Saturday, December 24, 2011

Inspectah On-Deck: Random Fenway Pic Decoded

I noticed this picture as the background of a Red Sox blog called RSN Alberta:
So I put the baby up for adoption and got right to work. I had to know the date, the inning, the pitch.

It's always easy when you have the scoreboards to work with. The problem is figuring out what they say if they're small and blurry.

First thing I did was figure out that Kent Hrbek was the hitter. You can even see his face and blurry name on the CF board. Mo Vaughn is also pretty clearly at first, and the pitcher immediately struck me as being John Dopson, #40, though I wasn't convinced yet. But Vaughn/Hrbek narrowed this right down to a Twins game between '91 and '94.

The scoreboards tell us it's the top of the 1st with one out and one on--looks like Puckett on first.

I started going through all the games Hrbek played at Fenway in those years, and I got stuck for a little while. I was thinking he had to be batting third based on this situation. So when I wasn't sure which game this was after going through all of them, I just looked to see which of those games he batted third in. And he didn't bat third in any of them.

Then I noticed a telltale sign. Look at the linescore on the Monster scoreboard. Look at the 10th inning. There are runs up on the board. Little-cared-about fact of Fenway: Between games of a doubleheader, they will post the score of game 1 in the 10th inning slots and leave it up there into game 2. (See fourth pic down in this post from this past season.) So this was the second game of a doubleheader. Checked the Hrbek list again, and found he only played in one of these between '91 and '94. July 24th, 1992.

So now all I had to do was confirm the other blurry stuff, already being 99% sure of the answer. All the out-of-town games match up. Crowd of 34,000+ already in their seats in top of first makes sense. Newspaper said game 2 was an 8:15 start, scoreboard clock says 8:19. Hrbek's .282 BA and 11 homers are correct for that time. Dopson was indeed the pitcher, and Hrbek batted with one on and one out, and Puckett on first, in the top of the first. But the score was 1-0 Twins, as Puckett's hit knocked in a run, which explains why Hrbek was batting fourth, not third. So if it was 1-0, why do the scoreboards in the picture show 0-0? (This is why I couldn't figure out the game before I noticed the tenth-inning doubleheader secret.)

The answer is that it takes those guys who run the manual scoreboard a while to get those numbers into place. This is the first pitch of the Hrbek at bat since the count is 0-0, so the run has just scored. They have to switch the 1 to a 2 in the hit column, then slide a 1 into the first inning and into the total column. Why they haven't got the 1 up on the electronic boards on the third base side and in center yet, I don't know. But I bet they're about to change....


Hrbek would take the upcoming pitch for a ball. On a 1-1 pitch, he would foul out. The Paw Sox' hitting coach in 2011, Chili Davis, doubled home Puckett to put the Twins up 2-0. The Sox would tie it with two of their own in the bottom of the first. Each team would score twice in the 7th, and we went to the bottom of the 9th tied at 4. With one out, Bruno singled home Plantier, and Boston salvaged a split (after getting one-hit by Scott Erickson in game 1). The fans there that day got to see one of only four wins by Red Sox pitchers whose last name starts with I. (All were by Daryl Irvine, the only I-Sock ever until Jose Iglesias debuted in 2011--my pics from the end of the Irvine Dynasty are here, and terribly, I didn't realize this until right now. In fact, this Thanksgiving, I actually brought out the now-incorrect "only one Red Sox player has had a last name starting with I" trivia!) If the Yanks had lost later that night, we would have been tied for fourth. Freakin' Mariners. Oh well, we were 12 games out anyway. The Red Sox would go on to finish last. David Lee Roth went on to become America's favorite game show host.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Quickie Shea Detective Action

The background of shows two crowds, one old, one new. Because of the way my brain works, I decided I wanted to know when the older crowd shot was from. (The black and white one on the left below.)

My first thought was that it had to be from an important day, since it's a packed house and, before digital cameras appeared, you usually needed a reason to take a picture. Maybe it was the first game ever or an early Opening Day at Shea, or a 1969/1973 World Series game. Those later ones seemed a little too late, though, because it doesn't look like those two people you see close-up have witnessed anything like Woodstock or LSD trips. They're more like extras in It's a Wonderful Life, so I figured this was probably from the earliest days of Shea Stadium.

I searched for images of Shea's grand opening, and the dynamite immediately boomed. From the Daily News (photo #3 here), here's Opening Day at Shea, 1964:

At first I thought, Damn, I found a similar pic but it's from left field instead of right field! But then--I spotted them: the little boy with his grandma/pa from Little Odessa. Same picture, reversed. A closer inspection* tells me this is the correct version, and the one background is using the backwards one. (Understandable when you realize they had to have it match up with the right side--but not understandable when you realize they could have easily gotten a shot of the OTHER side of Citi Field. Then again, maybe they were just taking that "mirror image" thing to heart.)

This page on the site about the history of Shea uses the pic too (not reversed). So you can see it in its original form in the middle of the page, with its mirrored version looming over it from the top and left of the window. (If you don't see the background you need to widen your browser window.)

*Mets mascot on pennant matches this guy, and the shadows are correct. Also, the person scoring has pen in right hand which gives us 90% certainty if we were unsure.

Bobby V. The Truth (Retro Edition!)

I was looking through some old Bobby Valentine articles, and came across this one from 1999, which says

Valentine recalled being credited with a double when he hit a popup down the right-field line that bounced off the back of the first baseman's head.

He was talking about Candlestick Park. So I went and, skeptically, looked for the play. Sixty seconds later I had discovered that Bobby Valentine never hit a double in Candlestick Park in his entire career. Never reached on an error there either. There were a few singles to right, but no game stories from the time talked about this head-ball double. (I also checked home games against the Giants with no luck--but the whole point of his story was the wackiness of Candlestick Park.) So I think we know who really has the head injury here.

