Saturday, July 04, 2009

Silver Platter

If you're a reliever and you enter a tie game in the ninth and you walk the first man, you should be sent to a dungeon below the clubhouse. That would stop the walks. And you'd NEVER see THREE walks in the inning, as Saito just did. Why don't you just walk off the field and forfeit the game? Boooooooooo! Unacceptable.

Missed!

When my niece Amanda was little more than a baby back in the late 90s, my mom would throw a ball to her and if she missed it, my mom would say "missed!" Then while Amanda was watching what was probably her first fireworks show, any time there'd be a dud of a firework that didn't pop or whatever, Amanda would say "missed!" Apparently she thought this was a word for any type of error.

The Red Sox missed tonight. Eleven inning losses are tough, but our team has shown it can come back from the frustrating games. I predict a massive win for the 4th.

By a quirk of the schedule, the Yankees actually played three games between tonight's Red Sox game and the previous one. With their cheapo win today (do they have any other kind?) they're two back. As they used to say in 2006, and also last week, "no worries." Actually, I've got a weird story about that, too. The first person I knew that used that phrase consistently was a woman who spoke with an Irish accent. So any time I hear or even think that phrase, my brain hears it in an Irish accent. Same with Aaron Carter. The first time I heard his name was when I worked in the music department of a bookstore, also in the late 90s. A little girl with an Irish accent asked if we had his single, so ever since I've thought the guy was an Irish singer (not like he's ever brought up--I believe he was one of the Backstreet Boys or NSYNC or 98 Degrees--man, what a golden age of music that was!), while also hearing the name Aaron or Carter in an Irish accent even when it's said in regulation American Joe language. Weird how the brain works. Then again, it's late. But not too late to watch a couple Twilight Zones before bed....

Friday, July 03, 2009

Yanks Lose And Other Stuff

Aardsma closes it out for the Ms, and the Yanks lose 8-4. CC gave up six runs on 10 hits in 5.2. So we're 3 up heading into the weekend. The King vs. the Knuckler Friday night.

Did you hear that thunder this morning? It could have been the loudest I've heard since that game at Camden Yards when Bellhorn and Nomar got scared to death and I thought the scoreboard was falling down behind me. This morning sounded like what I think a shotgun blast to the ear would sound like. It just seems to rain without end. I like rain, but I also like variety, so get your head outta your ass, Mother Nature.

I'll be on Comcast SportsNet's "The Baseball Show" this Saturday at...oh wait, that's not me, that's every other Red Sox blogger. Oh well.

Mighty Quinn (who actually has been on that show) reminded me of the July 4th Twilight Zone marathon on Sci-Fi. For some reason, I never think of this one--just the New Year's one. This summer I've come prepared with a little help from a friend. Thanks, Quinn!

Hey, Nomar returns to Fenway Monday night. Be there! Also, his brother Michael is still in the minors. It would be cool if he could finally see the bigs. He got a game-winning hit tonight for Huntsville....

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Fourth Base

89-63. That's the Red Sox all-time record on July 4th. I finally finished a piece I've been working on for Baseball Digest about the team's history on Independence Day. Read it here. Weird how we used to play strictly the A's or Senators in the annual Indie Day doubleheader.

New schedule-advertising travesty. Remember how last year they put ads for various movie/video game release dates on all the MLB skeds? And how the Indiana Jones movie was white on every one, confusing the home/away factor, until they finally changed it after I complained? Well now they've got an ad for some cartoon movie, and again, it's the same color on each team's schedule. Granted, you can just look at the "@" or "vs." to see if it's a home game or not, or just check the next/previous day for obvious clues, but I'm just saying, it's horrible how advertising takes precedence over the game info, which is what these schedules are for. Maybe the key at the bottom should show a colored square for "home," a white square for "away," and a wacky cartoon guy on a light blue background for "figure it out yourself, fan who we see as a dollar sign, but it doesn't matter where the game is anyway, you'll be at the movies!"

See the O's schedule and ours (we're playing each other that night) as examples.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

That's Why Baseball's The Greatest Game. Suzyn.

Amazing! Remember that Twilight Zone where the guy flips a coin that lands on its edge, and from that point on he can read people's minds? Until that coin falls over, and then everything goes back to normal?

It's as if someone flipped the awesome switch to shitty last night in the middle of the game, and for no apparent reason switched it back during today's game.

After being shut down for eight innings by some guy I've never heard of, the Red Sox score 4 in the ninth to tie it at 5. The tying hit (Roccoooo!) coming with two outs.

Then in the 11th, Ellsbury doubles, gets to third on a fly ball in which Markakis really could have thrown him out, and scores on a single by...freakin' Lugo! And Pap gets three outs, and all is right with the world again. The bullpen, so horrid last night, retire the last 20-something batters today. Holy shit. A nine-run comeback by them last night, a four-run comeback in one inning by us today. Whew....

The Canada Day Miracle! Just like the MDM, the O's take a guy out late in the game, and the whole game changes. My lord.

