Monday, June 30, 2014

Celebrate Your Independence On Tuesday

Tuesday Night Trivia at the Caledonia Scottish Pub tomorrow night, July 1st, will feature "July 4th Trivia," seven questions about events that have occurred in history on the day of our nation's independence. They are not necessarily connected to our independence...

The Q Train lightning round will be "Odd Numbered Trivia." Since we did Even Numbered Trivia last week, why not odd numbered this week. The answers to the ten questions I will ask you will all be odd numbers from 1-50, with no answers being the same number.

The Sneak Peek question for this week:
"The headquarters for Amazon is located in what US state?"

We'll get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. The pub is located at 1609 Second Avenue, between E. 83 and 84 Streets. Remember that first place gets $50 gift certificate to the pub, second place $20, and third place gets a free round of shots. We have been building momentum in the last few weeks with more people coming in for Trivia, and that's a very good thing. Hope you can join us tomorrow night.

Everyone Gets In On The Act, Even The New Guy

Big win for the Red Sox last night, taking the series in the Bronx.

Reminded me of one of those "2013 victories." Sox scored early and often, and despite the Yankees getting close, they held on for an 8-5 win.

John Lackey gutted through 5 innings for the win, allowing 5 runs. (The Yankees always seem to give him trouble, especially in the Bronx.) The bullpen was superb as usual, allowing just three hits in four innings.

David Ortiz hit a majestic three-run shot in the third, and every hitter had at least one hit, so it was truly a team effort. Dustin Pedroia once again had three hits, and is getting hot.

Mookie Betts made his MLB debut last night by hitting into a double play to end the second, but also had a single, a walk and scored a run.

The Sox ended the 10-game road trip at 4-6. Not what they wanted of course, but looking at the bright side, they won three of the last four, and actually gained a half-game in the standings from where they were before they left Boston. The Sox are 6 games back, and were 6 1/2 back in the AL East after they swept Minnesota.

13 games to go until the All-Star break. The next 10 are at home: 3 with the Cubs, 3 with the Orioles, and 4 with the White Sox, before ending the first half in Houston.

Yes, we've been down this road before in 2014, but this is a golden opportunity for the Sox to build some momentum. Let's hope it's not wasted yet again.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Much Needed At The Midway Point

Mike Napoli hit a fly ball to right field in the top of the 9th inning last night that would have been a home run in just one ballpark in America: Yankee Stadium. And that's where last night's game was played, and the home run gave the Sox a huge 2-1 win.

Live by a short porch, die by a short porch.

Those stupid Fox cameras that follow players to the dugout after they hit home runs (I'm still trying to figure out their purpose) caught Napoli calling Masahiro Tanaka "an idiot" for throwing him a high fastball on that pitch. Tanaka shook off his catcher twice, and had struck out Napoli twice on splitters. It was a 1-2 pitch. So why didn't Tanaka throw a splitter?

He is an idiot for doing that.

But naturallly, the NY Daily News is attempting to stir up crap, with their back cover talking about "payback" on Napoli for his "idiot" comments. If the Yankees are smart, they let this go. This is a struggling Red Sox team, that has scored just two runs in two games in this series, both on solo home runs. The last thing you want to do is wake up a team in the throws of an enormous offensive slump. And besides, a lot worse is usually said in dugouts that these snooping cameras don't pick up. And I haven't heard anyone with New York screaming about "payback."

Jon Lester was magnificent last night, going eight innings, allowing just one run. He didn't allow a hit until the sixth, and earned his ninth win and Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save.

Last night's game marked the midway point of 2014, and the Red Sox are a disappointing 37-44, 7 games back in fourth place.

The Sox are 3-6 on this 10-game road trip, and it ends tonight with John Lackey on the hill, and the Mookie Betts Era will begin, as he is expected to be in tonight's starting lineup.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Brock Holt Can't Do It Alone (And Here Comes Mookie)

Friday night's game was a game I thought the Red Sox FOR SURE would win.

They salvaged the last game of that brutal series in Seattle, 5-4. After a day to travel to the Bronx, they would have Brandon Workman facing the worst New York pitcher in Vidal Nuno, who has gotten torched in his last two starts against Baltimore and Oakland.

Yeah, the Sox would win this game for sure. Silly me.

