home run and two hits, and the Red Sox scored three in the first and the game was practically over even before Lackey took the mound.

How much did the Red Sox dominate this series? The Angels never had a lead in the four games. And they entered the series with a 12-6 record. And it really felt like the old days as the Red Sox are now 13-1 against the Angels since being swept in the 2009 ALDS by them.

The Red Sox are now 10-11, and are 5-1 on this road trip, which continues in Baltimore on Tuesday night.

Another Monday Night of Trivia

I want to wish you all the blessings of this Easter Sunday, and I hope the Easter Bunny was good to you all.

We're having another Monday night edition of Trivia this week, due to the Bruins NHL Game 6 playoff game on Tuesday night (and a possible Game 5 in the Celtics-Knicks series, if the New Yorkers win tonight). We had a large number of Bruins fans in last Monday, so it figures more will be in this Tuesday.

And thankfully, there will be no Boston playoff games tomorrow night, and even the Red Sox are off on Monday, so we should start at the normal time of 9 PM with no interruptions.

The Special Category on Monday will be "1990s Albums." I will give you the titles of seven albums from that decade, and you will tell me the artist who recorded it, and the exact year it came out. So each one will be worth two points. (The album I have featured here was from a '90s band called Kicks. Don't know who they were but I like that cover, so I used it.)

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Battle of Verdun was fought during what war?"

It was nice to see so many regulars last Monday night, and I appreciate all of you who rearrange your schedule to come in. I hope to see many of you on Monday night.

Dice-K Turns Out The Lights Again

Another Dice-K start, another one-hit shutout.

Yep, the Japanese righthander went eight innings against the Angels last night, allowing just one hit. He was aggressive, struck out nine and walked three. He was never in any serious trouble. He became the first Sox pitcher to throw back-to-back one hit shutouts of seven innings or more since Pedro Martinez did it in 2002.

Well, put that trade of "a used ball bag and a couple of broken bats" on hold for now. Let's see if Dice-K can keep this going.

The starting pitching has been nothing but superb over this 7-1 stretch. They are 6-1 with a lights out 1.01 ERA.

Carl Crawford had two hits and an RBI, and is hitting the ball much better now. Even Jason Varitek (who also caught Matsuzaka's last start) got into the act, doubling in a run and breaking a hideous 1-for-25 slump.

The Red Sox, now 9-11, go for the sweep on this Easter Sunday as John Lackey faces his former teammates.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Nice Present For Tito: Win Number 8

It was a rare night that I missed most of a Red Sox game, because I had to arise at an ungodly hour the next morning for an early-morning movie shoot I'm doing in Manhattan. But I guess in some ways I'm glad I did.

I turned in with the Sox holding a 1-0 lead after 3 innings. Jon Lester looked sharp as I turned in. I had some confidence another win could be in the offing.

I arose on Saturday morning to discover the Red Sox held on to a 4-3 decision. They had a 4-0 lead after six innings. Then the pen that will give everyone nightmares took over, headed by Matt Albers and Bobby Jenks, decided to make the score closer, and it was 4-3 after eight.

But Jonathan Papelbon, who has been money so far in the young season, shut down the Angels in the ninth, allowing just a single to nail down his fifth save and gave Terry Francona a nice 52nd birthday present.

The Red Sox have now accomplished what I hoped for in the Anaheim series, a split. They are now 8-11, have won 3 of 4 out west and six of the last seven. The starting pitching has been nothing but superb over those seven games, with a 1.19 ERA. And the Red Sox have gone back to owning the Angels since the hideous 2009 ALDS loss to them: the Sox are 11-1 against the Halos since their last postseason appearance.

Off to Manhattan to do a movie today. And I won't miss tonight's game in Anaheim, even with Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Have You Ever Considered The Arithmetic?

On this Earth Day, I'll leave it to the late, great George Carlin to sum it all up:

The Commander Shines Again

I thought it was going to be another one of those nights last night.

The Red Sox put runners everywhere in Anaheim last night, and left an entire army on the basepaths (15 stranded in 11 innings). Josh Beckett was superb last night, and didn't allow a hit until the 6th inning. Vintage Josh was on display again last night, and came away with a no-decision for all his trouble, going eight innings and allowing just two runs.

Kevin Youkilis left the game in the second after fouling a ball off his shin. Fortunately, x-rays proved negative and he's day-to-day. (Boy, seeing him leave early brought back nasty flashbacks of last season.)

Jacoby Ellsbury drove in the first Red Sox runs in the 6th with a bloop single to right, but Torii Hunter's two-run blast tied it in the 7th. The Red Sox had the bases loaded in the 8th with one out and came away with nothing. (Jason Varitek is now 1 for 23 at the plate, and was in position to drive in runs on more than one occasion last night. Ouch.) The Red Sox were an astounding 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position last night. I thought for sure they were going to lose this one.

My scepticism was proven totally wrong in the 11th, when Adrian Gonzalez doubled in a run and Jed Lowrie added a sac fly to give the Red Sox a 4-2 victory and five wins in their last six games.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Finally In The Road Win Column

The Red Sox dropped their first seven games away from Fenway Park this season, but finally got a road win on Wednesday to conclude the series with the A's, 5-3.

The fearsome Jed Lowrie went deep again, and was joined by Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew in the home run department. Clay Buchholz allowed a leadoff shot to Coco Crisp, but that was it as Buchholz nailed down his first win of 2011. He struggled some, but hung tough and got the victory.

Daniel Bard came on and was sharp, but the combo of Bobby Jenks and Jonathan Papelbon got Terry Francona, and everyone else in Red Sox Nation, stomachs turning, allowing two runs in the last two innings, and the winning run came up with two outs for Oakland, but Cliff Pennington popped to short to end it.

Now the Sox are off to Anaheim for four. I was looking for a split in Oakland, and the Red Sox did that. They've now won 4 of the last 5.

I bet this story will make you really glad Frank McCourt was rebuffed in 2001 in his quest to buy the Red Sox. (Could you imagine how different recent Red Sox history would be had it happened? Or if the incompetent Dolans, owners of Madison Square Garden who also tried to buy the Red Sox back then, had gotten the team? Makes me appreciate Theo and The Trio all the more.)

And in something being reported as something new, but it's been known and debated on for years, documents recently released hint that the 1918 World Series may have been thrown by the Cubs. (Eddie Cicotte, the disgraced former Black Sox pitcher, named no names, and it sounds like much ado about nothing.)

The Red Sox have also started a web site for their upcoming 100th anniversary. It was 99 years ago on Wednesday the Sox played their first game at Fenway, beating New York in extra innings. So I guess it was an appropriate day to kick off the site.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Trivia Night Will Be Monday Again Next Week

We at Professor Thom's decided today that our Tuesday Night Trivia next week will happen this Monday night, April 25th at 9 PM. It appears that there could be both a Bruins Game 6 and a Celtics Game 5 of their playoff series next Tuesday night, so we thought we would dispense with the waiting and just announce now that we will do Trivia next Monday night.

There will be no Red Sox game that night, as it is an off day for them.

I will be posting the Sneak Peek and Special Categories on the blog here on Sunday.

Sox Killer Anderson Dominates

The Red Sox started the nine-game road trip in Oakland last night, and ran into a buzzsaw called Brett Anderson.

