Friday, August 30, 2013

Can We Call Bogaerts "Mr. RED SOX?"

The Red Sox kept the momentum from their West Coast swing going this week, taking the first series of three at home, with 13-2 and 4-3 wins over the Orioles, before falling last night, 3-2.

They win a blowout. They come back and win late. The pitching continues to be outstanding.

So much to like here right now.

Jon Lester wasn't sensational last night, but he pitched well enough to win. He was outpitched by the Orioles' Chris Tillman, who won his 15th game last night.

It was a game Baltimore absolutely had to win last night. It keeps them 6 1/2 games behind the Red Sox. The Sox lead Tampa Bay (who lost yesterday) by 2 1/2, and New York by 8.

The White Sox now come into Fenway for three, with Ryan Dempster making his Fenway Park return after taking the last 12 days off. You think he'll get a nice hand when he walks out to the mound tonight? It's been a season to forget in Chicago, as they are last in the AL Central. But they have won 8 of their last 10 games, so they are not to be taken for granted.

Here's the fun fact of the day, courtesy of Josh Kantor on Twitter from last night:

Photo I think that's the first time the immortal Mr. Poindexter has ever been mentioned on this blog.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Trivia Q&A: August 27

We had a nice crowd in for Trivia on a beautiful Tuesday night, and the top five teams were jockeying for position all night long. It was incredibly close going into IQ Trivia, as they were all separated by 4 points.

But it was the team of First Time I'm Not The One Who's Late who captured the winner's circle, getting 3 of 5 correct in IQ Trivia and winning with 36 points. Congrats to Pian and her friends on the win. Second place went to My Best Friend Leslie Says She's Just Being Miley with 34 points, and we had a tie for third, with Matt Harvey's Labrum the closest in the tie-breaking question (How many books has Stephen King written in his career? 55.) and getting it with 31 points.

Current Events
1. US Senator Ted Cruz, of what US state, announced he will renounce his Canadian citizenship, leading to speculation he will run for president in 2016?
2. Chadwick Boseman, who starred as Jackie Robinson in the recent biopic "42", was cast to star in a movie about what legendary R&B star who died in 2006?
3. Pop singer Linda Ronstadt announced last week that she is no longer able to sing and was recently diagnosed with what disease?
4. A new documentary and book, scheduled for release in September, claim that five unpublished books written by what 20th century author who died in 2010, will soon be published?
5. Steve Ballmer, the CEO of what American multinational corporation, announced he was stepping down from his position within the next 12 months?
6. Beck Bennett, best known as the "straight man" in the popular AT&T commercials with the young kids, was added to the cast of what TV show last week?
7. The estate of what late singer was handed a bill for $702 million by the IRS yesterday for federal taxes and penalties?

Movies Trivia
1. What John Travolta bomb was selected by Moviefone as "The Worst Movie of the 2000s?"
2. What Oscar-winning actor played Mr. Magorium in "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium?"
3. What movie character famously carried around a copy of the "Curious George" children's book in his suitcase?
4. How many Academy Awards did the 1997 film "Titanic" win?
5. The Band Zuzu's Petals gets its name from what classic 1940s film?
6. What classic Clint Eastwood film was set in the fictional town of Big Whiskey?
7. In a 2004 British poll by & IMDB, what comedy film was selected as the all-time favorite English film?

Name That Month Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The Challenger space shuttle exploded after liftoff in 1986, killing all 7 astronauts.
2. Canada Day is celebrated by our neighbors to the north every year in this month.
3. Japan signed the formal surrender to the US in 1945 aboard the USS Missouri, ending WWII.
4. The Sturgis motorcycle rally takes place in South Dakota for one week each year this month.
5. The Kentucky Derby is run on the first Saturday of this month.
6. Black History Month is this month every year.
7. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is traditionally observed this month.
8. The anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar is this month.
9. The Stonewall riots, marking the turning point in the gay rights movement, occurred in 1969 in this month.
10. FDR dies suddenly of a brain hemorrhage in 1945, just months before WWII ends.

General Knowledge
1. Who was the first US president to die in office? ( 1 pt)
2. Abraham Lincoln was born in what state in the US? ( 1 pt)
3. Baby Doc Duvalier was the dictator of what country? ( 1 pt)
4. According to the nursery rhyme, what time did the mouse run down the clock? ( 2 pt)
5. More than half of the world's geysers are found in what country? ( 2 pt)
6. What was the largest city in population in the US during the American Revolution of 1775-83? ( 2 pt)
7. What is the name for a group of goldfish? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The Convective Zone is found where? ( 4 points)
2. The Tabernas Desert is located in what country? ( 4 points)
3. "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" was a novel written by what 20th century author? ( 4 points)
4. 11 fans were killed during a crush to get seats before a concert by The Who in 1979 in what city? ( 3 points)
5. The 1989 Supreme Court decision in the case of Texas vs. Johnson concerned what controversial subject? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. Texas; 2. James Brown; 3. Parkinson's disease; 4. J.D. Salinger; 5. Microsoft; 6. "Saturday Night Live;" 7. Michael Jackson.

Movies Trivia
1. "Battlefield Earth;" 2. Dustin Hoffman; 3. Forrest Gump; 4. eleven; 5. "It's a Wonderful Life;" 6. "Unforgiven;" 7. "Monty Python and The Holy Grail."

Name The Month Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. January; 2. July; 3. September; 4. August; 5. May; 6. February; 7. October; 8. March; 9. June; 10. April.

