Sunday, June 30, 2013

No June Swoon As The Sox Win Their Fiftieth

Well, Koji Uehara won't be perfect as a closer this season.

He gave up a game-tying home run to the incredibly-hot Jose Bautista in the ninth inning today, but the Sox salvaged the game in the bottom of the ninth on Jays' first baseman Josh Thole's error, and gained a 5-4 win.

I guessing nobody was happier than Koji, who grabbed the vulture win. (Although I saw Andrew Bailey warming up in the bottom of the ninth, so my thoughts were either win this now, or the Sox will be splitting this series. Thank goodness Bailey wasn't needed.)

The Sox took 3 of 4 from the Jays, but it is pretty evident that they need to bolster not only the rotation, but the bullpen. Uehara has done a nice job as closer so far, but how long he will go is an open question. He's pitched in 4 of the last 5 games, and he's 38-years-old.

June ends with the Red Sox at 50-34. It is the AL's best record with three months to play.

Friday, June 28, 2013

It Was Koji Time, After The Nightmare On Bailey Street

The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays for the second straight night on Friday as they opened up the second half of 2013, but not without seeing an early 5-0 lead disappear.

Allen Webster looked like he was on the road to his first MLB win, but ran out of gas by the sixth inning. He continues to impress, and will be a big time pitcher in the near future. Toronto scored three in the fifth, and another in the sixth. The Sox still had a 5-4 lead, and John farrell made a fateful decision: he brought in the much-maligned Andrew Bailey to start the 7th.

And he looked good to start the inning. Struck out Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista. Looked very much like the old All-Star closer. But then he gave up a bomb into the center field seats to Edwin Encarnacion, and was booed lustily as he exited the field, and Andrew Miller got the last out.

The Sox bailed him out by grabbing two in the bottom of the seventh, as Jonny Gomes' pinch-hit single with the bases loaded put the Sox in front to stay.

Koji Uehara got his third straight save, and they have all been 1-2-3 innings as well. Yep, the ninth has been Koji Time!

What about Bailey? The guy is simply snake bit. I can't see Farrell using him in another close game until he gets his head together. He's going to have to pitch in low pressure situations until he can be trusted again.

Everybody below the Sox lost except the Orioles lost (they beat the Yankees). The Sox still have a 3 1/2 game lead, with the best recortd in the AL at 49-33.

(With thanks to my friend Jeff, who referred to the top of 7th inning tonight as "The latest installment of Nightmare On Bailey Street.")

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Returning to the Riv

The Red Sox most reliable pitcher these days is John Lackey. Yes, you read that correctly.

Lackey pitched another beauty yesterday, striking out 12 and allowing the Colorado Rockies just two runs in seven innings. It was his fifth win of the season, and he really should have a few more if the pen hadn't let him down. Koji Uehara pitched a brisk 1-2-3 ninth as the Sox swept the two-game series, 5-3.

It was Uehara's second save and first as the Red Sox' acknowledged closer.

The Sox are now up by 3 1/2 over New York and Baltimore, and start a four-game series with the cooled-off Torornto Blue Jays tonight at Fenway.

And speaking of the Yankees, lots of high drama happening between the club and its' nine-figure pariah, Alex Rodriguez. I won't go into it here too much, but it is all over money that could be paid out by insurance if he doesn't play, and a looming suspension from MLB over PEDs. My friend Lisa isn't buying any of it, and lays out her reasons why. An interesting read from one of the better Yankee fans I know.

It just makes me thank God the Red Sox never completed that trade with Texas in 2003.

Tonight will be an interesting night, as I will be returning to one of my old haunts to watch the Red Sox-Blue Jays game: The Riviera in the West Village. I have not been there since the day the Red Sox raised their 2004 World Series championship flag on April 11, 2005. I moved over to other places since then, but these days I rarely watch the Red Sox away from home any more. I was at the Riv for one of the darker days in Red Sox history, Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. But I was also there for The 2004 Comeback, and the World Series title that followed it. It will be good to catch up with some old friends and remember the good times we had there, like in the photo included here. (It is originally from the "Four Days In October" ESPN documentary. That's me in a still shot after the Sox won Game 5 of the ALCS, although in the documentary it shown after Game 7. No matter.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Trivia Q&A: June 25

It was a pleasure to see my loyalest regulars in for Trivia on Tuesday at The Mad Hatter. The team of  You're All Invited to Eddie's Lululemon Party wound up winning the night with 47 points, second place went to One More Day Til Summer with 43 points, and third place went to One For All, All For One, No Matter What Rob Says with 40 points.

Current Events
1. What rap star is planning to launch a cable music channel called "Revolt TV", looking to fill the gap left by MTV after they stopped playing videos years ago?
2. Two people were killed last Saturday when a Stearman biplane crashed between two runaways at an air show in what Midwest state?
3.What rapper caused some controversy last week when he claims to have accidentally stepped on an American flag while shooting a video in New Orleans?
4. What actor recently came out on Twitter and ripped his own upcoming film, a sequel he feels contains to high a level of violence?
5. Flash floods in what Asian country left more than 1,000 people dead this past weekend?
6. Which American automaker is recalling more than 2.7 million Jeeps over concerns that fuel tanks' location contributes to fires after accidents?
7. What pop singer was banned for life from the Las Vegas Indoor Skydiving facility last week for failure to pay fees and bad behavior?

