Saturday, July 07, 2007

New Old Stuff

From the time I was a little kid until a few years ago, the scoreboard on the Green Monster looked like this:

That pic is from 1999. From 1976 until 2001, that's all there was: the main section with the day's linescore, and the two other sections with the day's other American League scores. I'm well aware of the history of The Wall, so I knew that when they recently expanded the scoreboard to show National League scores, it wasn't a new idea (like the division standings, added in 2005, were). The minimalistic scoreboard I grew up with had been cut down from a wider version.

The most underrated (if rated at all) part of the old board? The "lineups" section:
That's Yaz in the 1975 World Series. Notice how the lineups are in lights, just like the at bat number still is. The rest of the numbers are placed by hand. Note, though, that the room inside the wall only extends far enough to the right to get those numbers up from behind the wall on the AL scoreboard. They have to walk out onto the field between innings to change the NL scores, using a ladder for the higher ones.

There also used to be an "umpires" section (apparently not always used):

Another shot with the lineups at far right.

The above shot also shows the whole board, circa '75, although at an extreme angle: Linescore, two sections of AL, two of NL, lineups.

In 2007, it's Ad, standings, ad, linescore, two AL sections, three NL sections, ad, ad:

(pic taken by me last month)

I wonder what they did when they cut down the size of the board originally. Did those huge panels just sit somewhere? Are they part of the new, long board, or are those new sections?

No real conclusion to this--just wanted to bring up that crazy lineups section, which can also be seen in shots from the '67 season. I don't know how long it'd been there at that point--if it went up when the board did in '34, or when the original ads were painted over with green paint in '47. Or if it always had the lights, or was manual like the rest of the board. Okay, forget what I said about being well-aware of the history. There are things I don't know. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments. It also looks like the positioning of the "TAY" and "JRY" in Morse code changed during the '76 alteration.

(Top pic from something called

Friday, July 06, 2007

Monkey Muscle

This game stinks. I rarely have a "bad feeling" about a game going in, but for some reason I imagined the Tiger hitters not quite fearing Julian Tavarez. Yanks 9-9 with Angles in the 6th. [Update: Yanks win, 14-9, but Pettitte bittitte again. He's now given up 23 ER in his last 20 innings.] Now on to other things....

Like any self-respecting child of the 80s, whenever I hear "The Nutcracker Suite," my mind, and often my mouth depending on who's around, sings

Smurf Berry Crunch is fun to eat/a smurfy, fruity breakfast treat.

For some reason, it took me this long to search for this old commercial on GooTube. Here it is, first up in this set of ads. I always get stuck after the line "made by Smurfs so happily." After seeing this again, I still don't know what they're saying in that next line--or any subsequent line. (I think Adam Sandler copped one of those Smurf voices for the Cluckin' Chicken commercial parody.)

I also totally remember those bumpers before and after the commercials. And since they mention "Saturday Supercade" at the end, I'll link to that theme, too--one of the greatest ever. This shows the opening and closing themes, plus the individual themes of four of the video game-themed cartoons that made up the show: DK, DK Jr., Frogger, and Q-Bert. (No Pitfall shown.) Interesting how the directors are someone named Kimbal, and Charles Nichols. Fugitive fans should get that. (As well as my "you switched the samples!" reference from a few days ago.)

Some thoughts on the baseball game in the Donkey Kong theme: 1. The game appears to take place in a city park. 2. Terrible job by DK on his delivery. He steps with the wrong foot. However, he gets enough momentum from that arm-spinning to get the ball to the plate with speed and accuracy. 3. The hitter, who has a hole in the sweet spot of his bat, is wearing a jump suit-style road-gray uniform, which zips all the way down to the crotch. He appears to be happy about swinging and missing (or having the ball go through the hole). Maybe this is because he knows he's successfully distracted the catcher from the runner going to third with the pitch. I only assume this because the third baseman is playing on the bag. 4. The Kong squad has some interesting unis, with the orange hats and shorts, with white ringer tee. 5. The infield stands are packed, but they didn't seem to sell any of the outfield seats.

Keeping Things In Perspective

You know how when it's late in the game, and it's all tense, you have to stand up? Well, there are certain places in our living room where you just shouldn't stand. The above diagram gives a sense of where the luck lies in the room. Too bad that really perfect spot is un-stand-in-able now. The "moat" is the area that's just a little too close to the bad luck area. That area below is okay if you can fit there, and lean your head left around the bad zone, but I wouldn't chance it. At bottom right, as you can see, is another great vantage point, but the black haze of the terrible zone is right between your eyes and the TV. Terrible. So there's pretty much the one area, although being in the chair or on the couch is fine. But I need to stand in certain situations.

