Saturday, March 17, 2012

Booooooo. (-Tures At Fenway.)

[Note: This post gets an update at the bottom, which I wrote before even publishing this. So read all the way through. If you were gonna skim.)

When they had the presale for the Futures doubleheader, I was disappointed to see that EMC club seats and Monster Seats were not available. I figured since they were the most coveted seats, they decided to hold them back until the general onsale date. That date was today. And those seats are still not there! In other words, unless they're actually gonna have a lottery for those seats (extremely doubtful*), they've decided not to let anybody up to those two usually exclusive areas that day.

Terrible job! The whole point of that day is to allow people to see baseball at Fenway Park cheaply, and see it from areas which are normally off-limits to those who weren't born with a silver ball gag in their mouths. And now they've taken some of that away just so they can (presumably) open up less of the park/pay fewer employees.

Those EMC seats kind of renewed my interest in this event last year (photos). It's the one place that I'd never sat before (besides suites) that I'd really want to sit, if I could ever afford it. And since I can NEVER afford those seats for a Red Sox game, I had it in my head that I'd go back to this event every year and sit up there. Again, this isn't something I feel I'm entitled to--it's the whole point of the event, as they've always portrayed it.

The friends I wanted to take to this game who've never been to Fenway Park? I think I'll still probably be taking them. But instead of the team getting 30 bucks a head from us, we'll just grab the $5 seats and sit wherever we want (except, ya know). No way I'm spending 20 on field box when I can go sit there for 5.

*Doubtful since even these most desirable seats aren't that desirable for this event, just because it's relatively sparsely attended. That EMC seating area is pretty small, and it was peppered with empty seats last year. So I don't know why they'd need to hold a lottery. And I checked the press release, and it DOES say specifically that Monster and EMC seats will be on sale at the usual $30 price. So what's going on here? It's not like they would have sold out--I was in the presale right away, and was in today right at 10:00. It's so not-in-demand that there isn't even a Virtual Waiting Room. Guess I'll have to call them.


Okay, before even posting this, I did call the ticket office. The woman said she did have Green Monster seats. About EMC seats, she said no. After I asked if they would be selling EMC at all for this event, she had to put me on hold to find out, and then came back and said: "They may become available at a later date, but at this time we don't have any inventory for it." Weird. So we'll see what happens. I will stick to my venom above until they put those seats on sale--I just hope they TELL US when they do. And remember, if you want Monster seats for this, it looks like you're gonna have to call 877 REDSOX9.

Friday, March 16, 2012

True Madness

If you've been watching countless hours of college basketball, attaching yourself to and wildly rooting for teams you never cared about before based on the fact that you randomly selected them to win and you therefore have a very slight chance of winning 73 of your co-workers' hard-earned dollars, you've probably seen this commercial. It's the one where two guys at a basketball game realize they're on "fan cam" and immediately break into a set of synchronized over-the-top dance moves.

I'll suspend belief and pretend that part might actually happen. Fine. But where this ad completely misses the company junket is in the surrounding fans. They all sit there like nothing abnormal is happening! First of all, they'd all be laughing or at least reacting in some way to this display going on right in front of them and on the big screen. And second, they'd all be going crazy too, knowing that they too are on the scoreboard! If you've been to an NBA game, you know people really like to be on the scoreboard. But these people all sit there in a state of complete indifference to the fact that A. people are doing something crazy right near them and B. they are all on camera, many of them casually gazing up at the board. Even the most shy person would at least give a little point or wave once they see they're on, and even the most solemn person would crack a smile at two middle-aged guys smacking their own butts and then one carrying another over his head.

I know that they probably told the actors to mind their own business so that the full attention would be on the two dudes, but come on, at least tell them to act like they would were that situation to arise in real life, while not going and doing synchronized dances of their own. You're showing this shit to sports fans, we're gonna gonna notice this stuff.


In case you missed it, Bard crapped the cot yesterday. Seven runs. I'm sticking with the "he had to sit through a rain delay" excuse. In spring training, why let a pitcher go back out there?

Tonight, no TV as we play at 7:05 against somebody. But that's one less game to watch in this greatest of all sports weekends. Smarch Smadness opening rounds! Go Saint Eastwestern State!

Andy Pettitte Will Do Anything To Avoid His Family

Andy Pettitte, noticing an unbelievable and mysterious ability to recover from injury and pitch seemingly forever like his pal Roger, has signed a minor league contract with the Yankees.

