Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Big Piece

Clue to Kwiz Johnson: The players involved in the play are Bucky Fuckin' Dent and Jerry Mumphrey.

Random list:

World Championships in my lifetime, off top of head:

Yankees: 6*
Reds: 3^
Red Sox: 2
Cardinals: 2
Dodgers: 2^
Twins: 2
Marlins: 2^
Diamondbacks: 2^
Blue Jays: 2
Pirates: 1
Phillies: 1
Orioles: 1
Tigers: 1
Royals: 1
Mets: 1
A's: 1
Braves: 1
Angels: 1
White Sox: 1
No series held: 1

Tied for third! Totally sweet.

*cheated like every freakin' time
^beat Yanks in WS one of those times, so it's like a win for us

Friday, December 21, 2007

Book Update

My mom and I are writing a Red Sox mystery for Hall of Fame Press. Here's the press release from a few months back in case you missed it.

It will come out in 2008, hopefully in time for Father's Day. We've decided on a name: Dirty Water: A Red Sox Mystery.

When my mom suggested this title, my first reaction was, Nobody wants another thing called "Dirty Water." But then it grew on me. If you're a big enough Sox fan to read random dudes' blogs that kind of center around the team, sure, you know all about the song and its history with the Red Sox, and you might even be a little sick of the whole thing. But most people don't know anything about it. Especially all the people who'll be reading our book more for the "mystery" than the "Red Sox." Plus, it works with our story, and is a really cool name for a mystery, I think. And besides, as my mom pointed out, it's not like we're calling it "Sweet Caroline," a song that was a much bigger hit and was known to more than just Red Sox fans and a few guys who have slightly shaggier hair and wear those shirts with targets on them. And people who bought the Nuggets box set. So we should be good.

In the meantime, my mom's memoir, Girls of Tender Age, may become a movie. Have you ever seen Nip/Tuck? You know, the show that's advertised on the bottom of the screen on F/X literally every time you flip by? Well, an actress from that show, Roma Maffia, is trying to get the book made into a film. She recently mentioned this in Variety magazine! How cool would that be?

[End note: Honest to Gedman, when I wrote the thing about the Nuggets box set, I wasn't thinking, like, the song was literally on there, just that that type of song would be. But I checked for the hell of it, and it's the second track on there...]

[More my mom news: She's been saying for a while now how much Jacoby Ellsbury reminds her of Ted Williams. Apparently, Johnny Pesky recently said on EEI that Jacoby could become the "next Ted Williams." So listen to my mom, she knows her stuff. (Assuming Pesky knows his.)]

Still Wrong

Derek Jeter on Andy Pettitte:

It took a lot of courage for him to come out and be honest about it

Derek, and everyone else: He didn't come out. He was outed. That's not courage. That's cowardice. You've got it exactly backwards.

[Update: Ric, in comments, gives us the classic Mr. Robinson commercial! We were just talking about that one, right? I can't find where, though. Wow, Alfonso was the boy. I'd forgotten that. And it sounds like Linus's voice at the end. So, there you go. Alfonso confessed to breaking the window. He didn't keep it a secret, then wait until a report came out saying he did it, and THEN say, Well, yeah, I guess I did do that. Did Pettite learn nothing from the very same church he himself would later do ads for? Thanks, Ric.]

Feed & Kaplan, Both Back

Readers have turned up some great info on two past posts of mine. Check out the comments on: The Buck Printing Co. sign that's seen in old Fenway pics, and the
bicentennial patch
the Sox wore in '75-'76. I also had an ex-worker at Mitchell & Ness tell me they indeed had trouble trying to figure out when exactly the patch was worn, during their intricate process of trying to get old uniforms exact.

Gabe Kapler signed with the Brewers. Assuming he makes the club, look for him at Fenway on May 16th. That'll be an ovation-ful weekend.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Count Dis

I've mentioned this before. A lot. But once again, the Yanks have offered up holiday gift packs where you can buy seats whose game day price are $48--for FIVE BUCKS.

This isn't me bein' a prick, this is a sane, normal person wondering the following things:

1. Why do they feel the need to do this? They brag about their fans packing the place. Are they afraid they won't come without a near-90 percent discount? The Red Sox no longer offer any* discounted seats, and we're on the verge of breaking the all-time consecutive sell-out streak.

