Saturday, March 11, 2006

Wiffle Ball Season Starts Today

Me vs. Chan. One on one. Wiffle Ball. Central Park. (If you don't like reading about other people's Wiffle games, well, you probably stopped reading before this sentence, which is a warning to stop reading.)

What a beautiful day. The park was incredibly crowded. A lot of the lawns and fields are still closed, making it very hard to find a place to play. One dude even brought his two parrots, and let them fly around. It's cool to see parrots. It's not cool to see show-offs in action, though.

We started the game toward the end of daylight, when a space opened up. It was shaping up to be a classic, with Team Chan and Team Me notching six runs apiece through the first three innings of a seven-inning affair. Chan took a 9-6 lead in the fourth, but in the bottom half, I had scratched across three of my own before batting with two outs and the bases loaded. Chan served up a key grand-gopher ball--after missing a grounder that would have been the third out--giving me a four-run lead as I capped off a seven-run fourth. After finally holding Chan in check in the top of the fifth, despite a wicked line single off my chest, I tacked on four more in the bottom half, effectively putting the game out of reach, at 17-9. He wouldn't score again, thanks in part to a quick seventh inning where darkness had completely set in. Had he made contact, I would have been in trouble, as all I could see were the lights of Fifth Avenue behind him. Final: Jere 21, Chan 9. Soccer balls from other people in the park delaying the game: 2.

We will probably play tomorrow, so, if you don't care, stay away from this blog until Monday.

Here's something I find comical, which went right over Chan's head when I said it to him: The three people I ate dinner with last night at El Sombrero: Pat, Chan and Robin.

Speaking of Michael Keaton, check out BSM's adventures interviewing cast and crew of Game 6. He got to do a Q&A with Batman! And Beetlejuice! And Mr. Mom! All at the same time! I couldn't make it due to the fact that they had the thing on a weekday morning. I also wanted to point something out from the movie that I forgot about until just now: Keaton's character's "other" play, the one he's known for, is called "Yes Siree, Bob." Is this supposed to be sort of an opposite title of "No, No, Nanette"? Would make sense. (If you need that explained, do some quick internet research on the history of the Red Sox.)

While you're over at BSM, you'll notice he talks about Dirtdog being pissed about the new version of the "Red Sox Nation" card. I have to mention this as well. (I know, I've talked way, way, way too much about this whole thing.)

The deal is, there's a new version of the "ID card" in which you pay 60 bucks, and you get two right field grandstand or bleacher seats to a game (value: around 50 to 60 bucks, including fees), a Fenway tour for two (value: 16 bucks), Gameday Audio for the season plus a month of (value: 30 bucks), chances to buy tickets before everyone else, and a bunch of other perks like access to "members-only" areas of (Note: Dirtdog conveniently comes far from mentioning all these things in his complaint.)

As you can see, there's no reason to be mad about something like this. But, he's still whining over the fact that the team is using the (cheesy) marketing gimmick of telling you to buy the card so you can "make your citizenship in the nation official." I still say no one is getting this card for that reason. "Sure, the perks may be nice, but I've always wanted to be an official Red Sox fan, and this makes that possible." Come on. Seriously. If anyone can tell me that they've actually met someone like this, please do. I would like to meet them.

Oh, speaking of weird fans: In Central Park today, I swear to the Splendid Splinter, a dude wearing a gray Derek Jeter T-shirt and...a brand new, white Red Sox hat. Must've had a brain injury.

Technical Stuff

Mr. Dunbar has released a few more individual game tickets. New York Sox fans, go to now, and you can get up to four tickets to Red Sox-yankees games on May 10th and June 5th. All the other ones are still singles only.

And today at three, call 877-REDSOX9, for the "limited amount" of roof deck tickets. But that's a sucker's bet. I'm going to play some Wiffle Ball with Chan.

Nice job by Schill today, until the fourth, when he suddenly gave up four runs after a hitless first three.

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Other" Holds Up Game

"Delayed Start: Other."

That's what's scoreboard is showing above the Red Sox-Phillies game right now. I read on Royal Rooters that the Phillies' team bus is stuck in traffic. So, that confirms there's no option for "stuck in traffic" at

Update: I just did some research, and I found that the Red Sox have been outscored in the first two innings of (real) games this spring by a combined score of 16-2. Today, we've made it out of two innings, without giving up a run or a hit. Thank you Tim Wakefield.