He's given the Sox fits in his young career, and did so again last night, going eight solid innings, and allowed just four hits and no runs. In five starts, Anderson is now 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA against the Red Sox, and has become one of the better lefties in the AL.

The only time the Red Sox threatened was the 8th inning, but Mike Cameron interfered with catcher Kurt Suzuki's throw down to second trying to throw out pinch runner Jacoby Ellsbury, and it was ruled a DP (Cameron had struck out). The next two batters singled (it could have been a big inning), but Darnell McDonald struck out to end the 8th.

Best news of the night was six solid innings from John Lackey. He has historically pitched well in Oakland, and allowed just an RBI groundout in the first inning. But the bullpen collapsed in the 8th, especially Hideki Okajima, in his first game back with the Sox. He allowed an RBI double to his old friend Hideki Matsui that put the game on ice at 4-0.

Two-game series ends today (the only games the Sox play in Oakland) at 3:30 PM, with Clay Buchholz on the hill.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hangin' With Rollie, Ozzie & Schmitty

Last week, I received an invitation from my friend Andrea to attend an event at the new MLB Fan Cave in Greenwich Village that was held yesterday at noon.

It was to say the least a very memorable day.

Andrea is one of my Red Sox fan friends from Professor Thom's, and she also works for Pepsi. Pepsi Max is the new official soft drink of MLB, and she asked me if I'd like to attend a press gathering for the debut of three new commercials for Pepsi Max featuring current and former MLB players.

How could I say no?

It was held at the MLB Fan Cave, which is also located on the site of the former Tower Records store on the corner of East 4th Street and Broadway. The store closed over four years ago, and a few companies have been at the location since. MLB took it over and it is where two fans are watching every game during the 2011 season and are blogging about it. It is also a place where many players will be dropping in for some special events during the year as well. (And as the event was going on, the Red Sox were stomping all over the Blue Jays at Fenway on the TVs located in front of us. It made the day all the more special.)

Yesterday, Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers, Ozzie Smith and Mike Schmidt were on hand to discuss the ad, as they appear along with other immortals such as Carlton Fisk, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson (his spot is very funny), and Randy Johnson. There are many current players in the commercials such as Jim Thome, C.C. Sabathia and Evan Longoria. (Even Mr. Met and the Mariner Moose represented the team mascots!)

The commercials are designed based on the film "Field of Dreams." They are cleverly put together and are entertaining. They will debut on television today. To check out more about the commercials, including some interviews and behind-the-scenes clips, check out this link.

Here is the first of three commercials, called "Clubhouse In The Corn":

The three Hall of Famers came out and talked briefly about the ads, they were made available to all of us there for a few short minutes to answer questions privately. I was really surprised to hear that, as I thought it would be more of a "press conference" type event. (And Yours Truly prepared no questions, so I had to wing it off the top of my head.)

I walked over to Rollie Fingers first and I shook hands with him and he came across as a rather personable guy. I asked him how he enjoyed the shoot, and he said he was surprised how long it took to film the ads (as an actor could relate to that), but he said he enjoyed being back with a number of his contemporaries. (And that the shoot took place at a warehouse in Tampa, Florida.)

Rollie also told me he hadn't done much media over the years, and wouldn't mind doing more of it. I also had to ask him about his classic handlebar mustache. He said he would probably keep it the rest of his life, and that he was paid $300 by Charlie O. Finley in 1972 to grow it, along with many of his other Oakland A's teammates.

I next chatted with Ozzie Smith. He had a big smile for me and greeted me warmly with a firm handshake. When he was told that I wrote a blog called "The Mighty Quinn Media Machine," he said, "Hey Mighty Quinn!" He certainly comes across as the nice guy he's always appeared to be. There's a scene in the commercial where Ozzie does his patented "backflip," and I asked him if he really did it or if it was done with the help of modern technology. Ozzie gave me a wide smile and laughed and told me "You'll have to figure it out."

I asked him about his biggest thrill in baseball, and it was winning the 1982 World Series with the Cardinals. I asked him about his relationship with his former club, and he told me he hasn't done too much with them. He mentioned that he and current manager Tony LaRussa weren't the best of friends. (I had forgotten about the stormy end to Ozzie's tenure with the team in 1996.) He said that he thinks the current Cardinals still have a good chance to make the playoffs despite the injuries, and compared them to the 1985 team that shocked many of the baseball pundits and won the NL pennant.

Overall, I really enjoyed speaking with Ozzie. A very nice man.

I concluded my chat with the Hall of Famers with Mike Schmidt. He greeted me warmly and asked him about the film shoot. He also enjoyed doing it and spoke about some of the funny outtakes that weren't used in the commercial. I asked him about his biggest thrill in baseball, and I thought he might say his 500th home run. But like Ozzie Smith, he said it was winning the World Series, in 1980 with the Phillies, and how much it meant to the city and fans.

I also asked him about the current club, and he was also optimistic about his former club. He talked about the importance of signing Cliff Lee and how having two stoppers like him and Roy Halladay should make up for any shortcoming the Phillies may have on offense.

I found Mike a little more reserved of the three players I chatted with, but he was cordial when we finished.

I was really thrilled to be part of the event on Monday, and I want to thank my friend Andrea, the people at MLB and Pepsi and Lindsey at Matter, Edelman Sports & Entertainment Marketing for letting me come in and share on the event. The MLB Fan Cave is quite a place, and it was so surreal being there, since I had worked in that very spot from 1984-1990 when it was New York's most popular music store.

I look forward to hopefully going back again at another time this year.

Trivia Q&A: April 18

On a special Monday night edition of Trivia, we had 14 teams in on a night when there was a Bruins playoff game in Montreal. Lots of B's fans turned out, so we started Trivia Night in-between the second and third period of the game (and did two categories back-to-back). It worked out well, as we resumed after the Bruins won, and were able to get finished at a respectable hour.

I moved General Knowledge to the second round, as it was a category we could do quicker. I moved Q-Tip Trivia to the fourth round, and it all worked out fine.

On nights we have to shift Trivia, the total number of teams usually drops, but I was pleased to see as many folks as I did, many of whom were regulars (and I am always grateful that they can change their schedules around).

The point totals were unusually high, as the Q Train and Special category were worth more points overall. But the winners of the night were Yes, I, John Quinn, Am Currently Wearing Women's Underwear (you have to have a thick skin and a sense of humor to be in this business), who pulled out a two point win with 62 points overall. (They also won for Best Team Name, so it was a double victory for them.)

Second place went to Live Forever Or Die Trying, and third went to There Will Be Nachos, Oh Yes, There Will Be Nachos with 56 points. (Both of those teams contains friends who are in my circle of Red Sox fanatics.)

A reminder to all Trivia Night players: as I write this I don't know yet which night we are having Trivia next week. If there is a Game 5 of the Celtics-Knicks series (next Tuesday), Trivia Night will happen next Monday, April 25th at 9 PM. If the Celtics sweep in four straight, we will have it next Tuesday, April 26th at 9 PM. Stay tuned to my blog for updates.

