Saturday, May 01, 2004

In The Background

Between games of a doubleheader, nice time to do some writing. (A twi-freakin'-night doubleheader! When was the last time that happened?)

While flipping channels, I saw a scene from a movie which took place at Fenway Park. The film turned out to be "Blown Away". So there was actual game footage from that spot everyone loves to film from, at the top of the grandstand between home and first. The movie was from '94, I should rent it and pause that part to see who some of the players were. I wonder if there's a list somewhere of all the movies Fenway has appeared in. Anyway, when they cut to the close up shot of Lloyd Bridges talking to a vendor (an actor with a Harry M. Stevens hat; that was the vending company before Aramark, I think), I could immediately tell that they were NOT in Fenway Park, despite all the extras wearing Red Sox T-shirts.

This reminded me of how ever since I was little, I could see a picture of a baseball player, like on a baseball card or sticker, and figure out what park the picture was taken in. Obviously, you can just look for a home uniform, but I'm talkin' about a visiting player, with no players on the other team in the picture. It always seemed like most pictures for cards were taken in yankee Stadium. I swear, for the '81 Topps Sticker Album, they must've just gone to The Bronx on a day the Mariners were in town, and took a shot of every dude on the Seattle team.

yankee Stadium was easy to tell, with the silver bars separating the boxes, the blue seats, and the wall outlets in the dugouts. Old Comiskey had the green seats with yellow railings. Every park had a telltale sign that gave it away.

Today, it's almost as easy, although I haven't gotten to know all the new parks yet. Only today, I'll have a better chance of figuring out the stadium than the player's name. Baseball cards were a great way to learn the players by their faces. That and the fact that players actually stayed with one team for more than a year at a time meant that by age 7, I knew every player on every major league team by their face, whereas now I pretty much just know the Red Sox and yankees.

Moving on, Lys and I went up to Northampton, Mass this weekend for a concert. We stayed over Friday night, and today, Saturday, we headed downtown, and to our surprise, the Gay Pride parade was just about to start. This was the second time we'd attended this annual event, and both times we had no idea it was going to happen. We always seem to walk right into huge events by accident when we travel.

It was great to be among people who share our views on equality and tolerance, as well as lots of Sox fans. It was practically a yankee fan-free day up there. (I know it's Massachusetts, but it's 1 1/2 hours from Boston, and 2 1/2 from NYC, so you never know.)

While up there, I bought a book by the makers of Found magazine. It's basically a book full of notes and pictures and whatever else that people have found on the ground around the country and world. Some of these things are hilarious. Check it out if you want.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Sam Horn Was Once An Actual Man

When Sam Horn broke into the bigs, everyone was pretty excited. The guy could hit the ball a mile. Unfortunately, he ended up only hitting the ball two times out of every ten tries. Regardless, Pat & I were pretty psyched as kids back in the eighties when we had a chance to see a possible Sam Horn moosshot in person.

My dad drove us up to Fenway. That's a key point in the story, because my dad will drive you to a baseball game, but he'll be damned if he's gonna sit in traffic afterward.

So when the seventh or eight inning rolled around that day, it was time to head out, back to Connecticut. Reluctantly, we followed my dad out of our seats (which cost seventy bucks today), and onto Yawkey Way.

Then we heard the crowd inside make a sound that could mean only one thing: Somebody homered. Crap. What did we just miss?

Moments later, a man exited the park, and my dad asked him, "Home run?"

"Grand Slam," replied the man.

"Henderson?", my dad suggested. (C'mon dad, Henderson was up when we left, and the bases weren't even loaded.)

The man countered with one word: "Horn!"


Needless to say, as an adult, I never leave the park until the final out.

So last night, adult Pat and adult me went up to Fenway Park. While we were standing on Yawkey Way, (in roughly the same spot we were in when we learned of the Sam Horn Grand Salami) waiting for the gates to open, who did we see, but the one and only Sam Horn. He works for NESN, of course.

Interesting how nobody yelled to him, despite his current internet fame.

The magic numbers are going down with last night's win, and today's doubleheader sweep, but just one at a time, as the Birds and bastards are winning along with us. Magic number to beat the yanks thru 4/29: 137. Magic # to win the division: 140.