So first he left the Yanks for Texas to be closer to his family. After a few years of hanging around those people, he decided he'd rather be thousands of miles away from them. So he was back in New York, where he was incredibly still considered part of a "core." Then he retired from the game so he could be back with the ol' fam (though it was noted they too enjoyed the separation, except for his 5-year old, who just wanted daddy to come home). A year later, he has again had enough of the whining, the toys on the carpet, the cleaning up of apple juice. We'll see where this goes, but rest assured, should this comeback attempt fizzle, Andy will find work, nowhere near Texas.

The 2012 Team Site Slogan Post

Okay, we're gonna start fresh and get 'em all on one up-to-date list. For last year's list, which will lead you to the year before's, and on and on, click here. But don't click there, because I'm putting them all right here. (Also, some teams don't put their slogan in their website banner or side nether regions. I'm gonna stick to listing only the ones that are in those areas. Except for the "we made it to X in last year's playoffs" ones. And the stadium anniversary ones that just give the stadium name and amount of years.)

Orioles: Top: "This is Birdland." Side: "The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball."
Red Sox: none
Yankees: none
Rays: none
Blue Jays: none

White Sox: Top: "appreciate the game." Side: "Passion. Pride. Tradition."
Indians: none
Tigers: "Who's Your Tiger?"
Royals: "Our Time"
Twins: "This is Twins Territory"

Angels: "Angels Baseball"
A's: "Green Collar Baseball"
Mariners: none
Rangers: none

Braves: none
Marlins: none
Mets: none
Phillies: none
Nationals: none

Cubs: "It's a Way of Life"
Reds: "This is Reds Country"
Astros: "We are your Astros"
Brewers: none
Pirates: "Pride. Passion. Pittsburgh Pirates."
Cardinals: "11-Time World Series Champions"

Diamondbacks: none
Rockies: "Year of the Fan"
Dodgers: "An LA Tradition"
Giants: "Together We're Giant"

So let's talk about the ones that are new for 2012. The O's have a slogan for their ballpark now, as the Red Sox do with "America's Most Beloved Ballpark." Like the Sox, they're making a claim that couldn't possibly be verified.

White Sox are going lowercase, I see. Most slogans are in ALL CAPS, but theirs in in all l.c. Telling fans to appreciate the game is nice, but I can't see it exciting the masses in the Chicagoland area. I have to give them credit for coming up with a new one every year (while keeping a different steady one on the side).

Apparently, it's the Royals' time. Well, it's been everybody's else's time for a good while now so let's hope so for their sake. The Royals are married to the sea...but they've been out to sea for a long time.

The Cards bring up their 11 titles--what's the minimum before you can say this? Do you ever hear the Marlins calling themselves "twice world champions"?

The Rockies have their slogan sideways. And the "of the" is sideways within the logo, making it appear upside down. So my eye kind of misses that and sees something like YERFAN. It's a chore just to figure out what the hell they're saying. Also, as a fan, I appreciate the sentiment, but would prefer it being the year of the team.

The Dodgers have been going wild with slogans lately. An LA tradition? I guess that's true. Never really been there. Except once. My band got to the door of the show we were supposed to play only to see a sign saying the show was canceled. Since that's happened to me every time I've been there, I guess that's my LA tradition.

I see NatsTown is done for. And after years of being the most creative, the Mariners have been awfully quiet/bland lately. I don't even think I can say they're my favorite sloganeer anymore. It was a good run, though....

Will add to this as any new slogans appear.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Last Chance...To Do Nothing

My mom continued her lifelong hot streak of winning Red Sox ticket lotteries, this time the "last chance" drawing, which is made up of RF roof tables and Green Monster standing room (for select games--no Opening Day or 100th or summer weekends or Yanks). The sale started today at noon. I went in to do the dirty work on her behalf, looking for another Monster game. Really only wanted a single ticket. Got through right at noon. Picked my game. Went to select number of tickets, and...what now? Number of tickets an only be set to 0 or 4???

I think they goofed. The 4-only rule makes sense for the roof tables, since you have to buy the whole table. And that was the only other thing available in this sale. I think they set all tickets to the 0/4 setting, and by default, Monster standing room got the same fate. Which makes no sense--there's no reason to limit standing room seats to 4-ticket blocks! The whole point of a "last chance" sale is to get rid of your remaining stock, right? Not gonna do that forcing people who want 1 or 2 tickets to buy 4.

