Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One-Third The Way Done

The 2011 season is now 1/3 completed for the Red Sox, and it fell on Memorial Day. They are 30-24 at this juncture. They are on a pace to win 90 games, but I think if they avoid losing 10 of 12 twice more, they should easily reach 90 wins.

Jon Lester clearly didn't have it last night, and he struggled mightily in Chicago's 7-3 win. He threw a season-high 127 pitches, and Terry Francona is surely facing criticism from many quarters as to why he left him in the 6th inning with the bases loaded and two outs and the score tied.

Lester's final pitch of the night was a bloop double that brought in two runs by Alexei Ramirez. Dan Wheeler came and immediately gave up a two-run single to Carlos Quentin.

Adrian Gonzalez hit his 10th home run of 2011 off former Padres teammate Jake Peavy. Dustin Pedroia singled in two runs and that sums up the Red Sox highlights for the night.

New York won in Oakland so the Red Sox are tied for first place in the AL East.

Monday, May 30, 2011


The Red Sox split the two games they played on Sunday. And I'll take it.

David Ortiz hit his first pinch-hit home run since 2003 in the ninth inning of Game 1 to give the Sox a 4-3 win in the opener. Six innings from Clay Buchholz, and he left the game tied at 3 after giving up a two-run shot to Brennan Boesch. He had back tightness and a blister on his toe, but is expected to make his next start on Friday against the A's.

They ran into a buzzsaw in Game 2 in Justin Verlander, and got just four hits in getting shutout, 3-0. Josh Beckett struggled through six innings, but allowed just two runs.

Can't say I was too distraught over it, as they completed taking three of four in Detroit, and a 5-2 road trip.

The Red Sox are one game up on New York and 1 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay, and they return home to face the White Sox tonight. Jon Lester goes for his 8th win.

And a Happy and Blessed Memorial Day to you all, especially to those who serve and their families.

Trivia's Back On Tuesday (At Least For This Week)

Trivia Night returns to its regularly scheduled day and time this Tuesday, May 31st at 9 PM. We've been moved around due to the Boston Bruins and their successful playoff run. But it will be nice to return to Tuesdays for a change.

And this Tuesday, the Special Category will be "1990s Trivia," seven questions about the final decade of the 20th century. The Q Train lightning round will be a category we haven't done in a while: "Dead or Alive Trivia." I will give you the names of ten famous celebrities and you have to tell me if they are still walking this earth or not right now.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What is the last letter of the Greek alphabet?

And just when you thought it was safe to return to Tuesday nights, we have to shift again next week, once again due to the Bruins Stanley Cup Finals appearance, and the Red Sox series with the Yankees. Game 3 of the Finals will be Monday, and the Sox take on the Yankees Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. So that means that we will have Trivia Night that week on Sunday night, June 5th, at a special time of 8 PM. We had some positive feedback last week with that special time last Thursday, so I hope many of you can come out on Sunday night, as well as this coming Tuesday at 9.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Hate Day-Night Doubleheaders

The Red Sox-Tigers Saturday night game was rained out tonight (I wouldn't have seen it here in NYC anyway because of inane Fox and their regional coverage), and it will be made up tomorrow as part of a doubleheader.

No, not a single admission DH, but one of those asinine "day-night" doubleheaders. Game 1 starts at 1PM, while the second will begin at 7.

And there's a BIG problem with that, Sox fans. Game 2 will be the first Red Sox game in nearly ten years that will NOT be broadcast anywhere.

No, not in Boston, New York, Detroit or anywhere else. NESN can't show it. Fox Sports Detroit can't show it.

It is another of those idiotic rules baseball has for TV. ESPN has "exclusive" rights to the 8 PM game on Sundays (and that time is still too late to begin a game on a Sunday night, so don't get me started on that subject). No game that starts less than three hours before ESPN's game begins can be broadcast, even into the clubs' own home markets.

Having day-night doubleheaders at all is just milking the fans in my opinion. Owners trying to squeeze every last buck out of the fans. When there is a single-admission DH, it is always a rare thing now. (And of course, no one even schedules doubleheaders anymore.) I would love to see a rule made that every team can only have ONE split-admission doubleheader per season. Every other one must be single admission.

I know. I'm dreaming.

And if something special happens in Sunday's second game (a no-hitter, a triple play, someone hits four home runs, etc.), it won't be recorded for posterity.

Is it really asking too much to play a "classic" doubleheader tomorrow, guys? If they had scheduled the second game to follow Game 1 directly, it would be on the local TV outlets.

ESPN Ruins Baseball, too.

UPDATE: The second game of today's day-night DH WILL be broadcast on NESN tonight at 7 PM. Enough Red Sox fans complained, and MLB and ESPN gave in. If the weather cooperates, New England will see Game 2.

Yankees of England Go Belly Up

European Champions League Final from Wembley: Barcelona 3, Manchester United 1.

So United, take your 19 English championships, your arrogance and entitled attitude and shove 'em.

Nice work, Barca.

Go Liverpool.

Alone Again (In First). Naturally.

Another night. More runs.

Once again courtesy of the red-hot Carl Crawford.

He and Jacoby Ellsbury both took Rick Porcello over the wall as the Red Sox whipped up on the Tigers, 6-3. It was a two-run shot, and Crawford is now 9 for his last 12 at the plate.

Tim Wakefield, who will pitching in MLB long after I meet my Maker, went seven strong innings, allowed two early runs, and struck out two. It was win number 181 in a Red Sox uniform for Wake. Just 11 away from the club record.

He and Alfredo Aceves have been some 4-5 starting combo since John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka hit the DL. They are 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in their last four starts combined. Nobody's in a rush to see Lackey or Dice-K any time soon.

It's now 12 of 14 for the Sox (and the two losses were the 8th inning meltdowns to the Cubs and Indians). New York lost to Seattle last night 4-3, as the Mariners scored all their runs on infield groundouts. Sox lead New York by 1 and Tampa Bay (who won) by 1 1/2.

Clay Buchholz takes the mound in Detroit tonight at 7, in a game I can't see because as usual "Fox Ruins Baseball" and hijacked it for their regional prime-time coverage.

And good luck to Bill Buckner, who debuted as Brockton Rox manager on Thursday night, and Billy Buck's boys got a 3-1 win.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Talk about kicking ass and taking names.

The Red Sox were doing it once again on Thursday afternoon in Detroit, as like on Wednesday against the Indians in Cleveland, they laid two touchdowns on the Tigers. 14-1.


Carl Crawford had his second straight four-hit game, had another triple and three RBI as the Red Sox scored five in the second on Max Scherzer and never looked back. Alfredo Aceves was very good, going six innings, allowing just the one run and struck out six. Not bad for a number 7 starter.

Jacoby Ellsbury blasted his fifth home run of 2011, and newly-called up Josh Reddick (Darnell McDonald went on the DL with a quad injury) had three hits and three RBI (and nice to see him wearing a more normal number now: 16).

The only thing I was afraid of was the weather calling the game before five innings. But the rain held off until the 8th and the game was called after 7 1/2 innings.

OK, technically the Red Sox aren't in first, as New York is two percentage points ahead. But the Sox have more wins then they do (28-27) and only the Indians (30) have more than the Red Sox right now in the AL.

And the Red Sox are NO games back right now.

Let the carnage continue.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Two Touchdowns

I worked as an extra on "Boardwalk Empire" on Wednesday at Ft. Tilden Park in Rockaway (playing a veteran of the Spanish-American War; it was a cool gig), so I missed all of the Red Sox-Indians finale at Cleveland on Wednesday.

It was another one of those days where I checked my cell phone for updates. As lunch was getting started, I saw the Red Sox were up 2-0. When lunch was finished, I saw they were up 7-0, having scored all the runs in the first inning!

I've got a good feeling about this, I thought.

I didn't check again until the game had ended, and it was a 14-2 rout.

The Bomb Squad was out for the Red Sox, with Dustin Pedroia (two hits in the first innings including the dinger), Carl Crawford (who also had four hits), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (boy is he hot right now) and David Ortiz all going over the wall.

Every starter had at least two hits except Jed Lowrie, who went o-for-5.

Jon Lester went six innings, allowed just three hits and struck out seven in getting his seventh win.

Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew did not play, and Youk says he will play against the Tigers in Detroit on Thursday afternoon. New York's win kept the Red Sox 1/2 game back in second place after today's romp.

Let's Go Back To The '80s On Thursday

We're having a special Thursday edition of Trivia Night on Thursday, and at a special time of 8 PM. And our Special Category that night will be "1980s Trivia," seven questions about that decade we all miss. And the category will be multiple choice as well, especially for those of you who don't miss it at all.

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

The Sneak Peek question is:
Which of New York City's boroughs has the largest current population?

We get going at 8 PM. Just doing something different this week. There are no Bruins playoff games or even a Red Sox game, as they play in Detroit that afternoon. So I hope many of you can make it out on this special night.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Finally, A Win In Cleveland

Josh Beckett brought back some very pleasant memories of the 2007 ALCS with a terrific performance over the Indians in Cleveland, as the Red Sox went on to a 4-2 win. It was the first Red Sox win over the Tribe in Cleveland this year after four straight losses there.

Beckett went 6 2/3 innings, allowed just one run. The Tribe had runners on in every inning but one, but Beckett was his steely self and allowed just a single run in the second. He struck out six and walked three.

The big blow of the game was Jason Varitek's home run in the seventh. It was a line shot that hit the foul pole and scored David Ortiz in front of him. Tek also had a fine night behind the plate, as he threw out two runners attempting to swipe second. (Haven't seen that in a mighty long time.)

Rich Hill was solid in relief of beckett, going 1 1/3 innings and allowed just one baserunner. Jonathan Papelbon allowed a solo home run in the ninth, but got his ninth save of 2011.

The Sox have now won 9 of 11 and remain 1/2 game back as New York won, but Tampa Bay's loss puts the Sox now in second place.

Dustin Pedroia sat out tonight's game but figures to play in the series finale against the Indians on Wednesday.

And Dennis Eckersley, never one who is shy about expressing his opinions, had some choice words for A's closer Brian Fuentes, who did a big time rip job on Oakland manager Bob Geren.

Play Golf With Tek This July

Jason Varitek will once again host his "Celebrity Putt Putt" fundraiser this coming July 21st, to benefit Journey Forward, to help those people with spinal injuries.

It is being held on July 21st at Athletic Evolution in Woburn, MA. Tickets are $50 and with that you get a photograph with The Captain himself. There will be many Boston-oriented celebrities who will join Tek that day.

Here's more information about the event from Journey Forward, and you can purchase tickets there as well.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm Officially Worried About Daniel Bard

There goes another opportunity to go into first place.

Clay Buchholz pitched a splendid game tonight in Cleveland, as he held the Indians to one run over seven innings, but the bullpen cost him the game as Daniel Bard blew another save, and it wound up 3-2 Tribe.

Buchholz allowed just a home run to the red-hot Asdrubal Cabrera, but Cabrera had three hits on the night, including the game-winning hit in the eighth off Bard. It was Bard's fourth loss of 2011.

A golden opportunity went for nothing in the ninth, as Carl Crawford, who his his second homer of 2011 earlier, did the worst thing he could do with first and third and one out. He hit a hard ground ball at second base, and it was turned into an easy DP.

Just like Saturday night, the Red Sox entered the 8th inning with a lead and an opportunity to go into first, but another horrible outing by the bullpen cost them dearly. I know Terry Francona has done his best to keep Bard's inning total down, but he maybe suffering from overuse right now. With the exception of Jonathan Papelbon, this pen is really a sore spot this season.

That's the fourth straight loss by the Sox to the Indians in Cleveland, who have MLB's best home record.

New York and Tampa Bay both lost, so the Sox remain 1/2 game back.

Dustin Pedroia left the game with some kind of left leg injury (I was praying it had nothing to do with his injured foot of last season) in the 8th inning after stumbling rounding second base (Pete Abrham of the Boston Globe later tweeted that it was just jammed and he's OK) , and the word on Daisuke Matsuzaka looks a lot worse. He's returned to Japan for "family business" and will be back in the US by the end of the month to be examined by Angels' team physician Lewis Yocum, a noted elbow specialist.

This smells like Tommy John surgery on the horizon.

A Reminder: Trivia Is On Thursday This Week

Just a reminder to all of you Trivia players out there that Trivia Night this week is Thursday, at a special time of 8 PM.

I won't be around tomorrow, as my role in "Boardwalk Empire" is scheduled to film on Tuesday.

The Sneak Peek and special categories will be posted here on Wednesday.

Trivia Night next week will be on Tuesday, May 31st at 9 PM, unless the Boston Bruins make it to the Stanley Cup Finals and have a game scheduled that night. If that happens, we will have Trivia on Monday night, May 30th at 9 PM.

Vintage Wake

Tim Wakefield gave the Red Sox and their bullpen a shot in the arm last night, as he pitched 6 2/3 innings of solid ball, allowing just one run as the Sox took the series from the Cubs, 5-1.

Adrian Gonzalez went 4-for-4, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit first third HR in four games and Kevin Youkilis drove in two runs to ice the game in the 8th.

But Wakefield was the story. Now the oldest player in baseball (and to ever wear a Red Sox uniform), he baffled the Cubs until the seventh inning, when he started to get hit hard. But it didn't tarnish a wonderful night for Wake, who picked up his 194th career win, and number 180 in a Red Sox uniform. He trails Cy Young and the Texas Con Man by 12 for the team record for wins.

The Sox have now won 8 of their last 9 and are 1/2 game behind New York and Tampa Bay. They start a seven-game road trip to Cleveland and Detroit tonight.

And some good news for you Nuf Ced McGreevy fans. A valuable photo of him that was stolen years ago from the Boston Public Library was recently found by an Iowa collector. Here's more from Hauls of Shame.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Post Non-Rapture Blues

On second thought, maybe I should thank Fox I missed Saturday's Red Sox-Cubs game.

I got home in time after softball to put on the radio with the Red Sox holding a 3-1 lead after the bottom of the 7th. Alfredo Aceves gave the Sox five solid innings and David Ortiz deposited a Carlos Zambrano pitch into the Monster seats.

Then came an absolute shitstorm of an eighth inning. Eight Chicago runs, three Red Sox errors (I am beginning to believe Jed Lowrie isn't a fulltime MLB shortstop), a big meltdown by Matt Albers (who has been generally good so far) as Daniel Bard got the night off after having a heavy workload the last few weeks.

The Red Sox would have gone into first place had they held the lead and won.

I finally got a chance to see the throwback uniforms on the ESPN highlights after the game was over. As Allan points out at Joy of Sox, they weren't the 1918 uniforms per se (of course, no teams wore numbers in 1918), but some of the Red Sox players liked them.

Allan also has a great column (via Nick Cafardo in the Globe) about the "quiet" that returned to Fenway last night with the 1918 throwback game, as a lot of the canned noise that assaults fans was noticeably missing. Let's hope the Red Sox do this return to baseball the way it was a little more often.

And my pal Jere has some great pix on the festivities last night as well, as he was there live and in person.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sox Enter Eternity Winning Seven Straight

The Red Sox pulled out the whoopin' sticks against the Cubs at Fenway, and won their seventh straight, 15-5.

Kevin Youkilis and Jarrod Saltalamacchia went deep, Adrian Gonzalez continued his torrent hitting and is up to a league-leading 41 RBI. Jacoby Ellsbury had two RBI, Dustin Pedroia scored three runs (pictured), and every starter but Mike Cameron had at least one hit. The Sox had 19 hits total.

Lots of Cubs fans in the house, as they travel to see their team as much as Red Sox fans see their team on the road as well. And they couldn't be happy seeing their team make four errors last night.

It's a good thing the Sox were scoring early and often, as Jon Lester didn't have it at all last night. he allowed five runs in six innings, and the Cubs had two men on in every inning he pitched. (And is it just me, or does Lester looked pissed off all the time on the mound now?) Scott Atchison actually got a save, as he pitched the last three innings, allowing just two Cub baserunners.

The Red Sox are now just 1/2 game out of first place, as Tampa Bay lost and the Mets beat the Yankees, 2-1, and pass them into second place. As we all know, the world is coming to an end tonight at 6 PM, so the Red Sox will enter Eternity with a better record than the Yankees.

