Saturday, January 24, 2009

Casey Eyez Killah

Bradford says Sean Casey retired, and will now work for MLB Network. I'm wondering if he'll do some Red Sox-specific job, since Jon Smoltz acted like he'd now be hanging out with El Alcalde at his press conference. But maybe he just hadn't heard the news that Casey probably wasn't gonna be on the team in '09.

Also, remember my post about Krazee Eyez Killah? I think he might be in one of those Joe Torre "wheatgrass" commercials, which have been airing for a while. Watch for it, and tell me if you think it's him.

Coincidence notice--as I went to go find that link, I noticed that in that old post, I also mentioned Sean Casey. Weird. Of course, since you read the title of this post first, you already had both guys in your head by the time you got to this last paragraph, but just know that I almost always write a post first, and then come up with a title for it.

PS. Bret Saberhagen made the NYT X-word puzzle Saturday. Devo is in Sunday's.

New Lady

Not only is Carol dead, the new lady is definitely a robot, and a surly, soulless one at that! Listen to some of this action here:

Slight Weirdness, But Still Okay

The key for me on this sale was getting four tickets together for a game our friends from Philly are coming up for. And I got those, within ten minutes. So I'm satisfied. Got them through computer--never did get in on phone.

However, when I went back to get more, there was a lot of high volume messages even when I got through, and every time I was about to buy, there was just a lot of reloading and timing out. I finally got a bunch of tix I wanted, and got to the address/credit card page, but it wouldn't take my card! The same one I've been using with them for a while. By the time I thought to use a different card, those tix were timed out again....

So I may keep trying, or just stick with the ones I got, which were the most important ones anyway. I've already got so many tix this season, so............

[Update: Ended up just using my old credit card for more tix. Why would an old one work, but a perfectly good one that I've used to buy things recently including other tickets be invalid because it "doesn't match what we have on file"? The one I ended up using isn't on their file at all!]

Merry Tixmas

The *new* ticket number is up and running. Of course, we still have to wait until 10 before we can actually buy anything. But if the message on there now is any indication, they've got a new woman to read the options, probably since this new line is through, as opposed to the Red Sox ticket office. I'm gonna miss the last one--she's been a fixture in the championship era. She really nailed that "computer" voice. Either that or she was a computer. But I'm pretty sure it was a real woman--possibly from New Hampshire--who taped all the messages:

"we will now begin a brief registration process..."

"to select a game by date, press one"

and the classic

"for....12 dollar....lower 7"

Oh, and what about

"be-CUZ this ticket kee-ategory is nearly sold out, seats may be in different sections. Will you accept seats that are not together?"

I will accept, Carol. I will accept. Please note that only now have I come up with this name for her. Farewell, Carol, it was a pleasure beeping at you. We'll see what this new lady brings to the table. I'm skeptical.

Good luck redialing and/or virtually waiting, everybody. As usual, see ya on the other side.....

Friday, January 23, 2009

More On The Ladder

Let's review: Shaughnessy writes book, mentions two occasions in which the ladder on the Green Monster was hit by a fly ball, resulting in an inside-the-park home run. People in turn use this story to state, when talking about the ladder, that it's been hit by fly balls "at least twice" in history.

Recently, John Beamer writes a piece that says "In fact, the ladder has only been hit twice."

This is so very wrong.

Stand at the base of The Wall, and you'll see the incredible amount of dents in it. It's blanketed with them. This alone should tell you that in all these decades, the ladder has to have been hit more than twice. Line to attract people using search engines: The ladder on the Green Monster at Fenway Park has been hit numerous times over the years.

Here's what I found doing a quick news search:

James Shealy ball in 2006 that hit the ladder and went for a triple--this was on my birthday, I saw this play live.

April 28th, 2004, Manny hit a double off the ladder.

Todd Walker hit it in September 2003.

Mo Vaughn did in in April '94.

Wade Boggs claimed in an article he only hit it once in his career.

