Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Ad Wizard Stuff

Crap! This post was supposed to go up this morning. I messed up AM/PM!

Have you seen the TV spots for "kgb"? This is a service where you can text them with a question and they'll answer it. A little late, as we've all got the Internet--this service would have ruled in, like, '89, were I able to call a number and have any question answered for me without having to use the Dewey Decimal System.

Anyway, one of these ads has a woman using the system because her husband can't quite remember the name of the Red Sox' first baseman from 1986, who had the ball roll through his legs. How stupid is that? If you're a baseball fan, of any team, you know Buckner's name. If you're not a fan, you don't even know the moment in question. I mean, you're hanging out with your wife and friends, and none of you know Bill Buckner's name, yet you're all having a conversation about a specific moment from a World Series? And these people are older than I am! Terrible job by kgb.

I picked all the 12-seeds this year. Not on purpose. Three won. Nice job by me. Terrible job by CBS who cut away from a game literally while the potential game-winning shot was in the air. Terrible job by me losing the Yanks' ticket lottery. I'll have to wait for the general public sale on Tuesday, but I don't see very many tickets being left by then.... Red Sox on NESN, 1:05.

Kwiz Seventeen (Not The Winger One)

Okay, tell me the total number of points that will be scored in the last NCAA tournament game to end tomorrow (Sunday) night. So, whichever game ends last, the total amount of points scored by both teams added together. I will leave all guesses hidden until the deadline, which is 4:44 Sunday afternoon. (The last three games all start around 5-ish.) Closest to total gets 6 points. Going over IS allowed. If it's a tie, points will be divided evenly. And if there's any controversy as to which game ends last, well, we'll just hope that doesn't happen. Go.

Previous Kwiz solved.

Red Sox currently in a rain delay.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Play Against A Pirate Day

Drew injury update: X-rays negative. Nice.


Well, this game wasn't on GD Audio after all. They did have right up there on the front page of a big thing that said "listen live at 1:05 PM as the Red Sox take on the Pirates," but they took it down just before the game. (And I didn't fall for that one link that's below the teaser for every game that says "listen to live action in Gameday Audio"--this was blatant advertising for something that was never gonna happen, as it wasn't on the schedule.)

So Double-H had a nice day, not giving up an earned run. Pedroia came back and had no problems. Varitek had a dong. But Papelbon shat the bed a little, and Drew got hit by a pitch and is currently listening to X-Ray Spex, if you will. We're up 6-4 in the 7th. Now 9-4 as Chip Ambres adds a two-run homer. And the last update: 11-4 final.

Pick Your Manny

After reading the Joy of Sox review of the Manny book and discussing it, I've got Manny on the mind. I thought of an exercise you can try in the comfort of your own home. It's called Pick Your Manny. Here's how you play:

While watching your team play over a period of time, pick one guy and pretend he's Manny Ramirez. Go into each game thinking your guy is the one everyone's watching closely with the assumption that he doesn't know what the hell he's doing, doesn't try, goofs up constantly at the field, you know, all the lies WEEI and friends made up about Manny. I think you'll find that the guy you pick will do all the stuff we're told only Manny would do (while not hitting nearly as well!).

There just haven't been enough games on TV/ this season yet for me to have fully attempted this exercise, but look at Jason Bay*, for example. In one game, he attempted to throw a guy out at home, and the ball must have slipped because it went right to the ground, bouncing well before it reached even the cutoff man, leaving Bay with a stupified look on his face. I've also heard about his contract talks coming to a halt. (Remember to use off-field stuff, too!) The point being that if it were Manny, we'd hear about how he can't be grateful and just take the millions and want to stay here--surely Bay and his scheming ways will be a year-long distraction to the team! Yeah, right.

So Pick Your Manny in '09. If your Manny is Derek Jeter, you'll notice he hasn't caught a pop-up with two hands in the 14 years he's been playing. If your Manny is David Ortiz, you'll have fun watching as not only will he trot to first base on a grounder, but sometimes he won't get to first at all! If your Manny is A-Rod, well, you're making the game way too easy, so pick someone else.

The worst was when I read some article about Jeter saying how he always talks to the kids in the front row while on deck. The author used this as a way of showing how Derek appreciates his role. So when Manny is constantly waving to and pointing at fans, it's because he's goofy and isn't concentrating and doesn't even know there's a game going on, but when Jeter does it, it's because he comprehend(s) how lucky he is to be playing a game and making millions doing it. He's class, all the way...

But hey, what else would you expect from a New York pa--I mean, the Boston Globe!

