Saturday, May 26, 2012

Free Shipping

SALT. Sox enter bottom 9th down by 1, Salty hits 2-run dong to end it off of the previously perfect Rodney. Madness at Fenway! "Come to your Papi," Ortiz said to Salty, supposedly, before tearing his jersey off.

Last December, once we knew Papelbon was gone, I wondered about the fate of "Shipping up to Boston":

"Here's my suggestion. You play it in the middle of the ninth inning. This way, it won't be played every night, only when we're tied or trailing after eight and a half. And those are the exact situations when a firing-up song should play. This fills in the late-inning rally song trilogy: Mid-7th: Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Mid-8th: Sweet Caroline, Mid-9th: Shipping Up to Boston (if applicable)."

I had yet to hear the song at Fenway in '12--until tonight! And they put it right where I said to. You could hear it playing at the ballpark as Fox was coming back from break to the bottom of the ninth. Now, of course, they could have played it before this year (if you heard it, let me know), but I haven't heard it, and I've been to games in which the home team trailed after 8.5. (It also could have been played but ended before the game came back from commercial.) Maybe they've just started to use it in this spot, or maybe they do it only when the team is tied or within a run or two. Either way, I'm obviously excited to hear it in that spot. If it were any other song I'd be happy to have it not be played ever again in honor of Pap, but it's like the most Boston-y song there is, so it needs to stay, and I'm glad it didn't go to another player. It needs to just be a Fenway song. And if tonight was the first night they played it in '12, it was a perfect debut!

Anyway, sweet win. Beckett was great, but after he finally gave up some runs, it became frustration fest for those last few innings, before Salty pinch-hit us to the promised proverbial land.

Snott, Puke

Tonight we jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first. Then Lester gave up a grand slam. And two other dongs. And it was 7-1. We did make it 7-4 and had the tying run up, but we couldn't get any closer, and that was your final. Lester later said his performance was unacceptable.

After the Rays hit Pedroia, we retaliated by hitting the perfect guy, Puke Snott. Benches emptied after Snott approached the mound. I'm only okay with people throwing stuff on the field under two circumstances. When the umps royally fuck up so many times (and only when it's absolutely clear, not when you just think a call should have gone your team's way), eventually you just have to litter the field so they know that everybody knows they've screwed up the whole game. And occasion number two would be if Luke Scott is on the field. Or, let's just say: if the guy thinks he can come out and say whatever he wants about people, he shouldn't be surprised if and when those people retaliate. I'd love to see that little ho crying his way off the field with a police escort. Overall it's better to "not sink to their level" when it comes to suffering pricks in life, and I wouldn't be throwing stuff myself, but I'm not gonna feel sorry for the guy if insults or worse get tossed that guy's way. NESN didn't have the best view of what happens with the fans who were ejected tonight, but I gotta assume they threw something at Scott. After the game, Gammons made a birth certificate remark--I love it! (In case you didn't know, Luke is not only a Red Sox fan hater and Fenway hater, but a complete right-wing racist gun-toting nut-job.) (And Luke, if you're reading this and decide you wanna shoot me with one of your 739 guns, go ahead, I'm sure you'll totally not feel like a coward at all. America Uber Alles!)

Later, NESN wondered why tempers don't just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair:

Oh and then there was the single which NESN thought was...somehow...well, just watch for yourself:

I was also kinda pissed at that woman in right field who held up her giant purse, making it so Byrd couldn't catch that home run ball. Remy and Don barely cared, and Remy even said the ball was in the second row, and wouldn't correct himself even after three replays of the ball clearly going to the first row. Those two are so incredibly bad when saying how many rows back balls go into the stands. They're always way high with their estimates. Problem is, they've never sat in the seats--then again, if staring at replay after replay doesn't help them, they're probably too far gone.

One final pic from tonight's broadcast. They showed some clips from Yaz' last game in '83, and check out this sweet chain-link fence at the front of the Red Sox dugout! I have no recollection of ever seeing anything like this (in the majors) before:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Red Sox (And Everyone Else) To Wear Camo

Here are the hats that will be worn on this year's "patriotic" days.