2. How can they legitimately claim the attendance numbers they do with such an extreme discount on seats? I honestly want to know, if you give the tickets away for free, does that count toward the actual attendance? I mean, it's called "paid attendance" for a reason, right? Maybe as long as you charge one cent, each fan is called a paid fan, and you can act like you're so cool because soooo many people come to see your team who forgot how to win.

*Besides military discounts, and the slight discounted rate that season-ticket holders get. Even seats right behind poles are full-price these days. Don't get me wrong, I'd love some discounts, and I'm sure there would be some if Fenway had 20,000 more seats, but seriously, a 48-dollar seats for five dollars. The way I see it, it's like Colon Blow--you'd have to eat one million seating bowls at Yankee Stadium at that price to equal what the fans paid in just one Fenway seating bowl.... or something like that.

Just Be Honest

I propose a new way for athletes. It's called "stop being so stupid and just be yourself." I'm specifically talking about the steroid issue. If you really think you're innocent, come out and say it. Let us that you're innocent by showing the natural emotions of an innocent person accused of something they didn't do. If you pull a Scott Peterson, or a Drew Peterson for that matter, we're ALL gonna think you're guilty.

How hard is it to be honest? If you show you're afraid to talk about something, how can we assume you're not guilty? Take David Ortiz. When asked about steroids a while ago, he they can test him all they want, and all they'll find is rice and beans. But then he still was able to admit that it is a possibilty that at some point, some illegal substance may have entered his body in the Dominican, where, like with a "shake," as opposed to a "partially gelatinated non-dairy gum-based beverage," "you don't know what you're gettin'." The point is, he's telling everyone the truth about the whole thing because he has nothing to hide.

When you're in the public eye, you have such a great chance of clearing your name just by coming out and showing that you're pissed and that you'd never do such a thing. If you don't do that, don't expect to be believed with your little stories. Especially when you come out with them after you're caught! If Roger Clemens knew that his trainer was some kind of crazy drunk (but only around him, not Pettitte! What are the odds?!) who was likely to slander him, why didn't he come out WELL before the report came out and let us know this?

Same deal with Andy Pettitte. Instead of saying, in 2005, that he'd never do steroids, then finding out in 2007 that they caught him taking HGH, and saying, Oh, well, yeah I did it, and IF that was an error in judgment, I apologize," why didn't he just come out, again, WELL before the investigation and say, "just want to give you all a heads up about something...."

How is it that you can be hailed "classy" for admitting something AFTER YOU'RE CAUGHT? If anybody had come out before the report did and admitted it and apologized, then you could've given them credit, although that doesn't make them any less of a cheater.

This new honest way I propose can carry over into interviews. We don't want to hear that you're gonna take it one game at a time, at a playing rate of 110 percent. We understand they "they've got a great ballclub over there" but that's not what we're asking. Reporters are just as guilty, though--every time I hear the words "How do you feel?" I think "that's one more reporter who should be fired. Bring in somebody who can come up with an actual question."

I'm not saying athletes should be disrespectful, like, when asked about another player, say, "yeah, I hate that asshole and we're gonna kick his team's ass next time we play." But just be honest. It's the new way. (Cue dance sequence from Wet Hot American Summer.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The 10/The Philly '03 Game Revisited

10-game plan is paid for for '08. One of the games is on my birthday. The other usual suspects are there--two Yankee games, a game in the first series of the year, an interleague game (Arizona), Devil Rays games.... (Although they have taken the "Devil" out of their name officially now. Wasn't hurting anybody, I don't think.) And the best part, of course, the chance to buy a first-round playoff game.

In the past, we've received DVDs and other special things. This year it was, Oh, whoops, we forgot to tell you which games you have until after we put the initial run of tickets on sale, and a very short "thank you" letter. They're lucky they're giving us the most important thing, World Series victories, or I might have written a letter by now. I'll just be glad for the good things, and just the fact that I get the chance to renew every year. So far, anyway. Again, though, terrible job on raising the price of bleacher seats--the ultimate "common fan" location, and the location of my plan, more than any other seats this season.

That '03 Philly game was brought up in comments, and I'd like to talk more about it. I was down there by myself that day. What a crazy game at the old Vet, my first trip there. They go up 1-0. We tie it at 1. We go up 2-1. They tie it at 2. It goes to extra innings. In the 12th, we score one. In the bottom half, they get one back. In the 13th, we score two. In the bottom of that inning, they get three to beat us.

