Sunday, September 30, 2007

I suppose you're wondering why I haven't been writing about the amazing baseball events of the weekend. It's because A. and I had a wonderful weekend in Newport, RI. The kids were off with their grandparents, so we had about 48 hours of grown-up time.

Three great things about Newport:

1) The Adele Turner Inn is a wonderful place to stay. It's a bed & breakfast just off Thames St. in Newport. Along with breakfast you get an afternoon tea and a daily wine tasting with wines from local wineries. It's pricey, but you get what you pay for, right?

2) We took a great cruise around Narragansett Bay. Among the drinks served on board were Dels Lemonade mixed with vodka. I have been drinking Dels my entire life, and I can't belive I never thought of that before.

3) If you are ever in Newport, check out Cafe Zelda for dinner. Great food in a nice atmosphere.

Now,there are a lot more than three great things about Newport, but those were the standouts for this weekend.

OK, on to the baseball highlights from the weekend:

Red Sox win the A.L. East: Making the playoffs is always great, but it's a big thrill to finally beat out the Yankees for the division title. The Sox last won the division in 1995, when their top hitters were Jose Canseco and Mo Vaughn. Their ace starter was a guy named Roger Clemens. Whatever happened to him?

The Sox ended up tied with the Indians for the best record in baseball and won the season series from the Tribe. So the Sox get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The fun starts against the Angels on Wednesday at Fenway.

Collapse of the Mets: The Mets blowing the division to the Phillies was an epic, startling collapse. The final 17 games of the Mets season will be remembered with the 1951 Dodgers, the 1964 Phillies and the 1978 Red Sox. No one had ever blown a seven game lead with 17 to play until this year.

We should remember to give some credit to Philadelphia, however. While the Mets opened the door by going 5-12, the Phils took advantage by going 13-4 and overtaking New York. It would have been easy for them to give up and start thinking about tee times instead of the playoffs, but here they are as N.L. East champions.

N.L. Wild Card playoff: The Rockies took 2 out of 3 from Arizona to force a playoff with the Padres to determine the N.L. wild card winner. Padres ace, and probable NL Cy Young winner, Jake Peavy takes on Josh Fogg. Watch those Rockies tomorrow night, because win or lose this team should be pretty good for a long time.

No peeing in Wisconsin: The Cubs beat out the Brewers to win the N.L. Central, denying thousands of Milwaukee fans the chance to pee in their pants. Maybe next year, Brewers fans!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Worst. Train ride. Ever.

Actually, it was the second worst. Tonight, I got on the 5:30 train out of South Station. I was to pick up J. at his baseball clinic, and then meet A. and R. at the kids school open house.

Never happened. According to the conductor, the state police were chasing some guy in the Brighton rail yards. So we sat in place near Boston University for nearly two hours. The train was supposed to arrive in Framingham at 6:21. Got there at 8:10. So I spent 2 hours and 40 minutes sitting on the train.

It was very frustrating. At least I had my iPod and a book to entertain myself, and A. was able to get the father of one of J.'s friends, who was also at baseball, to take him over to the school.

In case you're wondering, the worst train ride ever happened in December of 1990. An Amtrak train crashed into the commuter rail train I was riding at the time, injuring around 400 people. I was shaken up, but not injured.

So tonight wasn't as bad as that. Hopefully, it will be a long time before I experience another 2 hour delay, though.

On another topic, remember a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned that I'd love to see the Colorado Rockies in the playoffs? Well, the Rockies have run off 10 wins in a row and are now only a game out of the wild card. They trail the Padres, and are 0.5 games behind both the Mets and Phillies, who are now tied for first in the East. Should be an interesting weekend.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm feeling old tonight.

The 20th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation (which I still think of as the "new" Star Trek) is this Friday. How can that possibly be? Can 20 years really have gone by?

The original Star Trek series will always be my favorite, but I liked TNG quite a bit, too. The characters were wonderful, and there were lots of great stories told during TNG's seven seasons.

So, happy anniversary, TNG. And stop making me feel old.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Manny's back!

Ramirez made his first appearance since his oblique strain against the Yankees on August 28. Manny has scored the Red Sox lone run so far (as of the beginning of the bottom of the 5th). He also batted 2nd for the first time in his career.

Manny coming back, hopefully healthy, is huge. If the Sox are going to do any damage in the playoffs, having Manny and Papi doing their thing in the lineup is key.