A few things:

1. I hate that the logos have camo on them. (Despite that MLB is still calling them the "stars 'n' stripes" hats.) MLB is an international game. Why are they always talking about "our" way of life and bringing out U.S. soldiers? What if we went to war with Canada? Would we cart these guys out and give them standing ovations for toppling the Canadian Mounted Brigade, knowing that the league has a team FROM Canada in it? "Our" in Major League Baseball terms means "the world." Or at the very least, "the U.S. and this one other country that's not the U.S." So patriotism makes no sense to me in MLB. (It doesn't make sense to me anywhere else either, but that's a whole other thing.) The sale of the hats this year goes to helping wounded vets. If you wanna help troops that came home and were promptly forgotten by the warmongers who sent them away, go ahead, that's great, they need help because no one else is helping them. But putting camo on the uniform to me is supporting the U.S. military itself. We need a new symbol that says "fuck those warmongers, but help the people who they used as pawns." And also, there should be a day with some kind of anti-war symbols on the hats, too.

2. Why is the Orioles bird not in the same camo treatment as the other hats? They just get a camo outline! The Blue Jay is in camo, so are the Indian and the Cardinal. The Marlins have a weird one, and they made the odd choice of having the T be camo but the C normal on the Twins hat.

3. Even sales of the Blue Jays hats go to the WBV fund, which is only for U.S. vets (from what I can tell). Shouldn't Canadian vets get this cash?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

RedSox.Com Background Collage Photos (Mostly) Solved

Here's the current background/border of, also shown at left (click to enlarge, then click again to enlarge the enlargement). It's been up on the site for a while, but I'm just now getting around to--you guessed it--figuring out when the pics are from. Or at the very least, who's in each one. For some of the close-ups, it would be crazy even by my standards to attempt to get the date. But I did what I could. (Note that despite that this seems to be a celebration of Fenway shots, there are some that were taken on the road.) So let's start from the top left and go down each column. (For the extra-nerdy: open the big pic in another window so you can read along with what you're looking at!)

1. Josh Beckett. I had to cheat on this one, since there weren't many clues. I used Google's reverse image search, and it brought me to this picture, which, if you look very closely, is a slightly different angle (more right cheek showing on side of mouth, hand covering part of right sleeve, Green Monster in background instead of left field stands) on the same moment. The places I found this did not credit the photographer, but one said it was "2007 World Series footage," and another called the file "BeckettWhiffsMorales." I checked Beckett's start in the '07 WS, and current Red Sox reliever Franklin Morales pitched in that game--but did not bat. I was confused...until I checked Beckett's "vs. batters" info, and saw that he faced Kendrys Morales in that same postseason, and struck him out. It was ALDS game 1, bottom of the 8th, to end the inning. I have confirmed through other pics of this moment that Beckett was indeed pumping the fist. So I'm gonna go with that moment. 99.9% sure. The person who said it was the World Series was on a site advertising those magic necklaces, so he probably doesn't know anything about baseball....

2. Down at Beckett's thigh, you can see a faint picture, which seems to be an old B&W shot of someone with the Green Monster in the background. It could be from anywhere between when they took the ads off the Wall in '47 to when they took the piping off the home jersey after '67. And if you take out your microscope, you can see the scoreboard on the Wall, and to its right you see it's the pre-1962 electronic lineups setup. So this is between '47 and '61. Corbis has plenty of player portraits taken in this spot, by the home dugout with the Wall in the background (like this one), but I couldn't find a match. If I had to guess I'd say Mel Parnell since it kind of looks like a left handed pitcher's body angle (though it could be a righty's follow-through). I'll go with Parnell, c. mid-1950s.

3. Clay Buchholz. He has long hair so this is 2010 or 2011. One of his daytime starts. On August 22, 2010, he wore the same necklace combo--that day's as good a guess as any.

4. Below Clay we've got Carlton Fisk on his way to first after hitting his famous home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series at Fenway. It is this shot, which comes from the series taken by Harry Cabluck from center field as Fisk began to round the bases.

5. At the bottom left: I think this is Luis Aparicio but I could be wrong. It seems to be from the '68-'74 uniform era, and Luis played with us from '71 to '73. It's Fenway anyway.