Sam Horn Was Once An Actual Man

[Edit from 1/20/05: I noticed that this post about Sam Horn was up here twice. I figured I'd just done it by accident. I noticed that the two posts were different, and figured the first one must have been the rough draft, and the second the final, and they both got posted by accident. But since I don't do "rough drafts," that didn't make sense. Upon closer inspection, I noticed there were misspellings (moosshot instead of moonshot) in the LATER post that weren't in the earlier post, along with other minor differences. I was really confused. Then I figured it out. Sometimes these blog things don't publish right away. And it sometimes seems like it doesn't publish at all. But it always does, it just doesn't always confirm that it does. So, back then, as a new blogger, I must have written this thing and thought I'd lost it forever when it didn't say "post published" or whatever. So I re-wrote the story, completely from scratch. It's amazing, knowing that, how close the two are. It's also interesting to see a post that I wrote not knowing that an original version of it was right there for everyone to read. So this post is the earlier, thought to be gone version. I kind of like it better. The second one sounds so phony, like I'm "pretending" to write new material that's really a half an hour old.]

When Sam Horn first broke into the bigs, everyone was pretty excited. That guy could hit the ball a mile. Unfortunately, he only hit it about two times out of every ten oppurtunities. Regardless, Pat and I were pretty psyched as kids back in the eighties when we got a chance to see Sam hit a moonshot IN PERSON.

My dad drove us up. That's actually a key point in the story. Because my dad will drive you to a baseball game, but he'll be damned if he's gonna sit in traffic afterwards!

So when the seventh or eighth inning rolled around that day, it was time to go. Reluctantly, Pat & I follwed my dad away from our seats (that would cost $70 each today) and out on to Yawkey Way.

Then we heard the sound that a crowd makes when only one thing just happened: a home run. Oh crap, what did we just miss?

Moments later, a man came out of the park, and my dad asked him, "Home run?"

"Grand Slam," said the man.

"Henderson?" my dad asked, which, as Pat & I pointed out later, was a silly question, since Hendu had been at the plate when we left, and the bases were not loaded at the time.

The man countered my dad's suggestion with one word.



Needless to say, as an adult, when I go to a ballgame, I stay until the final out.

So last night, adult Pat and adult me were at Fenway, and as we were standing on Yawkey Way, (roughly in the same spot as we were when we learned of the Sam Horn Grand Salami) waiting for the gates to open, who did we see but Sam Horn. He works for NESN, of course.

Funny how no one yelled to him. Especially with his current internet name-only fame.

The magic numbers are descending with last night's win and today's doubleheader sweep, but only one at a time as the Birds and bastards are winning along with us. Magic # to beat yanks thru 4/29: 137. Magic # to win division: 140.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The Big (Empty) Ballpark In The Bronx

THOUSANDS of empty seats (*Just got the "official" attendance--33,000. So over 20,000 no-shows*)at the toilet bowl tonight. (Including Michael Kay's, mysteriously.) Looks like a lot more yankee fans have given up aside from the two I know who claimed the Red Sox will win it all this year. What happened to "sold out the season"? I've got tickets to Fenway tomorrow night, and if the team was 8-11, I'D STILL BE GOING. What we are seeing now is the perfect example of frontrunning yankee fans. The good fans were there tonight, but were almost outnumbered by the ones who can't be bothered to go to a game when the team is THREE whole games below .500, and have to make up 4 1/2 games with only 143 to play. I guess this A-Rod mania isn't as big as everyone thought.

Funny how the NY media justifies the fact that the yanks win the high-scoring games, acting like offense is the key to winning. Take it from a Red Sox fan, it only took us a hundred years to figure it out, but pitching is what wins.

The magic number to beat the yanks remains at 140, since the yanks won, and the Sox were rained out, but the "real" magic number is down to 143 with the Orioles' loss. Funny, I've always been able to get the Orioles radio station (1090 AM) WAY better than the Hartford station (1080 AM), and usually against my will, but it always comes in handy when the Sox play the O's---however, for the first time in at least 7 years, I can actually switch to it to find out how Baltimore is doing, because they're actually the closest team to the Sox in second place. We'll see how long that lasts.

