Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Very Happy 2014 To You All

This is my 288th and final post on The Mighty Quinn Media Machine for 2013. It's been an interesting year to say the least.

It was a year for the ages to be a Red Sox fan, as our team came from last place in 2012 to shock the world and win their third World Series championship in ten years. It buried the failures of 2011 and 2012. It was simply magical, and it was the most emotional of three wins for me (yes, even more than 2004).

The team came off the rails in 2011, and it was successfully put back on by Ben Cherington, John Farrell and the entire 2013 club. Thank you Red Sox for an extraordinary year.

It was a miserable year to be a Minnesota Vikings fan, as the team regressed badly, especially at the QB position and on defense. The Vikings still have talent, and will have a new coach in 2014. Notre Dame also fell back a bit, to 9-4, but that was expected, as they lost a number of critical players on defense and had a much tougher schedule.

It was a year of transition for my Trivia Empire, as we left one in February, and another in November. As I write this, we have not settled on a new venue in Manhattan yet, but hope to have a new place soon. I thank all of you for supporting me and my Trivia Night, and I hope to see you all again soon in the new place.

It was not a good year overall for my background acting career, as I worked just four times all year. There's a lot of reasons why, and I won't go into it here. Let's just hope for more work in 2014.

I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year, and I hope you all have a successful 2014. I have been writing less here as the years go on, but I still value my writing here and thank all of you who stop by here for whatever reason.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Monday, December 30, 2013

So Long Metrodome...& Leslie Frazier

The Vikings bid farewell to the Metrodome yesterday with a 14-13 win over the Detroit Lions.

The Dome will be taken apart starting next month, and the new stadium will begin construction on the same site. (As much as people would like to have seen it blown up, that won't be happening.)

The Vikings played there from 1982 until yesterday. The Dome had hosted the World Series, Super Bowl, the Final Four, and numerous concerts. The Vikings were there for 32 seasons, and never went to the Super Bowl in the entire time they called the place home. (It has now been 37 seasons since the Vikings appeared in the big game, in January 1977 against Oakland.)

So I guess it is time for them to return to their roots: the outdoors. They will play the next two seasons in the University of Minnesota's home stadium, before their new home opens for the 2016 season.

I was in the Metrodome just twice: both in August 1999, for a Vikings preseason game against the Eagles, and a Twins-Red Sox game the day before. (Vikings won, 17-13, and the Twins won, 5-3.) I actually enjoyed the time I spent in the building, as it was not the dungeon it's been made out to be. It clearly isn't a classic ballpark by any means, but the noise the Vikings fans made during the football game was pretty infectious.

The Vikings conclude their final indoors with a 5-10-1 record, and it officially cost Leslie Frazier his job as head coach. He was let go today, and it comes as no surprise. The Vikings gave up the most points of any NFL team, and have a muddled QB situation. I really thought this would be a promising season, but it wound up being yet another season to forget. The Vikings had a decent second half, going 4-3-1 after the dreadful 1-7 start.

Time to start anew in 2014. A new temporary home with a brand new coach.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Irish Take The Pinstripes In The Bronx

Notre Dame ended the 2012 season with a 26-16 win over Rutgers on Saturday in the Pinstripe Bowl at that den of vipers called Yankee Stadium.

It completed a not bad year for Notre Dame, who went 9-4 on the campaign, after losing three of their biggest defensive players to the NFL and two others on D to injury. (10 of their opponents are playing in bowl games this year, so a return to the BCS title game didn't look very viable.)

Tommy Rees completed his Irish career in style, going 27-for-47 and 319 yards. I'm betting this his last football game, as he doesn't appear to be NFL material. But you never can tell.

Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals, with T.J Jones and Tarean Folston scored TDs.

All-time Notre Dame is 17-6-3 in edifices known as Yankee Stadium, and the second win in two tries in the new joint.

Notre Dame plays their next game in just over eight months, as they open the 2014 season at Notre Dame Stadium against Rice on August 30th.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

In The Middle Of All The Celebrating

I saw this video just before Christmas, but I'll share it with you now.

Mike Carp had a GoPro camera attached to his cap during the Red Sox World Series celebrations, beginning with the final out of Game 6, and ending with the duckboat parade.

It's great stuff, and you can get an idea of what it was like from the Red Sox players' perspective The video lasts just over four minutes.