Current Events
1. What Hollywood actress checked into a mental health facility last week in an attempt to get treatment for bipolar disorder?
2. What NBA player apologized after using a slur against a referee during a game last week and was fined $100,000 by the league?
3. What two longtime daytime soap operas were canceled by ABC last week?
4. What Hollywood star was arrested in New Orleans last Saturday on charges of domestic abuse and disturbing the peace?
5. With what former politician did New York mayor Michael Bloomberg announce plans to merge their climate leadership groups together last week?
6. Laurent Gbagbo, former president of what West African country, was arrested last week by the newly-elected president's forces after he challenged the recent election and wouldn't step down?
7. A group of 9/11 conspiracy theorists are threatening to boycott in front of the live shows of what entertainer, as they believe he has abandoned their cause, which he had at onetime supported?

General Knowledge
1. Bern is the capital of what European nation? ( 1 pt)
2. What legendary Civil War general was known as "The Hero of Appomattox?" ( 1 pt)
3. Lindsay Wagner starred in what science fiction series from 1976-1978? ( 1 pt)
4. Which 19th century U.S. president died in office from a case of pneumonia? ( 2 pt)
5. Within one ounce, how much does a standard billiard ball weigh? ( 2 pt)
6. What is the first word in the US Constitution's preamble? ( 2 pt)
7. In 1854, the UK and France declared war on Russia, beginning what conflict? ( 3 pt)

Name the Decade Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Affirmed becomes the last horse to win racing's Triple Crown.
2. The first iPod is introduced by Apple.
3. Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" is broadcast and many think an alien invasion is actually happening.
4. Communism fails as the Soviet Union falls.
5. Jackie Robinson becomes MLB's first black player in the 20th century.
6. The first subway line is opened in New York City.
7. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opens, connecting Brooklyn to Staten Island.
8. Brown vs. The Board of Education Supreme Court case ends school segregation.
9. The first Academy Awards ceremony is held in Hollywood.
10. The nuclear reactor meltdown disaster at Chernobyl occurs.

Q-Tip Trivia
1. Which of the amendments to the US Constitution were ratified before World War II? a. 18 as the national voting age; b. President limited to two terms; c. Repeal of Prohibition; d. Direct election of US senators.
2. According to the 2010 US Census, which of the following cities have at least one million people? a. San Diego, CA; b. Columbus, OH; c. Boston, MA; d. Philadelphia, PA.
3. Which of these artists sang the title song to a James Bond film? a. Paul McCartney; b. Carly Simon; c. Duran Duran; d. Tom Jones.
4. Which of the following gangsters has Warren beatty played on screen? a. John Dillinger; b. Bugsy Siegel; c. Al Capone; d. Clyde Barrow.
5. Which of the following countries have French as an official language? a. Switzerland; b. Haiti; c. Cameroon; d. South Africa.
6. Which of the following current MLB players have won at least one league MVP award? a. David Ortiz; b. Derek Jeter; c. Mark Teixiera; d. Carlos Beltran.
7. Which of the following countries were original members of the United Nations? a. USA; b. Italy; c. Switzerland; d. Cuba.

IQ Trivia
1. In the Harry Potter books, what are galleons, sickles and knuts? ( 4 points)
2. What did Swiss biochemist Johann Miescher discover in 1869 and name it "nuclein?" ( 5 points)
3. What Hollywood star once said, "How in the hell would you like to have been in this business for as long as I, and then have one of your kids win an Oscar before you did?" ( 4 points)
4. What is South America's smallest Spanish-speaking nation, both in population and area? ( 4 points)
5. Name 1 of the 3 countries that border both the largest and smallest of the world's oceans. ( 3 points for 1, 4 points for 2, 5 points for all 3)

Current Events
1. Catherine Zeta-Jones; 2. Kobe Bryant; 3. "All My Children" and "One Life to Live"; 4. Nicolas Cage; 5. Bill Clinton; 6. Ivory Coast; 7. Charlie Sheen.

General Knowledge
1. Switzerland; 2. Ulysses S. Grant; 3. "The Bionic Woman;" 4. William Henry Harrison; 5. 5 1/2 ounces; 6. we; 7. Crimean War.

Name The Decade ("The Q Train")
1. 1970s (1978); 2. 2000s (2001); 3. 1930s (1938); 4. 1990s (1991); 5. 1940s (1947); 6. 1900s (1904); 7. 1960s (1964); 8. 1950s (1954); 9. 1920s (1929); 10. 1980s (1986).

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

IQ Trivia
1. coins; 2. DNA; 3. Henry Fonda; 4. Uruguay; 5. USA, Canada and Russia.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baseball. Like It Ought To Be.

Back in their glory days of the mid-1980s, the Mets had as their team slogan: "Baseball. Like It Ought To Be." I couldn't help but think of that line as the Red Sox were putting a serious whipping to the Toronto Blue Jays on Patriots Day today.

The hottest hitter on the planet, Jed Lowrie, had four more hits today, including a home run, as the Sox had their third straight W, and first really comfortable win of 2011. (With Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound, you can never entirely use that word.) I don't think there is any question about who the starting Red Sox shortstop should be now.

Dice-K was simply superb, allowing the Jays just one hit and walking one in seven innings for his first win of 2011.

Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury also went deep, and Carl Crawford got into the act too, getting an RBI double late in the game. Hopefully this is the start of good things to come with him.

The Sox now hit the road, with nine games in Oakland, Anaheim and Baltimore. John Lackey returns to the hill tomorrow in Oakland, a place he has historically pitched well.

And BTW, I watched a good part of today's game at the MLB Fan Cave in Greenwich Village. I'll have a post on that tomorrow, as it was quite a memorable experience to say the least.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

First Winning Streak of 2011

Two straight for the Red Sox: 8-1.

Jon Lester gave another excellent performance, going six innings, allowing Toronto just one run. Was it me or did Lester looked pissed off the entire game? He looked angry at some home plate umpire's calls he thought should have been strikes. But here I will defend the home plate ump, Doug Eddings, as most of those close calls did look like balls.

Jacoby Ellsbury blasted a three-run shot in the second that looked like a homer the moment it left the bat. And I could hear my friend Adam, who isn't an Ellsbury fan and thinks he swings too much for the fences, in my mind being miffed about the round tripper. It was Jacoby's third HR of 2011. But it put the Sox ahead to stay.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in three runs, but Carl Crawford took the collar once again. The hits will come, Carl. Just relax.

The four-game series ends with the traditional morning game on Patriots Day on Monday, as the marathon goes through Boston. Dive-K gets the chance to right his own personal ship before the Red Sox go out west.

And I'll be at the MLB Fan Cave, at my old stomping grounds on Broadway and East 4th Street in Greenwich Village, on Monday afternoon. I'll have more on that on Tuesday morning.

The NBA Playoffs Moves Trivia Night Again

This week Trivia Night is happening on Monday, April 18th at 9 PM, due to the NBA playoff Game 2 between the Celtics and Knicks. Professor Thom's will be jammed with roundball fans on Tuesday, so having Trivia that night would be impossible. (And if there is a Game 5 in the series, it will also be on a Tuesday, so we will have it the following Monday night as well.) There will be the Bruins Game 3 NHL playoff game in Montreal (and no Red Sox game, as they are playing the 11 AM Patriots Day game that morning), but I am betting that won't be too large a crowd at Thom's on Monday night.

The Special Category on Monday will be "Q-Tip Trivia." That is the category we do every month where I give you seven general knowledge questions that have four choices, and you have to decide how many are correct. You get a point for each correct answer (one point if the answer is none), but if you give even one wrong one, you get no points for the question.

The Q Train lightning round will be another round of "Name The Decade Trivia." You tell me the decade an event happened, and this time, if you also give me the exact year it occurred, you'll get a point for that, too. So each one can be worth two points.