Ty Wigginton said in his first game playing left at Fenway, a ball hit the ladder. (Funny thing about that one--this story about that game mentions that he bobbled a carom off the Monster without mentioning the ladder, yet it also talks about the term "climbing the ladder," which Curt Schilling apparently did to him that day. That's a pretty crazy coincidence.)

So obviously this is something that happens now and then. Not just twice. "At least twice" is technically correct, but even that implies only two instances have been recorded.

Beamer's piece was written to try to solve another myth, which is that a ball off the ladder is a ground rule triple. He writes: "It simply isn’t true. Or if it is it certainly doesn’t make it into MLB’s official ground-rule list." Why does he say "if it is"? The rule about the ladder is right there on the list he links: A ball hitting the ladder and going out of play counts as a double. Not that I had to look that up--I've only read that Fenway ground rules list with its talk of yellow lines a million times since 1979.

I contacted Beamer about the ladder stuff--he has yet to respond or change his article, but maybe he just didn't get the email. He wrote a really good piece, but just must of been a little high for that one section about the ladder. It happens to the best of us.

As for Shaughnessy's two inside the park homers--I've written about them in the past. While I never did find proof of them, Jim Lemon's son (!) commented on my piece confirming his dad's homer.

The 1990 Season Is Just Around The Corner

Back in the day, my friend Mike (Yankee fan) and I used to make our yearly baseball predictions. I just found the "3rd annual" predictions, from 1990. Let's see how we did:
Those are Mike's picks on the left and mine on the right. It doesn't say the year but it's on the back of a printout from March of '90--our 10th grade science teacher would print out the weather page of the New York Times and hand it out every day. He might as well have said, "here's a blank canvas for any baseball nerds in the class to make schedules, predictions, drawings, fantasy leagues, NCAA pools, etc...."

Here are the final 1990 standings. First of all, how bad were the Yankees in 1989 that a die-hard Yankee fan would pick them to finish behind the Brewers? Second of all, note that while I correctly picked the Red Sox to win the east, I gave the Yanks too much credit with a fifth-place slot, as they would finish last, 21 games out. My AL East was pretty close overall, save for my last-place prediction for Detroit, who would finish third. Note that I could've been closer on Baltimore, but they played one less game, missing fourth place by a half game. Mike kind of blew it on the East, getting no teams exactly right, and only having two teams within one spot. His last place call on the Sox cost him big time. Jere is your AL East winner.

In the AL West, he nailed the champion, the A's, who'd win their third straight division title. I went out on a limb with KC, who finished 27.5 out, in sixth place. The White Sox were the only team to finish fewer than 20 games behind Oakland, and Mike had them last, while I had them fourth. The only team I had within one spot of reality was the Twins. Mike was closer with his picks, but his picking the winner ends any controversy. Mike gets the nod in the AL West.

In the NL East, we both picked the Cardinals. They would come in last. A team we both had a soft spot for, the Pirates, were somehow picked by us to come in fourth and fifth, and they went and and won the division. I had all my other teams within one position, while Mike was a little further off. Jere ekes out the NL East.

In the NL West, the Reds were a surprise winner, at least to us. I had them last, and Mike had them second to last. I picked the rest of the teams almost in exact order. Mike was only a little worse, but I win, especially considering my winner, the Dodgers, came in second, while his pick, San Diego, came in tied for fourth.

So his winners came in 1st, 2nd, T4th, and 6th. Mine were 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 6th.

His one playoff team, the A's, he had winning the ALCS in 4 games, which they did. He had them going on to win the World Series in 5, but they would lose in 4.

I had my one playoff team winning the ALCS in 5. They lost in 4. I was 14 years early on my Boston over St. Louis in the World Series prediction.

Overall winner: I think my regular season picks overall make up for the fact that he picked one of the World Series teams--I'm calling it a TIE.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blog For Choice Day 2009


You know how I feel about that one already. So I'm gonna bring up another topic that's in the same spirit: gay marriage.

President Obama is all for gay people gettin' together. Civil unions, fine, he says. He has said, though, that his religion says marriage is between a man and a woman, so he's personally against gay marriage. He does say that he'll leave the issue of gay marriage up to each state, but that's not good enough for me.