General Knowledge
1. William Henry Harrison; 2. Kentucky; 3. Haiti; 4. 1:00; 5. USA; 6. Philadelphia; 7. troubling (glint).

IQ Trivia
1. The sun; 2. Spain; 3. Stephen King; 4. Cincinnati; 5. flag burning.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

From Here On

The Red Sox have 30 games left to play, and here's what it looks like as September approaches.

18 of the 30 games will be at Fenway Park, and 18 of the next 25 will be at home. They have two nine-game homestands left, the first begins tonight with the Orioles. They play three with Baltimore, three with Chicago, and three with Detroit.

The Sox then move on to play four in New York, and three at Tampa Bay.

The Red Sox then return home on September 13th to open their final stand at Fenway for the regular season, again with New York for three, and the Orioles are back for another three and close with Toronto the weekend of September 20th.

That leaves just five games to play. Two in Colorado, and the final three games of the season at Baltimore.

22 of the last 30 games will be played inside the AL East. The Sox play the Orioles 9 times, Yankees 7 times, Rays and Blue Jays 3 times each.

The Red Sox play all but the two games in Colorado in the Eastern time zone, so all the heavy travel is completed.

And one thing you shouldn't overlook is the fact the Red Sox have FOUR off days in the month of September: 9th, 16th, 23rd and 26th (and play no doubleheaders). This will be very valuable, especially if the bullpen load increases during the month.

It is definitely a favorable schedule, especially after having a rough August schedule. If the Sox go .500 the rest of the way (they are 77-55 right now), they would finish at 92-70. They might be enough for a playoff berth. We'll see.

The homestand opens tonight with the Sox leading the Rays by 1 1/2 games, the Orioles by 5 1/2 and Yankees by 7 1/2. Both Tampa Bay and New York lost last night, so the Sox gained some ground even while being idle yesterday.

Monday, August 26, 2013

No Q&A About 3D on Tuesday

Tuesday Night Trivia at The Mad Hatter (E. 26th Street and 3rd Avenue) on August 27th will feature "Movies Trivia" as the Special Category. It will feature a grab bag collection of questions about the silver screen over the years, mostly of the recent vintage. (There won't be any questions about 3D movies on Tuesday. I just like that pic.)

The Q Train lightning round will feature "Name The Month Trivia." I will give you ten events from history (again, not too distant past) and you will tell me what month of the year it occurred in.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"More than half the world's geysers are found in what country?"

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

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Nice Weekend In L.A.

Going into this series with the LA Dodgers, I was hoping the Red Sox would win just one game, as it would make their trip to California a success, splitting the six games there.

The Sox came damn near close to winning all six games.

They manhandled the hottest team in baseball in the last 70 years, 8-1, on Sunday night. Jake Peavy was simply magnificent, pitching a three-hit complete game, and is 14-2 lifetime against Los Angeles.

And a big thank you to Ryan Dempster, as his suspension for plunking Alex Rodriguez last Sunday night meant they had to miss this series, and moved Jake Peavy up to Sunday night. (How do you think Dempster would have pitched against LA on Saturday had he had his regular turn? I don't want to think about it either.)

The Red Sox made some statement this past weekend. After the 2-0 loss on Friday night, they allowed Los Angeles just 3 runs, and only 5 in the series, on only 11 hits for the three games. The starters went 24 1/3 innings and allowed just 4 runs. The Dodgers have only been held to three hits in a game six times in 2013, and two of those times were by the Red Sox (Friday and Sunday).

And Carl Crawford and His Whining Big Mouth was held to three hits and two strikeouts in this series he "wanted to win so bad." Ha.

Mike Napoli is getting red hot, as he had three hits on Saturday, and hit a mammoth shot into the left field bleachers in the 9th inning. Shane Victorino and Jarrod Saltalamacchia also hit home runs on Sunday night.

The win means the Sox are now 1 game up on Tampa Bay, who lost to New York on Sunday. The Orioles remain 5 1/2 back in third place, and will open a three-game series against the Sox on Tuesday night.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

One Bad Pitch

Without doubt, John Lackey has become the Red Sox "hard luck" pitcher.

He pitched a beauty last night, allowed just three hits in eight innings, but one was a two-run home run by Hanley Ramirez in the fourth inning. And that's all the LA Dodgers needed to win the first game of the weekend series, 2-0.

Lackey was great, but Ricky Nolasco was even better, allowing the Red Sox just two hits.

The other two LA hits were by Carl (I Can't Shut Up About My Days In Boston And Move On) Crawford.

Lackey has gotten the least run support of any Red Sox starter. The last time the Sox were shut out was earlier this month in Houston, another 2-0 loss. And who pitched that night? Yep, Mr. Lackey.

I was hoping for just one win in LA. Two more chances to get it this weekend.

The Dodgers have now won 46 of their last 56 games. Exactly what deal with the devil did they make on June 22nd to go on a run like this?

Tampa Bay beat New York so the Sox and Rays are tied atop the AL East this morning. I have no problem with the Rays beating the Yankees, as soon as New York is gone the better.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Two Of Three In SF

A lot to like in the Red Sox series just concluded in San Francisco.

Jon Lester and Felix Doubront were both sensational, both going at least eight innings and combined allowed just one run. The bullpen was well-rested for the upcoming series in Los Angeles.

The Sox bats came alive, scoring 19 runs in the two wins (7-0 and 12-1). Will Middlebrooks continued his torrent hitting since returning from Pawtucket, blasting a home run in yesterday's win.

