Saturday, June 30, 2007


This goes beyond "bugging me." I'd say it actually disturbs me. We all know that Carlton Fisk's homer in Game 6 of the '75 World Series hit the foul pole, right? I've seen the video a thousand times. Not one of those times has the ball not hit the pole. It's one of the most famous, most replayed moments in baseball history. They named it Fisk Pole for god's sake. Everyone knows the ball hit the pole, right?

Apparently not. On the Wikipedia page for "Boston Red Sox," it says

The ball hit probably six inches to the fair side of the foul pole

Now this is Wikipedia, which means a cow could've written it for all we know. I've done some editing on there before, but when I went to fix this travesty, I noticed this was a page on which editing is not allowed. So, I figured, Oh well, nothing I can do. Besides, on Fisk's Wiki page, as well as some others on there, it correctly states the ball hit the pole.

But tonight, while researching something totally different relating to that home run, I noticed this line in's description of the event:

The image of Carlton Fisk watching his ball soar into the Boston night, urging it from afar to pass inside the foul pole atop the Green Monster, and finally leaping with ecstasy when his homer stays fair continues to provide goose bumps for baseball fans worthy of the designation.

"Pass inside the pole." You can tell me that technically, it didn't hit "the pole," as it did actually hit the part attached to the pole that sticks out into fair territory. That's true. But I don't think that's what they meant, or they wouldn't have said "passed." And if Wikipedia meant that (they did say the ball "hit"...), they wouldn't have said "...six inches to the side," implying it flew past.

ESPN said about the play, in an article about the 100 Most Memorable Moments of the Past 25 Years (from at least 7 years ago):

Carlton Fisk willing a ball inside the Fenway Park foul pole in 1975

Again, they're clearly implying this ball went by the pole, to the right of it. I just watched the play again. Again, the ball clanked off the pole.

Dan Fox, in a piece for Baseball Prospectus, says

The excitement of that game and the experience of watching Carlton Fisk wave that home run to the right of the left field foul pole and over the Green Monster played a large role in making me a baseball fan.

!!!!!! It hit the pole! It HIT THE POLE! How much of a role could it have played if you didn't even see what happened??? (along with some other copycat, cut-and-pasting ballpark sites) says:

Carlton Fisk ended Game 6 against the Cincinnati Reds with a 12th-inning home run over the 37 foot tall Green Monster just inside the left field foul pole.

A site called KFFL states:

Fisk hit a memorable home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series that just stayed inside the pole and sent Boston to a decisive seventh game.

A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story from 2003 says

Fisk's homer, just inside the left-field foul pole, saves the day for the Boston Red Sox,

despite the fact that three years earlier, they noted

A scoreboard tribute to Fisk's career was capped with his 12th- inning, game-winning homer off the left-field foul pole in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Note: Of course, countless sources do have it right, and say what the above sentence says. But I'm still amazed at just how many people are under this false impression. I wonder if it's because people find info on the internet and copy and paste without thinking? Maybe, but some of these people act as if they're using their own memory to describe the play. Another theory I have is: Since Stockton and Garagiola didn't realize the ball hit the pole until a replay from a different angle was shown (Dick asks how close it came to hitting the pole, as we see the ball in slow-mo head toward it, before Joe says "It did hit it." Then we see it fall into Foster's glove.), maybe some people didn't realize it at first either. You'd think in the last thirty years, though, they would have figured it out. Now back to the insanity.

An Oakland paper said last year

Bostons Fenway Park is set back to Game 6 of the 1975 World Series when Carlton Fisk hit a home run just inside the foul pole to win the game.

They don't like the "apostrophe s" rule, either. Again, if I asked them about this and they said "Sure, it hit that side part of the pole, that's totally what we meant--inside the main pole," well, I'd say they were lying. If a field goal goes is described as going "inside the upright," would you assume it hit anything? Especially if they say "passed inside"?

This Library of Congress site says

Carlton Fisk's 1975 World Series home run, "pushed" by force of his waving arms just inside the Fenway foul pole.

This page (the author of which surmises the wall was first referred to as the Green Monster in 1982!) shows bits from newspaper articles from October 22nd, 1975, the day after Game 6. First, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatcher:

The ball smacks into the yellow screen inside the left field foul pole and drops into the net behind the Green Monster.

(That one got the pole part right, but the ball didn't drop into the net. It bounced off the pole and right back onto the field, where George Foster--well, you know by now. In fact, you already knew. Right?)

Then, from the NY Times:

Fisk lifted a fly ball into the screen above the Great Wall of Boston

Do they mean the solid screen attached to the pole? I don't think so. I think they mean the net that most of us grew up with, commonly referred to as "the screen," that caught homers before rich people started doing it--the one described in the St. Louis paper above. So we've got two newspapers reporting the next day (later that day, actually) that the ball did something it didn't do. Maybe they're to blame. Although if you're believing this, instead of your eyes, which tell you the ball is BOUNCING OFF THE POLE AND BACK TO THE FIELD, you might need to check yourself, as you're well on your way to wrecking yourself.

This one says

Carlton Fisk dancing his home run onto the right side of the Fenway foul pole;

Now, this one uses the word "onto." It's almost as if some people think the right half of the pole is fair and the left half is foul. People, if it hits anywhere on the pole, it's fair. A home run. It doesn't matter which side of the pole it makes contact with.

