Monday, April 30, 2007

I swiped this information from the Boston Globe Extra Bases blog. With Manny's home run against New York yesterday, he became the fifth player to hit 50 or more home runs against the Yankees. The other four:

Jimmie Foxx (70)
Ted Williams (62)
Hank Greenberg (53)
Yaz (52)

Interesting that four of the five players who have done this spent significant parts of their careers with the Sox, isn't it?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Kick 'em while they're down, that's what I say.

By "'em" I refer, of course, to the depleted New York Yankees, who dropped 2 out of 3 to the Red Sox this weekend. The Yanks are in disarray, with injuries in their starting rotation and a bullpen weakened by overuse even at this early stage of the 2007 season. Unbelievably, even Joe Torre is on the hotseat, rumors of his potential firing making the back pages of the New York tabloids. The team with a nearly $200 million payroll is sitting in last place, 6 and 1/2 games behind the division leading Red Sox.

The only thing that saved the Yankees from another sweep this weekend was the surprise appearance of Kei Igawa, who came in after starter Jeff Karsten's leg was broken by a line drive in the first inning. Igawa outpitched Tim Wakefield, who actually provided the Sox best start of the weekend, but got no run support (gee, where have I heard that before?)

Despite all this happy news, it's hardly time to start planning a Yankee Elimination Party. It's only April 29 and there is still a very long way to go to October. You have to love how things are starting out, though.

On a completely different note, I want to send my condolences out to the friends and loved ones of Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock, who died this morning when his SUV hit a tow truck. 29 years old is way too young to go.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Best. Sportcenter. Commercial. Ever.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Last night I was in Westfield, MA for a press conference to announce the Vintage Base Ball World Series, being presented by The Vintage Base Ball Federation. As you can see in the poster, the Series will be taking place from August 16-19, with Northeast Regional Playoffs the last two weeks in July.

The press conference itself went really well. We had several newspapers and four TV stations attend the press conference, along with the mayor, several city councilmen and a number of the local folks who are helping us put on the event. Attendees from the VBBF included, of course, our commissioner Jim Bouton, noted baseball historian John Thorn, sports economist and author Andrew Zimablist and co-star of Foul Ball and all around good guy Chip Elitzer.

The people in Westfield seem very accommodating and genuinely excited about having our event in their town, and I think they'll be great to work with.

After the press conference, Jim, Chip, John and I had dinner at the School Street Bistro in Westfield. We had a very good meal and some great conversation.

More information on the VBB World Series as it becomes available, but it's looking to be a great event.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The most important piece of baseball news today has nothing to do with the Red Sox or any other major league team. J. had his first game of the season tonight. This is the first year he's playing real competitive baseball after a few years of tee ball, coaches pitch and such. This season there are actual umpires, they keep score and call balls and strikes.

So he gets to pitch an inning and what does he do? Strikes out the side, baby! The other team went down in order and J. was done pitching for the night.

I'm thinking about calling Theo tomorrow and seeing if he wants to send someone out to scout J. for his next game.

Oh, and there was that back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs thing at Fenway last night. Manny, J.D. Drew, Lowell and 'Tek made history by hitting four home runs in a row off the hapless Chase Wright of the Yankees. It has only been done four other times in baseball history, and two of the Red Sox had connections to two of the other instances. J.D. Drew was part of the Dodgers four in a row last year, and Terry Francona's father, Tito, was part of a group that did the trick with the 1963 Indians.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Gratefully borrowed from The Hey. Think you can stand 50 questions about me? The answers are pretty much honest…