Yanks play two games before we play our next one, so we'll be 2, 3, or 4 up going into the weekend series at Fenway with the Ms.

Bronx Burning?

A few nights ago I dreamed I was the only survivor of a plane that crashed into water. Then yesterday I read about it happening for real.

Last night I dreamed the left and right field upper decks of Yankee Stadium were on fire as a game went on. It was the old Stadium, but still, watch out for that.

Red Sox-O's, 1:35 PM.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Worst Day Of The Year

Watched the Red Sox go up 9-1, then watched an entire movie during the rain delay, then saw them go up 10-1 before giving up 10 runs to lose 11-10.

At least I got to enjoy the movie.

And at least it's only mid-season. It's not like blowing a 3-0 series lead in October.

DC: The Touristy Stuff

In the wake of Michael Jackson's death the day before, Chan and I check out of the Hinckley Hilton and head for big white monuments to dead guys. Just after taking the above picture, we stopped in to Melody Records, and found a news report about Michael going on. I tried to get in the background. I later watched the story online, and it turns out only Chan's back appeared on TV. Oh well.

Above is Pennsylvania Avenue. I love closed off streets that you can walk down the middle of.

And here's your big boy. The Pale Parlor. The Honky Hut. The White House.

And just inside the gate, on the White House lawn, it's the White House sewer.

Nobody ever takes a shot just off to the side of the White House. So here you go. Edge of house on left. Did I mention it was "visible shirt-front sweat" hot in DC?

The White House lawn...mower! Also visible is the thing with the bees. Since people had giant heads of Obama and the German chancellor, we figured they were in there. And I think they may have been heading outside because this guard started screaming at us to leave the area. This is the opposite side of the White House from the earlier pics. We quickly realized the DC rule: don't go near anything! Not allowed!

And looking left from the previous shot, the guy with the stand-up mower. You wouldn't think there'd be that kind of brush for people to hide in right on the White House lawn.

A final shot of the back of the WH.

Remember that movie where the flying saucer hits the Washington Monument? Me too.

The big pencil in a garbage can.

I had to.

The WWII memorial. They say "no wading" but everybody does it.

His bill and coin combined equal $5.01. Name him.

The back of Abe's chair. I saw one of Booth's descendants trying to unplug it!

Lincoln's ear.

"Lincoln, Lincoln, I've been thinkin', how much whiskey have you been drinkin'?" -- Flava Krystalz

The ceiling above Abe.

A Sox fan at the Lincoln Memorial looking out at the reflecting pool and Washington Monument.

People don't realize that if you just move to the side, you see the Capitol behind the Monument.

It was so hot I just laid there for awhile on my back. Here was my view.

Are you kidding me? The backwards double-quotation mark is one of the easiest errors to catch! (The same mistake is made on the food cart outside Gate C at Fenway.) And why is "establishment" capitalized? And hello, it's summer 2009 and it's still closed. Terrible job by the Lincoln Memorial Lawn Area Association.

Now over at the Vietnam War Memorial. Here's the "Aaron A. Aaronson" of the tribute.

Vietnam Wall with WM in back.

We went to the Smithsonian's Museum of American History to the Red Sox stuff that was there temporarily. On the way into that exhibit was this Colbert picture.

There was some great stuff in there--here's the furniture from All in the Family.

Here's Jon Lester's jersey from Game 4, 2007 World Series. Drew also went to this on the day they brought the stuff. His pics of that are here.

Kermit the Frog. They also had Oscar the Grouch, the ruby slippers, gloves from Rocky II, etc.

A room from a great dollhouse made by Faith Bradford decades ago.

The GAME OF KENNEDYS! "What if we set up the cover picture Mount Rushmore-like?" "But Rushmore only has four--" "Just fuckin' do it!!!!"

TenPenh Restaurant. When Chan and I are in DC and want to relax in the non-fancy area of an Asian-esque fine dining establishment for Cokes and appetizers before getting dinner somewhere else, we choose TENPENH. Located at 10th and Penn, and managed by...MattySox! It was great to meet one of my longest tenured commenters after all these years. Check out his restaurant when you're in Washington.

The Capitol's reflecting puddle.

The Capitol up close. The stairs were closed off.

The Monument between two stanchion-things with crazy clouds as seen from the Capitol, where they had some concert stage/tent thing set up.

Click this pic for huge. At the "Newseum," they have the front page of a paper from each state lined up. Of course, it was all Jacko. Only two states didn't have him on the cover.

And finally, I was so excited to have a chance to see...

4th Street and D! I really hope you get that joke...

If You Don't Vote, You Are Allowed To Complain, But Just Vote Anyway

Vote your Red Sox into the All-Star Game here.

Voting ends Thursday, and you can vote up to 25 times per e-mail address. (After you enter your picks, it saves them, so it's easy to vote over and over.)