Jake Peavy pitched well in the loss on Tuesday, and clearly wasn't happy being yanked in the 6th inning of that game. (John Farrell made some head-scratching moves in that game. Fortunately, that has been a very rare occurrence this season.)

The Red Sox' worst starter this year, Ryan Dempster, sits for not only 5 games due to suspension, but will now sit for 11 days, as his next start was moved back to August 30th against Chicago. MLB did the Sox a huge favor handing down the 5-game suspension when they did, as it moved the Sox rotation up favorably, so Lester will pitch on Saturday and Peavy on Sunday. The Dodgers miss Dempster (thank goodness) and the Sox miss Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke (thank you, baseball gods).

It says a lot about this club when handed a brutal schedule this week (that Sunday night start at Fenway and a Monday night game in SF), they played as well as they did. And to bounce back with a very convincing win after an awful loss on a 9th inning bases loaded walk on Tuesday. I was hoping the Sox could split the four games in California this week, and they need to win just one in LA this weekend to do that.

And the Sox did a smart thing by recalling Xander Bogaerts on Monday. He started Tuesday night and came in on Wednesday after the game turned into a blowout. Good to get the future star's feet wet now, and hopefully he can contribute to the club down the stretch.

Tampa Bay's loss in Baltimore last night leaves the Sox one up in the AL East.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"It Wasn't Even Close!"

I had a really nice surprise at my Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter on Tuesday. Two old and dear friends from my Tower Records days, Peggy Gartin and Athan Maroulis, came in shortly before we started. Peggy came in from her hometown of San Diego and joined us for Trivia.

But before we got going, she presented me with a really special gift. Her husband Ken met the legendary Dave Roberts a little while back. Ken is a devoted Padres fan, and Dave is currently the club's first base coach.

Ken got a picture of Dave's immortal steal of second in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, and had Dave autograph it personally to me. Dave signed it, "It wasn't even close!", as Ken told him that I had at first glance when the play happened thought he was out. (And I did.)

To say I am thrilled with this picture is an understatement. I can't thank Peggy and Ken enough for such a thoughtful gift, and I will treasure it always.

And if I ever do get a chance to meet Dave Roberts, I owe him a free drink. I'm guessing I'm not the only Red Sox fan who wants to give him free alcohol!

Thanks always, Dave.

Trivia Q&A: August 20

We had a lighter turnout than last week, but two of my dearest Tower Records friends, Peggy and Athan, were in, and it was such a pleasure to see them both. Peggy presented me with a wonderful gift, one that I will be posting on my blog on Wednesday.

The team of That's What She Said ruled the night, getting 50 points and the win. Second place went to Careless Bears with 43 points, and third place went to Quinn Is Coming & She Is Not Giving It Up with 32 points.

Current Events
1. Russell Simmons apologized last week after posting a sex tape video of what iconic 19th century woman, and later removed the video from his site?
2. What Protestant denomination elected their first ever female presiding bishop last Thursday?
3. What 1960s classic rock band's song was voted by a recent poll at Yahoo Music as the "Best Summer Song of All-Time?"
4. Pete Townshend of The Who last week said he was not bothered by a similarity that what current pop group's song "Best Song Ever" has to The Who's classic "Baba O'Riley?"
5. Lisa Robin Kelly, who gained fame on what 2000s sitcom, died last Wednesday at the age of 43 while attempting to overcome addiction problems at a rehab facility?
6. What cable TV show recently set a new record for the highest viewership for a reality show, getting nearly 12 million viewers to its recent season premiere?
7. What legendary actor was uninjured yesterday when his Jaguar caught fire on an LA freeway and he was helped from his car?

Name The Decade Trivia
1. MTV makes its debut, with The Buggles' "Video Killed The Radio Star" the first video ever shown.
2. Communists take over China, forcing Chang Kai-Shek to exile in Taiwan.
3. The 18th amendment to the Constitution, which brings Prohibition to the US, goes into effect.
4. baseball has its first players strike, with the first week of games that year canceled.
5. Iraq invades Kuwait, which leads to the first Gulf War several months later.
6. The iPod is first introduced to the American public by Apple.
7. America launches its first manned mission into space.

1,2,3 or 4 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The pitcher is this number on a baseball team.
2. On a telephone, this number key is associated with the letters G, H and I.
3. This is the atomic number of helium.
4. This is the total number of Oscars won by Daniel Day-Lewis in his career.
5. The total number of World Series won by the New York Mets in their history.
6. This is the maximum number of times Friday the 13th can happen in any given year.
7. In Astrology, Aries is this number sign of the Zodiac.
8. In bowling, this many strikes thrown in a row is called a turkey.
9. This is the number of Noble Truths in Buddhism.
10. This is the number of future US presidents who signed the Declaration of Independence.

General Knowledge
1. "What's Love Got To Do With It" was a 1984 hit song for what artist? ( 1 pt)
2. Alfred E. Neuman was a cartoon character found in what magazine? ( 1 pt)
3. The cheese called Gouda is named after a city in what country? ( 1 pt)
4. Cerulean is a shade of what color? ( 2 pt)
5. On a roulette wheel, the double zero space is usually what color? ( 2 pt)
6. In Scrabble, which letter other than "z" is worth 10 points? ( 2 pt)
7. What was the name of the third child of Adam and Eve? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. The Man Booker Prize is a prestigious literary award presented annually to the best writer of what genre? ( 5 points)
2. After Alaska, what US state has the second-longest saltwater coastline? ( 4 points)
3. The markka was what country's currency before it was switched to the euro in 2002? ( 3 points)
4. What did 19th century detractors refer to mockingly as "Clinton's Big Ditch? ( 4 points)
5. Robert Indiana is best known for his series of Pop Art sculptures depicting what single word? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Harriet Tubman; 2. Lutheran; 3. The Beach Boys, "Surfin' USA;" 4. One Direction; 5. "That '70s Show;" 6. "Duck Dynasty;" 7. Dick Van Dyke.