Then there's the whole "one strike away" stand and clap. I'm okay standing right by the couch (out of frame, below pic) for this if the game isn't exciting. Oh, during all of this, my girlfriend is either just on the couch, or has left the room because she can't stand the pressure, or has gone to bed since these games go pretty late for people who aren't night-owls like me. But, yeah, I enforce a "both feet on floor" rule when we're one strike away. If my girlfriend won't stand, I'll "connect" her legs to the floor by touching one of them with my legs (I need my hands to clap.) At my parents' house, my dad not only stands, but, since they live near the beach, implores all the creatures of the sea to stand, or, if they don't have legs, to position themselves in a vertical position, as such:

Oh, and just so you know, I've been like this my whole life. This isn't like, I just started following the Red Sox in '03 and I get all fake-nervous about games. I actually feel this stuff inside me, like you might feel Jesus or whoever inside you. I think this is where the term "live and die with a team" comes from.

But I don't believe in curses, or anything else that came from someone else's brain instead of mine. And to answer your question: Over the foul line with my left foot going onto the field, on the line with my right going off. (Also applies to stepping on and off sidewalks.)

Hammerin' Howell

Jim Rice mentioned tonight that he remembered a play at Fenway where he was in left, and Hank Aaron, then playing with the Brewers, was at bat. Aaron lifted a ball to the left side, and Jim Ed headed over to the side wall, but figured it was out of play. Before he knew it, the wind had blown the ball back onto the field.

He didn't say what happened after that. I checked retrosheet and saw that Rice played in the same game as Aaron at Fenway a few times in 1975, as well as once in 1976. None of the '75 games give clear evidence of this play. In the '76 game (August 7th), though, there was one in which Aaron was credited with a single, and a runner (who was on first) got thrown out at the plate, left to short to catcher. Couple this with the fact that says there was a 32.22 MPH wind gust reported at Boston Big Papi (then called Logan) Airport, and we may have our game. There was also rain, thunder, and fog that day. And three errors were made.

If this is the game, though, it would be odd that Rice wouldn't have added "...but I picked up the ball, and we got the runner at the plate." (Then again, Jim always claims to not remember things from his playing days.) And it also could've been a wall ball with a normal throw-out at the plate, where Aaron didn't quite reach second when the tag was made at home. Also, at this point, Rice had more experience in left than he had in '75, obviously, so that's another case against it being the '76 game. Who knows, this could be another example of a baseball person recalling something that didn't happen. I feel like Rice knew what he was talking about on this one, though. My bet is 8/7/76. We may never know.

He brought this up because they were again talking about Ellsbury, what with all the left field he's been practicing and playing. Tonight, Jim was impressed at how he played the wall. Now, he heads back to Pawtucket. That guy'll be back, as we know.

Season-high in runs and hits tonight, and the D-Rays are now a full 20 back. Drinkwater was mighty excited when Coco swung on that grand slam. Terrible job by that pitcher, giving up more hits to Drew than he got outs. That's rough. Great job by all of us for getting Okajima into the ASG. And by the Fenway crowd for giving him a huge Oka-vation.

The only Red Sox players to ever have the names Julian, Kason, and Daisuke pitch this weekend in Detroit. I'd say the goal is a double digit lead at the break. One win clinches that.

In the first, Varitek was up, bases loaded, one out, 1-0 us. Lefty on hill, Tek could've wailed away on him. But he's patient, and takes a walk. A double play ball lets that guy off the hook, and maybe he settles down. For that, Varitek is the JPotG winner. And if you don't buy that, he called a great game, too.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Terrible job! About that Fisk thing--check it out, from the RED SOX OFFICIAL WEBSITE, on the page called "History of Fenway Park":

or a catcher from New Hampshire hit a ball just fair past the left field foul pole into the cool October night.

It hit the pole! It hit the pole! Bounced right off! Did George Foster name his glove "Cool October Night McGee"? Because that's right where the ball ended up. Jesus, it's not like it's from some obscure play we never see....

Hey, remember in 1969 when astronauts flew right past the moon? Will you ever forget the tragic events of September 12th? And where were you when Kennedy was grazed? What's going on here????

But Other Than That, I'm Okay....

I still don't know how Yankee fans can live with themselves. If my team had umpires that made calls based on the fact that they wanted to hear a really loud cheer, ruining game after game, even knowing it made my team win, I'd say "Sorry, I can't be a part of this." The check-swing appeal is always a biggie with umps at Yankee Stadium. Because those base umps don't always get a chance to be a star. So when Posada goes appealin', they're ready to make that strike call--regardless of whether the batter swung--to hear the applause they never got as Little League outfielders. It's the worst when it ends a game that the visitors have a chance in, though. Today was a classic: Mo in the mound, tying run on, check swing, appeal, crowd roaring. Even though it appeared as if the guy held up, you could just sense the out call coming. And there it was.