1. Introduce yourself:
Cap’n Ho: Red Sox Fan, Sam Adams Man (Harry Carey used to do ads that said “Cubs Fan, Bud Man”. I think this is the Boston equivalent)
2. It’s Wednesday at noon, where are you usually doing?
Working. I usually don’t go to lunch until 12:30 or a bit later. It seems to make the afternoon shorter.
3. What kind of laundry detergent do you use?
Usually Tide. We get it in those jumbo boxes at BJ’s.
4. What brand of shampoo is in your shower right now?
5. Did you ever get into a bar and drink before you were 21?
The drinking age was 18 back then, so 21 wasn’t really an issue. In the spirit of the question, however, The First and Last Chance Saloon in Pawtucket, RI wasn’t too diligent about carding people back in the day.
6. What countries have you been to?
Canada, South Korea, Aruba.
7. Do you watch MTV anymore?
8. What do you think about Oprah?
Can’t say I ever give Oprah a lot of thought. I liked her in The Color Purple
9. What’s your favorite mixed drink?
I’m not typically a big mixed drink guy, but I’d go with a gin and tonic. The only problem is that they give me nasty hangovers.
10. You need a new pair of jeans… what store do you go first?
Land’s End online.
11. Did you ever watch The O.C.?
12. What kind of car do you drive?
2004 Honda Element
13. Honestly, is that car insured?
14. Do you like sushi?
Certain kinds, but raw fish really isn’t my thing.
15. Have you ever been to Tiffany & Co. or Saks 5th Ave?
I have been inside, but have never bought anything.
16. Did your parents spoil you growing up?
Not really. I always had everything I truly needed and quite a few things I wanted, but I was taught to understand the value of a dollar.
17. Do you like roller coasters?
Yes, but not crazy big ones. I’m more of a medium sized roller coaster fan.
18. What magazine(s) do you buy regularly or subscribed to?
The only magazine I get at the moment is the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Memories and Dreams, which they send out to members. My wife gets People and I usually page through it. Does that count?
19. Do you remember when the WB shows were popular?
I remember, sure, although I didn’t watch many of them.
20. When you go out do you prefer to go to a dance club or to a bar?
Bar. I’m not much of a dancer.
21. Would you ever run for elected office?
No, thanks. I’m not willing to put up with the amount of butt kissing politicians have to do.
22. Who do you think will be the next president?
It’s way too early to tell. I guess I’d pick Obama as an early favorite, but a lot can change over the next 18 months.
23. Are you registered to vote?
24. Do you own an iPod?
I have two – a 40gb 4G iPod Photo and a 1G 512mb shuffle.
25. Is your bathroom filled with beauty stuff?
I wouldn’t say filled, but my wife and daughter have their fair share.
26. What kind of cologne/perfume do you wear?
27. Do you like Carrie Underwood?
I’m not a country music fan, but I liked her when she was on American Idol a couple of years ago.
28. Been to “The Vegas”?
No, although it’s on my list of places I would like to go.
29. How many CDs does your stereo hold?
CDs? Do people still use those? Seriously, I have a 5 CD changer.
30. Are you happy with your job?
Yes. I wouldn’t have been there for 15 years if I wasn’t.
31. Where do you work and what do you do there?
I’m an accountant for a Very Large Corporation.
32. What did you get in the mail today?
It’s Sunday. No mail today. We usually get bills and astonishing piles of junk mail.
33. How do you like your steak cooked?
Medium well.
34. Britney Spears?
What about her? If she didn’t have some modest singing and dancing talent, she’d be living in a big ol’ double-wide at the trailer park.
35. What do you usually order at Taco Bell?
I can’t remember the last time I ate at Taco Bell. I’m not even sure I ever have.
36. Have you ever sat all the way thru Gone With the Wind?
37. Have you ever been to Mt. Rushmore?
38. Is it just me, or was The Marine (w/John Cena) a really horrible movie?
Never saw it.
39. Are surveys like the cocaine of myspace/ live journal?
Um, can’t say I know enough about this to answer even semi-intelligently.
40. Where is your favorite place (that you have actually been to)?
Fenway Park. McCoy Stadium. Actually, pretty much anyplace there is a ball game going on.
41. What is your favorite candle scent?
Whatever my wife buys.
42. Do you believe places can really be haunted?
43. Do you smoke cigarettes?
44. Have you ever been to NYC or LA?
I have been to NYC many times, but have never been to LA.
45. What format radio station is your car stereo set to?
I usually listen to sports radio, but will occasionally listen to oldies if I don’t hook up my iPod.
46. Do you think 50 questions is enough?
47. Are you currently planning a trip?
We’re looking at a busy summer. We have a couple of outings to the Berkshires planned, a weekend at the beach in Rhode Island and a week in Pennsylvania. I’ll probably have to start thinking about tickets for our annual December trip to Florida soon, as well.
48. Is Ryan Seacrest gay?
Don’t think so.
49. Do you take sleeping pills?
50. Have you ever googled your name and found out somebody famous or semi-famous shares your name?
No. I have a pretty unusual name.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