We got Youk just ahead of Anthony K., and Dustin is just behind Mama Kin. Ellsbury isn't too far from that third outfield spot, either. (Bay is a lock to take the top spot.) So make sure you vote for those three if no one else. There's no real anti-Yankee stuff we can do, other than maybe throwing some votes Mauer or Longoria's way to stop Jeter from being the leading AL vote getter. Here are the updated voting numbers.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wicked

Lester with a great performance, and it's pretty much a pressure-free 4-0 win over the Birdland Orioles. 3.5 games up.

Pap ties Big Foot for the team's all-time save lead. Comparing the two isn't really fair, though, as Stanley was a starter and a middle reliever as well as a closer in his career. Had he been strictly a closer the whole time, Steamer would have a lot more saves. Granted, his save percentage isn't nearly what Pap's is. But then again, many of Bob's saves were two, three, four innings. When Pap breaks the record, will he get a golden rake?

Sox At Nats, 6/25/09


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Above is the overhead view of the Hilton Chan and I stayed at in Washington, DC. We got a double room for 100 bucks right on the hotel's website. Knowing it would be in the 90s in DC, I was looking forward to that pool.* But when we got there, here's what we saw out our window:

...and that's why the rooms are so cheap. The hotel was going through a major overhaul. Anyway, it was still in a good location and was very clean and nice-hotel-y:

We also got a pretty good price on train tickets, and I paid face value for game tickets, so it was a pretty cheap trip.

There were delays on the Metro since nine people died on it three days earlier.

And here we are at Nationals Park.

There are Ws everywhere. But a lot more Ls from what I hear....

This is NatsTown or whatever.

The stadium has a bike valet.

And Ws on the bike racks.

When I do anything with Chan, he's always stopped for much longer than I am at security check points because Americans are racist toward Asian people. We're always right next to each other, and then I turn around to see him still getting searched. So while I waited, I turned around and got this shot of people entering the gates as they opened at 4:30. It was mainly Sox fans....

Down in left field looking up at the board.

On our way out to try to get balls in right field.

In my spot in the right field second deck. I got Tavarez to give me a wave, but no body was throwing balls (or hitting balls) up there.

Like I said in that other post, there was a lot of space up there.

And to my left, even more space.

Looking straight out.

And straight down into the Nats' pen. To read about the ball I finally got up there, see this post.

Now we're at our seats behind home plate.

The Capitol was visible from our seats.

Interesting batter's eye.

Fans in front of Capitol. I liked how you could see it from up there, but most of the buildings visible beyond the outfield were just modern, glassy, stumpy office buildings. Not Washington-y enough.

I was getting shots from different parts of the upper deck at this point. I also met Drew before the game. Remember the guy who took those great photos of the Sox at the White House for me after the 2007 championship? He had much better seats and got some great shots at this game. Thanks, Drew.

That bird.

Smoltz' second pitch as a Sox.

Papi in the field. He made a nice play before this, but later missed a ball. Smoltz stank at first but settled down. But Zimmerman shut us down anyway, and we'd lose 9-3.

At one point, the woman next to Chan said, "Michael Jackson died." Whoa. Chan took out his ipod to get more info, and check it out, he was picking up a wireless network called JACKO! Anyway, all night I tried to explain to Chan what a big deal this was, and he didn't believe me until later when every channel on TV had Jacko stuff, every store played his music, every newspaper had his face on it. I never actually bought the albums, but that guy's music was just always around. And I always felt bad for him--any time a person is a bit of a freak, he gets picked on non-stop. I feel like society killed the guy. A lot of the things he did me might have done anyway, but as MattySox put it when I met him the next day, he may be the first person to be killed by late night talk show jokes.

I knew Kelly would be there but with such a huge crowd (a record for their park) I didn't think I'd spot her. But all of a sudden, some people in the rows in front of us left, and the front row by the field became visible. And there was the red hair and the big lens. What are the odds? Had she been in the second row or beyond, or pretty much anywhere but in that spot, we never would have had a chance to see her. I bet she got some nice shots from there...

Night falls as the Sox get blown out.

There's always one Whalers fan at every Red Sox game--but seeing one on the road is rare.

So, here's my take on Nationals Park. It's nice-looking and all that (though I'm still waiting for one of these new parks to actually do something different instead of copying all the other ones, which is just going to leave us with a league full of cookie cutters, kind of like what we were trying to get away from in the first place). But the whole operation is minor league. It's a lot like an NBA game, with the drum beats between every pitch, the announcer saying each hitter's name like he's the heavyweight champion of the world, the flashy scoreboards telling fans when to cheer. They actually referred to that President Race as "the main event." In other words, I'm glad we've got Fenway. There's just nothing like it.

On TV the next morning, it was all Jacko.

Here's the ball I got, and my Nats' ice cream helmet.

I guess I'll stop here and show you my touristy pics later. We spent all day Friday walking around DC in the oppressive heat.

*Note, 3/27/2012: The joke at the time was that the satellite view showed a beautiful pool. I see that as of now that view is the very same pool-less concrete that was there when we got there, killing the whole joke.

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