Saturday, August 25, 2007

Slow Wally

Kid Rock. That's what I call Bonderman. Because they look alike to me. And they both scare me.

KR lost to the Yanks, so NY is 6.5 behind us. We can make it eight going into The Bronx with a win tomorrow and Yankee losses tomorrow and Monday. Worst case, we're five up on Tuesday morning.

Seeing these brilliant Wakefield performances just makes me angrier when I think of that Newsday story by Wallace Matthews, from back in May. (article was taken down, but here's the cached version.)

Take another look at what this underpant* wrote, and know that as hard as it is to believe, I'm not making it up:
What I want to know is, how in the world has Wakefield been able to draw a major-league paycheck since 1992 with the kind of stuff you generally see at a family barbecue?

His knuckleball, or whatever you want to call it, is a bigger menace to the game than steroids, growth hormone or Clomid will ever be. When Wakefield is pitching, the game moves slower than David Ortiz going from home to first. If as many guys in major-league baseball threw the knuckler as have taken performance-enhancing drugs, the game and its fans would have died of boredom years ago.

His two main points, as you can see with the "paycheck" remark and the "game moves slower than..." remark above, are: Tim Wakefield isn't a good pitcher, and Tim Wakefield is a slow worker on the mound.

Regarding point number one: The guy makes the Boston Red Sox starting rotation every year. He must be doing something right. Maybe it's the fact that he has more wins for the team than anyone in history except Cy Young and Roger Clemens. Maybe it's the fact that his ERA is regularly below league average. I'd also like to see Matthews take a swing at a knuckleball.

Regarding point number two: I still can't believe this writer wasn't immediately fired upon his boss receiving the piece. Let alone the fact that it got published. Complaining about Wakefield being a slow worker is like saying "I'm so sick of Pauly Shore winning Oscars." Tim Wakefield is one of baseball's fastest dealers. The game today was only 3:10, despite Wake's offense scoring fourteen runs. The whole "time of game" thing is a flawed method of determining the speed at which a pitcher works, but if you look at that for Wake's games, you'll see a lot of times that start with "2." Let's see what some non-ridiculous reporters have said lately about Tim!

From Ian Browne's blog: "Wakefield vs. Halladay, two of the fastest workers in baseball..."

From the Hartford Courant's blog: "...we'll have a quick game, with Tim Wakefield facing Mark Buehrle, two of the fastest workers in the bigs."

Amalie Benjamin, today, on Extra Bases: "...with two of the quickest workers in the major leagues on the mound in Tim Wakefield and Mark Buehrle."

People don't just say he's fast, they say he's among the fastest. How Wally Matthews sees "fastest" as "slowest," well--I have a theory: The guy only sees Wakefield in Yankees games. Red Sox-Yankees games take a long time, as you may have noticed. That still doesn't mean Wake is taking any more time between getting the ball from the catcher and throwing the next pitch....

Oh, and that line, "His knuckleball, or whatever you want to call it"--wow. I think the guy was just drunk or something.

So, once again, Tim, keep up the incredible work. Wally, continuing being dead to Red Sox Nation.

Pic of Tim Wakefield in Baltimore with Julio Lugo wearing Manny's wristband in the foreground by me, August 2007.

*new term coined by me for someone even lower on the tool scale than (plural) underpants

Kickin' Butt

We destroy the White Sox, somethingteen to two. After Yanks series we can be a minimum of two games up and a maximum of 12 games up.

Hot Stove Concert At Fenway, 8/24/2007

The stage set-up tonight at Fenway Park for the Hot Stove/Cool Music concert. At this point, we'd moved up to the last row, but our real seats, as you'll see, were much sweeter. Click for biggie size. (Pics from past two years' concerts: 2005, 2006.)

Despite what I said in the post below, I couldn't leave the TV until Tek's homer made it 11-3 in game one. Then it was safe to leave. I met my girlfriend at Fenway, who got there just before me. The first band we saw was Kay Hanley's. Kay rocked it pretty good.

Mike O'Malley did a good job as emcee again. He's a funny dude. Lots of anti-Yankee stuff from him, and wishes of Papi homering off of Joba "the Slut" Chamberlain. (aka the Jobber, which is what Remy will call him.) They also did the usual auctions for charity between bands.

The Fenway sign through the stage-y stuff. Turns out we were right in front of the speakers but my ears aren't ringing too bad right now. I knew where the stage and our seats would be--but what I didn't realize was that the stage was in/over the bullpen, as opposed to on the field with the bullpens between us and it.

Theo takes the stage with Buffalo Tom, who were really good, too. Despite that, like with Kay, we see them every year at this thing. (Yes, that's Pesky's Pole and yes, that's what I was going for.)