This is why 2004 was such a miracle. The umps actually made the right calls--in Yankee Stadium--allowing the better team to win.

But what I'm really mad about, baseball-wise, today, is the whole Pat Neshek situation. This jerk is in the running for the final All-Star spot, as voted by the fans. Okajima, who I've been voting for at a constant rate for two days (one hour left, get him in there!), leads, but Neshek is trying desperately to get in, even going so far as using the fact that he was playing the Yanks to get Yankee fans to vote for him to keep the Red Sox player out. Bad enough, right? I mean, that's dead-to-me material right there, but, okay, whatever, had the situation been reversed, he probably would've played Sox fans against Yankee fans. Fine. Today, though, this crap-head comes into a tie game in the ninth, in big, scary Yankee Stadium (ooh, I think I deserve to be an All-Star, but even I can't tame the mighty beast of Yankee Stadium--and pitch to Jeter? No way! You can't teach class like that), and walks Jeter with two outs, then gives up a homer to Matsui. What an ass. This guy should just hop on the Yankee bus today and go wherever they're going, because that's where he belongs. My anti-rooting in the second half will be: The Yanks, whoever challenges us for the division, and Pat Neshek. [Update, 6:37 PM: Okajima IN! Sweet.] Same deal with Torii Hunter, who played like he put about 10 million dollars down on the Yanks today.

Again, this is why I shouldn't even bother to watch the Yanks. Anyway, the Twins ended up getting a run and leaving that tying run on second. And just in case you didn't know, Jeter was happy. How do I know? Because Yes cut to a shot of him immediately when that last out call was made. Had we not known he was happy with this play that had nothing to do with him (in fact, his misplay on a ball in the inning could've cost his team the game), how would we have gone on with our lives?

It was "come dressed as your favorite chair" day at Yankee Stadium. In what turned out to be an amazing coincidence on this beautiful summer afternoon, 15,000 of the announced 52,000 fans dressed as a blue stadium chair.

We have to win tonight to stay 12 up on those guys.

Same Old Squared

Sometimes, a player, often in Yankee Stadium, often named Jeter, will make a play, and the umpire will give them a free out just because he wants to. It's almost like he's rooting for the play to be made, and he knows he can complete the play by making that out call, regardless of whether the runner is safe or out.

I now what you're saying: Classic Jere, right? The Yanks cheat to win and the umps root for them, etc, etc.

Well, let's see what former Yankee and Seinfeld star Paul O'Neill thinks about this play from today's game:

That ended the Twins inning, and the Yanks came back with five in the next inning to take a 5-2 lead. This is the crap that I've put up with for 30 years. Fortunately, this year, I've been able to pretty much not worry about it, and also, they're totally 12 games back. Like my girlfriend says about them: "Let the babies have their bottles."

Update: Before GooTube could even process this video, No Dice has already given back the runs. 5-5 in the fourth. Nice job, Twins. Although Torii Hunter's playing like he's also rooting for the Yanks....


Yanks, behind "No Dice" Kei Igawa, losing 2-0 in the first. I am loving these empty seats at the Stadium. You should see it today. Yankee Stadium is awfully blue....

A-Rod "people's champ" update:

82 games: 28 HR. Without doing the exact math, I can tell that's less than 56 homers for a 162-game season. Fallin' off the pace a little, I see. Maybe he can still be the "people's RBI champ."

In Drinkwater news, what was the deal with that infant he kept holding up yesterday?

Back to No Dice, check out this shot of him from a few minutes ago:

I've seen (and had) the classic early '80s "wings, but that's ridiculous. He looks like an airplane.

Lenny & George

I think I found the game where the guy threw the pitch onto the screen at Fenway. 4/16/1978. It was Len Barker, and it was when he was on Texas. (Thanks, heybluu and bluestateblogger.) From retrosheet's play-by-play:

Barker threw a wild pitch [Fisk scored, Scott to third, Carbo to second]; wild pitch over backstop screen into crowd; Evans walked; COMER REPLACED BARKER (PITCHING);

So my recollection of two runs scoring was wrong. In fact, the only runner to score was from third. This has to be the play I was thinking of, though. Then again, they say "over backstop screen into crowd," which doesn't make sense. It went above the vertical screen and rolled up, then down, the angled screen above that. I wonder if maybe as soon as the ball went up there, the play was dead and only one run was allowed to score. Because I feel like two guys crossed the plate--there definitely would've been enough time for it.

