Saturday, March 22, 2008

In Japan

First time ever: I finish watching the final NCAA first round game, and flip on the Red Sox, after midnight. We're playing Hanshin. The game started at 11:15 or so. It's now 1 AM, and we're only in the 4th. Papi and Drew have donged.

The background noise is nuts. The fans are constantly singing and chanting. Joe and Dale Arnold seem to be ignoring it. I guess you have to after a while, it just never ends.

Amalie Benjamin is blogging all through the night here.

We lead 5-4 in the 4th, as Buchholz comes out of the game. And Snyder comes in and gets out of it. Tigers leave 'em loaded, 5-4 after 4.

Loads of pictures from this game here.

Castiglione with a guest in the booth. The old announcer for the Ceiba Restaurant Lions. I mean, Seibu Lions. He's got a translator. This is funny, because while the translator does his thing, Joe does the call of the play in front of him, while we hear Japanese talking in the back. Joe asks how the fans are so coordinated with their cheering. Guy says there are a few leaders, and a drummer. Now Joe asks what the most popular team in Japan is. Guy says "New York Yankees," to which Joe laughingly goes, "No, no, no, no, no, no..." Literally that many No's. Very un-Joe-like. The guy quickly covers himself after Joe and the translator have informed him he made the wrong answer, and he says, "and Boston Red Sox." As if Joe's prayers were answered, it's a 1-2-3 inning, the fastest of the game by far. Joe says goodbye, translator says hi to mom in Easton, Mass., and that's the end of that.

1:25 AM: Now Youk singles in a run. 6-4 us in the sixth. And I go to bed.
Pics in this post courtesy AP and Reuters.

Friday, March 21, 2008

$485? For The Spinners?

There's a sucker born every minute. But that's nothing compared to the birth rate of greedy, heartless, self-important ass holes. The tickets for the annual minor-league doubleheader at Fenway go on sale tomorrow morning. The cool thing about this event is that you get to watch baseball in Fenway Park for a very low price. The most expensive seats are 30 dollars. Knowing that there was a pre-sale for members of Kid Nation yesterday, I checked around the internet to see if people were selling their seats already. The answer to that question is, Yes, people already spent the 20 bucks to become a member on behalf of a non-existent "kid," just so they can get the best seats and sell them back to you, illegally, I should point out, for much higher than face value.

It was funny to read the description on ebay of two Pavilion Box, Row A seats, going for 50 bucks each: "sooooo expensive if its normal game. sit there for a fraction of the price." Yeah, and I can sit there at a fraction of your fraction if I simply buy the tickets from the team tomorrow! So, I thought that was bad, until I went to one of the scalper sites and saw what you see pictured. Wow. And they're not even row A. 485 bucks for a seat that costs 30 dollars at the most. 16 times face value. I think capitalism has ruined our culture. Stick a fork in us, we're done. I hope the bugs that survive when we all kill ourselves off decide to just live as equals.

(Bonus thing: my visible bookmarks deciphered! AOL; A site I found with all these old maps of Boston; my own blog; Joy of Sox; We Move to Canada; The direct link to a search for "Gedman" on ebay; Uniwatch; Retrosheet; Red Sox official site; Dressed to the Nines; and the "m" of "maps," meaning Google Maps.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Turn E Thyme

Ah, the first round of the NC-2A's. The only time in gambling when you suddenly find yourself attached to a school you never even knew existed, live and die with each of their shots for a couple of hours, and fall to your knees in sorrow as they lose in the final moments to whatever Goliath they happened to draw, only to mark your sheet "correct," as you picked the winner--You rooted against yourself, knowing you'd gladly sacrifice your five bucks to see East Burgmeier Valley State beat Kansas.

Tonight, Butler almost beat Duke, but it was not to be.

Quick update on the overpriced autographed ball. Somebody bid 10 bucks, but the reserve was not met. That dude, once on cloud nine thinking he had a 5,000 dollar item in a Little League ball signed by five average major leaguers, now has two choices. Keep the ball, and live in that fantasyland where Bobby Ojeda-signed memorabilia is, like, the most sought-after stuff in the world, OR, sell the damn thing for ten bucks. I'd go fantasyland at this point...

Only a few days left to get your date into the Manny 500 contest.

