Saturday, May 03, 2008

Two Manny Things

One. Tonight, Manny threw out a runner at the plate, and as he was running to the dugout, did the "windmill" arm motion. Remy referred to this as "Manny loosening up the arm." But I've been watching Manny, and he's been doing this a lot, either when a runner doesn't attempt to score on a ball hit to him, or when he throws a guy out at a base. I think he's mocking the third base coach "waving him in" sign. But I could be wrong.

[One-A. (added 11:12 PM) During post-game, TC watches the replay of the above play, and shows he's been influenced by Remy's call: "Manny loosening up the gun," TC said, quite sure of himself. I still say Manny's gotta be mocking the waving in of the runner! Who's with me on this one? My further proof--they showed Manny actually loosening up his arm during tonight's game, and he does it clockwise (if you look at your right arm while winding it). But when he does this mocking motion, he goes counterclockwise--which is the same direction the coaches arm would be going from Manny's perspective in the outfield.]

Two. A Ray of Devil hit a dong right off the "496" above the Monster. And it made made me realize that, terribly, I hadn't to that point visualized Manny hitting a homer (preferably his 500th) off off those numbers! So that's what I'm rooting for now. Specifically, a ball that hits the numbers and makes the 499 fall on its own, revealing the 500. Though it would be crappy if, say, only the middle number fell off, sending Manny back to 409.

But he needs four dongs tomorrow if he wants to get 500 on this homestand. After tomorrow, we hit the road for 10 days.

With our win tonight, we're 2 games up in the east.

Home West Coast Game

A 7:05 game that starts after 9:30. Fun. I should've gone over to Fenway and got a really good seat. But we had a pizza I stayed home and ate it. Red Sox win, 7-3. I predicted 11-1. But I meant 7-3, so...

Sked ad update: They have fixed the home/road thing, so now Indy sits in a red square, and is sized to fit the square much better. So they "fixed" one part of this, but the key is, the ad is still there. Terrible job.

Tomorrow is the first day of Open Studios. Tonight I went to the space and set up my stuff. It was cool framing some of my Fenway pics. Some of them came out really nice. Others, I didn't account for the shot to get its edges cut off upon printing, and then for the new edges to get cut off by the matting within the frame. So, some shots didn't get used. Others, I winged it. Wang it? It should be fun. 50 Thurston St., Somerville, if you're in the area. 12-5 Saturday and Sunday. It's free to get in by the way, and there are 15 other artists in the space I'll be in. You can also take the little trolley all over town and see all the other artists' work.

I was really looking forward to this "Red Sox Memories" show. I missed the first one, but the second one--it seemed like a show I'd seen already. And it spoke to me like I knew nothing about the history of the team. But, hey, there are a lot of people in that category who need to learn.... Oh, and there was one scene where they're showing Fisk up in Game 6 of the '75 series. Or Carbo, really doesn't matter. The point is, they cut to a shot of Zimmer clapping encouragement from the third base coaches box. Only Zimmer was clearly IN Cincinnati, not Fenway Park. (If the background didn't give him away, the road uniform sure did.) Do they think we don't notice this stuff? The next episode is about rookies, hopefully it will be better. Speaking of editing, there's a shot in the Spaceman doc of Bill Lee walking off the mound in the '75 Series, and then they cut to a close-up, and suddenly it's clearly a regular season game. Funny thing is, in the commentary, Lee spots it and points it out to the co-commentator--the guy who made the movie.

Oh, and the new camera angle! NESN is suddenly going with the "pretty much directly behind the pitcher" view* on pitches. The stubborn side of me is saying, "Gimme that classic angle." But the (oppressed) sensible side is saying, Hey, you can really see pitches breaking, and you have a better view of balls and strikes. It takes getting used to for certain things. I'm still having trouble judging how far balls are going off the bat, and whether they'll be fair or foul on balls down the lines. I'm also wondering--since they still use the old shot occasionally, what is the cameraperson in the traditional camera-well doing the whole time? Is he just filming every pitch, knowing his shot goes unused forever? Also, you know who really gets the shaft on this angle? Drinkwater and Kapstein....

*This was tried by ESPN a few years ago--I think the Mussina broken-up-by-Crazy-Carl perfect game was shown from that angle. But when they did it, it felt like you were watching from the blimp. NESN's view is higher than the old angle, but not as high as ESPN's. So the pitcher's head isn't high enough on the screen to block the view of the pitch crossing the plate, yet he doesn't appear to be way below the plate, like on ESPN.

