Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Peavy Exchanges Sox

Ben Cherington pulled the trigger on a three-team deal last night with the White Sox and Tigers, and landed a prize starter in former San Diego Padres hurler Jake Peavy.

Peavy comes to Boston, along with Tigers reliever Brayan Villareal, and the Sox send three single-A prospects to Chicago, and Jose Iglesias to Detroit. The Tigers also send outfielder Avisail Garcia to the White Sox.

This is a terrific deal by Ben. The Sox get a quality starter in Peavy, who is 32-years-old, with one more year left on his current deal (at $14.5 million). They give up Iglesias, who clearly isn't in the Sox' long term plans. Cherington sold high on him, as the Tigers will probably need an every day shortstop, with Jhonny Peralta headed to a suspension in the Biogensis scandal. Iglesias will probably not hit any better than he is now, as he leaves the Sox hitting .330, but his numbers have been rapidly declining over the past few weeks. He will probably be more like the one time Mets' shortstop Rey Ordonez: an excellent glove man who will make the occasional highlight defensive play, but not consistently high. In the stacked Detroit lineup, he won't need to hit all that much anyway.

The rumors about a possible Cliff Lee deal scared me, as the talk was the Sox would have to give up prized shortstop Xander Bogaerts and another big time prospect to get him. And the Sox would have to assume Lee's big contract as well. I'm glad that didn't materialize, as now it's clear that Bogaerts is the teams' franchise shortstop going forward. He's tearing up AAA right now, and should be up soon.

No word yet on when Peavy's first Red Sox start is. This move will probably send Brandon Workman to the bullpen. And speaking of the Work Man, he was terrific last night in gaining his first MLB win, an 8-2 win over Seattle. He went six innings, allowed one run, struck out nine, and got out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the sixth. He was also aided by home runs by Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Love the poise this kid brings, and he could be a vital cog in the Sox pen in the final two months.

Trivia Q&A: July 30

We had a terrific crowd in on Tuesday night for Trivia, one of the best turnouts ever at The Mad Hatter. July was a terrific month in terms of teams coming out, and hopefully this positive trend continues. It was nice to see some old friends I had not seen in some time come out, and I can't thank you enough for your support.

We had 9 teams get all 7 of the General Knowledge questions correct, and it was one of those weeks where I didn't make it difficult enough. (I'll work on fixing that next week, folks!)

I also poorly worded one of the IQ Trivia questions, the one about the Whig Party. I should not have included the word "elected" in it, so I accepted both Millard Fillmore and Zachary Taylor. Sorry gang.

The team of Huma, You're Not Hillary won the night, getting 4 of the 5 IQ questions correct, and ended with 49 points and the victory. Second place went to The Trains In Spain Are Covered Mostly In Brain with 46 points, and third place went to Me and My Multiple Personalities & My Multiple Personalities, finishing with 40 points.

Best Team Name: Jayson Stark Raving Mad Hatters

Current Events
1. What pop singer topped Forbes' 2013 list of the top earning celebrities under the age of 30?
2. What NYC venue was named the number one venue in the US in terms of ticket sales and the second-highest in the world, according to Billboard?
3. A 48-year-old man was arrested last week after he tweeted that he wanted to kill what female TV commentator by "stripping her naked and slitting her throat" over her disparaging remarks about Jodi Arias?
4. Prince Phillippe succeeded King Albert II as the reigning monarch of what European country last week?
5. The United Nations stated last Thursday that the ongoing civil war in what country now had a death toll of over 100,000?
6. What national monument was briefly closed this past weekend when it was discovered that there was green paint splattered on its base by unknown persons?
7. What troubled actress was ordered to remain on a psychiatric hold for another 2 weeks because she was ruled a danger to herself and others?

1990s Trivia
1. Madonna earned her first Golden Globe acting award for what 1990s film?
2. Who succeeded Margaret Thatcher as British prime minister after she resigned in 1990?
3. In what year was Bill Clinton acquitted in impeachment proceedings in the US Senate?
4. What country won soccer's World Cup in 1994, the first time it was ever played in the United States?
5. Johnny Carson left the "Tonight Show" as host after 30 years in what year?
6. What NFL team was the only team to win the Super Bowl three times in the 1990s?
7. Who memorably lit the Olympic torch to begin the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta?

Movie Heroes & Villains Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Little Bill Daggett
2. Rick Blaine
3. Biff Tannen
4. Ellen Ripley
5. Andy Dufresne
6. Bill The Butcher Cutting
7. Alex Forrest
8. Capt. John H. Miller
9. Rooster Cogburn
10. Tommy DeVito

General Knowledge
1. Krakow is a major city in what European country? ( 1 pt)
2. "Tear down this wall" was a famous statement made by what US president? ( 1 pt)
3. What is the name for the natural phenomenon that comes from the Japanese words meaning "harbor wave?" ( 1 pt)
4. What name is given to a straight line drawn from the center of a circle to the circumference? ( 2 pt)
5. "The Borscht Belt" was a nickname for summer resorts in what American mountain range? ( 2 pt)
6. "Rosemary's Baby" was the first American film by what director? ( 2 pt)
7. In the game of "Monopoly," which denomination is colored green, like real US paper currency? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. "Spasibo" is a word that means "thank you" in what language? ( 4 points)
2. What 1983 James Bond film is not considered an "official" film in the franchise because it was not produced by Eon Productions? ( 5 points)
3. What 19th century US president was the last one elected by the Whig Party? ( 3 points)
4. Serengeti National Park is located in what African country? ( 4 points)
5. What does one add to lemonade to make the non-alcoholic drink called an "Arnold Palmer?" ( 3 points)

Current Events
1. Lady Gaga; 2. Barclays Center; 3. Nancy Grace; 4. Belgium; 5. Syria; 6. Lincoln Memorial; 7. Amanda Bynes.