Key moment in yankee game tonight: Crowd gives Jeter a standing O while he's up, trying to get him to get a hit. As he grounds weakly to short, crowd boos loudly before the play is even over. Sleep well, Derek.

Monday, April 26, 2004

A Day Of Early Season Rejoicing

None of the yankee fans dared wear their yankee shirts to work today. In fact, they avoided me completely. I saw a guy today with a Red Sox hat, shirt, and license plate. One of those kind that just say "Red Sox" for the front of your car, not a real license plate with the Red Sox logo. You can't get those in CT. You CAN get a Red Sox (or any other team's) logo on your plate in NY State, though. I've sent an email to the DMV of CT, I'll let you know what they say. I also was nearly jumping for joy when I saw a guy with a Varitek shirt dumping garbage in our apartment's dumpster, which I can see out my window. Normally, I'd have been pissed, because I don't think he lives in our "dumpster zone," but maybe he just moved in. But either way, he had a VARITEK shirt on! In Danbury, CT, this is very rare.

So the Sox fans are out in full force after the sweep. And two yankee fans I know told me they think the Sox will win it all.

And my friend Harry, aka Seamus, told me that he went to the city--that's what they call New York City around here--on Friday, and on the train, the conductor said "Have a nice day, enjoy the game, go Red Sox." He also said the train had equal yankee and Red Sox fans. Ha!

Last year, at the Stadium--that's what they call yankee Stadium around here--I saw a cop harassing Freddy, that old dude who walks around with his "Freddy Sez" sign at the Stadium, telling him that the yankees suck. He then saw my shirt and told me how he was from Boston, and just ended up a New York cop, but is still a Sox fan.

I just found out about Riviera's Cafe in Greenwich Village. It's an NYC Red Sox bar. I can't believe I didn't know until now. I can't wait to go.

This is so great, what yankee fans are going through right now. They're so embarrassed after we came in there, swept them, with our fans getting around George's ban on group sales, to still fill about 60% of the stadium, chanting "Let's Go Red Sox" and "Bal-co" for the entire series. Hey yankee fans: Tickets went on sale in NOVEMBER. YOU could've bought them all up. But you choose to wait 'til October to pay attention. Oh, sorry, except for when you bought up all the tickets we didn't already have when you got A-Rod. Isn't this all working out lovely?

When the season ended last year, and I mean the MOMENT it ended, I didn't yell or curse or anything. I just said "I'd rather have our guys anyway. We'll win that division by ten games next year," and went to sleep--for about 16 hours. That was before all the off-season stuff, but we're almost halfway to that ten mark, and we've only played 18 games. Awesome.

About the games: Funny how when Jeter reached the point of his longest career streak without a hit, the YES, or as I call it, the Hell No Network put the graphic up 1 second after he was put out. Like they had it all ready to go before he actually broke his little record. They could've waited a few seconds to make it look like they checked to see if he got a hit before typing up the stat. And then Jeter got his ass booed. That was sweet. And today on my way to work, there was a new billboard on the side of the road, for yankee baseball on WLAD, our local radio station--which USED TO have the Sox on in the mid-90s--with a huge picture of Jeter on it. Nice timing, people.

Millar's diving catch was extra sweet because Michael Kay was making fun of his defensive skills all weekend.

Pedro's key performance will now be etched in the minds of yankee fans for a few months. They've been accusing him of basically being a mediocre pitcher for years now. Hopefully they won't forget this one--against "Murderer's Row '04," as I heard it called in the preseason.

Kay referred to the series as "Armageddon Part Two" during the intro to Game One. I don't even know what to say about that.

It's actually funny to hear Paul O'Neill rip Michael Kay in the booth. Turns out O'Neill is good for something after all. He basically makes fun of Kay for never having played, like O'Neill and the third wheel in the booth, Jim Kaat. When they were talking about how it's the fan's right to boo, Kay said he booed as a kid in yankee Stadium. O'Neill said, "You probably hid in the upper deck so no one knew it was you." This guy knows Kay as well as I do!