Friday, May 02, 2008

And A Free Keychain!

Battle for first tonight. DEVIL Rays at Red Sox, 7:05. I'll miss a little of this one as I'll be setting up for open studios this weekend.

Are you looking to buy tickets to the Yankees-Orioles game on May 22nd in either Baltimore or New York? Need to fly there and stay in a hotel? Need to know what time the game is and how to see it on TV or the internet, so it won't conflict with the new Indiana Jones movie you'll be seeing on the same day? And what trinket you'll get at the game? Well you're in luck! This square's got everything you need:

500 Update

Dori looked like a lock on her Manny prediction, but he's been stalled at 496 for some time now. If Manny gets four dongs in the next two nights, doublenicks will win with his May 3rd guess. May 4th was my predicted (yet unwanted, since I had a ticket to that game but won't be able to make it) date, which is looking worse and worse (or, better and better--see previous parenthetical note). But Monday through Wednesday are taken by vineyard vacationer, Mike, and Boston Fan in Wichita. All three of them have a shot, though they'd look better if, say, Manny dongs twice tonight! Most May dates are taken, so this should be fun! (full list here)

Stop! Stop!!!!!!!!!!

This is bullshit:

I never realized how sacred the baseball schedule was until I saw an ad for a movie literally on one of the calendar days. They'd infiltrated it to the point of advertising on the spaces before the 1st or after the 31st on the grid, but now they've taken the final step.

I don't own a calendar. Every year, the Red Sox schedule IS my calendar. And now, they've shit all over it, squeezing in a picture of ol' Indy right on one of the game days. The schedule is supposed to be an informational tool. Yes, the pocket schedules have always been covered with ads. But the little calendar squares--those are supposed to tell me who we're playing, where, and at what time. And look at that--the "Indy" day is a home game. It's supposed to be in red as per their key. But they've changed it to white (which signals an away game), JUST SO THE AD WILL SHOW UP BETTER. They care more about making money than they do about telling you the key piece of information about one of the games.

And yes, this ad is on all the MLB schedules.

I'm moving to Cuba.


September 18th, 1993. I've just turned 18, and I've been at college in Nebraska for less than a month. I'm on the phone with my parents back in Connecticut on a Saturday afternoon. One of my Yankee fan friends is visiting my parents. They're all watching the Red Sox-Yankees game, giving me updates. It's the ninth inning. My mom is announcing what sounds like the final out. The Red Sox have won--or have they? I hear my friend in the background happily yelling. I hear my dad UNhappily yelling. The final out is negated as time had been called when some Yankee fan ran on the field just before the pitch. The ambidextrous Greg Harris then gives up a few hits, and the Yanks win the game in the classy way only they know how to. Story here. (And Allan was at the game!)

In tonight's Red Sox game, Coco Crisp made was appeared to be the last out. The non-Dirty Water music even started to play. But apparently a balk had been called. Coco got a hit, bringing the tying run to the plate, but Jed Lowrie was called out on strikes to end it. I guess we'll have to save our "appear to lose but then win" for some future game. Against the Yanks. Oh, wait, we did it in 2004. Without the aid of a fan. Nice. The Yanks have not won a playoff series since....

Speaking of America's most despised franchise, Johan San--oh, no, that's right, they didn't get that was Phil Hughes, yeah, he's out till, like, July now. Too bad. I liked seeing him in there. I like seeing Ian Kennedy in there, too. He pitched tonight and they lost, 8-4. They're 14-16 now, 5th-worst record in the league.

Have you seen the commercial for "VitaPacks"? Doesn't it look like a fake commercial for some kind of "food of the future"? Like, "mmm, I love my pill meal! All I need is this handy bag o' pills and I'm set for the day." If the people in that ad were wearing silver suits it would be perfect.

I'm adding a clue to the recent kwiz, which no one has taken a shot at yet....

Also, have you noticed there are two different movies out now with a "pee in the sink" scene in the trailer?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

More Artsy, Less Fartsy

If you're lookin' for something to do this weekend and you're somewhere near Somerville, Mass, come see my photography at Somerville Open Studios.

It's noon - 5 PM on both Saturday and Sunday, and I will be showing a bunch of Fenway-related shots. Which, as a reader of this blog, you've probably seen already. But here's your chance to see them framed and matted, and to be able to tell me directly how awesome/shitty you think they are!