My memories of the game: Seeing the vet to my right across a grassy knoll, but somehow being forced to turn left, then having to turn around in a gas station before finally finding the parking lot entrance, and being one of the first ones there. And I think they were celebrating the 20th anniversary of the '83 NL champion Phillies, because Mike Schmidt and all these other old Phils had a home run hitting contest. I got Brandon Lyon's autograph. I heard these Sox fans behind me yell out to Freddy Sanchez "hey Big Fred!" And I watched as my least-favorite pitcher of all-time BK Kim warmed up in the outfield with his translator there next to him. During the game I walked all around, going all the way to the 8-thousand level, or whatever it was called, and looking down at Pedro from about a thousand feet up and a thousand more over. What a shit-ass stadium that was. Was probably much better for football. The Phils had at least one runner in scoring position in every inning from the sixth to the 11th, and only scored once over that stretch, on Thome's first homer of the game with two outs in the eighth, which tied the game. (Our first two runs were on Walker homers, and we also had a bunch of chances to score the winning run.)

In the 12th, Millar triples home Nomar. Bottom half, we're one out away from winning it. At this point, I'm down behind home plate, standing for the last out. Thome then smacks a ball to center. Outta here. I will never forget the sound of the ball hitting the bat. That's one of those times you truly appreciate what these guys can do. Crack! And that ball just flew straight ahead, way out, and over the wall. At this point, the game is four and a half hours old, and it's just killing me and all the other Sox fans, while the Philly fans that are left go nuts.

However, we rally for two in the top of the thirteenth, and now it seems in the bag. I remember Nomar rounding first and tripping all over himself. I don't know which hit it was on, but he went 6-for-6 that day with a walk. I cursed their carpet as I was really worried that he was seriously injured. Anyway, it goes bottom 13. Now I'm right behind home plate, in the third row or so, as a lot of folks had left. David Bell nearly ties the game with a long fly double to center. (I think it was a deep fly, I could be wrong.) I was all worried as it was still Shiell, who had given up the Thome blast. But fear not, we've got a secret weapon. Rudy Seanez. Todd Pratt, former BritSock, steps up, and boom, game-ending dong. We're in disbelief. As I leave the park, and slam my hand on the side wall of one of the exits in anger, and hope the Philly fas behind me don't beat me up for it. I don't look back, and I get to the car and drive the hell out of there.

A rarity in that game: Papi pinch-hit for Pedro.

I did take pictures. Old-school camera style. This blog wouldn't start until eight months later. I'll do a retro-post one of these days. Look for a shot of Steve Jeltz in the Phils' ring of fame or whatever. And the Phanatic (cousin of former New Jersey Nets mascot Duncan) desperately trying to catch Mike Schmidt fly balls despite not being able to see them through his outfit.

So, media, I guess the thousands of us Sox fans there that day were just bandwagoners, having seen the 2004 World Series, then getting in a time machine, going back to 2003, and following the future champs to other teams' stadiums, right?

We'd get back at the Phils, though. Later that season, in what you probably call "the'03 Philly game," we had a huge comeback win. It was Labor Day. We'd lost the previous two games to the Yanks, dropping to 5.5 back of them, after having shaved four games off their 7.5 game lead in nine days just before. That game put us 4.5 back, and we won the next four, giving ourselves a chance to close the gap to a half-game, in a game at Yankee Stadium which I watched from the right field upper deck. We lost, but went on to win the wild card. It was that Philly game that got us our momentum back. Trot Nixon's grand slam in the ninth put us ahead to stay. I was driving in upstate New York, on the way home from a wedding in Buffalo, desperately trying to get updates on the radio, when I heard what Trot had done.

What couldn't I have gone to that Philly game? All I got were two souvenirs: Brandon Lyon's autograph, and a blue permanent pen mark on the back of my Manny jersey. I'll never know if it was just accidental, as people were sticking out pens trying to get autographs, or if some Philly fan vandalized me....

Monday, December 17, 2007

Kwiz Green/Johnson

Okay, this is a double kwiz, numbers 7 and 8 of the season. It's all about the Dire Straits video for "Walk of Life." That was the one with all the sports bloopers in it. It's so funny how the band is clearly playing to no crowd at all. When I was ten years old, when the video came out, I don't think I knew this. They're even laughing the whole time, like, "so we're just supposed to pretend we're playing and singing like it's a real concert?" Then they try to fool you by splicing in an actual crowd at the end.