*I'm not trying to pick on Bay, I have no reason not to like the guy.

They Were Family

Sox/Pirates, 1:05. No TV, no radio, no, no Gameday Audio. Good luck. Saturday's game is on NESN, though.

Update: saying the game is on GameDay Audio, even though their main schedule doesn't show it. We'll see....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

C's And X's

Red Sox beat Reds--Wicked Lester with a strong performance. Bronson gave up two dongs, one to Lowrie (who also doubled) and one to Carter. Ryan Kalish had a three-run triple. Too bad the game was blacked out on MLBN--why did they do that? It's not like the game was on NESN. Fortunately it was on

My favorite thing about the NCAA tourney? Playing god. The moment you make the call to declare a game over and give yourself a win (or loss) on your sheet. The Zags lead by 17 with 3:10 left--I"m callin' it!


Red Sox against Bronson Arroyo and the Reds tonight on

Slogan updates: Before, the Dodgers had "Dodgertown" in Dodger script with "California" below it in little capital letters. "California" has been changed to "USA." And the Angels had "What A Year" up there after their season of "What A Game." But they've come up with a new one for 2009, still using the big A in the word "Fan." It's now "Fan Loyal. Fan Faithful. Fan Strong."

Did some nice sleuthing on this '60s Fenway shot. I think I'm right, anyway. (My name on Flickr is Gedmaniac.)

Soap-ening Day

Kim made up some Opening Day soap that smells like fresh cut grass. Get it here. My proposed name of "Soap-ening Day" was turned down....

In other family news, my mom saw an article in the New York Times in which the author talked about the baseball talent "hidden" in Cuba and how the "best chance barring defection" for the world to see it is the WBC. She wrote a letter to the editor noting that the talent is hidden because of the embargo, and the best chance of the world seeing the players would be if the U.S. lifts the embargo! We'll see if they print it. For more on the dirty business of ballplayer smuggling, read our book.

Conformity Kills Again

Perfect example of why the MLB sites shouldn't all be networked together! They've added a little widget to all the sites that shows that team's next three home series, right below the team headlines section. At the the bottom of it are the words "Promotion Schedule." One problem: The Red Sox don't have promotions! (In fact, this is how I knew it was on all the sites, not just a thing.) I clicked on "Promotion Schedule" just to check, and sure enough, I saw this. Yes, a blank page.

How is it that there's nobody over at telling MLB not to give their site that "promotions" button? And how does MLB not know that they haven't had giveaways at Fenway Park in years? They were rare even when they did them.

I guess MLB figures all their teams are like the Yanks, with their "classy" soup bowl nights. Think I'm kidding? I've done entire posts mocking this before, but here are some more of their '09 promotions: luggage tag day, passport holder night, ice cream bowl night, and the ultimate in delusions, inaugural season fan ring day. I knew they'd find that 27th ring somewhere!

Anyway, maybe the Red Sox plan on using that page for various events or something. I mean, it's not like there isn't pre-game entertainment, but we just don't feel the need to lure fans in with those items everyone's always buzzing about. Like soup bowls.

Unanswered Kwiz here. I may have to give a clue on this one soon.

Screenshot of blank Red Sox promotions page here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nationalism Kills Again

Youk is just the latest to get injured while trying way too hard when he should just be getting ready for the real season.

Update, 9:32: Release from Sox says he's officially out of the WBC, but he shouldn't miss significant time.

In Thirty Years, Josh Bard's Son Is Gonna Kill Us

Poor Josh Bard. The guy gets famously dumped in favor of Mirabelli, unable to do the difficult task of catching a ball that even its thrower knows not where it will go. Then we call him back, everybody supports him in his second attempt, and after only a few tries, he gets canned again!

So will the young movie star Kottaras be Wakefield's guy? Dusty Brown? Have they got some trade for one of those coveted Texas catchers in the works? Will they take my suggestion and get Providence's Chris Iannetta from Colorado? Will Jessica find out about Eunice's affair with Dutch? Or will the team bus's break line have been cut by Bard before you even read this, making it all moot?

JS at BH once said Kottaras just ain't right. I tend to trust her over some crappy sportswriter, so we've got that to worry about. Hopefully he can wipe that sourpuss off his face and learn the hardest thing any catcher has to do.

FaF-fy Taffy

Just got such incredibly sweet seats to Futures at Fenway. Remember how I was saying I wish I got the good perks that "real" season ticket holders get? Well, I got the same chance they did for today's presale, and had my tickets within about 20 seconds, an all-time best for me in any Virtual Waiting Room.