Name The Decade Trivia
1. 1980s (1981); 2. 1940s (1949); 3. 1920s (1920); 4. 1970s (1972); 5. 1990s (1990); 6. 2000s (2001); 7. 1960s (1961).

1,2,3 or 4 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. one; 2. four; 3. two; 4. three; 5. two; 6. three; 7. one; 8. three; 9. four; 10. two.

General Knowledge
1. Tina Turner; 2. Mad magazine; 3. Netherlands; 4. blue; 5. green; 6. Q; 7. Seth.

IQ Trivia
1. Fiction; 2. Florida; 3. Finland; 4. The Erie Canal; 5. love.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Trivia Down Through The Decades On Tuesday

This Tuesday night, August 20th at The Mad Hatter, Trivia Night will feature "Name The Decade Trivia." I will give you an event from the recent past, and you have to tell me what decade that event occurred in. And if you can give me the exact year, you will get an additional point as well.

The Q Train lightning round will be "1, 2, 3 or 4 Trivia." I will give you ten questions, and every answer will be one of those numbers.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The cheese called Gouda is named after a city in what country?"

We get going right after 8 PM. We've had some nice turnouts over the past few weeks, so I hope we can keep that going. I look forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday night!

Message Sent: Loud And Clear

Those of you who had Ryan Dempster in the "First Pitcher Who Plunks A-Rod On Purpose" pool, congratulations, you were a winner last night.

It was pretty obvious to me that Dempster was sending a clear message to The Most Hated Man In Baseball in the second inning when he plunked him on a 3-0 pitch just below the shoulder. (It was not a "beaning" as one of the New York tabloids had it this morning. He wasn't hit in the head. THAT is a beaning.)

Naturally after the game, Dempster and the Red Sox denied he was throwing at him. But I would suspect that MLB will at least fine Dempster. And if he is, I wonder how many MLB players would step up and pay it for him? (I'm sure there were many MLB players applauding and smiling at their TV sets after Dempster did the plunking.)

This to me was most telling: if you saw the New York bench after Alex Rodriguez was hit, they weren't exactly screaming for blood. (Compare that to the time in the 2003 ALCS when Pedro Martinez plunked Karim Garcia, and all hell broke loose.) With the exception of manager Joe Girardi, who went bonkers after both benches were warned by the home plate ump Brian O'Nora and was ejected, they barely seemed to care. They didn't seem to yell and scream for vengeance at Dempster. (And I bet you any amount of money there were players on the New York Yankees who were silently applauding what Dempster did. Naturally, none would say it publicly, as they wouldn't want to cause a civil war in their own clubhouse.)

Some people might be calling Dempster a hero, but I won't go that far. A-Rod has caused a lot of problems for MLB and its players, and it was inevitable that some pitcher was going to send a clear and unmistakable message. (I thought the outspoken John Lackey would do it on Saturday.) And I bet it won't be the last time he is hit this season. There's a lot of anger at Rodriguez from the MLB fraternity, and that pitch from Dempster was really from all of them who are basically sick and tired of this prima donna.

And yes, there was a game to be finished last night, and all of the A-Rod nonsense aside, Dempster was simply terrible. The Sox gave him leads of 2-0 and 6-3, and he blew them both. He continues to be a mediocre pitcher, good some days and lousy on others. New York scored 4 runs in the 6th off him, and held on for a 9-6 win. The "player of the game" last night was the New York bullpen, who shut down the Sox after starter C.C. Sabathia (who also continues to be incredibly mediocre, too) left.

The Sox lead Tampa Bay by 1 game, and Baltimore by 4 1/2 games. (Both teams won on Sunday.) Now, the Red Sox have to travel to California to play the Giants starting tonight. (Damn that ESPN for hijacking yet another Sunday night game, one the Sox had to travel out to the West Coast the next morning. And can't we see a Red Sox-Yankees game on a Sunday afternoon for a change?)

It's an important six game swing through San Francisco and Los Angeles, and they will be doing it with big time rookie Xander Bogaerts, who was called up this morning, as Brock Holt was optioned back to Pawtucket.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lackey Finally Gets Some Support

The Red Sox are still the only MLB team not to lose four straight games, as they handled the Yankees, 6-1, at Fenway on Saturday.

Friday's loss to New York was a big concern, as Felix Doubront was roughed up early, and the Sox were never really in it. But John Lackey has proved to be a money pitcher this year, and went 6 2/3 strong innings on Saturday, allowing just one run for his 8th win of the year. He clearly should have more, but this time the Sox gave him some runs to work with.

New York blew a sure DP in the 4th, and it led to three Red Sox runs, on RBI singles by Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks (who has now hit in every game since his return from Pawtucket). David Ortiz blasted a solo shot into the center field bleachers in the 7th to put the win on ice.

Koji Uehara continues to be superb in the ninth, and has not allowed a run over his last 18 innings.

