Monday, February 21, 2005

I'm writing this while I'm watching American Idol. A. got me hooked on it, and I'm really annoyed with myself. I hadn't been watching any of these reality shows, and now I find myself watching this religiously. Damn it.

More Red Sox/Yankees fireworks, as A-Rod arrived at camp and addressed the media. He pretty much took the high road in responding to the shots taken by Curt Schilling, Trot Nixon and Bronson Arroyo, among others. Of course, Rodriguez also called Arroyo "Brandon". Whether that was on purpose or not is anyone's guess.

Back to work tomorrow after nearly a week away. R. continues to get better, so hopefully tomorrow won't be too difficult for A. at home. I can hardly wait to see how many email messages accumulated over the three business days I was gone. The over/under is 100.

Good article about the new Worcester team in Worcester Magazine. My favorite bit is that Polar Beverages is going to be building a giant polar bear in the outfield that will actually be in play. Could be kind of fun. Could be stupid. I'm not sure which yet.

The two best things that I've done for my computer lately:

- Installing the Airport network. I can sit here on my couch while I'm watching TV and surf the Net. That's actually a reason why I've been posting to my blog more frequently lately. The freedom from wires is great, and it's also been working out for R.

- Downloading the Firefox browser. I've been using it for a week now, and it's faster and more compatible than Apple's Safari browser. And don't even get me started on Internet Explorer - this is far superior even to the newer Windoze versions of IE I use at work. If you haven't yet, download it and try it.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Well, we're going to Florida.

R. has improved quite a bit the last couple of days, and it's become evident that J. really needs to have some other activities over the school break. He's really jealous over all the attention she's getting (conveniently ignoring the fact that she had to go through surgery to get all this attention). But the vacation week is going to be really difficult if he has to hang around here all week, so we decided it was in everyone's best interest for us go to down to Florida.

It's going to be a lot of work for A. to take care of R. herself for the time we're away, but I'm sure she's up to it. She's a bit worried about it, but she'll be fine. My father-in-law is going to stop by and we're looking into getting our regular babysitter to come by for a few hours to give A. a break.

Giants closer Rob Nen announced his retirement today. He was never able to recover from the rotator cuff injury he pitched through during the 2002 post-season. The Giants probably never would have made it to the World Series if it hadn't been for Nen pitching through the injury. He gambled his career to help his team win. It would have been easy for him to sit down and increase his long-term earnings potential, but he laid it on the line for the team.

Friday, February 18, 2005

R. contines to improve incrementally after her surgery. Her first night home was pretty calm, and she only woke up once at about 4AM complaining of pain. We gave her the pain meds that were prescribed and she went right back to sleep.

The trip to Florida looks like it's in danger. When we originally planned the trip, R.'s surgery was to have been two weeks earlier, and she would have been substantially recovered. Now it'll only be a week after surgery and it's unlikely she'll be able to get around much by herself. It's not fair to ask A. to take care of her for five days by herself when R. isn't very mobile.

We'll make a final decision Sunday night, but I'd say it's about 80/20 that we won't be going. Fortunately, we decided to make the trip a surprise so J. knows nothing about it and he won't be disappointed. We're thinking about rescheduling it for May and I'll take him out of school for a couple of days. The weekend we're thinking about should coincide with the Star Wars Weekends at Disney-MGM Studios, so that'll be an added bonus.

Back to some baseball stuff. Pitchers and catchers officially reported to Red Sox spring training yesterday. Curt Schilling wasn't limping on his surgically repaired ankle, and says he's planning to make the Opening Night start against Randy Johnson and the Yankees on April 3. That might be the most awaited (and will certainly be the most hyped) opener in MLB history.

Trot Nixon decided to take a few shots at A-Rod as he arrived at Spring Training, just to start the 2005 edition of the Sox/Yankees feud on the right note.

Last note, The Worcester Whatevers (they haven't announced a name yet) named former Sox catcher Rich Gedman their manager for 2005. Gedman is a Worcester native and was a coach for the North Shore Spirit the last couple of years. Gedman named former Sox pitcher Bob Ojeda to be his pitching coach. This means that at least three members of the ill fated 1986 Red Sox will be in the Can Am League this season, with Oil Can Boyd pitching for the Brockton Rox next season.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

We got home from the hospital this afternoon. R. is having some pain and was pretty miserable at the hospital, but her mood improved almost immediately once we got home and got her settled. It's good to see her acting more like her old self again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

We finally made it through R.'s surgery today. She did very well, and the surgeon said everthing went as expected. She charmed the socks off everyone at the hospital this morning, and was her happy, chatty self prior to going into the OR. She's pretty tired out and on pain meds, but she was hungry and eating a popsicle when I left to come home tonight. A. is at the hospital with her and I'll go back tomorrow morning after I get J. on the school bus.

It wasn't a bad experience. Everyone at Children's was thoroughly professional and very nice. R. was great, and it really helps that A. is a nurse and speaks the medical jargon.

I'm feeling less stressed now that it's over, and I'll feel even better when R. is home tomorrow.