I've checked multiple games. It's now 12:15 and they're all still showing the 0/4 travesty. So look for either a new sale later, or, just call the ticket office later today or whenever and see if you can snatch up some of these, if you're looking to get on the Monster. (And by the way, there's no precedent here--I buy Monster SROs every year and I've always been able to get the exact number I want, even singles.)

[Update, 3:16: Almost every game is shown to have nothing left. I can't see how this is possible with only selling the Monster SROs in blocks of 4. So either they just happened to have multiples of 4 for every single game, or they all sold down to three or less for all of them, at which point they were taken off the board, or...I don't even know...regardless, terrible job not letting people buy singles (or even pairs!) today.]

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yan Can Cook

Notice how we don't even get box scores for the "B" games? In 1912, you'd get a box score from an intrasquad game! The regular Red Sox beat the "yannigans,"* as reported 100 years ago today in the Providence paper.

Speaking of yannigans, the 2012 Futures doubleheader tickets go on sale Saturday. Presale going on now if you really wanna make sure you get those awesome seats that you could probably get anyway since there are lots of empties on that day. But if you want in, e-mail me and I'll give you the password. I noticed no Monster or EMC are available in this sale, though.

*It's spelled with two n's in the article, one in the box

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Smoke On The Dirty Water

On a night where Boston burned to the ground and the entire city went dark (or something like that), and the Brooklyn Bridge was ripped in half (or something like that), the Red Sox beat the Yankees for the first time in 2012, 1-0.

Since NESN wasn't carrying the game but MLBN was, and since MLBN was picking up the YES feed, we in NESN-land were actually forced to watch a Red Sox game with Yankee announcers. So I was stuck with old friend Michael Kay and his backhanded compliments and false sincerity, and Paul O'Neill and Lou Piniella's agreement that everything the Red Sox do is wrong and everything the Yankees do is right. Piniella was drunk as a skunk, referring to Pedroia as "Pedrosia" (like "ambrosia") and asking "is that Willie?" after an extended slow-motion close-up of Willie Randolph over which Kay specifically said it was Willie. He also surmised baseball has been around for about 100 years. Hey, I can understand Sweet Lou not remembering baseball's centennial, as it took place before he was born. He was only off by 73 years. (Give or take.)

As for the game, Doubront and Nova each gave up no runs. Padilla also threw three scoreless. The game went to the ninth scoreless. When yesterday's hero, Ciriaco, came up, Allan suggested he hits another last-inning game-winning dong on the Joy of Sox board. And the man delivered! Kind of. He hit a low liner to right, and the right fielder let it bounce under his glove, at which point it was off to the races. Ciriaco headed toward third, and as the camera cut away, you could tell he was being held up, but he was looking back at the ball. The throw was just coming in--and it was offline...and kept rolling and rolling...and Ciriaco raced for home, scoring what would be the game's only run. All this went on as we listened to an unaware Mark Teixeira getting interviewed in the clubhouse. I hoped Paul O'Neill would mention the time he himself tripled and scored on an error--on Seinfeld. But no. Turns out they called it a single, a two base error on the right fielder, and another error on the second baseman for the bad throw.

Oh, and good job noticing the old version of the Sox logo on the scorecard taped to the dugout wall behind Bobby Valentine. You're getting good at this!

The Big Day

Got my 10-game plan tix yesterday. They can send these things to me by pony exfreakinpress for all I care, but putting them in a chintzy paper envelope is a bad idea. That's how tickets get destroyed. My mail guy bent the whole thing to shove it through the slot--but I'm sure other people found their tickets in worse shape than that. I've had this plan since it started in '04, and we've always gotten a cardboard envelope until this year.

Other stuff:

Finally, some pocket skeds. They included five. They've stopped putting them in the individual game ticket envelopes so I had none until now. But I did have the big magnet schedule already since they give those at at Fenway on the final day of the season, since the schedule is released in September these days.

In the past, tix came in 5-ticket sheets. This year, they've managed to get all 10 onto one block. And the season tickets are horizontal instead of vertical. So with the paper envelope, the fewer sheets of tix, and the fact that the tickets are all plain in tribute to 1912, it was a pretty flimsy and unappealing package. But only physically.

