Sunday, April 25, 2004

The first thing I wanted to talk about was the biggest baseball story of the week. That's right, naturally I'm talking about J.'s first T-Ball game. It was Saturday morning, and J. did pretty well. He got three hits and was able to field a couple of ground balls that came his way cleanly. He's on the team with his two best buddies from school (A. calls them "The Silly Trio".), and he was happy about that.

Watching the game was pretty funny. Lets just say that six year olds haven't quite mastered all the nuances of the game, like which base to throw to, when to run and such. The funniest thing is that when a ball gets hit over everyone's head, the whole team goes running after it.

The most important thing is that he had fun, and he'll pick up the finer points as time goes on.

Coming in a distant second as far as baseball stories is the Red Sox sweep of the Evil Empire in the Bronx this weekend. The first game was just a good, old fashioned beating, as the Sox won 11-2 with four home runs. The encouraging thing about that game was that Derek Lowe pitched 7 strong innings after getting knocked around by the Yankees the previous weekend following his rain-induced 10 day layoff. Sunday was a classic with the Sox winning 3-2 in 12 innings on three sacrifice flies. Finally, Pedro showed he's still Pedro today, as he pitched 7 scoreless innings, followed up by two innings of scoreless relief from Scott Williamson. Manny supplied all the offense the Sox needed with a two run homer. The bullpen is working on a 24 and 2/3 inning scoreless streak. It's nice not having to quake in fear every time the manager calls for the bullpen, which was pretty much the case for most of last season.

I've been watching the Braves-Marlins game on ESPNHD. Dontrelle Willis started for Florida. I love watching him pitch. He just gave up his first two earned runs of the 2004 season tonight (in his fourth start). He pitched six innings and turned it over to the bullpen with a 2-2 tie, only to watch the reliever promptly give up a bases loaded triple to J.D. Drew. I love watching Willis pitch. He's so young, yet he really seems to know what he's doing out there.

The car buying saga ends tomorrow, as I go to buy my new Honda Element. I've done all my research on the Internet, got my price figured out (and I'm quite willing to walk out if they don't meet my price) and I've got alternative financing lined up if the dealer doesn't come up with an attractive rate. It's so much easier to go into a car dealer armed with good data with the Internet. Everything is out there, from dealer invoice and wholesale prices, to the best loan rates, to descriptions of the tricks dealers try to drive up the price. I'll let you know how things go.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

OK, I know it's been a while, but I'm back.

Things have been incredibly busy lately. We've been dealing with the end of the first quarter at work, along with the ongoing work related to the merger. Quarter-end is more than enough work to keep me busy normally, but the addition of the merger related stuff really kept me hopping last week.

My first game at Fenway for 2004 got rained out. It was the Tuesday night game against the Orioles. It's now been rescheduled for Memorial Day, so my first game this year will be April 29 against Tampa Bay.

Speaking of the Sox, they've done pretty well with the Evil Empire this weekend. I give Derek Lowe a mulligan for today's game, seeing as how he hasn't pitched in 10 days, but both Schilling and Wakefield looked great. And I don't think anyone is feeling too bad that A-Rod is oh-fer the series so far.

We've finished test driving cars, as well. We drove the Honda Element and CR-V, the Toyota RAV4 and the Subaru Forester. We've decided to buy the Honda Element. We really liked the astounding amount of room inside as compared to the others. The CR-V had a slightly better ride, but we couldn't find anything great to say about any of the others. Plus, I love the look of the Element, and the spill-proof seats are almost a must with small kids! We'll be going to get it as soon as my tax refund shows up, hopefully in the next week or so.

Can you believe the Detroit Tigers so far? After losing 119 games last year (one off the '62 Mets all time record), they're 7-5 so far. Mike Maroth, who lost 21 games last year, is 2-0. Now, I don't expect they'll contend for the division crown, even in the weak AL Central, but it's nice to see that things are finally turning around in Motown under Alan Trammel.