Old Folks

Part of my job is to call a list of lonely old people to check in with them and make sure they're doing well. After I call them, I make a little note about how the call went. Other people call them as well, so I have a sheet on each person with the comments of everyone who's called them. Today, before calling a man who I'll call Mr. Yastrzemski, I was checking the past comments about him, to get a feel for the guy, since I'd never called him before. I saw the usual remarks: "OK," "Doing well," "appreciates the call," "left message," "no answer," etc. Then I came across an odd one: "good--dressing up as a frog."

Considering the state some of these people are in, I could almost see someone thinking that, for whatever reason, they are indeed dressing up as a frog, when they are really just eating oatmeal.

Then I noticed the date of the call: 10/31.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

"Where's The Met?"

From commenter Mattysox9: "You seem to want to lionize the '86 team. Now don't get me wrong- I was born and raised in Brockton and my Red Sox pedigree is without question (and parallel here in my current abode in DC). But I refuse to allow 20 years of revisionist history to make me misty over the team that crushed my baseball loving heart when I was 10. Oil Can was a whack job, Jim Ed couldn't score from second (twice), apart from Hendu and Baylor we had little clutch hitting (and Baylor on the bench while Greenwell struck out- unforgiveable.) and Johnny Mac made Grady look like goddamn John McGraw. So anyhoo, my point is this: 20 years later, I'm still mad Stapleton wasn't in the game, I'm still mad Clemens got yanked (or asked out), and I still hate Gary Carter's perm. And Keith Hernandez's mustache- he's the real chucker as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for getting me all upset all over again..."

Mr. Sox9, I was 11 at the time, and I'd like to point out that we do have many of the same opinions about 1986. I also am still pissed at Clemens/McNamara. I still hate Carter and Hernandez--and Orosco. Still mad they left Buckner in.

However, I feel this team should be celebrated in the same way the '67 and '75 teams are. A lot of these guys did everything they could to get us a championship, which would have been ours if we'd just gotten one more strike.

And, to me, 2004 makes it easier to celebrate them. Because of '04, I'm not still sitting here going crazy wishing we'd gotten that one more strike 20 years ago.

It all comes back to girlfriend/boyfriend comparisons (unfortunately): If that girl/boy hadn't broken your heart in the past, you never would have met that great person you're with today. '86 made '04 that much sweeter. Made it possible, in fact. Because the franchise--and our lives--would have spun off in a different direction had we won in '86.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


My mom mentioned on Imus. Click on that link and scroll ahead to the 11:00 mark of Imus' interview with CT senator Chris Dodd. Dodd plugs my mom's book!

Yeah, Moose!


Beats the billionaire US Dunbar-laden squad!

Adam Stern! The star of the World Baseball Classic! Coco and Adam, a combo way better than Johnny Damon.

I'm watching him being interviewed right now. 3 for 4, with an inside-the-park homer, and a sweet catch at the wall. He also almost made a great diving catch on a blooper by A-Rod that would have the final out of the game. Would have been one of the coolest moments of my life. All right, top 300. But they still won. And Varitek hit a grand slam for the US, which is good to see.

I haven't talked about the WBC too much. So, here I go. A lot of (white, old, American) sportswriters are talking about what a colossal waste of time this tournament is. And some owners, as we know, aren't too keen on its possible effects on their players. Well, guess what? There is baseball in other countries, and their fans are totally psyched to have their players be on a national stage. As the fans of the other countries have shown, some people really care about that stuff, unlike, say, Devil Rays fans. You don't hear Castro complaining that his players might get hurt and miss out on the Cuban regular season.

I didn't care much about this tournament at first, but as it grew closer, I thought, Hey, how cool would it be to see one of the underdogs who really cares a lot win this thing? Especially if it means beating the overconfident US A-Rod/Jeter-ish squad.

So, naturally, I kind of fell for Canada, because of Stern, their general "America without all the murders"-ness, and of course, their comic superiority. Besides, two of the best Red Sox bloggers, 12-Eight and Joy of Sox, either lived in or live in Canada. (And switched countries almost simultaneously in a move that still seems a little too coincidental to me. I don't know what that means.)

But, of course, I also like Puerto Rico, as I've visited there many times, and the Dominican, because of the Red Sox connections, and Cuba, because the baseball there is pure as the driven snow of countries far from Cuba.

So, it's fun. I'm into it. Anything Steinbrenner doesn't like is okay by me.