This is why I'd never subscribe to any religion. No two people's opinions could every be the exact same on every single topic. Even if there was a religion that shared my opinions on 99.9 percent of all topics, as soon as they say, "you can't do that...", well, that's when I say "see ya later." I think George Carlin said it best when he said all religions should have one rule: "hats optional." In other words, if I can't do what I want, I'm just not gonna join your group, though everyone has the right to join whatever group they want.

But back to Barrack--he says, "Giving [gay people] a set of basic rights would allow them to experience their relationship and live their lives in a way that doesn't cause discrimination." Yet he's opposed to gay marriage. How is that not discrimination?

Here's what I really don't get: People that only want to see marriage between a man and a woman seem to have no problem with arranged marriages, mail-order brides, marriages for the purpose of getting someone into the country, marriages based on money alone, or any other kind of completely loveless marriages. Half the people in this country getting married end up divorced, and those are only the people who admit to not being happy in their marriage. So how is any of those things better than two men or two women who are totally in love with each other spending their entire lives together? If you're gonna put limits on marriage, try limiting it to people who really love each other, no matter what their sex happens to be. If it's such a sacred thing, isn't that what's really important?

I think what it comes down to is that some people are just disgusted by the thought of people having sex in a way that doesn't appeal to them. People hear "gay" and they immediately think "gay sex," as if the defining characteristic of every gay person is which gender they're attracted to. If they hear someone's straight, they think, "Okay, just your average person who shops at the mall and works in the yard and gets pissed when other drivers cut them off." If they hear someone's gay, however, they think, "Oh, he enjoys other mens' anuses."

But gay people and straight people are both people. Remember that. They have differences just like two straight people might root for a different baseball team. And unless that team is the New York Yankees, they deserve the same rights as anyone else. Hey--how about we stop letting Yankee fans marry! If we stop them from breeding, maybe we could make them extinct by next century.

Okay, so, Obama, get your straight ass in gear and tell everyone that all people have the same rights. Imagine if one of your daughters came up to you and said, Dad, I'm in love, and I want your blessing to get married. And that other person was a woman. You are the president. You're gonna tell her she can't get married? "Sorry, Malia, I change the rules, I'm not the president." Yes you are. Yes you can.

Here's that Carlin clip:

Huge News (As Far As I'm Concerned)

Do you see something crazy and different in this press release? The phone number is different. The one with the automated system for buying tickets. Do you know what this means? On Saturday, most of the people who are trying to get tickets by phone will be dialing the wrong number. And that's on top of the fact that most people don't bother trying by phone anyway, going strictly the online route. The phone will give you an even better chance of getting through now. I've used the phone to get in pretty quickly in the past--I'm definitely gonna be trying it Saturday, while I sit in the VWR.

I tried the new number just now, and there's a message from Tickets dot com, saying the number isn't in service yet. is who the Sox have been selling their tickets through for years, though you might not have noticed, since you don't even see their logo unless you go to their site first, which links to the Sox' site.

So to sum up, the original ticket services number, 877 REDSOX9, is still the same. The old automated 24-hour ticket line, 482 4SOX, is currently the exact same as REDSOX9. You can buy tickets through these lines, but they're not automated, and they're only open during business hours. The new, automated, 24-hour line is the one listed in that press release, ending with 0100.

And I don't know what ever happened to the classic 617 267 1700. (But, of course, I could just call it to find out. And I did. It's the same as the other two non-automated lines.)

As for the last 500 vouchers, which are being handed out tomorrow in the greater Boston area--they are saying no more than that. If you happen to be in a place they go to, well, you win. But since the sale started Tuesday, you might not get your first choice.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Retro Gallery: A's @ Red Sox 4/16/2000

I've got lots of pictures from games in the pre-blogging days, but I just happened to find this set of pics yesterday so I'll throw it up here now.

It was a Sunday in April of 2000, and I had just moved out of the house I lived in my whole life except for college, to Danbury, a town away, where I got a place with Brian. I dragged my future roommate and friend-since-high school Chan up to Fenway in an attempt to make him a Sox fan. He had come to this country about ten years earlier, and another friend of mine, a Yankee fan, "got to him first," as Chan tells it. My attempt to sway him to the good side failed. But at least he got to see Fenway Park.