Naturally, I've been trying to figure out when some of these sports plays from the video took place. I'm talking baseball only, of course. I could care less about when the fifteen different shots of NBA coach Bill Fitch took place. Some of them are really hard. Like, the shot of Clemens--there's nothing else visible besides him. He's got long sleeves, but he really didn't pitch any cold weather home night games in '84 or '85. (I figure '85 is the latest possible year for highlights included in the video.) So I had to give up on that one. One of those games it was like 60 degrees at game time, but I think that was the lowest. Or maybe he just wore the sleeves regardless back then. I also tried to see if he had any really bad innings that would cause him to roll his eyes. Plus, he appears to be walking back to the mound after backing up home, but, again, nothing really conclusive. I also thought it might be a Monday night ABC game, making for easier access to the clip. But the other Fenway clip is NOT from a Monday night (remember that). These are the things you need to think of as a forensic highlightist.

I also tried to figure out the swing-and-miss where the guy falls down (1:09 mark of the video). I immediately recognized him as Ivan Calderon, when he was on Seattle. It's obviously Tiger Stadium. He only batted in one game there in '84, and one in '85. It could be either one, as the catcher in each game had white skin in both. But if you look at the '85 game, he batted in the first inning only. Since Detroit is so far west within the eastern time zone, it doesn't get dark until way after that. For June 3rd, 1985 it was 9:04 PM. That at bat came in the light, the one in the video came in the dark. So it has to be the '84 at bat. (Also note the huge crowd, which points to the '84 game.) Sunset on August 18th, 1984 in Detroit was 8:28, so I'd say this would be the at bat of his fourth inning strike out, or more likely his seventh inning double play.

Now it's your turn. Aren't you lucky? Kwiz Green: What's the date of the play where the Red Sox player slides into first and is called out emphatically by the ump (2:34)? Kwiz Johnson: What's the date of the play when the infielder and outfielder collide, with the infielder holding the ball up from his back (3:02)? I got the first one pretty quickly. The second one took a little longer. And I just used GooTube, not a real TV:

These are two separate kwizzes, so you can guess on two at once, just don't guess twice in a row for either kwiz. And say which one you're referring to when you answer.

Boston Up In Street Views

View Larger Map

Google Maps now has Boston in Street Views. If you haven't been to Fenway in years, here's your chance to "walk" around it. Notice that Yaz' 8 is gone, so this must've been from early September-ish, when they took it down to reposition it right-side-up. (The smaller hole had been on the bottom by mistake.)

However, from this spot, go up to Ipswich and take a right, look back at the park, and you'll see the 8 IS there:

View Larger Map
That's another cool thing about Street Views. Sometimes it'll be winter on one street and summer on the next.

So now my last two residences are visible on street views. Didn't find myself or my car in NYC, and haven't found either in Boston, but I just started looking a few minutes ago.

[Inevitable update, like, 5 minutes later: They went nuts on Boston. They go all the way out past Worcester. Providence is also up now.]

Sunday, December 16, 2007

This Is Amazing

Remember when I linked that random Fenway picture and figured out the moment it took place? Well, one of those times? This was the time in October when I saw the pic on Youkilis' blog. Click here if you missed it.

Remember the article I linked which proved when the pic was from? It was all about how Pettitte got injured on the play and left the game. So when Pettitte said he used HGH to "heal" from a 2002 injury, I thought back to that. Granted, it took a couple of days before it actually hit me. But I thought back to the pic, and looking at the pitcher, trying to figure out if he looked like he might just have hurt himself, since that's what the article said. So I went back to my post, and sure enough, the pic was from '02!

So that's the moment. That's the exact pitch where Andy hurts his elbow, leaves the game and doesn't return to action for two months--but only two months thanks to the HGH he took in the meantime.

Note: I could've just re-posted the pic and said, Hey everybody, I found a shot of the exact moment when..... But I think it's amazing enough as it is, that A. the photo exists and B. I already had it on my blog before this whole thing went down.

More On Jesus' Favorite Worker

Okay, for anyone who thinks the lying cheater Andy Pettitte is somehow a great guy for admitting to cheating (only after he was caught six years after the fact), here's a great article by one of the "authors" Costanza reads, Mike Lupica.

And for the record, Brendan Donnelly has said he "asked" about a certain steroid, but then didn't actually buy it. And I think he's lying, too.

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