They didn't bother to show up. If you can't beat up and get healthy against an awful pitcher like Nuno, you have more or less thrown the towel in on the season.

They managed just two bloody hits in 5 2/3 innings against Nuno, and only one after he left. It was a lethargic, lifeless 6-0 defeat. Brock Holt made a wonderful catch in RF taking a home run from Brian Roberts, and had one of the few hits, a double, and was one of the only players to reach second all night. He also looks like one of the few who care right now.

And I'm sorry, David Ortiz is just making excuses blaming this mess on the schedule. You play the schedule you get (and approve), and live with it. I am REALLY tired of the lame excuses I keep hearing trying to cover this team's asses.

This offense just stinks. Period. Full stop. Too many black holes not producing (Bogaerts, Pierzynski, Drew, etc., etc.) have left the Sox dead last in the AL in slugging percentage, and near the bottom in batting average, runs scored and BA with RISP. In my opinion, the pitching, both the starting and relief pitching, is good enough to contend. The offense is just DESTROYING this club. Just 75 runs in 26 games in June.

I could go on with more and more brutal numbers, but you get the idea.

And as I was writing this article, the news has emerged that the Red Sox are promoting Mookie Betts from Pawtucket. There will be a lot of pressure on the kid, with many fans thinking he's coming in as some kind of savior. Just let him play, and let's see if he lights a spark under these guys asses.

Mookie might be the only reason to check out this team in the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Trivia Q&A: June 24

We had another fine turnout on Tuesday night, matching last week's number of teams at 8. My two favorite regular teams took the night off, but it was nice to see an old familiar face. Michael, who was a Trivia regular from the old days in the first place I did my Trivia Night, came in and surprised me with two friends. Always good to see friends from the old days.

It was a lively crowd on Tuesday. The scores weren't particularly high all around, but that didn't dim anyone's enthusiasm. The team of I May Have Opted Out of the Knicks But I Opted Into Trivia (who also took Best Team Name) won the night with 37 points. Congrats to Larry and his friends on the win.

Second place went to Tom Cordell with 24 points, and third went to Team Babe with 22 points.

Current Events
1. 14 people were killed last Wednesday when a bomb went off as fans were watching the World Cup at a public viewing site in what African country?
2. Chuck Noll, the Hall of Fame coach who won multiple Super Bowls with what team, died last week at the age of 75?
3. What country's president ordered a week-long ceasefire in his nation last Friday, in the hope the fighting in that country that has killed hundreds will subside?
4. What eastern US state's legislature last week approved a bill raising the minimum wage to $11 per hour, which will become the nation's highest?
5. Pope Francis denounced what group last Saturday, and announced they were all officially excommunicated from the Catholic Church?
6. What 16-time Grammy-award winning British rock singer said in an interview last Sunday that his six children will not be inheriting his $300 million fortune, saying it would be an albatross around their necks?
7. The Presbyterian Church in the US voted last week to divest its holdings with companies that do business with what nation?

TV Trivia
1. What Saturday Night Live cast member left the show in 1994 after having been in a record 153 shows?
2. What rock band performs the opening theme to the TV series "The Big Bang Theory?"
3. What groundbreaking 1970s TV series was based on an English series called "Til Death Do Us Part?"
4. "I Want to Believe" was a phrase featured on a poster in what 1990s TV series?
5. What TV actor had to reject the offer to follow Roger Moore in the 1980s to play James Bond because of his TV commitments?
6. On the TV series "Glee," what was the name of the high school on the show?
7. What current TV talk show host almost single-handedly made the word "truthiness" a word in the dictionary?

Even Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The highest number on a standard dartboard is this number.
2. The pearl wedding anniversary is this number of years.
3. This is the number of dominoes in a standard dominoes set.
4. Virgo is this number astrological sign of the Zodiac.
5. Ronald Reagan was this number US president.
6. This is the freezing point of water in degrees Fahrenheit.
7. This is the total number of lines in a sonnet.
8. This was John F. Kennedy's age at the time of his assassination.
9. Visa bank cards have this many digits.
10. In a normal deck of cards, there are this number of red cards.

