Saturday, June 15, 2013


You know how our friend/next door neighbor is a burlesque performer? Last night we were at her house for her birthday party, and at one point, she explained in detail to the entire congregation of non-sports fans the concept of...

Strat-o-matic Baseball.

I knew she'd grown up with a crush on some '86 Mets, even going as Wally Backman for Halloween one year, but knowing about "Strat" is some next-level shit! So I proceeded to give my speech about how I never knew why we sports geeks and the D&D crowd (i.e. everybody at this party, now in their grown-up sleeve-tattooed state) didn't get along. We were all doing the same thing anyway--fantasizing in our basements while the cool kids were out on dates. But I think the two groups have to end the rift on their own. Each one makes fun of the other; it's our own fault. The popular kids have pitted us against each other to hold us down, knowing that a merging of the two cultures would lead to a race of SuperGeeks! They fear being attacked by fastball-breathing dragons.

By the way, I use the geek/nerd terms in their old sense, not in their current "really popular kids who happen to wear glasses" connotation. They even stole our terms for their own use!

Anyway, I missed the second half of last night's game. But when I got home, the score was right where I'd left it. 2-0 Birds.

Yanks lost, so we're 1.5 up on Balty, 3 up on NY, 5 up on Tampa.

Napoli is still "ill." He's also been pretty lost at the plate for a week, which I guess we're blaming on the mystery sickness.

And Ciriaco is now a Padre. I hope people always remember what great job he did for the Red Sox in a tough time.

Today at 4, Sox @ O's, Lackey against....what? Freddy Garcia?

Now I think I'll go next door and see if I can get a game of Strat-o-matic going....

Friday, June 14, 2013

31 Innings

Yanks played 18. We played 13.

I couldn't believe it when I came back to my car after working a two-hour shift, having started that shift in the 9th, that Sterling was still blabbing. Turns out it was the 15th. Then after a 45-minute drive home, which was 15 minutes longer because I stopped at the store to get ingredients for a Mexi-feast, AND had to go to a different store since the first one was out of avocados, I got to listen to the last inning in the kitchen as I made the guac. Got to hear Mo give up the winning run. Awesome. I knew right then our result would be gravy, unless...maybe...we lost in similar fashion.

And we kinda did! But whatever, at least we had a nice comeback, and their winning hit was a bloop. Not a crushing loss. And also, it puts the O's into a second-place tie with the Yanks. That's what you get for rooting against us, Suzyn!


Okay, I wasn't gonna say anything, even after Don did his usual, saying the O's were "walking off" just as the camera showed the Red Sox pitcher WALKING OFF, with the man who coined the phrase, Dennis Eckersley, sitting next to him. But then Tom Caron rubbed it in my face, by saying on the post-game, "...and it sends them walking off in celebration," again while we watched the Orioles neither "walking" nor headed "off," followed by a shot of the Red Sox pitcher walking off. Here's what I don't get about that: If you happen to think "walk-off" refers to the walking off the field by the victors post-celebration, then why wouldn't you call every game a walk-off? The winners always celebrate on the field and then walk off it. I feel like Tom's brain is saying to him "These words don't make sense in this situation. But it's what everyone says. So I'll assume no one will call me out on speaking complete nonsense." Eck! We need you! Tell everyone what you meant by this term, since the world forgot. Thank you. How could it not be killing him as much as it's killing me? Well, "killing" in loose terms.

Bonus post-warning thing: It's another anti-Don thing. In the previous night's game, there was a ball hit off Aceves that bounced in front of the plate, then bounced up and over the first baseman into the outfield. On this play, you have to note how it's tough luck for the pitcher, who essentially induced a groundout, only to have the ball go over the guy's head for a cheap single. Instead, Don's call was "fair ball!" as if it were a regular "down the line" hit. Bradford said nothing. We got no replay. Don left viewers thinking it was a regular hit when it was an oddity that needed attention called to it.

Oh, and NESN, terrible job on the sometimes-used "DUE UP" graphic at the end of an inning that shows the hitters' faces, since it means we don't see the score. Or the hits/errors/inning. Can't there be room for both?