6. Back to the top, to the right of Beckett: This one has proven to be quite controversial. We have a catcher in pinstripes. Yes, the Red Sox used to wear pinstripes, back before 1932. But I've been doing a lot of research on this, and the gear and the sleeve length tell me this is much later, like the late 30s at the earliest. Also, this "throw off the mask" pose didn't gain popularity until then--catchers up until that point were usually posed in a crouch. And by then, you pretty much had one team wearing pinstripes. That's right, I feel like this has to be a Yankee catcher. I don't see a sign of the NY or anything else on the chest, but it could be barely hidden by the chest protector. Call me crazy, but this looks like Bill Dickey. The face kind of looks like anybody's face when they look upwards, but it still seems to match all the pics I see of Dickey. In fact, from what I've seen, I might even go so far as calling Dickey the "father" of this pose. And the background looks like Yankee Stadium. Fenway back when the Red Sox wore pinstripes had its seats set higher up, almost on top of the fence. I also found a shot of Dickey at the Yanks' spring training park, and it also looks like this. But I think it's Dickey, at Yankee Stadium, circa 1941. Why would the Red Sox use a Yankee picture? I don't know, maybe they found an old catcher photo in their archives and assumed it was one of their own. I hope I'm wrong here, but all signs point to Bill Dickey, or at least a Yankee. Or at least not a Red Sock. Weird. Tell me what you think....

7. Below that, David Ortiz breaking his bat. We know this is an "important" game because of the buntings. And the Volvo "Safe + Sound" (changed to "Safe + Secure" early in the 2010 season) slogan didn't appear until 2009. Looks like a Yankee catcher. My first thought was Opening Night 2010. Still, I first went with a search of just "papi broken bat," and not too far down the page was something that looked like this moment, from a different angle. Sure enough, it was from Opening Night 2010. 6th inning. (3rd pic down on this page.) Did a search of Op. Nt. 2010 and saw that a fan got another shot of the moment, and you can see the same fans in the background. And here's a Getty Images version. So it's April 4, 2010, 6th inning, Sox vs. Yanks, Fenway Park.

8. Moving down, we've got a picture of Jim Lonborg being carried off the field after the Red Sox clinched at least a tie of the A.L. pennant on October 1, 1967 at Fenway Park. Here's the shot in the Cape Cod Times--no photo credit is given. (And they cut out that kid who was the first to reach Lonnie when the fans rushed the field. I feel like I've read that guy's account of the moment somewhere....) (The more common shot of this moment is from a higher angle and features the Twins' Rich Rollins scooting past the celebrating pack of Sox back to the visitors' dugout.)

9. Below that, it's Luis Tiant. He's pitching at Fenway in the 70s jammies, but he's got the all-blue hat, which means it's between 1972 and 1974. This shot is reminiscent of the amazing "thatsmyboy03" series, but it's not one of those. And with no luck on the reverse image search, and no other clues, I can't give a date. Though I feel like since thatsmyboy has a shot of Luis with the blue hat but with the red sleeves, which supposedly weren't worn till '74, I could guess that our shot is not '74, leaving '72-'73 as the range.

10. Last shot in that column is Ellis Burks making a catch at the wall at Fenway in 1990, which we can tell from the armband. I did a news search for "ellis burks leaping" in 1990 and came up with a catch he made in Game 2 of that year's ALCS, in the 5th inning on a Rickey Henderson fly ball. I found three other Burks leaping catches, but two were on the road, and one was in a day game, and this shot is clearly a night game, which Game 2 of the ALCS was. And even if he made some more similar catches that year, I'm always more likely to assume the more important game, with more cameras in the building, would be correct. So I'm going with October 7, 1990.

11. Now we start to go across the bridge to the right side. First we have the K cards on Fenway's back bleacher wall (sec 41-42) from Roger Clemens's first 20-strikeout game, April 29th, 1986. This pic by Stan Grossfeld is almost identical (the fourth person from left's head is higher) and is proof that it's from that game. Not that you needed it.