It was a Christmas present in October:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It Wouldn't Be Christmas Without The Yule Log

I have another tradition I do here at the blog for Christmas every year.

I post "The Yule Log," the burning log that accompanies terrific Christmas music, and it is shown every Christmas morning on WPIX Channel 11 in New York City from 9 AM to 1 PM.

Once again, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Linus Always Tells It Like It Is

Every year on Christmas Eve, I always post this YouTube clip, from my favorite Christmas special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

When good ol' Charlie Brown is frustrated about the meaning of Christmas, Linus takes center stage at the Christmas play and explains to all assembled the true meaning of this special holiday.

I want to wish all of you out there a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy the holiday.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Season's Grievances To You All

It's December 23rd, so you know what that day is: it's Festivus!

It's the "holiday for the rest of us", so I want to wish you all Season's Grievances and a night of great feats of strength.

Here is the godfather of Festivus, Frank Costanza, explaining the holiday, on the famous episode of "Seinfeld" that brought our holiday to the forefront: "The Strike."

Enjoy, everyone:

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Before today's Vikings game in Cincinnati against the playoff-bound Bengals, I was thinking about how hard the Vikings were playing over the last six weeks, going a respectable 3-2-1 after starting the season at 1-7.

I thought Matt Cassell might come back as the Vikings' starting QB in 2014, as he has been playing so well, and a good finish might save Leslie Frazier's job as head coach.

Silly me.

Cassell fumbled on the first series of downs, which Cincy recovered and scored a TD a few plays later, and he also fired three interceptions.

Adrian Peterson returned after taking a week off with the ankle injury, running for 45 yards on 11 carries.

The Vikings tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, but the Bengals took charge and it was never a contest anymore, as they coasted to a 42-14 win.

The Vikings also locked up last place, and entered double figures in losses, with 10.

The season mercifully ends next Sunday, as the Vikings will say goodbye to the Metrodome forever with a game with the just eliminated Detroit Lions.

Merry Christmas.

The Irish 12 Days Of Christmas

This is still one of the most popular things I have ever posted on my blog, so I'll post it again.

Here is "The 12 Days of Christmas," as done by Irish actor Frank Kelly, who memorably starred as Father Jack Hackett in the screwball British TV comedy "Father Ted" back in the early 1990s. It is a brilliant parody of the classic Christmas song, and it gets more silly and bizarre as it goes along.

I originally posted this on my blog in 2007, and my traffic numbers here absolutely exploded. That happened almost every Christmas since, although it has calmed down considerably the last few years. (I guess people are finding it off different places on the Internet now.)

So, here it is: "The 12 Days of Christmas", Irish style. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Peyton Manning. Really? Explain This To Me.

I need this explained to me.

Sports Illustrated picked Peyton Manning last Sunday as their "Sportsman of the Year" for the year 2013.

Peyton Manning. Really?

So, what did Manning do in this calendar year that makes him worthy of that award? It started out badly for him, as his favored Denver Broncos blew a second round playoff game at home to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

Yeah, he's having another great year for the Broncos, and is probably on his way to his 5th NFL MVP award, a new record. But the Broncos haven't won a Super Bowl with him at the helm yet.

I thought David Ortiz would be a slam dunk choice. He literally put the Red Sox on his back and led them to a very unlikely World Series title, after a brutal 2012. His grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS literally turned the Red Sox fortunes around, and his speech in the dugout during Game 4 of the World Series again seemed to turn the Red Sox fortunes around, as the won the last three games to secure their 3rd title in 10 years.

His speech on April 20th at Fenway, five days after the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon, was inspiring to say the least. "This is our f****n' city" seemed to say it all.

Papi did it with his bat, and his leadership.

And he won more titles in the calendar year of 2013 than Manning did.

I could even see picking Mariano Rivera as the winner as well. He bounced back from a devastating knee injury to finish his Hall of Fame career in style.

Sorry, I just don't see Manning as a better choice than Papi or Rivera.

I won't lose any sleep over this. At least Papi won the hardware that counts for more.

Monday, December 16, 2013

No AP Or Toby? No Problem. Enter Matt Asiata.

When the news broke yesterday morning that both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart was sitting for Sunday's game against the Eagles at the Metrodome, I thought we might be in for a really ugly afternoon under the white roof.