The Sneak Peek question is:
"Bern is the capital of what European nation?"

Once again, I apologize for having to move Trivia Night this week, but I hope many of you can come out on Monday night at 9 PM.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Red Sox Won a Ballgame!

The title of this post refers to a line the great Warner Wolf used to say when one of the New York teams, who were probably rotten at the time, surprised us all and got a "W". (Second time this week I have made a Warner Wolf reference. And this is not to imply the Red Sox are "rotten." Just a lousy first two weeks.)

The season's third win in what was arctic-like conditions at Fenway. Josh Beckett made a second straight start that brought back memories of 2007, allowing Toronto just a run on three hits.

And I think it's apparent that Jed Lowrie should now be the everyday shortstop, as he got three hits and hit a two-run home run while scoring two runs. Marco Scutaro, meet the bench.

Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon took over for Beckett and gave the Sox two quality innings to nail it down.

England's "Mets" Whip England's "Evil Empire"

As many of you who follow this blog know, I have never been a fan of Manchester United (especially after they signed a marketing deal with the Yankees many years ago). I've always referred to them as the "English Evil Empire."

Like Yankee fans, United fans come off as arrogant and entitled. And United shares the city of Manchester with Manchester City, a club that has had some, but not a lot of success in their history.

I've always made the comparison of United and City to the Yankees and Mets as the best comparison between English soccer and American baseball. (Man United and Liverpool might be their version of Red Sox-Yankees.) It's been a rough last few years for City, as they were relegated down to the Third Division before fighting their way back up to the top division. They haven't won a trophy since 1976, while the behemoths they share their city with have come away with a trophy case full of honors over the last two decades. (Sure sounds similar to the Yankees and Mets to me.)

Today was the English FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Stadium, and both clubs were drawn into that semifinal. But today, City fans can hold their heads up high as their heroes pulled a 1-0 upset win and Manchester City earned their first berth in the final since 1981 (when they lost to Spurs). The winning goal was scored by Yaya Toure (love that name) in the 52nd minute.

Good luck to the Blues in the final on May 14th, when they play the winner of Bolton-Stoke in the other semifinal (to be played tomorrow).

And the last time Manchester City won the FA Cup? 1969, which also happened to be a good year for their American counterparts from New York as well.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Excruciating. Again.

I'm at a complete and total loss to explain this. Four hours of torture against Toronto at Fenway. And yet ANOTHER loss.

2-10. Weren't the Red Sox supposed to just show up and head right for the World Series? It's like I expect them to lose every night now.

It's bringing back way too many bad memories of the early 1990s.

Too many players still look totally lost at the plate. (Crawford, Drew, Salty, Ellsbury.) And in the field. Another lousy performance by Clay Buchholz.

I was one who hoped the Sox would sign Russell Martin this past winter. Jarrod Saltalamacchia? I have a feeling he'll be in the pantheon of players Theo Epstein loved from afar (Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, Willy Mo Pena) who turned out to be complete busts.

Please start Jed Lowrie more often, Tito. Like every day.

I'm sure we'll see all over the place on Saturday that stat about the 2001 Oakland A's who started out 2-10 and went on to be 102-60 and Wild Card winners that year. And the 1951 New York Giants started out 2-10 and won the NL pennant. But both teams had to have insanely hot stretches to make it to the postseason, especially the Giants, who came from 13 1/2 down in August to catch the Brooklyn Dodgers that year.

And yeah, I know the Red Sox are only five games back in the East and it's just mid-April.

Yes, I want to believe in this team. But they are testing my patience, and that of everyone in Red Sox Nation. (And right now is there a better chance of seeing aliens than a Red Sox victory these days?) I hope those people who feel we'll look back on this awful stretch in October when the Red Sox are in the playoffs and laugh are correct.

I'm just not chuckling right now.

With thanks to my friend and devoted reader Don for the picture.

Fear The 'Fro

Here's our old friend Coco Crisp, supporting an Afro reminiscent of Oscar Gamble of the 1970s, before last night's Oakland A's game.

Coco said his braids made his head "itching", and he took them out.

Here's more from Yahoo Sports. (BTW, according to the article, Oscar Gamble is living in Alabama these days, and he's bald!)

With thanks to my buddy Ken for alerting me to the article.

Gonzo Deal Announced Today

The expected megadeal that the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez have reached will be announced today.

It's a seven-year deal worth $154 million. It has been delayed until now due to the fact the Sox don't want the salary counted towards MLB's competitive balance tax.

This deal becomes the second largest deal ever done by the Red Sox. Manny Ramirez' eight-year, $160 million deal in 2001 still remains number one.

Also, my friend Pete Nash at Hauls of Shame has an interesting article questioning whether an auction house that has a letter up for auction right now might be selling one that was stolen from the Hall of Fame.

Today is also a monumental day in history, as April 15th is the day of Abraham Lincoln's assassination (1865), the Titanic sank (1912), Jackie Robinson made his MLB debut (1947), 96 Liverpool fans died at the tragic crush at Hillsborough Stadium (1989), and of course, it's Tax Day. Except this year it's been moved to Monday.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trivia Night Will Be On Monday Next Week

The NBA announced the schedules for the first round playoff series between the Celtics and Knicks on Wednesday night, and Game 2 of that series will take place next Tuesday night.

So that now means that our Trivia Night will take place on Monday night, April 18th at 9 PM. I will be posting the Sneak Peek question and special categories for Monday's Trivia on Sunday.

And if there is a Game 5 in the series, it will take place on Tuesday night, April 26th. So barring one or the other team pulling off a sweep, Trivia Night will also take place the following Monday as well, on April 25th at 9 PM.

This coming Monday, there will also be a Game 3 of the Boston Bruins NHL playoff series with the Montreal Canadiens beginning at 7:30 PM, but I don't anticipate a huge crowd, and we should start on time that night.

I do apologize for moving Trivia Night, but if you remember last year when we tried to have Trivia Night on a Tuesday night Celtics playoff game, it was nearly impossible.

So we will play this week by week, and hopefully we will be back on Tuesday nights in May.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Friendly Rainout

The Red Sox may have gotten a gift from above on Wednesday, in the form of a rainout.

They have a day off on Thursday, so they will now have two full days off before facing the Blue Jays at Fenway on Friday night.

The rainout also means that John Lackey has been bumped from his scheduled start, and will not make another until the Red Sox hit the road in Oakland next Tuesday night.

There are two schools of thought on this subject, as some will argue that getting out there right now and playing is better than having a two-day wait to play the next contest.

But with the way Lackey has pitched in 2011, I'll take this rain as a good omen.

The Red Sox play the Rays again in August, and they have a mutual off-day on August 15th, and that maybe the day they make up the rainout.

Fight Cancer & Win a Cool Jersey

My friend Ian O'Malley, who is a popular disc jockey on radio station Q104.3 here in New York City, informed me of a cool auction now going on at eBay.

The auction is a "Team Staal" jersey from the NHL All-Star Game from earlier this year, and it is autographed by every player who was part of the game. The proceeds will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the "Hockey Fights Cancer" program run by the league.

Not only does the winner get this cool keepsake, but will also receive four tickets to any NHL game for next season (in any US team's market).