Mob Movies and TV Trivia
1. Who played undercover FBI agent Joe Pistone in the 1997 film "Donnie Brasco?"
2. "Would you kiss me if I wear a hat?" was a famous line said by Al Pacino in what film?
3. "Billy Bats" was a gangster murdered in what famous film?
4. What 1995 gangster film broke the record for the most "F" words in a single film?
5. "Boardwalk Empire" is set in the 1920s in what US city?
6. What Emmy-nominated actor was once murdered by Tony Soprano on the porch of a house in "The Sopranos?"
7. James Gandolfini played a gangster/stuntman that was thrown down a flight of stairs by John Travolta in what 1995 film?

World Capitals Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Vilnius
2. Quito
3. Dhaka
4. Mogadishu
5. Addis Ababa
6. Kampala
7. Bucharest
8. Nairobi
9. Phnom Penh
10. Tallinn

General Knowledge
1. In which city did the St. Valentine's Day Massacre take place? ( 1 pt)
2. Hilton Head Island is found in what US state? ( 1 pt)
3. "Yield" signs in the US in 1971 were changed from yellow to what two colors? ( 1 pt)
4. Which organization has a logo that consists of a lit candle wrapped in barbed wire? ( 2 pt)
5. Ag is the symbol for what element on the Periodic Table? ( 2 pt)
6. What famous person was imprisoned on Robben Island for over 20 years? ( 2 pt)
7. Which bone is the most frequently broken bone in the human body? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Interpol is headquartered in what French city? ( 4 points)
2. Borneo is an island divided between three Asian countries: Brunei, Indonesia and what other? ( 4 points)
3. If your hobby is lepidoptery, what do you collect? ( 3 points)
4. What 1984 film is the only movie in IMDB's user ratings that can be rated from 1 to 11, instead of the usual 1 to 10? ( 5 points)
5. The Pyrenees are a range of mountains that forms a natural border between which two countries? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Sean P. Diddy Combs; 2. Ohio; 3. Lil Wayne; 4. Jim Carrey; 5. India; 6. Chrysler; 7. Justin Bieber.

Mob Movies and TV Trivia
1. Johnny Depp; 2. "Scarface;" 3. "Goodfellas;" 4. "Casino;" 5. Atlantic City; 6. Steve Buscemi; 7. "Get Shorty."

World Capitals Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Lithuania; 2. Ecuador; 3. Bangladesh; $. Somalia; 5. Ethiopia; 6. Uganda; 7. Romania; 8. Kenya; 9. Cambodia; 10. Estonia.

General Knowledge
1. Chicago; 2. South Carolina; 3. red and white; 4. Amnesty International; 5. silver; 6. Nelson Mandela; 7. collarbone.

IQ Trivia
1. Lyon; 2. Malaysia; 3. butterflies; 4. "This Is Spinal Tap;" 5. Spain and France.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Honoring a Legend

The world was shocked last week at the sudden passing of the great actor James Gandolfini, at the age of 51. So in honor of his great career, we will have "Mob Movies and TV Trivia" as the Special Category this Tuesday at The Mad Hatter for Trivia Night. It will be seven questions on all kinds of mobsters and gangsters from TV and movies through the years.

The Q Train lightning round will be "World Capitals Trivia." I will give you the names of ten world capital cities and you tell the country they are a part of. Don't worry, I don't plan on using any really obscure places like islands in the Pacific.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Which organization has a logo that consists of a lit candle wrapped in barbed wire?"

We'll get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. The Mad Hatter is located at 360 3rd Avenue, between E. 26th and 27th Streets. There will be beer and shot specials throughout the Trivia Night. Looking forward to seeing many of you for another great night of Trivia Q&A!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bring On The Robots

Once again, umpires become the story of an MLB game. And not for good reasons.

MLB umpiring incompetence was on display in the Red Sox 7-5 loss to the Tigers on Sunday, as Daniel Nava clearly caught a fly ball to right to start the eighth inning, and dropped it in the transfer to his hand. But the second base ump (can't remember his name, nor do I want to) ruled it a drop and Detroit had a man on second. (The umps got together and STILL couldn't get the call right.) John Farrell rightly went bananas and was tossed for the first time as Red Sox manager.

(There was a similar play in the Mets game today as well, as Ben Revere also allegedly dropped a fly ball that looked to me he caught. And it led to a big Mets inning, too.)

The Tigers went on to score three runs, and the win. Can't say this incompetence cost the Sox the game (the bullpen was clearly more to blame), but they sure didn't help. As my friend Allan at Joy of Sox sometimes says, "Bring on the robots." (I'm now more convinced than ever that instant replay is not only needed, it's a necessity. And let the robots make the calls. They couldn't be any worse.)

I can't watch ANY MLB game these days without shaking my head over the lousy umpiring, especially the home plate. It's putrid, and MLB does nothing about it. And it hurst the sport.

The pitching continues to be a worry. Felix Doubront, coming off his best start of his career, was awful, allowing three runs in five innings, and could easily have given up more.

Jon Lester got a gift win on Friday, and Clay Buchholz' next start has been pushed back even further. Right now, the most reliable starter is John Lackey. (Yes, I just wrote that. Believe it.)