General Knowledge
1. Jazz musician Dave Brubeck was famous for playing what instrument? ( 1 pt)
2. How many Russian cosmonauts have ever walked on the moon? ( 1 pt)
3. "The Fame" was what pop singer's 2008 debut album? ( 1 pt)
4. Robert Morris University is located in what eastern US state? ( 2 pt)
5. Which of the following people lived the longest: Michael Jackson, Robert F. Kennedy or Emily Bronte? ( 2 pt)
6. In 1990, what was the first country to declare its independence from the Soviet Union? ( 2 pt)
7. A typical human body has how many ribs? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What female author wrote six Romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott? ( 4 points)
2. Leslie Lynch King Jr. was the birth name of what 20th century US president? ( 3 points)
3. In 1960, the largest earthquake ever recorded, 9.5 on the Richter scale, occurred in what South American country? ( 4 points)
4. Who is the only artist to have a song in the Billboard Top 40 Singles chart every year from 1970 to 1999? ( 5 points)
5. In 1975, what sport banned lefthanders from participating for safety reasons? ( 4 points)

Current Events
1. Nigeria; 2. Pittsburgh Steelers; 3. Ukraine; 4. Massachusetts; 5. The Mafia; 6. Sting; 7. Israel.

TV Trivia
1. Phil Hartman; 2. Barenaked Ladies; 3. All in the Family; 4. The X-Files; 5. Pierce Brosnan; 6. McKinley High School; 7. Stephen Colbert.

Even Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 20; 2. 30; 3. 28; 4. 6; 5. 40; 6. 32; 7. 14; 8. 46; 9. 16; 10. 26.

General Knowledge
1. Piano; 2. none; 3. Lady Gaga; 4. Pennsylvania; 5. Michael Jackson; 6. Lithuania; 7. 24.

IQ Trivia
1. Agatha Christie; 2. Gerald Ford; 3. Chile; 4. Elton John; 5. polo.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Test Your Boob Tube Knowledge On Tuesday

Tuesday Night Trivia at The Caledonia Scottish Pub will feature "TV Trivia" as the Special Category tomorrow night. I will ask you seven questions concerning the medium lovingly known as the Boob Tube. They will be of the more recent vintage.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Even Numbered Trivia." I will ask you ten questions on various subjects, and every answer will be an even number up to the number 50.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"'The Fame' was what pop singer's 2008 debut album?"

We get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. The Caledonia Scottish Pub is located at 1609 Second Avenue, between 83rd and 84th Streets on the Upper East Side. Hope to see many of you tomorrow for a great night of Trivia Q&A!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dead Ball Sox

Bloody hell.

When will the Red Sox offense ever show up? When it's too late?

Yesterday was another day to bang your head against the wall. One run in 10 innings against the A's. Rubby De La Rosa was terrific, and held the AL's best offense to one run and four hits over seven innings, while striking out seven. I'll take that every time.

But it was yet another pathetic offensive display. The Sox didn't get their first hit until the 6th inning. And they went 0-for-6 with RISP and left 8 on base.

It was the 8th consecutive game they have scored three or fewer runs. They've scored 15 runs over those eight games. Yesterday's 2-1 loss was their 17th loss by one run in 2014.

The numbers get uglier. 34-41. 7 1/2 games behind Toronto in fourth place. Today Jon Lester pitches just so the Sox can avoid getting swept in Oakland. Ugh.

I said before the Oakland series that they needed to go AT LEAST 5-5 on this 10-game road trip. So far, they are 0-3 and not hitting a lick.

Draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Old Time Baseball

The Red Sox swept the Minnesota Twins at Fenway this week, and by scores of 1-0, 2-1 and 2-1. Can't remember the last time the Sox scored five runs in three games at Fenway and won them all.

John Lackey was absolutely brilliant in going the first nine innings yesterday, allowing just three hits and walked just one. He deserved a win, and got a no-decision for his efforts.

That's because the Sox offense didn't show up until the 10th inning. Daniel Nava's double in the 5th was the first Red Sox baserunner, after Kyle Gibson retired the first 14 hitters. (The way the Sox offense has been so anemic, he might as well have been BOB Gibson.)

Chris Parmlee hit a Koji Uehara splitter into the bullpen with two outs in the 10th for the first run of the game. (And he had 3 of the 4 Minnesota hits.) Shocking, to say the least.