In the above pic, I was convinced the light tower was taller than it is now--until I realized we just see less of it with the right field roof section that's there now.

There seems to be a jester on the field here. Note that these are pictures of pictures.

My then-fave, Carl Everett, at the plate. You can see how the poles were painted red, white, and blue then.

And Crazy Carl would hit a walkoff dong to lead off the ninth! Varitek is the first to greet him.

What's taking everybody so long to greet Carl?

Check out the blue stripe showing on Wilton Veras' stirrups (#38). This was toward the very end of the stripe's life, as well as the stirrups themselves.

Replay of Carl's blast on the scoreboard.

The Coke bottles when they were just plain Coca-Cola.

From the left field corner. I must've been taking Chan out to touch the Monster.

The Green Monster in 2000. Can you believe this shot is from this decade? (Boxscore from that day here.)

On our way back from Boston, we stopped in Meriden, CT at my nana's house. She had just died--she was born in the year of the first World Series--and I was getting shots of the house that I spent so many Thanksgivings in before it was sold. Specifically the little closet that we all used to decorate with graffiti. Here's me in there:

It was cold that day, as the pictures show. I had a flannel shirt with a Fenway Park shirt over it, and another long sleeve shirt on top of those, and then my jacket (with Pac-Men pin.) The ultimate piece of graffiti, the one all others aspired to match, was my cousin Amy's (Nora's?) enthusiastic boasting of her high school's undefeated season and "Super Bowl" championship. I would do things like write "Jere 1981" in 1992. You can also see the classic "Kara + [crossed out]"-style items up there, too. I know I shot video of this, along with the entire house. I gotta find that....

First True Gray Of '09

The little gray envelope. The one that you know has Red Sox tickets inside even if it's facing down. I got my first of the year today. It's the contents of my Sox Pax (singular), for which I already had gotten the un-exciting "your tickets are on the way" envelope. Next up should be the other tickets I got in that same December sale, followed by the ones I bought yesterday, followed by the ones I'll be trying to get Saturday, followed by the ones I get in any Monster Seat/Yankee sales, followed by any others I get all season long. Oh, plus that trip to DHL to pick up my 10-game plan tix.

News and notes: They unfolded the pocket schedule by one fold to make the envelope flatter. Nice touch! ... They still have that problem where the stick'em on the gray envelope sticks to the inner white envelope which contains the tix. ... I see a lot of new ballpark tour options on the pocket sked ,including "lunch on the Monster," and pre-and post game tours. ... It's always fun to see the various pictures that appear on the tickets. The ones I got today all had the same pic: Jon Lester pitching in the ninth inning of his no-hitter. ... My worries about the Yankee fan mail-lady stealing (or destroying) my Sox tix have been calmed slightly with the successful arrival of this envelope.

News unrelated to that envelope: We've still got a Kwiz going on and a team to buy.

Bonus news: Some Fox/ESPN games have been announced, check the Sox sked for those. That Sunday May game vs. Tampa will be an ESPN 8:00 game. Also, some Fox games are 4:10 while others are 3:40.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Leaving The Yaardsma/Pauley Unsure

I took a series of David Aardsma shots last April, and they turned out to be some of my favorite pictures of the year. Click above for the huge view. I always wanted to buy something autographed by Dutch Zwilling, and then have Aardsma sign it, so I could have the first and last guy, alphabetically, in baseball history, on the same item. Alas, it was nice having #1 on our team for awhile. In his place, we welcome Fabian. Yeah, I'm gonna call him just "Fabian," a la the former teen idol of the 1960s. We've also got some great Pulp Fiction possibilities--"you were looking in the mirror and you wish you had some pot?"

We'll never forget David Pauley's debut performance at Yankee Stadium. We wish the guy well. Above, a shot I got of him on the PawSox, playing at Fenway Park last August. Welcome Randor Bierd. David and David for Randor and Fabian, eh? I think we're just trying to liven things up a bit.