Not much about it on the web. This page shows a newspaper from the next day with a headline "Barker launches wild one." I can't read it without getting a subscription, though.

Another good win today, and the Yanks lost on George's birthday. You may have heard that spirits were high despite the weather for the famed Boston fireworks, and everyone stuck it out, their smiles and dancing willing the show to go on. Wrong! Wrong! Some of us got there, got sick of the rain, and just went home. I have to say, though, it was really cool watching on TV with the sound off, and hearing the sound of the fireworks come in the window exactly in time with the TV.

Every time I do this JPotG thing, I forget one aspect of it. Either the "J" or the underline, or, in this case, the little lines coming off the player. Sometimes I fix it, sometimes I don't. TJ by me.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Serling Performance

That's right, Lugo gets the JPotG award for actually getting a hit, and one that knocked in two key runs.

Dice, as Terry "Mr. Special" Francona says, is one special pitcher. Another great job by him tonight.

I was thinking about that Ellsbury play, and I came across a few other examples of a runner scoring from second on a wild pitch, often with a runner on third scoring on the same play. But I remember it happening from an old blooper tape I have. The play happened at Fenway Park. A visiting pitcher threw a pitch way over the batter's head. You actually saw the center field camera zoom out, and there was the ball, rolling up the screen behind the plate, as the runner came home from third. As the ball slowly rolled back down, another runner sprinted across the plate. I can't remember if Dwight Evans was the batter or one of the runners, but he definitely was involved. In fact, Remy mentioned this play within the last week or so on a telecast. I thought it was a Mariners pitcher. But I checked all the wild pitches the M's threw against us from '77-'86, and none seemed to be the one I remembered. (I'd guess it was '83-ish, but I'm not sure.) My second choice was the Angels, but I couldn't find anything there, either. I wish I'd paid closer attention to Remy, as I think he actually said the pitcher's name.....

If anyone knows what game this was, let me know. Or keep it to yourself if you hate me, I guess. In my research, I did find an interesting thing in a game--a guy reaching on catcher's interference twice. (Rick Miller broke his thumb in this game, too.)

Vote for Okajima for the final All-Star spot. He deserves it. You can vote over and over and over, I've discovered. I may have single-handedly moved him into first. Let's keep him there, eh?

Bonus Twilight Zone Marathon today and tomorrow on SciFi. Nice job. A fitting time for Lugo to get hits.

Rod Y Gab, Y Brian Y Al Y Rick Y Bill

New London, CT, Saturday, June 30th, 2007. The Pist reunite (again). Click pics to enlarge. All photos copyright me. Look at the looks on people's faces in the crowd. It says something about a band when they can do a show a good decade after they've broken up and still get that kind of reaction.

The sign outside the club. I guess they don't have many T's.

I met Brian (far right, drumming) in the late 90s, a few years after The Pist had broke up. We started a band called The Pac-Men. The rest of us in The Pac-Men hadn't been followers of The Pist, which was good, because Brian easily could've had people joining a band with him for the purpose of "being in a band with a dude from The Pist." In 2002, The Pist reunited for the final shows at New Haven's Tune Inn. At that point, I'd become a fan, but, you know, they didn't exist anymore. So it was great to see them--and great to see Brian drumming, since he's such a great drummer but was the singer for our band. (Which, thankfully, also had a great drummer.) I'll never forget being in the back of the Tune Inn, seeing the Pist start playing, and watching the crowd instantly explode. It was like a giant blender being turned on. The above shot is the initial insanity from Saturday night. It was just as, if not more, Blender-ific as it was in '02.

The Rest of The Pist, Bill, Al, and Rick. My friend Anthony had noted that the high speaker at left would most likely become a launching pad. He was right, as many folks dove off into the crowd. Who was it that said "it's just not a show unless someone lands on your head?"

More insanity. We'd wondered how many people we'd run into from the old days. And we saw a lot. They are sprinkled thoughout these pics. It was cool that my ggirlfriend got to meet all these people she's heard a lot about.

I like how the guy on top of the crowd has one shoe-foot and one sock-foot. Oh, just an aside: Don't go to New London if you don't have to. Crazy people are everywhere. As Caitlin and Anthony and my girlfriend and I were sitting on the pier, minding our own business, a woman started yelling at us and threatening my girlfriend. Terrible job, that lady. Of course, the cops were more interested in the punks around the venue, there only to have a good time, than the psychos milling about the downtown.

Don't know what Al's talking to Brian about here, but Brian's not a zombie, I swear.