Youk pinch hit as well, which is good. Hopefully we can get everyone healthy and ready for the Indians or Angels next week.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I was saddened to hear that the North Shore Spirit are going out of business. According to the Boston Globe, owner Nick Lopardo lost about $10 million in the five years that the Spirit played ball. He spent $5 million to refurbish Lynn's Fraser Field, and sustained another $5 million in operating losses.

I'm wondering if there may be too many minor league teams in the Boston area. Within an hour of the city you have the Pawtucket Red Sox, Lowell Spinners, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Nashua Hawks, Brockton Rox and Worcester Tornadoes. Lowell and Pawtucket are Red Sox affiliates, which gives them a built in advantage over any other teams. It's getting tougher and tougher to compete, both with other minor league teams and with all the other entertainment options out there.

So, goodbye North Shore Spirit. It was fun while it lasted.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

We're back in the playoffs!

The Sox clinched a spot in the tournament, as Bill Parcells liked to call it, with a come from behind 8-6 win over the D-Rays tonight. The Sox came back from a 6-5 deficit brought about by a 3-run homer by fellow Northeastern alum Carlos Pena. Tampa closer Al Reyes gave up home runs to Varitek and Lugo in the 9th for the Sox win. Combined with the Tigers 7-4 loss to Kansas City tonight, the Sox go to the post-season for the 4th time in five years.

The Yankees won in a 10 inning slugfest over the Blue Jays today, so the magic number to take the division is down to 6. Just over a week to go until the playoffs start, and all the sleep deprivation that entails. I'm hoping to be really tired by the end of October.

Well, I'm feeling a little better this morning.

Josh Beckett won his 20th last night, becoming the first pitcher in two years to do so and the first Sox pitcher to do it since Curt Schilling in 2004. The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays last night, even after blowing a four run lead in the 9th. The Jays, who seem to be taking their spoiler role seriously, won the game with a home run in the top of the 14th.

So the magic number for the division is down to 7. The Sox can clinch a playoff berth with a win tonight and a Detroit loss to the Royals.

Although the American League playoff participants are pretty much decided, with only the identity of the AL East champion to be decided, things are a lot more interesting in the National League. The leaders in all three divisions are up by less than two games, and the Padres lead the Phillies by two games for the wild card.

It should be an exciting last week. I'd love to see the the Phillies overtake the Mets, and of course my Brewers have a game in the loss column to make up on the Cubs. Let's see what happens!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Watching Sox-Tampa Bay game 1. Ellsbury (playing left tonight) just made a spectacular catch in the Sox bullpen, climbing the bullpen mounds, scattering chairs, gloves and water bottles. I'm looking forward to watching this guy in a Sox uniform for a long, long time.

Boston Sports is reporting that Glenn Geffner may be on the way out as a Red Sox radio play-by-play guy. I haven't commented much on the post-Trupiano era in the Red Sox radio booth, but Joe Castiglione's new partners have ranged from great (Dave O'Brien) to lousy (Geffner). Geffner was a former member of the Sox front office and has split the second chair duties with O'Brien during the season.

I'll be glad to see Geffner go, honestly. He's top-heavy with cliches and doesn't have a great voice. Castig doesn't have tremendous pipes, either, but he makes up for it with his encyclopedic baseball knowledge and the fact that, well, after 20+ years we're used to him. O'Brien is a pleasure to listen to. Joe and Dave have the potential to get in there with my two favorite Sox radio teams, Ned Martin and Jim Woods; and Ken Coleman and a young John Miller.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How can this be happening?

The one-time 14.5 game lead is now a game and a half. The Yankees swept the Orioles while the Red Sox were swept in Toronto. The Sox offense has disappeared since the 10-1 win over New York on Saturday, only scoring 8 runs in the last four games. Even the previously invincible Papelbon hasn't had it, giving up a grand slam in the last of the 8th last night to put the game out of reach.

Can they possibly blow this? It sure looks that way. A sweep in Tampa this weekend is imperative, and hopefully the Blue Jays will give New York some of what they gave the Sox.

Boston will almost certainly make the playoffs, but it would be a huge disappointment to go in as the wild card instead of the AL East champions.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In case you haven't heard, the guy who spent over three-quarters of a million dollars to buy Barry Bonds 756th home run ball is having a poll to decide what to do with it. You can vote to have him donate it to the Baseball Hall of Fame, brand it with an asterisk and then give it to the Hall, or fire it into space.

