Saturday, February 02, 2008

Still Love The Old World

Remember my video-blog on the Celtics tickets I got with the default Yankees disclaimer on the back? Well, I just got my Jon Richman tickets in the mail, also from ticketmasturbater (he's playing the Middle East in March), and guess what--more Yankee crap on the back. It's almost like with these, they did change parts of the long text, but left in some Yankee parts. All I know is, if the Richman "game" is cancelled, I can trade in my ticket in exchange for any other Yankee game. So ridiculous.

The second-to-last person to speak on camera in this short video, "What would we do without internet?", (white scarf) lets you witness society as it falls down. The last person they show is my hero.

Feel free to go back again and listen to each speech. It's hilarious. "I wouldn't know where my friends were." I wonder if the kid would remember how to eat breakfast if he didn't have the internet to tell him to chew and swallow. "Hey, I just took a crap, does anyone know what I should do next?" "Just Google it, dude."

But then our hero, that last girl, you can tell she really wants to say, "Yeah, I'd fucking know what to do because I'm not a moron and in fact I'd fucking love it because as you can tell by dipshit over there, I'd suddenly rule the goddamn world. Je-sus."

You Know About This?

View Larger Map

We eat at a place near Harvard Square sometimes, and park around this spot sometimes. It wasn't until the other day, though, that we noticed this. I didn't have my camera to take a pic of the two street signs together, so this will have to do.

[Added note: Y'all know I'm talking about the street names, right? One's shaped like a bow and one's straight and points right into the middle of the bow and....]

Talk Supe On Groundhog Day

Super Bowl number whatever: You've got the classic Yankees of football vs. the late-90s Yankees of football.

Giants (the "classic Yankees" of football): The traditional New York team who have been around a long time, and who can make fun of the other New York team by saying, We've won in the 90s, you haven't won since '69. Their fans are mainly Yankee fans, and they act like they are simply a higher class of person. And Jere never liked them.

Patriots (the "late-90s Yankees" of football): They've won a bunch of titles in a short timespan, they're the boring team in blue, they cheat to win, but when they're called on it, they just say, "everyone else was doing it, too," their best player wears a Yankee hat, they play "Welcome to the Jungle" at their stadium every game, everyone either loves or hates them, and a lot of their fans assume they've won before the game is played. And Jere never liked them.

Yes, folks, the voices in my head are still battling this one out. And I'll bring more history into it for you:

Many were shocked when I, the man who would sometimes eat more than one McDonald's meal in a day, gave up meat, eight years and 33 days ago. (Next week will mark the point where I can say I've been a vegetarian for exactly one quarter of my life. And please note, I'm not that weird about knowing the exact day--it's just easy since that day was January 1st, 2000.)

But people were more shocked when I gave up my teams in the two "other" sports around that same time. Having grown up with the Red Sox, Jets, and Nets in southwestern Connecticut, I had, let's see, three total people who liked the same team I did in ANY of the three sports. And that's if you count the other guy who rooted for the Red Sox and Jets as two people. I'm not talkin' friends, I'm talkin' total people in my town that I was aware of (not counting my own family). I don't know what was worse, the fact that I'd never seen any of my teams win a championship, or that I had hardly anyone to sympathize with about it.

Around the turn of the century, though, a very disturbing thing happened with the Nets--they joined forces with the Yankees of baseball, to form "YankeeNets," an ownership group that oversaw both teams. I don't know the details of it, I just know that my team and "Yankee" were being used not only in the sentence, but in the same word. Steinbrenner had interest in my team, and they were shown on the YES network. That was it for me. The worst part was, the team finally got good at that point, going to the Finals two years in a row. I still couldn't help but root for the guys I'd been rooting for in the years just before the Yankee-merger, but soon after, I was completely done. (Ironically, or not, a few years later, in '05, when Chan and I moved in together, he had gone from being a Jordan-era Bulls fan to a Kidd-era Nets fan, so the Nets were once again on the TV all the time at my house.)

