Saturday, February 11, 2012

Relief

What a feeling it is when you finally get that confirmation screen. Because you know even after you've sat through the VWR and found your seats and entered all your info, they still could call shenanigans on you at the last screen and just say your order failed and you're totally screwed.

I got the relief feeling around 12:23 today. VWR opened around 11:46, little man appeared around 11:56 in Chrome, 11:58 in Firefox. I had men in the second and fourth position to start. Twos moved up to ones around 12:05, and around 12:20 the haunted choir of Tessies began. Used two of my tickets to get a game for mom and Charlie, and got two other single Yanks games for myself (it was a 4-tix limit). I've got more windows ready to roll if any of you winners are stuck deep in line. (You know the drill--you'd just have to trust me with your credit card, address, etc., but you know where I live....)

Friday, February 10, 2012

David Ortiz Takes Paternity Test, Meets Potential Son

According to this article, David Ortiz took a paternity test. I think. Then he met a kid that looks like him. And then according to the video below, he fled the scene before the Springfield Shopper could get him on film. Look, it's all in Spanish, and I'm a little rusty.



It's weird because I found an article from 2010 saying a kid named Edward Bonifacio wanted Papi to have the test, and now it's Edward Jiminez. Has to be the same person, right? So I guess two years later Papi agreed to it...and for some reason had to go to the Dominican and meet the kid to do it. And...we don't know when the results are expected. The Google Translate version of the article:

Santo Domingo: The Dominican baseball player, David Ortiz, agreed to a paternity test done and came face to face yesterday in the Dominican Republic with his alleged son. The meeting took place in a relaxed atmosphere. Both arrived on time for your appointment at the lab and spoke warmly in the test area. Edward Jimenez , 17, took months requiring you to the player to take the test laboratory. The youth, who also plays baseball, has a physical resemblance to the Red Sox slugger. "It's a great guy, we were talking and joking all the time," said Jimenez, the Dominican Telenoticias television. After the meeting, 'Big Daddy' did not attend the press that was in place, but unlike other similar events with celebrities, there was a large security operation. According to several interviews by the press quisqueyana, Jimenez trained in one of the academies that holds the major league in the country. In fact, the resident of the community of San Luis, runs daily walk a distance of four kilometers, hoping to be a contract for equipment in the United States. In recent days expressed the Dominican baseball player hoping to avoid salary arbitration with the Boston Red Sox. "I want this to be resolved before go to the court (arbitration), but I will leave in the hands of my agents. On I be doing now to train and prepare for spring training'' he said in remarks Ortiz picks Associated Press. Leading Dominican baseball player 36, Ortiz, 36, batted .309 with 29 homers and 96 RBIs last season as Boston's designated hitter.

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Lottery winners: Good luck getting Yanks/OD tix today. Lottery losers: 2:00, call ticket office. Redial. Thank me later.

Happy Truck Day! It's gonna be a snowy one.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Ridin' That Train To Florida

Here's your TV/radio schedule for spring training (and beyond). We'll only have to see the Twins on TV twice! Speaking of the team from the city whose average high temps in the summer are pretty much the same as Providence's*, we play them six times this spring, which means there's a chance of a Mayor's Cup tie.

And surprise, a constantly wired workahaolic from the 80s says he was coked up most of the time. Oil Can fesses up.

*I happened to look this up earlier today

You're In The Big Leagues

Here's an incredibly long history of Big League Chew.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Moore Of My Usual (Meaning Both Puns And Box Score Research)

I'm a big Michael Moore fan. I'm reading his current book, which is a collection of stories from his past, going all the way back to his birth--and beyond, as he even tells his family history. His great (x6) grandfather fought alongside Ethan Allen in the Revolutionary War days, which is special to me because ol' Ethan is my great (x8) grandfather. You may know him as the guy who surprised the British in the middle of the night at Fort Ticonderoga. (See, I even have night-owl roots.) Sadly, you're more likely to know him as a furniture store.

But back to Michael's book. In a story about the Detroit riots of 1967, he talks about his family venturing into the city shortly after calm had been restored to see a Tigers game. Of course, I had to find the game he went to. He said it was against the White Sox, a Thursday night game which Detroit lost, 2-1. So I headed for the Tigers' 1967 game log on retrosheet, and it turns out Michael had his facts right. The riots happened in late July, and the only home loss to the White Sox by a score of 2-1 on a Thursday night after that was August 10th, 1967.

It was the finale of a four-game split, and Moore's memory of the nice black man who helped get his father's wounded car to a gas station saying the game was a stinker is correct if you're a Detroit fan. The Tigers gave up the tying run in a 7th-inning rally started by a dropped fly ball, and then stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th after having given up the lead in the top half.