I'll be at 50 Thurston Street, in the gymnasium of St. Ann's church. (That's just where they put me, people.) And the prices, if you want to buy, will be totally affordable, as opposed to most "art," which seems to cost, like, $6,000. For a splotch of red paint on a canvas.

For all the details, click here. Hope to see you in the real world this weekend.

Kwiz Butland

Red Sox, White Sox, Tigers, Indians, Cubs.

These teams can say something that no other teams can say. What is it?

Update, 5/2/08, 12:55 AM: Here's a new wording of the question: These franchises can say something no other teams can say.

Defending Aprils

Here's how the 12 American League champion Boston clubs have done through April 30th in their title-defending season, ranked from best to worst:

1904: 10-2
1919: 4-1
1917: 9-4
1916: 9-6
2008: 17-12
2005: 12-11
1968: 8-8
1947: 6-6-1
1976: 6-7
1913: 6-8
1987: 9-13
1905: 3-10

The first World Champions came out strong in 1904, still with the best April 30th record of any Boston defending AL champs. The next year, possibly still pissed about not getting a chance to play a World Series, the '05 squad had a 3-10 record on 4/30, still the worst of any Boston defending AL champs. This year's team comes in fifth of 12, even if you don't count the two March games.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Triple Crown

Didn't get to see the game tonight, as I was playing in a game of my own. But it turns out the Red Sox pretty much played the same game as they did the night before, so I didn't miss much. I did get to hear the ninth in the car on the way home from our game. As we scored the winning run, we could see the lights of Fenway and the Citgo sign from the Pike.

Our game was out in a place I'd never heard of called Wayland. As in Smithers. The field had the dreaded "skin infield" and was much bigger than the other fields we've played on. The pitching rubber was so far away, pitchers couldn't throw consistent strikes. It was a walk-fest. I figured if we could just get the lead and be batting, we could milk it till the lights went off and hold on for the W. Fortunately, Anne was able to throw strikes for us, and in the back-and-forth battle, we found ourselves up 20-14, and coming up to hit in the bottom of the third.

The ump had said something about "15 minutes left" so I figured we were gold. We just needed a few walks, maybe a hit or two--nobody do anything crazy, like swing at the first pitch. But for that inning, they put a guy with baseball pants on the mound. So you knew he'd be able to do a good job--and he did, setting us down 1-2-3.

So it was the top of the fourth and last inning, and we'd have to go out into the field, still holding a six-run lead. I was playing third. I fielded a grounder and threw to second for a force for the first out. A few of their players got on, and we got another out. Then some dude hits a dong, making it a two-run game. Then two more got on. At that moment, I thought, Just hit the damn ball to me, and I can step on third. And that's just what happened. I fielded it cleanly and touched the bag to end it. The pressure was on us, because even though we had last ups, if they'd grabbed the lead, the lights would've been moments from shutting off, and we might not have had a chance.

After last year's winless season, we're a 2-1 ballclub! Oh, and I went 1 for 1 at the plate with a walk. And the Yanks lost. And A-Rod and Hughes have joined Posada on the DL. Red Sox end April 17-12, alone in first place, after all the Japan stuff....

1 Zip

Last night on the post-game, TC mentioned that before last night, the last walkoff, 1-0 win for the Red Sox came in 1980. Joy of Sox mentions the exact game here. That game was a 10-inning affair. So I got to wonderin', when was the last time the Sox walked off with a 1-0 win in nine innings?

In 1973 and 1969, the Sox had 1-0 walkoff wins, but both of those were extra-inning contests. (The '69 game was a 14-inning win against the Yanks.) So I kept going backwards.

Finally, I hit it: May 12th, 1960. Red Sox win 1-0 at home with a run in the bottom of the ninth. So it had been nearly 48 years. I started going back beyond 1960, and right away I found another one. September 15th, 1959, the Sox again get a 1-0 walkoff in nine innings. Peter Runnels scored the winning run in the '59 game, and knocked it in in the '60 game.

So in the span of 17 home games, the Red Sox had two nine-inning, 1-0 walkoff wins. After that, it would be more than 3,800 home games till it happened again.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pap With The Win, Pedroia With The Save

Jon "Sid" "Wicked" Lester was on tonight. If you're searching Red Sox blogs and think you're gonna see "Lester's back," or "I can't believe it's the same guy," you won't find it here, as some of us have had faith in this guy all along. He did win the last game of the World Series, after all.