PlayStation: It's so funny (and awesome) when Eckersley brings up his own games, because, as I've said before, he's accurate to about 96%, whereas most other ex-jocks are at about 23%. Tonight, he brought up a game in the last month of '95, where Rickey hit a dong, and he threw three innings, with Donnie Baseball (Yankee fans will often say "Donnie Ballgame"--when they do, remember to punch them in the face) fouling off a bunch of pitches, leading Eck to "suck" (his words, quickly changed to "stunk," too late) for the rest of the season. Here's the game. I think he might have said he threw the 9th, 10th, and 11th. It was actually 8th through 10th, but besides that , everything else checks out. He gave up 2 runs in four of his next five appearances, with his ERA going up more than a full point in that last month. The San Jose Mercury (9/5/95) wrote "Eckersley ended the game with a classic confrontation with Mattingly, who fouled off five pitches [....]" Nice job, Eck! On the memory, and beating the Yankees.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Kicking Butt

Tonight the Red Sox won the last game of a series for the ninth straight time! (If you consider the home-and-home with the Phils one series.) The last four have been condom contests, too. We've won 8 of our last 11 games. Since the early-May unpleasantness, we've only lost one series.

Aceves and Bailey both make you feel like they're always one pitch away from denouncement, but Ace really came through tonight, giving up just a run over six. And we couldn't afford to give up any more than that in a 2-1 win.

Bailey gave up a rocket on the first pitch he threw that nearly tied the game. Instead, it was off the wall for a long single, and he was able to bare-ass down to get the final three outs, the last one with the tying run at second. Good job by Taz, Brez, and The U, too.

Nava is THE MAN for us this year. His dong in the third accounted for both of our runs.

We're either 2 or 3 up at the end of the night. Yanks down 2-0 in the fifth in Oakland as of now. Balty 3.5 back, Tampa 5. Only the Cardinals have a better record than the Red Sox!

Thursday night, it's the first of fourioles against the Orioles at Neely Den.

[Update, 1:16 a.m.: Yanks officially lose. Huge insurance dong by Moss in bottom 8 to make it 4-2, then a bonus insurance run tacked on. Yanks get tying run to plate in 9th but Nix grounds out to end it. 5-2 A's final, and the Red Sox are 3 game sup in the east. Matches the biggest lead of the year, only matched on April 29th. Back then it was a 3-game lead on the Yanks, Balty 3.5, Tampa 6, Toronto 9.5. Now it's very similar at 3, 3.5, 5, 11.5, with the teams in the same order. Between then and now the Red Sox dropped to as many as three games out of first (May 14th). So that's two 6-game swings, one bad and one good, in the last month and a half.]

New Season Starts Tomorrow

For Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Which is Seinfeld's new show. From the trailer it looks like there are a few "twists," though they could be set-ups. The guests, from what I could tell: Dave Letterman, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Seth Myers, Mel Brooks...

SOX @ Rays, 25 minutes from now.

Today Was Only Half Rainbows

Lester has a bad one and we lose 8-3. But don't worry, Sabathia's doing just as bad in Oakland, and the A's are way up on the Yanks, so we're gonna stay 2 games up. And that's all we need to say about tonight. Wednesday night it's Aceves against Archer. We've been good against rookie-ish types so hopefully we bounce back.

As you know, Newport has become my second home, as I work there six days a week. It really is a "playground for the rich," but that makes it all the more easy to relate to my fellow commoners when I'm there. Meaning the waitresses and clerks and whatnot. So it's cool. But it's a trip. Today, for example, I saw...

A bunch of boats, right? But upon closer inspection, hey, what's that on top of that one big-ass yacht?

A freakin' helicopter! Imagine living like that? "What will we do with our helicopter when we go on vacation?" "Don't be silly, we'll bring it along!" Actually, if you think of it being "strapped to the hood," you can imagine this is the white trash of rich people, made fun of by all the richer rich people, who scoff at the Mercedes they have up on blocks in the yard as they drive by.

Bonus: Below the chopper, you can see a big screen TV. I zoomed in. You guessed it: Fox News.

Then on my way home, I crossed the Newport Bridge, leaving dark and rainy Newport. The sun was coming out right in front of me, so I knew if I could make it across before the rain stopped, I'd have a shot at capturing a rainbow looking back at Newport, hopefully with the bridge in the shot. I got across, turned around, and there she was:

This is zoomed out all the way. I was lucky enough to get the bow-stalk and the bridge in the same shot. Unfortunately, this rainbow was only stalks. The other stalk was way to the other side of the bridge. Had it been a full bow, it would have been perfect. (But I would have needed to do a panorama.) Also, problem with bows is, they don't show up too well, at least at my photography expertise level, so I have to saturate the hell out of these and mess with other stuff to let you see the thing.

Here's a close-up of the left stalk, with all the sailboats seemingly bowing to it.

Then the sun continued to play tricks, first shining on the far tower of the bridge:

And then a few seconds later on the front tower:
I just didn't have time to drive around until the bow was right behind the bridge, so I made sure to get the shots I had in front of me.