Watching the 1944 World Series film on I hope they continue this old stuff into the regular season. I mean, you just don't see any of the 1944 all-St. Louis World Series, let alone a half hour special on it made back in the day.

Done And Done

Got my tix. Very easy on a Tuesday afternoon, as I expected. I was surprised, though, that the Mets games were not included in this sale. I assumed they were going on sale with the rest of the summer games, but I guess they'll be separate, along with Yanks, Opening Day, and Pats' Day. Either that or: they forgot, or: they will go on sale Saturday with the rest of the summer games, but they kept 'em out of this pre-sale only.

This was a great practice run for Saturday, too!

Update, 3:40 PM: Sox avoid arbitration with Papelbon--one year deal.

Kwiz Eleven Alive

Kwiz solved. Joe Rudi HR, Bill Lee opposing starter, 8/7/1981. More info and source of pic here.

New clue, 1/27, 12:03 AM: The visiting team is a major league team, but the game did not count in the standings.

Kwiz clue, 6:55 PM, 1/20/09: This picture, which appears smaller here, will go much bigger than the other one when zoomed. I think this should help steer people in the right direction:

Also, the person who took this picture is gonna get huge credit--I just can't say who it is yet as to not give away the answer. As soon as someone does, the proper credit will be given.

Two players hit home runs in the game, both for the Red Sox. One was Jim Rice, who was the other? And who was the starting pitcher for the visiting team?

Dual excitement right now. It's the eve of the end of George Bush's reign of error, and a mini-Tixmas Eve, as the Red Sox presale is tomorrow.

My mom's going to Obama's inauguration. Look for her.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Smiths Of Baseball: Al "Fuzzy" Smith (Alphonse Eugene Smith)

5. Al "Fuzzy" Smith. (1953-1964)

In this grainy old newspaper photograph, Al Smith is seen among his White Sox mates, posing for a picture after winning the team's first pennant in 40 years. In the background, another player is seen tilting a can of beer over Smith's head in celebration. This photo of a jubilant Smith should be his legacy. He came from the Cleveland Buckeyes of the Negro Leagues, was traded to the White Sox by the Indians, and was booed simply because he replaced fan-favorite Minnie Minoso--but ended up hitting a home run against his old team to help clinch the pennant down the stretch.

The White Sox would go on to lose the World Series that year, 1959, to the newly transplanted Dodgers. And Al Smith would be remembered for getting beer dumped on his head, but not in celebration. In Game Two, as he chased a Charley Neal fly ball to the outfield fence, a beverage was knocked off the ledge as fans went for the souvenir. This moment was captured by two different photographers, and became one, or two, of the most famous baseball images ever.

But I prefer to remember Al in the moment justice was served for him. I found an article from July of '59 in which the writer (who consistently calls Al "Smitty," not "Fuzzy") talks about how he'd already turned the crowd in his favor by then with his clutch hitting. After not being allowed to play in the big leagues due to his skin color, and then being booed for something that wasn't his fault, nobody deserved to have a celebratory beverage poured on his head that year more than Al Smith. And nobody deserved to have it spilled on him by accident less.

To make sure fans stayed on his side, Bill Veeck held an "Al Smith" night in August of that pennant-winning season. According to Wikipedia, anyone named Smith, Smythe, Schmidt or Smithe was let in for free and given a button that read, "I'm a Smith and I'm for Al."

For his career, Al ended up with a .272 average and 164 homers over 12 seasons, and was a fine outfielder. He played in two World Series ('59 and in 1954 with Cleveland), and three All-Star games, and once finished third in the AL MVP voting. He finished his career with a brief stint in Boston, where he wore #28 for the Red Sox, which had been worn by Riverboat Smith eight years earlier. #41 and #48 were also worn by two Red Sox named Smith.

Al Smith died in 2002 at age 73. Below, Smitty in the visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park in 1954 (bottom right). (courtesy of Corbis)

Previous Smiths: #4, #3, #2 & #1.


Come On, Everybody

I don't ask much of you...only 100 million dollars.

Buy the Red Sox with me!

