Friday, April 28, 2006

Another tough night for the Sox tonight, as they are down 5-0 to Tampa Bay after five innings. Matt Clement has been wild tonight and the Sox offensive slump continues.

I am still trying to catch a glimpse of an actual Devil Rays fan in the stands at Tropicana Field tonight. It seems like the Red Sox gear is far outnumbering anyone wearing Tampa Bay hats or shirts.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Quite a scene at McCoy Stadium last night. Devil Rays top prospect Delmon Young flipped his bat at the home plate umpire after being called out on strikes. The ump was hit on the chest, although he was wearing a chest protector and wasn't injured.

Mr. Young is going to be in for a very long suspension. You just can't be throwing things at the umpires, or officials in any sport. I'm guessing he'll be gone for at least 20 games, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was 25 or more. And since Young is in the minors, the MLB Players Association has no jurisdiction. It's basically up to International League president Randy Mobley.

Sox are getting their clocks cleaned tonight. Josh Beckett gave up a grand slam in the first to the Indians first baseman Ben Broussard and the Tribe never looked back. Beckett ended up giving up nine runs in 3 and 2/3 and the Sox are currently down 14-3 in the 7th. Not a good night for the home team. As Jerry Remy said, at this point you just hope no one gets hurt.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Barry Bonds hit home run #710, leaving him only four behind Babe Ruth. I caught the replay on NESN tonight, followed by this exchange between Tom Caron and Hazel Mae:

HM: Barry Bonds limping around the bases on his home run. What's up with that?

TC: There are some theories, Hazel, but I won't get into that right now.

Good one, TC.

After the Sox game ended I saw Brad Lidge blow another save against the Dodgers. Just one night after Nomah beat him with a grand slam in the top of the ninth, Lidge walked the bases loaded and then gave up a sac fly to Jeff Kent. Nomar flew to deep right to end the 9th, not quite duplicating last night's heroics.

I don't know what's up with Lidge. He has seven saves, but several of them have been of the shaky variety. Now he blows saves on two consecutive nights. You have to wonder if some of the events of last years playoffs are weighing on him (losing games 2 and 4 of the World Series, giving up the 9th inning three-run game winning homer to Pujols in game 5 of the NLCS). It'll be interesting to see how the rest of his season goes.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

According to an article in Variety, Paramount is in the process of producing a new Star Trek movie for release in 2008.

I have mixed feelings about this. Here is what I see as the pros and cons of a new Star Trek movie:

1. Berman and Braga are not involved. A new creative team is being brought in to reinvigorate the franchise.

2. The new creative team, headed by Lost creator J.J. Abrams has a proven track record and has the potential to put something really good out there.

3. It will be three years between the cancellation of Enterprise and the release of the new movie. That seems to be a reasonable "break" for Star Trek.

1. The story is yet another rehash of the "Starfleet Academy" storyline that has been hanging around since Harve Bennett brought it up about 15 years ago. The story will center around young Kirk and Spock.

2. The actors playing Kirk and Spock will have a tremendous amount of pressure on them, following in Shatner and Nimoy's footsteps. How do they play these iconic roles? Do them imitate the originals or go their own way? I'm glad I'm not the one who will have to make these decisions.

3. The idea of someone other than Shatner and Nimoy playing Kirk and Spock is unsettling to me. It's one thing in a fan produced episode, but something totally different when it's Paramount produced, "canon" Trek. Can't we have a transporter accident like the one in the TNG episode where Picard, Guinan, Ro and Keiko get turned into kids de-age Shatner and Nimoy?

I don't know. I'm hopeful that Abrams and his group will bring Star Trek back to what it should be, but I'm nervous about the story idea. I guess we'll just have to wait until 2008 to find out.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I'm going to try this and see how it goes. There are a ton of games on tonight, so I'm going to comment on them in real time as I watch. Obviously I'm going to focus on Sox-Blue Jays, but I'll flip to other games and comment as things warrant.

If you like it or if you think it sucks, let me know in the comments.

8:44 PM Red Sox-Blue Jays: Sox are up 4-2 in the top of the 6th on home runs by Big Papi, Manny (finally!) and Varitek. Vernon Wells hit a two run bomb off Josh Beckett for the Jays runs. A.J. Burnett left with an injury. I think I saw Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi sob quietly.

8:50 PM Red Sox-Blue Jays: Troy Glaus just flew out to Trot on the warning track. I've always liked Glaus a lot. He hits with power, plays a good third base and is just fun to watch.