The bullpen has been really erratic lately. After today's latest debacle, Andrew Bailey's next appearance will probably be in garbage time. The bullpen ERA is now 25th in MLB and the Sox relievers are 28th in walks allowed.

Despite this gloom and doom and losing 3 of 4 in Detroit, the Sox are still two games up over Baltimore, 2 1/2 in front of New York, with Tampa Bay and the hard-charging Blue Jays both five back.

A four-cornered fight looks like it is now a five-cornered one. (Does that even exist?).

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Can We Officially Call The Bailey Trade a Bust Now?

Another outing for Andrew Bailey, another home run given up.

This time it was a game-winning home run to Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers, to a flush a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth and make it a 4-3 loss.

Bailey has given up a whopping six home runs this season. In his two all-star seasons in Oakland, he allowed six home runs total.

John Farrell wants to show confidence in this guy, but Bailey isn't rewarding him. Every outing is an adventure, and now I don't see how you can keep in the closer role any longer.

Koji Uehara closed for the Orioles a few years back. Junichi Tazawa is another internal candidate to get the ninth.

Bailey no longer deserves it.

I'm only glad I didn't witness the latest Bailey disaster, as I went to the Brooklyn Cyclones opener at MCU Park tonight, and got the bad news on my iPhone as I was on the subway heading home.

UPDATE: Right after tonight's game, John Farrell announced that Bailey is out as closer, and the Sox will "pursue other options." Stay tuned.

Oh, Those Wacky Brits

I found this clip from my friend Jim on YouTube earlier this week.

A group from the UK called "The Exploding Heads" took the Red Sox-Yankees Opening Day game from earlier this season and put their own unique spin on it by placing their own commentary over select scenes from the Red Sox 8-2 win.

Ichiro Suzuki is "Joseph Gordon Levitt" and the umpires are "FBI agents." Too funny.

So, rounders fans, it's "NY vs. another team to be confirmed":

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mostly Stuff To Like On Tuesday

Here's some of the good stuff that happened to the Red Sox on Tuesday:

Felix Doubront pitched probably his best game ever in a Red Sox uniform, going 8 innings and allowing just three hits and no walks. He retired the last 17 hitters he faced. Like to see more of this Doubront in the future.

Jonny Gomes got another clutch hit: a two-run game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth to win Game 2.

Alfredo Aceves was good yet again, going five innings and allowing just one run before the rain showed up in Game 1. And he earned another ticket on the Pawtucket shuttle after the game.

Four solid innings from the pen after the rain delay ended in Game 1. Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Miller, Koji Uehara and Craig Breslow scattered three hits and allowed no runs.

Jose Iglesias just keeps on hitting. His current streak is at 18 games, the longest in MLB right now. He's hitting an amazing .435, in just 92 at-bats.

The Red Sox have the best record in the AL with the sweep over Tampa Bay on Tuesday. They are 44-29, lead Baltimore by 2 1/2, New York by 4, and TB by 7.

And some not so good:

Andrew Bailey coughed up another one, giving up a game-tying HR to Kelly Johnson in the ninth on his second pitch. He took away what should have been a well-earned win for Felix Doubront, and got the vulture win on Gomes' home run. Bailey continues to be a monumental disappointment.

Both Clay Buchholz and David Ross were put on the DL. Buchholz may not be on long, as he last pitched on June 7th. But Ross was placed on the 7 day concussion DL, as he has another recurrence of the concussion symptoms. Ryan Larvarnway was brought back up.

Trivia Q&A: June 18

It was nice to see a few old friends back in The Mad Hatter for Trivia I had not seen in some time. Great to see Joe, Gillian, Amy, John and a few others. It was another small crowd but an energetic one.

The night was won by When the Mets Win Tuesday Night Trivia, Then They Can Celebrate with 41 points. Second place was taken by We Should Have Taken The Q Train with 34 points. We had a tie for third place, and the tie-breaker was won by Between Kim and Kanye: Two Shitty Releases (which also won for Best Team Name), who had 31 points.

Current Events
1. A fire in what US state last week destroyed more than 360 homes and is now considered the worst forest fire in the state's history?
2. MLB announced last Wednesday that the 2014 regular season will begin with a two-game series in late March between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in what foreign country, the first regular season games played there?
3. What Hollywood superstar actor was heavily criticized last week for praising Walmart "as a role model" and "improved women's lives around the world"?
4. Hassan Rouhani was elected president of what Middle eastern country last Saturday?
5. What Oscar-winning producer/director won his first ever Emmy award at the Daytime Emmy awards this past Sunday night?
6. What Asian country will send out the last telegram this coming July 14, 144 years after Samuel Morse invented and sent the first telegram?
7. What world leader denied this week he stole New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's Super Bowl ring when they met in 2005, but he says he will reimburse Kraft for a new ring?

Sports Movie Trivia
1. "Miracle" was a 2004 film starring Kurt Russell about a team in what sport?
2. "Pride of the Yankees" was a 1942 film about what legendary Yankees player?
3. What Oscar-winning actor was the star of the 1977 comedy film "Slap Shot?"
4. What future Oscar-winning actor played a dying baseball player in the 1974 film "Bang the Drum Slowly?"
5. "Invincible" was a 2006 film that starred Mark Wahlberg as a bartender who eventually becomes a player for what NFL team?
6. What Oscar-winning actor portrayed heavyweight champion James Braddock in the 2005 film "Cinderella Man?"
7. Name 2 of the 3 sports films that have won the Best Picture Oscar.