Singing to Shoes: The Al Story.

At left, fist raised, with Lee Harvey Oswald face and Stiffs shirt: Our friend Chris, who used to book a lot of Pac-Men shows and got a lot of people into us.

Crowd singing along.

At this point, the stage was getting pretty crowded....

This guy's not so much stage diving as stage falling. Oh, so I also talked to someone who was a big Pac-Men fan, who I'd remembered from our shows back in the day. He talked about how much fun he had at our shows and how we should reunite. Awesome. Look for yourself in these pics, guy!

For the last song, Street Punks, Al invited anyone to just come up and sing along with him. (As if they wouldn't have anyway.) It was a really fun show. I can't wait to see them again up near me in Cambridge on my birthday, September 8th, as part of their minimalistic reunion tour. Supposedly some kind of new collection of all their stuff should be out at some point. Watch for that.

The next morning, after sleeping at my parents' house, my girlfriend and I went into New Haven to eat at Clare's, and we found ourselves back in good ol' 1955. The street had been turned into a fifties street, in a mythical town called Bedford, for a movie shoot.

While eating, we overheard someone mention Harrison Ford, Steven Spielburg, and "the Nazis." That's when I knew this must be the new Indiana Jones film. Above, a "Fun-Phone."

Here's a coffee shop turned into the "Bedford Coffee Shop." We didn't see any actors, though. (I won't bore you with my pic of Indy's stand-in.) Note: Had I seen Harrison Ford, I'd planned to ask him to give me an autograph for Chan, signed, "You switched the samples!"

Then we drove all the way up to New Milford, CT, to the Elephant's Trunk, a huge outdoor flea market. I wanted to show my girlfriend some of this stuff from my CT days. I got a Rico Petrocelli pin. Then I took her across the border to New York State, and she finally got to experience Rosemary's Texas Taco. The above "cars" are parked outside. And that's all you need to know about that place. There may or may not be a live monkey in the back, but I know there's a parrot in there because it's talked to me. Great burritos, too.

Then we drove down to New York City, and, amazingly, made it there by 2:30 PM. I'd seen Rod y Gab on Letterman, and made a note to see them live. The only place they were playing anywhere around the northeast was Summerstage in Central Park. Love the Summerstage. It's not Summer til you're standing in Central Park, surrounded by green, hearing (usually) free music. Don't you hate when people say something as if it refers to everyone when it really just refers to them? Sorry. But Summerstage does rule. Try it someday.

Basically, these two are from the Mexican thrash metal scene. But they started playing on acoustic guitars, and doing the percussion by pounding on them. They are both incredible guitarists. They do lots of Metallica songs mixed in with their own. And other rock hits from the past. I wonder how many people leave their shows saying "I couldn't see the drummer," only to be told by their friends that that huge, full-band sound was created by just two people with acoustics. Here, Gab raises a hook'em horns to the crowd, as she does after literally every song.

Close-up of Gabriela.

Got this different angle of them on our way out. Then we went downtown and ate Italian food. Our waiter was a Sox fan from Brookline. Gold. Got back to New Haven before midnight and lazed on the beach the next day. You can't beat life. Terrible job, dude from Milli Vanilli who killed himself. My girlfriend referred to my travel itinerary as "trying to stuff 10 pounds of potatoes into a five-pound bag." I think we got 12 in there.

Icons To Live By

Seen in a convenience store window in New London, CT.

Also from New London, check out the "jux":

Monday, July 02, 2007

Still With The Big Lead And Stuff

The Sox had a bad weekend. I may have unknowingly sapped some of their goodness and turned it into a really good weekend for myself. (Pics to come.) Sorry. But they came back strong tonight. Gabbo did well, as Tito thought he would despite his more-than-shaky outing last time. The homer came with two on, making things seem worse than they were, and fortunately we put runs on the board for him.

Ellsbury is up now, and tonight he made about the best impression a player could ever make on me. You know how many times I've watched a player on second go to third on a *really* wild pitch, and yelled at him to "just keep going"? Tonight, Ellsbury, according to Castiglione--I still haven't seen it, saw one get way away from the catcher, and sprinted from second to home without breaking stride. He is definitely getting my player of the game award. If he scores from second on a sac fly, I'll name my first born Jacoby. Okay, maybe Gedman Jacoby.

We didn't lose any ground in the division despite our bed-shitting Saturday and Sunday. So with tonight's win, we're still 11 up on the Yanks, and at least 10.5 on Toronto.

Loved that Pettitte outing the other day. Remember, that was his start after the one where he claimed to have quit on his team. Nice recovery, guy....

This paragraph about Julio Lugo was left blank intentionally.

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