A blogger named Mel Phillips asks us how we could ever forget the play--before describing it incorrectly:

We would have a Game 7 as the ball went barely inside the foul pole at Fenway Park...

Here's an interesting take, from Bruce Markusen:

it traversed the left field line, before nesting in the screen attached to the foul pole,

What? No! No nesting! If "nesting" meant flying into a branchless pole, bouncing off it and falling 45 feet to one's death, the quality of the big leagues of the bird kingdom would suffer to the point where the Cardinals and Blue Jays would be at risk of contraction.

Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould, in an article about physics in baseball, talks about the Fisk play, and how it defied the laws of physics:

He stood up there and, by sheer body English, he transcended the laws of physics and made that ball curve inside the left-field foul pole

This guy makes two mistakes: 1. Ball hit pole, did not go "inside" it, as we know, and 2. The ball was curving toward foul territory. Fisk's waving only made it curve less to the left. Duh. No surprise, the article says the guy's a Yankee fan. A great example of a Yankee fan--one who's smart enough to become a biologist, mind you--speaking about baseball like he's an expert, when he really doesn't know what he's talking about.

So the damage has been done on the internet. But let's get back to the truth. Tell your friends: It hit the pole. Need a little mental device to help you remember? Fisk Pole. Does that do it for you? Tomorrow: Jere shoots down those who insist on calling it the "Blue Monster."

BSM approval watch: I was gonna say that this is a topic even BSM will agree with me on, but then I figured he'll get me on: going overboard with the idea; it not mattering because no one's disputing it's a home run; the number of sites saying it didn't hit the pole is very low compared to the number who get it right; they all meant it "hit" the inside of the pole; many of those sites say that Fisk willed it to go inside the pole meaning that's what he wanted as he had no way of knowing it would actually hit the pole (although none, even if they meant that, said at any point that what DID happen is that it hit the pole); adding this paragraph, thereby ruining what he had thought of as my best blog post in two years up until that point; etc. We'll see! (Oh, also adding the "Onion"-esque exclamation point to the "we'll see" line, implying he's being mocked in some way.)

Friday, June 29, 2007

What's A Car?

You know my feelings on Wakefield. The theory is simple: "Never take him out." Tonight, I think most people would've agreed with me when Tito took him out after he'd given up a grand total of one run.

So I was kind of pissed, and scared, to see Delcarmen in there. In fact, after he walked one guy and went 3-1 on Sosa, I was ready to do the "say I'm boycotting the team but really come back the next day after sleeping on it (but acting all serious about the boycott at first!)" routine. But Manny came through, and, I think, after seeing him get out of that inning against the Giants on Father's Day, I'm now fully confident in the guy. (And I love how he's from Boston and said that if he'd been drafted by anyone else, he'd have said "Sorry, I only wanna play for the Red Sox. Plus he married his high school sweetheart, which is always noble, despite sometimes being a huge mistake--hopefully they stay together and he doesn't do that "famous person" cliche of dumping your non-famous spouse for another famous person.)

So, this brings up another point. Joy of Sox had earlier said he felt Papelbon shouldn't be automatically used in the ninth. Like, if it's a tougher situation in the eighth, go with him to get out of it, to make the ninth possible. Then go with someone else. At the time, I wondered if this theory only exists because we, as Sox fans, haven't known a lights-out eighth inning man in a while. But with Okajima pitching incredibly, and with the rest of the bullpen being pretty solid, it's almost like you can just plug the guys in by inning. Pap in the 9th. Okajima in the 8th. And if you need anyone before that, you've got all these other guys you can, for the most part, trust.

What I'm saying is, "R pen rulz!" It's a good feeling. It also means I won't feel the need to stick with Wake at all costs--another theory that came from not trusting your 'pen.

Great job by Pap overcoming the two iffy calls against Lofton, and getting Michael Young, who put up a great fight. We didn't wanna blow this one....

About this whole car racing thing: I guess I'll reluctantly say that I'm happy they're doing yet another thing to get us more revenue/attention. But don't expect me to become a racing fan anytime soon. I did come across a race the other day on TV where they didn't just go around in ovals. I think they called it a "street course." It was actually kind of fun. I watched for a full minute. No lie.

So it was racing people that threw out the first balls tonight. Worst period, first pitch period, ever period. You had three people throwing to three catchers. The old dude on the right did the classic move I remember from Wheel of Fortune, where you hear the spinner cheer when the wheel lands on "Bankrupt," and you realize, when Sajak says "remember to watch that arrow directly in front of you," that they were watching the wrong arrow. So this guy's only seeing the middle catcher, and even though the catcher on the right (the one in front of him) is waving his (her?) arms, you just know he's not seeing it. Sure enough, his throw goes toward the middle catcher, and goes to the backstop. The middle person's throw goes, I'd say accidentally, toward the right catcher, at which point the middle catcher, who may have been Timlin, has to dive in front of the left catcher, saving him from getting nailed. And it's all capped off by the left person firing one wide and off the glove of the left catcher, and to the backstop. An ominous start to Roush/Fenway racing. Let's hope they go the right way around the track....

For his hustle to get home with what turned out to be the winning run before Ortiz was tagged out on the basepaths, Youk is the co-JPotG winner. The other half goes to Manny, who hit the ball on the play and hustled to first himself, causing the third baseman to choose tagging Papi over trying to get the out at first. (Note to Manny-haters: He's been hustling a lot this season--but forget about that. Have you noticed neither Lowell nor Ortiz has run out a ground ball in about a year and a half?