12. A picture of Fenway Park. Signage tells me this is from at least 2007 and probably later.

13. A light tower. No clues. Looks like the current towers so it's a relatively new pic, not the '50s or anything.

14. This one is oddly placed. You can barely see a hat but that's it. This is right on top--make it so something shows up in that spot!

15. Now we're on the right side. The pic with the 100 Years logo on it is of the Red Sox celebrating the clinching of the 1986 A.L. East title at Fenway. Oil Can Boyd has just pitched a complete game against the Blue Jays on 9/28/86 and has jumped into Rich Gedman's arms, as Al Nipper rushes from the dugout to join the crowd. Barrett and Owen are partially obscured behind Nipper and more guys are to the right. I couldn't find the source of this photo, but here's a UPI photo of almost the exact same moment. (Per the Globe, the last out happened at 4:17 p.m. so we've got an exact time on this one.)

16. Below that, it's Dwight Evans in right field at Fenway. Later in his career. Not many clues. I'll say '88-ish. The catcher in the visitors' bullpen seems to have a green mask, so this could be from the '88 ALCS vs. Oakland. (And to the left you can see the border of another presumed photo, which I won't even count.)

17. I may need your help on the next one. It's a Red Sox first baseman diving into the crowd for a foul pop-up. The catcher's number starts with 1. I'd say that's Gedman. Which makes sense since the crowd looks pretty 80s, as do the stirrups. The fielder's bare left hand is showing, so assuming his glove didn't fall off, it pretty much has to be Buckner, since he's essentially the only left-handed throwing first baseman we had in the whole decade. But I couldn't find this catch mentioned in a news search. So my guess is that it's Buckner and Gedman, circa '86, but I really don't know. Anybody?

18. Below that, it's third baseman Kevin Youkilis fielding a sharp grounder at Fenway Park. Actually, it looks like he's ole-ing it a little. Looks like it's very recent. Again, not a lot of clues, so I tried the reverse image search, and I see the Red Sox used this shot as part of the "We Won't Rest" campaign, which started last year. I see from my own photo galleries that that Budweiser sign changed to that style between '09 and '10. Youk only played 2 games at third in '10, so the pic is probably from '11. (The New Balance cleats probably clinch this, since he wore different brands before '11.) Early season, maybe like a Patriots' Day or something. Which means they would have had to have been adding current pics to that campaign last year, which is possible. (This pic could be from the day. Not that it helps us narrow down the date.)

19. The very bottom pic is Ellsbury making a sliding catch, in the "old" road uniform. So it's '07 or '08. It took a while, but I figured out that SHARP sign is from Anaheim. Ellsbury played a series there in 2008, but also played in the ALDS there in both '07 and '08. I did an image search for "Ellsbury diving catch Anaheim" and right away saw similar images. It was from Game 1, 2008 ALDS. Here's an photo of the same moment from a different angle. And look, Jacoby blogged about the play (with another pic!) at the time. Teixeira hit the ball. Ellsbury said he didn't even think he'd catch it, but he did, and saved the day. October 1, 2008.

20. Back up to the top, far right, for the last column. The top one is almost impossible. I see 80s stirrups and the Green Monster padding, which isn't part of the '86 celebration shot because it's lower. The player doesn't seem to have a hat on. All I can think of is that it's some pre-game shot of a player, at home, in the 80s, maybe with a warm-up top on with the home pants. Not much I can do with this one. It's barely visible at all anyway.

21. Below that, it's Pedroia, at Fenway, after a swing. Looks like it's from the July 2011 beard era. Maybe from Weiland's debut game.

22. Then we have Wade Boggs in ready position at third base, in the 80s road uniform. It's '86 at the latest, as he's got the "BO|S|TON" on the uni. He switched to "BOS|T|ON" for '87, as we know. Very dark behind him. I thought maybe the '86 WS at Shea, but I checked and it turns out he wore the long undershirt in those games. It looks like the Yankee Stadium 3rd base side camera angle, and maybe the background is so dark because the black batter's eye in back there--but I don't know why the blue outfield wall wouldn't be visible. Can't figure this one out.