Dustin Pedroia fouled a ball off his shin in the 8th inning, and left the game (and on his 30th birthday, too). X-rays proved negative, and he should play in the series finale on Sunday night.

The win moved the Sox back to two games ahead, as Tampa Bay lost. Baltimore won, and remain 5 1/2 back.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Waste Is a Terrible Thing To Mind

Tonight was without doubt the most frustrating (as well as most troubling) loss of the 2013 season.

The Red Sox had opportunities to score runs out the wazoo in the road trip finale in Toronto and failed miserably time and again.

Waste, waste, waste.

They got 11 hits, and 2 walks from Toronto pitching. They left 12 men on base. With a 1-0 lead, the Red Sox had first and third and no outs, and came away with nothing. I threw down my remote control in disgust, and I thought to myself, "They are going to lose this game." And sure enough...

Ugh. And this is against a last-place Toronto team that is going absolutely nowhere this year.

Jake Peavy deserved a win tonight. Six solid innings of allowing just one hit, but the Jays got him for two in the 7th. Tampa Bay is now 2 games in the East.

Too often on this road trip, the Red Sox just seemed to miss getting that clutch hit that meant the difference between winning and losing. It was also the 7th game since July 22nd that the Sox have scored either none or 1 run. (Thanks Bill Nowlin.) And now with the Yankees coming in, let's just say I'm concerned right now.

Prove me wrong, guys.

Tough Loss, But Still Three Up

The Red Sox lost a tough one last night in Toronto, after Mike Napoli came through with a two-run blast in the ninth as the Sox were down to their last out. They never say die, these Red Sox. It tied the game at 3, but the Blue Jays pulled it out on a single with runners on second and third in the tenth.

The Sox will close out the 10-game road trip tonight at Rogers Centre, and a win will make it just what I was hoping for: an even 5-5 split since they left Fenway.

The Sox are three up on Tampa Bay, who came from behind in the ninth to win last night.

Losing isn't fun, but my friend Adam sent me an email this morning that sums up the AL East:

Losing may be annoying.  But even though the Sox are only playing .500 ball over their last 10 games, they've gained ground on the Rays and O's and haven't lost ground to theMFY or Jays.  TB has only won 3 of their last 10 and Baltimore is 4-6 in their last 10 games. 

So far August has been the Sox' worst month since May.  They were .500 in May and are only one game over in the 13 games this month.  Since July 1st, the Sox are 22-16 (.579 WP).  That's a 94-win pace.  Overall, they're on pace for 95/96 wins. 

The Rays went 21-3 from June 29th to July 27th.  During that stretch, they took over first place.  Since then, they've lost 3.5 games in the standings to the Sox

Baltimore are 18-19 since July 1st.  Right now, they're on pace to win 88 games.  Even though they're a better team than last year by Pythag (86 wins this year v. 82 wins last year), they're a long shot to reach last year's win total.  In 2012, the O's were 29-9 in 1-run games and 16-2 in extra-innings.  So far this year they're 14-21 in 1-run games and 6-5 in extra-innings.  It doesn't look like they're going to have the luck they had last year.

Before the season I felt the Sox were better than Baltimore, Toronto, and the MFY.  I still think they are.  Right now, the AL East is a 3-team race.  The division has 3 of the top 6 records in the AL: Sox (1), Rays (4), O's (6).  The MFY have won 4 straight, but they really aren't that good.  The Jays, the off-season winner, also aren't a good team. 

Still a long ways to go, folks.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Trivia Q&A: August 13

We had a good crowd in on Tuesday night for Trivia. We didn't have a lot of teams, but it seemed like each team had 5 or 6 people on each team. And it was good to see my friends Rob and Melinda (who were dedicated regulars in The Other Place) in with some friends, as it was their first time in many weeks.

The toughest category for the Trivia players was the Q Train lightning round: "Name The Year Trivia." Lower scores than I would have thought. But most teams did really well with General Knowledge and IQ Trivia. It was really tight heading into IQ Trivia, but the team of Too Far Overboard garnered a one-point win, with 51 points.

Second place went to A Statutory Walk In The Woods with 50 points. And third place went to Did He Not Require Hospitalization Because He Died? (Fingers Crossed!) with 49 points.

Best Team Name: Jeffrey Dahmer's House of Ribs

Current Events
1. What Hollywood superstar actor was left out of the next "Expendables" sequel because he was demanding $1 million per day and the producers declined?
2. Actor Alec Baldwin will be doing an hour-long political show every Friday night on what cable network later this year?
3. Oprah Winfrey says she was the victim of racism last month when she was shopping in a store in what European country for a handbag and was told it was "too expensive" for her?
4. Which male R&B singer suffered a non-epileptic seizure while working in an LA recording studio last Friday but didn't require any hospitalization?
5. Hundreds of people attended an impromptu flash mob party on what NYC bridge early last Sunday morning until the NYPD broke it up and arrested the organizer and the DJs?
6. What talk show host recently revealed recently that the child he and his wife had last month was actually born with the help of a surrogate?
7. What English TV personality topped Forbes' list of the top TV/Radio earners for 2012, raking in $95 million?