When I wrote the beginning of this post, it was 6-0 Athletics in the 7th. Checked to see the blowout final just now, and I see it's 6-4 in the ninth, Yanks with the tying run at the plate and two outs...and Hafner, leader of the Yanks' .240-Brigade, flies out to end it as I type! Perfect timing....

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I was "enjoying" the shadows of the players at the PawSox game last weekend, and started snapping away. Then I flipped 'em for your pleasure:

Laugher Ruined. Then Salvaged, Ruined Again, And Salvaged Again.

Holy ESS. Weirdest game of the year. If you didn't stay up, here's what went down:

We go up 6-0 in the first before an out is made, against their fine pitcher A. Cobb. Maddon does that thing where he just acts like nothing's wrong, keeps him in for a full appearance. The Red Sox end up not scoring again for hours and hours. Meanwhile Lackey is slowly giving back the 6 runs. The Rays finally tie it on a wild pitch with 2 outs in the 8th.

Top 10, 2 out, 2 on, Salty delivers with a 2-run single. Were' up 8-6. Bailey comes in for the save.

Instead, Bailey shits all over the room. Home run. Walk. Walk. Single. Walks in the tying run. So now it's tied and Tampa has 'em loaded with nobody out. But incredibly, Bailey lucks out and gets three outs on two pitches. 5-2-3 easy DP, followed by a bad bunt attempt that Pedroia makes a nice play on to end the frame. We survive to play another inning.

We get to the 14th, now having used all our pitchers, including guys who weren't available and guys who are starting in two days. Nava comes through with a ribbie single, and Salty gets one of his own with two outs for an insurance run. 10-8 SOX.

Bottom 14 starts with a single, but after a fly out, Morales gets a tailor-made DP ball, and it's over. We HAD to win this game, and somehow, after five and a half hours and 14 innings, we did. Wowzers, Penny.

I left out a lot. You shoulda been there. So we're 2 up on NY, 3.5 on Balt., 5 on Tamp., 12 on Tor.

In closing, below is a video of another lame-tastic thing done by your pals at NESN. They showed a little montage of Fenway fan footage to talk about the sellout streak, as tonight's "honorable moment." And in that montage...a shot of Phillies fans! In Philadelphia! How in the world.... oh right, because it's NESN. I mean it's one thing to show close-ups of Jim Rice in the batter's box at Yankee Stadium, then cut to wide shot of him homering at Fenway, during a Rice montage. It's another to specifically pay tribute to Fenway fans and show a different ballpark.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dustin's Better

In New York, for some reason they've Mariano-ized Robinson Cano, meaning they've decided that there just simply aren't any other second basemen in the league. It's known to all that he is in a class by himself, for now and always. Francesa even said the other day that there is only ONE second baseman who "does what he does."

We Red Sox fans know different, of course. And while "Ca...NO, Peg" has the power numbers (HR, RBI, SLG) on his side, let's see what other categories he's beating Pedroia in. I'll show the winner in each category (each guy has played roughly the same amount of games and has roughly the same amount of at bats), and then we'll do the math:

AVG: Pedroia (by 61 [SIXTY-ONE] points)
OBP: Pedroia (by 76 [SEVENTY-SIX] points)
OPS: Pedroia
R: Pedroia
H: Pedroia
2B: Pedroia
BB: Pedroia
K: Pedroia (meaning he has fewer)
SB: Pedroia

So that's, what, whisper whisper whisper, carry the proverbial one, whisper Zero other categories. And Dustin's only 5 RBI behind. And we know he has pop. Just not that extra-juicy, shorty-fenced pop that Cano has. Pedroia's also at least 4 inches shorter, 50 pounds lighter, and a half-piano slower, making him, pound-for-pound, inch-by-inch, and step-by-step, easily the better ballplayer. And while Yankee fans live in a world where Cano's fielding is the best in the world (which makes sense when your world only consists of one player at that position), the rest of us know what an incredible fielder Dustin is. And all the balls that get past Cano because he refuses to dive, those are the ones Pedroia dives for and gets. This is better. There's no "he gets to every ball so he doesn't NEED to dive." That is what we call "bullshit."

Some Vids

I won't do all the pissy complaining ones now. Instead I'll do these:

1. This guy made a nice play on a flying bat.

2. Here's a funny moment. NESN tries to fool us into thinking TC's 6th-inning game break is live. But clearly it was recorded before the game, as Yawkey Way wouldn't be completely packed with people in the 6th inning. And though I didn't need any more proof than that, I happened to notice the same fan inside the park and (supposedly) on Yawkey Way at the same time, proving it was not a live game break!