J. and I just got back from an overnight trip to Cooperstown this evening. We had a great time and I'll post a full report in the next couple of days.

We did make it to our hotel in time to catch the last few innings of the Yankees-Red Sox classic last night. As you probably already know, the Sox scored 5 in the 8th to come back from a four run deficit and win the game.

There were many beautiful parts of the game. Beating the Yankees was the best, of course. The great Mariano Riviera gave up the key hits in the 8th. Hideki Okajima came in for the 9th in place of Papelbon, who had thrown 26 pitches the night before against the Jays. Okajima did a nice job and got the save.

The best part, however, may be who got the key hits off Riviera. Two guys who have been really struggling with the bat, Varitek and Coco Crisp, drove in the key runs in the 8th. Coco and 'Tek both had two more hits today, so hopefully those guys are both breaking out of it.

Today was a nice game as well, with a big home run by Papi. The most impressive thing,I thought, was the way Beckett bounced back after giving up four runs in the first two innings and throwing a ton of pitches. In the middle innings he set down ten Yankees in a row, having 8 pitch innings in the 4th and 5th. He ended up going 6 and 2/3 before giving way to Okajima, Timlin and Paps for the save.

Two out of three from the Empire, and Dice-K to go tomorrow. Hopefully we can score some runs for him tomorrow, but I feel like we're playing with house money at this point.

OK, here's one thing from Cooperstown I did want to share tonight. After we finished at the Hall of Fame, J. and I were walking up and down Main St. checking out the various stores. We walked into one and I noticed about a dozen of these on a rack:

That's right. This poor store owner has an inventory of a bunch of Matt Clement Red Sox jerseys. I wonder how much they have to pay people to take them away?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Shows what I know. I thought the Sox chances to win this game were slim. It's a good thing I'm not a betting man.

The Sox scored a huge comeback win against the Blue Jays this afternoon. Julian Tavarez pitched respectably after a 12 day layoff, giving up 3 runs in 5 and 1/3 innings. The Sox didn't get much against Roy Halladay, who gave up one run in 7 and 1/3. Once he was out of the game, though, the Sox came roaring back on an 8th inning 2-run homer by Manny to tie the score and a 9th inning triple by Alex Cora to take the lead. Papelbon came in to get the save.

Taking 2 out of 3 in Toronto is huge. The Rogers Centre has been a house of horrors for the Sox the last couple of years, and they won only 7 of 19 games against Toronto last season. The Jays are a key competitor, both in the AL East and for the wild card, and we really need to kick them while they are down with some key injuries (BJ Ryan, Troy Glaus, Reed Johnson).

One of my pet peeves as a baseball fan is when a player slides into first base. The only time sliding into first is preferable is if the throw is off the mark and you are trying to avoid the tag. Otherwise, it's almost always faster to run through the base.

Between innings of the Red Sox game last night, I switched over to the White Sox-Rangers game. The Rangers Jerry Hairston hit a hard shot down the third base line. Joe Crede made a diving stop, got up and fired the ball to first. Paul Konerko made a nice pick and got the out.

Hairston slid into first and didn't get the call. He argued, but, as the replay proved, he was out. In my opinion, if he had continued to run, he would have been safe.