So being done with my basketball team was complete--and, honestly, it was the least desirable of the three sports to me. It freed up more time in my life to do creative things. Which is another reason I stopped following football, too. And that is a valid reason. Sports took up a lot of my time as a kid, and I wanted my Sundays in the winter free again, among other days. Ironically, or not, the one sport I kept is the one that basically goes all year....

Okay, so I'm finally getting to the part where I stopped rooting for the Jets. I was just as die-hard about them as I was the Red Sox. It started out with the Sack Exchange--Gastineau, Klecko, Lyons, Mehl, Abdul Salaam--and the '82 run, when they almost knocked off the Dolphins to go to the Super Bowl. It didn't happen, and I was only 7, but I had my team from that point on. I went through the Freeman McNeil years, though my favorite was his back-up, Johnny Hector. Then Kenny O'Brien came on the scene and we thought we were finally Super Bowl-bound. That one year, man, we were 10-1, and stupid Paul McGuire came out and said, "the New York Jets will not win another football game this season." He was right. We finished 10-6. After a wild card win with O'Brien's back-up, Pat Ryan, at the helm (Post headline: Ryan's Hope), it looked like maybe we were back. We went to Cleveland and had a big lead late, but blew it, losing in double overtime, missing out on the AFC title game by that much. The Wesley Walker/Al Toon teams would never get that close again.

The next decade was pretty rough. Man, we saw some bad games at the Meadowlands from section 316, where we'd see one game each year. It was always fun listening to the "no-show" number. Attendance: 76,000. No-shows: 70,000. But we had one game, and my family and a friend would faithfully go to it every year, sitting in the freezing cold under a huge blanket. The 1-15 season was rock bottom--though I still say we were the best 1-15 team in the history of football.

Then the Jets went ahead and got Bill Parcells to be the coach. I hated the guy. Why? Because he was a Giant. He'd gone to the Pats, becoming "Pah-cells, dude," and had almost won there, while I continued to hate him. And now he was my coach, but I didn't want "almost," which had become the Tuna's forte. Sure enough, he almost won with us. It was 1998, and finally, the Jets were in position to get back to the big game. In a season where it seemed the team simply could not lose at home, we finally won the division we missed out on a decade before. We won a playoff game, and were in the AFC championship. It was Jets mania, with all my friend showing up every Sunday to watch the new popular team.

Then, Parcells decided his old Giant buddy, Dave Meggett, would be good to have on the team. We were up at halftime over Elway's Broncos, and I had visions of driving to the Super Bowl, but thanks in part to a Meggett miscue, we blew it once again.

And again, we'd missed our window. Shortly after, Parcells was movin' out of the head coaching job, but his trusty assistant, a bitch of a man named BILL BELICHICK, was to take over the job. The Jets were ready to stay up there with the class of the AFC. However, Belichick shocked everyone when, a day after getting the job, he fucking quit. He went to the Pats, and, needless to say, by early 2004, it didn't seem like the Red Sox were cursed as much as it seemed "Jere's teams in general are cursed."

But before that, before the Pats won, that's when the "rivalry" started happening. Jets-Patriots. After the '98 run, and into the early '00s, suddenly these two teams started to hate each other. Growing up, the Pats were just another team to me. The division rival I cared about the least, in fact. I hated the Dolphins, Bills, and Colts way more than the Pats. But I never thought of it in terms of "the Pats are the team Red Sox fans are supposed to like," or whatever. The Giants were my rival. There were Giants fans, and there were Jets fans where I grew up. That's all we cared about. "Bragging rights." Neither of us cared about the Pats. The year they played the Bears in the Super Bowl, when I was 10, I rooted for the wacky, fun-lovin' Bears. But I would've rooted for them against anybody. Except the Jets, of course. And then the Pats stunk again and none of us paid attention.

But now, suddenly my fellow Jet fans were yelling "Boston Sucks," and Pats fans felt they had a rival, the suddenly "big, bad" Jets, with their old coach--and Curtis Martin, their old running back--now in green. And now that they'd taken Belichick back, it was war.