He had a one-hitter through 8 tonight, and Pedroia maybe could've had the one hit. But I don't think NESN showed a replay, and then, oddly, they hardly brought the play up, almost as if they were trying not to jinx the one-hitter.

But Sid wouldn't get the win, as it was 0-0 after eight. And if Pedroia did have a shot to catch that ball that would've kept the no-no going, he certainly made up for it with a game-saving play in the ninth. And in the bottom half, with two outs against Halladay, Papi walks, Manny singles, and Youk knocks home Papi for the walk-off win.

Phil Hughes has made 7 starts. He's averaging under 4 innings pitched per outing. His ERA is now right around 9.00 (that's a run an inning to you and me, kids). Tonight he did his usual, and the Yanks trail 6-2 in the eighth.

Update: The Tigers tried hard, but couldn't blow this one. Yanks lose 6-4, and are a .500 ball club again. Another thing I here at ARSFFPT am not surprised at.

Another update: On SportsDesk, Hazel talks about an "anniversary" for Roger Clemens. I'm thinkin', come on, since when is the 22nd anniversary of something a big deal? They come back from break, and she announces it: "April 29th, 2008 is the 20th anniversary of Roger Clemens breaking the all-time strikeout record in one game." Wrong. 22nd. It's simple math really. Terrible job.

Squirrel Conditioning

I just saw a squirrel eating a big object. A piece of toast or something. Maybe a hamburger bun--but not the holy squirrel-eating grail, an ice cream cone. I've seen that once but didn't have my camera. Anyway, it was just chowing down on the thing, and I thought, Good for you. You squirrels are always storing, storing, storing. Break that crap out and enjoy! It's spring!

It reminded me of how, for five years, I never used the "MAX A/C" setting in my car. I'd just go regular A/C, figuring if I overdid it, I might lose it entirely for future summers. I never went max, and wouldn't you know it, the A/C finally stopped working anyway. Maybe I conserved properly. Maybe avoiding max gave me an extra year of regular. But I kind of wish I'd had one good sweltering month maxed out.

The squirrels have the right idea. Save for a while, then spend, then save again, then spend again.

Once again, the non-human animals win. I can't wait to see which species takes the top spot when we destroy ourselves. Should be a fun battle.

Red Sox vs. some bird or another, 7:05 PM.

Grandmother Slamfather

I came across a 1957 NYT article that mentioned a "four-run homer." I started thinking, When did they first start calling them "grand slams"? I started looking through articles from the early years of baseball. Not much use of the term (which comes from the card game Bridge) until the 1920s. Before that, it was used, but it was referring to a four-game sweep or other foursomes. Or just slams that were grand--they talk about a four-run inning in the 1919 World Series as "one grand slam," though all four runs did not score on a homer.

In 1929, the Times said "...thus producing what is known in baseball as a grand slam is enough to make a ball game momentous." It was Les Bell of the Boston Braves who hit the pinch grand dong they were referring to. So that gives you the impression that it was a new term then.

In 1938, The Sporting News said "...slammed a four-run round-tripper over the distant left field wall in Pittsburgh. That one Grand Slam appeared to be just what the doctor ordered for the Italian boy." (Johnny Rizzo--the sub-headline also uses grand slam, funny how it's capitalized in the story. They also call the Pirates the "Freebooters" in that article. I love these old baseball descriptions....)

By the early '40s, articles are chock full of references to grand slams.

I did find one instance of the term "grand slam home run" from before the late-30s, and it was from the Marion Star circa 1916: "Eric Tipton's eighth inning grand slam home run yesterday put St. Paul right on the heels of Minneapolis for the American Association lead."

So what did I learn? That's it's almost 2 AM and I'm getting tired. This is not a definitive history. If you've got anything to add, feel free.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Riders On The Non-Storm

"The Yanks' three-week journey finally came to an end Monday night," says the Daily News. Only the Yanks can have a "journey" that includes two HOME GAMES right in the middle of it. Again, WE WENT TO JAPAN!

The Chokers had a classic TYR (Typical Yankee Rally) tonight. Sixth inning, down two, and getting no-hit. First three Yankees single, two of those being of the infield variety. The next guy gets hit by a pitch, run scores. The next guy grounds out. Run scores. Next guy grounds out. Run scores. Now it's a man on third, two outs. Cleveland changes pitchers. The next hitter knocks in the fourth run infield single. Yanks go on to Twin 5-2.