And Kwiz Season is in the home stretch, but it does look, once again, like it will overlap baseball season. Ryan's in the lead, with Pweezil number two, and Kara and Matty close for third. The reigning and back-to-back champ, AJM, is sitting fifth.

What Our Soldiers Are Made To Do

Part 1:

Part 2 (gets cut off at end after he finishes story):

Laura has been talking about Winter Soldier a lot. For more info, start there.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Actual Game (And Youk And Lowell Speak) (Updated)

Youk hit a three-run dong, and now he's talking to the press: Apologizes to the fans, but says they feel strongly about the issue....just says the whole thing was due to bad communication and bad language...Coaches need to be compensated...the agreement gives a certain amount to all the not experienced with "conference calls": "you don't know who's talkin'."... advises players in future to get stuff in writing...the reason there was a problem is because the coaches aren't backed by the Players' Union in cases like this....this should've been resolved a long time ago...a lot of guys torn because they really want to go to Japan, but team was united in stance to boycott...huge reason why we won WS: unity...i knew yesterday we'd have to come in today and do this...when I got up and addressed the team, they said "this is not gonna happen to our [coaches]"... (3-0 us going to the bottom of the 5th, by the way) ... Sox ownership does so much for this team, they care a lot and they get things done for us...i'm dizzy... (Aardsma, Corey, Lopez, no runs given up today, 3-0 through 5) ...we thought it was a pool going to everybody, turns out it was just for the players, that was the confusion...we have something in place where they're getting much more than they were going to get.... (Timlin in for the sixth)...Youk done.

Now in the 8th, still 3-0. Lowell being in-dugout interviewed by ESPN: Hershiser says he's proud of the guys. Lowell just restates everything. Says, "being on ESPN didn't hurt our leverage." ... says he's "hungrier" after WS title. Woooo!... Thurston makes diving catch during interview... says Papi and Manny are huge ahead of him because not one pitcher in baseball would rather face them than him. ... Lowell has 3 ipods loaded up for plane trip, plus some Tecmo Bowl and RBI baseball--and Ms. Pac-Man!! Talking about Don Flamenco! Holy shit, best interview ever!

3-1 now in the 8th as Oki gives up a run.

Wow--Reid Engel loses a ball in the sun in center field on a 3-2 pitch with 2 outs and 3 on. All 3 score to make it 4-3 Toronto in the eighth. The next guy hits one ito center, and Engel comes up with it and throws the guy who hit the first ball out at home. We go bottom 8. And now Papelbon comes in for top 9, down 4-3.

Pap hits Sal Fasano, leading off the ninth. On the 13th pitch to the next hitter, Sal steals second. Easily. Then, after finally striking out that hitter, he gets the next one, and they pick Sal off second on the play to end the inning. Ha!

And we lose 4-3... next stop, the LOTRS.

Red Sox About To Maybe Play (Updating)

1:49, final update of this post: I flipped over to ESPN, who is also carrying this game, and I caught the in-game interview with Tito. What a great job he did. And it's pre-season, so he was allowed to talk literally through the whole half-inning. He stressed that this wasn't about greed, said the last thing he wanted was to insult anybody, and even apologized that the game started so late. I hope somebody transcribed that one, he really does a nice job with those mandatory interviews.

1:15: The game has started. Kapstein behind plate in blue jacket. All is back to normal.

1:01: It's official. The "matter has been resolved" according to NESN.

12:56: Both teams on the field. Game finally about to start. Still assuming the Japan situation has been completely cleared up.

12:53: Game to start at 1:10. So, I guess the Japan trip is on...

12:52: All players out on field. Looks like it's a go....

12:50: Jeremy Kapstein shown on field, standing in front of dugout, talking on cell phone! Lowell starting to stretch on field....

12:38: Dear MLB, Quit being assholes like you usually are and just give the dudes their cash or else lose a HUGE deal of a Japan trip, risk Opening Day, etc., etc....

12:35: Showing the Jason interview again: He says if the game doesn't get played to today, "we'll sit around and sign autographs." Joy Boy just said that Yankee fool Peter Abraham called the Red Sox greedy. So please get the facts straight, everybody. The players are doing this for their coaches who were promised money and then had the rug pulled out. Now NESN showing "a lone bat boy" in the dugout....

