Saturday, November 24, 2012

Got A Coupla Hours?

Enjoy this post by Zack Hample documenting the decoration of his entire apartment with magazine pages.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Indy Rock/Blackshirt Friday

The Huskers are goin' to Indy! Sexy Rexy was baxy waxy and had some key bulldozing runs in the second half, and Nebraska survives at Iowa--another second-half comeback win. We will play for our first B1G championship on December 1st, against Wisconsin, who we already beat this year. I don't know why the PA at Iowa's stadium played "Shipping up to Boston" as the Huskers were celebrating on the field after the game, but I'll take it!

I hate that Xmas at Fenway/Initial Ticket Day has been switched to the first Saturday of December, as that's when the Big Ten championship game is. I could still go to the Yard Sale the Friday night, then drive halfway to Indy that night, get up the next morning and make it out there in time for the game. Or just skip the Yard Sale, or just skip the game. And watch me actually get chosen for Xmas at Fenway for the first time ever this year, now that I've got something to potentially do that day several states away. This could cause issues every year. At least I don't already have tickets to the championship game, so I won't lose any money on the deal like I did last year, when I bought three expensive tickets before the season started, only to have my team not make it. I was a year early on that plan.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Present (?): Jonny Gomes

Looks like the Red Sox have added Jonny "Jonny Wad" Gomes. Is this guy a shapeshifter or what? He's always had that "tough guy" look, but I feel like he recently changed from Gabe Kapler-esque weight room tough guy to NYC metal-core kid tough guy. I didn't even recognize him in his A's photo last year. Maybe it's because he lost weight, or maybe it's the constantly changing head and facial hair, or maybe it's the switch to the flat-brim hat. Either way, I think we can assume he made up with Coco after that big fight they were in at Fenway, since the two were teammates last year. So it's okay to like him.

My favorite Jonny Wad Gomes story (besides me giving him that nickname on April 23rd, 2005.) is the time when he was at Fenway in right field during batting practice when he was on the Rays. I was in the bleachers and Gomes and a teammate start looking up towards the fans with a ball in his hand. But it turns out he was looking way over our heads, because he winds up, and fires the ball as far as he can, trying to hit the Dunkin Donuts sign atop the bleachers. He nailed it. I thought about running up there for the ball, but there were a few lucky stragglers up there, and one of them got it. Ever since then I always said that if I saw him in the outfield again during BP, I'd yell (if I were a different person) to him, "Jonny, hit me in the last row!" and then sprint up the steps, turn around, and hold up my arms. I guess I have the chance to do it now.

A few pics I took of Gomes at Fenway from five years ago appear in this post.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Breaking News: Jere Finds Out About Month-Old News

So, Internet, you're telling me that a month ago, Carlton Fisk was found passed out in his truck in a cornfield with an open bottle of vodka? What's more unbelievable, that it happened or that nobody told me about it?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Eastward March Con-10-ues

GET IT? Cuz Big Ten! Which will be Big 14 in '14. You may remember I was very excited when my school, the U. of Nebraska, joined the Big Ten, because instead of playing in places like Texas and more Texas, they would now be playing much closer to me, in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, etc. Not that I consider myself as someone who lives "close to Indiana," but I'm just saying, the closest my team would get to me up until last year was pretty much Iowa.* Now I have multiple viable road trip opportunities. And as of today, two new teams have been added to the conference, Rutgers and Maryland. Awesome. The NYC area and the Beltway area, both close to me, and home of two friends I love to visit, aka Chan and Brian.

The other good thing about being in the Big Soon To Be 14 is the TV network they have. I get to see my team pretty much every week.

tl;dr: Pre-2011, my college football team was hardly ever on TV, never played games close to me; now, on TV every week, play games on my side of Mississippi River.

*They did play at the Meadowlands in 1988 in the Kickoff Classic when I was 12, and I went to that with my dad. And I dragged Chan out to Happy Valley when they played Penn State in 2002 and got killed. They also played in the '94 Kickoff Classic, but I couldn't go, as I was, ironically enough, at school in Nebraska.

This Man's Treasures

The Red Sox have announced some type of free winter fun-derland at Fenway on Friday, November 30th, from 5-8. Along with a bunch of things that I might not care about that much, "first access" to the Yard Sale will be that day. It's nice knowing ahead of time when it will be! Hopefully I'll be available that day, and for once I'll get the first shot at all the other man's trash.