The auction is currently happening at eBay, and the highest bid as I write this is nearly $1,000. If you would like to check out the jersey and place a bid on this one-of-a-kind item, go here. It is all part of Ian's 10-week cancer research charity campaign.

The auction concludes on April 20th, so you have six days to make a bid, and do a nice thing to help those who are battling cancer.

Good or Bad Thing? You Tell Me.

Tiger Blood himself thinks things will be fine with the Red Sox:

"I'd tell everybody to shut up, that they'll bounce back. It's a long season and there's a ton of talent there and a really bitchin' hitter's park they play in. Relax."

When the Red Sox are back in first, Charlie, the drinks are on me.

Time to Get Up, Go To My Window, Open It, Stick My Head Out...

I think I speak for every Boston Red Sox fan when I say: I'm sick and tired of watching bad baseball.

When the score became 3-1 Tampa Bay in the fifth, I turned to my friend Jim and said, "It feels more like 13-1 right now." He agreed with me. It just felt like the game was lost at that point. And as it turned out, it was.

After 11 games, the Red Sox now own baseball's worst record.

Embarrassing. Pathetic. And totally unacceptable.

Jon Lester pitched well enough to win. And naturally, almost no one showed up to support him.

Take a good long look in the mirror, boys. You have no one to blame but yourselves for the mess you're in right now. You can't play the injury card on this one. You are embarrassing your loyalest fans with this display of rotten baseball.

Ignore the press clippings. You have a lot to a prove, guys. A LOT.

Granted, there's not a lot the front office or Terry Francona can do now. They won't and shouldn't make panic moves. But it is totally in the players' hands to right this ship.

And now the only thing that stands between a Tampa Bay Rays sweep at Fenway on Wednesday is John Lackey.

God help us all.

I'm going to bed. I've done enough ranting for one night.

Trivia Q&A: April 12

We had another huge crowd turn out for Trivia Night, with 24 teams taking part. It rained a good part of the night, but it sure didn't keep the crowds away.

We had some strong scores for General Knowledge, but they were just so-so for Civil War Trivia and Who's Older Trivia. It was very close going into IQ Trivia, with two teams tied heading in. The questions were tougher than usual for the round, but three teams managed to get at least 3 correct. And one of them was The John Wilkes Booth (an appropriate name for Civil War Trivia), who managed to enter the Winner's Circle with a four point victory and 41 points. Nice job, guys.

Second place went to Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead! Good Riddance Cathie Black! and third place went to The Next Round Is On The House with 34 points.

Best Team Name: I'm Not a Street Hooker, I'm a Roadside Massage Therapist

An important message about next week: the Boston Celtics will be playing a playoff series next week and the NBA has not announced the playoff schedule yet. There is a possibility that there will be a game next Tuesday night. If there is one scheduled that night, we will NOT be doing Trivia Night next Tuesday. We will have it Monday night at 9 PM should that happen. If there is no playoff game scheduled for Tuesday, Trivia will go on as scheduled that night. Please stay tuned to this blog for more details when they become available. The NBA season ends on Wednesday, so the playoff schedule should be made public by Thursday.

Current Events
1. What TV host lost a bet with Jimmy Fallon that Fallon couldn't raise more than $25,000 for charity, and was forced to sing Rebecca Black's "Friday" on his show?
2. In the latest survey by the blog Journalistics, which US newspaper is the only one with more than one million followers on Twitter?
3. What famous independent politician recently said he would consider a return to politics and be Ron Paul's running mate should he run for president?
4. What country has banned movies and TV shows about time travel, calling them "disrespectful to history"?
5. The President and First Lady of what Central American country divorced last week so that she could run for president after her husband steps down later this year?
6. Manny Ramirez failed a second drug test, it was announced last Friday, and he opted to retire rather than serve a 100-game ban. What AL team did he play five games in 2011 when he quit?
7. Sidney Lumet, who directed over 50 films in a distinguished career, died last Saturday at age of 86. He never won an Oscar, but was nominated four times for Best Director. Name 2 of the 4 films.

Civil War Trivia
1. The Civil War began 150 years ago today when Fort Sumter, located in what city's harbor, was fired upon by Confederate forces?
2. What 1862 Civil War battle featured over 23,000 casualties in one day, the single deadliest day in American history?
3. Over 12,000 Union soldiers died in the prisoner of war camp at Andersonville Prison. What southern state was Andersonville located in?
4. What number amendment ended slavery when it became law in 1865?
5. What was the first capital of the Confederacy, before Richmond, VA?
6. What city was the site of the famous Draft Riots of 1863?
7. The Battle of Little Round Top was fought at what famous Civil War battle site?

Who's Older Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Oprah Winfrey or Whoopi Goldberg?
2. David Letterman or Jay Leno?
3. Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter?
4. Stephen King or John Grisham?
5. Al Pacino or Robert DeNiro?
6. Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger?
7. George W, Bush or Bill Clinton?
8. Jay Z or P. Diddy?
9. Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears?
10. Madonna or Sharon Stone?

General Knowledge
1. What actor portrayed Cliff Huxtable on TV? ( 1 pt)
2. How many centimeters are in one meter? ( 1 pt)
3. What country in the world has the most nuclear reactors? ( 1 pt)
4. On what day of the week did Christopher Columbus discover the island of Dominica? ( 2 pt)
5. Lake Titicaca is located on the border of Peru and what other country? ( 2 pt)
6. What singer had her first Top 10 hit in eight years in 2011 with the single "On The Floor?" ( 2 pt)
7. Gort is the name of the robot from what classic science fiction film? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Nine of the ten top producing coal mines in the US are located in what western state? ( 4 points)
2. "Operation Overlord" was the code name for what famous battle attack? ( 3 points)
3. What Paul McCartney song was the all-time best single in UK history when it was released in 1977, but barely made a dent on the US charts? ( 4 points)
4. "The Cod Wars" was a series of confrontations in the 1950s and 1970s involving the UK and what other country over fishing rights? ( 4 points)
5. What singer and movie star of the 1930s, 40s and 50s is the only celebrity to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. Stephen Colbert; 2. New York Times; 3. Jesse Ventura; 4. China; 5. Guatemala; 6. Tampa Bay Rays; 7. "12 Angry Men;" "Dog Day Afternoon;" "Network;" "The Verdict."

Civil War Trivia
1. Charleston, SC; 2. Battle of Antietam; 3. Georgia; 4. thirteenth; 5. Montgomery, AL; 6. New York City; 7. Gettysburg.

Who's Older Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Oprah Winfrey; 2. David Letterman; 3. Derek Jeter; 4. Stephen King; 5. Al Pacino; 6. Paul McCartney; 7. George W. Bush; 8. P. Diddy; 9. Christina Aguilera; 10. Sharon Stone.

General Knowledge
1. Bill Cosby; 2. one hundred; 3. United States; 4. Sunday; 5. Bolivia; 6. Jennifer Lopez; 7. "The Day The Earth Stood Still."

IQ Trivia
1. Wyoming; 2. D-Day Invasion of Normandy; 3. "Mull of Kintyre;" 4. Iceland; 5. Gene Autry.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Take My Fifth Starter. Please.

Right now, I'd trade Daisuke Matsuzaka for a used ball bag and a few broken bats.

And I'd consider it an upgrade.

The team with the worst offense in baseball after nine games, the Tampa Bay Rays, gets healthy in a hurry against the onetime phenom, nailing him for seven runs in the first two innings. As the great Warner Wolf used to say, "You could turn your sets off there." I'm sure many did.