I couldn't have been more wrong. No AP? No Gerhart? No problem. AP had an ankle injury, and Toby had a hamstring injury from last week's loss in Baltimore, and both were forced to sit it out.

Matt Asiata, a second year player from Utah who has been used basically as a blocking fullback and on special teams (and wears Chuck Foreman's old number: 44), got the starting assignment at running back and made the most of his big chance.

He rushed for 51 yards on 30 carries, but scored three TDs in the Vikings surprising 48-30 upset of the first-place Philadelphia Eagles. Asiata became the first NFL player to score three TDs in his first NFL start since Daunte Culpepper did it for the Vikings in his debut in 2000.

It was a huge day for Matt Cassel, who put up the best numbers of any QB in a game this season. He threw for 382 yards and 2 TDs and ran for another. Cassel isn't the Vikings long term answer, but it is clear they are better off sticking with him, and not Christian Ponder.

The 48 points was the most the Vikings have scored in a game since their record-setting team of 1998 scored 50 late in that year.

I give the Vikings a lot of credit in that they are playing hard for Leslie Frazier and are not mailing in the rest of this season. The defense played well, and shut down LeSean McCoy, the NFL's leading rusher, as he only got 38 yards on the ground.

A lot to like about yesterday, and made me wonder what could have been. Three of those last-minute losses could have been wins, and they would be right in thick of the playoff race. The Vikings are now 4-9-1, and are 3-2-1 since the loss in Dallas on November 3. They play the Bengals in Cincinnati next Sunday, and conclude 2013 with the Metrodome finale against Detroit on December 29.

Friday, December 13, 2013

No Kemp and Drew Is Still Out There

The Red Sox went through the Winter Meetings, and didn't make any significant moves. Not the biggest shock in the world. They did kick the tires on Matt Kemp, but I'm sure the money and years left on his deal (still six more years left), as well as his recent injury history caused the Sox to back off.

I was waiting for some of the usual suspects to give out "grades" on how the teams did at the Winter Meetings, which is my opinion is an act of utter stupidity and a waste of time. Last time I looked they don't hand out a championship trophy to team that wins the winter. (It would have gone to the Toronto Blue Jays last winter and the Red Sox in 2011. Neither team brought home the real hardware the following October.) It reminds me of those "experts" who insist on grading teams the day after the NFL draft, which is even more worthless, judging guys who haven't taken a snap in the league yet.

Stephen Drew has yet to sign with anyone, and the fact that one of his biggest suitors, the Mets, have pulled away from him says to me he may return to the Red Sox, possibly on a two-year deal. It sounds like the market for him isn't very large, and his agent Scott Boras, aka "Dr. Evil," has not identified any other offers on the table for him. Funny he hasn't followed his usual MO, "the mystery team" nonsense to get someone to commit. But he still has time.

Drew's return to Boston makes sense for the Red Sox. His defense was stellar all year, even if he had a tough postseason at the plate. I would guess Xander Bogaerts opens 2014 at third base, and Will Middlebrooks' future becomes a little more cloudy. This is till the biggest question the Red Sox must address before spring training.

I can see them adding another outfielder and a utility infielder before the officially finish their off-season retooling. I'm not surprised they've been relatively quiet.

It's good to be the kings.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Now That Was a Wacky 2:05

They say the Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports, but yesterday's Vikings-Ravens finish gave it a run for its money.

The Vikings are playing out the 2013 season, and found themselves in Baltimore yesterday playing the Ravens. And as the game began, they found themselves confronting something they haven't worried about in Minnesota for a long time: playing in the snow.

Early on, the story of the game was Adrian Peterson's foot injury in the second quarter, and it knocked him out of the game. No word yet on how long he will be out, as x-rays proved negative and he will have an MRI on his right foot today.

And AP wasn't happy with the fans or officials after the game yesterday, and let the world know it on Twitter.

The Vikings trudged on without AP, and had a 12-7 lead in the fourth quarter, when the Ravens got the ball and scored with just 2:05 left on a Joe Flacco 1-yard TD pass. That made it 15-12 after a two-point conversion. Game over.

Not quite. The Vikings got the ball, and on the second play from scrimmage, Toby Gerhart burst up the middle for a 41-yard TD to make it Vikings 19, Ravens 15. Fourth Vikings win of 2013.