3. And below is a two-parter I made about some fans catching home run balls today. I made the first before the second play happened, and I made the second before they finally went to Jenny Dell to say that they indeed noticed what happened. But I still think I'm right that Don didn't notice, or he would have said something at the time. (I love how Jenny acts like she's giving us some info we didn't know--yeah, some of us were paying attention at the time....)

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Sox Win, NESN Loses

We started the homestand with a blowout win, and ended it with a 10-5 close-for-a-while win, taking 2 of 3 from both Texas and the Angels. Big days for Salty (2 dongs), Carp (dong), and Ortiz (dong--I don't know why Trout didn't rob it, see pic). So we'll stay at least 1.5 up as we head off to Tampa and Baltimore City.

NESN was on fire today. The cold, hard kind of fire. More than usual. With Remy still out, they had Rice in the booth with Don, plus a rotating third man, three innings each. It's almost like they knew they were in for a long game, so they gave Don this giant list of topics to ask Rice about. It was a close game into the sixth, with lots of stuff happening on the field--but they never talked about it! It was all the pre-planned stuff, which would have been fine for a blowout. So toward the end when it hit 10-3, at least it made a little more sense to just blab away. They've got all this tweet crap going on too, on top of the conversation-killing ad reads. It would have been a great day to just talk about the game, THEN go to blab-mode late. And with Rice's Magical Mystery Tour, you end up with him talking over plays all the time. Then when TC entered the booth, it was the ultimate irony as he joked about how when he was the sideline reporter, he'd always end up talking over important plays, with Don getting pissed about not being able to call them.

And all this was on top of the progressively worse coverage. They missed the first pitch of the first inning to Ellsbury because the junior announcer was still talking. That set the tone. Then they missed, as is their tradition, almost every pickoff attempt. One time a guy went to second on a passed ball, and they didn't show the runner. And any time something was missed where the announcer might be there to tell us about it, they were in the middle of some unrelated conversation.

It seemed like Uehara was getting yelled at by LeVangie as he warmed up, but of course the announcers weren't even watching. Then he came in and had one of his worst performances. Maybe the yelling could have given them a clue something was wrong.

I feel like some people might have seen this game and thought it was great because you had baseball (mostly) related conversation going the whole time. But what I'm saying is, they missed a great game because of it. It would have worked okay as a roundtable, but we've got a game going on here. A close game. Involving the first-place home team.

I kept making videos about the madness as the game went on. I'll post those tonight.

Sox Win At Least Once

The Red Sox played 17.5 innings today, over two games. The Mets played 20. In one game. And another game went 18 innings too.

Our second game was the "good one." BucHHolz remained undefeated, but left early with a tight neck. His ERA went up to 1.71. With it being a national game, we got the old-school awesome down-low view, so refreshing. But it meant we couldn't tell if Lindsay Bucking-hholz was in the stands behind the plate. The game was mildly close until Papi hit a prodigious dong in the 6th to make it 7-2, and that was your final.

Game one was similar but opposite. It was close (and we stranded a million runners and kept whiffing on Tommy Something's slowball) until the Angels finally pulled away for a Dabney Coleman/Dolly Parton loss.

Yanks won, so we lose a half-game on the day. The lead is 1.5. We still have the A.L.'s best record, and only two N.L. teams are ahead of us.

Hilarious moment today in game one. After the second out of an inning, Don thought it was the third. Humans make mistakes. What Don did wrong, though, was look down at his scorecard and start wrapping up the inning, while the rest of us watched the players remain on the field. Then the music started playing! Finally he notices, and even admits that Cafardo (droning in for Remy) was waving his hands at him. After Don tried to act like it was the music's fault (it started playing AFTER he started wrapping up the inning, making him a liar), Nick made a comment that maybe watching the game is a better way to tell if the inning's over. I wasn't able to record this, and I doubt it'll make it into Sox in 2, so if anybody has MLB.TV and wants to put this on YouTube (or give me their name and password so I can do it), feel free. I think it was bottom 5. Don is just borderline useless at this point. I don't know what he's doing up there. And Remy, jeez, you know you're in trouble when Nick Cafardo seems like Vin Scully compared to you.

One thing I did record was this Don moment:

And NESN continues to delay the cut to the field cam after a batted ball to the point where we're not seeing fielders field the ball on plays. (Same with pickoff throws and catchers throwing to bases, of course.) And these aren't line drives. They stay with the damn pitch cam so long that we see the hitter take 3-4 steps out of the box before they make the cut. I'm still wondering how they EVER screw this up, let alone do it almost all the time. Batter hits ball, press button. Don't make me pull this broadcast over!

Sunday at 1:35, it's Dempster against Blanton, who hasn't walked a guy in his last three starts, in the raincoat rendezvous.

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