That's Odd

Werner's callin' out the umps, cars are driving all over Fenway Park, Cora's hit into a double play in his last three long have I been asleep?

Sox 2, Texas 1 after five.

Yanks: 2-0 In Two Recent Non-Wins

As reader Allen points out, the Yanks, according to their official site, would have you believe they've got two more wins than they actually do.

One headline reads "Clemens' K streak snapped in O's loss." The O's didn't lose that game, the Yankees did. They mean " his loss to O's," but the wording they chose is going to make most people reading it think that the O's lost.

Then, in their mini-schedule on the front page, which shows past results, last night's suspended game is shown as "W 8-6." This is a suspended game. It's not over yet. Maybe an "S" would've been a better choice.

If you ever play golf (or mini-golf) with someone from the Yankees organization, keep their score on your scorecard, and see if it matches theirs at the end of the round.

Blue Suspenders

Wow. Rod Carew. Road Crew. Just move the A.

What the hell happened in Baltimore tonight? I got home from eating Mexican food while watching fireworks launched to celebrate the birthday of a country that borders Mexico to see the Orioles leading Dunbar 6-4 in the eighth. Five minutes later it was a drenching rainstorm, yet the umps seemed to have no interest in halting the game until the Yanks could grab the lead. If I were the O's pitcher, I'd have just stood there. Get that grounds crew out there. But the Yanks made it 8-6, and the field was covered almost before the 8th run crossed the plate.

Melvin Mora was pissed, and was yelling at the umps as everyone walked off the field. I just found a quote from him:
Before Jeter stepped to the plate, Mora pleaded with third base umpire Tim Tschida to stop the game.

"I just asked him, 'You don't think it's too wet?' He started yelling at me and cursed," Mora said. "I said, 'This is worse than when you stopped the game when we was winning. Why you don't stop it now? I can't even see the ball.'

"He just tried to make Jeter hit so they can score one run so they can get out of here. That's what I think," said Mora, who was ejected from the game.

Exactly what I was thinkin', Melvin. Fortunately, though, since the home team hadn't gotten a chance to hit yet, the game will be finished at a later date.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

45 Days

We've lost three in a row. The Angels could've moved into the top spot in the majors overall, record-wise, with one win during that time. Amazingly, though, they lost all three of their corresponding games, to the Royals. So our streak continues: Best record since May 13th. Which will be the higher number? The number of days this streak lasts or the number of at bats in Lugo's current hitless streak?

Stat Of The Day

Julio Lugo is 1 for his last 39. One more at bat without a hit, and that's a forty AB stretch hitting exactly .025.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

TFF And The Other One

Clemens' ERA up to 5.32, as Dunbar loses again, 4-0, and are now two back of the Jays for third. My girlfriend just coined two phrases: Top-feeder frustration (what we're experiencing, knowing we could be pulling away if we were winning) and, you guessed it, bottom-feeder frustration (what the Yanks are experiencing, knowing they could be gaining on us if only they could win).

So let's end the TFF Friday, back in the good ol' 1955 that is the Hub.

One more thing about that Manny/L'Monstro story that appeared on NESN. At least one site was pissed about it, not only because they felt Manny was "getting away" with only talking to the media about non-baseball stuff, but because they thought it was a bad report, with Manny staying silent much of the time. I had the complete opposite opinion. First of all, Manny can do what he wants. I was psyched to see him in that casual setting, even talking directly to the camera. Even if I wasn't a fan, I think I'd still be happy to see him in a report like that. This site I read was saying NESN should have a baseball-related interview with him to balance it out. Why should they do that? There are so many non-baseball things on NESN you could complain about. At least this showed one of our beloved Red Sox--one we hardly ever hear from off the field. Secondly, the video that appears on the NESN site is not the entire video! There's more, where Manny's sitting in the chair actually getting the dreads dyed or whatever, and he's talking and stuff. Totally not awkward. A fun report. Not to be made fun of for any reason. Terrible job, whatever site that was.... I hate these sites that just continue to make fun of Manny no matter what he does. Screw those sites.

Oh, I bring this up because Manny wore "L'Monstro 99" wristbands today. L'Monstro wore a Sox jersey with number 100 on the back in the video....[Update: I grabbed a poor-person's screen shot. See below. It says "LMONTRO 99". Maybe there isn't supposed to be an S in there. I don't know...]

And here's the jersey, from the video. Clearly an S in there. Now I'm tryin' to figure out what this guy's number and name are.

Come On Already

Dice just about pitched a perfect game, but we found ourselves in an extra innings battle. Considering the umpires were rooting against us in this one, we did what we could. But I would've pinch hit for Lugo a little earlier than we did. And the guy had the nerve to get mad when he got pinch hit for? He doesn't think an 0 for 30 stretch warrants it?

Another horribly frustrating game that felt like it was just made up by the baseball gods as some kind of joke-game. Yet we can still be happy tomorrow morning, what with the huge lead. But no happiness before then!

On the last play, Manny could've had it, and at the very least, Coco could've got in position to play a possible carom. Oh, and Coco, you're hitting now--no need to try to bunt your way on in the ninth! Manny also wore "L'Monstro 99" wristbands today, in honor of his hairdresser.