Not bad for a team that started 2-10, and has gone 22-10 since.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fox Ruins Baseball #5482

I was really looking forward to tomorrow night's Red Sox-Cubs game at Fenway, as both teams will be wearing throwback uniforms of the 1918 World Series, when both teams met each other, with the Red Sox winning it in six games.

I saw it was a 7 PM start, so I thought I'd be checking it out on the MLB package. But then I discovered that Fox is once again having a prime-time baseball game on Saturday, and they hijacked both the Red Sox game and the Mets-Yankees game as well.

You what that means for us living in New York. No Red Sox game in those throwback unis.

Damned Fox. Thanks for nothing.

My First Pilgrimage To The Fens: 25 Years Ago Today

It was 25 years ago today that Yours Truly stepped foot into the Hallowed Grounds that is Fenway Park for the very first time.

Dates always stick with me, especially important dates like this one. 1986 was a very different time, and I got the tickets to that day's game in a way you couldn't get them today.

I worked at the Tower Records store in Greenwich Village at the time, and we had the ticket service known as Ticketron (later to become Ticketmaster). And back then you could buy tickets to events even outside the New York area that were also sold by Ticketron. And that's how I did it. Looked at the Red Sox schedule in late April and selected May 20 and 21 and bought the tickets right then and there. (Neither game was close to a sellout, so there were no problems there.)

It was a Tuesday and Wednesday night, games against the Minnesota Twins. And the first game was a great pitching matchup: Roger Clemens (who had set the MLB record of 20 strikeouts in a game three weeks earlier) against future Red Sox hurler Frank Viola. I sat between home and first base about midway up. I couldn't believe how great the seats were, and I'll never forget the feeling of coming down the runway for the very first time and seeing the Green Monster live and in person. It was a transcendental experience to be sure.

The first batter I saw at the plate that night was a future Hall of Famer, the great Kirby Puckett. Yes, he was a leadoff batter back then. (And if the Texas Con Man wasn't stupid enough to take the roids, I could say the first matchup I ever saw at Fenway was two future Hall of Famers.) He flied out to right.

The Sox came out smoking against Viola. The first six men who came to bat all reached base, and all scored. Viola was gone before he ever got an out, the worst outing of his MLB career.

It was basically a comfortable night for Clemens and the Sox. Clemens wasn't sharp, and allowed home runs to Gary Gaetti and Greg Gagne (they were both blasts over the Monster, especially the one hit by Gaetti). It was 13-5 Red Sox by the time he departed after seven innings.

I'll never forget the booing by the 20,000+ Sox fans that Bob Stanley received when entered in the 8th. And then he allowed a two-run shot to Gaetti for his second HR of the night (and the Fenway Faithful really let him have it).

But my most vivid memory of the night was when Wade Boggs came up in the 7th with the bases loaded and the Red Sox leading 15-5. He was 5-for-5 on the night and another would tie the record for hits in a nine-inning game. And Boggs hit a hard grounder to first that went right through first baseman Mickey Hatcher's legs and scored the final two runs for the Red Sox on the night. And when an "E-3" went up on the scoreboard, the whole park booed resoundly. But it was an error and Boggs was denied immortality. The final score: 17-7.

I took a good look at the Baseball-Reference boxscore of the game, and a few observations on my first Fenway game:

-Kirby Puckett left the game after the game was put on ice, and who replaced him in center? Current Oakland A's GM Billy Beane.

-Red Sox catcher that night was the immortal Marc Sullivan. The onetime owner's son, who couldn't hit his hat size, had three hits that night.

-The mopup man that night for the Twins was former Yankee hurler and father of Mets first baseman Ike Davis, Ron Davis.

-There were three future Red Sox players in the Twins' lineup that night: Viola, Gaetti and Tom Brunansky.

-The Twins played brutal defense, and made five errors. Only two of the 17 runs were unearned.

-The Twins had one future manager on their roster who did not play that night: current Rangers skipper Ron Washington.

-The Red Sox were two games up on the Yankees in the AL East going into that game. New York lost to Oakland that night. The Red Sox would hold first place the rest of 1986.

It was quite a memorable night that night. The next night the Red Sox won, 3-2, and I sat through 3 hours worth of rain delays, with the final pitch thrown just after 1 AM. I sat behind the Red Sox dugout with about 200 other fans who stayed until the very end that night.

I can't believe 25 years could go by so fast.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Third Time In May Is a Charm For Carl

It was a night of a big time pitching matchup at Fenway Park on Thursday night, with Josh Beckett taking on Justin Verlander, who recently no-hit the Toronto Blue Jays.

Beckett went six innings and allowed just one run before leaving with neck tightness. Verlander allowed home runs to J.D. Drew and David Ortiz (both bombs to right). But he did strike out 9, and went eight innings.

Beckett was succeeded in the 7th by Matt Albers, who allowed just a single. But Beckett's good work was wiped out in a flash by Daniel Bard, who gave up back to back shots to Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera to start the eighth.

And it looked like the Old Devil Bullpen would strike again in the ninth, as Jonathan Papelbon did another tightrope walk, allowing two singles and a walk with one out. But he did the same thing he did last night, striking out the last two hitters to end the ninth. This time the game was tied.

The Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth when Jed Lowrie hit a popup into short left that dropped in, but pinchrunner Jose Iglesias had to hold until it came down and was forced at home with the rare 7-2 forceout.

This set the stage for Carl Crawford, and he came through yet again, with a single to left center for his third game-winning hit this month and the Red Sox sixth straight victory. The Sox now trail the Rays by just 1 1/2 games.

After the game, the Red Sox signed Kevin Millwood to a minor-league contract and acquired lefty reliver Franklin Morales from Colorado for a player to be named later. He has a 3.85 ERA this season in 14 appearances.

Trading for Morales also means the end of the road for Hideki Okajima in Boston. He was designated for assignment to make room for Morales.

The Red Sox also optioned Jose Iglesias and Michael Bowden back to Pawtucket, and recalled infielder/outfielder Drew Sutton and activated Dan Wheeler from the DL.

Then Again, Maybe "The Bronx Bombers" Are Terrorists

In past years in this blog, I have done the odd comment about some of the really dumb "letters to the editor" I see in the local papers. I haven't been reading the papers much recently, but I did stumble across the "Voice of the People" column in today's New York Daily News saw this beauty about the recent Jorge Posada nonsense:

"I think the headline "Mad Bomber" (May 17), regarding Jorge Posada, was uncalled for. We don't need a terrific baseball player referred to as a terrorist."

Good lord. Where do I begin on this one? (I'll give the person a break and won't mention the person's name here who wrote this.) I guess we now have to stop referring to the Yankees as "The Bronx Bombers", the nickname they've had for decades, because we don't want to confuse them with terrorists, right?

The term "Mad Bomber" goes back to George Metesky, who planted crude bombs in places around New York City in the 1940s and '50s. (The book I have featured here is about the manhunt to get him.) Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica was referred to as "The Mad Bomber" in his AFL days, for his penchant for throwing deep passes, long "bombs." I don't remember anyone saying he was a terrorist.

"Mad Bomber" here can also be called "Angry Yankee", which was what the News headline was doing a takeoff on.

I have no idea if this person is a Yankee fan or not, but the letter smacks of PC to me. And I bet this person doesn't know the Yankees are known as "The Bronx Bombers."
It's too easy to say that all Yankee fans are idiots, so I won't say that.

Yep, love those letters to the editor. They never cease to entertain.

Two Over and Rolling

Five straight now for the Red Sox as they won in the rain and fog, 1-0.

Clay Buchholz was superb over seven innings, stranding the bases loaded once and throwing a career-high 127 pitches.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia accounted for all the offense needed, banging a ball off the wall driving in Carl Crawford from first in the eighth. Daniel Bard picked up the win and Jonathan Papelbon looked like the Pap of 2007 striking out the last two hitters with the tying run on third. That runner was Victor Martinez, who returned to Fenway and received a nice ovation from the fans in his first at-bat.

The word on Daisuke Matsuzaka's injury is that he might be out for at least month, and the possibility of Tommy John surgery is not out of the question.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Shot You In The Face"

Here's a funny clip from last night's "Late Show With David Letterman" featuring the great comedian Martin Short singing a song on piano called "Shot You In The Face" to the tune of "Candle In The Wind" about the Navy Seals killing Bin Laden:

Shuffling The Pitching Deck

The Red Sox put struggling starter John Lackey on the DL with an elbow strain the other day (probably more for his mind than his body, with his wife's cancer treatment currently going on), and they will put Daisuke Matsuzaka on the DL today as well. He's got a spained ligament in his right elbow.