Country Nicknames Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Land of the Rising Sun
2. The Hexagon
3. The Red Dragon
4. Land of Fire and Ice
5. Graveyard of Empires
6. Land of the Incas
7. The Hermit Kingdom
8. India's Teardrop
9. The Boot
10. The Rainbow Nation

General Knowledge
1. The ancient city of Mecca is found in what country? ( 1 pt)
2. Which of Jesus Christ's twelve apostles denied knowing him three times? ( 1 pt)
3. "I Am a Rock" and "Cecilia" were hit songs for what 1960s rock act? ( 1 pt)
4. The city of Honolulu is located on which one of the Hawaiian Islands? ( 2 pt)
5. "Pb" is the chemical symbol for what element? ( 2 pt)
6. What 19th century European composer created the Brandenburg concertos? ( 2 pt)
7. What explorer first reached the South Pole in 1911? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The cocktail Buck's Fizz is made up of two parts orange juice and one part what alcoholic ingredient? ( 4 points)
2. What island was Napoleon Bonaparte exiled to by the British, where he spent the last six years of his life? ( 4 points)
3. King Albert II is the current reigning monarch of what country since 1993? ( 4 points)
4. The first successful flyby of another planet in the solar system, in December 1962, was of which planet? ( 3 points)
5. "Lost in the Funhouse" was a 2001 biography of what late comedian? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. Colorado; 2. Australia; 3. Tom Cruise; 4. Iran; 5. George Lucas; 6. India; 7. Vladimir Putin.

Sports Movie Trivia
1. Hockey; 2. Lou Gehrig; 3. Paul Newman; 4. Robert DeNiro; 5. Philadelphia Eagles; 6. Russell Crowe; 7. Rocky, Chariots of Fire and Million Dollar Baby.

Country Nicknames Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Japan; 2. France; 3. China; 4. Iceland; 5. Afghanistan; 6. Peru; 7. North Korea; 8. Sri Lanka; 9. Italy; 10. South Africa.

General Knowledge
1. Saudi Arabia; 2. Peter; 3. Simon and Garfunkel; 4. Oahu; 5. lead; 6. Johann S. Bach; 7. Roald Amundsen.

IQ Trivia
1. Champagne; 2. St. Helena; 3. Belgium; 4. Venus; 5. Andy Kaufman.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I Don't Disagree With Costas

Bob Costas caused a bit of an uproar with Mets fans on Sunday when he reported on the Mets four-run ninth inning, capped by Kirk Nieuwenhuis' three-run game-winning home run.

He was a bit over the top with his "ongoing decline of western civilization" crack, but he wasn't wrong about saying the Mets had just acted "like they won the 7th game of the World Series."

As my loyal readers know, I have ranted for years on this blog about those silly, stupid home plate "celebrations" every time a team wins a home game in the bottom of the ninth or later. Everyone seems obligated to act like wild idiots every time they win an ordinary regular season game in their last home at-bat.

I believe that was Costas' contention. Back in 2010, I thought the horrific leg injury that Kendrys Morales of the Angels suffered at home after hitting a game-winning (I don't use that made up term "walkoff" any more, as it's a misnomer) home run would finally put a stop to the abject lunacy, as it cost him over a year and a half of his career. I clearly didn't.

The "celebrations" are getting wilder and stupider. Pies in the face, Gatorade buckets, punching teammates, ripping off jerseys. (If no one remembers Morales, then no one will remember Chris Coghlan, who tried to "pie" a teammate being interviewed on TV after a marlins win in 2010. Coghlan fell in the attempt and blew out his knee, missing the remainder of the season.) Come on, guys, it's a regular season game. Act like you've been there before, as a wise old NFL coach once said.

Mets fans took exception to Costas' comments, as they took it to mean that a team as bad as the Mets have no right to celebrate the win. The fact is is that EVERY MLB team does this silliness, no matter where they are in the standings. To me, it seems as if they are all in competition with each other to see who can act crazier after an ordinary regular season win.

I promise you there will be another serious injury in these dumb pig piles, it's just a matter of when, not if. (I always hold my breath when the Red Sox are involved in of these moronic things. I'd be REALLY angry if one of theirs got hurt in this needless nonsense.)

Nobody remembers Kendrys Morales. or Chris Coghlan. MLB will only put a halt to it when a major star gets injured in one of them. Count on it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Lost Weekend In Baltimore

The Red Sox dropped three out of four to the Orioles this past weekend. And it wasn't for the idiotic base running of Alexei Casilla on Saturday, it could have been a sweep.

Jon Lester got hammered again on Sunday, and he is now experiencing a rapid decline. I'm still wondering if he's covering up an injury. I'm just glad I missed it, as I was at a Father's Day celebration, and only got my info off my iPhone.

Clay Buchholz maybe heading for the DL with shoulder problems. Boy, when you can't count on your top two starters, you've got real problems.

Looks like Mike Napoli will play tomorrow, as he missed most of the past weekend with an undisclosed illness. And Mike Carp's tight hamstring may only have been a cramp, and he appears to be available for the doubleheader tomorrow against Tampa Bay.