1990s Trivia
1. "Evita;" 2. John Major; 3. 1999; 4. Brazil; 5. 1992; 6. Dallas Cowboys; 7. Muhammad Ali.

Movie Heroes & Villains Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Unforgiven; 2. Casablanca; 3. Back to the Future; 4. Alien; 5. The Shawshank Redemption; 6. Gangs of New York; 7. Fatal Attraction; 8. Saving Private Ryan; 9.Rooster Cogburn; 10. Goodfellas.

General Knowledge
1. Poland; 2. Ronald Reagan; 3. tsunami; 4. radius; 5. Catskills; 6. Roman Polanski; 7. $20.

IQ Trivia
1. Russian; 2. "Never Say Never Again;" 3. Zachary Taylor; 4. Tanzania; 5. iced tea.

Monday, July 29, 2013

How Is Jerry Meals Still Employed By MLB?

Incompetent umpiring, which I have ranted and raved about on this blog for years, struck again tonight, and it cost the Red Sox a game to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Sox rallied in the eighth against the Rays bullpen, and had second and third with one out. Daniel Nava (who should have scored on Stephen Drew's double from second but totally butchered it on the bases), was called out at home on Brandon Snyder's fly to left, when it was clear on the replay he reached the plate first.

Umpire Jerry Meals, who was clearly out of position, then tossed John Farrell from the game. I would hope Meals would have the decency to admit after the game he was wrong, but I wouldn't count on it, as most umps wouldn't admit they are human and make mistakes. (Update: Meals DID admit he was wrong after the game. Shocker.)

The Sox lose, 2-1. After the game, Farrell said at his press conference that the Sox "should still have been playing now."

BTW, you may remember Meals. He is the incompetent who made one of the worst calls I have ever seen, two years ago in the 19th inning in Atlanta he called a runner safe at home when he was out by five feet.

Remember this:

Meals should have been fired just for this, but like Supreme Court justices, it's a job for life. MLB has a serious incompetent umpiring problem, but does nothing to remedy it. And incompetents like Meals go on their merry way.

Good Guys & Bad Guys On Tuesday

This Tuesday at The Mad Hatter, Trivia Night will feature "1990s Trivia." It will be seven questions about that decade, mostly in pop culture and history. Just like last week's Special Category, except it is ten years further down the road.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Movie Heroes & Villains Trivia." I will give you the names of ten famous heroes and villains from the history of the movies, and you have to tell me what film they were featured in.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"'The Borscht Belt' was a nickname for summer resorts in what American mountain range?"

We get started at 8 PM on Tuesday night. I hope to see many of you for a great night of Trivia Q&A!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Drew Belts HRs, Papi Belts Phones

It was one whackjob of a night for the Red Sox in Baltimore last night.

After being shutout on Friday night, the Sox came out swinging last night, at everything that moved (and didn't).

Stephen Drew belted two home runs to lead the Sox to a 7-3 win. His second one was originally ruled in play, but the replays later confirmed it cleared the fence in right. He had a triple, and appeared to be caught in a rundown between third and home, but the Orioles goofed it up and he scored. The umps looked at it, and ruled it a home run all the way, so we all had to pretend the goofup never happened. (But it did give Drew a HR and an extra RBI he would not have gotten had the play not been reviewed.)

I also saw something I don't think I've ever seen before last night. Jacoby Ellsbury singled while a catcher's interference occurred. That's the fourth time this year that he's been involved in one. I've seen plenty of catcher's interferences in my life, but I can't remember ever seeing a batter get a hit on one. Anyway, the umps ruled that the hit stood, as it moved a runner to third on the play.

But this night will be remembered as the night when David Ortiz exploded and took out his frustrations on the dugout phone. Papi took his bat and destroyed an unarmed bullpen phone. He was angry over yet more home plate incompetentcy, courtesy of Tim Timmons. He called an absolutely awful game last night, especially on Red Sox hitters. Papi was taking a 3-0 pitch that was obviously out of the strike zone and it was called a strike. The next pitch appeared to be close, but it was also called a strike. Ortiz than struck out on a pitch out of the zone, said a few choice words to Timmons, got back to the dugout, was tossed and then flipped.

Actually one of his blown calls helped the Sox. He should have called Manny Machado out on a called third strike, which he did not call. Machado was even walking back to the dugout when he realized it was called a ball. Machado then it then next pitch into a 6-4-3 double play to end the fifth inning.

Papi will be facing an obvious fine and will be suspended for his actions. For those who didn't see Ortiz going bonkers, here it is, courtesy of my friend Jere at A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory:

Boy, I don't think I ever want David Ortiz angry at me, especially when he's got a bat in his hands and is near a telephone.

The Sox win keeps them one-half game behind the smoking Tampa Bay Rays, who beat the punchless Yankees, 1-0. Baltimore remains 4 back, and New York 8 back in the East.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Yankee Fan Frustration Is Building

I witnessed it on the streets of Manhattan yesterday.

As many of you may know, I walk around New York wearing my Red Sox hat. It's the one with the traditional "B", so anyone who knows anything about baseball knows what it is. Despite living in the great city of New York, I have gotten many more compliments and nods from fellow Red Sox fans over the years than I have gotten disparaging or nasty comments shoved my way about showing off my fandom. The number of Red Sox fans living in our great metropolis is larger than you might think.