The sun starts to set, and we start to wonder about game two, which is getting underway in Chicago.

Another shot of "Buffalo Theo."

Now Gammons is up there. You can see the incestuousness of these bands.

Gammons, with the Buffalo Tom guys, with Ian and the Paperclips or something... these people broke out a pretty cool tune. Gammons' stuff is just straight-ahead blues rock. I guess. Before and after he played, people kept asking Gammons questions. He was asked about his favorite non-'04 Red Sox moment. My first thought was, "I better hear Bernie Carbo's name." Peter said it was the Fisk homer, and then added "after Carbo's." Nice.

This dude from The Gentlemen (Jim Gent?) did the "off to the side" thing--actually on the roof of the bullpen.

At this point, only John Legend was left (the one act we hadn't seen in years past), so we decided to get a different view, so we went up to the Dunkin' Dugout. Note the turned-off John Hancock sign.

Looking left toward right field. I was surprised the bleachers had all these empty seats. But people were psyched for Legend, who we weren't really familiar with.

And looking to the right of the stage. I love the fact that it's Fenway, it's night, but some lights aren't on. Cool effect.

Looking out beyond right field, under the Dunkin' Donuts sign.

At right, the Citgo sign. If you've never been to Fenway, you should be saying, Wait, isn't that over the left field wall? It is when looking from home plate, guy/missy!

Still waiting for Legend to come out, Theo took some questions. He also gave us updates on the game! He had his cell and while looking at it, told us Schill had given up a homer, but then said that "Papi hit a two-run bomb." Then he told us it was 4-1, second and third, and the White Sox were changing pitchers. He added, "and it's starting to rain, so we need to get to five and dive...."

Wide shot showing some lights on, some off.

John Legend. This dude was pretty cool. R&B, with the fastness and the slowness, too. Fun stuff.


Theo chillin'.

We got to the car to hear the Sox had gone way up. Got home and saw the last out. Doubleheader sweep! Amazingly, it was 11:00, and the Yanks were just about to start after a long rain delay in Detroit. It's now 1:30 AM, and I'm watching their 6-6 game on Sixth inning. I'll update this when it's over. I'll be up.

Update, 2:52 AM. It's not even over. 6-6 going to the bottom of the tenth. End it here, Tigers!

Update, 3:33 AM. Tigers finally win! 9-6 on a two-out, three-run homer by Guillen! We're 6.5 up, and we clinch being ahead at the END of the Yankee series next week. But we should be way up at that point. Man, was I worried about this day. We had to play two, while they play a normal game after a day off. Instead, we win both games, they get a four hour rain delay, and then lose a 4.5 hour game, that ends at 3:30 in the morning. Yanks are done, people. Yanks are done!

Friday, August 24, 2007


I'm headed out to the concert at Fenway right now. It's funny, I'm not a huge fan of the performers, and I know what "Rockin' in the Free World" sounds like when played by Theo and Gammons. But it's a tradition now to go to the thing, and sitting at Fenway is always great. Plus, the money goes to charity.

How is Theo gonna play when there's a game going on? The scheduling was off this year. Sox game going on during this concert, futures game played during a Baltimore trip....

Sox lead game one as I type, 7-3, in the eighth. Let's hang on, and then I'll be back to catch the end of game two. (Hopefully they give updates on the scoreboard while the concert's going on.)

I'll have camera in hand tonight, who knows, maybe some cool people will show up. (But, again, thanks to the bad scheduling, there'll be no chance of Papelbon auctioning off guitars!) At least there's no rain in the forecast.

More Yaz (The Guy)

Today I came across a picture of Yaz, whose caption said it was from the 1975 World Series. The fact that Yaz was wearing a home uniform in a park other than Fenway told me that wasn't the case. It was a Reds catcher, but it wasn't the Series. It finally hit me that it must be an All-Star Game. That plus the fact that there was a red, see-through fence in the background made me sure of it: The '75 All-Star Game at Milwaukee's County Stadium. (Of course, I e-mailed the site to correct them, but the address was invalid. In fact, the site hadn't been updated since after the '03 season. But they said things were looking good for '04!)

So, here's the picture. Note that Yaz had red shoes, although the Sox didn't go that route until a few years later. He wore blue shoes in the World Series that year, so it must've been an ASG thing. He's also wearing his cap instead of a helmet:

Later, I saw that had the '75 All-Star Game, so I went to the exact spot (Yaz only saw one pitch in that game, and knocked it out, sending Bernie Brewer down his slide) in the game as the picture and grabbed a screenshot. So, here's a different angle of the exact same moment:

Stuff like this provides me endless entertainment. Like El Chapulin Colorado.