16-5. Totally embarrassing, in a season that has had too many embarrassments already.

Why do I have the feeling the Red Sox now have TWO starting pitchers they are stuck with and couldn't give away at a yard sale?

2-8 now. It's getting late awfully early in Boston.

Playoff Teams That Started April Slowly

My friend Adam sent me a good email today about good MLB teams that started slowly to begin a season that actually finished strong and made the playoffs in the last decade. Check this out:

The two teams that swept the Sox to start the season--Texas and Cleveland--are a combined 15-3. Maybe those teams are just hot right now. Also, the Sox may be 2-7, but they're only 4 games out of 1st place (with 153 games to go). Some teams start slowly. Here's a list of AL teams since 2001 that have started slowly and made the playoffs:

2009 Angels – April record 9-12; final record 97-65
2007 MFY – April record 9-14; final record 94-68
2006 Twins – April record 9-15; final record 96-66
2005 MFY – April record 10-14; final record 96-67 (they were even 8-11 against TB, the last-place team)
2002 A’s – 25-28 after May; final record 103-59
2002 Angels – 11-14 after April; final record 99-63
2001 A’s – April record 8-17; final record 102-60

Here's the Red Sox' remaining games in April: 3 v. TB; 4 v. Toronto; 2 @ Oakland; 4 @ LA; 3 @ Baltimore; 2 v. Seattle. The Sox should be around .500--give or take a game or two--by the end of the month.

My friend Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times has an interesting article today on his site about a number of anniversaries happening today, including the 50th anniversary of the debut of Carl Yastrzemski.

And a Happy 39th birthday to another Red Sox Captain, Jason Varitek, as well.

Chris also has another good article about the rise of retired numbers. Definitely worth a read.

Sesquicentennial Trivia On Tuesday

The Special Category for this week's Trivia Night is "Civil War Trivia." This Tuesday marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the war with the firing on Fort Sumter (pictured). So we will do seven questions connected to one of the worst calamities in our country's history.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Who's Older Trivia," the category we didn't do last week because of the late start. I will give you two celebrities (most of whom are connected in some way) and you tell which one has been on this planet longer.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What actor portrayed Cliff Huxtable on TV?

We will get rolling at 9 PM this week, and we will only have a Red Sox game on (against the Rays), but no Celtics game like last week. We shouldn't be delayed again, and I hope to see many of you on Tuesday night.


Nice to see the Josh Beckett of the 2007 postseason pitching Sunday night, and he held New York to just 2 hits and no runs over eight innings. He retired the last 14 New York hitters, and brought back pleasant memories of both the 2003 and 2007 playoffs.

Always nice to take a series off the Yankees, especially when Joba Chamberlain proves to be the scrub pitcher he really is and gives up key runs.

The Sox left runners absolutely everywhere and continue to struggle to get the big hit, but you can just sense an offensive bust-out is about to happen throughout this lineup.

Now if we can get more performances like Beckett's tonight on a consistent basis, this opening week horror show of a losing streak will be a distant memory.

I like the fact the Red Sox locked up Clay Buchholz earlier today to a four-year deal worth a total of $29.7 million. Despite the slow start, he is one of the AL's best pitchers and in the long run this will prove to be a wise move.

Saw this commercial with Alec Baldwin for New Era tonight for the first time. Pretty cool actually, but I do have one question.

Who exactly is John Krasinski? He looks familiar to me. (My friend Ken informs me he is on the TV show "The Office." Don't really watch that show, and I know I'm one of the few folks who doesn't.)

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Pitch Better

Another ugly Red Sox loss on Saturday, and thankfully, another one I did not witness.

I went to the Statue of Liberty with my British friends, sightseeing once again. (Boy, the security to get on the boat is enormous, like going through airport security. Did everything but take off my shoes. It had been nearly 20 years since I saw the great statue up close.) So I am glad I was once again away from my TV set, and checked the cell all game.

The news was rotten most of the day. The Sox pitching continues to be atrocious, and they gave up four New York home runs, and lead the AL with 19 allowed. They have had one terrific start (Jon Lester's last Thursday), and seven that have left a whole lot to be desired. The starters team ERA is now over 9.00 not counting Lester's gem. Stinko.

1-7 now, and I saw a great stat the other day. With all the worrying about the team's putrid beginning of 2011, a friend of mine pointed out that the 2001 Oakland A's began that year 2-10, and finished the season at 102-60, winning the Wild Card. (They settled for the Wild Card because the Seattle Mariners won an AL record 116 games that year. A record that will forever be a footnote, as they lost to New York in the ALCS that year.)

Sure it's a rotten way to begin a campaign, but don't listen to the so-called experts who talk incessantly about "how no team has ever won a World Series starting off 0-6." That's because the overwhelming number of teams beginning that way were putrid teams. This Sox team is many things, but certainly not putrid. Do you really think either Baltimore or Toronto will have a better record than the Sox in September? New York is really the only team in the AL East the Red Sox will be challenged by this year, and they haven't put up any kind of insurmountable lead.

Just pitch better, baby.

Friday, April 08, 2011

So Long, Manny

I was surprised. And I wasn't surprised.

I heard the other day that Manny Ramirez had a "personal issue" to deal with and miss the Rays game in Chicago on Thursday. And as I was checking the scores on my cell on Friday afternoon and the Red Sox were about to clinch their first win of 2011, I saw a blurb that said that Manny was retiring, because of a "drug issue."

Yes, Manny failed yet another drug test, and he was going to have to serve a 100-game suspension, due to fact he got nailed on one in 2009.

So the best way for Manny to avoid it was to hang it up. (Should he ever try a comeback, Ramirez would have to serve the 100-game suspension first. So I have to believe this is it for him.)

Over the next few days, there will be a plethora of articles about Manny, everything from his great accomplishments, crazy excesses to the real lowlights of what should have been a stellar career.

For me, I'll remember him being an integral part of the 2004 season and two Red Sox championships. High-fiving the fan in Baltimore. Carrying an American flag on the field at Fenway with him when he became an American citizen in 2004. Disappearing into the Green Monster and almost missing a pitch. Cutting off a Johnny Damon relay throw in the outfield in 2004. The great catch in Yankee Stadium in 2004, stealing a homer from Miguel Cairo, and the look on Cairo's face after he did it. The way he and David Ortiz terrorized Yankee pitching during the two championship years. Hitting a bomb off Francisco Rodriguez to win Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS. Hitting the first pitch he saw in a Sox uniform in 2001 at Fenway for a home run.

He leaves with an incredibly mixed legacy. Picking a fight with Kevin Youkilis in the dugout one night, and with the team traveling secretary over tickets. Deliberately striking out against Mariano Rivera in a critical game against New York. The many times he never hustled.

I can't help but think Manny has totally blown what should have been a Hall of Fame career with these two failed drug tests. But I wonder if the Hall of Fame really means anything to him.

Whatever. He's still One of The 25.

Thanks for 2004, Manny. And 2007.

And ten million other memories.

Undefeated At Home

Never has a "W" looked so good in April. Great to hear the crowd was fully behind the Sox during pregame introductions. (As if there was really any doubt about that.)

Here's a streak to be proud of: The Red Sox have now won seven straight home openers.

So now is there any way we can get John Lackey off this team?