The Red Sox have moved both Tim Wakefield and Alfredo Aceves into the rotation. Wake was supposed last night but the rainout will move him back to Sunday's game against the Cubs. Aceves will make his first start against the Cubs on Saturday.

The Sox also recalled Michael Bowden from Pawtucket to take Aceves' place in the pen, and Dan Wheeler will be activated from the DL later this week.

Clay Buchholz will make his scheduled start against Detroit tonight, once again should Mother Nature cooperate.

And Godspeed to probably the nicest man ever known as Killer, Harmon Killebrew, who died of cancer yesterday at the age of 74.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Gonzo Rampage Continues

It looked like a tough night last night. We had Trivia Night on a rainy Monday night, and that meant the crowds at Professor Thom's would be down (and they were). After I finished preparing for the night, it was already 2-0 Orioles in the bottom of the first.

It looked like The Evil Dice-K was back.

It didn't get any better. Terry Francona finally pulled the plug after he walked 7 in 4 1/3 innings. It was cold, it was raining, and it was 6-0 by the bottom of the sixth.

This looked like it was heading for the "L" column. After the great weekend sweep in New York, it looked like they would suffer a hangover against Baltimore.

But the Sox rallied for 5 in the 6th, but the Orioles got a run back in the 7th on Mark Reynolds' home run. The Sox wiped that out in the bottom of the inning on Jed Lowrie's triple and Jason Varitek's single.

It stayed 7-6 until the ninth, when with runners on first and second and one out, the hottest hitter on the planet, Adrian Gonzalez, stepped to the plate. You could feel this wouldn't end well for the O's.

And it didn't. Gonzo hit a high drive off his new best friend, the Green Monster, and both runs flew around to give the Red Sox a huge 8-7 win. A game they never had the lead until the final swing of the bat. Gonzalez had 3 RBI last night, and leads MLB with 37.

The Yankees blew another big lead last night at St. Pete, as the Rays came from 5-1 down to win, 6-5. Tampa Bay now has a three game lead over the Sox, New York and Toronto.

The Red Sox also decided to give John Lackey some time off, as he was placed on the DL before last night's game with an elbow strain. He's been going through some personal problems with his wife fighting cancer, so the time off may do him some good. Scott Atchison was recalled from Pawtucket last night and relieved Matsuzaka in the fifth inning.

Tim Wakefield gets the start tonight, should the weather cooperate.

Trivia Q&A: May 16

We had just 10 teams in on a special night of Trivia, with the Bruins playing on Tuesday night we had to move nights yet again. But it was nice to see a few of the regulars who were able to change their schedules and come on out.

The numbers were generally good all night long. We had perfect scores in every round but IQ Trivia. As the Red Sox were erasing a six-run deficit and were winning in their final at-bat, we had two teams tie with 39 points for the win after the final round. So we had to break the tie, and I took the ages of three celebrities we did in a category last month, and the team of Donald, We Hardly Knew Ye guessed correctly within 3 years of the answer, and wound up in the winners circle. Congrats to Emily and her friends.

Second place went to The Debt Ceiling, The Debt Ceiling, The Debt Ceiling Is On Fire and third place went to Something Something John Quinn..The Best Team Name, who finished just one point out of first.

Next week Trivia Night will take place on a Thursday night, May 26th, and at a special time of 8 PM. I will not be in the bar on Tuesday, and the Bruins will most likely have playoff games on Monday and Wednesday. So I hope to see many of you on that night.

Best Team Name: The Debt Ceiling, The Debt Ceiling, The Debt Ceiling Is On Fire

Current Events
1. What British comedian and actor recently revealed he is writing his memoirs for one reason only: to help fund his multi-million dollar divorce settlement from his third wife?
2. Queen Elizabeth II became the second-longest reigning monarch in British history, passing King George III. Who is the only monarch who served longer than her?
3. What onetime Saturday Night Live comedian will receive the 14th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center later this year?
4. What company purchased internet videophone service provider Skype for $8.5 billion last week?
5. What 33-year-old TV and movie actor was recently picked to replace Charlie Sheen on "Two and a Half Men?"
6. What media company trademarked the name "Seal Team Six" two days after special forces killed Bin Laden?
7. What New York Yankees player took himself out of a game with the Red Sox on Saturday before it started after his ego was hurt when he was supposed to bat ninth in the lineup?

1970s Trivia
1. What 1975 film won five Oscars, including Best Picture, Actor, Actress and Director?
2. Over 900 people committed suicide together in November 1978 in what South American country?
3. In 1975, what tennis star asked for political asylum in NYC while playing in the US Open?
4. What year in the 1970s did Elvis Presley die in?
5. What former governor served as Gerald Ford's vice-president, from 1974-1977?
6. The 1976 Summer Olympics were held in what North American city?
7. George Harrison organized two concerts at Madison Square Garden in NYC in 1971 to benefit the people of what Asian country?

Name The Century Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Fletcher Christian leads the mutiny on the Bounty.
2. Thomas Jefferson sends Lewis and Clark to explore the West.
3. The Boston Red Sox win the first World Series.
4. The Euro, the currency of the majority of EU countries, is established.
5. Vermont becomes the first state admitted to the Union after the Original Thirteen.
6. The US Census announces that the American Frontier had officially "closed."
7. Facebook is founded in Cambridge, MA.
8. Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the telephone.
9. Theodore Roosevelt wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
10. Dennis Tito, a multi-millionaire, becomes the first "space tourist," funding his own trip into space.

General Knowledge
1. What NBA Hall of Famer was nicknamed "Dr. J?" ( 1 pt)
2. Port-au-Prince is what Caribbean nation's capital? ( 1 pt)
3. What sign of the Zodiac is the Archer? ( 1 pt)
4. What film did Robert DeNiro win an Oscar for Best Actor? ( 2 pt)
5. The song "Memory" comes from what Broadway musical? ( 2 pt)
6. What European nation won soccer's World Cup in 2010? ( 2 pt)
7. What is a baby raccoon called? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. "The Faces" was the name of a group of five friends from what classic 1978 film? ( 4 points)
2. A dodecagon has how many sides? ( 4 points)
3. From what Shakespeare play is the character Shylock? ( 3 points)
4. Xylophobia is a fear of what outdoor objects? ( 5 points)
5. What 1970s TV sitcom actress won an Oscar in 1960 for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a prostitute? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. John Cleese; 2. Queen Victoria; 3. Will Ferrell; 4. Microsoft; 5. Ashton Kutcher; 6. Disney; 7. Jorge Posada.

1970s Trivia
1. "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest;" 2. Guyana; 3. Martina Navratilova; 4. 1977; 5. Nelson Rockefeller; 6. Montreal; 7. Bangladesh.

Name The Century Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 18 (1789); 2. 19 (1803); 3. 20 (1903); 4. 20 (1999); 5. 18 (1791); 6. 19 (1890); 7. 21 (2004); 8. 19 (1876); 9. 20 (1906); 10. 21 (2001).

General Knowledge
1. Julius Erving; 2. Haiti; 3. Sagittarius; 4. "Raging Bull;" 5. "Cats;" 6. Spain; 7. cub (I also accepted "kit").

IQ Trivia
1. "Saturday Night Fever;" 2. twelve; 3. "The Merchant of Venice;" 4. trees; 5. Shirley Jones.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Sweep. Simply Brilliant.

Oh, how I do enjoy the smell of Yankee schadenfreude in the morning.

The Red Sox hit the .500 mark for the first time in 2011 with a sweep of New York in the Bronx last night.

Jon Lester was rocked for 4 runs in the first two innings, as the Sox fell behind, 4-1. It looked like a long night was in store (and it was a 3:40 game), but Lester settled down and pitched scoreless baseball until he left in the sixth.

The Sox tagged Freddy Garcia for home runs from Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz. Jarrod Saltalamacchia added the final run in the 8th on another short-porch homer off the vastly overrated Joba Chamberlain.