Not yet. Blair Walsh made a terrible mistake on the kickoff, kicking it short and right into the hands of the dangerous Jacoby Jones. He went up the sidelines 77 yards to put Baltimore ahead and another brutal Vikings loss. Ravens 22, Vikings 19.

Hold the phone. 1:16 left and the Vikings got the ball back, and on the third play, Matt Cassel hit Cordarrelle Patterson with a short pass that he broke free on, and it resulted in a 79-yard TD. Vikings 26, Ravens 22. Another glorious Vikings comeback win.

Bloody hell. They left too much time on the clock. Aided by a very questionable pass interference call on Chad Greenway, Flacco hit Marlon Brown at the back of the end zone with four seconds left to end the wackiest final two minutes of football ever, 29-26.

There was six lead changes in the fourth quarter yesterday, the first time in NFL history that has happened. Six TDs in the fourth quarter after just one between the two teams in the first three. Unfortunately, the Vikings were on the wrong end of the last lead change, resulting in their 9th loss of 2013.

It was also the fourth time this season the Vikings lost in the last two minutes of a game. They'd be 7-5-1 and in first place if all four had turned out in the other direction. I give the Vikings credit, that they are playing hard and not tanking the season, especially over the last five weeks, where they are 2-2-1.

It's a year to forget, but at least they are losing in an exciting manner. (OK, I'm doing my best to look on the bright side.)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

OK, I Was Wrong On Cano

It's been one helluva crazy week on the Hot Stove front.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both leave the Red Sox for the greener pastures of New York and Miami respectively (that's a joke, folks). Mike Napoli will be returning to the Sox for two more years at $32 million. (And if you look at the original deal he signed last year for three years that the Red Sox changed to one year, Napoli has actually come out ahead on the deal by about $7 million.) Stephen Drew is still available to anyone, but it looks like he will leave for a multi-year deal elsewhere.

And in the shocker of the week, Robinson Cano bolted the Yankees yesterday for the Seattle Mariners, for a ten-year deal worth $240 million. The Yankees called his bluff, and Cano left. New York answered it back by signing an aging Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million deal. They are about 9 years too late on Beltran. (After the 2004 season, Beltran practically begged the Yankees for a deal for less money he got with the Mets, and they passed.)

It was further a bad day for the Yankees, as Curtis Granderson left for the Mets, for a four-year deal. Good move by the Mets, as they have to show their fans that they are indeed on the way back.

Plain and simple, the Yankees blew it on Cano. Granted, the Mariners needed to make a big splash and become relevant again, and in the long run the Yankees may have made the right move. But this clearly hurts them in the short run. They replace his bat with Beltran, who will be 37 next season. This team needed to get younger, and move athletic, but they settle for an aging slugger whose best days are behind him and his defense wasn't what it was. They are clearly going in the wrong direction, and now they will have to move Brett Gardner to get some pitching help in a trade.

They are throwing crazy money around now, and it's like putting Band-Aids on a gaping wound. They have gotten far away from the formula that brought them success in the late 1990s. They should have taken a step back and rebuilt their farm system and gotten younger. But it's their money, and they lost bucks by not making the playoffs in 2013.

I have to admit that I am enjoying seeing Yankee fans act like the crazy sterotypical Red Sox fans who lose their minds when a star leaves and goes elsewhere, especially to New York.

I'll leave you with this question to ponder:

Would you rather have Ellsbury go to Seattle and Cano stay in New York, or let it be the way it panned out, with Ellsbury in New York and Cano in Seattle? Granted seeing Ellsbury in pinstripes won't make any Red Sox fan happy, but it just may have worked out for the best. We'll see.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Well Played, Ben Cherington

Jacoby Ellsbury sold himself to the highest bidder last night.

No big surprise, with him having Dr. Evil, aka Scott Boras, as an agent. My hat's off to Ben Cherington today for allowing another knucklehead to offer an odious contract to a Boras client.

I thought Ellsbury would end up in Seattle or Texas. Nope, it's New York. (Don't you love the fact that the Yankees go after Red Sox players with championship pedigrees?)

So much for the Yankees getting under the $189 million luxury tax for 2014. The contract they offered Ellsbury is for seven years, at $153 million. He would have been crazy to turn down this offer. The Red Sox clearly learned their lesson from the Carl Crawford disaster, and I'm really proud that the Sox brass walked away from Ellsbury, which they were clearly prepared to do.

