Friday, September 29, 2006

Halladay In Chanbodia

I looked for Blue Jays today as we went to Chan's sister's hotel, to help her lug bags to her new hotel. I guess she got cheaper rates by getting a different hotel each night. (Of course, she could've just stayed with us, but I think Chan doesn't want his sister to have to deal with me and my, you know, clutter. Terrible job, Chan.) I didn't see any Jays, though. Then we got to the new hotel, and walking off the elevator as we walked on was Roy Halladay. Okay, so we were now at the Jays' hotel.

After we checked out what turned out to be a sweet view from her room, we headed back out, and there was Halladay in the lobby, along with some other Jays. Then we went outside to discover Ted Lilly. I realized I had my video camera with me, as I was on my way to Grand Central after we ate lunch, to start my trip up to Fenway, where I'll do some taping. So I took it out, and made like Chan was a tourist, and I was filming him. So I have some nice shots of Chan with Ted Lilly over his shoulder, as well as some hounds getting Halladay's autograph. But I won't get to post them, or anything from this weekend's games, until Monday or late Sunday night at the earliest. So look for that stuff then.

Oh, and don't you hate it when people say that the Red Sox and Yankees play each other 19 times a year? It's clearly 18 OR 19. In '07, we get them only 18. Surely people will be confused. What I didn't know is that, in our division, you don't necessarily play two of your division rivals 18 times and the other two 19 times automatically. Next year we only play one (Tampa Bay) of the four 19 times, and the other three 18 times.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Sarah Vowell does a little guest spot on Colbert, a night after I'm there! Damn!

Yankees come within two outs of getting no-hit! Damn!

Bird's Proverbial Eye View

I took today off, as Chan's sister was in town. We all decided to go to Top of the Rock, which is the observation deck atop the GE Building at Rockefeller Center. I'd been there beore, but it was night, and it was sleeting. Today we actually got to see everything. Above, an NBC Peacock, going in for repairs or something. Click to enlarge at your own risk; these are video stills.

The endless Upper East Side.

The George Washington Bridge and the Palisades of New Jersey, with the West Side and the edge of Central park in the foreground.

Chan's sister, Chan, Empire State Building. I told them I wouldn't put their picture online, but, come on, you can't see their faces.

Lady L.

Down by the skating rink, where "the tree" is at Christmas, they've put a huge concave mirror, aiming up at a 45-degree angle. So you see the buildings in one side, and yourself and the sidewalk in the other. Not a bad idea. I guess. As ideas go. Here it is from high above.

Me having too much fun. And sweating, as it turns out.

The middle prong of the angular "E" of the "GE" sign, as seen from behind it.

The best part about this place is that you can look out the windows, with no bars in your way, or go outside, and look out at the city with only plexiglass in your way, or go up to the roof for the completely unfettered view.

Classic shot. From the roof.

Central Park. 2.5 miles long. Half a mile wide. i.e. effin' huge.

Heart balloon floats above the Upper East.

Same heart balloon later almost gets nailed by this American Airlines jet.

Dunbar Stadium.

Afterwards, we went to Chan's sister's hotel. I saw a Crispin Glover-looking dude in the lobby. Maybe it's David Newhan, I thought. I later checked, and yes, the O's are playing in The Bronx tonight, and we were in the hotel where baseball teams usually stay. So it probably was Newhan. I was gonna stick around for Millar, but didn't.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

On Alert

11-0 Devil Rays. I guess Papi stayed at 54 tonight. I didn't see the game, but I also had 54 tonight. Meaning I held ticket number 54 at tonight's taping of The Colbert Report.

As usual (this was our fourth-ish taping), we came out feeling like it was the best Colbert ever. It's just so fun to be there, to be part of it, and to watch Colbert in action.

The guest was Lowell Bergman. Check this out. Mark your calendars. The Red Sox won't be playing.

And Colbert did his Cosby imitation! Ever since I did that Cosby thing, it seems he's been everywhere.

Something so totally ridiculous happened tonight. It happened while we waited in the Colbert lobby. I was there with Chan and two friends. After passing through the metal detector, we found ourselves in a room packed with people. Chan and I, being Colbert veterans, knew that we'd be called in by our ticket number, so there was no need to get close to the studio door. We could sit in the chairs toward the back, relaxing instead of standing, and know we'd get in at the same time anyway.