It was a good thing for White Sox starter Mark Buerhle that he slid. It turned out that Buerhle pitched a no-hitter last night. Hairston runs through the bag, and the no-hitter is broken up by an infield hit in the third inning.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sox are winning 4-1 in the last of the 9th over Toronto and Papelbon is in. This is a good thing, because I'm not real confident about tomorrow's Julian Tavarez-Roy Halladay matchup. Wake looked great again tonight.

OK, I wanted to make sure I had this where I could find it. In case you haven't watched any sports highlights the last couple of days, some guy got a slice of pizza tossed at him at Fenway Park on Monday after he spilled his beer trying to catch a J.D. Drew foul popup. It wasn't a close game (Sox beat the Angels 7-2), so the RemDawg and Orsillo had a great time with it.

Sox win, 4-1. Save for Papelbon, win for Wake. Home runs by Lowell, Mirabelli(!) and Papi.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No baseball talk tonight. I just wanted to offer my prayers and support to the families and friends of the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre. 32 lives were senselessly lost to a madman.

We had to deal with a bit of a unique situation here. As many of you who visit this site know, both of my kids were born in South Korea. When we heard that the shooter was also born in South Korea, we knew that we had to talk to the kids about the situation before they heard about it from someone else.

We tried to explain to them that a terrible thing had happened and that a lot of people had been hurt and killed. We then told them that the man who had done it was from their home country. A. and I explained to them that the fact that he had done this horrible thing had nothing to do with the fact that he was Korean. He could have been any person, any nationality. It was just a coincidence that he was Korean, and in the unlikely event someone said something to them about it, they should tell them the same thing.

It was a tough day, in more ways than one. Give your loved ones a hug tonight.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Three great things:

1. The Sox sweep the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim this weekend, taking the finale in a delayed Patriots Day game behind Josh Beckett, 7-2. Boston outscored LA 25-3 over the weekend, with Wake, Schill and Beckett bringing the awesomeness on the mound. On to Toronto!

2. Marco Scutaro of the A's hits a three-run bomb in the last of the 9th to beat Mariano Rivera, 5-4. How can you not love that?

3. Don Zimmer bobbleheads are being given away at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay on June 23. I must have one!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

J. and I were supposed to meet my oldest friend and his son for the Red Sox-Angels game today, but it didn't work out. A big Nor'easter hit and the game was postponed.

I was doubly disappointed by this because today is the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color line with the Dodgers in 1947. This was one of the great events, not only in baseball history, but in American history. The Red Sox, of course, were the last team to integrate and had a horrible racial history under the Yawkey regime. So, I was looking forward to seeing what the Sox were going to do to honor Robinson.

One nice tribute that happened across baseball today was that six teams and more that 200 players wore number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. I was watching the Dodgers-Padres game and all the Dodgers were wearing number 42. It was great to see.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fenway Park survived the invasion of the media for Daisuke Mutsuzaka's first home start last night. The Sox issued over 350 media credentials for the game yesterday.

Dice-K didn't live up to the hype, but it was far from the disastrous outing that you would have believed he had if you listened to the yahoos that were interviewed by the local news stations after the game. 7 innings, 3 runs is a pretty respectable outing for any pitcher. If he does that every time out, he'll win a lot more than he'll lose.

Unfortunately, the Sox offense ran into a buzzsaw by the name of Felix Hernandez last night. The Mariner's 21-year-old franchise pitcher took a no-hitter into the 8th last night until J.D. Drew broke it up with a leadoff single, the Sox only hit.

This kid is very impressive. He has three nasty pitches and can throw them all for stikes. I first became aware of him when we were in Seattle a couple of summers ago. We went to see an Everett Aquasox game (the Mariners short-season Class A affiliate). Hernandez had pitched for the Aquasox the previous season and the team's program book had several articles about him. I saw him pitch a couple of times on TV last year, and he had a pretty mediocre season (12-14, 4.52 ERA). He lost 20 pounds over the winter and getting in shape has seemed to do him a lot of good - his first two starts have been shutout wins.