I was heading to the library in midtown yesterday afternoon to pick up a CD I had reserved for me and was on 40th Street across from Bryant Park. I had just walked out of the subway station on 6th Avenue and I noticed there was a group of three guys sitting next to a building that was undergoing some outdoor reconstruction. One of the guys looked right at me as I walked toward them, and by the look on his face I had a feeling some snide comment was coming. And I was right. (They were actually inside some makeshift fence, so none of them could walk directly up to me.)

I had on my iPod, with a song by Robbie Robertson currently on. And one of these neanderthals started with some really loud abuse, yelling some rude things about Boston. I carried on walking, and as I passed them, gave them "half a peace sign." (You know the one, with the index finger down.) I continued on my merry way, and I could make out the imbecile calling me a "f*****g queer" among other colorful language.

I responded to those lovely sentiments by once again showing him who was number one again. (Using the finger between the index and ring to show him.) All the time never looking at this moron. I wouldn't waste two seconds of my life getting into an altercation with this creep by acknowledging him or verbally responding to it, but I did make sure I wasn't being followed, and of course, this coward made no move towards me.

Incidents like this are extremely rare for me, and it sure won't keep me from showing off what team I root for. I'll never understand people who do things like what happened yesterday. I've known many good Yankee fans who support their team, and many who were flat-out assholes. That idiot just reinforces the Yankee fan stereotype.

And I think that jerk realizes his team is going nowhere this year. I suppose that fact is just hard for some entitled people to deal with, especially with boys from Boston currently in first place.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Well Played, Sox

And not just on the field at Fenway last night.

The Red Sox and Dustin Pedroia agreed on a seven-year, $100 million deal yesterday, and it will keep the future Red Sox captain and second baseman in a Red Sox uniform until 2021, when he is 38 years old.

The Sox moved quickly to lock up Pedroia, as Robinson Cano is in his walk year in New York and didn't want to have to compete with that. Pedroia's deal was up after this season, and the club had an option for 2015.

Terrific move by the Sox. Pedroia will be the centerpiece of the Red Sox for the rest of this decade.

And Jon Lester had a nice bounce back game against the hottest team in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays, last night.

After getting buzzsawed by Matt Moore the previous night, Lester went 6 1/3 innings, and allowed just two solo home runs, and walked no one. The bullpen combo of Matt Thornton, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara was perfect, going the remaining 2 2/3 innings, and struck out 5 of the 7 hitters they faced.

How good has this Sox team been compared to last season? They matched their total home wins last night with 2012: 34. And they still have two months left in this season, and 29 home games still to play. Makes 2012 look like one bad dream.

The Sox have split the first two of four with Tampa Bay with the 6-2 win last night. They remain 1 1/2 games in first.

Trivia Q&A: July 23

We had a similar size crowd to last week, but I was pleasantly surprised by my acting buddy Arik who came in and took part in the Trivia Night for the first time.

The team of Just XXX won the night, as they got a perfect score in IQ Trivia and won the night with 49 points. They were three points ahead of Maybe Carlos Danger Should Have Stuck To Trivia, who finished second with 46 points. Third place was won by Taco Tuesdays with 35 points.

Current Events
1. Bob Filner, mayor of what California city, last week rejected calls by his political allies to step down after he was hit by a number of sexual harassment charges by employees and constituents?
2. What Pacific island country was hit by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake last Sunday?
3. What rap star got into a scuffle with paparazzi at LAX last Friday, and accused them of provoking him, saying "so I'll have to pay you, like $250,000"?
4. What political drama series made Emmy history last week as the first online series to be nominated for Best Drama Series among its nine nominations?
5. What Canadian rock band, who were recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, were honored by their native country with being featured on a postage stamp?
6. 23 students died and dozens more fell ill at a primary school in what Asian country after eating a meal contaminated with pesticide?
7. NYC Public Advocate Bill deBlasio says he wants to prevent what Middle Eastern country's national airline from landing at JFK Airport because they bar Israelis from flying on their airline?

1980s Trivia
1. When the Fox network debuted in October 1986, who hosted their first show, a talk show called "The Late Show?"
2. What world leader was assassinated during a parade in his country on October 6, 1981?
3. Meryl Streep won an Academy Award in 1982 for Best Actress for what film?
4. What R&B legend was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987?
5. In what year was the San Francisco earthquake, registering 7.1 on the Richter scale, strike the city, killing 63 people?
6. Andrew Ridgeley was a member of 1980s pop group?
7. What Super Bowl championship team had a rap hit in the mid-1980s called "The Super Bowl Shuffle?"

Country of Their Birth Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Kate Beckinsale
2. James Cameron
3. Salma Hayek
4. Lucy Lawless
5. Gene Simmons
6. Pierce Brosnan
7. Hugh Jackman
8. Dave Matthews
9. Eddie Van Halen
10. Juliette Binoche

General Knowledge
1. Gymnast Nadia Comaneci represented what country in the 1976 Summer Olympics? ( 1 pt)
2. Who was nicknamed "The Maid of Orleans?" ( 1 pt)
3. The largest national park in the US is found in what state? ( 1 pt)
4. 1960s singer Tiny Tim was known for playing what instrument? ( 2 pt)
5. Anne Boleyn was what number wife of King Henry VIII? ( 2 pt)
6. How many sheets of paper are there in a quire? ( 2 pt)
7. Where in the body is the occipital bone found? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. "Tender Is The Night" is the last completed novel by what American author? ( 4 points)
2. Betty Rizzo, Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsen were all characters from what 1970s film? ( 3 points)
3. What Oscar-winning actor was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji in 1943? ( 4 points)
4. "Is This Real Life?" was a 2011 book telling "The Untold Story of" what English rock group? ( 5 points)
5. What world leader used to take an immense Bedouin tent wherever he went, which Central Park refused to let him erect there in 2009? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. San Diego; 2. New Zealand; 3. Kanye West; 4. "House of Cards;" 5. Rush; 6. India; 7. Saudi Arabia.