1-6. Now sweep the bastards.

From The Sage Second Baseman

Dustin Pedroia:

"It'll be good to have someone cheering for us for a change. You're either two feet in now or you're two feet out. Let us know now, because we're coming."

The Mighty Dustin always makes me feel better.

The Red Sox made some bullpen changes, as they brought up Felix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves today, and put Matt Albers on the disabled list and designated Dennys Reyes for assignment.

Yep, hitting two batters and walking another in the same inning is a sure sign your walking papers are not far behind.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

I Wanted To Jump

OK, let me get the facts straight.

The Boston Red Sox were just swept by the awful Cleveland Indians, the finale in a game that was their best pitched game so far. But the offense didn't show up yet again, and they managed just four hits against a pitcher that gave up TEN runs on Opening Day in less than four innings. And they couldn't score a single run against this guy?

0-6. Good God. It's now the worst start since World War II. They managed just five runs in three games against one of the AL's weaker pitching staffs. They are hitting .181 for the season.

I was with some British friends today, on the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building when I got the news of loss number six. I thought that jumping could end a lot of misery right now.

This is simply beyond embarrassing now. The albatross gets bigger, the awful start becomes more and more of a story, and now New York comes to town, and who do they face first? John Lackey.

I'm heading back to the Empire State Building.

Another lackluster effort tomorrow like the three we saw in Cleveland, and you may see something you don't see often at Fenway: the home side getting roundly booed, whether they deserve it or not.

I really pray that scenario doesn't happen.

My friend Don, a devoted Sox fan from Canada, wrote this on Facebook after the Texas sweep:

Bill Lee was on the radio Friday night saying that he had spent a couple of weeks around the Red Sox camp in Florida and felt that too many of the players were more interested in the tee times than in preparing for the season. He didn't have a lot of good things to say about Papelbon either. Maybe they shouldn't have been reading the press clippings.

Didn't think much of it at the time, but now it makes me wonder.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

It Hasn't Killed Us, So We Must Be Stronger

In the immortal words of one Archie Bunker, "Patience is a virgin."

And my patience is being sorely tested right now.

0-5. Dropping series to lowly also-rans like the Cleveland Indians at ANY time of year is galling, but doing it when your win column still says zero really makes me want to puke.

File this under "Keeping the Troops' Morale Up":

With the poor Sox hitting lately, my friend Adam pointed this out to me today. The 2003 Red Sox, the best offensive Red Sox team in our lifetime, was shut out 5 times, held to 1 run 12 times, and were held to 2 runs 12 times, and still managed to score 961 runs. They also made some lousy pitchers such as Brett Myers, Doug Davis, John Thomson, Rodrigo Lopez, and Victor Zambrano look like Cy Young. They also lost 5 straight in one stretch; 4 straight in another, and had more than one 3-game losing streak and still managed 95 wins. And missed the World Series by just one stupid managerial decision.

We got a long road to haul guys. Hell, we can still go 157-5.

But stay away from bridges and sharp objects for the time being.

Sorry Colonel, I'm Strapped

Got this in my email this morning. Guess who's asking me for money? (BTW, didn't I hear Pineapple Face has like $30 billion hidden away somewhere? And he's asking ME to help him get $98 million?)

I'm Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the embattled Libyan President. Due to the inspired revolts in my country which led to the intervention of the International community on the 18th of March 2011, I have decided to proceed on political exile. Thus, I have a very desperate need for your assistance to help me receive the sum of US$98,000,000 to enable me leave the country immediately. Please respond ASAP for details. Email:

Yours Sincerely, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi

Spring Training's Over, Guys

0-4. First time since 1996. (I'm seeing that awful year more and more lately with regard to the Red Sox. That has to stop.)

It's one thing to lose a series to a team flying the "2010 American League Champions" banner. It's another to lose to the Immortal Josh Tomlin, and the Cleveland Indians, who won't be flying a championship banner over Jacobs Field (I still call it that) after this season.

Next to nobody witnessed last night's win, 3-1, by the Tribe. (It sure reminded me of the bad old days during the Mistake By The Lake years.) I'm glad my Trivia Night kept me away from watching most of it. Josh Beckett wasn't awful, but he wasn't great either, going five innings, throwing 108 pitches on a cold night.

Four bloody hits as well. I'll take the optimistic route and say that someone shortly will get the wrath of the Red Sox lineup.

And hopefully quite soon.

Like starting tonight, maybe?

Trivia Q&A: April 5

We had one of the biggest crowds of the year on Tuesday night, as there was both a Red Sox and Celtics game on. (And the Sox melted against the Immortal Josh Tomlin. More on that in the next post.) 22 teams came in, and because of the crowd size, we had to wait until about 9:30 PM to start, so we bumped The Q Train for this week, but it should return next week.

Nice to see old friends Andrea, Chris and Dave back for Trivia Night. Haven't seen either in a very long time. Informed everyone of Chris Wertz' departure from Thom's at the start of the night. Many already knew, and he would have been proud of the smattering of applause he received.

The scores on General Knowledge were a little bit lower, as I did include a few tougher questions in there. (The high score was 9, as I can't remember the last time the high score was below double figures.)

But we did have two perfect scores in IQ Trivia, and one of them, the team of Schiff Is The Pitcher came from third place to win by three points with 38. Second place went to If The Balls Don't Shrink, You Must Acquit, with third place to We'd Like "Good Luck, Emily" for 1600, Alex.

Best Team Name: My Girlfriend's a Midget, and I'm Nuts Over Her

Current Events
1. What famous music legend settled his recent legal troubles by pleading guilty to a charge of marijuana possession by paying a fine and agreeing to play a song in court?
2. What onetime sports star tried to fool everyone connected to a celebrity boxing match he was part of last week by sending his twin brother in his place, but the difference in their tattoos gave it away?
3. What western state executed a man last week by lethal injection after he was convicted of murdering two people in a convenience store in 1989?
4. MLB last week opened "The MLB Fan Cave" with two fans watching every MLB game in 2011 there and getting paid to do it. On the site of what onetime legendary NYC music store is the MLB Fan Cave located?
5. What pop/rock star suddenly canceled publication of his memoirs that was scheduled to be published in June after he completed writing them?
6. What US state is considering lowering the drinking age for US troops to 18?
7. What longtime TV actress will host a reality show on NBC next season featuring hidden cameras that shows senior citizens pulling pranks on younger people?

MLB Trivia
1. What MLB team plays its home games at Citizens Bank Park? a. Philadelphia Phillies; b. Pittsburgh Pirates; c. San Francisco Giants; d. Cleveland Indians.
2. Which NL team has won the most World Series, with 10 total? a. Los Angeles Dodgers; b. San Francisco Giants; c. St. Louis Cardinals; d. Cincinnati Reds.
3. What MLB player's jersey was the number one seller overall in 2010? a. Albert Pujols; b. David Ortiz; c. Joe Mauer; d. Derek Jeter.
4. What MLB player won a record 12 batting titles? a. Ty Cobb; b. Ted Williams; c. Tony Gwynn; d. Pete Rose.
5. Which team has gone the longest without winning the World Series? a. Cleveland Indians; b. Chicago Cubs; c. Chicago White Sox; d. Houston Astros.
6. Number one on a baseball diamond represents what position? a. pitcher; b. catcher; c. first base; d. left field.
7. Vin Scully is a legendary broadcaster for what MLB team? a. New York Yankees; b. Boston Red Sox; c. Los Angeles Dodgers; d. San Francisco Giants.