8:52 PM Orioles-Yankees: Old friend Kevin Millar just hit a two run single for the O's to put them up 5-4 in the 6th. Joe Torre came out to get Chien-Ming Wang out of the game. Thanks, Kevin!

8:57 PM Reds-Brewers: Another member of the Idiots is prominently featured in this game as Bronson Arroyo is going for his third win with the Reds. He looked pretty good, dispatching the Brew Crew quickly with a 1-2-3 4th inning. No home runs tonight for Arroyo, but he still leads Manny 2-1. Prince Fielder looks just like his dad, down to the sky-high, rain making pop-ups like the one he hit in the 4th.

9:04 PM Orioles-Yankees: Scott Proctor just walked in a run. 6-4 O's. Torre's on the phone, and I don't think he's calling Dominos.

9:07 PM Red Sox-Blue Jays: Home run, Manny! His second of the night. He's tied with Arroyo now! 6-2 Sox.

9:12 PM Indians-Royals: Cleveland is leading the Royals 2-0 as KC tries to avoid it's 11th straight loss. I feel bad for Buddy Bell, the Royals manager. They just showed a shot of him in the dugout looking like he'd rather be anywhere else.

9:25 PM Orioles-Yankees: Johnny Damon just grounded to 2nd with the bases loaded to end the inning. Still 6-4 Baltimore.

9:28 PM Red Sox-Blue Jays: Russ Adams hit a 2-run homer and Vernon Wells hit a solo shot in the bottom of the 8th to chase Josh Beckett. 6-5 Sox. Timlin coming into the game with one out.

9:33 PM Red Sox-Blue Jays: Home run, Glaus. Tie game. Maybe I don't like him so much.

9:50 PM Reds-Brewers: Arroyo just got the Brewers out in the 7th and leads Ben Sheets and the Brewers 2-1.

9:55 PM Twins-White Sox Johan Santana and Mark Buehrle are matching up in a nice pitchers duel, 0-0 in the 6th. Oops. Make that 1-0 White Sox as Jim Thome just hit his 8th homer into the left-center field bleachers.

10:01 PM Red Sox-Blue Jays: We go to extra innings tied at 6. It's interesting that both John Gibbons and Terry Francona elected to use their closers in a tie game, with B.J. Ryan and Jonathan Papelbon pitching the 9th.

10:12 PM Reds-Brewers: Kent Mercker was warming up in the bullpen for Cincinnati. It seemed like that guy had been around forever, so I checked him out on He came up in 1989 when he was 21 years old and has bounced around with nine teams since. He just proves the fact that a reasonably competent lefty can hang around forever in Major League Baseball.

10:19 PM Red Sox-Blue Jays: There's an ad for a restaurant in Toronto called The Keg behind home plate at the Rogers Centre. Sounds like my kind of place. Still tied in the 11th.

10:23 Reds-Brewers: David Weathers saves Arroyo's win, as the Reds take the game 3-1. Good crowd at Miller Park, with nearly 30,000 at the game.

10:30 Orioles-Yankees: The Orioles young closer, Chris Ray, just struck out A-Rod with two on and one out in the 9th and the Yankees down 6-5. Are you really worth $25 million a year if you can't hit in the clutch?

10:35 Orioles-Yankees: Ray just struck out Matsui after walking Giambi to load the bases. The Yankees lose!

10:36 Red Sox-Blue Jays: Keith Foulke retires Toronto in the bottom of the 11th. Still tied 6-6.

10:54 Mets-Padres: Why is it that every time I see Dave Roberts a smile on my face. Oh, yeah. Stolen base. Game 4, 2004 ALCS. Greatest Comeback Ever.

11:03 Red Sox-Blue Jays: Tito just removed Foulke after he walked Glaus with two out in the bottom of the 12th. Nice outing for Foulke - the pitch that walked Glaus could have easily been strike three. Ultimate Fighter Rudy Seanez is in to replace him.

11:06 Red Sox-Blue Jays: Lyle Overbay hits a double off Seanez to the gap in right field and drives in Glaus for the win. This was a tough one. The Sox blew a four run lead and eventually lost the game. It'll also be interesting to see what the Sox will do for a closer tomorrow if they need one, since Papelbon pitched two innings and Foulke pitched 1 and 2/3. The Blue Jays may be in the same boat with Ryan having pitched two innings as well.

That's it for me for tonight. Let me know what you thought.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Quick medical update for those of you interested: I had my twice a year ultrasound to make sure nothing unwanted is happening where my thyroid used to be. I'm happy to report that everything looks to be OK. Good news...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One thing I'm noticing watching the MLB Extra Innings package is that most of the local announcers are real homers. I got the DC feed of the Phillies-Nationals game (great game - won by the Phils 7-6 in extra innings). These guys were openly rooting for the Nats well beyond what I'm used to. Remy and Orsillo certainly favor the Red Sox, but they're not afraid to criticiize them when necessary. These guys were almost embarrassing, they were gushing over the Nationals players so much.