1980s Trivia
1. Joan Rivers; 2. Anwar Sadat; 3. "Sophie's Choice;" 4. Aretha Franklin; 5. 1989; 6. Wham!; 7. Chicago Bears.

Country of Their Birth Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. England; 2. Canada; 3. Mexico; 4. New Zealand; 5. Israel; 6. Ireland; 7. Australia; 8. South Africa; 9. Netherlands; 10. France.

General Knowledge
1. Romania; 2. Joan of Arc; 3. Alaska; 4. ukulele; 5. two; 6. 25; 7. head (brain).

IQ Trivia
1. F. Scott Fitzgerald; 2. "Grease;" 3. Ben Kingsley; 4. Queen; 5. Moammar Khadafy.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Back When We Were Young and Foolish

On Tuesday night, Trivia at The Mad Hatter will feature "1980s Trivia," seven questions about that decade most of us remember rather fondly, and it will be in pop culture and history.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Country Of Their Birth Trivia." I will give you the names of ten current celebrities, and you have to tell which country they were born in. They will all be foreign-born, so the USA will not be any of the answers.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Anne Boleyn was what number wife of King Henry VIII?"

We get going at 8 PM at The Mad Hatter. The crowds have picked up a bit in recent weeks, and that makes our Trivia Night all the better. I hope to see many of you on Tuesday night for a great night of Trivia Q&A!

And In The Role of Dave Kingman...

It was a feast-or-famine night for Mike Napoli on Sunday night.

He belted two home runs, including the game-winning blast in the bottom of the 11th to give the Red Sox a huge 8-7 win over the Yankees in yet another Sunday night marathon at Fenway.

Napoli also struck out three times, once with two men in scoring position. He also came up in the 8th inning with the bases loaded and one out and score at 7-7. He promptly banged into a 6-4-3 double play.

Napoli has been fanning at a Red Sox-record pace, and may actually reach 200 by season end.

He hit a big three-run home run earlier, so that will make most fans forget the whiffs.

Lost in the series win was the fact that David Ortiz stole his 4th base of 2013. Wheels Ortiz has four thefts? Wow.

The Sox took the three-game series from New York, and it puts the Yankees deep in 4th place, 7 back. The win keeps the Red Sox 1 1/2 games up on Tampa Bay, who blow into Boston tonight for a huge four-game series.

The Sox are now 60-40, and on a pace to win 97 games.

(With thanks to my buddy Jere of A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory, who had the pleasure of being at Fenway last night and posted a few pictures on his blog about it today, including the above one.)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thanks For 2004, D-Lowe

Another One of the 25 has called it a career, as Derek Lowe officially retired this week, after 17 seasons in MLB.

I had the pleasure of being at Fenway for his no-hitter over Tampa Bay on April 27, 2002. I will never forget how electric Fenway Park was for that ninth inning, which included a great grab in center field by Rickey Henderson. (Remember him in a Red Sox uniform?) The park just exploded when the last out was made. It was one of my favorite memories in any baseball park.

Lowe will forever be remembered by Sox fans as the first pitcher to ever win the clinching game in all three postseason series. He won in relief to wrap up the ALDS (when David Ortiz won it with a home run in the tenth inning), pitched six brilliant innings in Game 7 of the ALCS to wrap up the greatest postseason comeback of all-time, and pitched seven equally terrific innings in Game 4 of the World Series.

And of course, how could you forget he was part of one of the best trades in Red Sox history, coming from Seattle with Jason Varitek for the infamous Heathcliffe Slocumb in July 1997?

He was released by the Texas Rangers earlier this season.

Lowe's retirement means there are only three players from The 25 of 2004 still active in MLB: David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and Bronson Arroyo.

Enjoy your retirement, D-Lowe. And thanks for 2004.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Trivia Q&A: July 16

The night was hot, but we had a pretty good crowd in on Tuesday, slightly down from last week, with the All-Star Game on in the background.

We had some high scores for the Baseball All-Stars Trivia and General Knowledge (it will be a bit tougher next week), but it was a difficult IQ Trivia, as only two teams got as many as 2 of the 5 correct.

First place went to The Too Colorful Cheating Devices Yelling Out Answers with 41 points. Good job by Counselor Tice. Second place was a tie, and we broke it with "How many All-Star Games has the NL won in history?" The answer was 43, and the team of Temple University Is In Cleveland, who guessed 42, wound up in second place with 37 points. Third place went to Polls Show Weiner In Front (who also won for Best Team Name), also finishing with 37 points.

Current Events
1. What rock superstar set a new record at Fenway Park last Tuesday for the largest attendance at a music show there, breaking his 2009 record?
2. What Latin American country surpassed the US as the "Fattest Country In The World" for 2013, according to a UN study?
3. What pop singer apologized to Bill Clinton last Friday after the singer was seen on a video spraying water on the former president's picture and yelling obscenities at it in a restaurant?
4. Jean-Claude Juncker resigned as prime minister of what small European country following a scandal involving the country's secret service?
5. Cory Monteith, a 31-year-old singer and star of what TV series, was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room on Saturday?
6. What famous author was unmasked recently as the writer of the crime novel "The Cuckoo's Calling" under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith?
7. What actress was named a new co-host on the ABC weekeday talk show "The View" yesterday, beginning in September, replacing Barbara Walters?