23. Last one. Another Pedroia. And another night game with buntings, making it either Opening Night 2010 or a playoff game. Again we see that Volvo "Safe + ...." sign, so it's probably O. N. 2010. And check this out--here's a pic from the same spot from that night. Look closely and you'll see the fans match up, between the bunting and the word "Safe." So I'm sure of it--April 4, 2010, Fenway Park, Sox vs. Yanks. Probably the same swing from the ESPN photo, 7th inning dong.

So there you have it. Let me know if you can figure anything out I missed.

Until next time,

Inspectah On-Deck, Esq.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mid-Game Updates--It's Over!

4:09: Aceves gets the 4-out save. WIN. So we take 2 of 3 in Balty. Have won 10 of our last 13. Gotta get a Yanks loss tonight so we can be above them on the Fenway standings board Friday night! (Even though it would be due to an alphabetical technicality....)

Update, 3:51: Newcomer Scott Podsednik goes deep to make it 6-4 Red Sox. Orioles rally falls a run short in the bottom of the 8th (thanks in part to a great diving catch by Lin), so we lead 6-5 in the 9th.


Nava's dong put us up by 1, and Shoppach's put us up 3. But Nick Johnson's second dong of the game cut it to 1 again. So it's 5-4 Boston in the bottom of the 7th.

Bard wasn't great today but left with the lead and is still in line for the W.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sox Lose, Media Doesn't Understand Simple Things

We lose 4-1. Good pitching by us, better pitching by the Birds. The rubber game is tomorrow afternoon at 12:30. I predict a 9-3 win.

In tonight's pre-game show, TC read a quote by David Ortiz from the night before. Papi was pissed about how the media gives him no respect. (He's talked about this before--how they'll write whatever they want to write, regardless of the truth.) We saw the quote on the screen as TC read it. Then, confused, TC asked Remy his thoughts. Remy didn't get it, saying how Papi is so loved by the fans, his teammates, and the front office. Remy couldn't figure out who Papi was mad at, despite that he said the word "media." Remy later said the same thing during the game (only that time the original quote wasn't said or shown, so the audience didn't get to see/hear the part where Papi specifies exactly who he was pissed at).

But the even worse part was how TC and Remy basically admitted that when a player's playing poorly, the media will use anything and everything to turn the fans against him too. My reasoning is this: after TC read the Papi quote, he said "...they're 9-2 since (the meeting Papi called). Whatever Ortiz is saying, let him keep saying it." In other words, play well and they won't care about your off-field stuff, won't harp on it, and won't try to run you out of town, something they have the ability to do. Remy followed that up with, "if anger makes you perform, then stay angry, Big Papi, 'cause you're doin' a good job."

Of course, if any of the media is smart enough to figure out that it's them who Papi is mad at, they'll turn on him (and make YOU turn on him) in a second, regardless of how he's hitting.

But this "do well and we don't care" thing is so ridiculous. They even admitted it during the latest Beckett crucification. On Joy of Sox the day Beckett made his start after he did nothing wrong but the media said he did, on the heels of his also doing nothing wrong but the media said he did then too, ("hey, you should really consider being polite to us about this non-issue, especially since you weren't polite to us after the last non-issue!"), I read this Nick Cafardo quote: "Beckett can control his own news cycle on this topic with a strong performance Thursday, or he can drag this out if the tight lat for which he missed his last start crops up again. It's up to him." These people come right out and admit it. They tell the guy to pitch well, or else THEY will continue to portray him in a negative light as a human being. (I also liked how Cafardo's quote makes it sound like Beckett can control whether his lat acts up!) And they don't even need a negative thing. They can pick anything out of a hat, say it with a negative tone, and "everyone," (meaning the vocal .01% of sports show callers who actually believe what they're told) will use it to tear the guy apart. "Josh Beckett was seen crossing the street today while his teammates were working out." Holy shit, did you hear Josh Beckett crosses streets?? I better get my "Don't Walk!" sign ready to bring to the park for his next start--IF WE DON'T GIVE HIM HIS OUTRIGHT RELEASE BY THEN BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING WITH THIS GUY. "In other news, Tim Wakefield was good enough to cross a different and more charitable street at the same moment." What a guy....

When is the media gonna learn that we don't care if a player doesn't do what THEY want them to do?