12:33 PM: Still no players on the field. Oakland A's also say they'll boycott trip. If they don't play soon, it would really affect the schedule as they're supposed to leave for Japan late this afternoon.


You probably know all about the possible Japan-trip boycott. Great job to eff with MLB after MLB effed with us. I love it. Power to the people.

I've got NESN on. The team doesn't want to play the game, scheduled to start now, either, unless they get that dough for their coaches. They're showing the empty dugout. The fans are waiting. Some players came out, but just went back in to the clubhouse. Crazy!

So, as of 12:20 PM: Remy and Orsillo talking about the issue while the field is empty. Nick Cafardo on now. Says he's "amazed. Never seen anything like it. Fans getting restless." This is an ESPN2 game. They're showing Tek being interviewed in the dugout. Just says "we'll see" about everything.

Rivalry Hot As Ever (Unless You're Eric Wilbur)

We're in an unprecedented time right now. The Yankees, having won World Series before, and having seen the Red Sox win World Series since, are trying to regain the spotlight. First time in history. That fact alone means that the rivalry between the two teams is at an all-time high.

Not good enough? How about the fact that over the last ten seasons, no team from the AL East has made the playoffs other than the Red Sox and Yankees? Put any two teams in that situation, and they'll become rivals if they weren't already.

Still don't believe? Try spending any amount of time in the northeast. No, outside your house.

What the hell am I talking about? Eric Wilbur has written a piece saying that the rivalry isn't as intense as it was three years ago, and that he doesn't see it ever could be again.

Saying the rivalry is dead is like saying the curse is alive. Which, by the Yankee fans will always believe, no matter what happens. When you're at that level, your team is involved in...a rivalry.

The Yankees haven't won in over seven years. They've seen us win twice. They're desperate to win one again. And it's got everything to do with the Red Sox. To think it's not extra difficult for them knowing that not only are they failing, but the team they never thought would win have won, twice, including the biggest comeback of all time against them...well, Eric, that type of stuff resonates. And they're the side that supposedly "doesn't care."

For me, as you all know, the rivalry started at a level of 100 when I was born and has never dipped below that. I think it's that way for plenty of fans on both sides. But even looking at it from an outsider's point of view: look at all my evidence above, look at how we're two of the top teams in the game with the two highest payrolls, and add to that Hank Steinbrenner fueling the fire--my lord, the anticipation of this season is almost unparalleled! Plus, we're going in as World Champs. They're out to beat us and we're out to beat them. What more do you need, man? (And again, I really don't care who it is--if it was us and Toronto in this situation, I'd be just as psyched--but it's the team that we're already rivals with! Making it even more crazy! What is Wilbur smoking??)

And in his article, he calls the new Red Sox Nation ad "embarrassing." I fucking loved it! Okay, the tank at the end--a little dumb, but I see it in an "at war with the Yanks" thing, not as some kind of pro-war-in-general rhetoric. That's why the flag on top of it is a Red Sox flag, not an American flag. We're just defending our side in this baseball feud.

Of course the media has tried to cash in on this rivalry. But that doesn't mean they invented it, or that it wouldn't be there without them. It would. Eric also brings up the "oh, they play each other too often" excuse. Guess what? In 1949, a pennant race with a book written about it, the Red Sox played the Yankees 22 times. In 1978, a pennant race with a library written about it, we played each other 16 times. Was the rivalry watered down then? What does this guy want, a year where we play the Yanks, say, four times? Great. Then we could play the Blue Jays 32 times to make up for it. (?)

Again, I'm not in the "let's make sure the rivalry stays hot" business. I don't need to be. It's been the most natural thing in the world for about 100 years. Step outside your basement and go to the next Red Sox-Yankees game, or just walk around the streets of the entire northeast, and you'll see it. (Yes, when media people blog, we get to make fun of them for being in "their parents' basement.")

I was thinking about the media and people, and how that's a similar rivalry to Sox-Yanks. The people used to be able to communicate with each other about what's going on, and that's how news would spread. Then the "media" was invented, and they told everyone, "this is how it is." Then, the "internet" was invented, and the people started to take back the power. In this analogy, the media are the Yankees, and we the people are the Red Sox. Now that we're on top, the former empire is pissed, so all they can do, while still making fun of us, is realize our way is better and imitate us in a desperate attempt to swing the power back.