Which Came First Trivia
1. a. Charles Lindbergh flies solo across the Atlantic; b. The Stock Market crashes and the Great Depression begins.
2. a. Bernard Madoff is arrested for running a Ponzi scheme; b. Barack Obama is elected 44th US president.
3. a. Saigon falls and Vietnam reunifies; b. Richard Nixon resigns and Gerald Ford becomes president.
4. a. American Civil War ends; b. Canada becomes an independent nation.
5. a. The Watergate break-in occurs; b. "The Godfather" film is first released.
6. a. The Berlin Wall comes down; b. Iraq invades Kuwait.
7. a. Bill Clinton is elected president for the first time; b. The World Series is canceled for the first time by a strike.

Baseball All-Stars Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Reggie Jackson
2. Mike Piazza
3. Cal Ripken Jr.
4. Jackie Robinson
5. Willie Mays
6. Mike Trout
7. Stan Musial
8. Roberto Clemente
9. Tony Gwynn
10. Carl Yastrzemski

General Knowledge
1. Temple University is located in what major US city? ( 1 pt)
2. The circumference of a circle is equal to how many degrees? ( 1 pt)
3. Who was the second vice-president of the US? ( 1 pt)
4. How many states border the Gulf of Mexico? ( 2 pt)
5. What William Golding novel is about a group of school children stranded on a desert island? ( 2 pt)
6. What monarch was overthrown during the French Revolution? ( 2 pt)
7. What is the symbol for lead on the Periodic table? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What Central American country has the largest population, as of 2009? ( 4 points)
2. With what team sport did the term "hat trick" originate in 1858? ( 5 points)
3. Before the Empire State Building was completed, what was the tallest building in New York City? ( 4 points)
4. According to, the three most dangerous neighborhoods in the US are found in what city? ( 4 points)
5. For what country did George Harrison stage two charity benefit concerts in 1971? ( 3 points)

Current Events
1. Paul McCartney; 2. Mexico; 3. Justin Bieber; 4. Luxembourg; 5. "Glee;" 6. J.K. Rowling; 7. Jenny McCarthy.

Which Came First Trivia
1. a; 2. b; 3. b; 4. a; 5. b; 6. a; 7. a.

Baseball All-Stars Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. AL; 2. NL; 3. AL; 4. NL; 5. NL; 6. AL; 7. NL; 8. NL; 9. NL; 10. AL.

General Knowledge
1. Philadelphia; 2. 360; 3. Thomas Jefferson; 4. five; 5. "Lord of the Flies;" 6. Louis XVI; 7. Pb.

IQ Trivia
1. Guatemala; 2. cricket; 3. Chrysler Building; 4. Detroit; 5. Bangladesh.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Still Not a Household Face

Jimmy Fallon recently had a pretty cool segment on his show. He sent out the National League All-Star starter and Mets phenom Matt Harvey to Bryant Park in Manhattan and asked Mets fans questions about...Matt Harvey.

Here's a clip with the hilarity that ensued.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Stars Come Out On Tuesday Night

This Tuesday night, July 16th at 8 PM, the Special Category at Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter will be "Which Came First Trivia." I will give you two events from history, and you have to tell me which one happened first.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Baseball All-Stars Trivia," in honor of MLB's All-Star Game, that will happening on Tuesday night while we are doing Trivia. I will give you the names of ten famous players from MLB history, and you have to tell which of the two leagues they played in the All-Star Game for. (There won't be any who played for both.)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Temple University is located in what major US city?"

We get going at 8 PM tomorrow night. Always remember we have both beer and drink specials going on while Trivia is happening. Trivia Night has definitely picked up over the last two weeks, and that's great to see. Let's keep it going folks! Hope to see many of you tomorrow night.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


A show of hands from all of you who thought the Red Sox would have 58 wins and be 2 1/2 games up in first place at the All-Star Break.

Not many went up, right?

The Sox finish at the break 58-39, after 97 games, with a .598 winning percentage, best in the AL. They need just 11 wins to match last year's total, and may get that by the trading deadline, July 31.

Does the 2012 season look like it happened a lifetime ago?

The Sox ended the west coast trip at 5-5 (just as I had hoped they would) with two losses in the final two games in Oakland. They won the first, lost three straight, then won four in a row, and then completed it with two losses, the last one a tough 3-2 defeat in 11 innings.

They go into the break with the league's best record, and the third best record in MLB. They have a 2 1/2 game lead on Tampa Bay, 4 1/2 over Baltimore, and 6 over New York.

The .598 winning percentage translates to 97 wins over the course of the season. If the Red Sox go 32-33 over the final 65 games they will still end up 90-72. (The same record they had in 2011. But that was a lifetime ago too, right?)

John Farrell is without question the leading candidate for the AL's Manager of the Year.

Now the Sox take a four-day break and return to Fenway to open up a seven-game homestand with New York and Tampa Bay. The first 97 games were a blast. Let's see if they can keep it going.

Friday, July 12, 2013

No Foolin' Around From This Steven Wright

The Red Sox now have the most wins in MLB, 57, with another come-from-5-to-1-down win in Seattle yesterday.

And yesterday's hero was Steven Wright (not the bearded guy, the unbearded one), who came out of the pen with the Sox down 7-4 in the 4th inning and held Seattle to absolutely nothing through the ninth inning. Wright was recalled from Pawtucket a couple of days ago and allowed the Mariners just three hits in 5 2/3 innings, and gave the rest of the bullpen a much needed rest.