The Sox lead Baltimore by 1 1/2 games, New York by 3, and Tampa Bay by 5.

The off day couldn't have come at a better time.

Sports Films Featured This Week

Tuesday Night Trivia at The Mad Hatter this week will feature "Sports Movies Trivia," seven questions about films that featured some type of sports in it. (Sorry, there will be NO chess questions.)

The Q Train lightning round will be "Country Nicknames Trivia." I will give you the popular nicknames of ten countries, and you have to tell me which nation I'm talking about.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The city of Honolulu is located on which of the Hawaiian islands?"

We'll get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night.

I really hope to see more of you on Tuesday. I hate having to write this, but it's been disappointing the last few weeks to see just a handful of teams at The Mad Hatter. I certainly understand that "real life" interferes with Trivia Night, and that schedules change, priorities change. For many of you, Trivia Night may not be an every week thing, and just a fun night out every once in a while. At the other place, I saw many of the same faces every week, and that was so great to see. You all have supported me and my Trivia so wonderfully in the past, and right now we are in a bar that really enjoys having us there. Michael and his staff have treated me with such respect, and I enjoy doing Trivia at The Mad Hatter so much.

But when I see just a few teams in, it can be a bit disheartening. The bar does have to do a little more in terms of promoting the night to get more folks in, as I have also done, and have to continue doing. It would be great to see more of you in the coming weeks. If any of you have any feedback for me, please do drop me a line at my email:

I hope we can get the number of teams up a bit in the coming weeks, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow night.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Have To Wake Up Bat

It's been a tough week for the Red Sox so far. They've lost 3 of the last 4, and the bats have gone rather silent since the 14-inning game at St. Pete last Monday.

They've had the number one offense in the AL in June, leading in batting average, among other categories. But they've scored just 9 runs over the last four games.

Chris Tillman threw a dandy at the Sox last night at Camden Yards and the Red Sox were shut out, 2-0. As Connie Mack famously said, "Good pitching stops good hitting." They could manage just three hits last night.

This isn't the kind of game that worries me much. The good thing was the performance of Ryan Dempster, who went 7 2/3 innings, allowing just 2 runs. It was exactly what the overworked pen needed last night.

The loss cut the Sox lead over Baltimore to 1 1/2 games in the AL East. The Orioles have been a real thorn in the Sox' side in recent years: Baltimore has won 17 of the last 23 meetings with the Sox, going back to the beginning of 2012.

Yes, the bats need to wake up. Is Pedro Cerrano (or Jobu) available?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I'm Officially Worried About Jon Lester

Jon Lester continued his struggles last night at St. Pete, as he got hit for 7 runs in less than five innings as Tampa Bay evened their series with the Sox, 8-3.

On a night when the Red Sox needed a lot of innings out of Lester, they didn't get it. (I'm still trying to figure out how they won that insane game on Monday night.) Lester has now given up four or more runs in 4 of his last 5 starts, losing three and getting two no-decisions. Command seems to be a big problem, as he's walked 18 in those last five starts, including a whopping 7 last night.

It's bringing back bad memories of 2012, a season I have done my best to forget. (Was there even a baseball season in 2012?) He's now 6-3, with an ERA that's just gone over 4.00 (4.12). That 6-0 start seems like a long time ago.

The best part about last night was the work of Jose De La Torre, who was brought up from Pawtucket when Clayton Mortensen went on the DL with a hip injury. The rookie saved the bullpen, as he went 3 1/3 innings and allowed just one run. The Sox don't have another off day until Monday, so the pen needed a day off after the marathon on Monday.

De La Torre returns to Pawtucket today, and the three-ring circus known as Alfredo Aceves comes up to make the start in tonight's finale in St. Pete.

The Red Sox continue to lead the AL East by 2 over New York, Baltimore by 2 1/2, and Tampa Bay by 4.

Trivia Q&A: June 11

The team of Get Thee Behind Me, Bill Belichick (the Best Team Name winner) wound up winning the night in Trivia at The Mad Hatter on Tuesday, getting 4 of the 5 correct in IQ Trivia and finishing with 50 points. Nice job by Dave and Larry on their win.

Second place was actually a tie between the teams of The Cheating Devices and I Don't Know What Happened Last Week, both with 41 points. We broke the tie with asking "How Many feet is the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in the UAE?" I Don't Know What Happened Last Week was closest and won second place. (The answer was 2,722 feet.)

Current Events
1. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development recently selected what far away nation as "the world's happiest country" for the third straight year?
2. A glove worn by what legendary Hall of Fame baseball during the 1955 World Series was sold at auction for $373,000?
3. Rafael Nadal won the men's singles title at the French Open on Sunday, and now holds the record for the most Grand Slam titles at any major. How many times has he won the French Open?
4. Which New England state became the 17th state in the US to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana?
5. What world leader and his wife went on live TV in their country last week to announce that they are divorcing after 30 years of marriage?
6. Officials in eight counties in what western state are considering forming a new state, over opposition to the state's new gun control laws and oil and gas regulations?
7. Edward Snowden, who claims to be the source of the leaks about the government's monitoring and collection of phone and Internet records, fled the US and is now seeking asylum where?

