Saturday, March 10, 2012

JoS Contest/Detective Work

Joy of Sox' annual W-L contest is up and running. Go read the rules and e-mail Allan your guesses.

I was looking at the cover of the book he's giving away to the winner, and decided I had to know the date the photo was taken. (Better picture here.) Actually, the first thing that struck me was that they were using an older (pre-2011) picture, since the old pitch-count scoreboard is visible at right. Seemed to me that if you're gonna use a modern-era picture of Fenway for a book coming out purposely in 1912, you might as well use one from the the current year, since it would have the most current version of the park. The hi-def scoreboards were a huge change, and in my view very quickly make the old ones look dated. But in an ironic twist, having the edge of that board visible is the key to being able to figure out which game this is....

You've got Dice-K on the mound, and we know his pitch count and up-to-the-out ERA. We can also barely tell from the Monster scoreboard that it's the top of the 4th, with one out and a 3-1 count. The Red Sox are in their red alternate jerseys.

I went right to Dice-K's game logs. We know 2011 is out of the question because of the scoreboards. We know it's not 2007 since the far-left above-Monster billboard (AAA) didn't appear until 2008. So it's '08, '09, or '10.

I looked for a time when his ERA would have been near 9. In 2008, after his first start, which was in Japan, it never got higher than the 3's. In 2010, it only would have crossed through the 9s in his first two home starts, but they most likely wouldn't be wearing red jerseys on a Tuesday or Thursday night, and the ball-strike count/ERAs don't match up in those games. (Also, see later note about the other games visible on the Monster scoreboard.) So it's a 2009 Dice-K game.

Going into the Mets game on May 22nd, 2009 (a Friday night, which makes red jerseys possible), his ERA was 12.79. With only two games under his belt, that ERA would be fluctuating wildly.

After his 46th pitch, he indeed had thrown 30 strikes. RIght there I knew this pretty much had to be the game. It was the top of the 4th. Sheffield up, and a 3-1 count with one out, just like the Monster board says. (It also appears to be a 1-1 score, also correct.) As for the ERA, he'd given up 10 earned runs in 9 and 2/3rds up to that very batte: A 9.31 ERA, just as the board says.

In the hi-res picture I linked, you can pretty much tell all the other games going on from the Monster scoreboard (which shows that Interleague play is going on). Looking at those games, they make sense in the May 22, 2009 scenario. So that's definitely the night. Dice has just thrown ball 3 to Sheffield. He would walk him on the pitch after this photo was taken. The Mets would score three that inning and go on to a 5-3 win. And no, I wasn't there. But I was there the night before (sitting in the front row in dead center--I was one day off from being on the cover of this book!) and two days later.

Sox vs. Rays on TV tonight at 7:05. Bard starts.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Live And Snappy Gossip

This appeared in the Providence paper, 100 years ago today.

In Red Sox news, there was another mountain hike yesterday (Stahl, Carrigan, Engle, and Nuf Ced), Jake Stahl announced he'd play first, the whole team is now in camp in Hot Springs, and Tris Speaker says he's been treated poorly by the team and doesn't know when he'll sign. I'm getting excited for the '12 season--both Sox and Grays!

As for the other '12 Red Sox, we play the Pirates tonight at 7:05 on NESN/MLBN.

Finally I Can Stop Checking This Every Day

On December 3rd, I told you the Futures at Fenway event would take place on Saturday, August 18th. The team finally got their act together and did the usual announcement today. As we thought*, it'll be Pawtucket and Lowell. Tickets on sale soon.

*Yes, I had my doubts about everything since there were some strange things happening on the schedule page, and since it was taking them so long to make the official announcement, but last I knew before this morning was that the Paws still showed it on their sked, and someone from Lowell returned my e-mail saying it was "almost certain" for them. Good to be able to move on with my life.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Beaten By The Champs

Couldn't muster up much in Jupiter today. Our only offense was a three-run triple by Jose Iglesias, who also, I'm told, made some nice plays in the field.

Beckett was great, 3 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs. Doubront threw two scoreless-yet-mildly-iffy innings before losing it in his third. We lose, 9-3.