As you know, I've been a fan of relatively unknown YouTuber CWilliamG, currently known as postconsumerexhaust, for a long time now. I'm still waiting for him to BREAK BIG. Anyway, I was able to secure a pce "jumbo pack" from the man himself, and I have opened it on cam for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Sox @ Birds, tonight, 7 or so. (And don't forget Wednesday is a 12:30 game.)

Still Proverbially Rolling

You know when you have a line of people on ice skates, and each person's holding the hand of the next one, and they swing around so that the person in back is launched forward past everybody? I feel like that's what the A.L. East standings are like. We've been in the back but everything's getting all bunched up and we're about to fly past everybody. I sure hope it happens like that anyway.

Tonight we went into an empty stadium and had a nice win against the Orioles. We've won 9 of our last 11, we're back at .500, and we're out of the cellar! Or at least we've got company there, as the Yanks were blanked at home by the Royals. All five A.L. East teams are within 5.5 games.

ClayHH had only one really crap-tastic inning tonight. He gave up one solid single, a bunt hit (when Middlebrooks got the ball, the hitter was still 6 steps away from first, but he made no throw), and a roller up the middle that Aviles couldn't make a play on (because, despite what Remy said, Pedroia gave up on going to the bag--had he been there, Aviles flips it to him for an out). He also walked three in that inning, but one of those the ump missed strike three. So while Clay looked flustered and seemed kind of like he was losing it in that inning, he still wasn't awful. He ended up getting three outs on three pitches to get out of it with 4 runs given up. He left the game down 5-2 in the 6th. (At which point I wondered how some of the people I was watching the game with online ever made it to 2004--a winning record 14 straight years, two world championships, we'd won 8 of our last 10 games, but go down a few runs halfway through a game and it's I CAN'T TAKE MUCH MORE OF THIS!!!! We've gone from "basing one's entire opinion on the most recent game" to "on the most recent inning." Jeez, look across the field--the O's have had 14 straight losing seasons.)

Anyway, as usual, the bats came through with runs for Buchholz. And also as usual, our bullpen was stellar as fuck. They are the best in the game in 2012. It's a shame that your co-workers still think they stink.

The 6th was fun. Down 3, Papi started it with a big dong out toward the warehouse. Then with second and third, a Nava sac fly cut it to one. Middlebrooks then danced off third, causing the O's pitcher to think he was coming home. He cut his motion short and fired home (even though 'Brooks wasn't even coming), an obvious balk, to tie the game.

In the next inning, Adrian hit a sac fly, and then Brooks Was Here again, this time lining one right back at that guy-who-pissed-off-Papi-that-time, Kevin Gregg, for an RBI single. We added another run in the 8th after a key Aviles strikeout-where-the-ball-got-away with two outs.

Padilla did a great job getting out of Rich Hill's jam in the 8th, and Ace freely saved it in the 9th. Vic and Alf were pitching in their third consecutive game. 8-6 final.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Stove Top

We all know you get 25 All-Star ballots online, and we all know ways to be multiple people online, but some people just like to cheat the old-fashioned way. Check out this Tampa fan from the recent Sox-Rays series, preparing to stuff the ballot box--look at those stacks! (The actual "innocent whistling" at the end is a nice touch.

Sox @ Orioles tonight.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

8 Of 10!

NESN's attempts to "panic" the audience in the 8th fail as we get the easy 5-1 win.

Beckett continues to go out and pitch beautifully and hit balls off the wall--HE OWES US AN APOLOGY!

The bats shone like a bone off the great Cliff Lee today, giving us an early lead that we never gave up. Aviles hit a leadoff dong for the second straight game.

We're back to within a game of .500, and a game behind the 4th-place Yanks. Everyone else in the AL East lost today.

Rubber Game, 1:35

When I glanced at the screen and saw Lin's name, I had no doubt NESN would spell it wrong (correct: Che-Hsuan). But come on, it's a tough name to spell, and in 2012 we hardly have any ways of looking up the spelling of a Major League Baseball player's name. And it's not like they're the official network of the team the guy is on. So I'll give 'em a break.

Sox/Phils, 1:35.

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