This piece was written for you free of charge by a lowly blogger and "fanboy."

5 For 5

I finally bought Joe Castiglione's book, Broadcast Rites and Sites: I Saw it on the Radio with the Boston Red Sox.

I remember it coming out in '04, and almost buying a signed copy at the bookstore in Kenmore Square, but I didn't want to have to carry it around with me during the game I was going to that day. And then I just never bought it. Terrible job, me.

So it arrived in the mail yesterday, and I flipped it open to the inside of the cover. Printed on it is a scored game, which I quickly figured out was one of Joe's scorecards. I looked at the names: Barrett, Buckner....Gedman. Cool, a game from my childhood, I thought. Finally I looked over at the other team to see it was the Mets. This was an '86 World Series game. Turns out it was Game 6. Of course, had I looked at the top first, I would've seen the date and figured this out right away.

As I looked at the scorecard, I noticed something totally crazy. It seemed Gedman's at bats were always the last at bat of an inning. I thought, I must be reading this wrong. But it really did appear that way.

So I went to "the 'sheet." Here's the box and play-by-play. It's true. Each of Gedman's at bats--all five of them--ended an inning. Once it was a double play, and once it was a single--the play where Jim Rice barreled around third like he was rolling down a hill and was tagged out at the plate.

What are the odds of ending five innings in a game? Do I dare suggest Rich is the only man to have ever ended an inning on every at bat in a game with a minimum of five opportunities? And how did that fact about Game Six escape me for so long? I'm sure some of you noted it that night and have never forgotten. Yet I, in the top 5 percentile of Gedman's fans, didn't know? Maybe I just repressed it....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Here are those plane-y pics I told you about. Click to enlarge. Kim says the one above looks like I cut and pasted it.

Amazing Larry was getting curious about all the skywatching.

He's doin' that thing again....

Another one nearly slams into old Moony.

Larry flying with the moon on his wings or whatever.

Sunset reflecting off just one window of nearby house.

Night flight. What's that, Atlanta Hawks Air?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Four Things

1. Plenty of dates to choose from in the Manny's 500th homer contest. 1a. Kwiz going on.

2. Still waiting for part two of the game I announced (as Castiglione and Trupiano) over on Cardboard Gods, but you can listen to part one here. When you get home from work, I guess.

3. Have you been watching Black Magic? I came across it last night by accident. It's a history of black colleges in basketball narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. Two hours last night, and part two, two more hours tonight. Great stuff, and a great soundtrack. Try to see it next time it's on.

4. My new thing is taking picture of planes crossing in front of the moon. A lot of flights come out of Big Papi and go right over our house. At certain times, it's one after the other, and if the moon is out, it's a rogue photographer's dream come true. I got a great one tonight--a close-up--that I haven't uploaded yet. But check out this one from last week. It's a wide shot, and I've vertically sliver-ized it. It's huge, so when you click on it, you'll probably have to scroll down to see the sunset and the trees. My holy grail, of course, is a shot of a plane actually obscuring part of the moon. Kim says I'm gonna end up as an old man who charts planes in one of these.

Denis Leary To Honor Yankees

The New York Pops will hold their 25th Birthday Gala next month, at which they'll be honoring the New York Yankees. The co-host of the event? Denis Leary.

Turns out Leary was fund-raisin' buddies--at the hospital my sister used to work at--with late Pops founder Skitch Henderson, and hosted last year's event as well. At that gala, Denis teased Steinbrenner's granddaughter after introducing her singing performance. So it's not like he pretends to be a Yankee fan at these events. Still, with this year's honoree being the Yanks themselves, it will surely be awkward. I woulda just sat this one out, but maybe he's got something special up his sleeve.

And about Henderson, it should be noted that despite being all big-hearted and charitable, he also served time for tax evasion and was accused of sexual harassment.

Sox trail Yanks today, 8-4. Colon was throwing the ball well, but had no control, giving up 4 runs in less than an inning. Tavarez didn't do much better, giving up three more runs. Youk has homered for us. [Update: 8-4 them, final. But the game doesn't count. Suckers...]