So, keep an eye on this guy. He could be a big star for a very long time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Why do I like Disney World so much? Because despite all the cynicism that some people have about the commercialism and artificialness of Disney, stuff like this happens there every day. From the weekly newsletter:

My son (Kevin) has cerebral palsy, which is the main reason we go to WDW every year. This year our waiter at the '50s Prime Time Diner, Cousin Richard, remembered us from last year! How cool is that? He quietly asked me what kind of characters Kevin likes. I said soft and fuzzy, or beautiful girls (he is 16!). Richard winked and we went on enjoying ourselves immensely. About 20 minutes into our meal, suddenly the door opens and in walk these four beautiful harem girls! After posing for photos, one of the women asked if she could kiss Kevin. I said, "YES! He would love it!" I have a photo of his face covered in kisses. I don't know when I started crying, probably seeing him getting kissed. They each gave me a big hug. We were truly given a very magical, unexpected moment that I will never forget. Cousin Richard and the Harem Girls are my heroes. Richard should be commended for arranging this moment.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Opening Day at Fenway just doesn't quite seem like Opening Day when I'm listening to the radio at work instead of freezing my butt off in an uncomfortable grandstand seat.

The unfortunate Seattle Mariners, who spent the last few days in snowy Cleveland contemplating the inside of their hotel rooms, got pounded by the Sox 14-3 today. Beckett (7 Innings, 2H, 1R) overmatched the Mariners hitters, especially Ichiro, who struck out 3 times.

Speaking of overmatched, Jeff Weaver proved why she should stay in the National League. The Sox jumped all over him, scoring 4 in the first and 3 in the second (including J.D. Drew's first Red Sox homer). A succession of relievers didn't fare much better, and the Sox got off to a hot start in Fenway.

Other topics:

- The cafeteria at work was doing a little Red Sox themed thing today, serving sausages, pretzels, Fenway Franks and such. The cafe is run by Aramark, the same company that runs the concessions at Fenway Park. So can someone explain to me why a Fenway Frank costs $1.75 at work and $4.25 at the ballpark?

- You have to feel sorry for the Indians. They lost their whole weekend series at home, as there is a foot of snow on the field at the Jake. The Tribe has been forced to play their next three "home" games at Milwaukee's Miller Park. It'll be interesting to see how many people show up for the games at $10 a head.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Nice game for the Sox last night, other than the regrettable appearance of Joel Pinero. $4 million for this guy? Really, what was Theo thinking?

It was great to see Schilling bounce back from his poor performance on Opening Day in KC. 7 innings, one run is a pretty good outing from our ace. And Papelbon was nothing short of awesome. He just overwhelmed the Texas batters, especially Michael Young, who he just blew away with fastballs of 94, 95 and 97 MPH.

Nice to see Big Papi break out of his early season slump as well, as Ortiz hit his first two HRs of 2007, providing all the offense for the Sox on the night. Hopefully, Manny is getting close to breaking out as well, as he hit two fly balls to the deepest part of center field for about 800 feet worth of outs. On a typical warm Texas night, those balls are both home runs.

A few other thoughts:

- Yankees lost again to the Orioles yesterday and avoided a sweep only with A-Rod's 9th inning heroics on Saturday. Their starting pitchers have compiled a 9.97 ERA through the first five games of the season. Brian Cashman must be dreading every time his caller ID lights up with The Boss' phone number.

- The Washington Nationals are a bad team. Their five starters had a combined one (1) win between them last season. They could be challenging the 1962 Mets for the all-time worst record.

- I haven't been saying much on the Vintage Base Ball Federation front lately, but there will be some big news coming out over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

OK, maybe I spoke too soon about A-Rod.

He just hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 9th to beat Chris Ray and the Orioles 10-7. I suppose even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

Tim Wakefield may want to consider suing the Red Sox offense for non-support.

The Sox lost to the Texas Rangers 2-0 yesterday. Wake pitched very well, giving up one earned run on three hits in six innings. Unfortunately, the Sox offense couldn't get anything going against Robinson Tejeda in seven innings and the Sox dropped to 2-2 for the season.