Here's the current AL All-Star ballot update. (bottom of page) Voting ends tomorrow, so get your 25 ballots in. But don't just do the classic "all Red Sox" ballot. Well, do it if you want, but with these updated numbers, we can help to keep Yankees out. (Some of you are saying, "Wait, aren't we supposed to vote for the best players?" Heh. So naive, this kid. If it's a popularity contest they want, that's what we'll give 'em. Robinson Cano has nearly twice as many votes as Dustin Pedroia. The last thing this is is fair. Now let's get to the fake voting.)

Starting with outfield, where the top three vote getters will be the starters (although Hazel Mae thinks it's the top one only): We've got Manny just barely out of the top three. So I give a vote for Manny, and a vote for any two guys besides the three in front of him. So NO votes for Ichiro, Ordonez, or Vlad. It's funny how the six outfielders for us and the Yanks are currently all in the top 12: 4th, and 8th through 12th, despite the fact that almost all of them are having crappy seasons. This shows just how many Sox and Yanks fans there are. But, what, are we stupid? More people have voted for J.D. Drew than for Pedroia. And almost that many have voted for Lugo! I want our guys in, but I'm sure as hell not voting for Drew or Lugo. Jeez.

1st base: Obvious. Just add to Papi's huge lead. Don't worry about Youk. He'll get in without us going against Papi to write in his name. I thought that whole campaign was stupid from day one.

2nd base: At this point, gotta go Polanco. Cano is close to him, while Pedroia is way back. We've got to keep Cano out of the automatic bid, and trust Pedroia gets chosen as a back-up. Though I still might throw in a vote or two out of my allotted 25 for Dustin, just for the thrill of it.

Shortstop: Jeter has a huge lead. Guillen is the closest to him, so let's vote for him to close up the gap. That's all we can do there.

3rd base: Again, A-Rod has a huge lead, but in this case, our guy is second, so vote Lowell.

Catcher: Posada's pretty close to first, and Tek is way down there, so I gotta vote for the first place guy to try to stop Posada from taking the top spot, though he'll probably get in as a reserve. Ivan Rodriguez gets the nod.

National League voting update: Don't care. [Update: Actually, I was about to skip over the NL page on the ballot when "Garciaparra" caught my eye. Which made me think of Dave Roberts. So they get 25 votes each from me.]

Remember, vote for anyone you want. Also remember this is all bullshit. Hopefully my suggestions helped.

10-Game Lead Frustration: Not As Bad As Regular Type

I was mad at the Orioles for a while there, having Pettitte on the ropes several times, but only having two runs. All these baserunners, yet I knew a quick 2-run homer could tie it, and that's just what Damon hit. But the O's hung in, and kept it at 2-2. In the ninth, Proctor walked a guy to load the bases, then supposedly hit the next guy, but it was called a ball, and then he walked him anyway. O's win.

At the same time, Gabbo was doing the same thing in the first inning of our game. Three runs, driven in by a HBP and two walks. Both teams are being frustrated over and over, but both are scoring, too. Weird game. A home run by Rickey Gender-son* just made it 8-6 them in the bottom of the sixth, after we'd scored two in the top to tie it.

I'd say I'm all pissed ad frustrated and whatnot, but I know Mariner fans think they should have about 14 runs right now, so I'm glad we're still within two. Adrian Beltre just appealed to first on his own check swing.

Manny's resting tonight. Perhaps we'd have a few more runs if he were in the lineup. I'm not a big fan of all the resting, as you know. We should be mainly playing with our true starting nine. Yet we seem to rest a guy every day, sometimes two guys a day. Eh, I guess I shouldn't complain unless this really starts costing us, but, come on, we got this big lead with these guys. Stick with 'em. How about this--every, say, two months, when we're facing a really awesome pitcher, rest all nine starters. Put the relievers in the field, and have Snyder pitch nine innings. I like that method over risking losing nearly every game by always having a guy sitting out. Actually, fine, do it this way. But every time a starter is given a day off, one day of his salary is divided amongst, let's say, me.

Update: We lose. Too bad the ump got nervous and missed the key call, meaning we all stayed up 'til 1:30 only to have some guy ruin everything when a robot could've done the job right. MLB, it's time to get 'bots. Not just for the bad calls that go against us, but for all of them. Again, I can't get too frustrated--the M's had 22 baserunners and won by one. They'd have been much more frustrated than we are if they'd lost. We just have to go out, put the FULL LINEUP out there, and beat the guy with the over-8 ERA tomorrow. Although we couldn't beat Weaver, who was also above 8.00. We've still got the best record in baseball, and a ten game lead. 11 on the Yanks. No sleep lost. If this had been a playoff game, I'd go down the list of frustrations tonight, but we'll just move on instead.

*Rickey Gender-son! Huh? Huh? Richie Sex son = Rickey Gender son. I'm very proud of this nickname. Please spread the word at your office.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


On May 13th, the Red Sox passed the Brewers as the team with the best record in baseball. We have had the best record since then, having ended each day with a higher winning percentage than any other team.

Anyone who tells you the Angels have the best record is wrong. (I actually contacted one of the websites who wrote this, and someone wrote me back, claiming that they said that because the Angels have more wins.... Terrible job.)

The Angels could pass us tonight if they win and we lose, but I'm not worried about jinxing anything. I don't care if we're the best or second-best team in June. This is about people getting facts straight, not bragging about my team. Which has the best record in baseball.

Yanks down 2-0 in Baltimore. Gabbo vs. Plow King in a few hours.