Jorge Posada, after apologizing to his teammates for quitting on them on Saturday, pinch-hit in the 8th (and walked) and received an ovation from the Yankee fans who hadn't abandoned the place by then. On radio, Suzyn Waldman had another classic moment, blubbering when Posada came to the plate. Here is part of it from the Boomer & Carton Show on WFAN this morning. (It's a funny 10 minute clip, and the former BLOHARD pops up around the 5 minute mark.)

The Sox scored their sixth run on an error by Alex Rodriguez (pictured) in the 7th. (Does Slappy look like an old man more and more these days or what?) Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon shut down New York in the final two innings to cap the sweep, the first in the Bronx by the Red Sox since 2004. They are 18-10 (.643) since that disastrous 2-10 start to 2011.

BTW, I missed most of the top of the 1st inning (I wound up listening to most of the game on WTIC from Hartford), but my pal Jere describes in a post today what I missed, and it was ESPN showing the Bleacher Mutants doing their salute to each NYY player, and missing pitches. Even YES doesn't do that. And I would have been as mad as Jere was.

The Sox now trail the Yankees by one game and the Rays by three games in the ever-tightening AL East. They play the Orioles tonight at Fenway should the weather hold.

And should the game go on, it will also be the welcome return of our Red Sox Nation President, Jerry Remy, to the NESN booth.

Welcome back, RemDawg.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Some Good Reading On The Posada Meltdown

Two blogger friends of mine on opposite ends of the fence, Paul Sullivan and Lisa Swan, both have excellent takes on the weird and strange Jorge Posada saga that is unfolding in the Bronx.

I am of the opinion that Posada quit on his team by letting his ego get in the way of doing what was right for the team and bat 9th yesterday. He showed no class at all, and definitely took a page out of Manny Ramirez' playbook with his diva act.

Read this column by Sully, as a big a Red Sox fan as I am, at Sully Baseball.

And this one by Lisa at Subway Squawkers, who is as devoted a Yankee fan as I know.

Enjoy the Yankee schadenfreude, everyone.

Trivia's Back On Monday This Week

The Boston Bruins are in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and their Game 2 is Tuesday night at 8 PM. So we will have Trivia Night tomorrow night, May 16th at 9 PM.

The Special Category will be "1970s Trivia," seven questions about events of the decade a few of us still remember. The Q Train lightning round will be "Name The Century Trivia." I will give you ten events from history and you will tell me which century it occurred in, and the choices will be either the 18th, 19th, 20th or 21st centuries.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What NBA Hall of Fame player was nicknamed 'Dr. J?'"

I hope to see many of you on Monday night. Once again I thank you the many of you who adjust your schedules and come out on different days. And a head's up to all of you about the following week: Trivia Night will not be happening next Tuesday, May 24th either, as I will be away that day. We will announce what day Trivia will be happening that week during our Trivia Night tomorrow night. See you then.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Life Is Good At The Moment

The Red Sox take the series from the Yankees, 6-0.

Josh Beckett has now pitched 14 innings against New York this season, and has not allowed them an earned run. His ERA for 2011 is an astounding 1.75.

Adrian Gonzalez continued his "en fuego" act by blasting a three-run homer that iced the game in the 7th inning. He now has nine dingers on the season, and five in the last four games. Gonzalez now leads the league in RBI with 34. Dustin Pedroia added three hits and Jacoby Ellsbury drove in two runs.

The Sox are now 19-20, and trail Tampa Bay by 4 games.

And it was all bad news for the Yankees tonight. They didn't get a runner to third all night, Derek Jeter struck out to end the game, and Jorge Posada pulled a big time diva act by asking to be taken out of the game by manager Joe Girardi because Girardi had the gall to bat the worst regular batter in MLB this season in the 9th spot in the lineup. Talk about a guy who is NOT a team player at all, and begs out of a game against the club's biggest rival. Posada is going to get roasted in Sunday's NY papers.

Did I miss Jason Varitek's tantrums when Tito bats him ninth?

The Sox are now playing with the house's money, and Jon Lester pitches on Sunday night as the Red Sox go for the sweep in The House The Taxpayers Built.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Good Start To a Weekend In The Bronx

Huge, big time win in the Bronx on Friday night.

Adrian Gonzalez is unstoppable, blasting yet another home run, his sixth in the past week.

Clay Buchholz was solid for seven innings, allowing just a two-run homer that tied the game in the 5th. The bullpen continues to give me worry lines, as Daniel Bard gave up a run in the 8th and left the tying runs on base. And Jonathan Papelbon gave up another run to make it 5-4, before getting Mark Teixeira to pop up to end the game.

But for me, the best part of the game was Kevin Youkilis' two-run shot off the highly overrated Joba Chamberlain in the seventh that proved to be the difference. Always puts a smile on face to see Fat Joba get his, and it's a hundred times more special at the hands of Youk.

18-20, and the Sox remain five back of the first-place Rays.

And earlier today, David Ortiz was in the place of my former employment in Greenwich Village, and was seen spreading some love throughout the Village among some very less arrogant Yankees fans. Here's the video proof. And boy was it surreal seeing Big Papi on the floor of the former Tower store (the MLB Fan Cave), and in the immediate neighborhood!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

With Quinnah, You're a Winnah!

I had the pleasure last night of hanging in Professor Thom's with Nick Stevens, who is best known for his alter ego Paul "Fitzy" Fitzgerald, and his terrific web site, "Townie News."

Nick is also currently working for MLB Network, and he's doing some short vignettes that will air during the Friday night games on the network. I've known Nick for some time, as we go back to Professor Thom's days of doing "Kayreoke" together. (That is when fans were allowed to call the action on games involving the Red Sox in the bar on a mic. Nick and I did it one night together and he was simply hysterical.)

He asked me if I'd like to be part of a one minute video he was putting together for the Red Sox-Yankees game on Friday night. Me being the media whore I am, quickly agreed. So last night, Nick and his crew came in and we sat at the bar, and he asked me a few questions about my Red Sox fandom, being a Brooklyn-born fan. (I always answer that question with: "I was raised by Yankee haters...")

It was a fun few minutes, and Nick also chatted with a few other Red Sox fans in the bar. He had his camera crew film my opening of Trivia Night when we got started, and we also shot a scene that maybe the conclusion of the video, with Nick picking up a brewski at a table with me sitting next to him, uttering the phrase: "With Quinnah, you're a winnah!" And then he and I high-fived.

But there is an irony to filming the video last night. It is that I will not see it, as the MLB Network broadcast of the game will be blacked out in New York and New England, because it will be shown on both the Red Sox and Yankee cable stations.

Well, you can't win them all I guess, even if you are a media whore.

Here is Nick/Fitzy at his best, back in 2008. Enjoy:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is Playing .500 Ball Too Much To Ask Of This Team?

An awful two nights in Toronto.

A 10th inning loss on Tuesday night, and a nine-run outburst by the Jays against the worst free agent signing in Theo Epstein's reign as Red Sox GM. And God only knows why Terry Francona stayed with John Lackey as long as he did.

You tell me which night was worse.

Once again, I'm getting tired of this crap.


It's a real trial watching this team play baseball.

Trivia Q&A: May 10

We had 19 teams in on a night where we didn't have to worry about a Celtics or Bruins playoff game on a Tuesday night in some time.

We had some strong numbers for 1-10 Trivia, with 10 teams getting a perfect score. We also saw 5 teams get perfect scores in General Knowledge. But one team almost pulled off something never accomplished on Trivia Night before.

The winning team was By The Way, You Are All Extras In "John Quinn Does Dallas" (my name popped up in three teams names tonight, as the MLB Network was in filming a short video of the bar for the Red Sox game in New York on Friday) and they had a perfect score through the first four rounds, and got 4 of the 5 IQ Trivia questions correct. But they got the last question about the sport that originated in India incorrect. They won by three points, but I said to them afterwards that it was like losing a perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning. Tough break, but still a great job by Joe and his mates.

Second place went to Hasta La Vista, Maria with 48 points, and third place was a tie bewteen Now Clean Shaven For the Ladies of MLB and I'd Like to Seymour of John Quinn, Medicine Woman, both with 47.

A note about next week: there is a Bruins playoff game scheduled for Tuesday, May 17th at 8 PM, so we will have our Trivia Night next week on Monday, May 16th at 9 PM.