Kaat and Francessa already said it, but: Sheffield swinging for the fences with two out and none on in the ninth, down by two, sums up the 2004 yankees. And someone, Don LaGreco I think, on ESPN radio noted, "The Red Sox filled their holes in the off-season; the yankees just bought toys." So true.

Finally, here's something that tells you all you need to know about Michael Kay:

O'Neill: "What number did you wear growing up?"
Kay: "Number one."

He said it was because his favorite player, Bobby Murcer wore one. But why do I get the feeling that WHOEVER wore number one would've been young Mike's fave?

A Red Sox sweep of the yanks, the Knicks swept out of the playoffs, and one million pro-choicers rallying at the Capitol in DC. One of my all time best weekends.

Bring on the Devil Rays. Finally. Maybe they'll be more of a challenge than those pathetic yankees were....

Sunday, April 25, 2004

The hata'z

There seems to be a faction of Red Sox Nation which is very against the idea of spending too much time on worrying about and/or hating the yankees. From "Manny doesn't 'hate the yankees.' Like most Sox fans, he's just bored with them." (Referring to what Manny was saying on, about it being more important to win it all than to beat the yanks.)

As a life long yankee hater, I'd say I'm definitely BORED with their crap, and want to see it end as much as anybody. But I'm not going to stop hating them.

I've been rooting against this team ever since I can remember. I've grown up in an area where all their games are on TV, and it's really fun for me to watch their games, and root for the other team, whether the yanks are in the World Series or in last place.

On a Henry Rollins spoken word album, Henry talks about how he has no time for hatred, and that when you hate someone, you're already giving too much of yourself to them. I agree. But then, after explaining that for a few minutes, he says, "but I f***in' HATE Edie Brickell!" (This album was from the early nineties.) The point being that unless it's a divine hatred, it shouldn't even be worth your time.

So the yankees are my Edie Brickell, I guess.

So for anyone who thinks you're less of a Sox fan if you're spending your time hating the yanks, remember, we're Sox fans because we love our Sox. Period. You can be a yankee hater and not care about the Sox. But I think it would be stupid to not relate with those people. Hatred of the yanks can bring Sox fans and neutral fans (or former yankee fans) together.

I think I can sum this all up with a quote from myself. This is something I posted on RedSoxNation.Net, in response to some people saying that "yankees suck!" is an old and tired phrase, and that we Sox fans should stop saying it:

"...while I know exactly what everybody means by not wanting to hear "yankees suck," all the time, as someone who lives down here in Southwest CT, there's something awesome about being at Fenway Park, and just reveling in the fact that the 35,000 people around all HATE the yankees, and that I'm not alone.

Plus, saying it is not judging the yanks on win-loss record, [it is so far this year, though, heh heh. Come to think of it, will these non-'yankees suck' people say it's okay to say it when the yanks are in last place?] but on everything else about them and how they cheat and buy their way to victory.

All these yankee "fans" around here truly believe that they are special, (not to mention the players as they put on the holy, majectic pinstripes). I say we keep reminding them that they're NOT."

Just Shizzirts

When you work at office with a lot of yankee fans, the key game in a Sox-yanks weekend series is the Sunday game.

When the yankees win the Sunday game, all their "fans" come in with their yankee t-shirts on. And I, therefore, don't get to wear mine (as determined by the rules in my head).

Lately, the Sox have been losing that all important Sunday game. It happened a few times over the last few years, where they'll win the first two games, but lose the third, giving the yankee fans the "right" to come in gloating on Monday morning.

Even last weekend, the Sox took 3 out of 4, but they lost the Sunday game. And since Monday's game was at 11:05, everyone knew the result of that game by the end of that day (or should've known, I know that not all the yankee fans did). So wearing my Sox gear on Tuesday didn't have the same effect. I should've brought a Sox T-shirt with me on Monday, and then changed in to it when the game ended. Damn! I gotta remember that should the situation arise in a future year.

But this weekend, not only did I get to experience the ecstasy of seeing the Sox sweep the yanks right out of their own building, I have also gained T-shirt bragging rights until June 29th! (--The next time the teams get together.) But hopefully we'll be so far ahead of them it won't even matter.

The maic number is down to 140 thru 4/25.

(Thanks, Lys, for the title of this post. You are the master of the triple enchilada, I mean...)

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