Dear Ticks

Want to go to a game at Fenway, spend $85, and sit in a sweet loge box seat (by yourself)? Go to Looks like somebody's credit card got declined. Or, they got a divorce or something and gave up one of their two loge box seats for the entire year. It's available for just about every game, except for the Mets series. You could also pick a game, by the loge seat and a standing room, and split the cost with a friend and each spend half the game in the sweet seat. I'm just throwin' suggestions out there. Also, no takers yet on Mets ticket trade offer. So, the offer again is: I give you one unobstructed infield granstand section 15 ticket to sold-out Mets-Sox game at Fenway on June 27th. You give me any two tickets together for any weekend game at Fenway. Email me. Two2067 [ a t ] a o l [d 0 t] c o m. Thanks. [Edit: The Marlins have scored in each of the first six innings, and lead 8-1. Hanley Ramirez is 3 for 3. Oy.] [Edit: They tacked on runs in the seventh and eighth for a 12-1 win. Impressive in any baseball game to score in every single inning. Just glad this wasn't one that counted.]

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Go Zags

From USA Today:
When Gonzaga coach Mark Few once encouraged his players to consider attending church, Morrison wrote on a dryboard, "Religion is the opiate of the masses."

Surely you've all heard of Adam Morrison, the mustachioed freak-of-nature that is the star of the Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball team. I'd just like to say I'm on board with him and his crazy squad as March Madness approaches.

Ever since I heard about this team winning a triple overtime game around Thanksgiving, I've been keeping a semi-eye on them. And they've pretty much won every game the whole season, except for three.

The weird thing is, they're so highly ranked, and such a trendy pick, they're the exactly the kind of team I should be rooting against. But, like I said, it's too late. I'm all in. At least they're not number one in the nation. But they might end up being a one seed in the tourney. I hope not. Either way, I always pick them to go far in the tournament, and, I have to be honest, it's because they have a "z" in their name. And, up until the last few years, they were always a really low seed.

It's funny about Morrison, too. I had a feeling that once I looked deeper into the dude, I'd find something about him I could relate to. Then again, what article about a celebrity is going to play up how average and boring they are? But I didn't think I'd see the word "communism" in an article about him. That's cool. Communism: It's like capitalism without all the rudeness. But let's not get into that. I'm not in the mood.

The dude also has diabetes, which makes me feel for him. And he shoots from freakin' half court went he wants to. ZagNutty, man.

Flaherty Retires

The knuckleball claims another victim.

Now it's between Huckaby and Bard. I'm rooting for Huckaby because Jeter hates him.

Sox lead O's 5-2. Papi has homered for the powerful DR squad.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Future Post: 6/27/06

Tonight, the Mets were at Fenway to take on the first place Red Sox. It was a perfect night for a celebration of a team that never really got its due: The 1986 American League Champion Boston Red Sox. Twenty years ago, this ballclub came within one strike of becoming World Champs. Tonight, they were back, to face the now much more forgiving Nation.

In a pre-game ceremony, the '86 squad gathered in the dugout, anxiously awaiting their chance to right what went wrong. As each player was introduced, he ran out to his old position. The crowd went wild for Rice and Evans as they trotted to their outfield positions. The pitching staff gathered around the mound. Oil Can Boyd sprinted out and took the victory lap he never got to make, high-fiving the Boston fans.

Gedman, Boggs, Barrett, and Spike Owen took their places around the infield to the cheers of the crowd. There were only two left, and everyone knew who they were.

Bob Stanley gritted his teeth and headed for the rubber, and tears came to his eyes as he was given a standing ovation.

The crowd then started to murmur. Was Bill Buckner in the house? If he was, did he have it in him to take the field?

He was, and he did. Billy Buck limped out of the dugout, to one of the loudest ovations in recent memory. He took his spot at first base.

That's when the fun started.

From out of the visiting dugout, a man in a Mookie Wilson jersey emerged. It wasn't Mookie, that was for sure. Current Sox reliever and 2004 World Series hero Keith Foulke had dressed as Wilson, and stepped into the left-handed batter's box.

The scoreboard set the scene: 10th inning. Red Sox up by one. Two outs. Two strikes.

Stanley deals. It's low and inside on purpose. Rich Gedman puts his whole body out in front of the ball, and blocks it. No wild pitch. Manny Ramirez, in Kevin Mitchell uniform, stays put at third, as does David Ortiz, doing his best Ray Knight impression, at first.

Now the Fenway crowd is on it's feet.

Steamer throws another pitch. Foulke swings, and promptly chops it back toward Big Foot. Stanley stabs it, runs halfway to Buckner, and pitches it underhanded...