Chicago manager Eddie Stanky made a controversial decision to bring in starting pitcher Gary Peters to face Norm Cash in the 8th with three on and two out. As the caption below his picture (left, Windsor Star, 8/11/1967) says, "he knew best," as Peters struck Cash out. The author of the accompanying UPI article wondered if this would cost the White Sox down the line. I'm not sure it did, as Peters kept his ERA right about where it was the rest of the season. He did throw in two bad performances against the Red Sox a few weeks after this, but those were sandwiched around an 11-inning shutout, also against Boston, which kept the White Sox a game out on September 1st in the incredible four-team race that year. But Chicago, as well as Detroit, would come up just short in 1967, with the Impossible Dream coming true on October 1st.

So Michael saw a pretty important game, considering the Tigers would end up one game out of first place. Funny, he didn't mention the Tigers left fielder, Willie Horton....

Buncha Stuff

Well isn't this fun? I bought those "digital tickets," the ones where you just swipe your credit card at the gate, and since then, somebody stole my credit card #, so my account has been closed, and I will get a new card with a new number. So now what happens when I walk up to Fenway with no ticket? Do I hold onto the old card just for scanning that day? Will the new card have all the account info from the old? I'll have to call the ticket office on this one. But I'm imaging a potential shitstorm, which will be bad enough aside from the fact that a thousand people on line behind me will be pissed at me.

Great story about a kid helping some old Negro League players get what they deserve. It got me thinking, there should be a Negro League version of retrosheet, with all the stats and box scores. I found that this site has a lot of info, but I don't see a centralized place for actual box scores. Considering how poorly reported the games were, I'm not sure that's even a possibility.

Here's Mark Melancon swimming with great white sharks in case you missed it. (It's essentially a commercial for the people that take people on these excursions, but it's still pretty cool. I just hope our new reliever doesn't get eaten by a shark.)

Me opening a grab bag on YouTube.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A Natural Discovery, 28 Years Later

I was watching The Natural for the millionth time the other night. In the background of one of those "spinning newspaper" shots was a view of Times Square at night:

You can see the Coke sign in the middle, with a note about Hobbs being a "maybe" for the playoff game scrolling by on the ticker above. Then there's the Kinsey whiskey and Ruppert beer signs, and ones for the Capitol Theatre and Hotel Astor. Many of these are visible in this Andreas Feininger picture from 1940:

But I couldn't help but notice a sign with the state of Oregon on it (at left in top still frame). I rewound. It said "White Stag Sportswear" (Oregon's shape is around it, barely visible in close-up below):

I found this odd since in all the pictures of Times Square from decades ago, I've never noticed any signs for Oregon-related companies that I'd never heard of. After noticing that the movie marquees were clearly covered up with different movie titles (Golden Boy and Blind Alley, both from 1939, the year the bulk of The Natural takes place in), I realized that the White Stag sign could have been inserted by the filmmaker. Then when I unpaused it, there was a dead giveaway: the other signs were all kind of vibrating, in the way a video camera locked on one spot shows slight movement, whereas the White Stag sign (like the movie titles) was stock still. It was clearly inserted into the shot, and not really in Times Square.

So using Reservoir Dogs "if he's betting on the Brewers he must be from Wisconsin" logic, I figured the director must be from Oregon. Either him or maybe the writer of the original novel. I looked it up, and it turns out that the writer, Bernard Malamud, indeed spent about 10 years teaching at Oregon State University, and The Natural was published while he was there.

As for the sign, it came from Portland, and it's still there. It currently reads "Portland, Oregon." Read about its history here. According to that, it's only been around since 1940 (and it didn't say "White Stag Sportswear" until 1959). So not only did that sign not look like that in 1939, it didn't exist at all. But I like the nod to Malamud. Here's a better look at "White Stag":

I have done some extensive searching online, and I can't find this tribute to Malamud mentioned anywhere. So maybe this is some new Natural news.

Bonus stuff:

1. I'm also not sure about the red Baby Ruth sign, which seems to be floating in mid-air to the right of the Kinsey sign, and could just be a nod to Babe Ruth. Probably another insert.

2. I apologize for the darkness of the stills above. I took these from my 2001 DVD of the film. When I noticed the sign, I was watching it on some TV network, and they must have used the 2007 director's cut or some other restored version, because you could clearly make out the shape of Oregon, and the theater marquees were much more visible. Had that station shown the older, dark version, I probably wouldn't have even spotted the Oregon outline on that sign. As you can see, it's almost invisible on my DVD's version.