It's been fun, though. I certainly feel like I'm getting my money's worth after a couple of weeks.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Think the Red Sox are a little ticked off at David Wells?

Wells went on the DL a couple of days ago to have some lubricant injections in his surgically repaired knee. He had one ineffective start in Pawtucket and one against Toronto before going down.

The Sox have got to be wondering if he was upfront with them about the condition of his knee during Spring Training. Was he giving them the whole story, or was he trying to protect his paycheck? Wells has a relatively low base salary, but he gets $200,000 for his 11th through 20th start and $300,000 for starts 21-30.

I really have to wonder if the Sox would have kept Bronson Arroyo if they had thought Wells would be on the DL two weeks into the season.

Not that the Sox really missed him today. Lenny DiNardo pitched a nice five innings, giving up only two runs. Mark Loretta finished the game with a two-run, walk-off homer off Seattle's Eddie Guardado.

I just watched Pedro win his 200th game with the Mets over the Braves on ESPN. I have to admit, I still have a soft spot for Pedro. He was so much fun to watch with the Red Sox, and for a period of time he was as good as any pitcher ever to take the mound.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Through a bit of good fortune, I managed to score three good seats to the Sox-Mariners game at Fenway this afternoon. Section 22 of the grandstand behind home plate, no poles or other obstructions. It was a nice day - low '60s and sunny for the most part, so the kids and I took the T into Fenway for the afternoon. Topping things off, Ichiro is J.'s favorite player so he was very excited.

It happened that this was my second Josh Beckett sighting in a week, and he was even more impressive than he was on Opening Day. No first inning woes this time - he was well into the third inning by the time he threw the 36 pitches he needed to complete the first on Tuesday. He gave up two runs, one earned in seven innings before giving way to the bullpen - say it with me - Timlin in the 8th, Papelbon in the 9th for two innings of scoreless relief. Papelbon racked up his league leading 6th save as the Sox took the third game of the series.

There were a couple of concerns, however. The offense continues to sputter as the Sox only scored 5 runs against Seattle in the series. Manny still looks kind of lost up at the plate, although he did hit a ball hard late in the game that Adrian Beltre couldn't handle at 3rd. It seems that the lack of a Johnny Damon/Coco Crisp type catalyst at the top of the order is hurthing things. The other issue is Wily Mo Pena's defense (or lack thereof). He butchered a Jose Lopez line drive to him in right this afternoon into a triple that drove in one of the Mariners two runs. Lopez ended up scoring the other. I like Wily Mo's potential, but he has got to kill himself working on his defense if he is ever going to become a consistent player. As he is, he looks like the second coming of Dick Stuart.

In any event, we had a great day at the ballpark watching a great win by the Sox.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I just got my money's worth on the MLB Extra Innings package. I watched the Twins score two in the bottom of the 9th off Mariano Rivera to beat the Yankees 6-5. Justin Morneau drove in the winning runs with a two out single. It's always great to watch the Yankees lose, but the way it happened is just icing on the cake.

Now I'm watching a bit of the Dodgers-Giants game before I head off to bed. We're getting the Dodgers feed, so Vin Scully is doing the play-by-play. At 78 years old, Scully has lost absolutely nothing. He's still the best.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A couple of ugly nights from the #4 and #5 starters against the Blue Jays the last couple of nights. Neither Matt Clement nor David Wells made it past the 5th inning the last couple of nights as the Sox lost the last two games of the first series of the year.

Well, if things don't work out, maybe Theo can get that Arroyo guy from the Reds...

And for those of you wondering, I did order the MLB Extra Innings package for the season. It should be fun to have access to all those games.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Is there anything better than Opening Day at Fenway?

Not too many things leap to mind here. I was at Fenway today for the Sox opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. I arrived at work this morning for a few hours in an astoundingly good mood, knowing my day was ending at noon and I was going to see Josh Beckett live for the first time.

I met my friend The Hey over by the Ted Williams statue and we entered through Gate B. Our seats were...interesting. We were in the box seats in section 3, but we were right on the aisle, and I mean RIGHT ON it. People were walking by us. It did give us the advantage of pretty much unlimited leg room, although people constantly walked by, which was distracting. It wasn't perfect, but I'd certainly sit there again if the opportunity presented itself.