It looked like another game the Red Sox would have superb pitching, and lose again.

With one out in the bottom of the tenth, David Ortiz hit a Casey Fien pitch straight down the right field line and into the seats to tie the game at 1. (Papi did him self no favors by whining after the game about a hard hit ball to first that Joe Mauer knocked down and was charged with an error. He thought it should have been ruled a hit, as did I. He reminds me of Ted Williams in that every little slight is some declaration of war.)

Mike Napoli then hit a blast into the bleachers to give the Red Sox a 2-1 win. It was the first time in club history that they have swept a three-game series by scoring five runs or fewer.

I can't say I was ecstatic about this win. The offense continues to struggle big time, and it was the strength of the pitching that saved the team's bacon. They now head out west to begin an important 10-game road trip, against Oakland, Seattle and New York. The A's and Mariners currently have the two best team ERAs in the AL. So this will be difficult test, one in which the Sox need to score more runs. I would expect no less than 5 wins on this trip.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mr. Everywhere

I think it's safe to say that Brock Holt is in Boston to stay.

He's played everywhere this season, and center field last night for the first time, and right on cue, Holt made a dazzling play in the outfield.

In the third inning, Brian Dozier of the Twins hit a ball to left-center that Jonny Gomes totally lost in the sky. The cameras were focused on Gomes, and suddenly there's Holt, making a diving catch in the alley. It has to be seen to be believed, so check it out here. (The look on the faces of Dozier and Jon Lester are simply priceless.)

Holt had two hits last night, stole a base, and scored both runs in the Sox' 2-1 win over the Twins. He's hitting .338. Jon Lester earned his 8th win, and the bullpen was stellar after he left: 2 2/3 innings, one walk allowed. Edward Mujica got the save, as Koji Uehara got the night off. Boy, when I saw that on my iPhone (I was doing Trivia last night and followed the game by phone updates) that Mujica was getting the ninth, I was scared. But he was fine, striking out 2 of the 3 hitters he faced.

Holt is here to stay, but we wish a fond farewell to Grady Sizemore, as he was designated for assignment previous to last night's game. It just didn't work out for Sizemore, as he's clearly a shadow of the player he once was. Too many strikeouts, not enough production in the action he saw. It was a chance worth taking, but it just didn't click. Garin Cecchini was recalled to take his spot.

Today is the final game of the homestand, and a win would mean a sweep over Minnesota and a 5-2 homestand. John Lackey will try to make that happen this afternoon, before the Sox head out west to begin a road trip to Oakland, Seattle and New York.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Trivia Q&A: June 17

We had our best turnout so far in our short history at The Caledonia Scottish Pub on Tuesday, and it was nice to see the regulars back. We also used a new microphone that worked perfectly after having to improvise the first few weeks. Thank goodness for small pleasures.

The team of No Sleep Til John Quinn wound up winning the night, garnering 50 points and the winner's circle. Congrats to Alex and his comrades. Second place went to So, President Bush, Mission Accomplished? with 39 points, and third place went to Lagavulin with 28 points.

Best Team Name went to The Incredible Know Nothings.

Current Events
1. What rap group won a $1.7 million copyright lawsuit against Monster Energy drink recently?
2. Rolling Stone recently selected their 100 greatest country songs of all-time, and which legend had the number one song?
3. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was sworn earlier this month as president of what country?
4. Rafael Nadal won the men's singles tennis title at the French Open last week, setting a new record for most men's titles. How many times has he won?
5. What game show host was confirmed by Guinness World Records as having hosted the most episodes of any show in history?
6. Nia Sanchez, a 24-year-old who holds a 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, was crowned Miss USA on Sunday. What western state is she from?
7. What punk band's debut album from 1976 was just recently confirmed as a gold record, 500,000 in US sales, after 38 years?