Q-Tip Trivia
1.Which of these 19th century US presidents served their terms before the Civil War? a. Franklin Pierce; b. Benjamin Harrison; c. Zachary Taylor; d. James Garfield.
2. Which of these planets are smaller than Earth? a. Mercury; b. Mars; c. Uranus; d. Neptune.
3. Which of these US states have less than 1 million in population as of 2010? a. Hawaii; b. Maine; c. Idaho; d. Rhode Island.
4. Which of these current actors have never been nominated for an Oscar? a. Gary Oldman; b. Christopher Plummer; c. martin Sheen; d. Donald Sutherland.
5. Which of these albums were recorded by Led Zeppelin? a. Sticky Fingers; b. Face Dances; c. Highway to Hell; d. Houses of the Holy.
6. Which of these countries are currently in the Top 10 of the most populous countries of the world? a. Nigeria; b. Japan; c. Pakistan; d. Indonesia.
7. Which of these subway lines of NYC is never regularly scheduled to travel into Brooklyn? a. 1 train; b. G train; c. 7 train; d. D train.

Name That Year Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Richard Nixon resigns as US president.
2. Princess Diana dies in a car crash.
3. The October Revolution occurs in Russia.
4. The Berlin Wall falls.
5. The Titanic hits an iceberg and sinks.
6. The Beatles release their first album in the UK.
7. Israel and Egypt sign the Camp David Peace Accords.
8. Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space.
9. Saddam Hussein is executed in Iraq.
10. Charles Lindbergh flies solo across the Atlantic.

General Knowledge
1. The Hersheypark theme park is located in what US state? ( 1 pt)
2. Whose challenge to the Papacy in 1517 triggered the Reformation? ( 1 pt)
3. What implement is used to strike the ball in croquet? ( 1 pt)
4. The islands of Borneo and Sumatra are located in what country? ( 2 pt)
5. What North American city is nicknamed "The Stampede City?" ( 2 pt)
6. The 1984 action film "Red Dawn" was the first ever movie with what film rating? ( 2 pt)
7. What West African country's flag most closely resembles the USA's flag? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. To what fellow writer did Herman Melville dedicate his epic whaling novel "Moby Dick?" ( 5 points)
2. What real life 19th century character has been portrayed on screen by actors Kurt Russell, Henry Fonda, Errol Flynn, Jimmy Stewart and Kevin Costner? ( 4 points)
3. Who is the only man elected twice to the office of US president and twice to the office of US vice-president? ( 4 points)
4. What celebrated TV character is 900 years old and has two hearts? ( 4 points)
5. In what 1986 film do the main characters drive a 1961 Ferrari with a vanity plate reading "NRVOUS?" ( 3 points)

Current Events
1. Bruce Willis; 2. MSNBC; 3. Switzerland; 4. Chris Brown; 5. Manhattan Bridge; 6. Jimmy Fallon; 7. Simon Cowell.

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

Name That Year Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 1974; 2. 1997; 3. 1917; 4. 1989; 5. 1912; 6. 1963; 7. 1978; 8. 1961; 9. 2006; 10. 1927.

General Knowledge
1. Pennsylvania; 2. Martin Luther; 3. mallet; 4. Indonesia; 5. Calgary; 6. PG-13; 7. Liberia.

IQ Trivia
1. Nathaniel Hawthorne; 2. Wyatt Earp; 3. Richard Nixon; 4. Doctor Who; 5. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

Monday, August 12, 2013

Q-Tip Returns On Tuesday

Trivia this Tuesday night, August 13th, at The Mad Hatter will feature "Q-Tip Trivia," which we have not done in some time. I will ask you seven general knowledge, multiple choice questions. There will be four choices, and one, two, three, all four, or none can be correct. You will get a point for each one you get right. (If it is "none", you get one point.) However, any wrong guesses will get you a zero for that question, so you have to be careful in your choices.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Name That Year Trivia." I will give you ten events from recent history, and you have to tell me the year the event occurred.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The islands of Borneo and Sumatra are located in what country?"

We get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. The Mad Hatter is on 3rd Avenue and E. 26th Street. We've been getting some better-sized crowds the last few weeks, so let's keep that going! Hope to see many of you on Tuesday.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pen Picks Up The Load, Stops KC Cold

A big win for the Red Sox last night against a very tough Kansas City Royals team.

All the teams behind the Sox had lost earlier in the day, so this was chance to gain a game on them all. KC had won the first two games of the four-game weekend set, and are proving to be a team on the rise in the AL Central.

The Sox jumped out with 4 runs in the 4th inning, but Felix Doubront struggled in the 5th inning, giving up two runs and having two on with no outs. John Farrell wisely pulled the plug, leaving Doubront without a chance to get the win. But Farrell did what was best for the team, and the pen responded.

Brandon Workman came on and gave up and RBI single, but that was all Kansas City would get. The pen pitched 5 innings, allowed just 4 hits and no runs (5K and 0 BB). Koji Uehara once again allowed nothing, a clean 1-2-3 inning for his 12th save. Workman got the win, and is now 3-1.

Will Middlebrooks returned from AAA and got two hits and two RBI. This is now his golden chance to reclaim third base. Jacoby Ellsbury dominated last night, going 4-for-5, with 2 RBI and a SB.

The Sox lead in the AL East is now 3 games over Tampa Bay, and 5 1/2 over Baltimore.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

70 and Climbing

It was one wacky series in Houston.

Stephen Drew saved the Red Sox' bacon on Wednesday night by blasting a three-run shot in the ninth inning, as the Sox came from behind to win, 7-5. They have now won 6 of their last 7 games when trailing.

These boys just don't quit.

It was a night the Red Sox were leaving runners everywhere. They left 12 men on base in 7 innings. I kept saying over and over to myself: "They're not going to lose a series to the lowly Astros, are they?"