It's funny to see the hierarchy for this event. I was told that PawSox season ticket holders had a presale for it last weekend, then it's Red Sox season (and partial season--woohoo!) ticket holders today, then Red Sox Nation members tomorrow, and finally the general public. I also remember from last year that Red Sox Kid Nation had its own pre-sale, too. I'm wondering if there's even such a thing as a Lowell Spinners season ticket holder, and if so, where they fit into this.


By now you've probably heard of Japanese star pitcher/super-celeb Yu Darvish. One day soon, he may be over here, playing for an MLB team. I'm not too sure of how the first/last name thing works in Japan. Sometimes Asian players in the U.S. have what we think of as their "first" name on the back of their jersey. Yu Darvish is Iranian on his father's side, and his last name was Darvishsefad, so I'm pretty sure Darvish is the equivalent of what we consider the family or last name. But what if "Yu" ends up on the back of his jersey if he plays here? What if it's considered the "last" name?

I'll tell you what: Don Wert will lose his title!

Look down at your keyboard. Don WERT is the only player in major league history to have a last name that's spelled out on a standard typewriter/keyboard. YU would be another! Watch out, Don Wert, your title may be in jeopardy! It's interesting that both names sit right beside each other, though. WERTYU. Hopefully the two can live in harmony as their keyboard brethren do.

(Something that I find incredible is that I thought of this one day while looking at my keyboard for possible WERT challengers. I typed a few into Baseball Reference, like Io and Ty, before realizing Yu was probably the best chance. I went to a Japanese baseball site and noticed there was a Yu. Little did I know he was the best pitcher in the whole country, and big long articles had already been written about him and how he's coveted by U.S. teams. So the fact that Darvish pitched in the WBC game I watched last night really has nothing to do with this. I'd be doing this same post if Yu was just an average player the world didn't know about.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

For Your Digestion

I'm going to be doing some writing for Baseball Digest. For now, I think I'll put my old-timey-style game wrap-ups over there, among other history-type posts. We'll see how it goes.

My first post is up at Baseball Digest now, in the Red Sox section. It's a wrap of today's game. Enjoy.

Thanks to "the Digest" and Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods, who's now the Red Sox content editor over there.

Hope You Remembered To Wear White

3:52: Red Sox win 9-5, with Tazawa pitching the final two frames. 9-5.

3:30: 9-5 after 7. Saito, Okajima, and Pap have all thrown an inning.

3:10: 9-4 us after 6.

2:31: That batter's eye in center has to be 30 feet high. Bay hit one over it. 8-3 Green Sox after 4.

2:22: The third lefty homer over the right field fence. Jacoby this time, and it's 6-3 us in the 4th.

2:17: Papi with a big dong. 4-3 us after 3.5. Beckett got a 1-2-3 inning in the third and fourth. Twisted his ankle slightly fielding a bunt, but remained in the game.

1:52: Varitek hits a homer with his new lefty swing that reminds me of Roy Hobbs'. And he is indeed wearing red socks. 3-2 Twins in the 2nd. Beckett has done a fine job. His line will NOT reflect this, though. He kept giving up cheap hit after cheap hit in a neverending top of the second.

This game's on NESN. The Red Sox aren't decked out in the usual tacky green unis. Instead, it's all white with green lettering and numbers, with the green hats. They also have green bases--you know what "fondant" is? You watch Ace of Cakes? That's what they remind me of. I hope they hold up and they don't need to bring that emergency fondant surgery guy in.

There's a leprechaun in the dugout, played by a child. Don claims it was some other players who put Pedroia's "15" on the small fry's back. [Correction: It's a "little person," and he's now in the booth--said Papi put the 15 on there.]

It's always weird to see the red mixed with the green--they don't make separate pants for this so you have red piping on there, plus all the red wristbands, batting gloves, undershirts, etc. I haven't seen any pulled-up socks--I gotta figure those are red, too.

Beckett is on the mound. I noticed Rob Bradford's shit-stirring article about him being the "other ace." That's the type of thing where if you want to start a debate, fine, but you don't come out and act like anyone but Beckett is the ace and that everyone has already moved to that thinking. No offense to the great Jon Lester.

But we are talking about someone who wrote this line in his intro piece at everybody's favorite sexist radio station:

"ending up on most historians lists as the worst of our Commander and Chiefs."

It's "commander-in-chief." The plural of which would be commanders-in-chief. And "historians lists" requires an apostrophe after the s. I like Bradford overall, but he's fair game to pick on, as is anyone who joins up with that station. Except Cyn.