Wright got the win as Daniel Nava singled in a run in the 10th to break a 7-7 tie. Koji Uehara, who did not win the final vote for the last All-Star position yesterday (no big deal, let him go home and rest), got the Mariners 1-2-3, and the Sox took 3 of 4 in Seattle.

The win means that the Sox will be in first place when the All-Star break begins on Monday, no matter what happens in Oakland this weekend.

The Sox have now taken 4 of the first 7 games on the west coast, and need just one win in Oakland to have at least a .500 swing out there. After the loss on Monday to begin the Seattle series, I didn't think that would happen. Silly me.

So, why did I put up a picture of the comedian Steven Wright in this post? Because he's a Sox fan and I'm a big fan of his. And he came to one of my Trivia Nights a few years back.

So there.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"Any Given Monday"

Usually when you hear the name "Dr. James Andrews" when it comes to modern day athletes, the first thing you think of is "uh-oh."

That means the athlete has some kind of serious problem, and it usually means he'll be out for a while if he needs to see the best-known sports surgeon in the country. And anybody who is anybody in the sports world in recent years has seen Dr. Andrews at one time or another.

Dr. Andrews has now written a book called "Any Given Monday: Sports Injuries and How to Prevent Them For Athletes, Parents and Coaches- Based On My Life In Sports."

It chronicles not just his 40 years as being the physician to the sports stars, but it also gives suggestions and advice to young athletes pursuing just about every contact sport you can possibly think of:  from the ones with high rates of injury like football, baseball and hockey, to ones of lesser risks like golf and swimming.

Dr. Andrews also talks about the high rate of serious injury in cheerleading. You learn something new every day!

The good doctor also devotes time in his book to debunking some commonly held sports myths, such as "no pain, no gain", and how Tommy John surgery will improve pitching performance. He also points out the higher risk for female athletes for knee injuries in noncontact sports, as opposed to their male counterparts.

There's a lot of interesting, as well as useful information in "Any Given Monday" that will benefit not just the younger athletes, but those who have been battling problems in their particular field.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Big Bats Right The Ship

I had a bad feeling after Saturday's meltdown in Anaheim that a lousy losing streak might be rearing its ugly head, especially with the Red Sox on the west coast for 8 more games.

They lost the next two, and didn't hit much when it counted in either game. And they got off to a really lousy start in Seattle last night, as Allen Webster got tagged for 7 runs in 2 1/3 innings. He's probably on his way back to Pawtucket.

But the offense came alive last night, as five different players hit home runs (David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, and in his first game back from AAA, Jackie Bradley, Jr.). The Sox got 11 runs on 16 hits, and beat the fourth-place Mariners, 11-8.

And the bullpen was stellar last night, allowing just 1 run in 6 2/3 innings, scattering 5 hits. Andrew Bailey looked good especially, allowing just one hit in 1 2/3 innings. And Koji Uehara returned to his usual 1-2-3 ninth inning save.

It was such a good night for the Red Sox that even David Ortiz, yes "Wheels" Ortiz, stole second base, standing up.

It was a big win for the Red Sox, and they still have a shot at what I thought was a legit goal for this trip: win 5 of 10. They have to take 3 of the next 5, but that is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Tampa Bay won last night, but Baltimore and New York both lost. The Sox remain 3 1/2 up on the Rays, 5 1/2 on the O's and 6 on the Yankees.

Trivia Q&A: July 9

We had another nice turnout on Tuesday, even better than last week's. It looks like Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter is growing by the week, and that is good to see. It was equally good to see some new faces I have not seen before as well.

We had a rare occurrence on this night: three teams tied for first going into IQ Trivia. But the team of July Is Spitz Your Weiner Month (who also won for Best Team Name), ran the table and got all five right and wound up winning the night with 49 points.

Second place went to Girls Night Out with 45 points, and Insert Spitzer Joke Here finished third with 42 points.

Let's keep it going folks, and get yet another great turnout for Trivia next week!

Current Events
1. What actress/singer was recently paid $1.4 million to sing "Happy Birthday" to the president of Turkmenistan, who has been called one of the most repressive leaders in the world?
2. Fortune magazine ranked what oil giant as its "Most Profitable Corporation In The World" for 2013, as it earned a $44.9 billion profit last year?
3. What central American country passed a same-sex marriage bill last week and will become the 6th Latin American country to have it should the bill be signed?
4. Last Friday, the Vatican declared Pope John Paul II and which other 20th century pope canonized as saints?
5. A coalition of activists are calling for what company to drop Alec Baldwin as their spokesman following his homophobic Twitter rant recently?
6. What rapper recently had criminal charges filed against him for injuring an ex-girlfriend and destroying property in LA during an altercation?
7. A referee and a player got into a fight during an amateur soccer match in what country, which resulted in the player being stabbed to death and the ref was killed by a crowd of the player's friends?

Pop Music Trivia
1. Name 1 of the 2 bands that Eric Burdon was the lead singer of.
2. Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker were what 1960s rock group?
3. Billie Joe Armstrong is the lead singer of what rock band?
4. What hard rock band has the most gold records of any American group in pop history, with 24?
5. What female pop singer has had more number one songs than any individual female artist in pop history?
6. What musical group was founded by high school friends Big Boi and Dre?
7. "Double Fantasy" was the 1980 comeback album by what rock singer?