2012 Pop Culture Trivia
1. Who was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2012?
2. What late singer was the top Google search for 2012?
3. What prolific author did the Hollywood Reporter choose as number one on its list of the 25 most powerful authors in Hollywood for 2012?
4. What film set a new record last November by grossing over $500 million worldwide, becoming the highest grossing "R" rated comedy of all-time?
5. What 80-year-old magazine ceased publication last December 31st, and went to an all-digital format?
6. Michael Phelps set a new record for most lifetime Olympic gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, with how many in total?
7. People magazine named what pop singer as its "Most Beautiful Woman In The World" for 2012?

1-10 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Pennsylvania is this number US state.
2. In a famous "Seinfeld" episode, George Costanza wanted to give his first-born son this number as a first name.
3. All spiders have this many legs.
4. Daniel Day-Lewis has won this number of Oscars in his career.
5. The pitcher in baseball is represented by this number.
6. Capricorn is this number sign of the Zodiac.
7. This is the number of sides in a pentagon.
8. This is the number of US presidents who have been assassinated in history.
9. The Star of David has this number of points.
10. MLB immortals Ted Williams and Roger Maris wore this number.

General Knowledge
1. The White House is located on what Washington D.C. street? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the capital of the state of Kansas? ( 1 pt)
3. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" is the opening line of what Charles Dickens novel? ( 1 pt)
4. When Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic in 1927, what city did he land in? ( 2 pt)
5. Jack Lord starred in what 1970s TV crime drama? ( 2 pt)
6. The lowest point in the Us, nearly 300 feet below sea level, is found in what state? ( 2 pt)
7. National Arbor Day is celebrated in the US in what month? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The Senator George Mitchell Peace Bridge is located in what country? ( 3 points)
2. The Big Dipper and the North Star are on the flag of what US state? ( 4 points)
3. Janet Guthrie made history in 1977 as the first female participant in what annual American event? ( 4 points)
4. When the Chrysler Building opened in NYC in 1930, what structure did it eclipse as the world's tallest man made structure? ( 5 points)
5. What actor has starred in a $500 million-grossing movie (internationally) in each of the last six years? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Australia; 2. Jackie Robinson; 3. eight; 4. Vermont; 5. Vladimir Putin; 6. Colorado; 7. Hong Kong.

2012 Pop Culture Trivia
1. Barack Obama; 2. Whitney Houston; 3. Stephen King; 4. "Ted;" 5. Newsweek; 6. eighteen; 7. Beyonce Knowles.

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

General Knowledge
1. Pennsylvania Avenue; 2. Topeka; 3. "A Tale of Two Cities;" 4. Paris; 5. "Hawaii Five-O"; 6. California; 7. April.

IQ Trivia
1. Ireland; 2. Alaska; 3. Indianapolis 500; 4. Eiffel Tower; 5. Robert Downey Jr.

Monday, June 10, 2013

So, How Much Of 2012 Do You Remember?

Tuesday Night Trivia this week at The Mad Hatter will feature as the Special Category, "2012 Pop Culture Trivia." I'll give you seven questions about the previous year, mostly along the lines of pop culture (movies, music, sports, etc.), and we'll see how much of that year you retained!

The Q Train lightning round will be "1-10 Trivia." I will ask you ten questions, and the answer to each will be a number from 1-10, and each answer will be a different number.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Jack Lord starred in what 1970s TV crime drama series?"

We get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. The Mad Hatter is located at 3rd Avenue and E. 26th Street. Tables are available if you'd like one, and please call 212-696-2122 on Tuesday if you'd like one during Trivia Night. I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow night!

Sunday, June 09, 2013


The Red Sox left runners everywhere in Game 1 of the doubleheader against the LA Angels yesterday and paid the price: a 9-5 loss in which a two-out, ninth inning rally brought in 3 runs, but the hole was far too deep to crawl out of.

I was visiting a friend yesterday afternoon, so I DVR'd the game, and made sure I left my iPhone in my pocket and didn't check anything for any reason. I got home and put the game on, fast-forwarded through the stoppages and other assorted nonsense, and in an hour I was done. It was the second time I've ever done this, as I did it last year for a game I was away. I think I'll stop doing it, as I recall seeing a Red Sox loss in that one, too.

Clay Buchholz was terrific yet again in Game 2, and is making a strong case for the AL Cy Young Award, going 6 2/3 innings before leaving the game with a stiff neck. The Sox won easily, 7-2.

Buchholz is now 9-0, with an MLB-leading 1.71 ERA. (His ERA actually went up in Game 2, as he allowed 2 earned runs.)

David Ortiz hit a blast I thought would bring down rain in the sixth inning. Once again, the Red Sox were leaving runners everywhere early, but this time they were actually scoring runs, and it didn't come back to bite them.

New York's win in Seattle keeps the Red Sox lead in the AL East at 1 1/2 games. Tampa Bay (who the Sox play next when they hit the road after today's finale with the Angels) are 3 back, and Baltimore (where the Sox go after they are done with TB) are 3 1/2 back.

Friday, June 07, 2013

You Don't Intentionally Walk Someone In Front Of A Guy Wearing A "Famous As F**k" Shirt

You want to intentionally walk Dustin Pedroia in front of David Ortiz in a tie game in the ninth inning? You pay the piper, Ron Washington.