Monday, November 19, 2012


They beat me to it. I'd been trying to use different versions of other teams' spring training schedule urls to see if I could find out the Red Sox one before it was released. I did not get the job done, but that's neither H nor T. Here's the home schedule/ticket info. And here's the home/road sked in calendar form.

I knew from the few other teams that released their schedules that spring training games were staring early this year. Ours starts February 21st with the college doubleheader. Truck Day is inching toward January.... And with this being a WBC year, we get to host a game against Team Puerto Rico, which should be fun. There are seven Twins games, including two of the final three, so there will be a clear champion in the [whatever they call it--I feel like they stopped calling it the Mayor's Cup at some point, but, in the end, who cares?].

I don't see a "game(s) in a big league stadium right before the regular season starts" this year. I know the practice hasn't stopped in general, because some teams are doing it, but I guess we're not this time. There is one open date, the Sunday before Game 1 in New York, so maybe they'll add something, but I doubt it. Plus, couldn't ESPN choose our season opener as their Sunday night game and move it up a day?

Now let's talk serious. Is this the year I finally go to spring training? I've threatened before. But I might have a Florida trip in my future and if I do, I might try to go, not even necessarily to a home game. If I do it, you'll know where to find the pictures.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Inspectah On Deck: Bill Hall 2010 Topps Update

Section 36 often does posts about baseball cards. And of course any time I see a baseball photo I try to figure out what moment I'm looking at. The latest post showed us this:
Tough, right? Could be any time. But wait. It can't be that hard because Hall is wearing a red jersey. The Red Sox wear those on Fridays and special days. And since Friday games are usually at night, we've already narrowed this down. Home day game, red jerseys, 2010, as Hall was only a Socker for that one season. (The update set comes out in October, so pretty much the whole season is eligible.)

So I started going through all the days games from that year. Click on any date of the schedule on, and you're taken to a highlights page. Immediately you'll see a Red Sox player. If he's wearing a white top, throw the game out.

Like I thought, red jerseys for a day game was indeed rare. I narrowed it down to two games pretty quickly. (One game from the final weekend was thrown out because the game started with the fans by the third-base on deck circle already in shadows.) What it ultimately came down to was the fans. I watched the video highlights of the two games, and only one, July 4th, had that same exact group of people in those seats. Here's a still frame from the vid:

Here's a zoom of a few key people from that shot:

And now let's look at a close-up of that spot on the card:

You've got Glen Beck in the front with sunglasses, a greenish-shirted guy behind him, and to the right of them, the red, white, and blue Independence Day totem pole.

So that's definitely our game. Now let's look at Hall's at bats. He singled to left in the third, flied to deep center in the fourth, flied out to left center in the seventh, and walked in the ninth. You can throw out the ninth right away. The shadows were out onto the field at that point, as proven by the highlight videos. And if you watch the video of Beltre's fourth-inning double, you can see that the fans just a row or two behind the top row visible in the card are in shadow. Those shadows are out onto the field in the ninth. So for Hall's seventh inning at bat, those shadows would have to be covering at least some and maybe even all the fans behind him in the picture on the card. But everyone's in sun. You can also see the sun high in the sky reflecting in Bill's helmet. So that leaves the first two at bats. And that's as far as I can get for sure, though it really looks like he's hitting this ball to dead center (4th) as opposed to being out in front of it (3rd). (I took it one step further and watched each at bat, looking at the crowd in the background shots, and I still can't tell--and both pitches he hit were in the same exact location. See below.)

So, gun to my head, I'll say this is the bottom of the fourth inning at Fenway Park on July 4th, 2010 at approximately 2:45 p.m., with Bill Hall hitting a fly out to center field off of Brian Matusz on a 3-0 pitch, ending the inning, stranding runners at second and third, with the Orioles holding a 2-0 lead.

Here's the TV view of the exact moment:

And here's the other possible exact moment:

Too bad Bill didn't slide into third on the force that ended the bottom of the third or dive for the RBI grounder in the top of the 4th--maybe he'd have some dirt on his pants and we'd know for sure which at bat this was....

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