I voted to give the ball to the Hall untouched. As much as I think Bonds cheated to beat Hank Aaron's record, I don't think defacing the ball before sending it to Cooperstown is the right thing to do. The history of the Steroid Era will stand on its own, and Bonds 756th is a part of that.

If you want to make your voice heard, click on the graphic and it will take you to the site.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sox lost another one tonight 6-1. Dustin McGowan was brilliant for the Blue Jays with a complete game victory. And Frank Thomas put a Big Hurt on the Sox with three home runs.

The good news was that Tim Wakefield pitched a lot better than he had in his previous two starts since returning from his back injury. He gave up four runs in six innings (three of which came on Thomas home runs). That's not great, but it's a big improvement. The Sox are going to need the good Wake in the post-season if they are going to go anywhere.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The clicker is getting a major workout tonight, as the Sox are playing the rubber game of the Yankees series (tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 5th, as I write this) and the Patriots are playing the Chargers in the Foxboro opener (24-0 Pats with about five minutes left in the second quarter, presmably without any video assistance).

Think about this: there are over 100,000 people at Fenway and Gillette this evening.

Josh Beckett showed just what a stopper is yesterday, as he pitched seven innings in the Sox 10-1 win over the Yankees yesterday. After the 8th inning, six run debacle on Friday night, it was pretty critical that the Sox won yesterday. Beckett came up huge in beating the Yankees.

J. and I took a long bike ride along the Assabet River Rail Trail. We rode the length of the open part of the trail from Marlborough to Hudson for the first time, a bit over 10 miles round trip. It was a pretty much perfect day for a bike ride, with temperatures in the 60s, clear blue skies and not much wind. As a bonus, we discovered that the trail ends across the street from an ice cream stand! We took this as a sign from the Tiki and enjoyed a snack before turning around and heading back.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thoughts while watching game 1 of the Sox-Yankees series (currently 5-1 Sox in the top of the 5th):

- It looks like the AL playoffs are pretty much set, with the Sox, Yankees, Indians and Angels. Only two spots look like they are wrapped up in the NL, with the Mets and Diamondbacks looking like pretty safe bets to take their divisions. The NL Central is still hot and heavy with the Cubs and Brewers battling it out. The Cardinals ran into a 7 game losing streak to fall out of the race. The Padres lead the wild card, with the Dodgers and Phillies 1.5 games out and the Rockies 2.5 back.

I would love to see the Rockies win it. They have some pretty good young players, and nobody pays any attention to them outside of Denver. Go ahead, name me five Rockies other than Todd Helton.

- Daisuke is making me feel a lot better with his performance tonight (1 run in 5 innings so far). After he got bombed in his last two appearances, it's great to have him pitch a good game. We're really going to need an effective Matsuzaka if we are to do any damage in the post-season.

- I can't remember a year where I traveled so much. So far this year, I have done at least overnight stays in Cooperstown, Narragansett, Pennsylvania and Florida. A. and I have a weekend in Newport coming up; I have business trips to New York and Toronto and we have our annual Christmas week trip to Florida.

- Speaking of Florida, we decided to take a year off from Disney and go to Universal for our theme park visit this year. After debating which Universal park to visit, we finally decided to do the Studio this year, and save the Islands of Adventure for after the Harry Potter area opens in 2009. I haven't been to Universal in a very long time, so I'm looking forward to it. I am sad, though, that my favorite Universal Ride, Back to the Future, is closed.

- One more Florida item: the Marlins played in front of about 400 people at a day game Wednesday against the Washington Nationals. With the Sox closing in on nearly 400 consecutive sellouts, people tend to forget that the Sox regularly played to very small crowds in the post-Ted Williams, pre-Impossible Dream era. For example, Opening Day 1964 drew only 20,213 to Fenway (courtesy Retrosheet)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

For the first time since the Krafts bought the team back in the '90s, I'm embarrassed to be a Patriots fan.

I'm sure you have heard about the incident by now. A Patriot's videographer was caught taping the Jets sideline last week, against NFL rules with the purpose of stealing the Jets signals. Pats coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, the Patriots were fined $250,000 and the Pats will lose a first round draft pick if they make the playoffs next year.

I think Belichick got off easy, personally. As much as I would have hated to see it as a Pats fan, I don't think an suspension would have been an unreasonable punishment.

I don't have a problem with stealing signs. If you can stand on the sideline, in the dugout, or on the field and pickup up on the other teams signals, more power to you. It's up to your opponent to disguise his signals from ordinary observation.