And he did as Big Papi sent a line shot into the Texas bullpen to give the Red Sox a 6-3 win. It was the 10th time in his Red Sox career he has won a game in the bottom of the ninth or later at Fenway with a home run.

It was a frustrating night for the first eight innings, as the Red Sox left runners everywhere. It looked like another one-run loss was looming, until the Sox tied it in the 7th, as Mike Napoli beat out a DP ball at first with the bases loaded. Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes both had 4 hits. (Gomes hit the first pitch of the ninth inning to start the finish.)

Jon Lester struggled again, going six innings and allowed all three Texas runs. The pen was stellar again, shutting the Rangers out the rest of the way before Papi's heroics gave the Sox the series win.

My buddy Jere over at A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory has an interesting clip on his blog about the misuse of the word "walkoff" (which I have never liked) from last night's game. (And thanks to him for the use of his pic of Papi and his "Famous" shirt.)

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Best of A-Rod

My friend Adam sent me these clips the other day. I call this "A-Rod's Greatest Hits." Why post this? Because it's always fun goofing on A-Rod. As a lengthy suspension looms, enjoy some of his finer moments in and out of pinstripes:

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Save Some Runs For Tomorrow!

I was busy doing Trivia last night at The Mad Hatter, but it seemed like every time I looked up at one of the TVs that had the Red Sox-Rangers game on, the boys from Boston had men on and were scoring runs.

The Sox scored in every inning but the eighth (and as Allan at Joy of Sox points out, they would have been the 7th team in AL history to have done so had they tallied in the 8th), and the only pitcher to shut them down was none other than David Murphy, who pitched the 8th to spare the Texas pen. (He even struck out Mike Carp looking, who was then ejected for arguing the call.)

Everybody had their hitting shoes on in the 17-5 rout.

Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first MLB home run, a shot over the bullpens.

David Ortiz went 2-for-5, including a two-run triple, his first three-bagger in two years.

Daniel Nava had three hits and scored four times.

Stephen Drew had four hits and scored three times and hit a home run.

Carp and Jarrod Saltalamacchia also hit home runs. (Carp's blast carried Nelson Cruz into the Red Sox bullpen.)

It was a fun night, and just as importantly, Ryan Dempster pitched a second straight solid outing, going seven and allowing three runs. My mother always said when the Mets were scoring a lot of runs, "save some for tomorrow!" Sorry, mom, it doesn't work that way. It would be nice to be like the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions when the first day of winnings can be carried over to the next day, but MLB hasn't figured out how to do that yet.

Trivia Q&A: June 4

Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter on Tuesday got off to an inauspicious start, as we had problems with the power next to where I announce the Trivia from, and it looked like we might not get started at all, but fortunately, we moved over slightly to another power source and got going, nearly a half hour late. But everyone had a good time, nonetheless.

But everything went smoothly after that, and we had a first-place tie between the teams of Quiz In My Pants and Let's Go Senators!, both with 41 points. We broke the tie with "How many Billboard number one albums did the Beatles have?" The answer was 19, and Quiz In My Pants was closest, and won the night. Congrats to my buddy Dave, won the night solo, not an easier thing to do!

Third place went to The Wind Sweepin' Down The Plain with 34 points.

Best Team Name: My Answer Sheet Is Chafing Me

Current Events
1. What New England state became the fourth in the US to allow doctor-assisted suicide last week?
2. Yuichiro Miura, an 80-year-old man from Japan, recently became the oldest person ever to accomplish what feat?
3. What Oscar-winning actor recently appeared to doze off during an interview for his upcoming film but later claimed he was "a beta tester for Google Eyelids" and "updating my Facebook page?"
4.The Writers Guild of America recently selected what HBO drama series as their "Best Written Series of All-Time" in their Top 101 poll?
5. A billboard of a teapot posted by what retailer was removed after it supposedly looked like Adolf Hitler, but not before they sold out online?
6. What Hollywood superstar actor exited starring in the upcoming biopic of gangster Whitey Bulger last week due to a salary dispute, as he was asked to take just half of his usual $20 million salary but refused?
7. Why was 13-year-old Arvind Mahankali in the news last week?

Pop Music Trivia
1. In 1987, who was the first female artist to debut on the Billboard album chart at number one?
2. What female singer founded the Lilith Fair music festival?
3. What rock star played the final concerts at Giants Stadium in 2009 before it was torn down?
4. Madonna won the MTV Best Female Video in 1987 for which song?
5. What hit Michael Jackson song has Eddie Van Halen on lead guitar?
6. "Come Away With Me" was the 2002 debut album of what female singer?
7. What musical act has had the most Billboard number one albums in history?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Prostitution is not and has never been illegal in Canada.
2. Texas has the most ghost towns of any state in America.
3. The Washington Monument was originally modeled after the obelisks built by the Egyptian empire.
4. John D. Rockefeller co-founded US Steel.
5. New Zealand was the first nation to grant women the right to vote.
6. Bananas originated on the continent of Asia.
7. Isaac Stern is famous for playing the piano.
8. Abraham Lincoln was the first US president born in a log cabin.
9. Panama hats are actually manufactured in Panama.
10. The country of Belize does not have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean.