Q-Tip Trivia
1. Which of the following books are in the Old Testament? a. Romans; b. Leviticus; 3. Philippians; 4. Deuteronomy.
2. Which of the following states entered the Union after the Civil War? a. Michigan; b. Minnesota; c. Oregon; d. California.
3. Which of these TV shows debuted in the 1980s? a. Married With Children; b. The Oprah Winfrey Show; c. Saturday Night Live; d. Late Show With David Letterman.
4. Which of the following planets have no satellites? a. Uranus; b. Mars; c. Mercury; d. Neptune.
5. Which of the following have won the Nobel Peace Prize? a. Mother Teresa; b. Al Gore; c. Henry Kissinger; d. Yasser Arafat.
6. Which of these following states have larger populations than New York State? a. Illinois; b. Florida; c. Pennsylvania; d. Texas.
7. Which of the following albums was not done by the Rolling Stones? a. Houses of the Holy; b. Let It Bleed; c. Tattoo You; d. Bridges to Babylon.

Movie Villains Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Bill the Butcher
2. Alex Forrest
3. Patrick Bateman
4. Jason Vorhees
5. Biff Tannen
6. Damon Killian
7. Col. Nathan Jessup
8. Hans Gruber
9. T-1000
10. Annie Wilkes

General Knowledge
1. What city was nearly totally destroyed by fire in 1666? ( 1 pt)
2. What band's 1977 song "God Save the Queen" was declared offensive and banned by the BBC? ( 1 pt)
3. What is the name of the bird with the multicolored beak on the Froot Loops cereal box? ( 1 pt)
4. Art Fleming was the original host of what TV game show? ( 2 pt)
5. In what country was the USS Cole attacked by terrorists in 2000? ( 2 pt)
6. Of all the Beatles US number one songs, which one has the shortest title? ( 2 pt)
7. What baseball legend played in five different positions in his career in the All-Star Game? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What 1951 movie classic was set on the Ulanga River? ( 3 points)
2. What board game was developed during WWII as a diversion for people waiting out air raids in bomb shelters? ( 4 points)
3. What religious sect was founded in the late 17th century by Jakob Amman? ( 4 points)
4. In 1911, American Glenn Curtiss was the first person ever to receive what? ( 4 points)
5. In what Asian country is the president's office and official residence known as The Blue House? ( 5 points)

Current Events
1. Beastie Boys; 2. Johnny Cash ("I Walk the Line"); 3. Egypt; 4. nine; 5. Alex Trebek; 6. Nevada; 7. The Ramones.

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

Movie Villains Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Gangs of New York; 2. Fatal Attraction; 3. American Psycho; 4. Friday the 13th; 5. Back to the Future; 6. The Running Man; 7. A Few Good Men; 8. Die Hard; 9. Terminator 2: Judgment Day; 10. Misery.

General Knowledge
1. London; 2. The Sex Pistols; 3. Toucan Sam; 4. Jeopardy; 5. Yemen; 6. Help!; 7. Pete Rose.

IQ Trivia
1. "The African Queen;" 2. Clue; 3. The Amish; 4. Pilot's license; 5. South Korea.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Bad Guys Are Back On Tuesday

We didn't have our Trivia Night last Tuesday, but are going to give it another try on Tuesday. Trivia will follow the World Cup game between Russia and South Korea tomorrow at 8 PM at The Caledonia Scottish Pub.

The Special Category will be "Q-Tip Trivia." I will ask you seven general knowledge questions, with four choices for answers. You can pick 1, 2, 3 all 4 or none as your answer. You will get a point for each answer that is correct. However, if you pick an incorrect choice, you will get NO points for that question. You have to be careful in picking the ones you think are correct.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Movie Villains Trivia." I will give you the names of ten famous movie baddies and you have to tell me which movie he or she appeared in.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What city was nearly totally destroyed by fire in 1666?"

We will get going at 8 PM tomorrow night. The Caledonia Scottish Pub is at 1609 Second Avenue, between E. 83rd and 84th Streets. Remember that it is $50 gift certificate to the bar for first place, $20 gift certificate for second, and a round of shots for third. Come on out on Tuesday night and have some fun and win prizes with a great night of Trivia!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Double Figures For The First Time

After a thoroughly rotten road trip where the Red Sox went 2-7, they come home with two convincing wins over the Indians at Fenway.

John Lackey didn't have his best stuff on a rainy night last night, and the game was tied at 3 in the third inning. It had all the makings of a shootout.

But Lackey stopped the Indians right there. And the Sox took off. Old friend Justin Masterson couldn't find the plate for the Tribe, and was gone after 2+ innings. It was a night everyone but David Ortiz had a hit. Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and A.J. Pierzynski each had two RBI. Daniel Nava continued hit recent hot hitting with two more hits, and Jackie Bradley also had two hits.