Double-header Friday with the rainout tonight. Oh, and for more about Yaz, scroll down....

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Have you seen these commercials for the birth control pill called Yaz? Isn't that hilarious? Here's my proposed design idea for them. If they accept, Yaz will become the official pill of ARSFFPT.

Each pill could have a little trivia tidbit on it: "Did you know Yaz hit for the cycle on May 14, 1965?"

Save Tiger Stadium! Or Not!

Ernie Harwell is trying to turn the old Tiger Stadium into a music & baseball museum. His plan also would allow for amateur games to be played there.

I'm all for it. Then again, if that doesn't work, they'll be demolishing the place, and auctioning off seats and stuff. You know how I like junk, so if that's how it goes down, that's fine, too. Of course, I always imagine these things happening like this:

"Tiger Stadium seats here! We've got so many, they're five bucks each!"

I'm just hoping I can get any piece of Tiger Stadium if I can, just because. I did get to see a game there once, in 1999. It's where I had a little run-in with Roger Clemens, which I've either told you about, or haven't but said I will. Either way, I'll bring it up again here someday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rest Sox

That's what appeared on mlb's Gameday scoreboard. 3C to 3. I guess "30" was too wide. I could not believe it when I saw that final score flash at the bottom of ESPN tonight. Biggest shock of that type since 2004, when I checked for the Nebraska football score, and saw that my Huskers had lost 70-10. Definitely a moment where you look around the area of the score, trying to absolutely make sure they mean the sport or league you think they mean.

But the Rangers really did it. 30 runs against the poor O-Birds. (Gabbo got the win!) And then they played game two, in which the Rangers scored three in the eighth to win 9-7. 39-10 for the day. Unbelievable.

I missed most of the Sox game tonight because I played organized softball for the first time since '94. Doubleheader. We got swept, but were not quite as bad as the O's tonight. I had a few hits and scored a run, but the best inning was when I caught a pop-up at short for out number one, my girlfriend threw from second to first on a grounder for out number two, and I threw from short to first on a grounder for out number three. We were the Trammell/Whitaker in this game. The Barrett/Owen if you will.

So we get in the car to hear Castiglione talking about how the Sox have stranded 12 runners. Then we get home to see the top of the ninth, and hear how Manny had the night off. And Tito refused to use him as a pinch hitter, and we lose 2-1 to Tampa. It's mind-boggling to me. Tina asked him about it afterwards, and he said sometimes you play your hand. Sorry, but if my hand was a ten and a three, and the dealer allowed me to exchange the three for even, say, a nine, I'd take my chances with the king-nine. I hope you know blackjack or that made no sense to you. Hey, when is blackjack gonna catch on? That I might watch. (You know, when it comes to "cards on TV.")

The Red Sox win. The Rest Sox lose. This is the perfect situation where we all could've been happy--the player gets his day off, which the "rest" people seem to think is so important, but he pinch hits, giving us a shot to actually win the game. Is that one at bat really gonna make the guy that much worse in September? Speaking of that, it almost IS September! When's the point where Tito says, Okay, everybody's rested and ready to play again?!

Angels had finally tied the Yanks at one in the sixth, but Peter Brady lost it right after that, and their relievers didn't do much better. 7-1 Yanks in the ninth. If they hold on, we're up five, going to Chicago for four while they go to Detroit for four, and then we play each other.


Henry Rollins: Hard-ass, musclebound singer/screamer, author, speaker, talk show host, who used to sing for a hardcore punk band 25 years ago when doing so was actually a dangerous occupation.

Air Supply: Wussiest band of the 20th century.

There's a new TV commercial that features an Air Supply song, which is voiced over by Henry Rollins. As American humans would say, that's just wrong.

I've come to terms with the fact that Hank is a mainstream personality now, and that if I'm hearing a male voice in a TV ad, it's most likely his. But there should come a point where he says, "I just can't do that."

If this doesn't show you how powerful the allure of money is, well, see the fact that baseball fans, who complain about ticket prices and not being able to get tickets, shill for internet ticket-scalping agencies (the very people who drive up the prices and steal all the tickets from the common folks) on their blogs.

Postscript or whatever: I have to admit--and I actually can't believe I'm about to admit this to the world--that I like some of those Air Supply songs. The difference is, I remember them from when I was four, and they remind me of being in the backseat, going to the store with my mom, with the AM radio going. In fact, I've totally been watching that infomercial for the soft rock CDs hosted by the two dudes from Air Supply. But Rollins was already touring with Black Flag when those Supply tunes came out. I sure hope you're giving that money to charity, Henry....