In honor of beer day or whatever you people call it, Josh Wilker gives us the all-Irish Red Sox team over at Baseball Digest. Just a little teaser for ya, I'm gonna be doing some writing over there myself, so bookmark that site if you like.

Hey, the next Smith on my Smiths of Baseball list will be the first one who's actually alive! And we're also finally done with the A's!

Those Weird, Fake Blogs

I get a lot of requests from other bloggers to do link exchanges. Unfortunately, most of these are for spam blogs. A lot of the e-mails come with the same template, so I can recognize them right away. Stuff like, "Hi, I have reads you site, , and I find it most enjoyable. If you would find to do link exchange, please for my contact info. My blog is on Thanks." I used to click the link, but I quickly learned they're all the same: A collection of unrelated cut-and-paste articles vaguely related to "sports."

Yesterday, I got one that almost seemed legitimate. (After all, you never know if it's going to be a real blogger who just happens not to speak English well and who just happens to have written an individualized e-mail that looks just like the spam template.) So I checked it out. It looked fishy. I took a few of his lines and Googled them, finding out that he'd copied them from somewhere else. One post, shown at the top to be authored by "Jeremy," was signed "Ted" at the bottom. I knew something was wrong before I even saw that, though--nobody writes a post about horse racing followed by one about the benefits of pool tables in your rec room followed by one about the best tennis camps, without some ulterior motive. I don't know why the hell people do this, but I decided to track down Ted.

Ted wrote back quickly and said I was right in that this "Jeremy" was not authorized to simply copy Ted's work without mentioning it was not his own or providing a link to the original work. I guess these fake bloggers are making money off this stuff somehow, pulling in people from search engines, who then click on his ads or embedded links. In fact, I clicked on one of his ads, and it was a company that offered an affiliate program--"Jeremy" gets 20% commission on every sale. So these people just create fake blogs so they can have a spot to place ads. They pull their articles from sites full of droning articles written by other people, probably so they themselves can somehow make money.

Here's a fun little trick. Copy this line into Google: "Ice hockey is unusual in the fact that fighting does not always carry an ejection penalty". Put it in quotes. Look how many "bloggers" just happened to have written this exact line. That's an example of how the whole thing works.

So, Red Sox and other bloggers--beware of who you exchange links with. When I went to that dude's blog right when I got his e-mail, there were maybe three other blogs linked. Went I went back to check into all this, he had over 20. So a lot of bloggers are getting these e-mails and doing the exchanges without really looking into the blog of the other person (robot?). If you don't care, that's cool, but just a heads-up for those who might.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Kwiz Christine Sixteen

Clue, 3/20: It's from Woody Woodpecker.

Here's a screenshot from a cartoon. What line did the dog say?

My Take On All Of This

"He could have gotten hurt even worse if he were here in spring training instead of at the World Baseball Classic."

And the 8-year old who drove her motorcycle through a blizzard to the crack house could have gotten hit by lightning if she'd stayed home in the yard.

Sox-Jays at 1:05.

Update, 1:42: We're knocking Halladay around. Six hits so far and we're only in the third. Lowrie with an RBI double and a solo dong. Bailey also with a longball. Masterson has given up two early runs in his first game since me making him my avatar and proclaiming him my new favorite player. 3-2 Sox after 2.5.

4:15: Carter adds a dong, Sox win 6-4.

Smiths Of Baseball: Art Smith (Arthur Laird Smith)

7. Art Smith. (1932)

In 1923, Lou Gehrig struck out 17 batters in a game pitching for Columbia University. Two years later, another two-sport athlete starred for the Lions on the mound. Art Smith was Columbia's ace during his time there, 1925 to 1928.

For the next few seasons, the Boston native pitched in the International League with the Jersey City Skeeters, the Montreal Royals, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. In early June of 1932, the Chicago White Sox, 16.5 games out of first place and coming off a brawl with an umpire which resulted in the suspension of a pitcher, came callin'. They sent a coupla Hals (McKain and Anderson) to Toronto, getting Smith in return.

Art made his major league debut on June 9th. He was the starting pitcher for Chicago at Comiskey park against the Washington Senators: six runs on eight hits and four walks over five innings, and a loss. At the plate, he struck out in what would turn out to be his only major league at bat.

Art Smith would appear in two more big league games, his final one being a start on June 13th against the last-place Red Sox, in which he didn't make it out of the first inning. A newspaper article from June 20th said he'd get his third start, but for whatever reason, it never happened. He soon found himself back on the Toronto club. He finished 1932 with an 11-13 record for the Leafs. His lifetime ERA in seven major league innings was 11.57.