The only other thing in there was a letter from the evildoers at the official scalping partner of the Red Sox, encouraging you to break Massachusetts state law Part I, Title XX, Chapter 140, Section 185D. Still gets me every time, the team telling us how they want to crack down on scalping, while the scalpers themselves are sending out instructions on how to scalp directly from Yawkey Way.

Anyway, we the fans can help to stop this by not being greedy. If you have extra tickets, find a friend.

I say "help" to stop this because the main culprits are the people who buy tickets strictly to sell them. It's very simple. Make that truly illegal and they'll stop buying up the tickets. Instead, the teams/leagues partner up with the damn sites that make it all possible. All while the cops around Fenway give a nod to the sweatpants scalpers around Fenway and look the other way. (This isn't a metaphor. Hang around Fenway one day. You'll quickly figure out who the scalpers are. Then wait till you see a team of pigs roll by. Watch them as they and the scalpers nod at each other before they both keep walking.)

Wow, the tone of that post changed mighty quickly, eh!? See you at the ballpark!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Marlins Walk Off. Therefore, Red Sox Win.

Ciriaco with a two-run bomb in the bottom of the 10th to break the tie and win it for Boston, 5-3.

In the ninth, we were up one, and cut down the tying run at the plate. Then on a fly out to left, we had another chance to to throw out the tying run at home, but Lavarnway couldn't hold onto the throw, so instead of ending the game, it was tied. This after Atchison threw wild to first with plenty of time on an easy grounder. So the game never should have gone to the tenth, but I'm glad for "Sir Rocco," as Remy calls him, that he got to be a hero. People not glad to see the game go to the 10th: the ESPN announcers. Everybody thinks they're so funny when they talk about how they'd rather go home. There are so many fans who would love to announce a game. So, announcers, next time you've decided the game is no longer worth your time, let a fan jump into the booth. At least they'd care. (And I know they always do this in "good fun," but come on, as long as your network has decided to show the game and is paying you to announce, why sit there saying how much fun you're not having for the last four innings?)

Beckett had a few problems but settled down, giving up a run on one hit, but walking in a run and hitting two guys. Bailey's debut was awful at first, but he somehow got out of his inning with only one run allowed. Aviles doubled and tripled.

Ozzie Guillen got ejected, argued with the ump further, then yelled at another ump on his way across the field to leave the game, as both clubhouses are accessed through the Red Sox dugout. Bobby Valentine waved goodbye to him, and then getting interviewed the next inning said "he beat me!", since V himself has yet to be ejected.

That same interview was the highlight of the game for me. While he was talking with the announcers about how the team would be thinking 180 and 270 instead of 90 this year, meaning always thinking of going first to third, second to home, first to home, etc., there was a base hit to right by Papi with Adrian on first. V excitedly started saying "how about that Big Pap man!" and then went on to describe, as it was happening, Gonzalez attempting to go first to third. In this case, it was the wrong move, but we got to hear V talking to his players, telling Gonz that it's okay, that you gotta take your chances sometimes. Then talking to the audience at home again, he described how since the ball was in front of Adrian, he really shouldn't have tried for third--but that you're not gonna find the diamond unless you go digging for it. Or something. Seeing the team's hustle and solid fundamentals and aggressiveness on the field today, plus hearing Bobby talk about it all, pushed me toward being a conVert. He's still on drugs and makes stuff up sometimes, but he definitely wants to win and will do everything he can to make that happen. So we got that goin' for us.

ESPN Game Today

For people at home on weekdays--Red Sox-Marlins is on ESPN at 1:30 today.

The 2012 Red Sox Have Drank And Swallowed But It's Just Begun

Love to see those low numbers on the board for the other team in spring training. Lester gave up one run, and none of the other pitchers gave up any. We beat the O's, 6-1.

RedSoxDiehard took some photos of the Red Sox in Florida recently. Nice that she got the home whites for a lot of these. I also have been on the lookout for any Sox wearing the Fenway 100 patch on the other sleeve. (Like a lefty wearing a right-arm patch on the right as to not affect his pitching arm, a la Bill Lee in the 70s with the bicentennial patch and Yawkey armband.) And she nailed it--one of those pics has Jacoby wearing the patch on the left instead of the right. But that pullover he has on is different from anything anyone else is wearing, so that's probably why. (Plus, he throws lefty anyway--if anything, righties would be switching, if they're "allowed" at all.)