However, when you start using technological means to steal signs, you have crossed the line of good sportsmanship. I read a book recently, The Echoing Green, which described how the 1951 New York Giants placed a telescope in the center field clubhouse at the Polo Grounds to steal the catcher's signs and inform the batter of what pitch was coming. The cheating puts a pall on the Giants remarkable comeback to catch the Dodgers that season and Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World". Without the cheating, Thomson may never have been placed in that position even if, as he claims, he didn't know what was coming on that actual pitch.

This is no different. Rams, Panthers and Eagles fans will always wonder if the Patriots had their signals during the Super Bowls the Pats won. It casts a bit of a pall over everything Belichick has done here.

Am I going a little overboard here? Maybe. I don't know how long the Pats have been doing this, or how much it actually helps. But my feeling has is that if you can't win without cheating, the prize isn't worth the cost.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Big Papi does it again!

Ortiz hit a 2-run, walkoff homer in the bottom of the 9th to give the Sox a 5-4 win over the D-Rays. It's the 13th walkoff hit of Papi's Red Sox career. He hit a 3 run bomb earlier in the game to drive in all five Sox runs.

Kudos to the bullpen as well, especially Julian Tavarez, who provided 3 scoreless innings after John Lester was knocked out after 3.2 innings. Along with Tavarez, Delcarmen, Okajima and Papelbon combined for 5.1 scoreless innings to keep the Sox in the game and give Papi a chance to play the hero again.

Bring on the Yankees!

Mike Lowell missed tonight's game with what appears to be food poisoning. Here's how Terry Francona describes Lowell's health status (from

He doesn't know if was something he ate but he's got activity from both ends,

It sounds pretty innocuous, but if you let it roll around in your head for a while it's actually pretty disgusting.

Monday, September 10, 2007

After Rick Ankiel's 2 homer, 7 RBI performance last week, I was planning to write about him. He was, after all, the feel-good story of the summer. In case you don't know, the short version of the story is that Ankiel came up the the Cardinals in 2000 as a 20-year-old pitching phenom. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he inexplicably lost his control and never got it back. It was sad to watch this kid suddenly have absolutely no ability to get the ball over the plate.

Ankiel went back to the minors and tried to convert to the outfield. It turned out that he could hit pretty well and returned to the Cardinals this season. He went on an instant tear and has 9 homers and 29 RBI in 26 games. It looked like an incredible story.

Unfortunately, this storybook tale took a turn to the dark side. Ankiel apparently ordered Human Growth Hormone from the same mail-order pharmacy as Patriot Rodney Harrison, who is currently serving a four game suspension. Toronto's Troy Glaus and Baltimore's Jay Gibbons were also customers of this questionable pharmacy.

How do we know what to believe any more? A great story like this turns into an apparent fraud. You never know who is going to be the next player caught up in the steroid web.

One thing about this I did find amusing. When Ankiel was confronted about this by the press, he claimed "doctor-patient confidentiality". What someone failed to explain to him is that the confidentiality exists to keep the doctor from talking about a patient's medical condition without his consent. The patient can say whatever he wants. If you don't want to talk about the HGH, Rick, just say so. Don't throw this pseudo-legal bull at us, OK?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Before I get into the review of Citizens Bank Park, I want to thank Bismo for inviting me to the Samuel Adams brewery. Bismo won a NESN contest and the prize was a tour of the Brewery for four, plus dinner in one of the tasting rooms. They set up a big screen TV so we could watch the Sox game and they kept us well fed. Oh, there was beer, too! So, thanks again, Bis.

I had been to Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia a couple of times, and it was one of the three worst major league ballparks I had ever visited, with Shea Stadium and Olympic Stadium in Montreal being the other two. Lousy sightlines, no character, artificial turf; the Vet exemplified everything that was bad about '70s ballpark architecture. I was looking forward to a major upgrade at the new Citizens Bank Park.

The first thing you notice about Citizens Bank Park is the location. It's in the same area as the Eagles Lincoln Financial Field and the Wachovia Center, home of the Flyers and 76ers. The three facilities share parking, public transit and other infrastructure. They are also virtually at the intersection of two major highways, I-95 and I-76. While it lacks the downtown feel of Camden Yards or PNC Park in Pittsburgh, the setup does make it pretty easy to park and to get in and out.