Last night's 10 runs were the first time all season the Red Sox scored in double digits.

The back-to-back wins were the offense coming alive finally (7-for-16 with RISP last night), and the strong pitching taking charge. The Sox are now at 31-36, eight games behind Toronto. They've taken three of the last four.

Can't get overly excited right now. But some encouraging signs are out there.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

No Trivia. Lots of Rain. Sox Win.

Trivia didn't happen last night, as it was one of those nights when the bar was empty and no one was coming in. Well, that happens when you're getting a new Trivia Night off the ground. We'll be back again next Tuesday night, June 17th at 8 PM at the Caledonia Scottish Pub.

On a happier note, Brandon Workman was superb in shutting down the Orioles at Camden Yards last night, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing just one hit, through two rain delays as well.

Mike Napoli singled in a run in third, and that's all the Red Sox needed in a 1-0 win.

Workman had a no-hitter going into the sixth, when Ryan Flaherty broke it up with a single. The bullpen was rock solid as usual, with Koji Uehara gaining his 12th save of the year.

There's still a mountain for the Red Sox to climb. Toronto's loss leaves the Sox nine game back, at 28-35.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Bad Guys Take Center Stage Tomorrow

Our third edition of Tuesday Night Trivia at The Caledonia Scottish Pub tomorrow night will feature "Q-Tip Trivia" as the Special Category. I will ask you seven general knowledge questions, with four choices for answers. You can pick 1, 2, 3 all 4 or none as your answer. You will get a point for each answer that is correct. However, if you pick an incorrect choice, you will get NO points for that question. You have to be careful in picking the ones you think are correct.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Movie Villains Trivia." I will give you the names of ten famous movie baddies and you have to tell me which movie he or she appeared in. (And no, Hannibal Lechter will NOT be one of the choices. Just looking at that picture gives me the willies...)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What city was nearly totally destroyed by fire in 1666?"

We will get going at 8 PM tomorrow night. The Caledonia Scottish Pub is at 1609 Second Avenue, between E. 83rd and 84th Streets. Come on out on Tuesday night and have some fun and win prizes with a great night of Trivia!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Spiraling Down

When the Red Sox won their seventh straight game last Sunday against Tampa Bay, I thought that they needed a good road trip to keep the momentum going.

3 games in Cleveland, Detroit and Baltimore each. I figured going 5-4 in those games would keep it going. The month of June was going to be important, especially with the Toronto Blue Jays getting hot getting control of the division.

So we get three losses in Cleveland. And now two losses in Detroit. A 5-4 road trip now won't happen.

Once again, the Red Sox are spiraling downward. Jon Lester was awful last night, giving up 5 runs on 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings. A late ninth inning rally wasn't enough. And the old devil of not hitting when it really counts has returned in this five-game losing streak: they are hitting .143 with RISP since last Sunday.

27-34. 10 games behind Toronto in fourth place. At this time last year, the Sox were 37-24, 1 1/2 games up in first place. A full ten game swing over last season.

The Sox certainly have the wherewithal to make a deal. They can take on payroll, and they have the prospects they can move for a hitter (and preferably an outfielder). The biggest thing working against them is the calendar. It says June 8th. But almost no one will make a trade now. Most teams figure they have a decent chance at the playoffs, with so many teams hovering around .500 now. So they will wait until July 31, when teams looking to move players will pull the trigger, and teams looking for an upgrade will gamble by paying a little more. Any deal made now will be extremely expensive in terms of what has to be surrendered. The Sox need help NOW, before this gets markedly worse. They do get Mike Napoli back today, and Shane Victorino will be back in a few weeks.

But it may be too late by July 31. The Sox may actually be sellers rather buyers. It will remain to be seen, and I certainly don't want to speculate now on who they might move should it look hopeless by the end of July.

Some years it just doesn't go right. As Red Sox fans, we've seen that plenty of times in our lifetime. It's been a lot rarer in the 21st century. The team is just too inconsistent this year. And it's getting late awful early in 2014.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Road To The Top Gets Rockier

The Red Sox had an awful series just concluded in Cleveland, as the Indians swept a three-game series that the Red Sox led for a grand total of half an inning.