(I will admit that there's a chance the writer of the article could have gotten the quote wrong, but come on.)


Yesterday I forgot to include a link--the one of Bob McClure and Jim Gantner playing a dice-rolling baseball game in the 80s. The picture is below and it's from this page. The game in question, upon further reading, is actually Pursue the Pennant with a new name. I spent hours playing that game (though by then I was already a veteran of Strat-o-Matic, Statis Pro, Championship Baseball, and several games I made myself).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Some Pictures Of Things

Couldn't get any of the $10 seats for the Celts this year, so we settled for the only home exhibition game, which was tonight.

Rondo with the ball. (I'm glad I don't follow the Celts or I'd be pissed about Rondo being the latest athlete the Boston media decided to convince fans isn't that good and should be traded when he's actually the heart and soul of the team. Really pissed.)

That new-ish Lucky dunkin' off the trampoline.

Guy gets some serious air.

Between the legs. Anyway, we got to see the starters play some solid minutes, except for Pierce. Celts won.

New at the Boston Garden--the latest Bruins flag. (You're focused on the black one in front of it, aren't you? The answer is: I don't know. Why the apostrophe is so low.)

And now for some pics from NYC this past weekend, aka the annual Xmas Shopping With Chan Trip Which Is Partly Just An Excuse To Go To The City.

From the dying breed of painted-on-side-of-building signs. This one's from York Ave. You can tell it was painted before the other building was built. Something about the "best launderers in the world." (That doesn't really help us, Michael.)

Blurry woman carrying the sun in the subway.

Somebody call the lube room, stat!

I put the lube room pic before the tree pic? Yeah. The tree's the same every year. I really don't need to see it, let alone photograph it, let alone post it on the Internet. But since there's been no snow, I thought maybe going there would put me in that elusive Xmas and/or non-denominational late-year holiday mood. Didn't really work. I still say "the holidays" should fall at the END of winter.

Sitting in dead traffic on the way out of the city, I noticed some words missing from this place. Anybody who's been going to Yankee Stadium(s) all their life from the north knows this stanky little motel beside the Deegan used to be called the "STADIUM MOTOR LODGE." Then at some point in the 90s it became "STADIUM FAMILY CENTER." Because adding "family" to your name instantly removes all roaches and whores from the property. Well, now one of three things has happened:

1. Someone has stolen two thirds of the sign.
2. The place is finally falling apart to the point where the letters are falling off.
3. They're revamping yet again! But where do you go from "family center"? Ooh, maybe they're reverting back to "motor lodge" for a more authentic South Bronx feel.

[Okay, I just looked it up. It's not a motel at all anymore. According to a community website:

"Two hundred men, to be exact, were placed in our community at the Stadium Family Center (renamed Basic Stadium Men's Center) and none of our elected officials or Community Board #4 members informed the community. We went on to discover, sexual predators were housed there. This was done near 2 (two) Elementary Schools = PS 126 and PS 11."

Wow. What a life that building has led.]

Oh, and supposedly Bob McClure is the new Red Sox pitching coach. This is a dude I grew up looking at on pieces of cardboard--yet I never made the connection that he has the same last name as Troy McClure. Also, scroll 2/3rds of the way down this page and see a picture of McClure back in the day, playing some dice-rolling baseball game on the field at County Stadium, home of the Indians (in Major League only).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

For The Fan Who Has Everything

What it looks like when you buy one million dollars worth of baseball tickets online. (Click to enlarge.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Lost Game

Took some photos at the last Fenway game of 2011. At the time I only posted one since it was all so depressing. So, finally, here are the rest of them.

Vlad and Papi.


Two different really big Rick Burleson fans? On the field? They have to be part of his family, right?

City at night.


Looks like I was still obsessing over Don's yearly dipshit claim that the foul pole and the foul line are misaligned. Here it is from up near where he sits, showing it all lined up.

Here's the whole Red Sox team on the field for the anthem. Didn't one of the shit-stirring asshole piece of shit media members say something about how they're all in the clubhouse at this point, burning your old family photos?

They did that thing where players throw out balls to the fans.

I think this "Irish Mickey Ward" was the inspiration for that "nawt you, nawt you, and nawt YOU!" movie that was all critically acclaimed and stuff.

Josh Beckett, who posted his lowest career ERA and highest career ERA+ in 2011--but who the media has told you is horrible and should definitely be traded.

The irreplaceable guy who they just let go without a second thought.

Pap also appears in this shot, the final one I took at a Red Sox game in 2011. (I did shoot some video of a dick getting ejected from the stands after that, but this is the last still photo.) I'll never forget being up at the top of the grandstand that night, actually thinking there was no possible way we could lose that game. The lead just felt bigger than it was. Both teams seemed to have just let this one go into the W column for Boston. How wrong I was. And little did I know the worst was yet to come. But that's okay, WEEI has solved our problems by subsequently firing the best manager, best general manager, and best closer we've ever had.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Season Ticket Holders: Has anybody gotten anything in the mail about tickets? I got an e-mail saying the order form and stuff will be "hitting mailboxes this week." That was the beginning of last week and I'm still waiting. I see where I can renew my 10-game plan on the site, but that's not showing what games I have. That's what I want to know. I'm gonna renew anyway, but I'd like to know what the damn games are. (Also would have been nice to know this before this first batch of tix went on sale--I thought they fixed that problem last year. Guess not. I know it doesn't matter for full-season people or weekenders since they know what games they're getting already. But we 10-Gamers seem to get the shaft a lot.)

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