The ballpark itself has most of the standard amenities of the post-Camden Yards era parks. Wide concourses, ample concessions and restroom facilities, a kids play area and wide, comfortable seats with plenty of legroom. A. commented that it was very similar to Safeco Field in Seattle, which we visited two years ago (except for the retratable roof, of course). Our box seats on the third base side even included cupholders!

Food choices were plentiful, although I went with a hot dog as I always do when visiting a new ballpark for the first time. The franks were excellent, as good as any ballpark dog I have had. I was very impressed with the beer selection, as they had a nice selection of craft brews to go with the usual Bud/Miller/Coors junk. They even had one of my favorites, the Copper Ale from Vermont's Otter Creek Brewing.

Game information was provided by the standard giant scoreboard you find in most of these new stadiums. The jumbotron had an outstanding picture. One thing I really liked was that the outfield walls were lined with out-of-town score information that even included a diamond that told you how many outs and how many men were on base in the other games, so I was kind of able to follow the Sox game that night.

The game itself, well, wasn't as good as we might have hoped. The pitching matchup was interesting enough, with future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux going for the San Diego Padres against another old guy, Jamie Moyer for the Phils. Unfortunately, Moyer didn't really have it, as he gave up six runs in the fifth inning and the Padres ended up winning 14-3. The Padres offsense was paced by a pair of home runs by Milton Bradley who had six RBI.

There were two interesting bits to the game, however. We saw a bit of history as Maddux became the first pitcher in major league history to win at least 10 games in 20 straight seasons, breaking Cy Young's record of 19 consecutive seasons. I had never seen Maddux pitch in person before, so it was a big thrill to see one of the great pitchers of all time throw. He pitched quite well, giving up three runs on seven hits in seven innings. Maddux always seems to be three steps ahead of the batter, and it was great to see him live.

The other exciting moment was a bench clearing confrontation, sparked by a questionable slide by Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, as he barreled into San Diego second baseman Marcus Giles while trying to break up a double play. Giles didn't appreciate Ruiz's aggressiveness, and the benches emptied while the two exchanged words.

Citizens Bank Park gets a thumbs up, although it's not quite in my top rank of the new wave ballparks with Camden Yards and PNC Park. It's a nice place to watch a ballgame, though.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Here's a deep thought for the day, from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, which I'm reading via email thanks to

I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity; that he made the world, and govern'd it by his Providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter.

These I esteem'd the essentials of every religion; and, being to be found in all the religions we had in our country, I respected them all, tho' with different degrees of respect, as I found them more or less mix'd with other articles, which, without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serv'd principally to divide us, and make us unfriendly to one another. This respect to all, with an opinion that the worst had some good effects, induc'd me to avoid all discourse that might tend to lessen the good opinion another might have of his own religion; and as our province increas'd in people, and new places of worship were continually wanted, and generally erected by voluntary contributions, my mite for such purpose, whatever might be the sect, was never refused.

If everyone showed the same respect for the beliefs of others that Franklin talks about here, rather than the fanatics that have to prove that their religion is the "right" one or twist the tennants of their religion to give themselves power over others, the world would be a lot better place, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Next to last part of the PA trip report. We're nearly there!

Hershey: We were supposed to go to Hersheypark on Thursday morning, but I woke up feeling like crap. I went to breakfast and tried to get through it, but after a half a piece of toast it was obvious I wasn't going to be riding any roller coasters that day. A. took the kids out to play mini-golf and I went back to bed.

I woke up about 1 in the afternoon and felt quite a bit better. A. and the kids got back a while later and by late afternoon I felt well enough to suggest that we drive to Hershey and check out the Chocolate World area. We would go back to Hersheypark on Friday and then drive back to Philly for the ballgame that night.

Chocolate World was lots of fun. They had a 3D movie about Hershey, which included a live actor interacting with the on-screen characters and lots of "live" effects, like snow and streamers coming down at the end of the movie. It was really well done and a match for the 3D movies I have seen at Disney World. We also took the "factory tour", which is a ride that takes you through a representation of how chocolate is made (there isn't a public tour of the actual Hershey's factory). We got samples of Hershey products at the conclusion of both the movie and the ride.

We had dinner at the Kit Kat restaurant, which was pretty good. There was a nice surprise when the Hershey Kiss character showed up during dinner. It's the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the Kiss, and while the character posed for pictures with the kids in the restaurant at the time, his "assistant" handed out free cupcakes in celebration of the Kiss' "birthday". It was a nice bonus for us.

We rounded out the night with a trip through the giant Hershey souvenir shop and picked up some goodies. We all went to bed when we got back to the hotel in anticipation of a long day on Friday.