I don't see any references to Art Smith after 1934, when he returned to the Montreal Royals. There are some mentions of an Art Smith pitching for the semi-pro Paramount Cubs in 1943, when our Art would have been 37, so maybe he kept right on pitching.

Art Smith died in Norwalk, Connecticut, in 1995, at age 89.

Photo (which I still can't believe I dug up) from The New York Times, 4/8/1928, taken during Columbia's 12-6 loss to Manhattan College.

Previous Smiths: #6, #5, #4, #3, #2 & #1.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kristin Hersh & Co., Cambridge, 3/14/2009

I was never really into Throwing Muses back in the 90s (or '80), but only because I didn't hear too much of them. I got hooked on Kristin Hersh, one of the band's sing-writers (I'm done typing out "singer/songwriter"), after I saw her perform solo acoustic in my hometown of Ridgefield, CT, in 2002. Last night she played with her original band, on top of a set with her latest one, 50 Foot Wave, to a sold-out Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, Mass.

It was like Hersh Heaven, getting to see her play in one band, then take the stage again with another. I thought the third band on the bill, Screaming Females, might play in the middle to give Kristin (and her bass player, who also plays in both TM and 50FW) a break, but they opened the show instead.

I'd seen 50 Foot Wave before, and they were just as good this time as last time. This band is Kristin's chance to kick some serious butt on stage, which she and they did. The new songs were pretty good, even if they did them in medley form, for some reason. And the old Throwing Muses tunes made me want to go back and get some of their stuff. Whatever Kristin does, though, I'm usually both mesmer- and paralyzed by it. I don't know how she does it. If I sang one song in the style she sings most of hers, my voice would be shot for a month. And she's an incredibly gifted guitar player--but that wouldn't matter if she couldn't write the incredible songs she does. Some people have to pretend to be weird or "in the zone" on stage, but Kristin is the real deal. You know how your mom used to tell you not to bother the cat while he's eating? Same deal here--Kristin seems to be a friendly and engaging person, but I think if you were to interrupt her while she was playing a song, the demon that's taken over her body would tear your throat out if it noticed you at all.

Very hard to get good shots in this place. The bands were backlit, with one spotlight in the front, sadly angled at the players' mid-sections. I did my best. SOme of these are Hersh with Throwing Muses, some are 50 Foot Wave. I can't even tell because she was directly in front of the drummer, who was the one member of the lineup that was different in each band. The following are some bad shots that I messed with:

Hersh in the proverbial zone.

Hersh screaming her head off.

The opening band was surprisingly good. When I first listened to Screaming Females, I felt like Nelson Munz after he saw Naked Lunch--there was hardly any screaming or females. But there is one female, and she often screams. Regardless of that, their set was great. Usually you only notice the bass player when they're screwing up, but this dude was the opposite, to the point where I'd actually purposely focus on him sometimes. But that was hard to do, because it meant taking your eyes off the singer/guitarist--she's a really good guitar player, but kept any wank-a-riffic parts to a minimum. And at first I kind of thought the screaming was overdoing it, especially considering the band name, but after I while I got used to her style. She can do these screams that blend right back into her normal singing. At one point, right at the transition, I looked over at the bass player, thinking a different person had started singing, but it was still her. Totally rockin' songs, with just enough of the "noise" element for my taste. Some of that noise crap is just that. I'm down with noise in music--not a big fan when it's just...some people making noise. I mean, there are some kids making noise outside my house right now, should we sign them? Or tell them to shut the hell up? You know what I'm talkin' about. Below, the one shot I got of the singer of New Jersey's Screaming Females:

O's-Sox Again

Update: We lose, 6-2. Traber shat the bed to put the nail in the coffin.

Yesterday, Nolan Reimold came up, and our announcers mocked him, I'm pretty sure just because of his name. Not so much Joe, but definitely O'Brien and Rish. The guy promptly crushed a massive dong. Today, the guy comes up again, and Rish immediately mocks him again: "the Nolan Reimold." The guy must have the broadcast pumped into an earpiece within his helmet, because again he goes very deep, to give the O's a 3-2 lead in the eighth. Hearing Rish for extended periods of time make me realize how smug he is. I hope we get as little of him in booth as possible in '09.

BucHHolz started this game and did pretty well. Pap finally gave up an earned run, though he didn't give up a hit.

Three Dudes

Lester: Signed five-year deal.

Pedroia: Minor injury, lots of "don't worry about it" talk.

Lugo: Going in for surgery.

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