Best Team Name: By The Way, You Are All Extras In "John Quinn Does Dallas"

Current Events
1. The United Nations last week projected that the world's population will pass what landmark number this coming October 31?
2. Claude Choles, 110, Australia's oldest man, died last week. What was the other significance of his death?
3. New York socialite and businesswoman Nancy Shevell became engaged to what rock superstar last week?
4. What troubled pop singer voluntarily entered an out-patient rehab program for drug and alcohol treatment yesterday?
5. What iconic Oscar-winning director recently said in a new documentary coming out about him, "None of my films will be remembered?"
6. What celebrity friend of former baseball star Lenny Dykstra was rumored to have bailed him out of jail recently, but Dykstra's lawyer refuted the report as just a rumor?
7. Justin Verlander pitched his second career no-hitter last Saturday in a 9-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. What AL team does he pitch for?

May 10th Trivia
1. On this day in 1869, the First Trancontinental Railroad was completed, with the golden spike drilled in at Promontory Summit in what state?
2. In 1954, "Rock Around the Clock" by what legendary group is released, and becomes the first rock'n roll song to reach number 1 on the Billboard charts?
3. On this day in 1801, the Barbary pirates of Tripoli declared war on what distant country?
4. Rock singer Paul David Hewson was born on this date in 1960. Under what name is he better known?
5. On this day in 1503, what famous explorer discovered the Cayman Islands?
6. In 1865, what famous figure of the Confederacy was captured by Union troops in Georgia?
7. What Oscar-winning actress, who maybe better known these days for a tell-all memoir her daughter wrote about her detailing the actress' history of abuse, died on this day in 1977?

1-10 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The Beatles had a bizarre 8 minute song on "The White Album" called Revolution number what?
2. How many sides does a heptagon have?
3. How many elements of alchemy are there?
4. How many Chicago White Sox players were banned for life from MLB for fixing the 1919 World Series?
5. There are how many Abrahamic religions?
6. Taurus is what number sign of the Zodiac?
7. What is the number of Supreme Court justices needed to render a majority decision?
8. The British Prime Minister's residence is at what number on Downing Street?
9. How many points are there on a Star of David?
10. The total number of Al Qaeda leaders who were buried at sea on May 2nd.

General Knowledge
1.Who played the character Chandler Bing on the TV sitcom "Friends?" ( 1 pt)
2. What do the letters "D.C." stand for in Washington D.C.? ( 1 pt)
3. Axel Foley was the name of the cop played by what actor? ( 1 pt)
4. "Religion is the opiate of the people" is a quote attributed to what historic figure? ( 2 pt)
5. "They Call Me Mister Tibbs" was the 1970 sequel to which film? ( 2 pt)
6. In which South American country would you find the port city of Valparaiso? ( 2 pt)
7. In George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm," what type of animal was Boxer? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What fictional literary character died at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland? ( 4 points)|
2. What US lake is the world's largest freshwater lake? ( 3 points)
3. In 1649, what English king went on trial for treason and other crimes? ( 4 points)
4. "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" was the first novel of which 20th century writer? ( 4 points)
5. Which sport, originating in India, was originally called Poona? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. 7 billion; 2. Last WWI veteran to die; 3. Paul McCartney; 4. Whitney Houston; 5. Woody Allen; 6. Charlie Sheen; 7. Detroit Tigers.

May 10th Trivia
1. Utah; 2. Bill Haley and His Comets; 3. USA; 4. Bono; 5. Christopher Columbus; 6. Jefferson Davis; 7. Joan Crawford.

1-10 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. nine; 2. seven; 3. four; 4. eight; 5. three; 6. two; 7. five; 8. ten; 9. six; 10. one.

General Knowledge
1. Matthew Perry; 2. District of Columbia; 3. Eddie Murphy; 4. Karl Marx; 5. "In The Heat of the Night;" 6. Chile; 7. horse.

IQ Trivia
1. Sherlock Holmes; 2. Lake Superior; 3. Charles I; 4. James Joyce; 5. badminton.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

There Is Never "Closure."

This morning I received an email from the 9/11 Families For a Secure America. Its president, Peter Gadiel, lost his son in the 9/11 attacks, and he wrote a really terrific op-ed piece for CNN about the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Mr. Gadiel sums up my feelings about it perfectly. This is definitely worth the time to read.

Victim's dad: Why I'm not celebrating bin Laden's death
By Peter Gadiel, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Peter Gadiel is the president of 9/11 Families for a Secure America.

(CNN) -- As the father of a 23-year-old son murdered by Osama bin Laden's suicide killers on September 11, I understand the joy expressed by so many Americans today on the death of this monster. But my thoughts dwell more on my son, James, and the thousands of bin Laden's victims; not just the dead of 9/11 but soldiers killed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Cole attacks, the embassy bombings, Mumbai, and on and on.

So although I don't disapprove of the patriotism and happiness expressed around the nation in the past day, I can't say that I feel the desire to participate in the celebration. Bin Laden's death won't bring James back.

The word "closure" is often used at a time like this, when talking about the loss of a family member, and I suppose that is the way for sympathetic people to show their concern. They are expressing their hope that the victims' families will somehow reach a condition where the pain is lessened by the passage of time.

For me, that pain is as strong as ever. There is never "closure."

Jamie worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, and it was his first job out of college. He had worked there for about six months. He had been a presidential scholar and attended Washington and Lee University. He worked on the 103rd floor.

Beyond that, it is useless to try to describe my son. Just as words can never express my loss, they are equally useless to try to show those who didn't know him how special he was. It is enough to say that he was a gentleman and a gentle man.

I know that I speak for other 9/11 family members when I say that we are in a different place from those who experienced terrorism as attacks on their nation rather than as attacks on themselves.

I also know that I am expressing an almost universally held view among the families that our government failed us on 9/11. Although some, probably a very few, are convinced that the Bush administration "knew" in advance of the time, place and method of the 9/11 attacks, they are the tiniest and most irrational minority. The rest of us know that widespread incompetence and corruption among those officials were the cause.

Yet, no federal official has been held to account. Not one from the Clinton administration. Not one of the Bush administration officials who ignored the Gore Commission's recommendations for improved airline security, nor anyone from the State Department whose officials, in violation of law, regulation and common sense, issued visas for the asking to the 9/11 terrorists.

So, no, I can't celebrate the death of bin Laden. Too many Americans, who were paid to protect this country but failed to, have skated free of blame.

When they are called to account, and when proper measures have been taken to protect us from future attacks, then I will celebrate.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Clutch Carl Wins It Again

Can we send SEAL Team Six to get Angel Hernandez?

The World's Worst Umpire struck again on Monday night, calling a BS balk on Alfredo Aceves, and that led to the tying run scoring by the Twins, and eventually sending the game to extra innings.

Granted, Hernandez wasn't totally to blame for the Red Sox having to win it in extra innings, as the Sox left runners everywhere, going 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position going into the 11th inning. Carl Crawford had his second game-winning hit of the homestand, as he doubled in pinch runner Jose Iglesias with the winner. (And did you notice he was wearing number 76, after wearing 68 on Sunday? Uh, Jose, the number is suppose to decrease from the number you wore in spring training.)

Crawford is now hitting .361 since the month of April concluded, after a .155 average in the first month.

(BTW, I don't want to be a spoil sport, and I'm certainly glad you won tonight, but: you DIDN'T win the World Series tonight. PLEASE stop the stupid, idiotic celebrating on top of guys who just drove in the winning run, knocking them to the ground and falling on top of them. Do I have to remind you all about Kendry Morales or Chris Coghlan from last season? We don't need any injuries occurring from these unnecessary displays.)

Josh Beckett deserved a better fate, as he pitched seven terrific shutout innings. He absolutely should have gotten the win. A little dunker of a hit tied the game in the eighth off Jonathan Papelbon, and it was his first blown save of 2011. It wasn't a bad pitch at all.

The Red Sox are now 17-18 and finish the homestand at 6-5, having taken three of four from Minnesota.

And here's a Tweet from Jeff Howe about how Joe West was treated by Sox fans in a bar in Boston after that insanity last Friday night. (With thanks to my friends Evan and Cyn for the link.) Couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Back To Normal (I Hope)

This Tuesday night there will be NO Celtics playoff game, and NO Bruins playoff game.

Just Trivia. Thank goodness.