General Knowledge
1. Columbia is the capital of what US state? ( 1 pt)
2. Joe Lieberman was the running mate of what unsuccessful presidential candidate? ( 1 pt)
3. The nation of Persia is today known by what name? ( 1 pt)
4. "Duty, Honor, Country" is the slogan of which of the American service academies? ( 2 pt)
5. What country produces 85% of the world's maple syrup? ( 2 pt)
6. The Jacques Cartier Bridge is located in what North American city? ( 2 pt)
7. What female pop singer is often referred to by the nickname "The Bajan Queen?" ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What English poet's 1823 work "Don Juan" is credited with introducing the phrase "truth is stranger than fiction?" ( 4 points)
2. What country's currency was the drachma before being replaced by the euro? ( 3 points)
3. The only two saddle joints in the human body are found where? ( 4 points)
4. "A Study In Scarlet" was the first full length novel of what literary character? ( 4 points)
5. "Remember the Raisin" was a battle cry from what 19th century American conflict? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. Vermont; 2. Climb Mount Everest; 3. Morgan Freeman; 4. "The Sopranos"; 5. J.C. Penney; 6. Johnny Depp; 7. Won the National Spelling Bee.

Pop Music Trivia
1. Whitney Houston; 2. Sarah MacLachlan; 3. Bruce Springsteen; 4. "Papa Don't Preach;" 5. "Beat It;" 6. Norah Jones; 7. The Beatles (19).

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. true; 2. false, Oregon; 3. true; 4. false, Standard Oil; 5. true; 6. true; 7. false, violin; 8. false, Andrew Jackson; 9. false, Ecuador; 10. true.

General Knowledge
1. South Carolina; 2. Al Gore; 3. Iran; 4. US Military Academy at West Point; 5. Canada; 6. Montreal; 7. Rhianna.

IQ Trivia
1. Lord Byron; 2. Greece; 3. thumbs; 4. Sherlock Holmes; 5. The War of 1812.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

"Instant Baseball: The Baseball Instagrams of Brad Mangin"

I recently came across an interesting photo book of baseball, and it is not your usual picture book.

Brad Mangin is a baseball photographer, and he spent the entire 2012 MLB season taking pictures around the game. But with modern technology, he did something very different. He took a season's worth of pictures using an Apple iPhone 4.

It is probably the first "instagram" book of baseball. And it's called "Instant Baseball: The Baseball Instagrams of Brad Mangin."

And he's taken some amazing shots, over 240 in all. He began in spring training, and went all the way to the San Francisco Giants World Series victory parade. he's taken photos of everything imaginable around the game (although the majority of his shots were taken at AT&T Park and the Oakland Coliseum, as he is based in the Bay Area): rain delays, victory celebrations, batters in the on deck circle, fans in the stands, superstars as well as fringe players, and players waiting for the game to start.

Mr. Mangin has put together a terrific baseball book based on the technology of today. Whether you are a shutterbug, a baseball fan, or a shutterbug who likes baseball, I'm sure you like Mr. Mangin's effort.

Monday, June 03, 2013

The Large Father Does The Bat Flip & Skies Open Up

David Ortiz hit a majestic home run last night at Yankee Stadium that literally brought down buckets of rain in the 6th inning. And gave it the bat flip for good measure.

It gave the Sox a 3-0 rain-shortened win, and won the second series of the year between the two teams in the Bronx.

Let's see A-Rod top this:

With thanks to my friend Adam, who found this ESPN clip and sent it to me.

Trivia Makes Its Triumphant Return Tomorrow

After a week's vacation so The Mad Hatter could do some necessary renovations, Tuesday Night Trivia will return tomorrow, June 4th at 8 PM with "Pop Music Trivia" as the Special category. It will be seven questions about popular music down through the years.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"'Duty, Honor, Country' is the slogan of which of the American service academies?"

We get going at 8 PM tomorrow night. I look forward to getting back in the saddle again, and I hope many of you can join us for a great night of Trivia Q&A!

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Napoli & Nava Blast Off In The Bronx

Last night's Red Sox 11-1 wipeout of the Yankees in New York guarantees one thing: the Red Sox leave New York in first place on Sunday night, no matter what happens in the finale tonight.

Mike Napoli's third inning grand slam ultimately gave the Sox the win, and Daniel Nava, who had four hits, put it on ice in 8th with a three-run shot. The Sox poured it on in the 9th with three more, including a bomb hit by Stephen Drew. Jackie Bradley had three hits as well.

The unlikely outfield combo of Nava, Bradley and Mike Carp were just what the Sox needed: they had nine hits and five RBI. (And Carp made his first ever start in RF.)

Nice outing by Felix Doubront, as he went six innings and struck out six.

I wasn't buying the hype that this weekend was the latest "war to end all wars" when it comes to the Red Sox-Yankees games, as the AL East is clearly a four-cornered fight to the finish, as the Sox will battle it out with New York, Baltimore and Tampa Bay all summer. Everybody behind the Red Sox won on Friday, and they all lost on Saturday. So that means the Red Sox lead New York by 2, Baltimore by 2 1/2 and Tampa Bay by 3.

It's going to be a long, close summer, and I'm betting the team in fourth place in the AL East on Labor Day will be no more than 6 or 7 games back. The teams all have over 100 games to go. I don't think any of the teams will pull away and hide. Don't believe the hype.