I want to thank everyone for their support as we go through this. As difficult as this process has been for us, it would be even moreso without all our family and good friends.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

One of my all-time favorite superhero TV shows, The Greatest American Hero, is coming out on DVD on Tuesday. A teriffically funny show, with William Katt, Robert Culp and Connie Selleca. For those of you who never saw it (or were too young to see it), Katt gets a suit from aliens that gives him Superman-like powers, and promptly loses the instruction book that tells him how it works. He then struggles to try to figure out how the suit works while solving crimes with an FBI agent, played by Culp.

I remember watching the 2-hour pilot for this show with my father when it came out. It looked pretty dumb from the commercials, but we watched it anyways. After watching the show, I was stunned by the fact that it was actually pretty good. I became a fan from that point on, but I haven't seen the show in years. I'm looking forward to picking up the DVD and reliving it.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The first official event of the 2005 Red Sox season took place yesterday, as the team's equipment truck left Fenway Park for Fort Meyers yesterday. It's a sure sign of spring, and its always a story in the Boston area. A picture of the truck made the front page of the Boston Globe and the Metrowest Daily News even had an interview with the truck driver. Pitchers and catchers report next week.

It was a bit of a strange week on the baseball front, as the news was dominated by steroids. Jason Giambi had his bizzare "apology" press conference, where he said he was sorry for using steriods even though he never even mentioned the word. Then we have the beginning of the publicity blitz for Jose Canseco's new book, where he accuses practically everyone short of Freddie Patek of using steroids. I'll read the book, but much like with Pete Rose's book I'll get it out of the library since I don't want to put any cash in Canseco's pocket.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

There are few sights more incredible than not one, not two, but THREE Lombardi Trophies being held aloft in a Duck Boat coming down Boylston St.

That was the sight greeting us in the lead Duck during the parade honoring the Super Bowl Champion Patriots yesterday. Bob Kraft, Jonathan Kraft and Scott Pioli held the trophies while Coach Bill Belichick (resplendent in his trademark grey sweatshirt) waved to the crowd of about 1 million people greeting the champs back home after their win down in Jacksonville at Super Bowl XXXIX.

The parade was fun, although it got underway more than 1/2 hour late. People were in a good mood and seemed to be having fun. The papers reported some problems with rowdy high school students who played hooky to attend the parade, but we didn't see any of that from our vantage point near the Prudential Center. Most folks were dressed in their Pats finest and cheered loudly when the players came by on the duck boats. Many of the players appeared to be there, including Tom Brady, Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch, Richard Seymour and Tedy Bruschi.

My one complaint is that it would be helpful if the players wore their jerseys to help us identify them as they went by. Unlike in baseball, most of these guys wear helmets most of the time we see them on TV and you just don't know a lot of the faces. Obviously you know some of the team leaders like Brady and Seymour, but there were a lot of players I just had no idea who they were.

It was a great time, though, celebrating yet another championship. That's four parades since January, 2002. I could get used to this!

One other thing - are New England fans getting a bit blase about all these wins? I went down to the Olympia Sports store in the Pru on Monday to see if they had the locker room championship hats. In past years the stores were very crowded right after a Pats Super Bowl win, and you couldn't even get near the place after the Sox beat the Empire and then won the Series. When I went down there on Monday, not only did they have plenty of hats, but there were only about a dozen people in the store! Is winning championships getting to be old hat (pun intended) around here?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Pats win! Pats win!

A very competitive game, although it didn't require a clutch Vinatieri field goal with time expiring for the Patriots to get another three point win. The Eagles made it close with a late touchdown, but some inexplicable clock management by McNabb down the stretch meant that the Eagles ran out of time.

The defense played their usual great game, led by Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison, both of whom had interceptions (Harrison with 2). Deion Branch took home the MVP this time, as he had 11 catches for 133 yards.

I don't think there's any question that the Patriots can be called a dynasty. Three championships in four years in the salary cap era certainly meets the definition.

Things seem to be pretty quiet in Boston at the moment. After the last two championship celebrations, both of which included fatalities, there was a huge police presence in the hot spots in the city near the colleges. There were also strong warnings from the mayor and the college administrations. It's good to see that the message has gotten across that celebrating is OK but being destructive and acting like an idiot isn't.

Parade on Tuesday, and I guess I'll have to buy another hat!

Halftime at Super Bowl XXXIX. Pats and Eagles are tied at 7. Neither offense looks all that great, although Brady engineered a nice drive to tie the game at the end of the half. Both defenses have been tough, as you might expect from the number 2 and 3 defenses in football this past season. It doesn't look like the Pats are going to dominate the Eagles the way they did the Colts and the Steelers.

Paul McCartney is putting on a great halftime show. No wardrobe malfunctions, just some great, classic tunes and some fireworks. And he's going on tour this fall. I am so there.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Phrase of the day...

I was listening to WEEI today. All the daytime shows are down in Jacksonville on "Radio Row". This morning, Jon Meterperel, the sports flash guy on the Dennis & Callahan program interviewed a couple of Hawaiian Tropics models. Meter was practiclally drooling on himself as he talked to these women, and it was pretty funny to listen to.