It's All In Your Classy Head

As I've noted many times, the Yankee "Universe" (I still have a daily laugh over that one) never loses. In their minds, that is. A loss is really just a win in disguise. They know that they have won, are winning, and will win every game. It's their birthright. 11 games back? Sure, but they'll find some way to turn it into the fact that they're better than you. That 2001 World Series? Not so much a huge choke in which the Great Mariano blew Game 7 as "a victory for New York." Besides, they'll always have the most championships...until another team has more, at which point they'll just say they've got better, classier championships.

So it came as no surprise to me when I saw a Daily News article last week about A-Rod called "Chasing Roger." In it, A-Rod is viewed as the soon-to-be "people's home run champion." What the hell do they mean, you ask? Well, according to the article, if A-Rod hits 62 home runs, he'll pass Roger Maris' AL-leading single-season mark, but, since Sosa and McGwire took steroids, he'll also be the "true single-season [major league] record holder."

Before we go crowning A-Rod, let's look at the facts.

1. He's not there yet. It's not even the All-Star break. Since this article was written, his pace has slowed to a total of about 61.3 homers. But plenty of players have been on pace to break, even shatter, records, early in seasons, only to fall short. This is why records are cherished--it's hard to play at such a pace, let alone keep it up for 162 games. Let's see how many games left he has when he reaches 50 home runs before we start coming with special names he'll be called upon breaking the record.

2. Since when have people cared about the individual league records when it comes to home runs? Quick, whose National League record did McGwire break for single-season homers in 1998? In fact, it wasn't even that big a deal when Sosa passed 61 after McGwire already had that year. But suddenly re-establishing the AL mark is a big deal? Sure, A-Rod, or anyone else, who hits 62 home runs will be the official AL home run single-season champ. But after the league record has been broken time after time, will a race to 62 capture America?

So basically, from a Yankee fan's perspective, the all-time single-season home run list looks like this:

1. A-Rod (trust us)
2. Roger Maris (we've simply moved his old asterisk to McGwire and Sosa)
3. Babe Ruth (whose curse still haunts the Red Sox, who haven't won a World Series since 1918, especially not in 2004, and definitely not after being the first team in history to come back from a 3-0 lead, against the Yanks mind you, in the ALCS)
4. Ruth again
5 through end. Other players

A new article is up at the Daily News site, about the upcoming mini-series The Bronx is Burning. What's the article called? "Bombers are Champs Again." Figures.

Yes, that would've been the perfect end to this post, but I do want to talk about that mini-series. When I was working as a proofreader years ago, I worked on a book called "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning." When you get a book you're interested in, believe me, you read it, even though you're just supposed to be proofing it. (It got to the point where if a book that even mentioned the Red Sox came through, my boss would say "I've got something for you...." (This was back in my days living in a crazy land where I was in the distinct minority as a Sox fan.))

I enjoyed what I read of the book, and I'm looking forward to the mini-series they've based on it. Let me tell you something about me. My favorite era and place for a book or movie to take place, if I had to choose, would be New York City in the late-70s. I love everything about it, with the exception of the fact that the Yanks were winning World Series'. Some of my favorite films are set in New York and either were made or take place in that time. I just love the way the city looked, the clothes, the hair, the music.... and none of it was done in a "retro" way. People were doing things that were crazy and new. Sure, everyone dresses and wears their hair in those 70s fashions now, but that's because they're imitating a look, not inventing one. While the modern age has allowed us to instantly find the air-date* of that Diff'rent Strokes episode where Gordon Jump plays a child molester, it's also made us into unoriginal, predictable clones of each other with no communication skills.

From one end of the spectrum to the other, people were taking risks, from the punks with spikes and leather, to the disco people in leisure suits. Love it or hate it, you have to admit, they were all doing something no generation before had attempted. And the way New York was back then was a reflection of it. It was dark and seedy and scary and exciting.

Anyway, it was a good book, and the mini-series starts July 9th on ES Urine N. You just have to close your eyes when the Yanks actually win (and remember, it's about '77, not '78, so there won't be any Bucky Dent bullshit). But it also shows all the scandals of the Yanks from back then. Maybe some taught-by-Fox, casual baseball fans will start to question the continual label of the Yankees as a "classy" organization after they see it. They've got a lot of rings, but I've been alive 31 years, living within 50 miles of the Bronx for most of them, and I'm still waiting for this "class" to show its face.

*February 5th and 12th, 1983. It was a two-parter.

Spinnin' The Midnight Wheel Of Fish

I don't get it. Buehrle is supposedly on the block. After all these years of the Yanks getting hitter after hitter and learning their lesson year after year that pitching wins championships, shouldn't they be the top contender in the Buehrle sweepstakes? Yet they're not even mentioned. (But Todd Helton's name keeps coming up--unless he's got a potion that can make pitchers younger, he's not solving the problem!)

Of course, there's the theory that every pitcher Cashman touches turns to pyrite.

We'd noticed at our house that Remy had dyed his hair. Which is weird, since it wasn't gray. The new bank commercial he's on (he's currently on three commercials airing on NESN) shows him with the really dark hair. Tonight, Orsillo brought it up, asking if it's a mid-life crisis. It was also pointed out that he dyed the mustache as well. Remy mentioned--actually, as I write this sentence, he's now plugging the Matsuzaka album I was about to mention. Wow, they just played a sample, with he and Orsillo rapping. Look, everybody's gonna be talking about this, so just check the link, and hopefully this'll be the last time I mention this....