General Knowledge
1. What legendary rock band featured Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir as members? ( 1 pt)
2. What US state is called The Volunteer State? ( 1 pt)
3. In the film "2001: A Space Odyssey," the astronauts and the murderous computer HAL 9000 are on a mission to what planet? ( 1 pt)
4. Po is the longest river in what European country? ( 2 pt)
5. Which US president had a seven-seat hot tub installed on the White House lawn? ( 2 pt)
6. What is the largest city in population in the world that ends with the letter "I"? ( 2 pt)
7. Dragoon, Tumbler and Antwerp are all types of what? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Butler University is located in what major midwestern US city? ( 4 points)
2. In 1997, who was the first jazz musician to win a Pulitzer Prize? ( 4 points)
3. What actress accepted a Razzie Award for Worst Actress in 2005 while clutching her previously won Best Actress Oscar? ( 3 points)
4. In the 19th century, who was the last member of the House of Representatives elected President of the United States? ( 5 points)
5. What 20th century toy is based on a weapon used by 16th century Filipino hunters? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Willie Nelson; 2. Jose Canseco; 3. Arizona; 4. Tower Records; 5. Billy Joel; 6. Alaska; 7. Betty White.

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

General Knowledge
1. The Grateful Dead; 2. Tennessee; 3. Jupiter; 4. Italy; 5. Bill Clinton; 6. Shanghai; 7. pigeons.

IQ Trivia
1. Indianapolis; 2. Wynton Marsalis; 3. Halle Berry; 4. James Garfield; 5. yo-yo.

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Governor Has Left The Building

My buddy and Governor of Red Sox Nation for New York State, Chris Wertz, has officially left Professor Thom's to pursue other goals in his life, as of last Friday.

I'm going to miss him on Trivia Nights and during Red Sox games at Thom's, as Chris always made them more special.

Chris, who is still governor, talked about his departure on his blog today.

Your Lt. Governor will still be the Tuesday Night Trivia Maven.

Good luck, Chris.

America's Grand Old Game Featured This Week

This Tuesday night, we will feature as our Special Category, "Baseball Trivia," seven questions about America's Pastime in honor of the start of the 2011 season this past weekend. And for those of you not big baseball fans, the questions will all be multiple choice.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Who's Older Trivia." I will give you two current celebrities (many of whom are connected in some way) and you will tell me which one is the older of the two.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What legendary rock band featured Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir as members?"

We will get going at 9 PM on Tuesday night. I will have two special friends of mine from England, who are on vacation here in New York, with me as my assistants this week, and I hope you will make them feel at home at Thom's on Tuesday. There will also be the first Red Sox game of 2011 on the screens as well, but we should get going at the regular time. I hope to see many of you tomorrow night.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

We've Been In 0-3 Holes Before

I'll do my best to forget this lost weekend in Texas.

Before I do:

9 home runs allowed by Red Sox starters (4 by Clay Buchholz in Sunday's 5-1 loss), 11 homers by the staff, almost no clutch hitting, Jonathan Papelbon up to his old tricks in the 8th, allowing a run and loading the bases with no outs before striking out the side.

Take nothing away from the Texas Rangers. They outscored the Sox, 26-11, and outplayed them in all facets of the game all weekend and lived up to their defending American League Champions title.

We've been in 0-3 holes before as you know. (Last time in the regular season: 1996. Postseason: 2004.)

Hopefully the Red Sox show up in Cleveland against the Indians on Tuesday night.

They sure as hell didn't in Arlington this past weekend.

Strange Logic

Mohammed Al-Fayed, owner of Fulham of the English Premiership League, has erected a statue of Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage in London, Fulham's home park.

Jackson was buddies with the owner, and attended one match there in 1999.

That was his complete resume with the team. Nothing else. Didn't own the team. Wasn't any type of benefactor. Nothing.

So, let's build a statue for him. And Al-Fayed's not happy with Fulham fans who are critical of it. Here's the story from The New York Times.

By that logic, shouldn't George Steinbrenner have erected a statue of Richard Nixon in front of Yankee Stadium?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Stealing The Red Sox Money

No, I'm not talking about Ben Affleck and his cohorts did in "The Town."

Tonight's start by John Lackey: 3 2/3 innings, nine earned runs. Can't describe Lackey's Red Sox career so far any better than the title of this post.

0-2. And another crappy start to begin 2011. (I'm not worried about Jon Lester. April is never his month. He'll be fine.)

I'd really like to know what Terry Francona was thinking making this stiff the number two starter. I don't mean to second-guess Tito (actually I am), but isn't Clay Buchholz higher on the depth chart right now than Lackey?

The Red Sox are stuck with Lackey for this year and three more seasons, through 2014. (He's bringing back bad memories of Matt Clement.)

And Lackey's next start: the home opener against New York next Friday.


Today Is World Autism Awareness Day

April is Autism Awareness Month, and today is World Autism Awareness Day.

I have two beautiful nephews, Joe and Matt, who are afflicted with this condition.

Wear blue today in honor of those who afflicted and those who care for them.

The Empire State Building and many other buildings will be lit up with blue to show their support.

Here's more from Autism Speaks.

There Goes Another Undefeated Season

Well, Jon Lester always does start out slow.

I caught the first three inning of yesterday's 2011 opener in Texas with my compadres at Professor Thom's before having to go to work last night, and followed the rest on my cell phone. I saw the best of the Red Sox before I left.

Adrian Gonzalez had two hits and three RBI in his two at-bats. And for those of you who had him in the "Who Will Steal the First Red Sox Base of 2011" pool, you won. (And it was his first theft since April 2009, and second in his career). But it was a forgettable start for Carl Crawford, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and left runners in scoring position each time.

Lester was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but gave up a home run to Ian Kinsler, the first batter he faced, and I had a feeling it wouldn't be his day. He gave up three home runs in 5 1/3 innings, the first time he has ever given up three in a game. He walked one and didn't strike out a batter. April has never been Lester's month in his career so far.

David Ortiz hit a home run in the eighth to tie the game at 5, but Daniel Bard got torched in the bottom of the inning, giving up a cheap RBI double to David Murphy, and back-to-back RBI doubles to Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton. That made it the final, 9-5.

It was the first time the Red Sox have lost their opener since 2007. And I think we all know how that season finished.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Lou Gorman: 1929-2011

My deepest sympathies to family and friends of Lou Gorman, the former Red Sox general manager who passed away today at the age of 82.

He will long be remembered as the architect of the team that came within one out of the World Series championship in 1986. He had previously worked with the Mets, Orioles, Royals and Mariners before becoming Red Sox as GM in 1984, a post he held until 1993, when he was succeeded by Dan Duquette.

He was also a gentleman, and was a beloved figure around the Red Sox long after he left as GM.

On a personal note, I had the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Gorman by phone a few years ago in an interview about his book "One Pitch From Glory: A Decade of Running the Red Sox." He was a very amiable man to talk with. But boy was he animated when I brought up the Jeff Bagwell trade! He laid out in vivid detail why he made it, and would do it again. (BTW, the book is very good, and he has some eye-opening things to say about the 1986 World Series loss. Definitely pick it up if you get the chance.)

Thanks for the memories, Mr. Gorman.