Is This Too "Jay Leno"?

Screen grab from "It wasn't me," said Murray.... Actually, Bill did do something stupid, though he didn't slash any toddlers.

Pulling Away

Here's a thought. If Wakefield's so great at the D-Rays' stadium, why don't the Rays try to get a knuckleballer? The conditions are obviously optimal.

Red Sox win again tonight against Tampa. A little dicey, as Lester again had problems getting out of the fifth. Everybody in the lineup had a hit, though, and Papelbon saved it, making him the only Sox player to ever have two 30-save seasons.

Yanks down 13-5 as I type this. If the Angels hold on, we're six up. After they took a 7-1 lead, knocking Mussina out, the Yanks came back with a classic TYR (typical Yankee rally). What other team can get four runs out of an inning like this: Walk, walk, bloop over second baseman, catchable fly ball to deep center, ground out, ground out, strikeout? The Yanks did, and quickly it was 7-5, with six innings to go. But the Angels, fortunately, have widened the gap.

Some of you may know that the Waterbury, CT, area is getting NESN, as their cable company has made the decision to offer it. The Sox are doing a big welcome-deal, as they did in New Haven in '04 (where they'd return a few months later with trophy in tow). Apparently, Diane Smith interviewed Larry Lucchino on WTIC this morning about this, and mentioned my blog! I don't know what exactly she said, but I can only hope it sounded something like, "When are you going to do something about the travesty that is Fairfield County being the only one in New England who doesn't get New England Sports Network? Unlike the Waterbury area, Fairfield's nearly one million people can't do anything about it, as the cable companies can't get NESN, because it's considered by MLB to be outside the Red Sox' viewing area."

Well, even if she didn't put it quite like that, I'm thrilled she mentioned this blog. Nice job, Diane. (Connecticut people know her for her many years as a great anchor on channel 8. Now she does the public television show "Positively Connecticut," as well as the radio show on 'TIC.)

I also would like to thank David Laurila for including me in a story about the Red Sox on the internet, which appears in the 2007 Red Sox Nation Annual. I saw a copy today--he did a great job, and promoted many other Sox blogs that I like. You probably know David from all the interviews he does with Sox prospects, which appear on Funny, the quote of mine he used involved "a friend of mine," who is actually Reb (remember Reb Sox? She doesn't, uh, update it much these days...), who I'd also like to thank for having my girlfriend and I over to her family's cabin this past weekend. It was a "do stuff afterwords"-y time there, as we played Cranium, where you roll the dice after you take your turn, and Manipulation, where you draw a card after you take your turn. Unorthodox-o-rama!

Anderson hits a grand slam. First Angel in history to get 10 RBI--and he should get another AB. Angels lead 18-5 in the sixth. I'm callin' this one! Six games up. And the Yanks will be 2.5 back of the WC.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Angels At Sox, 8/17/07

Tavarez tying his shoes. Yes, they actually wear the red socks beneath the long pants. Click these for big.

I got there at eleven for the 1:05 game, the first of a doubleheader. A perfectly comfortable day for August. Here's Gagne.

Manny had the ipod going in BP. We got to see a lot more of the Sox in pre-game, as the Angels didn't hit. One person I looked for right away was Wily Mo, as he was rumored to have been traded that day. I didn't see him, so I knew he was gone. Turns out we traded him to the Nationals, for "some dude who's really great, but, uh, we can't say who he is." Maybe they're really just hoping people will forget about it and stop asking eventually, as never to figure out that we actually just left Wily Mo on the Nationals' doorstep and ran away real quick. Theo: ""It certainly wasn't a good trade in retrospect. You know, from a pure sort of talent standpoint, in a vacuum, I guess, that can still be debated." Vacuum! Ha. Like a -- fantasy league?

My token shot of Timlin and his kid.


Papi dwarfing Pedroia.

Manny still with the headphones, about to take some swings.

Cora was pointing at something in the crowd, and Dustin was embarrassed for, maybe, not knowing who or what it was. At least that's what I took from this scene.

Manny hugs Bartolo Colon. Also note the clipboard at left, with the BP schedule, divided into the three hitting groups. I like the "Early Work" section at the top. (Nobody did it that day. Although maybe somebody should have written Youk's name on there when no one was looking.)

You'll notice I was moving all around the park that day.

Papi, Manny, the Pru....

Manny having fun gathering baseballs.

Joe Castiglione interviewing Jon "Sid" Lester.

Clay "Double-H" Buchholz walks onto the Fenway field.

Double-H out in center field.

Buch-61 ($1.61) doing arm excersizes.

Anderson wondering what the hell Chone is doing. Note the Walpole Little League team's game on the board.