Speaking of the patch, I like the look of it by itself, but a horizontal patch on a sleeve? Out, damn spot! I think a circular or slightly vertical one looks much better there. The 75th anniversary one was perfect, as it was a diamond. Also, it was in the team colors with only a tiny splash of green. I kind of don't like seeing a bunch of green on a Red Sox jersey.

Wait a minute. As a way to wrap an old idea back around and have it make sense, and as a way to force myself to accept a green, horizontal splotch on the players' sleeves, maybe that patch could serve as the official mark of the rallying cry of the 2012 Red Sox...Green Death! Like the lightning bolt for the Knights. I picture a championship montage in black and white with only the green showing up in color, and "Surprise! You're Dead!" by Faith No More playing in the background.

Or Gonzalez about to swing--and the patch flashes a bright green light for a half-second before he wails one to Williamsburg. Green Death! I'll keep killing you till the end of time!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sox Shut Rays Out At Fake Fenway

No Holds Bard wants to have no holds this year, and A-Save-Us probably wouldn't mind saving us if he doesn't make the rotation. So things are falling into place. Or whatever. Both those guys threw three throreless thronight, in a 5-0 win over Tamper.

V was druggin' it up tonight, with a squeeze attempt and a steal of home attempt within about 4 minutes. Let's not show the division rivals the entire playbook right away there, V.

I loved seeing Upton miss a fly ball on one of his classic nonchalant plays. Gotta get more of that in the regular season.

As you know, I was never for the idea of making an imitation Fenway Park in Florida. For all kids of reasons, such as: Is there any town in the country that doesn't have some sort of "mini-Fenway," whether it be in someone's backyard or something more official? Bucky Fuckin' Dent had a Little Fenway of his own. As did Tim Naehring in Cincinnati. As did these kids I knew from Troy, NY, in 1988 for Wiffle Ball. And even had it been a new idea, well, I'm still not a fan of copying as an art form. A tribute to Fenway? Fine. Another Fenway? Not cool. Leave the imitations to the amateurs.

And now having spent a little time watching games there, I've realized there's another thing I don't like: the fact that the Red Sox appear (kinda) to be playing at Fenway when all I want is to see palm trees in the background. And, as 9casey at Joy of Sox put it, "white shirts, white pants, and white shoes" in the stands. In the (usually) cold month of March, I want to look into my magic box and see the Red Sox playing in the Florida sunshine and dream of Fenway. Them being at Fenway ruins it.

I'm totally happy they built a whole new complex down there. I just wish they'd made it unique. Even if they'd just used a few Fenway things, I'd be okay with it. The old scoreboard in the wall, great. Hell, even if they just built it the way they did, but not sold it as "another Fenway," I'd be okay with it. Because it is different enough overall. Maybe instead of being pissed, I'd be saying, Oh wow, it kinda looks like Fenway, that's cool.

And by the way, isn't it odd that they want players to get used to playing at Fenway (another thing I think makes no sense and won't help anybody more than playing anywhere else would), yet they have the home dugout on the third base side? I also noticed that the retired numbers are up there in chronological order, which is the way Fenway used to have them before they put them in numerical order several years ago. On purpose, or a goof?

Overall, it's no big deal. I'll have to live with this one.

But NESN, could you please show the game on the full screen when we're hearing a player speak? Why do I need to see Bard sitting there talking, with the game shrunk down to less than a quarter of my screen? Show him for two seconds, then just put a little graphic that says "Voice of: Daniel Bard" in the corner. Or at least put his head in a box with the game on the whole screen. Do we need to see the announcers' faces the whole time the game is on? No. We humans can hear one thing while looking at another. We don't need to see lips moving in order to decipher language. We're not gonna call the authorities because we think a ghost in the grass is talking to us.

That long-ass Bard press conference made it so I could barely see the moment when Jeremy Kapstein was the ONLY VISIBLE FAN:

This was thanks to a few downpours.

Finally, I noticed on craigslist the other day that a certain ticket-scalping agency was looking for extras for a commercial shoot to be fake fans. Well, the ad aired tonight. Man, there's nothing I hate more than people pretending to be cheering fans. Except, of course, "official partners" of something being unaware that that something changed their logo more than three years earlier!
I guess when you hire your actors from craigslist I shouldn't expect too much from you....

Tomorrow, Sox-O's, 1:05. If you turn it on and it's the 3rd inning, it's because you didn't turn your clocks ahead.

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