A war I wanted no part of. Like I said, I'd never had more than one friend and my family to sympathize with as a Sox fan. But with this newfangled internet, suddenly I was aware of other Red Sox fans. And these people did NOT like the Jets. Which turns out to be ironic, or not, since the Jets to this day are the "old" Red Sox of football. So I felt the pressure. The weird thing was, though, it wasn't about "oh no, the Pats are gonna win, and I don't wanna be on the losing side." Not at all. It was more like, "Oh no, the Jets are gonna win, and I don't wanna get my ass e-kicked by this new community of Sox fans I'm now in."

But instead of that happening, the favored Jets, that fateful year, knocked Drew "most overrated person in the world" Bledsoe out of action, leaving the poor Pats with a back-up named Tom Brady, while the Jets would surely go on and win nine straight championships. Nope. Brady took the Pats to the Super Bowl. And I must've gone into full hatred mode by then, because I remember, despite hating the Rams, picking them to beat the Pats, like, 55-10 in that Super Bowl. But the Pats won. Now all New England sports fans had Celtics dynasties to fall back on, and a new title in football. And I had nothing. It really stank.

By then, I'd already started my "I don't follow football" plan, and had started doing these "creative" things with my new free time, like starting and touring with a band. But you can't avoid sports no matter how hard you try. So I officially "wasn't a Jets/football fan" but I was still sick. And to think, it partly came from the fact that I, a Sox fan, might become a "hated winner," only to continue to be a loser. Maybe it's time for me to become a Jets fan again, eh? (I also wonder if maybe my intense focus on baseball is what allowed me to see the Red Sox finally win it all--and maybe the sports gods are saying, Hey, we made sure to keep the Jets and Nets as total losers in case you ever get "tired" of this whole "Red Sox as winners" thing. Nah, it ain't worth it. This is too good.)


So as you can see, I would be in this same dilemma about this year's Super Bowl if I were a Giants fan. I wouldn't want MY football team to make it so people can make fun of MY baseball team by beating the Pats. And I wouldn't want MY people to make fun of me for having lost to the Pats. So I'd probably wuss out and just say "I'm out" like I did when the Jets and Pats "played each other in the Super Bowl," i.e. "became rivals."

You see what I'm saying? I hope that all made sense.

The more I think about this game, the more I think, Well, something bad WILL happen, but something good will, too. I have to think positive. I'll just let the game happen, knowing that either I won't be (ridiculously) thought of as a "choker" by Yankee fans, or I'll get to see an undefeated team who's won enough already lose their first game in the Super Bowl, and get to laugh at all the people who have already printed up their "19-0" T-shirts. Either way, one of the two Yankees' will lose.

Bonus paragraph, where he actually talks about the game!: Okay, so, all that crap said, I've been watching this Pats team, and they're beatable! Seriously, has anyone noticed this? Okay, so my girlfriend, a Pats fan, says, "If they're beatable, how come no one's beaten them?" Good point. And maybe I'm just looking at it from the gambler's perspective and seeing how the Pats are always huge favorites, yet have not been covering the spread lately, but it just seems like every game, the opponent is in the game. For a long time. One or two lucky breaks for some of these teams, and the Pats would have a couple of losses. I think if the Giants can get ahead, they'll be in good shape. The Pats seem to just do a little more than the other team, consistently, and very calmly. And I give them credit for that. They've won games where it seemed like they had no chance. They can come back when they need one score, but what if they need two or three? I think the Giants will take a lead on 'em at some point. If, at that point, they can hold onto the ball and get another score, the Pats may be done. 18 and a very huge 1. More likely, the Pats just blow them out of the water.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Kwiz Lahoud

In Jaws, at the opening of the July 4th scene, we hear the call of a baseball game coming from a radio. The call describes a sacrifice fly. What is the first name of the pitcher who threw the pitch? (Note: This is not an easy question, as you may soon find out. But there is a way to figure it out.)