Last night's 7-4 loss in 12 innings, on Asdrubal Cabrera's three run home run at 2 AM, was particularly disheartening, as the Sox came from behind twice to tie it, on David Ortiz' two-run shot, and then on Brock Holt's two-run single in the 7th. But the moment I saw Edward Mujica in the game to start the 12th, I knew this wouldn't end well. He's been useless in an otherwise rock solid bullpen.

And the outfield is absolutely killing this team. Another awful night for them, as the combo of Bradley, Gomes, Nava and Sizemore went 2-for-12 with 6 strikeouts. This getting to historically bad proportions, and the Sox badly need an upgrade out there, but anyone of any quality would cost and arm and a leg right now. Nobody is looking to move anyone until at least the July 31 trading deadline.

And by that time it might be too late.

The Red Sox currently stand 8 1/2 games out of first at 27-32. It was a matter of time until someone would seize control of the AL East, and that is the Toronto Blue Jays, who lead the division by 4 1/2 games. Of course there are still about 100 games to go for everyone, but the Jays are making a statement now, and are going for a sweep today against the struggling Tigers in Detroit. A team that many pundits thought would be the class of the AL East in 2013 appear to it in 2014.

The Red Sox inconsistency is killing them right now. 10-game losing streak, followed by a 7-game winning streak. Now back to a 3-game losing streak. The pitching wasn't bad in Cleveland. But they have reverted back to a struggling offense, especially with runners in scoring position. They were 3-for-21 with RISP in the Indians series.

I was hoping that in this nine-game road trip to Cleveland, Detroit and Baltimore they could go 5-4. The Sox are now 0-3, and a winning record on this trip looks like a pipe dream.

They are proving to be a "hot and cold" team. I don't see this as a formula for winning a division. The Sox have big problems right now, and nothing that can be easily solved any time soon.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Trivia Q&A: June 3

Our second night of Trivia at the Caledonia Scottish Pub saw a nice crowd come out despite the heavy rains that hit the city in the late afternoon. I always appreciate the folks who come out for Trivia despite the weather.

We had mic problems in the debut last week, and we used a mic in an iPhone this week. It was strange hearing my voice slightly after I talked into it, but my buddy Keith promised me a new proper mic is on the way for next week.

The team of The Worst Trade Since Bagwell For Andersen won the night with 44 points. Second place went to Six Teachers In One Hand, Half Dozen In The Other with 39 points, and Out of Towners with 27 points finished third.

Current Events
1. Apple agreed to buy Beats Electronics, a music streaming service, for $3 billion last week. Which hip-hop star is one of Beats' co-founders?
2. Which world leader was recently ranked number one on Forbes' list of the "100 Most Powerful Women?"
3. Which Hollywood superstar actor was recently struck in the face on the red carpet at the world premiere of his latest film in Hollywood last week?
4. The LA Clippers are set to be sold for an NBA record $2 billion to Steve Ballmer, who was the former CEO of what company?
5. What pop singer was excused from jury duty in NYC last week due to ill health, but later posted pictures of herself with her family on the beach?
6. What classic rock band announced they will conclude their 45-year career with six shows in New York City this October?
7. Petro Poroshenko was elected president of what Eastern European country last week?

Pop Music Trivia
1. Members of what 1980s rock band originally dyed their hair blond for a chewing gum ad?
2. Ray Manzarek was the keyboardist and co-founder of what 1960s rock band?
3. What future TV star was the lead singer for Gnarls Barkley?
4. What rock band, together since 1992, is named for the frontman's childhood nickname, supposedly due to asthma?
5. Who sang the title song in the 1978 film "Grease?"
6. Michael Jackson co-wrote the 1985 song "We Are the World" with what other pop singer?
7. What rock superstar was the leader of the late 1980s/early 1990s band "Tin Machine?"