New York City Places Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Willets Point
2. Co-Op City
3. Red Hook
4. Snug Harbor
5. Gerritsen Beach
6. Fort Totten
7. Pelham Bay Park
8. Fort Wadsworth
9. Sunset Park
10. Morningside Heights

General Knowledge
1. The Foreign Legion is usually associated with what country? (1 pt)
2. Who was the only actor to appear in every episode of the TV series "M*A*S*H?" ( 1 pt)
3. In what country does most of the novel "Heidi" take place? ( 1 pt)
4. Between Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Quebec, which Canadian province does not share a land border with the US? ( 2 pt)
5. What is the currency unit of Vatican City? ( 2 pt)
6. To the closest foot, how many feet are there in 10 meters? ( 2 pt)
7. Mount Kilimanjaro is found in what African country? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The Costa Brava is a coastal region in the northeastern section of what country? ( 3 points)
2. What is the second largest city in the United Kingdom by population, after London? ( 4 points)
3. What former US president suffered a stroke and later died in the Speaker's Room in the Capitol Building in Washington DC? ( 4 points)
4. The intersection of Bullion Boulevard and Gold Vault Road is found in what US state? ( 4 points)
5. Ellen Church and seven other San Francisco nurses became the pioneers of what profession when they were hired by the BAT in 1930? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. Jennifer Lopez; 2. Exxon Mobile; 3. Costa Rica; 4. Pope John XXIII; 5. Capitol One; 6. 50 Cent; 7. Brazil.

Pop Music Trivia
1. The Animals and War; 2. Cream; 3. Green Day; 4. Kiss; 5. Mariah Carey; 6. Outkast; 7. John Lennon.

New York City Places Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Queens; 2. The Bronx; 3. Brooklyn; 4. Staten Island; 5. Brooklyn; 6. Queens; 7. The Bronx; 8. Staten Island; 9. Brooklyn; 10. Manhattan.

General Knowledge
1. France; 2. Alan Alda; 3. Switzerland; 4. Newfoundland; 5. euro; 6. 33 (32.8); 7. Tanzania.

IQ Trivia
1. Spain; 2. Birmingham; 3. John Quincy Adams; 4. Kentucky; 5. flight attendants.

Monday, July 08, 2013

A Test of Your 5 Boroughs Knowledge On Tuesday

This Tuesday night, July 9th at 8 PM, Trivia will return to The Mad Hatter with "Pop Music Trivia," seven questions about the world of popular music. It's always a category everyone seems to like.

The Q Train lightning round will be "New York City Places Trivia." I will give you ten specific areas of our great city, and you have to tell me which of the five boroughs that place is located in.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What is the currency unit of Vatican City?"

We get going at 8 PM. The Mad Hatter is at 360 3rd Avenue (between 26th and 27th Streets). We had a better turnout last week, and I hope we continue to get more folks in as we go along. It's important for our future at The Mad Hatter that we continue to bring people out for Trivia Night. Hope to see many of you tomorrow night.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Late Night Horror Show

I just hate it when the Red Sox give games away.

7-3 lead, two outs and two on in the ninth. And they lose in 11 innings, 9-7 to the Angels.

Observations from this crapfest:

The bullpen worries me big time. Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa have been great overall, but I fear they will be burned out by September, especially Uehara, who is 38. Andrew Miller has also been very good, but he left last night's game with an ankle injury, and it didn't look good as he had to helped from the field. Andrew Bailey was terrific last night, but can you really count on him? The Sox have to upgrade the pen, even more than the rotation.

Even if Brandon Snyder made a perfect throw to Dustin Pedroia in the 9th inning, it appeared Josh Hamilton had the play beat. If he throws to first, he had a far better chance to get Howie Kendrick, a slower runner.

Snyder had only played third base once in MLB before the Sox called him up. And the just-recalled Brock Holt and the just sent down Jonathan Diaz are middle infielders, not third basemen. The third base shuffle finally caught up to the Red Sox last night. It's time to bring back Will Middlebrooks from Pawtucket.

Lost in all this is the fact the Red Sox left runners everywhere. 14 left on base, and they didn't get a man on base in extra innings. This game should have been a laugher.

It's important the Sox come out with a win on Sunday night. Losing a game like this can wreck a team and a season, especially with eight more games left on the West Coast. This loss has to be put as far in the rear view mirror as possible, and not be remembered should things start going south.

Now we truly see what the 2013 Red Sox are made of, after the worst loss of the season.

Friday, July 05, 2013

First Of Many More Wins To Come

Congratulations to Allen Webster on his first MLB victory yesterday at Fenway in the Red Sox 8-2 win over the Padres, completing a sweep. It was a memorable one for him, as he got it on the 4th of July, and the first of many more to come. He's got "stud starter" written all over him.

Even Andrew Bailey looked good, throwing a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

The Red Sox took 8 of 9 on the just-completed homestand over Colorado, Toronto and San Diego, and now head out west for the first time, with 10 games in Anaheim, Seattle and Oakland. They leave Boston up by 4 1/2 games over Baltimore, 6 over New York, and 6 1/2 over Tampa Bay.

The Sox also have the AL's best record at 53-34, and just a half-game behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for MLB's best record. (The Pirates have the best record?)

Thursday, July 04, 2013

I Think This Jonny Gomes Signing Is Working Out Fine

When you are mentioned with Bernie Carbo in Red Sox history, that's always a good thing.

You can now say that about Jonny Gomes, as he tied the legendary Carbo for the Red Sox record for pinch-hit home runs in a season, as he blasted his third of 2012 last night, a game-winning shot in the ninth to give the Sox a 2-1 win over the Padres at Fenway.