We fought our way past some standees, and sunk into a row of four chairs, behind four other chairs. Almost immediately, a sorority-type girl in the chair in front of me turned around and said to my friend, "Hi, I'm Kat," sticking out her hand for a shake, before giving me the same routine.

I don't know what you would've thought, but my initial reaction to that was that she thought we were part of some group she belonged to, that she thought we were also with.

My friend thought the same thing, so of course, we each shook this woman's hand while staring at her like she had a whole lot of heads.

She asked, "So how are you connected to the show...?"

Unbelievable. In New York, hell, anywhere in the world, you don't just start talking to a stranger. A nod or even a hi is perfectly acceptable. Even a little quick small talk is okay, say, in the midwest. And even then, you should be able to get a sense right away if the other party is into it or not, and react accordingly. But to just decide somebody wants to have a conversation with you simply because they're sitting near you is preposterous! We're sitting there convinced she must have us confused with someone else. We're clearly giving her the "we're here with these other people and you're there with your friends so what the hell are you doing?" look, and she's acting like we're the crazy ones.

It really was the type of behavior you'd expect if you went to some business function or wedding where people are mingling. It wasn't like we were all sitting around at a party, facing each other, and an awkward moment forced someone to strike up a conversation. We sat down, and instantly she went out of her way to turn all the way around and start interrogating us. Which is why we had to believe she thought we were somehow "with" her, because we sat in the chairs, and her crowd was in chairs as well, while everyone else in the room was standing. Have you ever been, say, standing in the movie theater lobby, deciding what candy to buy, and have someone approach you, introduce him or herself, and start asking you what movie you're going to and why? I'm telling you, it was weird.

I answered her question. "We're just big fans of the show." Why else would you go to a TV show taping? I was still expecting at any moment for her to say something that would cause us to say, "Ohhhh, no, no, we're not special guests or anything, we're just random people," which would cause her to in turn say, "ohhh, I'm so sorry, I'm so embarrassed! I thought...oh, okay, sorry to freak you out. You must've thought I was crazy."

But she didn't say that. She said, confidently, "Oh, so you're tourists..."

Ooooooh. That's almost as bad as asking a fat lady when her baby's due.

"No, we live here," we shot back, now with looks of "turn your head around, Muffy, right now, or we'll tear it off" on our faces. She finally got the message at this point, and verrry slowwwly turned away after a phony "nice to meet you."

At this point, she turned to some people on the other side of her, and started in with them. They all seemed to be trapped by her. They didn't know how to give "the look," I guess. But she ended up leaving, at the end of the show, with those other people. Which makes me believe it really could've been some college function, where a bunch of students were given tickets, and met each other there,for the first time, at the taping. But I honestly don't know.

Chan and our other friend were directly behind the girl, so they didn't have to deal with her. I later told Chan he was fortunate to be in her blind spot. I said, "Chan, I kept trying to make eye contact with you after she turned away, but you were just staring up in the air." "Yeah," he said, "I was trying to be invisible."

Of course, we did think about what kind of world this is where someone tries to talk to you and it's thought of as some kind of affront. I guess it's better than spitting on us. But it was pretty freakin' weird. Especially in New York.

A Great Race Ruined

The Wild Card strikes again. I've never liked it. And this year, it takes all the meaning out of an AL Central race going down to the wire. Most of the meaning anyway. Terrible job, Fox. (Don't they make the rules?)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

54 For D-Or. Fight!

For Papi's right! To be MVP!

Papi added to those MVP stats tonight. League leader in homers, by a lot. League leader in total bases. League leader in RBI. League leader in walks. All despite missing ten games. 2nd in slugging. 3rd in OPS. The guy with these numbers wins the MVP every time. Ish. Wade Boggs never won an MVP despite having a really, really, high average.

Ortiz may be behind ______ in average by 50 points, but his OBP is within 7 points of him right now. And it's not like you can say Ortiz isn't valuable. This is the clutchingest clutchinator ever we're talking about.