B.E.N. Invades Tampa

Red Sox at Yankees today. First chance for Dunbar fans to break out the "Red Sox are somehow bad even though they're currently World Champions because of something some football team did over the winter" chants.

But we'll see if Buncha Expletive Nation shows up to drown 'em out in Tampa. For Hank's sake, I was looking through old news articles to see just how early the term "Red Sox Nation" was used. There's a Nathan Cobb article from during the 1986 World Series that uses it. Then Shaughnessey uses it a couple of times in 1990. By '91 he's saying it all the time. And that's just from a crappy Google News search which hardly covers every article that ever was.

Of course, much like how the old guy in Logan's Run says each cat has three names, there are three "Red Sox Nation"s. The term itself used by regular folks for many years. The term describing the paid fan club which the owners took from that original term (and its members). And the actual Red Sox fans that are and always have been everywhere. All three, Hank, do exist. Sorry.

I should specify that in the '86 article the term was used in descibing the geographic divide between regions--the guy talked about the line between "Yankee country and Red Sox nation." The later uses more accurately describe the Nation as being wherever Red Sox fans are.

This is why I get so confused when I hear Sox fans say "I'm sick of 'Red Sox Nation'." Please specify what you're sick of. I'm not sick of Red Sox fans being all over the place. It's the way it's always been--New Englanders have been populating the rest of this country for centuries. I've always been proud to meet a Sox fan in some other spot in the world--and talk about bandwagoners all you want, when I meet a Sox fan, they usually have the team in their family and know what they're talking about. I've never had a Red Sox fan say to me, "oh, I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about, I only started following the team after they won the World Series. Now who's this Wade Boggs you speak of?" Whereas people in Yankee hats, in my experience, are usually people who somehow picked up the hat by default or got caught up in the late-90s winning or think Jeter is cute.

So that's one thing I'm not sick of. I'm also not sick of the fan club itself. It's a fan club. They exist everywhere. So what? The Yankees have one, the Celtics have one. I never was offended. The only issue was the crap about "making your citizenship official." They took the name describing all Sox fans and used it as the name of a club you have to pay to get into. Is that what you're sick of? Okay, then say that. It's almost getting to the point now where I hear a fan say "I'm sick of Red Sox Nation," and I think, Uh-oh, this is a relatively young fan who never knew the term Red Sox Nation as anything other than the fan-club title...

At left, one of our many "Nation" imitators. (Though I think there were "nations" before ours.)

Dice to start game one in Japan, Lester in game two.

I'll Tell Ya What The Effect Is, It's Pissing Me Off!

Last season, a popular ticket-scalping Web Site partnered with Major League Baseball. In other words, MLB is saying it is illegal to resell your tickets, but on behalf of the people who buy them from you when you do, please choose this particular place to buy the illegal goods.

This season, the Red Sox have become the only team to opt out of that partnership, choosing a local ticket-scalping agency to be their "official" secondary marketplace. It's an "advertising only" deal, which is better than being actual partners--but not much. So this agency will get its ad up on a billboard at Fenway every game.

That's right, the Red Sox, who have the right to refuse your ticket order for any reason, including reselling them for more than 2% higher than face value (per Mass. law), are promoting and encouraging an agency whose entire concept breaks that same rule.

The team makes it very clear during their ticket lotteries and sales, and on the back of the ticket itself, that it is illegal to scalp your tickets. They can ban you from ever ordering from them should they "catch" you doing it. But they figure (along with all of MLB) that as long as it's going on, they might as well get some of the money back.

Talk about weak.

"Oh, no, it's okay, keep raping grandma on the side of the road, just, can you put this shirt on with my company logo on it so passing motorists will see it and I can make some money to cover her medical bills? Cool. Same place tomorrow?"

Grow a spine, MLB. If people are taking advantage of you and all the fans, make them stop. Remember when the mobsters came to Calogero's dad and offered him a job? He respectfully told them to fuck off. And, like Lance in a completely different film, that's what you should be telling these assholes, right now.