[Update, 2/6/08: Kwiz explained here.]

Sean-Shane/Yes More Mr. Nice-Guy

Sox get 33-year old first baseman Sean Casey.

In Little League, there were two kids who were buddies, who both played for my team, with my dad as coach. Their names were Sean Egan and Shane Casey. My dad (almost as a pre-cursor to him calling my later-in-lfe friends Chan and Andy by one name, "Chandy") referred to both Sean and Shane as "Sean-shane." So he should be happy that the Sox have a true mix of the two, Sean Casey.

I remember Casey being interviewed in the dugout last year by Cervasio, I think, about his hunger foundation in Massachusetts. What I didn't know was that the co-founder is Conan O'Brien. Casey is also the nicest guy in baseball, as voted by the other players.

I checked his all-time hit chart at Fenway, to see if this lefty attempted to use the wall. And he did have a rash of flyouts to shallow left, but only one career Fenway hit to the opposite field, a single. So he was trying, it looks like. Maybe half-heartedly. Someone should tell him how to do that. Someone besides JD Drew. (Thanks to back-to-back Kwiz Champ AJM for the heads-up.)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tim Wakefield In California Tomorrow, Will Join Angels

The Blue Angels, that is.

If I were a team owner, I'd make sure all the contracts of my players include the phrase "no flying in stunt planes."

Which newspaper or blog will have the best knuckle-plane/floater/dipping and diving-type joke? I'll guess none of the above.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jays Blew In '07, Blow You In '08

I just got the Red Sox e-letter that they're always sending, and in this one, I noticed a curious thing. An advance sale for Red Sox tickets for games against the Blue Jays. In Toronto! Click here to be welcomed with open arms by the Jays to their own stadium, where they'll happily have you root against them.

I've criticized the Jays in the past for their willingness to pander to opposing fans, but now they're just coming right out and not only saying, "Please come to our park," but "Here's a chance to buy up the seats BEFORE OUR OWN FANS HAVE A CHANCE TO."

Remember when some stoonod wrote an article claiming that Red Sox fans buy other parks' tickets, as if we somehow are stealing them in the night before the home fans have a chance to buy them? Well now the Blue Jays are actually making this possible! I know thee other parks love it when we show up in droves, because they get all our money. But believe me, I am all for at least pretending like you want your own team to win the damn game. And like you care more about your own fans than the visiting fans.

Terrible job, Blue Jays. Oh, and by the way, we would've got all the tickets anyway. You didn't even need a special sale.

Kwiz Nichols

Click to enlarge. And then tell me what mistake(s) you see with this pennant.

I'll keep your answers hidden until, let's say, 3:00.

And don't forget to vote for Joy of Sox. Last day!

The Great Prospect Hold Swindle

Recently, at the Boyd/Lee/Gedman dinner, the panel was asked if they thought the Red Sox should trade young kids for Johan Santana. As all three former players enthusiastically shook their heads "no," the audience full of Red Sox fans cheered wildly in agreement.

The other night at the New York baseball writers' dinner, a pro-Yankee crowd (as well as Theo Epstein) applauded just as loud when Brian Cashman suggested avoiding a similar Santana trade.

Okay, so both fanbases have learned the important general lesson that just buying superstars is not the way to win. We learned this from the fact that the Yanks won before they started overpaying for really big stars, and then stopped winning once they got to a point where they basically had an All-Star at every position. And we learned this from the fact that the Red Sox have developed a farm system which has been turning out golden-coated rookies lately, and combined with the stars we already had, has led to great success for the big club.

Another thing we've all learned is how pitching wins championships, and you can have a "murderer's row" lineup, but without solid pitching, you're going to lose in the playoffs to a team that has it.

Stay with me here. Here's where the secret trick comes in. The Yankees, seeing their recent failures, have looked up at the Red Sox lately to try to figure out how to win. We move left, they move left. We move right, etc., etc. At this point we're just messing with them. We acted like giving up young players for Santana would be craaazy. So the Yanks are like, "Oh yeah, well we too can NOT trade for Santana! We know it's cool to keep prospects."