Logo Loco

Let's review: MLB doesn't know that one of their own teams tweaked their logo in December 2008. (Old here.) (New here.) They're still using the old version on Gameday, as shown below:
However, the Marlins changed their logo this offseason, and before even playing one regular season game with it, MLB has made the switch on Gameday:

Now you might be saying that the Marlins made a huge change, and the Red Sox' tweak wasn't that big of a deal and nobody cares. Well check this out--the Blue Jays also have a new logo (old here, new here), which is a tweaked version of the one they used to use a few years ago. And MLB has that one up already!

When I type in "marlins logo" into Google Images, 8 of the first 10 results are the new logo, which didn't exist until a few months ago. When I type in "red sox logo," ONE of the first 10 results shows the new version of the Circle Sox logo. (I have noticed that the Boston Bruins have suffered a similar fate to ours--they tweaked their Circle-B logo for the '07-'08 season, and about half the image results come up with the old.)

After years of monitoring this, I guess my conclusion is that if you have a logo and you alter it slightly, people just aren't gonna notice, despite that you had a press conference announcing it. For people to notice, you have to come up with a completely different logo, OR tweak one you used to use but has been out of service for a while. (Also note that when the Sox changed, they also demoted the logo from primary to secondary, making the Hanging Sox the primary. Maybe that affected things too.)

But the thing is, "people" are gonna eff stuff up. They have diapers to change. What I still can't fathom is how the league or team itself could ever not know about an official change. Or anyone who's officially affiliated with the team. Yet the Red Sox, MLB, and NESN have all trotted out the old version of the logo at various times as if they either never got the memo or just had an intern grab a logo from Google (with not a single person in the entire organization noticing it was wrong).

As for un-affiliated companies, there are of course still plenty of those who are clueless. My local Providence news station will give Red Sox news with the big old logo smiling at me on the screen. But the best one to me is the Boston Herald. That new logo is entering its fourth season, and the Herald is still using the old version right in the banner of their Red Sox "Clubhouse Insider" section. But to be fair, they forgot to cover the press conference* anyway!

*The one where the team released the new logo and road uniforms--maybe somebody will finally care about this when the team accidentally takes the field one night with the 1990-2008 jerseys on!


That MLB Gameday is bunk. They keep skipping batters. And having weird things happen, like an inning will happen, but then it'll go back in time, and the inning will start over, and new and different things will occur! Then they'll fall asleep for 15 minutes, with nothing happening, before they suddenly update 9 outs in 30 seconds. I know it's preseason, but if they're gonna do it, why can't they do it right? And by the way, the skipping of the batters happens in the regular season too. They should either fix it or eliminate it.

I tried valiantly to follow today's game under these conditions. The Sox and Jays tied, 3-3. Once again, all our pitchers gave up no runs except one (a 3-run inning by Justin Thomas). The Scoreless Brigade consisted of: Germano, Pena, Melancon, Tazawa, Spoone, Mathis, Blinkin, and Nod. None of the runs our offense scored came on hits. A sac fly scored one and an E scored two.

Thursday, we're at Busch South at 1:05.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

More Ticket Stuff You Should Find Useful

Red Sox-Yanks, April 20th, the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park.

Price of cheapest seats on the Official Scalper sites: $133 each.

Price on for those same seats: $28 each. You only have to buy tickets to one other game to get 'em, in the Double Play Pax. They also have Opening Day. You can get four together for these games, for as little as $12 each. It's amazing to me that A. they haven't sold these games out yet and B. people are paying four times as much (and way, way more) as they have to.

Gameday link for today's game against Toronto.

More Hiking For The '12 Red Sox

Article from the Providence Evening Tribune, March 7, 1912, one hundred years ago today. More hiking up mountains for the Red Sox. A three-hour tour! And this time, Nuf Ced is included in the article. I like how they tell you the players wore "flaming red sweaters," something the pictures of the day couldn't.

I'd also like to point out that this paper and others were referring to the New York team as the Yankees pretty consistently by 1912. I know that back in those days, nicknames weren't really "official," but I think we should move that date back, the date they "became" the Yankees. Every time we mention that first game at Fenway, we have to talk about the "Highlanders." I think we can start saying "the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the first game at Fenway Park." But that's just my opinion.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

O's @ SOX, Now [Update: WIN]

Bard, Aceves, Mortensen, and Bowden threw a total of 8 innings, giving up nothing but one hit and one walk. Only Alex Wilson struggled, giving up all four runs. But we scored 5 with a balanced-ass attack to beat the O's, 5-4. Side note: Baltimore has a guy with a great name: Xavier Avery.