I saw some of the Celts tonight. Very weird moment: Time is called, and the station doesn't go to commercial. In the background, the "Cheers" theme starts playing. It's definitely at the arena, not just on the TV feed. Which is weird, since the game was in Atlanta. I see the crowd all looking up at the scoreboard. They're watching something set to a tune associated with the other team. Of course, the announcers are talking about something else, using the timeout to talk about the Western Conference results. And the song keeps playing. Then they throw it to the sideline reporter guy. I'm thinking he's gonna fill us in, but he talks about something else. Then a different song starts playing, and then they go back to the "Cheers" song. Garnett's about to shoot free throws, and the song's still playing, coming to the final notes. KG's at the line holding the ball and you can tell the people in charge are trying to make it all the way to the end of the song and/or montage the song is playing over, to the point where Kevin looks at the ref, points to his ear and then up, as if to say, "Can't shoot with this music still on, guy." Then it shuts off. I wonder what the hell that was all about....

Odd coincidence report: Last weekend, Danbury, CT. Kim and I are at her table at the punk rock flea market, talking to our friend who came up from Philly, who we'll call Philly. Philly is talking about how he saw the Doors back in the '60s. Being in Danbury, the first thought that came to my mind was how the Doors once played Danbury High School. We were trying to figure out when the show happened, when I thought, Hey, Malcolm from Trash is here, I bet he knows. In fact, I bet he has the show in question with him. Kim and Philly laughed, but I ran right over to Malcolm. "Hey, didn't the Doors play Danbury High School or something?" Yes, Malcolm said. He then adds that not only does he have a copy of the show, but that he'd just sold one. He looks over to where I'd just been standing and says, "I sold it to that girl over there about five minutes ago." The girl's standing right in front of Kim's table. So I go back over there, and say to Kim and Philly, "He does have it. And he just sold it to...." (I turn to the girl, now next to me) "...this girl!" I turn to this Hanna Montana/girl Clemens had the affair with circa the beginning of it-aged girl and ask if she just bought the Danbury Doors show. She says yes, and then marvels at the fact that Philly had actually seen the band live. Crazy.

Jaze at Sox, Tuesday night. I just may announce.

Kwiz Dreisewerd

We are in the home stretch. Just five Kwizzes left. The leader has under 30 points, and with each kwiz being worth 6, you technically could have zero right now and still take the '07-'08 title! Ryan, Pweezil, AJM, Matty, and Kara are currently the top five. Full standings here.

Okay, this is a good one. I was inspired to do this research by the 1983 ALCS game one, which was on TV today. (Which makes that a clue, albeit one that almost certainly won't help you, unless you see it and your mind goes to the same place mine did.)

So. The 1939 New York Yankees are the only team ever to do what?

Lurlene Bags Herself A Rocket

I keep trying to write a definitive summary of the life and times of my boyhood hero turned nemesis, Roger Clemens, but the fucker keeps adding to story! The latest is his "relationship" with a country singer that started when she was 15.

Ah well, I'll have to give it another ten years. Will he have stopped making news by then?

New Day Rising

Welcome to the new work week. Here's some stuff you may have missed.

1. My little audio thingy about Sweet Caroline. (If your mind just went to "seventh inning stretch," this is for you.

2. My photo gallery from Justin Masterson's debut start last Thursday.

Red Sox finally get a day off on Monday. Then the Jays come to town, followed by the Devil Rays. Our bats need to ask Matt Foley how to get on the right track.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Swept By The Devil Rays

Yes, the Devil Rays. Who will always be called the Devil Rays at this blog.

For third straight time, we're forced to look at the bright side, which is that our pitching has been great. But the losses are getting old!

I was hoping Josh would get 21 strikeouts and then be given jersey number 21. He ended up with a career-high 13.

Germany Runs On Duncan

According to a Daily News article, Shelly Duncan has been "abusing" minor league pitching. From April 15th to the 22nd, he was 2 for 26. Also, click here to see the ghoulish freak yelling "sieg heil" in the Yanks' World Series--I mean wild card--celebration. And I thought Bruney was the Nazi...

Beckett against Shields in Tampa at 1:40 as the Red Sox try to catch the O's for first place.

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