Morning came and we packed up the car and headed for Hersheypark. Now, maybe I have been spoiled by going to Disney all these years, but I wasn't all that impressed with Hersheypark. They had some fun rides, but we found the park very difficult to navigate. We sometimes had to walk all the way around a ride to find the entrance.

It was also very hot and very crowded. At Disney, with Fastpass and getting to the park early, I have a system to pretty much avoid long lines. I typically don't stand in a line more than 20 minutes, even during the busy Christmas vacation week. Hersheypark didn't open until 10 and there is no Fastpass, so lines for the more popular rides (especially water rides as the day got hotter) were impossible to avoid. We skipped a couple because we weren't willing to wait an hour to get on.

That said, we did have a good time. We went on a few roller coasters and a flume ride, which were fun. The kids rode a water slide by themselves, and they raved about that despite having to spend about 20 minutes in line. On a cooler, less crowded day, Hersheypark would be a lot of fun.

One thing I really did like about Hersheypark was their rating system for thrill rides. They went from a 1 (mild thrill ride) to 5 (aggressive thrill ride). I found I could handle the 4's comfortably. I got nauseous just looking at the 5's, so we stayed away from those. J. didn't meet the height requirement on some of them anyways, and R. wasn't interested.

Around 3:00 we made our way out of the park and headed for the Phillies game, which I'll talk about in the final part of this report.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

OK, we're going to try to wrap up the PA trip in the next few nights. Ready?

Pennsylvania Dutch Country: First off, we stayed at a wonderful hotel in Lancaster, the Eden Resort Inn and Suites, in contrast to our less than satisfactory stay in Cherry Hill. We had a two bedroom suite, and both rooms came complete with big flat screen TVs. I could have just sat around watching TV for the three days we were there, but I don't think the rest of the family would have gone for that.

I have always found the Amish way of life fascinating. To totally eschew our 21st century technology and live without electricity, cars and all the other modern conveniences most of us take for granted takes a special kind of commitment. I wouldn't last five minutes, personally. I consider "roughing it" to mean that there's no cable TV.

One of our stops was the Amish Farm and house. It starts out with a tour of an old Amish house, then a self guided tour around the farm. The house looks quite charming in the picture below, right?

OK, let's try that again from another angle.

Not quite so quaint with the big Target in the background, eh?

That said, the Amish Farm and House was very educational and fun. The kids were especially taken with a gentleman who ran a little shop at the farm where he sold various items that he had whittled out of wood. He did very nice work and was a very funny guy. We bought a couple of items for the kids, which he inscribed with their names and some little drawings.

The other really fun thing we did was to take horse-drawn buggy ride. The buggy took us on a half-hour ride through some of the back roads of the area. Our drive, an Old Order Amish man named Levi, told us about the area and was very patient in answering the kids questions. R., who loves horses, thought this was a high point. She also wanted to take home this little fellow, who will no doubt be pulling buggies himself some day.

Luckily, I don't have room for a horse in my back yard.

So, Pennsylvania Dutch Country was a lot of fun. Next I'll talk about Hershey and then finish up with the Phillies game.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Back from Florida and a few quick comments...

- Someone needs to explain to me how the Yankees sweep the Sox and then lose two of three to the Devil Rays at home.

- Tonight's Sox game is one of the strangest of the season. Boston leaps out to a 10-1 lead behind Daisuke, then the Blue Jays get eight runs in the top of the 6th. the Sox got three back in the bottom of the inning, and it's now 13-10 as the Sox hit in the last of the 7th. I'm gonna have to stay up to catch the end of this one, despite the fact that it's pretty late.

- Pedro made his 2007 debut for the Mets this afternoon and did quite well, getting the win, going 5 innings and giving up 2 runs to the Reds. I still have a soft spot for Pedro. He's still the greatest pitcher I have ever seen in a Red Sox uniform, and I hope he does well in his comeback. Well, unless the Sox play the Mets in the World Series, that is...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I missed the no-hitter.

We're in Florida, here to celebrate my Mom's birthday. We're having a great time, and totally took Mom by surprise.

So, of course, I had no TV access to the game. I had no idea that Clay Buchholz pitched a no-hitter until I turned on ESPN this morning. It's such a startling achievement for a young kid to do that in his second major league start.

More when we get home, but congratulations to Clay. If he continues the way he started, one day I'll be able to say I saw his first major league start, the one before the no-hitter.

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