3. In the version of White Stag used for the movie, you can see something at the top left above the W. Almost looks like a 17 in quotes or another W or something. Whatever it is, it's consistent with one of the pics I found online of this sign, which has "home of" in that spot.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Scavenge

I'm the proud winner of Section 36's annual Scavenger Hunt! It's my second win in three years. The blogmaster over there is throwing the word "dynasty" around....

See the pictures of the stuff I found over at his blog. I'd like to thank my teammates and my lord and savior, Richard Leo Gedman. Actually, I would like to thank Kim for going with me over to Fenway Park and the Yawkey Way Store after a brunch we had in Brookline with 6 friends, all of whom I'd also like to thank for not mocking and ridiculing my scavenging plans too much.

Below is the pic I got the most things into: Poster with Sox player on it (a Greenwell one I've had for 20 years); food item with Sox player on it (Papi Wheaties I got in '05); Sox media guide (an '08 one I got from a Fenway Yard Sale); Sox autograph (A Buchholz card I won on one of those ebay group breaks); a Sox magnet schedule (a 2012 one I got at the last game last season); a ticket stub from a Sox ALCS game (2008--the comeback); a ticket stub from section 36 (5/1/2011); and a Sox cup (I assume he didn't mean the dick/balls-protecting kind so I used an old Fenway souvenir one).

I also thought it would be cool to use a pic of me with my mom and dad when I was 5 years old for "male and female Sox fans."

Yes, the souvenir store helped with some of the other items, but hey, I used plenty of stuff I already had. (Actually, I don't know which of those is considered less legit in the scavenger hunting community). And if you wanna beat me and my budding dynasty, try to take me out next year, sucka!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

That Was Crazy (And The Game Was Too)

Okay, gambling stuff first. After the early safety, it wasn't very likely that anybody would win my contest. We had a 9 after Q1 and Q2, and a 5 after Q3. None of you picked a 5 or a 9 for either team. Then after the end-of-game craziness, I went to look at the grid I drew up, and thought, Oh, weird, it did end up as a "normal" score, 21-17. I looked across...then down...and there it was: "MOM." So that was crazy that we got a winner after all. But it's also crazy because: The prize was the extra ticket I had for the Mother's Day game at Fenway. Which I had because I'd bought two more after I'd bought that single, just so I could take my mom to the game. Now she's got the extra one, too. (Of course she could choose one of the baseball card packs but I think she'll find someone to come along with us. (And sit by him/herself.))

More gamblin' fun: Okay, obviously I was way more interested in prop bets than in the actual game. My dad had made future bets on both the Pats and Giants (he actually got 14-1 on the Giants during the playoffs), so he knew he was gonna win a hunk o' dough either way. (Though he was of course rooting for his adopted Pats all the way.) So he treated us to some action. My theory was that the key to a big payoff is the early safety. Because you can make so much on it, in several different bets. If you wanna take a huge risk, you can come outta there with an astronomical reward. Well, my risk wasn't that big, but I made sure we had a little money on the following bets: A safety will happen; the first score of the game would be a safety (one bet for each team getting the safety); and that the first score by each team would be a safety (two separate bets). The first one of those is 6 to 1, but the other four are either 40 or 60 to 1. So we got about $175 for a wager of $14. If I had really thought about this I might have put more than a damn buck on the huge-odds ones, but whatever. I was just incredibly psyched to see the safety to start the game! Another bet my dad made also came in--Green-Ellis made the first Pats reception, giving us about a hundred more dollars. But our big boy barely failed. We picked total points for each team. For the Pats we went high, around 30, and for the Giants, we had them at 11, 12, 13, 15, and 16. (Going for a big score, we had no use for the 14 with its mere 7-1 odds.) So once the Giants got that safety, things were looking great provided the Pats D settled down. Because a TD and an FG gets us to 12, and another FG keeps us at 15. Or 2 TDs gets us to 16. The 16 would pay 140, but 12 or 15 would pay 625. And wouldn't ya know it, they ended up right on the 12, and then went to 15, and had FREAKIN' BRADY NOT FORGOTTEN HOW TO THROW A FOOTBALL and had he maybe gotten a little help from his receivers, not only would all the Pats fans in the room (I was with all Pats fans) been happy, but we would have split $625 on top of our other winnings. Still, dollars-wise and excitement-wise, we all had quite a night.