According to the Boston Globe, the Sox scored a grand total of six runs for Wake in his 11 losses last year and no runs five of them. Wake's not going to win the Cy Young, but he's generally agoing to keep you in the game. That's not going to help, though, if they don't score any runs for him.

Extra Innings has already started paying for itself. I watched the Yankees lose to the Orioles last night. The best part was when A-Fraud was came up as the tying run in the last of the 8th and strike out with no one out. You have to love it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Well, things have sure turned around in the last day or so. Josh Beckett pitched five innings last night to get the Sox first win of 2007. Beckett pitched pretty well, although he seemed to have some trouble with his control, his curve in particular. The offense held up it's end, scoring seven runs, including a homer by Youk.

Of course, today was the long awaited regular season debut of Dice-K. It's only one start, but he sure looked like a $100 million guy to me. 7 innings, one run, 10 K's, he baffled the Royals with his wide assortment of pitches as the Sox came away with a 4-1 win and 2 out of three in KC.

The good news continued as MLB finally saw the light and reached an agreement so that the Extra Innings package will be available on cable. I'm glad to see that Bud Selig got a clue and did what was best for baseball's most loyal fans instead of stuffing a few more dollars in the pockets of the owners.

It wasn't all good news, unfortunately. Former Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley passed away today. If the name doesn't ring a bell, Stingley's spine was shattered by a brutal hit by the Oakland Raiders Jack Tatum in a preseason game in 1978. He spent the rest of his life paralyzed from the neck down. Stingley always handled himself with amazing dignity after his injury. Our condolences go out to his family.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Well, that wasn't a good start.

The Sox lost the 2007 opener to the Royals 7-1 yesterday. Curt Schilling was knocked out after 4 innings, his shortest start in a decade. Hideki Okajima (also known as "That other Japanese guy") gave up a home run on his first MLB pitch. The Royals Gil Meche (who's $55 million contract I've been making fun of all winter) looked like he was well worth $11 million a year in shutting down the Red Sox for 7 and 1/3 after a shaky first inning.

Obviously, you can't panic after one game, and there were a few good things to take from this. Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-3 after everyone had been questioning his offensive ability all spring. Okajima settled down after his rude greeting by John Buck to keep the Royals scoreless for the rest of his 1 and 2/3 innings. Brendan Donnelly, Javier Lopez and JC Romero all had scoreless appearances out of the bullpen.

The Red Sox and Schilling have had their troubles against the Royals of late. Kansas City's sweep of the Red Sox last August could easily be pointed to as the beginning of the end for the Red Sox pennant hopes in 2006. The Royals got 10 extra base hits off Schilling in his last start against him. It seemed to be just a bad day all around.

Day off today, then Josh Beckett starts tomorrow, followed by the regular season debut of Dice-K on Thursday. Wonder if there will be much of a media turnout for that one?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It starts tonight.

The New York Mets take on the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals in a rematch of last year's NLCS. It's a matchup of former Cy Young Award winners, with 290 game winner Tom Glavine taking on the Cards Chris Carpenter.

Here are my predictions for the division and playoff winners, plus the major award winners:

AL East champions: Boston Red Sox
AL Central champions: Detroit Tigers
AL West champions: LA Angels
AL wild card: Chicago White Sox

Sorry, Yankees. The curse of A-Rod continues.

NL East champions: Atlanta Braves
NL Central champions: Milwaukee Brewers (no, really, you shouldn't laugh)
NL West champions: LA Dodgers
NL wild card: New York Mets

AL champion: Boston Red Sox
NL champion: LA Dodgers

World Series champion: Boston Red Sox (like you weren't expecting that one. Hey, pitching wins championships and the Sox have pretty impressive pitching if they stay healthy)

AL MVP: David Ortiz
AL Cy Young: Jeremy Bonderman

NL MVP: Andruw Jones
NL Cy Young: Ben Sheets

Come back in November and see how I did!

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