So that means we start at the usual time of just after 9 PM. And this week's Special Category is "May 10th Trivia," seven questions about the day in history. And the Q Train lightning round will be "1-10 Trivia," the one that was supposed to happen last week but did not. It will be 10 questions that the answer will be a number between 1 and 10 (with no repeats).

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What do the letters "D.C." stand for in Washington, D.C.?

There will be a Red Sox game in Toronto on Tuesday night, but that shouldn't delay the start of Trivia Night. I look forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday night.

Another Mother's Day Miracle

Another Mother's Day miracle you ask? Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed three runs in the first inning, and wound up a winning pitcher yesterday.

It looked like the Evil Dice-K was making an appearance on Sunday to upset all mothers out there, but the offense came to rescue, as the Red Sox cruised to a 9-5 win.

Adrian Gonzalez celebrated his 29th birthday with his new friend, the Green Monster, as he hit a home run over the wall and got two other hits in driving in two runs. Jacoby Ellsbury has now hit in 17 straight games and Carl Crawford continued his hot-hitting, as he's now hit in eight straight.

J.D. Drew and Jed Lowrie also drove in two runs apiece, and the Sox beat up on former Yankee great Carl Pavano. Jose Iglesias (pictured) made his MLB debut in the ninth inning, taking over at shortstop for Jed Lowrie, and retired the final batter on a grounder to him. My buddy Jere has a complete pictorial retrospective of the game yesterday over at his fine blog. (With thanks to him for this pic.)

The Sox are now 16-18, trail New York by four games, and are 14-7 (.667) since beginning this season with that hideous 2-11 clip.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Iglesias Heading to Fenway?

I was only able to watch the first two innings of the nationally televised Red Sox-Twins game on Fox, as a two-hour rain delay (what, again?) forced Fox to show the end of Rays-Orioles and leave when that was completed, due to "contractual obligations."

Reason #4,876 why "Fox Ruins Baseball."

Anyway, Clay Buchholz pitched five scoreless innings, and the bullpen was splendid the rest of the way, as the Red Sox shut out Minnesota, 4-0 and ended their three-game losing streak.

As I write this, rumors are abound that super-rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias is on his way to the Red Sox from Pawtucket. The 21-year-old defector from Cuba was hitting .253 for the PawSox with 4 RBI in 87 at-bats.

Could this have something to do with the fact Jed Lowrie's made three errors in the last two games? Is Iglesias really ready, and what does this mean for Marco Scutaro? Is he injured? Here's an article from Fire Brand of the American League about the young shortstop from earlier on Saturday.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Fans Deserved Their Money Back

The Red Sox are leaving me shaking my head right now. Another truly awful, worthless affair on Friday night. Two critical errors, two runs balked in. Lethargic offense. Lethargic effort. I have no answers.

Granted the amazingly bad umpire tag-team of Angel Hernandez and Joe West made themselves part of this game, but it was still another crapshow of the highest order, in a season chock full of crapshows.

The Twins had scored as many as five runs only once this season. They are a team depleted due to injuries, so naturally they walk into Fenway and kick the Sox around like a redheaded stepchild. And the home team makes Twins starter Scott Baker look like another Cy Young candidate.

I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who is pretty fed up with this crap.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Can We Send Team Six To Get Lackey?

Just when you want to like John Lackey, he turns in a miserable performance on Thursday afternoon, giving up 8 runs in 4 innings as the Sox settled for a split of their series with the LA Angels.

Lackey was undefeated against his old team since coming to Boston, and had looked fairly respectable his last three times out. But he was throwing beach balls to the Angels today, as the Sox got whacked, 11-0.

There's been talk about "gruesome pictures" lately in the news. I sure as hell don't want to relive any of Lackey's outing today. Either by pictures or video.

It was one of those "garbage can games," I like to call them. Nothing went right in any category, so turn the page and concentrate on the Minnesota Twins tomorrow night at Fenway.

BTW, I found this logo online doing a Google search. Doesn't this suspiciously look the Minnesota Vikings logo?

Long Night's Journey Into Morning

Yep, I was one of those crazy fools who stuck it out watching the Red Sox game until its conclusion this morning at 2:45 AM.

As soon as I saw Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound in the 13th inning, I knew trouble lie ahead.

I thought, along with Don Orsillo, that the blast by Kevin Youkilis in the 12th inning was heading for the Monster seats for certain. How did it die and hit the wall?

The six-game winning streak against the Angels is over, and the Red Sox' elusive goal of reaching .500 remains just that for now: elusive. They are 14-16.

Big news this morning as both Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler, who have both been stealing the owners' money in 2011, were put on the DL and Scott Atchison and Rich Hill were brought up. And because he pitched last night, it appears Dice-K won't make his scheduled start on Friday.

Today is Cinco de Mayo, but for me May 5th means it's Michael Palin's birthday. The great English comedian and genius behind Monty Python turns 68. I've met him a few times and he is truly a gentleman. So in honor of his birthday, I present this:

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Still Undefeated In May

I was busy last night getting my Trivia Night going in Professor Thom's last night, with a big crowd watching the Celtics game, so I could only catch the Red Sox game in spurts.

At first, I didn't like what I saw, as Dan Haren of the Angels had the Red Sox befuddled for 5 innings, allowing just one hit while nursing a 1-0 lead.

The Red Sox tied it in the sixth and then took the lead, 2-1, courtesy of the red-hot Adrian Gonzalez, who singled in Jacoby Ellsbury.

It was 3-1 in the 8th when the Sox put the game on ice with three home runs, from Gonzalez, David Ortiz (who is also heating up) and Marco Scutaro.

Jonathan Papelbon looked shaky in the 9th, allowing two runs, but had a cushion to work with and it was a 7-3 final.

Jon Lester got his 4th win and looked dominate, going seven innings and striking out 11.

It seems like old times, as the Red Sox are now 6-0 in 2011 against the Angels. And the last three days, they have faced the cream in the AL pitching bottle in Felix Hernandez, Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, and gotten victories in all three.

Congratulations to Carl Crawford (whose bat is also finally coming around). He became the fourth player in history to get 1,500 hits and 4oo stolen bases before the age of 30 with two hits and a stolen base last night.

Trivia Q&A: May 3

We had a full bar watching the Celtics defeat in Miami on Tuesday night, and when it concluded, 17 teams took part in Trivia Night. (I stayed outside a good part of the night as the regulars were coming to Thom's, just to let them know that yes indeed, a night of Trivia was going to happen.)

It was a noisy night in the bar, and you could guess who was a common theme in the team names. We only did four categories due to starting at 10 PM, but I was glad so many people stayed until the end.

It was close throughout the night, but the team of In a Final Act of Terrorism, Osama Bin Laden Blew Up My Facebook Newsfeed wound up winning, as they came from third place but running the table in IQ Trivia to snatch a four point victory with a total of 40. My congratulations on their victory.

Second place went to Seal Team 3.14, and third went to Buncher Smackers with 35 points.

It looks like next week's Trivia Night will happen on Tuesday, May 10th at 9 PM. The Bruins may have a Game 6 playoff game that night should their series progress that far. Check back to my blog for more updates. Keep your fingers crossed.

Best Team Name: The Miami Heat Fans, At The Table To My Left, Suck

Current Events
1. What MLB team accidentally distributed a file containing info on more than 20,000 season ticket holders to a select list of recipients by email last week?
2. What world capital city's officials announced last week that the first gay pride parade in the city's history will take place next month?
3. Cam Newton, a QB from Auburn, was selected as the number one pick in the NFL Draft by what NFC team?
4. What comedian recently pulled out of performing at a charity function hosted by Donald Trump over his remarks about President Obama, and got into a feud with The Donald?
5. What action star is set to play the famed black country music singer Charley Pride in an upcoming film about the singer's life?
6. Actress Katie Holmes settled her lawsuit with what tabloid magazine after they suggested that she was a drug addict?
7. What comic book superhero will apparently renounce his US citizenship in an upcoming edition?

Mexico Trivia
1. Which US state does Tijuana share a border with?
2. Within five, how many states does Mexico have?
3. What country did Mexico defeat on May 5, 1862 at the Battle of Puebla, which the Cinco de Mayo holiday commemorates?
4. True or False: Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world in population.
5. What is Mexico's second largest city, after Mexico City?
6. In 1821, what country did Mexico declare its independence from?
7. Mexico's flag is three colors: white and what other two?