The more I think about this thing with ______'s fake, media-invented MVP candidacy, the more angry I get. For Tim McCarver to have the nerve to act like it mattered that the fans of Yankee Stadium chant "MVP" loudly when ______ came up should be a fire-able offense. Michael Fucking Kay decided one day that he was going to make ______ the MVP. Say it enough, oh, and be in New York, and people will just assume it must be true. After Papi got jobbed last year, and they saw they had no chance this year, they just started saying _______'s name over and over again. Surely no one would argue that ______ isn't MVP-worthy, on principle alone. That would be like singing the Russian national anthem before games.

And now people take it seriously. What am I looking at here? The average alone? Where else does he top Ortiz? Where, in some of those categories that Ortiz beat A-Rod in hands-down but still missed out on the award?

I trust the voters in this case. I don't think they'll go completely against what they've always done. Maybe they'll go Dye, Hafner, I don't know. But there is no way it should go to _______. And they should also remember that _______ isn't that great a fielder. But if you listen to Yankee announcers, or national announcers, he's just god's gift to the game, all around. "He may not make every play, but....he just does, actually. Trust us, not your eyes."

If ________ wins this award, MLB should make a rule where no media or announcers are allowed to mention awards. I think it would be fair that way.

Peter Gammons was in the NESN booth tonight. Almost as inexplicably as Hazel Mae smilingly telling us how the blimp crashed, Peter told us how he used to shag balls during batting practice. But it gets better. He's sometimes throw batting practice. Maybe this is common knowlege. But it wasn't to me. It's a funny image in my head of him throwing to Yaz. "Try this one on for size, gram-paw!"

It was nice how the inning in which they talked to Gammons went on and on. However, of course I was pissed at him when he was asked about the MVP vote. "I think ______ will get it." They're talking about the greatness of Ortiz, on and off the field. And then he goes and tells everybody, including the voters in the audience, that ______ will get it. Peter, the next time someone asked you...if Papi's a say YES. Seriously.

I liked how Peter called Remy "Scoots" as he left. When I was five in summer of '81, I played my first year of Little League. We all got to pick our own nickname. (Terrible job on "Slider," Marc Giacoia.) I chose "Scooter," as I was a little guy, second-baseman-like, and with the same name, albeit spelled differently, than one of everyone's favorite Red Sox at the time, Jerry Remy. But my dad immediately said, "That's Phil Rizzuto's nickname." I guess that superceded. So it was forbidden. I am still, to this day, NOT called Scooter.

Remy also gave his point of view on Papelbon. And it was the same as mine. We've got a vital position filled, right now, by one of the best in the league. Possibly the best. Don't take him out of that position. It seems simple to me. Put him in the rotation, and, if we don't find a closer, or if we use one who can't get the job done, well, that's simply like taking Pap off the team.

Tin Mae's Oil Running Low

What the eff just happened? Hazel Mae just announced the crash-landing of the Hood Blimp like she was reading a story about a kitty-cat setting the New England four-legged cuteness record. Oh, the hu-Mae-nity!

Check under that hood, Hazel.

No one was hurt.

Photo courtesy WHDH.


As BSM pointed out, it's Rich Gedman's birthday today. America celebrates. My most recent Gedman score currently sits at the post office. They tried to deliver it today, but, surprise, I was at work. It's an autographed ball. It was inevitable I'd break the bounds of "just cards." In fact, I've long since scrapped the original idea of only collecting Red Sox Geddy cards. I've got one of Rich on a KC Life Insurance 1992 St. Louis Cardinals card.

I forgot to mention this: At the last game I went to at Fenway, I got to see, in person, a fly ball nail that ladder on the Monster and shoot off to the left. A Royal hit it, but I was still glad. In fact, being in the first base pavilion, we had a perfect view of it, even having time to think "this might hit the ladder!" And it did. That ladder rules. For non-Red Sox people, the ladder was put there so grounds crew could go up and get any home run balls out of the net atop the wall. The net has been replaced by seats, but the ladder remains--in play.