BTW, has anyone else noticed that Drew has been on fire since the Jake Peavy trade? He's 13-for-28, with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs since Jose Iglesias went to Detroit. (He is currently 4-for-21, with 1 HR and 3 RBI since joining the Tigers.)

Koji Uehara struck out the side to end it. The win gives the Sox 70 wins, one more than all of 2012. What, you don't remember the 2012 season? Don't worry, I don't either.

Tampa Bay lost in Arizona to increase the Red Sox lead to 2 1/2 games. The Orioles won and stay 6 back. And the plummeting Yankees continue to free fall, as the so-called Greatest Closer of All-Time blew the save against the lowly White Sox in the ninth, and they gave up a 5-4 lead with 2 outs and nobody on in the 12th. Alejandro DeAza tripled in two to give the White Sox a sweep of New York. It puts them 11 1/2 back of the Sox, and 6 1/2 back in the Wild Card race.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

I Called It

After the embarrassing 2-0 loss on Monday night by the Sox to the Houston Astros, I exchanged tweets with my friend Jeff, a Red Sox fan in California. Both of us were in rather foul moods, and I responded to Jeff with this:

@dearhank38 "Amen, Jeff. I expect no less than 15 runs on Tuesday."

And, on cue, the Red Sox scored 15 runs against the lowly Astros, coming from behind to win 15-10.

It looked like the Sox were heading to a series loss to the Astros, as Steven Wright had a nightmare first inning. He walked two batters, hit one, and all three scored. And it was just as a big a disaster for Ryan Lavarnway, who tied the MLB record for most passed balls in an inning with four.

John Farrell pulled the plug early, and brought in Brandon Workman. Workman;'s numbers weren't pretty either: 4 2/3 innings, 6 runs on 9 hits, but it was good enough once the bleeding stopped and the Sox offense got rolling.

Jacoby Ellsbury hit two home runs in the Red Sox comeback from 5-0 (after two innings). Jonny Gomes hit his fourth pinch-hit HR of the year, a three-run shot.

The Red Sox also become the first team in MLB to match their 2012 win total with their 69th victory. (Doesn't it seem like Bobby Valentine managed this team like 20 years ago?)

Tampa Bay's loss now puts the Red Sox up by 1 1/2 games. Baltimore continues in third 6 back after their win last night, and the plummeting Yankees are now 10 1/2 games back after their defeat in Chicago last night.

Trivia Q&A: August 6

We had another nice turnout on a beautiful summer's evening. We continue to grow at The Mad Hatter as we go along. (And it was 6 months ago tonight that my time at The Other Place ended.) It was also a pleasure to see a few old friends, Matt and Monica, who I haven't seen from the time I hosted Trivia in The Other Place. Thanks to all of you who turned out and your continued support of Trivia is deeply appreciated by me.

We had a close race throughout the night between three teams, but the winners turned out to be Best Team Name Evah, who got 4 of 5 correct in IQ Trivia and won with 49 points. Second place was a tie between It's Not Safe To Put Leathers On a Weiner (who won Best Team Name) and Welcome Back Charles! who both had 45 points. We broke the tie with this question: "How many millions do the Yankees owe to Alex Rodriguez in the final four years on his current contract?" It was $86 million (tee-hee) and It's Not Safe... guessed closest and wound up in second place.

Current Events
1. Gov. Chris Christie of NJ turned down an offer from what Republican lawmaker to meet him for a beer to bury the hatchet over their public feud last week?
2. Mamnoon Hussain was elected the new president of what Asian country last Thursday?
3. Who was named the host of the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony this coming March, the second time they've hosted the show?
4. Former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in what country last week?
5. Name 1 of the 2 US states that began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for the first time last week.
6. 3 million Time Warner Cable customers, mostly in NYC, Los Angeles and Dallas, lost access to what TV network last Thursday in a money dispute between TWC and the network?
7. Jeff Bezos, founder of, acquired what major newspaper this week for $250 million?

August 6th Trivia
1. On this day in 1890, murderer William Kemmler of NY became the first person ever executed by what method?
2. In 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover landed on the surface of what planet?
3. In 1962, Jamaica became an independent nation, after being ruled by what country?
4. Director John Hughes died on this day in 2009. What hit 1990 comedy film was his biggest box-office success?
5. In 1988, a riot in what NYC park later spurred a major reform of the NYPD?
6. Geri Halliwell, who came to fame in the 1990s with the English girl group "The Spice Girls," was born on this day in 1972. What was her Spice Girl nickname?
7. Musician Marvin Hamlisch died on this day in 2012. Name 1 of the 2 films from 1973 he won Academy Awards for, for Best Origianl Song and Best Original Score.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Australia won the first America's Cup yacht race in the 19th century.
2. The original McDonald's restaurant opened in the state of California.
3. New Zealand was the first nation to grant women the right to vote.
4. WWI began when Austria-Hungary declared war on Germany.
5. Rochambo is another name for the game "Rock, Paper, Scissors."
6. A goldfish has a memory span of 3 seconds.
7. The smallest unit of soldiers in the US Army is a company.
8. Blaise Pascal is famous for his work in chemistry.
9. The country of Belize does not have a coast on the Pacific Ocean.
10. Abraham Lincoln was the first US president born in a log cabin.