General Knowledge
1. What is Canada's largest city in population? ( 1 pt)
2. Area 51 is located in what US state? ( 1 pt)
3. "Remember the Maine" was the rallying cry to what 19th century war? ( 1 pt)
4. In what year did Yuri Gagarin become the first man in space? ( 2 pt)
5. The Nehru jacket was named after a prime minister from what country? (2 pt)
6. What island is the largest in the Caribbean? ( 2 pt)
7. In Morse Code, 5 dots means the number 5. What number is represented by 5 dashes? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Mookie Blaylock, a former NBA player, was the original name of what 1990s superstar rock band? ( 4 points)
2. What Oscar-winning actor has played a number of doctors in his films, portraying Dr. Sayer, Dr. Carlisle, Dr. Kosevich, Dr. Adams, and Dr. Nielsen? ( 3 points)
3. What pop singer wrote a 1985 autobiographical song called "Bruce," about being mistaken for Bruce Springsteen? ( 5 points)
4. Who was the only heavyweight boxing champion to finish his career undefeated? ( 4 points)
5. The dong is the currency of what Asian country? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. New York Yankees; 2. Moscow; 3. Carolina Panthers; 4. Jerry Seinfeld; 5. Dwayne Johnson ("The Rock"); 6. Star; 7. Superman.

Mexico Trivia
1. California; 2. 31; 3. France; 4. true; 5. Guadalajara; 6. Spain; 7. green and red.

General Knowledge
1. Toronto; 2. Nevada; 3. Spanish-American War; 4. 1961; 5. India; 6. Cuba; 7. zero.

IQ Trivia
1. Pearl Jam; 2. Robin Williams; 3. Rick Springfield; 4. Rocky Marciano; 5. Vietnam.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Thank You, Mr. President

As many of you may know, I am not a big fan of Barack Obama. But let me just say that I could not have been any prouder of my President for what was accomplished in Pakistan on Sunday.

Obama took a huge risk in sending in 40 Navy Seals to get Bin Laden. It could easily have gone sour, with Americans getting killed and that terrorist escaping again. He did what George W. Bush and Bill Clinton could not do. The mission went off nearly flawlessly, and that is a great credit to the American military.

I remember back in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter authorized a secret mission to Iran to try and free the American hostages there. Unfortunately, the mission was never accomplished as seven servicemen died in a crash in the desert before it could even get started. I always respected Carter for going up before the American people and saying the responsibility for the mission's failure laid at his office alone. Obama would have been in the same position had this mission failed as well.

It was a long and painstaking mission to get Bin Laden, but the courage shown by the people in the intelligence community and shown by the Navy Seals (the ones who went in are reportedly known as "Team Six") is simply awe-inspiring. I wish we could know the names of those men who put their lives on the line like that, but they will (and should) remain anonymous, if just for their own safety.

I've still heard people whine and complain about Obama even through the success of this mission, but this is a time where our President deserves all the accolades for accomplishing catching the world's most wanted man. He showed courage and resolve, something that is sadly lacking from many of our leaders these days.

When I got the news on Sunday night, I wasn't cheering. I can understand the collective outburst from the nation, with Bin Laden running around free after engineering the 9/11 attacks was a thorn in the American side. But for me, tears came to my eyes after I heard that terrorist was dead. I could only think of the 3,000 other innocent victims of 9/11, and especially their loved ones who have suffered so much in the last ten years. This isn't closure for them by any means. The death of Bin Laden won't bring back any of their loved ones.

And the killing of Bin Laden wasn't revenge. It was justice.

Of course, the war on terror goes on, and it will whether Bin Laden is here or not. But the world is currently less one terrorist, and that's a good thing.

And I close by saying that I'm glad the last thing Bin Laden saw before he met his Maker (and I'm sure that meeting didn't go well for him) was Navy Seals with guns. I preferred that to just some bomb that went off and he had no idea what had happened.

Again, thank you, Mr. President. And to all of those anonymous Navy Seals as well. You have my eternal gratitude.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Big Win On An Emotional Night At The Fens

It was an emotional night at Fenway, with the military on hand and a moment of silence for the 9/11 victims in a pregame ceremony after the stunning killing of Bin Laden on Sunday. The clubs lined up along the baselines and the giant American flag was unfurled across the Green Monster. (Here's more from MLB.com.)

With Jered Weaver pitching for the Angels, he of the 6-0 record with a 0.99 ERA, would you have believed the Red Sox would tag him with his first loss of 2011?

It was a tight affair until the 7th, when the Red Sox pulled out the whoopin' sticks and scored six runs, capped by a bomb hit by David Ortiz into the Monster seats, for a 9-5 final. (It was also cool to see Papi hugging a couple of the soldiers in the owner's seats after the home run.)

But the at-bat of the night was by Dustin Pedroia. He battled Weaver with runners on second and third and two outs to a 13-pitch battle in the fifth, as he kept fouling off pitch after pitch. Dustin won it with a line single up the middle, putting the Red Sox ahead to stay, 3-2.

Clay Buchholz looked shaky to start the evening, but settled down and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs for his second victory.

Wow. The Sox faced both Felix Hernandez and Jered Weaver in back-to-back games and came out with two victories. They are now 13-15, still 5 games behind New York.

Jerry Remy again missed Monday's game, and he Tweeted that he has a "bit of pneumonia" and will miss a few more games. Here's more from CBS Boston. (With thanks to my friends Lisa and Dan who each sent me the link.)

In Honor of May 5th...

Trivia Night this week will happen on Tuesday for a change, and I believe we will be doing it in the Loft upstairs for the first time. There is a Celtics game going on that starts at 7 PM. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, the Special Category this week will be "Mexico Trivia" in honor of Cinco de Mayo, which is happening on Thursday this week. It will be seven questions about our neighbor to the south.

The Q Train lightning round will be "1-10 Trivia." Ten questions that will have an answer between the numbers 1 and 10 (with no correct answers repeating).

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
What is Canada's largest city in population?

Don't be discouraged if you see any big crowds in Thom's on Tuesday night. We will be having Trivia Night and I hope many of you come out and join us.

An Appropriate Quote For Today

"I've never wished a man dead, but I've read some obituaries with great pleasure."

--Mark Twain

With thanks to my friend Kim for alerting me to the quote.

And I'm also pleased that the last thing that evil terrorist saw before meeting his Maker was Navy Seals with guns, and not some indiscriminate bomb that killed him before he knew what happened.

God bless Team Six.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

No Cheers Tonight. Just Tears.

Bin Laden is dead.

3,519 days after the worst day in our history.

Thank you, Mr. President, and to our heroic military who got him.

Please say a prayer for the 3,000. And their loved ones.

We miss all of you always.

The Sun, Clutch Carl Help Sox Avoid Sweep

So, who would have guessed? A game started by Felix Hernandez, the reigning AL Cy Young winner, and Tim Wakefield, making an emergency first start, would be won by the Red Sox?

A really thought a sweep by Seattle was on the horizon.

Wake was superb, going 5 2/3, allowing just three hits while throwing only 76 pitches. But Terry Francona, in a rare bonehead move, decided to bring in The Arsonist Bobby Jenks, who couldn't find the plate and walked in two runs and let the Mariners tie the score.

I'm hoping these last two outings will convince Tito to move Jenks over to garbage time for the foreseeable future. (Is there some sort of garbage barge he can be dumped on somewhere? And I'm sure in Chicago, Ozzie Guillen's chuckling again. Probably on Twitter, too.)

Jed Lowrie hit a ball that Ichiro Suzuki lost in the sun in the ninth inning, and he wound up on third with a triple with one out. Naturally, Marco Scutaro grounded out to third, keeping Lowrie at third.

And that brought up Carl Crawford.

Every Red Sox fan had to be rooting for him big time to come through, and sure enough, he lined a single up the middle to win the game for the Red Sox, 3-2. He was mobbed by his teammates after the hit. (I was praying they wouldn't kill him, as it was another of those silly "walkoff" celebrations.) Let's hope it's the start of good things for the likeable Mr. Crawford.

Jonathan Papelbon got the win, but Wake deserved the win. It was another game that's going to keep him from breaking the Texas Con Man and Cy Young's team record for wins. And that's a shame.