So about this game. Yeah, on those drops, I blame Brady on those two passes on the second-to-last drive, and on one of the two on the last drive. Had ball, with lead, down to about 4:00 left--you win that game. But that one pass was behind Welker. Could have caught it, but when you have to turn back against the direction you're going and are going to land awkwardly, you have to brace yourself, it's hard to hold onto the ball. Brady needed to place that out in front more. Then I think the next one was also behind the guy. Oh and the interception too--when a guy's past the defense, and holding his arm up, you better get that ball way down field so only your guy has a chance. But he lofted it way short and was intercepted. Then on that last drive--after the incredible catch by that Giants guy at midfield, Eli is good but that guy is one lucky bastard sometimes too, lucky in this case that the receiver did such a great job, though I don't know if he even knew he was still in bounds--Brady did throw one perfect strike that was dropped, and another was again behind the guy but he landed on his feet after he spun around, so he should have caught it. And wow, they got what they wanted on the hail mary, a tip drill, and Gronk was inches away from making it the best ending of all time, similar to Butler's half-court near-winner in the NCAA two years ago.

But it all goes back to that drive, when the Pats were up two. I did feel myself absolutely pulling for the Pats, but hey, I knew that I was getting my share of the $625 if they could have just run out that clock, or at least scored and had the Giants not have enough time to score again. And I did get a hint of those feelings at the end, of "how did that happen?" And knowing that I've felt this before when my team was involved, and that it really stinks. I know what it's like to go to bed with that feeling.

So as you know, I'm a loser either way, both as a Sox-fan-who's-not-a-Pats-fan and a Jets sympathizer. Yankee assholes will mock ME unfairly at Fenway Park next year, and Giant assholes, should I mention I'm not a Pats fan but that I grew up a Jets fan, will mock me since they are once again kings of NY. But the good news, both for you Pats fans and all of us Sox fans, is that after a little grace period for the Giants where seemingly everyone loved them for no apparent reason, the sports world will again start to point their hatred toward them. Which will, despite that it's two different sports, translate into more Yankee hate--another team who's somehow fooled the world into thinking they're "not all that evil" when they're still the fucking Yankees.

So, terrible job Giants for winning and terrible job Pats for letting them. And if the opposite had happened, I'd have to say the same thing in reverse. But GOOD job by both teams for giving us two of the most incredible Super Bowls ever. I kinda wish you Pats fans could have seen both of those games in a world where somehow two blank-jersey-wearing teams had been involved. I mean we had a team going down 9-0 and hardly ever having the ball in the first half, yet somehow having the lead at the half. Then they came out like a different squad and went through the other team like shit through butter, or whatever, only to somehow not be able to put the game away when it seemed inevitable. And then a hail mary that actually had a chance of succeeding with no time left on the clock. And all that after the first game they played a few years ago that rivaled it.

Another good thing if you happen to be an all Boston sports fan, and not just a one-Boston-team-fan like me, is that all your teams have recent victories. In 2001, you were looking at, what, over 80 years, over 30 years, 15 years, and never as your droughts. New York idiots could talk about curses and puritans and eternal choking. Now you've got parades in your recent memory banks, and while you may screw the pooch occasionally, it's nothing like the way it was a decade ago. Nobody can bring up any of that bullshit--well, of course they will but at least you know it's completely irrelevant.

Also, after that '08 game, the Red Sox had just won, and it (again, unfairly) took something away from our win, with brainless dickholes acting like it somehow "made up for 2004." At least this year they can say all they want about this completely different sport, but our Red Sox already blew it this time, so they were gonna fuck with us anyway! Ha! We sure fooled them, huh??

[Bonus stuff: I totally forgot to talk about the weirdest thing of all. Pats up two, a minute left, one timeout left, Giants a few yards from the end zone. It's that moment where you want your team to just "let them score" so you have time to come back. And Belichick actually does it! But not only that, the Giants don't want to score a TD they want to run the clock down and kick the FG with as little time as possible left--so when the ball carrier realizes the defense isn't stopping him, he actually starts to fall to the ground at the one yard line! It was like one team trying to intentionally walk the other team to extend the game until the umps put the tarp on the field, while the other team swings and misses on purpose to try and make the game official! And that Giants guy was fighting within his mind--"I'm about to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl, yet I know the smart (assuming everything after goes according to plan) move is to fall down and not go in!" And his instincts get the better of him and he rolls into the end zone. Belichick absolutely made the right move there and gave his guys a chance to win. And what an asshole that Giants guy would have felt like had the Pats scored in the end. But most people would have done exactly what he did. What a moment that was.]

A Very White Board

Lots of empty space in the contest. Oh well. I'm surprised nobody took 0-0, so I grabbed it myself. Should I win, you'll each have to get me a prize. Good luck to all 13 of you.

I was at Fenway yesterday and noticed the Ted Williams banner isn't looking so hot. Somebody get on that....


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