Then came my new favorite phrase. A woman called the show and said that she wanted to talk about the game until Meter dissolved in a "puddle of stupid." It was such a great description; it exactly described what happened to him.

Only two days left until the Super Bowl. Go Pats!!!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

SABR Alert! If you're not into long discourses on obscure baseball topics, I'd suggest finding another blog to read. :-)

(And in case you don't know, SABR stands for Society for American Baseball Research.)

Toronto's Skydome was just renamed to the Rogers Center (couldn't they have found a more interesting name?), after Rogers Communication, which owns the team and just bought Skydome from the Ontario provicial government. Yet another Major League stadium has a name belonging to a corporate sponsor.

This was not always the case. As little as 15 years ago, there were no MLB stadiums named after corporations. I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to Wrigley Field and Busch Stadium, assuming that they are named after William Wrigley and August Busch and not Wrigley Chewing Gum and Anheiser Busch. In fact, Gussie Busch tried to rename the old Sportsman's Park in St. Louis Budweiser Park when he bought the ballpark from Bill Veeck in the '50's, and was told he couldn't do that!

In 1990 you had the following:

6 ballparks were named after people: Comiskey Park, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Shea Stadium, Wrigley Field, Busch Stadium and Jack Murphy Stadium

5 ballparks were named after their teams: Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Royals Stadium, Astrodome and Dodger Stadium.

11 ballparks were named after some geographical feature: Fenway Park, Cleveland Stadium, Arlington Stadium, Oakland Coliseum, Anaheim Stadium, Fulton County Stadium, Riverfront Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium, County Stadium, Kingdome and Candlestick Park.

4 ballparks have names that don't really fit into one of the other categories. Two were named to honor veterans: Memorial Stadium and Veterans Stadium. The other two were Skydome and Olympic Stadium.

Of course, four teams didn't exist in 1990: Arizona, Colorado, Tampa Bay and Florida.

In 2005, there have been a lot of changes. The prime one is that 17 ballparks have corporate sponsors: Rogers Center, Tropicana Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Comerica Park, Ameriquest Field, Safeco Field, McAfee Coliseum, Citizens Bank Park, Pro Player Stadium, Minute Maid Park, Great American Ballpark, PNC Park, Miller Park, SBC Park, Bank One Ballpark, Coors Field and Petco Park.

There are actually a couple of more stadiums named after people, with 8: Jacobs Field, Hubert H. Humprey Metrodome, Kaufmann Stadium, Shea Stadium, Turner Field, RFK Stadium (the new home of the Washington Nationals), Wrigley Field and Busch Stadium.

The big decline comes in ballparks named after geographical features. There are only 2 left: Fenway Park and Oriole Park at Camden Yards (you could say that it's named after the team, but who the heck calls it Oriole Park?).

Lastly, there are 3 ballparks named after their team: Yankee Stadium, Angels Stadium and Dodger Stadium.

So what does this say? It's another indication that in America in the 21st century, just about everything needs to be sponsored. At least two ballparks (the Metrodome and RFK Stadium) will be replaced in the next few years and will no doubt have the names of sponsors. It's tough for teams to resist the lure of big bucks for naming rights - these deals are often worth $5 million a year and up.

The trend will no doubt continue, but we don't have to like it.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

We encountered a bit of a bump in the road on R.'s surgery today. The hospital called and told us that the surgeon had a death in the family and the operation was being delayed until the 16th.

It's not that this is a great disaster, but we were all focused on going in tomorrow and getting this done. Delaying it just gives us two more weeks to think about it and it pushes her recovery further into the spring.

There's nothing we can do about it, though, and it's not anyone's fault. Just a case of poor timing. So we roll with the punches and get ready for the 16th.

UPN announced that Star Trek: Enterprise was being cancelled at the end of this season. It's hardly a surprise, given that the ratings have been very low since the series premiered. In a way, it's too bad since I thought the show had greatly improved the last two seasons. The Xindi arc was very enjoyable (except for that dumb space Nazis thing at the end), and I thought the mini-arcs they have been doing this year were well done also.

That said, I have been saying since Voyager ended that Star Trek needs a rest. Since 1987, there have been 25 seasons of Star Trek produced (7 each of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, plus four of Enterprise, in addition to six movies). Rick Berman, who has headed up the Star Trek franchise since Gene Roddenberry's death, ran out of fresh ideas a long time ago. A few years off to build up demand for Trek again and a new creative team could really revitalize Star Trek and maybe get fans interested again.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to salute the people of Iraq for going out to vote in that country's first election. These people voted in the face fo death threats from the insurgent groups. When you consider that barely half of eligible Americans vote in a presidential election, the accomplishment was even more impressive.

I still don't think that the US should be in Iraq. The CIA admitted that Iraq didn't have a chemical weapons program; it was dismantled in 1991. Iraq simply wasn't a threat to the United States and, in my opinion, we shouldn't be attacking countries that don't present a clear and present danger to us.

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