The now annual renovations to Fenway continued over this winter, as the Sox replaced the .406 Club fishbowl with open air seating behind home plate. As with all the recent renovations, the seats look like they have been there since the park opened. The seats are a huge improvement over the .406 Club. I sat up there several times, and it always felt like you were disconnected from the game; like you were watching the game on the biggest, clearest TV ever. I'm hoping maybe my work will come up with some tickets up there this season so I can check them out first hand.

The game itself was a good one. Beckett came out wild and walked in a run in the first, making the crowd nervous. The Sox came back with four in the second and added another run on a patented right field shot (landing about 8 rows in front of us) by Big Papi, the owner of a new $50 million contract through 2010. Mike Lowell (who thus far appears to be bouncing back from a subpar 2005 season) went 4-for-4 in his home debut for the Sox.

Things looked very well in hand until the 8th. Foulke came in and gave up a one-out single to Russ Adams. Frank Catalanotto followed with a long fly to the warning track in right which appeared catchable. Wily Mo Pena had replaced Trot Nixon after Trot had strained his groin. Wily Mo went back to the fence, got his glove up and clank the ball bounced off his glove and into the bullpen for a two run homer.

Wily Mo is definitely an adventure in the outfield. It's going to be a little scary watching play out there.

On the other end of the defensive spectrum was an unbelievable play by Sox shortstop Alex Gonzales. A bouncing ground ball shot off of Mark Loretta's glove toward second base. Gonzales plucks the ball out of midair, steps on second and throws to first for a double play. I can't do it justice describing it here, but it was truly amazing.

Foulke finished the 8th without further damage and Papelbon came in for a 1-2-3 save in the 9th, as the Sox won the opener 5-3. All in all, I can't imagine a much better day.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I'm watching Cubs-Cardinals on the Extra Innings free preview (still haven't bought it - I'll decide tomorrow.) It's the Cubs local feed so you get all the promos for upcoming games and such.

The promotion for the April 29 game against the Brewers is that the first 20,000 fans will get a chance to win one of 100 1932 Babe Ruth replica jerseys.

For those of you who don't remember, the 1932 Yankees kicked the Cubs butts in the World Series that year, sweeping them in four games. That was the Series in which Ruth hit his legendary "called shot" off Charlie Root in game 3. 

Maybe I don't get Cubs fans, and I know the Babe is a pretty universally beloved figure, but why would you want a jersey from the guy who beat your team in the World Series, even if it did happen over 70 years ago? If you were a Cubs fan, would you even wear a Yankees jersey?

Can you imagine the Red Sox trying to give away, say, Enos Slaughter or Bob Gibson jerseys at Fenway? Sounds like it would be a good excuse for a bonfire to me.

I hope those lucky (?) Cubs fans enjoy their Yankees shirts.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Daniel Cabrera is having a lot of trouble finding the plate at Camden Yards tonight (5 walks so far in the first inning - Sox lead 4-0).

The new closer controversy continues to rage since Papelbon came in to protect a one run lead against Texas Wednesday night. Papelbon or Foulke? I think you have to go with the guy who is pitching better in tight situations, and that is Papelbon. I would still like to see them run Foulke out there in save situations, but probably not when the game is within one run.

I just switched to Dodgers-Phillies for a few minutes. Ballgames in regular definition really look terrible after watching the game on NESN in HD.

The Mets unveiled plans for their new ballpark today, which will be built in the parking lot of Shea Stadium to open in 2009. Mets owner Fred Wilpon is an old Brooklyn Dodgers fan, so the ballpark design is very reminiscent of Ebbets Field. Here's a picture.

I have always said that if I could go back in time and visit one ballpark, it would be Ebbets Field. Since that is unlikely to happen, I'll be interested to check out the Mets new park when it opens.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pulled this quote from an article on

On the other hand, he doesn't miss Picard. "It continues to irritate now when I'm introduced as 'Star Trek's Patrick Stewart,'" he said. Though he is "very proud of the television series", he noted that he has often been disturbed at being so closely identified with Jean-Luc Picard.

Y'know what, Patrick? Stop your whining. Star Trek made you (1)famous and (2)wealthy. And it's not like the Star Trek phenomenon came out of nowhere and took you by surprise. It had already been in full swing for 20 years before you came along.

OK, rant over.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Opening Day thoughts:

- Curt Schilling looked a lot more like the 2004 21-game winning model than the version we saw last year. 7 innings, 2 runs and touched 96 on the radar gun. As I have said here before, a healthy, productive Schilling will go a long way toward assuring a 4th straight playoff appearance for the Sox.