New York signing Ellsbury means they forfeit either a first or second round pick in 2014, and the Red Sox gain a first rounder (and will gain another when Stephen Drew signs elsewhere). So tell me, which team needed to rebuild their farm system again?

Listen, I won't call Ellsbury a traitor or compare him to Johnny Damon. Ellsbury never said he wouldn't sign with New York (as Damon infamously did in May 2005). MLB players are first and foremost businessmen. It was a business decision. They are taking an enormous risk here, as Ellsbury has missed over 270 games the past four seasons due to various injuries (including 28 in 2013). This will be yet another odious contract the Red Sox wisely decided not to go near.

And for the Yankees, it was another case of having to make a big splash with their fan base. (My friend Lisa Swan, who I have a lot of respect for, is not happy about this. She has a good take on it today over at her site "Subway Squawkers.") They clearly have gotten far away from what made them winners in the late 1990s, and throwing insane money at guys like Ellsbury won't fix that.

This does remind me a bit of when the Yankees traded for Alex Rodriguez in 2004, and I wrote to my Red Sox fans who were upset about it: "Alex Rodriguez can't pitch."

Jacoby Ellsbury can't pitch either. Even if they resign Robinson Cano (for even more they signed Ellsbury to, yet more insanity), it doesn't address their pitching problems. For the sake of their payroll, they better pray A-Rod sits out all of 2014.

The Red Sox move on. It could be Matt Kemp, Carlos Beltran, Curtis Granderson or Jackie Bradley playing center next year. We'll see where the Sox move on to.

Right now, I can only say thank you to Ellsbury for being a big part of two World Series championship teams. See you at Fenway next April 22.

And thank you to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who officially joined the Miami Marlins on a three-year deal last night. Thanks for being part of a memorable 2013 championship season.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

So Long, Salty

In a surprise move, the Red Sox have come to terms with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski on a one-year deal.

This means that Jarrod Saltalamacchia will play elsewhere in 2014. The fact he was benched for the final three games of the 2013 World Series certainly didn't help his case. And that he was seeking a three-year deal was something the Red Sox certainly weren't interested in doing.

Pierzynski will be 37 years old this month, and a one-year deal with him clearly makes sense. The deal is for $8.25 million, and he figures to be the bridge to two young catchers the Sox have in their system: Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. He batted .272 for Texas last year, with 17 HRs and 70 RBI.

Pierzynski has the rep for being one of the most hated guys in baseball. But he is one of those "teammates love him, opponents hate him" type of players.

Saltalamacchia got some big hits in his time with the Red Sox, none bigger than his game-winning single that won the crucial Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS against Detroit. All the best to him, no matter where he lands.

Also, both Andrew Bailey and Ryan Kalish were non-tendered contracts for 2014, meaning they are now free agents. All other players that had to be tendered contracts, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Burke Badenhop and Mike Carp, were offered 2014 contracts by last night's deadline.

Monday, December 02, 2013

A 10K Run

I caught some of the Vikings-Bears game on NFL RedZone yesterday (which I highly recommend, as it has totally changed my Sunday NFL viewing), and I couldn't help think of a legendary baseball icon while watching it: Ted Williams.

Watching the Vikings this season is like being a Red Sox fan back in the late 1950s: the main reason for checking them out is for one iconic player on the team. And in the Vikings case it's Adrian Peterson.

AP rushed for 211 yards in the Vikings 23-20 OT win, and became the 28th player in NFL history to reach the 10,000 yard plateau. The season has completely gone down the dumper, but AP is still running like a man on a mission, and appears to be on his way to another NFL rushing title. He basically put the team on his back in OT (I thought a second straight tie might happen), and got the Vikings into FG range late in the OT, and Blair Walsh's 36-yarder won it.

AP now has 1,208 yards, and leads second place LeSean McCoy of the Eagles by 120 yards with 4 games to go. It's really all Vikings fans have to root for right now.

But the Vikings may have a big time player on their hands in rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, who rushed for a 33-yard TD. He has brought 2 kickoffs back for TDs, caught one TD, and rushed for another.

I'm not one to root against my team in the hope they get a higher draft pick, as they can always trade up for a higher pick on draft day. But guys like Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson make me still want to tune in. I'd still like to see the Vikings get some dignity back and end the season strong.