General Knowledge
1. What sport traditionally takes place at Roland Garros Stadium? ( 1 pt)
2. Between German, Russian and Chinese, which is not an official language of the UN? ( 1 pt)
3. The game of mahjongg originated in what country? ( 1 pt)
4. Sharon Stone played a sexy murder suspect in what 1992 film? ( 2 pt)
5. John Coltrane was famous for playing what jazz instrument? ( 2 pt)
6. The island of Mauritius is in which ocean? ( 2 pt)
7. What explorer founded the first Norse settlement in Greenland in the 10th century? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What is the largest third-party political party in the United States, with over 330,000 members? ( 4 points)
2. Philemaphobia is the fear of people doing what activity? ( 5 points)
3. What musical instrument is on Louisiana's state quarter coin? ( 3 points)
4. What horror film was the first American film to show a toilet being flushed onscreen? ( 4 points)
5. "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" was the final novel by what author, which was unfinished at the time of his death? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Rand Paul; 2. Pakistan; 3. Ellen DeGeneres; 4. Russia; 5. Rhode Island and Minnesota; 6. CBS; 7. Washington Post.

August 6th Trivia
1. Electric chair; 2. Mars; 3. UK; 4. "Home Alone;" 5. Tompkins Square Park; 6. Ginger Spice; 7. "The Sting" and "The Way We Were."

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. false, US; 2. true; 3. true; 4. false, Serbia; 5. true; 6. true; 7. false, squad; 8. false, mathematics; 9. true; 10. false, Andrew Jackson.

General Knowledge
1. Tennis; 2. German; 3. China; 4. "Basic Instinct;" 5. saxophone; 6. Indian Ocean; 7. Erik the Red.

IQ Trivia
1. Libertarian; 2. kissing; 3. trumpet; 4. "Psycho;" 5. Charles Dickens.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

That Was Embarrassing

John Lackey pitched another fine game for the Red Sox last night: 6+ innings, allowed just 2 runs and struck out 10. And got no support and another loss, 2-0.

Lackey even turned his ankle in the 2nd inning coming off the mound to make a play, yet stayed in and toughed it out. I give him a lot of credit, as he has turned his Red Sox career around after the first two lousy years of 2010 and 2011. How about this:

Lackey won his 10th game of 2011 on August 6th, with an ERA of 6.14. But in 2013, he has but 7 wins, with an ERA of 3.21. He should have at least 12 by now with some decent support.

The Red Sox could muster NOTHING against the worst team in all of baseball, the Houston Astros.

To be fair, rookie Brett Oberholtzer pitched a terrific game: 7 shutout innings in his 2nd MLB start. He became the first pitcher to do that in his first two starts in 33 years, as he stymied the Orioles over 7 innings last week.

But still, this is the Houston Astros. And I'm getting really tired of seeing Dave Kingman, er, Mike Napoli, strike out in clutch situations, as he did in the 8th, as the Sox had first and third and two outs and naturally, came away with nothing. He has been a big disappointment since his hot start in April, and he provides little protection for David Ortiz (who now leads MLB in intentional walks, with 17). I'm really glad the Sox smartly changed his deal back in the winter to just one year.

This was a bad start to an important 10-game road trip. We damn well better see some runs scoring tonight.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Lots More Than History On Tuesday Night

This Tuesday night, Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter will feature "August 6th Trivia," seven questions about a lot of stuff connected to that date in history and in pop culture.

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

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Sharon Stone played a sexy murder suspect in what 1992 film?"

We get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. We've been getting some really good crowds over the last few weeks, and that's been really good to see. Let's keep that going folks! Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

I'd Call It a Success

Jake Peavy made his Red Sox debut last night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and came away with the win.

He gave up two runs in 7+ innings, struck out 7 and walked 2. Peavy left to a loud standing ovation from the Fenway Faithful after the first runner reached in the 8th.

Peavy also has Jonny Gomes to thank for the W, as he threw out Cliff Pennington at the plate (who for some unknown reason didn't slide) in the top of the 8th, and he would have tied the game.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the 8th to ice the game at 5-2.

The Sox remained one up in the AL East, as Tampa Bay won, Baltimore lost so they are 5 1/2 back, and New York won, so they stay 8 1/2 back.

The Red Sox are now 67-45, and need just two wins to match their 2012 total, and become the first team this year to match their total of last year.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Never Over Until The Last Man Is Out: Credo of the 2013 Red Sox

OK, I'll admit this: I turned the Red Sox game off when it was 7-1, Seattle.

If Henry Blanco hits a grand slam, it simply isn't your night, especially with Felix Hernandez on the mound. So I went to my computer and started writing next week's Trivia questions and answers.

It was 7-2 in the 9th, and the Comeback Kids struck again. I went off the computer and jumped back to my TV when it was 7-3.

The Red Sox scored six in the ninth to sweep Seattle, culminating with Daniel Nava's single with the bases loaded. It is now the 11th time the Sox have won in their last at-bat at home this year, and that leads the MLB.

Stephen Drew won Wednesday night's (Thursday morning actually) with a hit with the bases loaded in the 15th inning. So the Sox won it in the final at-bat twice in one day!

And tonight's win was eerily similar to what happened on April 10, 1998, which was Opening Day at Fenway.

The Sox were also down 7-2 to the Mariners going into the 9th. Randy Johnson left with a five-run lead (Hernandez left after seven innings up 7-1.), and the bullpen also imploded that day. The Sox scored seven that day, which ended with Mo Vaughn's grand slam to make it a 9-7 Red Sox win.

The Red Sox are now 1 game up on Tampa Bay, who were idle on Thursday night.

The win now makes the Red Sox 66-44, the first time they are 22 games over .500 this season.

God, I love this team.