Well, guess what? It's only cool to keep the prospects if you know they're gonna be good! Like ours! You idiots, you coulda had Johan Santana! We've already got a good pitching staff. You're banking on Phil Hughes to be your number three starter. And Kennedy and Chamberlain to be four and five if Mussina shits the bed. You could've turned one of 'em into Johan Santana. You remembered the part about keeping prospects but you forgot how important pitching is.

Okay, I'll go back to that line about "knowing which prospects will be good." The point is, the three key guys the Twins wanted from us have proven themselves, at least a little bit, on the major league level, with two being World Series-winning heroes. All Joba did was generate a lot of hype and choke in the post-season. Kennedy made three starts, and Hughes hasn't looked like the Clemens '86 clone that the Yes Network has already proclaimed him to be. And even if I did think those guys were as good as our guys, we only need one of our guys to make our rotation (and Ellsbury adds so much to our offense as a bonus). They need two, possibly three. Even if they turn out to be great, it probably will take a little while, and again, they could've exchanged just one of those pitchers for Santana. Instead, they let their crosstown rivals take him. Think about it. As a Sox fan, aren't you saying, "I'm glad we didn't give up young guys, and I'm glad the Yanks didn't get Santana"? Yes. In other words, it would've been the right move for them, but not for the World Champs, the Boston Red Sox. Hopefully we see the Mets and Sox go to the '08 playoffs while the Yanks stay home.

[This is all assuming the Mets' trade goes through. Never assume.]

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


When New Jersey native Tina Cervasio was hired by NESN before the 2006 baseball season, she gave an interview in which she said

I know people will choose not to believe me and still think I have some sort of allegiance to the Yankees. But I don't. I asked a Red Sox fan the other day if he would ever work for the Yankees, he said no (bleeping) way. I said, well, that answers your question. I work for NESN, IN BOSTON, and I’m with the Red Sox every single day … A real Yankees fan would never work as a reporter for the Red Sox.

Someone on a message board at that time posted the above quote and followed it with

"When she's hoping to work in the New York market again (hopefully really soon) I wonder if this will come up if she interviews for a Yankees related position."

Two years later, Tina really is leaving, claiming she wants to be closer to her family--which probably means New York. She'd done several different jobs there before coming to Boston. So she'll probably be an part-time anchor for one of the local New York stations. But it would be funny if she tried to get a job with the Yanks and they brought up that interview. (Again, since she's already worked for them, and probably wants to move up from "sideline reporter," I'd assume she's going for a desk-type gig covering the full spectrum of New York sports, and not a job with one team.)

I'll miss (the other) TC saying "Tinacervasiooooo."

[video still of Tina interviewing Curt Schilling shot by me in Toronto, 2006]

Johan Santana To Mets. It Appears...

Mets win Santana sweepstakes. Looks like they have a window of time to get an extension done, and if they can do that, they get Santana. More on this later.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bob Ryan's Son Commits Suicide

So weird. Earlier today I was on the Globe site and saw what to me was a disturbing ad for "border patrol jobs" for Homeland Security. Then I find out just now from Red Sox Chick that Globe reporter Bob Ryan's son killed himself, and that he'd worked for Homeland Security. Including border patrol in the past. He had eight-year old triplets and was 37 years old.

Kwiz Kennedy

The opposing starting pitcher in this game has middle name that's the same as an evil character's name in a video game. Name the pitcher and the video game.

Note: The person who took that shot obviously doesn't like people stealing his photos. Hopefully they don't mind. You can search the name on the pic on ebay and see all the amazing pics they have up there. Lots of great Sox shots from back in the day.

Watch Out, Don Aase!

Sox get Aardsma. If he appears in an official game for us, he'll be number one on our all-time list. You know what I'm talking about.