Remy has been going nuts on that kid in the brown shirt, from the NESN Store ads. Every night there's new talk of his "modeling" career. Somebody put that kid on a sign and held it up in Toronto. Last night they had him superimposed in the crowd, and in the booth with Don and Jerry. Even these Red Sox games that don't matter are so fun to watch, because Remy is so entertaining.

My mom took a picture of Hansack's first pitch. Look for that here soon. She also took a picture of the first pitch ever thrown to Kelly Shoppach, at my request, when we were at Yankee Stadium last season. She's in the two-debut-snap club.

"Huxtable Residence"

For the original Matty/Jere/Manny post (from, like, a few hours ago), scroll down, it's directly below this. Or click here. But as an accompanying piece to that, I've created what the scene might have looked like. Click above. Read the post below for background.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Matty Beaning Manny

Once again, Manny Ramirez is on the recieving end of lots of criticism. People still think he's faking his injury. Or, simply not playing through the pain. I don't know how anybody could tell someone how they feel without being inside that person's body. And there are unsubstantiated rumors that he's asking for a trade again.

Now, I have to say, if I were treated by the press the way Manny is, I'd think about going to any other city, too. It's interesting how if you ignore all these newspaper people, you'd never know there was a problem. (There isn't one.) Watch the games only, and you'll learn that Manny's injured, hear how he's trying to get back, then witness as he pinch-hits to an overwhelming response from the Red Sox fans in the stands. In Canada.

I haven't read dirtdogs in months, and I've never really been able to get into reading message boards. And not only because SoSH might as well be the Land of Freakin' Oz to me, since I can't post on it, can't navigate it, and can't even seem to get there unless a hyperlink-twister picks me up and drops me there. So I wonder what else I've missed this season. There could've been a month-long rumor about Mark Loretta being a transvestite for all I know. Ignore that stuff. You'll feel better about yourself and the team.

There's a pretty good discussion of the current Manny mania on Joy of Sox here. I'm glad to say the author is on the Jere side in this debate. (Mainly because when the "respected" bloggers agree with you, you look that much less crazy.)

So, the other day, regular ARSFIP F'n T reader MattySox gave us his opinion on Manny:

As a manager, in the restaurant business, but that isn't really important to my point, I frequently come across servers and bartenders who are well loved by their customers, sometimes by their co-workers, who make a lot of money and generally appear to an outsider to be great people. But sometimes, despite what a great server they are, they're a terrible employee. They're constantly late, they inconvenience others, they are hell on management, and they're generally in it only for themselves. We fire people like that, despite the fact that by doing so, we may piss off some of their regular customers. Then what do we do? We hire someone else, and the regulars get their lunch, and they forget all about the person they thought was so great. Is waiting tables at Ceiba like hitting cleanup for the Sox? No, of course not. But sometimes in any business, people just aren't good employees, and you have to let them go. It's time.

Okay. Well-thought out. (Why can't one, seriously, one Yankee fan who comments here have a differing opinion than I without telling me how stupid I am, that I should've been aborted, that I have a small penis, and without a two to one bad- to good English ratio? Okay, maybe it's happened twice in three seasons.) The Nation's readers hear Matty's soliloquy, and some start to cheer. A nice applause for a heartfelt sentiment. But don't forget, Matty, what happened on that infamous date in American history, September 20th, 1984. We were introduced to the Huxtable family. And after Theo (this is Malcolm Jamal-Warner we're talking about, as Cliff Huxtable's teenage son) performed poorly in school and decided he'd simply skip college and be a bus driver, he had his own opinion on why mom and dad shouldn't punish him:

You're a doctor and Mom's a lawyer, and you're both successful in everything and that's great! But maybe I was born to be a regular person and have a regular life. If you weren't a doctor, I wouldn't love you less, because you're my dad. So rather than feeling disappointed because I'm not like you, maybe you should accept who I am and love me anyway...because I'm your son.

And much like with Matty's speech on why Manny should no longer be a member of the Boston Red Sox, the audience applauded. Maybe even shed a tear during the poignant moment. Then Dr. Huxtable was allowed to retort:

Theo... that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life! No wonder you get D's in everything! You're afraid to try because you're afraid your brain is going to explode and it's going to ooze out of your ears. Now I'm telling you, you are going to try as hard as you can. And you're going to do it because I said so. I am your father. I brought you into this world, and I'll take you out!