Friday, April 09, 2004

It's been a busy couple of days. Last night I went to my first baseball game of 2004. It was the Pawtucket Red Sox opener against the Buffalo Bisons. I always love going to McCoy Stadium, as I always think of it as my "home" park - even more so than Fenway. Growing up a couple of miles from the ballpark, I practically spent my summers at McCoy, watching players like Bruce Hurst, Oil Can Boyd, Wade Boggs, Marty Barrett and others develop before going on to successful major league careers. My first vivid memory of attending a baseball game was seeing Jim Rice hit a home run for the Pawsox 30 years ago.

The game itself was very entertaining, with the Pawsox rallying from a 2 run deficit in the bottom of the 9th to win the game on a bases loaded walk by Andy Dominique. Two of the Red Sox hot prospects are playing at Pawtucket this year: catcher Kelly Shoppach and third baseman Kevin Youkilis. Shoppach is considered to be Jason Varitek's eventual successor. Youkilis is best known as "The Greek God of Walks", as documented in the book "Moneyball". Billy Beane, the Oakland A's general manager, was very hot to get Youkilis during the 2002 season as part of a three way trade with the Expos involving Cliff Floyd. Theo Epstein intervened with John Henry before he became general manager, and of course the Sox ended up getting Floyd anyways.

April nights can be brutally cold at McCoy, but it was actually relatively pleasant last night. The wind was blowing out, so the worst of it was blocked by the stadium. When the wind blows in from the parking lot over the outfield fence, it can get really uncomfortable.

I didn't manage to get my hands on any Boston opening day tickets today, but I did see a good portion of the Sox loss to Toronto today on TV. They looked pretty tired after after last night's 13 inning loss to Baltimore, and then their charter flight was delayed due to mechanical problems.

Tonight we went to our Temple to see J.'s Sunday School kindergarten class participate in the Friday night Shabbat service. J. had a little part of a prayer he had to say and he did a great job with it.

Saturday is another full day. After J.'s swimming lesson, we're going out car shopping. It's finally time to replace my almost 10 year old Pontiac Grand Am. It has about 106,000 miles on it, and I don't really want to put any more money into it. We're looking at small SUV's - Honda Element or CR-V, Toyota RAV-4, Subaru Highlander and Jeep Liberty are the short list. I've always been a fan of the Element, but we'll see how the test drives go before I make a decision.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Just when you start to think you've seen everything...

The Royals overcame a 4 run 9th inning deficit to beat the White Sox today. A great comeback, but not that extraordinary, right? Well, the last time a team came back from four runs down in the 9th to win an Opening Day game was in 1901, when the Detroit Tigers managed the feat.

The other shock of the day was the Tigers beating Toronto 7-0 and beating on Cy Young winner Roy Halliday. It's the first time the Tigers have been over .500 since April of 2001.

Wow, am I glad that baseball is back!!!

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Welcome to Opening Day!

I’m writing this as I watch the top half of the 7th inning of the Red Sox opening night game at Camden Yards in Baltimore. The Sox are down 3-1 as they come up to bat against Rodrigo Lopez, who relieved Sidney Ponson with two outs in the 6th. The Sox have left a ton of guys on base (2 in each of the last four innings). Pedro had a brutal second inning, giving up three runs on a combination of solid hits (including a bomb by Javy Lopez in his first at bat for the O’s) and some sloppy play. He settled down nicely since then, including a 1-2-3 6th inning.

Can someone tell me exactly when we became a “Nation”? Red Sox fans, that is. It used to be that we were just fans. Now we’re “Red Sox Nation”. I’ve heard Dan Shaughnessy of the Globe use the term for years, but it only seemed to really take off in the last 3 or 4 years. I even started to see Red Sox Nation T-shirts last season.

The O’s just scored another run off Timlin, making it 4-1 in the last of the 7th. Maybe Grady was right!

6-1 now. It doesn’t look good.

Make sure you check out this at This guy is riding his BICYCLE 11,000 miles over the next six months to visit every major league ballpark to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. It’s about 11,000 miles in total. I’m going to chip in a few bucks for him. I’ve always thought I was a little crazy for wanting to drive the route some day. Doing it on a bike is really insane! Good luck to him, though. I hope he makes it.

It’s 6-2 in the 8th as I end this. It’ll be interesting to hear the reaction on sports talk radio tomorrow. How many people are going to think that the sky is falling?

eXTReMe Tracker