Julian Tavarez is pitching fairly well again. This is one of those games where we should be up big, but we kept them in it, and now they've tied it--and now they've taken the lead....

Remember that picture I took of Tavarez taking chicken from that dude during batting practice? I changed the caption to "Do Not Feed the Animals" and have put it on a T-shirt, which you can buy here. At least one person I know is buying it (me), so join the fun! (You'll notice there are currently no other products in the Terrible Job Store. I'll let you know if I add anything. Also note I'll never sell anything on this site that isn't my own stuff. But keep those form letters coming, ticket agencies, telling me that my site would be a perfect place for your ads, even though it clearly says "Ad-Free Blog" right at the top of my links section! Thanks! You've got my act pegged!)

Heard people on EEI talking about that whole deal with the Yanks playing the Pirates this season. I thought maybe they'd give a reason--instead, they just said "nobody knows." My earlier theory was that it had to with the fact that the divisions have different numbers of teams, and the NL has two more teams than we do. So you can't get it exact, and as we know, you usually end up skipping one team from the division you're playing against. And since the Pirates play two series against one division, two against another, and one against a third, they must not be able to make it so each team plays one division. (Plus the fake-ass, made for New York, "natural rivalry" games.) All this just adds to the unfairness that goes hand-in-hand with interleague play. And then there's the All-Star Game affecting who gets home field advantage in the World Series. You'd think that besides picking the actual best players to play in the game, instead of keeping it the popularity contest it's always been, they'd at least keep alternating the league of the home park. Yet this year will be the second year in a row with the game in an NL park. What is Selig doing and why can't we do anything about it?

Now KySny is walking in runs left and right....

I've written this entire post in the fifth inning, and it's still going.

Update: It's now the seventh. That top of the sixth pissed me off. Down 4, we get the first two guys on. Coco swings for the fences on the first pitch he sees, flying out, not moving any runners along. Then Julio "Edgar Renteria: Havana Nights" Lugo comes up, so you know we've got the same chance of a hit as we would if the rotting corpse of Fred Gwynne were up there with a bat leaning up against it. ("Didn't he die a long time ago?" "Yes.") He flies out, although he moves one runner up, but now there are two outs. Then it's the melancholy Drew, who's swinging with about as much vigor as a coach during fielding practice for a squad of six year-olds. End of inning on his weak bloop to second.

Stat of the week: David Ortiz' OPS in June is over 750 points higher than Lugo's (1.076 to .320).

Now Timlin's given up back-to-back bombs, and it's 9-2 them.

9th inning update: In the 8th, we had 'em loaded with one out and Wily Mo up. In our house, we always say, "Just as long as you only make one out per at bat, Wily." He broke that rule, ending the inning. Now in the 9th, it's another opportunity, with second and third, none out. We've had 7 hits, 5 walks, and two hit batsmen. And two runs. So it makes sense that there are now two outs, as neither Ortiz nor Hinske could hit even a fly ball to the outfield. Hey! Youk comes through with a double, and it's 9-4. Next three guys need to get on now, then the tying run will be up. Lowell watched strike three. End of game. Toronto won, so we're up 10 on them, 11 on the Yanks. That makes me feel better after this winnable game.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sox @ Petco Pix

The rest of cousin Kara's pictures from Saturday (click 4 big):
Here's a nice panorama from her seats.

Some kind of crazy entrance to Petco Park.

Wakefield warming up. Notice the guy facing you in the hat. I was wondering why he had a laminated card around his neck. It took me a while, but I figured out that this guy is an usher. You can see more people with the same hat to his left in the background. What, do San Diego Zoo-keepers double as ushers?

Some Sox in the outfield. Good angle on the center field batter's eye.



The infield.

Lopez climbs the wall. This pic was taken from behind the left field fence. I like how there are several spots in the park where you can see through the outfield fence.

Papi makes the play at first. Not many Sox fans can say they've seen David Ortiz play the field....

Papi swings, with the runner going.

Two of the many Sox fans in San Diego look on. Great job by all the Sox fans who were at the park this weekend. And great job by Kara for sharing these shots with us. Thank you, Kara.

Sox in Seattle tonight. Good to be back in the good old 1955 that is intraleague baseball. But we still have to stay up late. However, as I've said, I love the late games. In fact, the Saturday night game was perfect. My girlfriend and I were able to enjoy all of Saturday, even going to an 8:00 movie, without missing the game. And I always stay up until at least 1:00 AM anyway. Maybe I should move to the Azores, where it's 7 at 11.

Red Sox 80s Road Uniform Thesis. Last Time I'll Talk About It. I Swear.

Last month on UniWatch, it was pointed out that the Cincinnati Reds once had two players wearing two different styles of uniforms on the field at the same time. Many Red Sox fans know that this was commonplace for our team in the eighties, when some players wore the BO||STON road jerseys, while others sported the BOS||TON style at the same time. I've written about this before, but now I've come up with a (mostly) definitive history of the Red Sox road uniform, from 1983-1989.

1983: The road uniform is the classic gray, button down style, with "BOS" to the left of the buttons, and "TON" to the right, in black (okay, navy) lettering. The Sox had returned to this style in 1979, after a foray into the pullover, no-button, "disco-style" uniforms (1972-1978). Before that, this had been the road uniform, with little change, since 1938.