When you're sitting in the Virtual Waiting Room, who do you think is getting all the tickets? A huge percentage of those people are buying tickets strictly to re-sell them for way more than they spent because they know they can. Another chunk is made up of the agencies themselves, or people who work for them. Let's stop supporting these places so the tickets can go from the team to the fans. It's bad enough a 12-dollar upper bleacher ticket costs about 25 dollars with all the fees the team adds on, let alone the hundred it can cost from a scalper.

Recently, a ticket order I placed with the Red Sox was canceled for a ridiculous technical reason. It's a long story which I will tell you once I hear back from the team. I wrote a letter (the paper kind) to the head of ticketing. It kills me that they took back some tickets that I--a real fan who bought tickets so my friends and family would get to see a game--purchased, while people who buy tickets for the sole purpose of illegally re-selling them to fans for a profit are not only allowed to do this, but are encouraged to.

The other side of this argument says, "It's my right to sell stuff for whatever price someone's willing to pay." I say, Why does someone like that have the stuff to begin with? The tickets belong to the team. They're putting the product on the field, and allowing you to have a chance to see it for the price they choose. After that, you should either have to go to the game, eat the tickets, or give them to someone else for no more than you paid originally. If that law were enforced, people who just buy so they can sell for a profit would have no interest in buying in the first place. You get rid of that crowd (including these "licensed agencies") and there are plenty of tickets to go around for the actual fans. And I don't mean to use the term "fan" in a high and mighty way. I just say "fan" meaning "person who wants to attend the game" as opposed to "person who wants to get greedy mitts on ticket so they can sell for 15 times face value."

It's so funny how so many places turn the other way on this whole "law" thing. Go to craigslist and look at their "disclaimer" in the "tickets" section. They say "please don't sell for above face value." (I can just see them in court: "We said please!") Then look at every single posting in the section. People blatantly list tickets at well above what they're worth. Does craigslist immediately delete the ad? Never. But when I do a sarcastic post there mocking the greedy bastards who feel vindicated selling a 30 dollar seat for 300 dollars because "that's what people are getting elsewhere," it's deleted. Go figure.

Please, if you have tickets and can't go to a game, think about the following options. 1. Your friends! Surely you have friends who like the same team as you. I'm guessing they probably complain all the time about how they "can't get tickets," too. Give 'em to them. Charge them face value plus what you paid in fees. They will appreciate it. And you'll feel way better about yourself than you will with a few extra bucks that won't make much of a difference in your life ten years from now. 2. Donate them to charity. 3. Give them to the first sickly-looking child you see. And that's about all we can do. The rest is up to the teams to stop pandering to the scalpers.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kwiz Lock

Whose eye is this? (The obvious clue is that this is a plaque, and not the person's actual eye.)

Update, 3/18, 8:36 PM: Here's more of the face:

Final Update, 3/19, 10:13 AM: AJM gets it. Fred Lynn. The picture is from Fenway Park, in the Red Sox Hall of Fame. Here it is:

Twin Peaks

This is your life: Freddy Sanchez, Jaret Wright, BK Kim, Doug Mabcdefgicz. These entities from our past all played for the Pirates today.

When Wright pitched, outfielders always seemed to be running toward the wall.

When Doug M. came running in and tried to catch a pop-up that the catcher was calling for, Don said, "Doug seems to think he should have every ball."

Snyder pitched well for us. Wake, with Cash behind the plate, did great in a triple A game. Pedro pitched four scoreless innings for the Mets in their game today.

Know what I hate about tape-delayed games? You can judge the ending based on what time it is. Let's say the road team is batting with two outs in the ninth, down a run. You look at the clock. It's 57 after the hour. You pretty much know they're not gonna score and extend the game. Unless they do and the game goes another half hour or hour. But at each half hour, you can again pretty much tell if the game's about to end. Fortunately, I don't care who wins these exhibition games.

Joe Thurston homered! Love that guy.

We lose 6-3. And the game ends right now--at 9:04. So forget what I said before. Good job by NESN for just letting it end when it ended. Then again, there was some editing. So why not edit it enough to make it end right at 9:00? But now I'm arguing on the side of something I don't like. Terrible job, me.

Over Before It Starts

Didn't give game updates today, since I'm watching it on tape delay right now. Don't tell me what happened. Not listening, ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba...

No 'Pan For Gold

It's official. Beckett won't go to Japan.

*secretly celebrates*

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