It was the second time Gomes has won a game for the Sox at Fenway with a pinch-hit HR in the ninth. It was also the 8th time this season the Red Sox have won a game at Fenway in the ninth inning or later. (I don't use that "W" term that has come into the vogue the last few years, as it is a misnomer that never should have entered the lexicon.)

Jon Lester pitched his best game in a month, pitching 7 solid innings after a rocky first inning. Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.

And speaking of Bernie Carbo, it wasn't one of the three pinch-hit homers he hit in 1977, but you may remember his most famous one, early in this clip:

The Red Sox enter the July 4th holiday in first place by 3 1/2 over Baltimore, 6 over New York, and 6 1/2 over Tampa Bay. They are 52-34. Pretty amazing.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Trivia Q&A: July 2

I was pleasantly surprised to see a nicer turnout than the past weeks at The Mad Hatter on Tuesday, and it included one of my oldest friends, Renee, who brought out a number of friends to the bar. My thanks to Renee for such a nice surprise. (And a Happy Birthday to you on Wednesday!)

I did something tonight that I had never done before: all the answers for True or False Trivia were all "true." With that, no team got more than 7 correct (or five wrong). I had always wanted to do that. Thanks for indulging me, everyone!

The first place winners on the night were Better Late Than Never, who wound up winning the night with 44 points. Congrats to Pian, Charles and Jonathan on their win. Second place went to Tan Dori Girls (And One Boy) with 40 points, and third place went to After Telling Me To Shut Up The Bleep Up, Brian Cashman Cleared Me To Play Trivia (who also won Best Team Name) with 35 points.

Next week we move back to front part of the bar, so come in early and get a prime table at The Mad Hatter.

Current Events
1. What actor went on another Twitter rant last week, after a reporter wrote his wife was tweeting during James Gandolfini's funeral?
2. The US Senate unanimously voted to name a new bridge on Interstate 70 over the Mississippi River after what famous St. Louis sports legend last Friday?
3. What eastern European country, which was formally part of Yugoslavia, became the 28th country to join the European Union on Monday?
4. The transit workers of what US city went on strike this past Monday, the first strike since 1997 there?
5. Kevin Rudd became the prime minister for the second time, of what country last week?
6. In what country did former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden allegedly apply for political asylum on Monday?
7. Former MTV video host Kennedy claims in a new book that what NBA superstar tried to win her virginity in a game of dice back in the 1990s, but she won the game anyway?

July 4th Trivia
1. What 19th century US president is the only one besides Thomas Jefferson and John Adams to die on July 4th?
2. In 1872 on this date, who was the only US president born on the July 4th?
3. In 1976, Israeli commandos raided a hijacked Air France airliner in what African country, rescuing all but four of the passengers and crew?
4. In 1881, Tuskegee University opened in what US state?
5. On this day in 1855, "Leaves of Grass," the most famous book published by what poet, was released in Brooklyn?
6. In 1976, what British punk band made their debut in Sheffield, England as an opening act for The Sex Pistols?
7. George Steinbrenner was born on this day in 1930. How many World Series did the Yankees win with him as an owner?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. On average, vegetarians live longer than meateaters.
2. "Justin Bieber" is Googled more than "Jesus Christ."
3. Clint Eastwood was once offered the role of James Bond.
4. It costs the US Mint 2 cents to make one penny.
5. Human yawns are contagious to dogs.
6. The US Supreme Court once ruled that tomatoes are legally a vegetable.
7. George Washington grew marijuana in his Mount Vernon garden.
8. One in five people in Singapore are millionaires.
9. The word "set" has the most definitions of any word in the English language.
10. Adolf Hitler was once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

General Knowledge
1. In what year did the Pilgrims land in America? ( 1 pt)
2. The fraternity of  Lambda Lambda Lambda was featured in what 1984 film? ( 1 pt)
3. What number do all the clockface numbers add up to? (1 pt)
4. How many colors are on a standard Rubik's Cube? (2 pt)
5. What number is the Roman numeral "M" with a bar (line) on top of the M? ( 2 pt)
6. Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of what other metal? ( 2 pt)
7. What is the national sport of Taiwan? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The Bay of Fundy, which has the highest tides in the world, is located in what country? ( 4 points)
2. What is the only continent that does not have a landlocked country? ( 3 points)
3. The Kiel Canal, which connects the North Sea and Baltic sea, is the world's busiest waterway and is located in what country? ( 4 points)
4. What man appeared on the cover of Time magazine on January 5, 1931 as "The Man of the Year" wearing his customary dhoti? ( 5 points)
5. Who is the only villain to appear in all three of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Alec Baldwin; 2. Stan Musial; 3. Croatia; 4. San Francisco; 5. Australia; 6. Russia; 7. Michael Jordan.

July 4th Trivia
1. James Monroe; 2. Calvin Coolidge; 3. Uganda; 4. Alabama; 5. Walt Whitman; 6. The Clash; 7. seven.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1-10. All answers were "true."

General Knowledge
1. 1620; 2. "Revenge of the Nerds;" 3. 78; 4. six; 5. one million; 6. copper; 7. baseball.

IQ Trivia
1. Canada; 2. North America; 3. Germany; 4. Mahatma Gandhi; 5. The Scarecrow.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Celebrate Your Independence With Trivia

This Tuesday night, July 2nd at 8 PM, the Special Category for Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter on 3rd Avenue and E. 26th Street will be "July 4th Trivia." I will ask you seven questions connected with July 4th in history.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The fraternity of Lambda Lambda Lambda was featured in what 1984 film?"

I hope to see many of you on Tuesday night at The Mad Hatter as we celebrate our independence with Trivia!