Bill Buckner kept the ball. The team didn't even ask for it back.

And then everyone complained that Larry Lucchino did this just to make money.

(Note: Roger Clemens does not exist in this fantasy.)

What have we learned, people? That's right. The 1986 team needs to be honored in this the twentieth year since it's magic, tragic season.

Since this probably isn't going to happen, at least not in the way I described, I am offering up a Red Sox-Mets ticket for trade. While ordering tickets by phone a few weeks ago, I had another game to buy to reach my two-game maximum. I checked all the weekend games, but there were only singles available. I grabbed a single to the Mets game on Tuesday, June 27th, 2006. (I knew I wasn't going to the Mets series, anyway, since it's a mid-week, unless maybe I'd been able to get two.) So, this ticket is my Andy Marte. I'm looking for two tickets to any weekend game at Fenway. For these, you get one Mets-Sox ticket, infield grandstand, section 15, about halfway up the grandstand. Ticket is NOT marked obstructed view. Email me with your offer. Tickets to these Mets games are going for, like, 200 bucks, so don't be offerin' up any Devil Rays upper bleacher action. Actually, whatever, make me an offer. I'd also take two Sox-Dunbar at Dunbar Stadium to any of those games. Or, maybe a nice lunch with David Ortiz. Whatever you've got.

[Edit: Kirby Puckett has died. That is so weird to say. He was such a mainstay of baseball throughout my childhood. RIP Kirby.]

An Actual Win

Over another major league team. Beckett gave up two dongs, but Dustan "The Wind" Mohr went deep.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Dunbar, Mistakes... This Has It All

Is this a psychological experiment being done on me?

A sign posted at Mr. Dunbar's Legends Field in Tampa (from the New York Daily News):

The sign mispelled Yankees as "Yankess" and read: "Thank you for expressing your concerns. We are sorry that certain players will not be present for portions of spring training. These players have elected to participate in the World Baseball Classic. The World Baseball Classic is an event sanctioned by the commissioner of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The New York Yankess did not vote to support this event. Any comments you have regarding the World Baseball Classic should be directed to the commissioner of Major League Baseball or the Major League Baseball Players Association."

I just can't decide what the most ridiculous thing about this is.

Is it the fact that they misspell their own team's name? (In classic Dunbar-style, I might add. Do you think they had one of their fans write this up? How sweet would it have been if they had made the "your"/"you're" mistake?) Hey, wasn't I just talking about the benefit of having just one person give things a quick once-over before they go public. Could George not afford this?

Or the fact that they're basically telling their own stars that they are disappointed with them?

Or, this: If you read the first line of the sign ("Thank you for expressing your concerns."), the implication is that Dunbar fans have actually been complaining to the team that their favorite players won't be there. As if they had no idea this was going to happen.

Note that the Daily News gave them the benefit of the doubt and de-capitalized "commissioner" in their transcript. (But misspelled the word "misspelled," ironically enough.)

Also, this made me wonder about the name "Major League Baseball Players Association." Shouldn't it have an apostrophe after "Players"? I went to their site, and not only do they not use an apostrophe, but they don't use it in their tag line, where it's definitely needed: "The players choice on the web."

Marcus Welby?


"I'm just looking at the situation we have here, I think we're a better team this year than we were last year," said [David] Wells, who won 15 games for the Red Sox in 2005. "If you're going to go out on top, you might as well do it with a team you feel good with."

Can you be any less enthusiatic, David? "Might as well"? Not the words you want to hear from one of your starting pitchers going into the season. In fact, I'm going to call him "Mightas" Wells from now on. I'm surprised he didn't say "I will play, albeit reluctantly, for the Boston Red Sox in 2006." Was he in a recliner when he said this stuff? Did he even have pants on at the time? Why are we always trying to trade Manny when he says he wants one, but we couldn't get rid of fat boy? Now we're stuck with him. At least I've got a year of "getting used to" him at this point.

Has anyone used "Pokey being poky" yet? Apparently, Reese has been cut from the Marlins for not showing up. But he is okay, and apparently it had to do with family issues. Pokey's had a lot of bad luck in his family life. Hopefully things will work out for him. If he does retire, the Red Sox should definitely give him a lifetime contract doing something for the organization. Let him phone it in if he wants.

I got to see some of the Saturday game up in NESN territory. Was sweet, let me tell you. Good to see familiar faces and hear familiar voices.

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