- Not so encouraging was Keith Foulke, who gave up a run and a couple of hard outs in the 9th inning. I'm reserving judgement until he comes into a real save situation (the Sox were up 7-2 to start the inning), but the initial results weren't good.

- It is good to know, however, that Jonathan Papelbon is in the bullpen as a backup should Foulke falter. He pitched a 1-2-3 8th in relief of Schilling yesterday.

- On the lineup side, it was pretty much all good news. Coco Crisp scored two runs and made a great over-the-head catch to save Foulke in the 9th. Papi hit a home run. Mike Lowell, continuing to recover from his slow Spring Training start hit one as well. Even Alex Gonzales, who only had six hits in March, had a pair of singles.

- Roger Clemens visited with Theo, John Henry and other members of the Sox in the visitors clubhouse at Ameriquest Field yesterday. The Rocket still won't tip his hand, but said the Sox are definintely in the running if he should decide to come back and pitch this year. I'm still handicapping it that he'll either retire or stay close to home in Houston, but it doesn't sound like the door is completely shut on a return of #21.

Other Opening Day items from around the leagues:

- Aaron Harang got walloped by the Cubs for five runs in the first as the Reds lost 16-7. Great American Ballpark fans had better get used to lots of high scoring games.

- Ex-Red Sox watch:
Derek Lowe: 8 runs (7 earned) in five innings as the Dodgers fell to Atlanta. Grady Little had better hope he isn't dating any more TV reporters.
Nomah: Injured a muscle in his right side in an exhibition game against the Angels Sunday and was scratched from the lineup. Think George Mitchell is going to taking a look at him?
Bill Mueller: Old Reliable with a 2-for-4 and an RBI. Dodger fans are going to love this guy.
Johnny Damon: 3-for-7(!) in the Empire's 15-2 slaughter of the A's last night. I watched the first inning of the 10PM start to catch Johnny's first at-bat. Barry Zito struck him out on a nice 12-to-6 curveball, but then he started walking people. I immediately said that he's going to get killed if he walks people in this lineup. Good call by me: Zito gave up 7 runs in an inning and a third.
Orlando Cabrera: Drove in the winning runs for the Angels, as they beat the Mariners last night.

- Someone at Petco Park tossed a srynge at Barry Bonds last night. While I can appreciate the sentiment, I'm not a big fan of jerks throwing things on the field, even at Bonds. I listened to the game on the 'Net last night as I was working on tax returns, and Bonds was booed lustily by the normally placid San Diego crowd last night.

- Wouldn't you love to have Jake Peavy on your team? 24 years old and maybe the best pitcher in the league.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Greetings from Opening Night. White Sox and Indians are 0-0 after a half inning, in case you're interested.

I drove J. over to a friend's house for a playdate today. His friend's dad was participating in his baseball fantasy league's draft.

Most people are surprised, given my baseball fanaticism, that I don't have a fantasy team. I participated in a league for a couple of years with some friends, but dropped out last season.

I just never really got into managing a fantasy team. One of the things I love about baseball is the ebb and flow of the six month season. The long season allows things like a Houston Astros team that was 15 games under .500 early in the year to end up in the World Series. I found that focusing on my fantasy team and the individual players in our league took away from following the bigger picture of the pennant races. I felt like I was missing something, which is why I quit.

One of the great things about the beginning of the season is the return of NESN's Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy. I could go on for a while about them, but I think this says it as well as anything I could put together.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Two of my favorite institutions celebrated significant anniversaries today. Apple Computer turned 30 years old today and the USS Christa McAuliffe celebrated the 20th anniversary of it's founding.

I have been an Apple user since my college roommate brought an Apple IIe computer. Since that time I have owned seven Apples: and Apple IIGS, an six Macs: the LC, a Performa 630, a beige Power Mac G3, an eMac and two iBooks. I have also owned numerous other Apple products, ranging from Imagewriter, Stylewriter and Personal Laserwriter printers, a Quicktake 200 digital camera and the four iPods my family currently owns.

Why do I stick with Apple? It's because their products are unfailingly usable and elegant. I use Windows PCs at work every day, and it's a struggle to get it to do what I want as compared to using a Mac. I'm also not interested in dealing with the universe of viruses, spyware and other malware that infects the PC universe.

And the McAuliffe. How different would my life be if we hadn't started the club 20 years ago? Many of my best friends are people I met through the club. We really are a family, even though members of the family have moved away from the Boston area over the years. I'm truly looking forward to our 20th anniversary celebration at the Shore Leave convention later this year.

eXTReMe Tracker