New sign on the Monster. You can see the old sign behind it. I think that was the Futures at Fenway sign. Didn't get to go to that this year since we were seeing the Sox in Baltimore that day. Next year we'll get back to that. I don't pass up ultra-cheap, easily accessible Fenway tickets. Unless I'm out of town or whatever.

Clay warming up in the 'pen.

I finally settled on this spot to stand in. Pretty sweet view for 12 bucks. (I had an upper bleacher seat.)

I love this one. Ortiz and Dustin the Wind.

Now the meet-and greet really gets going. Vlad thinks he's just getting hugs from Manny and Papi, but little does he know, he's in for...

...the sandwich hop! You can see Manny's feet off the ground.

Anderson, Manny, and Chone.

Vlad and O-Cab, Papi and Manny.

Don't know what Orlando was looking for under Manny's sleeve.

The Sox take the field. Buchholz is number 61.

Double-H's first warm-up toss.

This is how you're feeling when you're about to throw your first major league pitch.

And here it is. He walked the first batter on four pitches.

Cabrera up in the first.

Drew made an error which could've been key. But the 61-point Buch got out of the first with only one run given up.

And that got him a standing ovation. He got one pretty much after every inning. The bats helped him with six runs in the first.

Papi finishing his home run trot.

Ortiz celebrates with Lugo.

Check out the crazy bend-back on that first baseman's hand!

Mirabelli's hurt, and Dustin's concerned. This would cause craziness, as Doug left the game, leading 'tek to fill in, and the team to call up Cash for game two. Doug was put on the DL later.

I noticed the three in their special box behind the plate on the third base side.

The view of the right field corner from where I stood.

The screwball-style finish.

Here, Clay hovers in mid-air after firing. (I didn't mean to cut his upper body off. But I can tell my friends I was purposely going for the feet-shot. Oh, wait, "my friends" are you people. Myyy mistake.)

Close-up of Varitek swinging.

Papi at the plate.

Okajima in.

Okajima on the mound--click this one for super-duper big.

Dustin homers for a key insurance run. Papelbon would get the save.

Currently, the Angels have tied the Yanks at 4. I'll update this game down here.

Update: Angels lead 5-4 in the seventh! Thanks, O-Cab! They just showed Phull Huggies in the dugout. No win for him. Ha. God, I hate the Yankees. I've been sitting here listening to Sutcliffe talk about this Yankee greatness and crap. I'm literally rooting for an earthquake to hit just the Yankee dugout. At least I don't have to hear Kay. 6-4 now, as Vlad's grouder knocks in another. Hopefully the Angels can get six outs. Nice "Yankees Suck" chant in Anaheim right now. Love it.

Update: Well, they got one out. 6-6. A-Rod hits a kind of hard liner to second. Kendrick reaches out--and misses the ball. Goes right by him. Single. Two batters later, Posada homers to tie it. The Yankees, as is their tradition, are the luckiest team in the history of sports. It's sickening. Once again, though, it looks like the Red Sox will just have to beat them ourselves, as no one else wants to step up, scared of the mighty, cheating, lucky Yankees. Angels get out of the top of the eighth. Tied.

Update: Holy shit! Am I missing something? Did A-Rod just slowly go over to the fence for a pop up, reach out over the camera area, and miss it, only to have it land to the SIDE of that area, ON the field? Yes. In other words, besides the fact that A-Rod proved what a wuss he is yet again, he could've just gone AROUND the camera area and caught the ball. In fact, we saw Jeter come sprinting after the ball hit the groug, again ON the field. And it killed me because O'Brien and Sutcliffe said absolutely nothing, as if the ball was just out of play. And the guy ended up doubling! A-Rod with a huge mistake that's going unnoticed. We'll see if the Angels can turn this into runs, though.

Update: They didn't. Second and third, one out, and they get a wicked shot which Betemit snatches at first on a hop. He throws home to get Gary Matthews--the dipshit doesn't even slide. The next guy checks his swing, but the ump (rooting for the Yanks as is in their contracts) calls the guy out to end the inning. Scioscia gets ejected arguing the call. Top 9, Jeter gets on with two out, and, K-Rod balks him to second (guess if that made me want to kill him or not), but fortunately gets Abreu swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Bottom 9, Mo gets first two, but next two get hits. Winning run at third, but he gets a ground out. We go to extras.

Update: Ha! Yankee fans stay up til 2 (yeah, right) only to get teased, as Angels win in 10! Exactly what I wished for, and it came true: that the Yanks almost win, but still lose. That's always the best way. Man on second, one out, and it was a fly to right center that Melky couldn't quite reach. Sweet. 5 games up.

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