Now I love Matty as much as Cliff loved his son Theo. So I can say that to him. And, no, his comment wasn't dumb, it's just that I don't know how we can know what's going on in the locker room. As far as we know, every single thing we hear about Manny's life off the field could be incorrect. These writers love to stir up shit. I again turn to the reaction of the "real" people. As I've said before, most people who go to Fenway don't follow the Red Sox to the extreme, obsessive degree that we who constatntly write and read about them do. There are positives and negatives to that lifestyle. But those people watch the games, and they see Manny on the field. And that includes the part of his personality we are allowed to see, as well as the amazing player that he is. When those people hear the words "Manny Ramirez," they burst into a raucous ovation. "It's time," you say? Well, I say it's time we give Manny the respect that he's due. When I say "we," I mean the writers, the callers, the internet, uh, internetters. The obsessed. When it's proven that Manny is a "bad employee," then the above analogy will be dead on. But until then, I think our friend and brother Manny should get the benefit of the doubt.

Sorry to pull the Cosby rank on you, Matty. Like Theo, you made the mistake of speaking first. But this isn't a half hour show. You've got all the time in the world to come up with your own sitcom metaphor for rebuttal.

My Ass

God, I hate "my." "My" is the new "extreme." Who's falling for this crap?

"Oh, yeah, my checking account is 'MyChecking.' It's all mine. No one else has it."

"Actually, every single person who uses your bank has it. Terrible job."

What pushed me over the edge to the point where I'm now sharing this with you was the ad I just saw for Coke. "My DVD. My MP3. My Coke Rewards."

Yeah, they're yours, these surely high-quality rewards, but that goes without saying. Once the "my" is there in the title, wouldn't you have to add an extra "my" to make it truly yours? "My 'My Coke Rewards.'"? Eventually, "my-" will be a prefix that means the object simply exists: "Excuse me, mysir, you're standing on my myfoot. Give myme some myroom." "Go fuck myyourself!"

There's even a TV network called My9. Or My followed by whatever number denotes the crappy According to Jim-filled channel in your particular city.

Of course, sitting atop the heap of shit that is "my" marketing is the dreaded "myspace." I think the thing I'm most proud of in my life is that I'm not on myspace.

Screw you and your my-ness, marketers. I mean, my my-ness. No, my your-ness. Forget it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


In feel-good news, David Ortiz is auctioning off his 50th HR ball at Along with the ball, the winner gets to meet the man himself, and sit in sweet seats at an upcoming game. The money goes to the Boys & Girls Club of Papi's town in the Domincan. I was surprised to see the bidding went to about $12,000 rather quickly. But as I type this Sunday night, it's up to $42,000. Amazing. Apparently, Papi thought of this himself. And since he's gotten more HR balls back from fans since, there may be a lot more money on the way to good causes.

In more feel-good news, Red Sox Chick has been doing a lot for Jon Lester since his cancer diagnosis. Click that link and here her tale of Jon himself showing up at her doorstep.

I just read that, so it makes my most recent brush with celelbrity seem tame, but here it is anyway:

Tonight, I was coming back from the subway station when I got a cravin' for the good ol' fashion, down home cookin' of Taco Bell. The only thing I get there is the bean burrito. Once in a great while, I'll choose the Bell over the many fine actual Mexican restaurants here in the city.

So I go into the Bell and I immediately notice that dude, Jesse, from the bizarre documentary Capturing the Friedmans. This guy was in jail for over ten years, either for doing nothing wrong, or for abusing little kids. That's kind of the point of the movie; it's up to the viewer to decide. The whole family was pretty messed up, but I tend to believe Jesse is innocent.

While I pondered what I could possibly say to this guy in person, he decided he was gonna tell me, from about twenty feet away, that he approved of my T-shirt. "I love that shirt, that's a cool shirt," he said of my beloved Space Invaders tee. Nice. You know, nice, if he didn't molest any kids.

Some crappy games in Toronto the last two days. My parents picked some winners to go to. At least they got to see a Papi homer in his MYP season, and the debut of Hansack.

More on the Manny "situation" tomorrow night.

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