More Common Sense

Along with the "20 teams have won in the last 30 years" stat (it's 19--how Peter Gammons wouldn't double-check this before quoting it, I have no idea), the other bullshit fact is to say that payroll doesn't matter because only two teams have won with a 100 million dollar payroll. First, the 2000 Yankees had a payroll of over 100 million (their opening day payroll was below, but they paid out something like 113 million that season), adding them to the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox for a total of three teams. But regardless if you count it as two or three, this is like saying, "the top 20 grossing movies of all-time worldwide include no movies from before the 1990s, so movies weren't popular back then." It's so stupid--you have to compare payrolls within one season. You can't compare 2008 to, say, 1978, when the entire league didn't pay out $100 million combined. $100 million teams didn't exist before ten years ago. How do these paid journalists not know this?

And what about the fact that only one team can win each year? If 20 teams each year had a 100 million dollar payroll for five years, you can still only have five champions. So you could look at it as "only 5 out of a 100 teams won with their huge, 100 million dollar payrolls! Five percent!" Or you could see the reality which is that every champion (100%) had a 100 million dollar payroll.

Wanna see some funny candid shots of PawSox past? Baseball Heavy has a bunch up. Go there and just start scrolling. Roberto Petagine's face has been plastered on many of them....

Sunday, January 18, 2009


You know how every league makes championship gear for each team involved in a championship game? And every time, somebody discovers the incorrect merch online and thinks it's some new thing--"hey look, I found a shirt with the WRONG team on it!" (As opposed to me, who finds the stuff knowing that it's gonna be there anyway, but still posts it because it is kind of funny.)

Anyway, the Steelers just won the AFC, and when I saw the commercial to buy gear on, I went there to do my usual search for the merch that shows the losing team winning. Well, in this case, I didn't have to look very far. I went to, clicked on the "shop" icon on the top right of the front page, and a list of championship merchandise came up: NFC champion Cardinals, AFC champion...Ravens! Click the Ravens link, and see all the different products you can get that proclaims them AFC champs. As of 10:34 PM, it's still like that.

Just when I thought we were finally getting to the point where they avoid this stuff at all costs, they go and make it the easiest one ever.
Again, this wasn't something I had to find by typing in different urls--I clicked "shop" and this came up.

Tix 'N' Stuff

Remember, Maine and Vermont people, check here for Monday's voucher-giveaway schedule.

And Orioles regular season tix have just gone on sale, if you're planning a Balty trip in 2009.

Flight of the Conchords' new season starts tonight! (First episode has been available online for a while, but I've somehow held out, waiting to watch it on a real TV.) If you don't know this show and you enjoy stuff that's not anti-funny, give it a try.

When I started this post, I'd planned on saying "can you believe the Arizona Cardinals are headed for the Super Bowl?" Yet now they're actually losing the game! This was one of those deals where they cut to the studio at halftime, and the host says "it appears as if the Cardinals will be going to the Super Bowl." Now they trail with 10 minutes left.

[Update: Can you believe the Cardinals are headed for the Super Bowl?]

Uni Which?

Goose Gossage wore nine different uniforms in his career.

UniWatch's weekend guy is saying Rickey Henderson, who played with eight different teams, has "worn the most uniforms" of any Hall of Famer. But Gossage played for nine teams, and Gaylord Perry also played for eight. (There may be more, who've worn eight or more, I haven't done the full research.) Maybe they mean literally the most different pieces of cloth over his chest, or the most different designs, I don't know. But Rickey is definitely not the Hall of Famer who's played for the most teams.

In other news, some (anonymous, of course) commenter on yesterday's ticket voucher/trophy post called the people who went there "sheep." So, to sum up: Of all the people in the universe, 6,500 of us are now in this exclusive pre-sale with a guarantee to buy the hardest tickets to get in all of baseball. I love it when someone says something with such arrogance and certainty, yet it's the complete opposite of the truth. (Unless sheep are these rare, sacred, unique animals where he comes from--hey, that could be it, maybe he lives in midtown Manhattan, and he was complimenting us for being in this exclusive club.)

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