However, from 1938 to 1971, the "TON" of "BOSTON" was positioned with the "T" right in the middle:

In other words, the "T" was on the same middle plain as the buttons. This means the word wasn't quite centered. A six-letter word with the fourth letter centered makes the word front- or left-heavy. Three letters to the left, one in the middle, and two to the right. In 1979, after having experienced a perfectly centered existence for the past seven years, thanks to a button-free uniform, the Red Sox brought back buttons, while trying to hold on to a centered city name. There are two ways this can be accomplished, so they had a choice: 1. Center the word perfectly, with equal spacing. Sounds easy, but with a button-down shirt, this would cause the third letter of a six-letter word to be sliced in two. (Probably why they never tried it from '38-'71.) 2. Put a huge space between the first and last three letters of the word, to allow for the "button zone." The team chose option two. This would be the Red Sox road jersey from 1979 to 1983. Here we see six Sox players from the '83 season, with the "BOS-[space]-TON" style (these are the uniforms used this past Friday night in San Diego, on the Padres' "80s Retro Night"):

(Click all pics to enlarge.)

1984: After 5-years of a new, centered, yet middle-gapped, existence, someone made the call that the space had to go. The "BOS" and the "TON" were to be reunited. After all, a city divided cannot stand. This time, instead of centering the fourth letter, they opted to center the third letter--the "S." This put "BO" to the left side of the uniform, and "STON" to the right. Though aesthetically less pleasing than the "BOS||TON" method, it wasn't any less centered. Either way, you've got one letter dead center on the button zone, with two on one side and the other three on the other side. Here's the new-for-'84 style:

Some players, at least in spring training, kept using the "BOS||TON", as shown here:

Note: Baseball cards are referred to by year of issue, but include photos from the previous season. For example, the above cards, which show 1984 pictures, are from the "1985" set. For this piece, I'll refer to the actual year the photo was taken in, not the year the card was issued. Moving on...

1985: I had thought that the last of the "BOS||TON"s were discarded when the team left Winter Haven to start the '84 season. 1985 would see the Sox adorning the "BO||STON" style for the second time. However, I did find some cases of Red Sox players photographed, supposedly, in 1985, wearing the "BOS||TON"s (see Dwight Evans below, bottom row, middle):

1986: It would seem that the AL Champions were a united front, all wearing the BO||STON style. Again, though, I did find one case of the '79-'83 version. Here's a 1986 picture of Bill Buckner, who didn't come to the Sox 'til '84, wearing the uniform last "officially" worn in '83.

It could be another case of wearing an old uni for spring training. This looks like a Florida park, what with players sitting in the background, not even in a dugout, including a catcher in shin guards. And Buckner is seen elsewhere with the BO||STON, and the post-season shots of him and everyone else, as well as all regular season photos from that year, suggest BO- was mandatory in the 1986 regular- and post-season.

Here are Buckner and Rice in the 1986 World Series, with the BO||STON style:

Up to this point, we had, at least in the regular season, for the most part, everyone wearing the same uniform at the same time....

1987: This is where everything goes haywire. According to this page, Rawlings took over making MLB uniforms. However, some Sox players preferred the fit of what had been Wilson unifroms. The problem was that Rawlings went back to the BOS||TON. Only now, like the uniforms of the 30s through the 70s, the "T" was back in the middle. Why Wilson couldn't just change their design to match the Rawlings, or vice versa, we may never know. What we do know is that Jim Rice had to have that BO||STON-style uniform. He wasn't alone. Many of the 1988 Topps Red Sox cards were shot in Comiskey Park (see the yellow bars dividing the green box seats in the crowd). You can see different players wearing the different style uniforms, definitely in regular season play. This means that in 1987 we had games where Spike Owen, Wade Boggs, and Roger Clemens were wearing the new style of uniform...

...while the stubborn Jim Rice, Rich Gedman, and Marc Sullivan wore the old:

Here's a further example from '87. The next two pics are of Mike Greenwell and Dwight Evans. Each was taken at Comiskey on the same day. They're both wearing the Fenway 75th Anniversary patch on the left sleeve which was only worn in 1987. Both feature the same vendor guy in the crowd with the multi-colored cap. I even figured out the day of the game: 5/30/1987. (I've checked the weather from that day on, I know what inning this is--top of the ninth--, etc. Trust me, it's the same day.) Yet Greenwell's got BOS||TON, and Evans, look closely, has BO||STON:

1988: At this point, it seems Jim Rice is the last holdout, still wearing BO-, while everyone else has given in to the BOS-:

I did notice something disturbing here--the Topps Bowman set of 1989 used pictures from the '87 season. On the '89 Bowmans of Burks and Rice (not pictured), you can see the patch worn in '87. In fact, the photos are from that same day at Comiskey. How did I not notice this at the time?

1989: I can't find any pics of Rice in a road uniform from '89, but one can assume he stuck with the BO- for his final year in baseball. I can also assume no one else wore anything but BOS-. The following season, the Red Sox would change the design of the road uniform, adding color and names to the back, and changing to the more Red Sox-y font. They still wear these today.

Here's what the Hall of Fame's Uniform Database shows for the years 1978-1990. Notice they incorrectly don't differentiate between the pre- and post-BO||STON eras of the eighties. Instead of a space before and no space after, they just have a slight space for all those years. They clearly don't care about spacing as much as I do.