MLB GameDay still using the old version of the Red Sox logo. But hey, this is only the fourth fucking season of the new one.

I'd actually be happy if this was GameDay's only problem.

Follow along on Gameday here. (No TV or radio.) Bard set down the first three he faced....

The Time I Almost Kinda Won 300 Million Dollars

My friend Bruce taught me something once. He said when he plays the lottery, he doesn't even check the winning numbers to see if he's won. He just waits and waits and if it gets to the point where no one has claimed the jackpot, he figures now there's a real chance his ticket won.

When the Powerball jackot reached $300 million a few weeks back, I bought a ticket. The morning after the drawing, I was checking my e-mail, and my friend Chan casually ended his correspondence with "that wasn't you that hit the Powerball, was it?"

Oh my lottery gods. If Chan was saying this, he must have found out that the winning ticket was sold in Rhode Island. I had Kim check it out--that was indeed the case.

Now I'm not even sure I was going to do the "Bruce Method"--maybe if I'd thought about the big drawing that morning, I would have gone and checked the winning numbers. But suddenly, without even trying, I'd reached Phase Two of the Bruce Method: Knowing the winner has been narrowed down to your state. As a bonus, I live in the smallest state!

So now I'm thinking, Okay, the jackpot went up by, what, 80 million since the last draw? At 2 or 3 dollars a ticket, depending on if you played the PowerPlay thing, we've got something like, uh, 30 million tickets out there, among the 40-something states that have Powerball. Let's just say 40 million tickets in 40 states to make it easier. That means my state would have a million tickets. Meaning suddenly I'm down to a 1-in-a-million chance at having the winning ticket. Granted, the term "1-in-a-million" is basically the definition of having "no chance," but compared to the actual odds of picking the winning numbers (175 million to 1), that's a huge deal. But we're not even talking about the odds of "picking the right numbers" at this point, we're talking about the odds of "having the ticket which has already won."

On top of that, you have to eliminate the people who actually look at the winning numbers (non-Brucers). And that's probably, what, 80-90 percent of people? Because if they've won, they would have come forward. After a few days, we're probably down to me and the other 5% of people who either forgot they bought a ticket or haven't checked the numbers for whatever reason. (Unless the person knows they've won but just hasn't come forward yet.) Five percent of a million? That's 50,000 people. And that's IF 1,000,000 tickets were sold in Rhode Island. You know what the population of Rhode Island is? One million. So let's say only 250,000 tickets were sold here. Now we're talkin a 1 in 12,500 chance of my ticket having the winning numbers and me being the proud owner of 600 million Kennedy half-dollars.

So the days went by....

I was doing everything I could to keep myself from checking those numbers. As each day passed, using my logic, the odds crept in the direction of my favor.

I had kind of hoped that at some moment, I'd see the numbers somewhere and they'd look just like mine but I'd look away quick and then try to picture in my head what I just saw, and try to figure out if those really were my numbers.

At one point, Kim decided she'd at least check the actual numbers. I didn't want to see her face, because she has a rough idea of the types of numbers I'd pick (your 8s, your 9s, that kind of thing) and I didn't want to see her face drop knowing that I probably didn't win. So I lied to her and told her I had bought a Quick Pick. That way, it wouldn't matter what numbers she saw.

I even drove by the gas station where I bought the ticket, hoping to see some kind of official Powerball truck there, with some guy handing the cashier a giant "we sold the winning Powerball ticket" sign. Then I'd really be narrowing it down. But there was no such truck. There probably is no such truck.

Then one day I was checking the Daily News site. Their front page is loaded with stories. And suddenly the dream was dead--I saw the words "Powerball" and "Newport." And then "Stop & Shop." If it had said "Providence" and "Cumberland Farms," doesn't matter because it didn't.

I had to break the news to the few people I had allowed into the would-be winner's circle of friends. Kim. Chan. And, of course, Bruce.