Born In NYC Or Not ("The Q Train")
1. John Travolta
2. Barbra Streisand
3. Bruce Springsteen
4. Eddie Murphy
5. Billy Joel
6. Will Smith
7. Alicia Keys
8. Carly Simon
9. Michael Bloomberg
10. Robert DeNiro

General Knowledge
1. What US president made the first phone call to the moon? ( 1 pt)
2. At what US university did Albert Einstein work? ( 1 pt)
3. Who was the first democratically elected president of Russia? ( 1 pt)
4. New Holland was the original name for what current country? ( 2 pt)
5. In addition to its five sides, how many stories is the Pentagon ? ( 2 pt)
6. What is the most populous country in Africa? ( 2 pt)
7. What does a deltiologist collect? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Electric Mayhem was the in-house band on what 1970s TV show? ( 5 points)
2. What US city has two airports that were renamed to honor Americans who fought in WWII? ( 4 points)
3. What car company's name comes from the Latin meaning "I roll?" ( 4 points)
4. Over 10 million people live in the 27% of what European country's land area that lies below sea level? ( 4 points)
5. From 1958-1962 and again from 1965-1967, the Nielsen ratings were led by what genre of TV series, which has never again topped the ratings since? ( 3 points)

Current Events
1. Dr. Dre; 2. Angela Merkel; 3. Brad Pitt; 4. Microsoft; 5. Madonna; 6. Allman Brothers; 7. Ukraine.

Pop Music Trivia
1. The Police; 2. The Doors; 3. Cee-Lo Green; 4. Weezer; 5. Frankie Valli; 6. Lionel Richie; 7. David Bowie.

Born In NYC Or Not ("The Q Train")
1. no (Englewood, NJ); 2. yes (Brooklyn); 3. no (Long Branch, NJ); 4. no (West Orange, NJ); 5. yes (The Bronx); 6. no (Philadelphia); 7. yes (Manhattan); 8. yes (The Bronx); 9. no (West Brighton, MA); 10. yes (Manhattan).

General Knowledge
1. Richard Nixon; 2. Princeton; 3. Boris Yeltsin; 4. Australia; 5. five; 6. Nigeria; 7. postcards.

IQ Trivia
1. "The Muppet Show;" 2. Chicago; 3. Volvo; 4. Netherlands; 5. westerns.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Youth & History All Over The Place On Sunday

Sunday's game may have been the strangest the Red Sox have played all year.

Jon Lester was terrific in shutting out Tampa Bay, 4-0, striking out 12 over 7 innings.

But they lost Dustin Pedroia in the third inning after he was complaining loudly at the home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn over his strike zone and was tossed. (Both teams were chirping at this guy, as he was all over the place.) He was replaced by Garin Cecchini, who in his second at-bat, got his first MLB hit, an RBI double.

Add that to Alex Hassan, playing RF, getting his first MLB hit in his second at-bat of the game. That's the first Red Sox teammates getting their first MLB hits in the same game since 1975.

Brock Holt was playing out of position, at first base, and got four doubles, just the fourth Sox player ever to do that.(And just the second to get 4 doubles and a walk in one game.)

And if that wasn't enough, Pedroia, David Ortiz and Xander Bogaerts all went hitless.

Yes, youth was all over Fenway on Sunday, one day after Rubby de la Rosa pitched seven amazing innings in getting his first MLB win.

The Sox are red hot right now, winning their seventh straight, and are 27-29. It's just the third time in MLB history a team has lost at least 10 straight and come right back and won seven straight.

And Tampa Bay, with their big mouths and Napoleon complexes, can consider themselves paid back for all the shenanigans of the last week. Since the original dustup in St. Pete on May 25th, they have not won a game, while the Sox have not lost.

Now it's off to Cleveland for three with the Indians, and then they move on to Detroit and Baltimore on the nine-game trip.

Were They Born In NYC Or Not?

Our second edition of Tuesday Night Trivia at the Caledonia Scottish Pub will happen tomorrow night, June 3rd at 8 PM with "Pop Music Trivia" as the Special Category. I will ask you seven questions about the wonderful world of popular music down through the years.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Born In New York City Or Not Trivia." I will give you the names of ten current celebrities and you have to tell me if they were born inside the five boroughs of our great metropolis or not.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What US president made the first phone call to the moon?"

The Caledonia Scottish Pub is located at 1609 2nd Avenue, between 83rd and 84th Streets. The phone number of the pub is 212-879-0402. Check out there Facebook page here.

I look forward to seeing to many of you tomorrow night for a great night of Trivia in our new home!