After all my research, I was missing one thing. A picture of two Sox players wearing a different style of uniforms together on the field. My proof above is pretty rock-solid, but I kept searching--and I finally found one. (Granted, any video from 1987 would show this, but still....) Ladies and gentlemen, Rich Gedman and Mike Greenwell, teammates in two different uniforms:
This was taken at Shea Stadium, but it's not from the '86 Series. It's from an exhibition game the Sox played against the Mets, losing 2-0, May 7th, 1987.

Oh, and if you've recently bought this Cooperstown Collection 80s Red Sox road jersey, no, they never looked like that. At all. Ever.

Thanks to the all the eBay sellers I borrowed many of these pictures from....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

More Of "A Nation Poled" Plus A Tavarez Story

My cousin Kara of Live Free or Die Land, who currently lives in Sandy San D., got some nice shots at yesterday's Red Sox-Padres game. First, going back to my foul pole theory, this shot she got proves my theory. Mostly. You can see how that pole which comes off the main pole (which is actually the corner of that warehouse) is out in front, as opposed to the (fair) side. So a curving fly ball could (and, I believe, did Friday night) hit that pole on it's way to going foul, making a foul ball into a homer. And yes, as any baseball watcher knows, balls going down the line are almost always hooking toward foul territory, often at a severe angle. Compare the above pic to what I drew yesterday (note: she took the pic before seeing my drawing, and I drew this before seeing her pic, hence my random "330" instead of the actual distance):

Now here's Kara with an awesome Julian Tavarez story:

"So, we were watching the team warm-up from that standing room area next the "infamous" left-field foul pole (under the Western Metal Supply Co. building which houses the Padres store in the lower level and some sweet seats on the upper levels) when a fan asked Julian Tavarez to toss him an extra ball that was laying around. So, Tavarez walks over and instead of tossing the ball over the fence to the fan he made the guy hold the ball with his fingertips through the fence while explaining that, "this is a test." He went on about how life is a test with a huge smirk on his face. He then had the guy's wife do the same thing with the ball. They both eventually worked the ball to the top and climbed the fence to reach over the other side to get their balls. Tavarez also programmed his phone number in their cell phone and promised them tickets for the next home game. They were psyched! Here are some pics of that incident. Tavarez was having a lot of fun with the crowd. He then started playing toss with the San Diego ball girl."

Click these to enlarge.

Thanks, Kara! (More of her pics to come on Monday....)

Meanwhile, Sox lead by two going to the ninth, Yanks down three in the eighth.... Update: Sox win! Great job by Beckett, especially getting out of the inning in which he gave up the two runs. And it turned out to be a good call by Tito to let him hit in the eighth, instead of going to Okajima. So we save him, and Pap is on fire, with another save. WARNING: This is Beckett's 11th win. Beware of Sox bloggers everywhere quoting (and misquoting) This is Spinal Tap. You know the scene. Some blogs even have the eleven line and their take on the "stay classy, San Diego" line in one post. Yanks down 7-1 in the eighth. Looks like they'll be falling to third place, 11.5 behind us. For his key scoop at first base, David Ortiz is the JPotG award winner.

Beck Is Dead

Rod Beck, the man who lived in a van down by the river*, has died. He was a big smoker/drinker-type, so that might have done him in. No word on whether it was something like that or a suicide or what. "Maybe it was a snake bite," offers my girlfriend, who was a fan of Beck.

More talk just now in the pre-game of how Francona's happy to be done with interleague play. Seems like everybody in the game or who once played the game agrees with me on this one, as does almost any real human I talk to. But "the fans love it!" (Read: "We want to have Mets-Yankees games every year so we're gonna just go ahead and do that. Sorry.")

*Actually a motor home down by the stadium.

Good Call, Bad Pole

New info added here.

Sox fans will be saying, about the reversed call on Bard's (and by the way, F you, Bard) homer, "They made the right call." Yes, the ball hit the foul pole. But let me ask you this. Why does that foul pole have another pole attached to the front of it? I know foul poles often have a screened pole or another pole attached to it, to make it wider, therefore facilitating fair/foul calls. But those additions to foul poles stick out to the side, meaning along the outfield fence. The Padres left field pole's "extention" points toward home plate, going along the foul line. So technically a ball could be curving foul, yet hit that front pole, when it would've gone to the foul side of the real pole had that front pole not been there. That's what this ball appeared to do. This is what I can tell from TV, anyway. (Maybe this ball would have gone on to hit the main pole--but that doesn't un-terriblejob-ify the pole setup. Note: their right field pole appears normal!) I will try to draw what I'm talking about and put it up here.

I'm glad umps are getting together to reverse calls when they mess them up the first time. But why not do this all the time? Why not have a replay system? Why not use robots instead of men with egos?

Sonny McLean's getting a plug on the game right now....

Saw Evan Almighty tonight. Fun movie.

Beautiful day in San Fran today, as the Yanks lose in 13. So we're 10.5 up even if we don't come back from this 6-0 deficit. Still think the Yanks will catch us by the Fourth of July, Murray Chass, you prick?

Update, 12:50 AM: We lose 6-1. Great pitching by the St. Jimmy Pops. Okay, here's what I'm talkin' about:

The correct setup (click these to enlarge, and therefore be able to see):

The terrible setup at the Padres park (from what I can tell on TV--maybe a San Diego person can get me a pic of this...):
Yes, I left out a word there. But you know what I meant. The direction the pole should, uh, sprout towards. And below is what Bard's ball did. They showed a replay from about this angle. And it really looked like if it had missed that frontal pole, it would've hit the brick wall on the foul side of the real pole:

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