But there was one last chance, because hey, maybe they made a mistake--I'd have to check the numbers. Incredibly, the first number matched my first number. 1. Can you imagine if I'd decided to just go ahead and check the numbers, using my dad's patented "Squeeze it out" method? I would have seen that I had the first number right and had a heart attack. I probably would've convinced myself beyond a doubt at that point that I'd won. Winning ticket from my state, no one's stepped forward, first of six numbers correct. Oh well. I died with my boots on.

Postus Scriptus: This morning, they finally had the press conference. We would learn the identity of the winner. It's funny, I had seen a cartoon in a local paper showing two people who'd just ripped up their Powerball ticket. One was saying to the other, "don't worry, we live in Rhode Island, we're probably related to the winner." The sentiment is very true--once I met one person here, I suddenly knew all the people. Anyone you meet here already knows everyone you know. Anyway, hearing "Newport," I was assuming some rich person who didn't need any more money was the winner. So I was happy to see that the winner was...a little old lady. They said her son was a "famed" musician. I looked him up, and he is Leroy White. Leroy's music is described as ringing of "freedom. Freedom to help make the world into a better place through love and creativity, and freedom to inspire and light the way for all of us all through music." On his website, he wrote "WITH THE NEW SONGS, I'M GOING TO RECORD ONE AT A TIME, PUT IT ON THE WEB SITE AND OFFER IT UP AS A LOVE OFFERING." Guy started out in Newark, won a talent contest at the age of 13, and went on to be a well-known musician. And his 81-year old mom wins the freakin' Powerball. Good for them. I hope their Newport neighbors who cringe at seeing black people and mock them for being not rich have to see their kids driving this woman around in a giant limo as their summer job. How sweet it would be: "Mom, can we go visit Mrs. White, she's got the good caviar." (Note: not all Newportians are snobs, but if you're a snob in Rhode Island, you've probably made your way to Newport. Or East Greenwich.)

Here's Leroy!

If I had to pick the winner myself, I'd probably choose the woman who raised that guy. You know they're gonna gives lots of money to people in need.

And so I asked my other friend, that first person I met in this state, and of course, she and her boyfriend, being musicians who have played all over this state for decades, know Leroy White.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Bobby Valentine Undefeated As A Sock

Big 10-2 win at Target South tonight. And a 2-0 lead in the Mayor's Cup race. Butler hit a dong as he did in that B game, and Papi nearly hit two. His potential second dong to the opposite field went off the wall for a Lloyd Daubler. Buchholz did a little of his classic "pay way too much attention to the runner" routine but overall was pretty good. How come the Internet thinks HH is this big question mark? Guy was one of the best pitchers in baseball in '10, then was injured in '11. He should be back on track for '12. Now if you're "the average baseball fan," you might be saying, "Buccholz (you'd spell it like that) was one of the best pitchers in baseball? That's not possible, as my memory only contains the previous two weeks of games at most at any given time." So you'll just have to trust me on this one.

Yes On 193

Now that Wakefield is retired, we're stuck with Roger Clemens stuck on top of the all-time Red Sox win list for the time being, tied with Cy Young at 192.

But I noticed on a 1983 Boston Herald pull-out that I got on ebay that Young is credited with 193 Red Sox wins. I did a news search and found that a few other times as late as the 1990s, Young was shown as having 193. Finally I came across an article from the Hartford Courant, from August 5, 1939, in which Cy himself is quoted as saying:

"I know It 511 In the book but It should be 512. They took one victory that I really earned away from me and gave It to somebody ."

Good enough for me. Give Cy 512 for his career and 193 in a Boston uniform. Welcome to second place, Roger.

In all proverbial honesty, though, I'd love to know which game this was, and, if it really was given to the wrong pitcher, we have to petition MLB to give it back to Cy, and get him above the Rocket.

African-American Doubt

I wasn't around to watch the afternoon Red Sox game. That's okay, I thought, I'll just catch the nighttime airing on MLB Network. Turned it on, and no game. So let me get this straight:

Spring training game.
Played in Florida.
Shown hours after it ended.

Blacked out!

Terrible job as usual, MLB.

Good to see that Lars hit a grand dong and Beckett pitched well, though. Sox @ Twins Monday night at 7 on NESN. Out of NESN-land, you gotta wait till 9 a.m. the next day for the MLB Network version.

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