To get him, we traded two minor leaguers, including Willy Mota. I'm convinced this man doesn't exist. Every time a team throws cash into a deal, but doesn't want to admit it, they just agree with the other team to have the official press release include "Willy Mota." Or Guillermo or Willie, depending on the day.

Another thing I never mentioned here was that a few weeks ago Glenn Geffner got a job with the Marlins, so his time as Castiglione's booth-partner is done. Of course, he didn't even do all the games last year, only the ones Dave O'Brien couldn't get to. Glenn definitely wasn't well-received by fans, but much of that had to do with the fact that he was a new voice to many people. After hearing the same duo for fourteen years, it's gonna be a shock to have one voice suddenly be different. I remember when Joe was the rookie, back in '83. I was only seven years old, but I'd already started listening to games (we only got a few games on TV if we were lucky--and only if my dad could successfully point the roof antenna the right way), and could hear the difference between the booming veteran Ken Coleman and the new guy. And when Coleman left, there was the shock of Bob Starr's voice--but Castig was still considered a second banana back then, so Starr became the number one man. After a short stay, Starr was out--and died shortly thereafter-- and Trupiano was in, but this time Joe C. took top-billing. But they ended up being a long-running team.

Wow, where was I going with that? Oh right, Geffner. Yeah, I still say he sounded like the voice of the New York Knights in The Natural. He never meant any harm, he just rubbed people the wrong way with his style and voice, I guess. I admit, he sometimes didn't seem excited enough for a long fly ball. It was like, "Okay, this is a fly out--what??--a home run? Why didn't let us know??" But is that any worse than Trup', saying "SWING and a drive, [whoops] it'll be caught."? And you can't really change your voice unless you want to sound like an imitation of someone else. Dave O'Brien has that classic announcer voice, but Geffner just doesn't. Just remember, though, neither did Castiglione, and some say he still doesn't, it's just that we're so used to him by now. I hope Geffner can one day be the Castiglione of the Marlins. Until then, I finally get to use my Natural joke, and I know at least, like, three of you get this: "Goodbye, Mr. Balding!" I wish you well.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My Favorite Fenway Pricing/Seating Quirk

If your seat is in the bottom right corner (looking at the stands) of outfield grandstand section 10, you've paid $30 for your ticket (2008 price). The person one seat to the right of you paid 50 bucks for their infield grandstand seat. The person directly in front of you also paid 50 for their right field box seat. And the person one row down and one seat to the right, diagonally adjacent to you, paid a whopping 90 dollars for their loge box seat.

And it's not like there'd much space between the four of you. The infield and outield grandstands are separated by that wall (the one you have to step over if you're walking out toward right field and you don't want to go down the ramp, around Canvas Alley and back up the next ramp), which means the outfield side is a foot or two higher, and there's that blue metal bar between loge and infield grandstand, but there aren't even any aisles separating you (30-dollar McGee) and your three richer neighbors.

Would you not be taunting that 90-dollar person the whole game? "Hey, can you tell what's going on from down there in the loge? I can't see so good from up here in thirty-dollar outfield grandstand!"

My girlfriend thought that would be mean. But she did ammend that to say, "unless it was a Yankee fan."

Actually, now that I think about it, you can get the same effect in left field. Only there it's even worse, because the 90-dollar people are directly in front of the 30-dollar people in section 32 and 33. And in 33, you can have a seat right along the fence a few rows down from the Monster, and have a 90-dollar person right in front of you who's also along the fence. It's a weird spot, due to the angling of those rows, where one front row seat is directly behind another. How crappy would that be to know that person behind you paid a third of what youd did for a slightly better vantage point which is as close to the playing field as your seat is?

Hey, did you notice Patriots' Day is just considered a regular game this season? It was kept out of the April/May/September sale, but it went on sale with the bulk of games yesterday. No special lottery. Singles still left. Is it possible they move it from the morning start to a regular 7:05 game in '08? Time is still TBD.

*photo by me, last regular season game of the World Championship year of 2007.

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