Monday, March 30, 2009

Since it's my birthday, I took the day off from work. This gave me the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the great Five Guys Burgers and Fries at Patriot Place in Foxborough. I discovered this place on a trip to Baltimore a few years back and have been wanting to get back. When I discovered they were opening relatively nearby, it was music to my ears. Everything is cooked fresh (no heat lamps for these guys) and is really delicious.

Now, not only do I recommend Five Guys, but the Green Goblin does, too! Check out these panels from Dark Avengers #3.

The guy in the suit is Norman Osborn, the alter-ego of Spider-Man's nemesis, the Green Goblin. The other guy is the super-hero The Sentry, who apparently loves hamburgers.

So, if you have a Five Guys in your area, go check them out. After all, they're endorsed by both Cap'n Ho and the Green Goblin!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

One week to go until the season starts. Here's a couple of things I noticed as Spring Training winds down.
  • I was listening to WEEI this morning, and decided that Michael Felger really needs to stop talking about baseball. The discussion was about trading young pitching and Felger maintained that Clay Buchholz shouldn't be traded for, say, Joe Mauer or Albert Pujols. Really? You're not going to trade an unproven pitcher for the best two players in the game at their positions? I love Buchholz's potential, and I think he can be a very good pitcher, but if you offered me Mauer or Pujols for him, I'd drive Clay to Minneapolis or St. Louis myself. And I suspect Theo Epstein would, too.
  • I was watching the Florida Marlins edition of 30 Teams in 30 Days on MLB Network and I decided that if you were going to genetically engineer a center fielder, he would probably look a lot like Cameron Maybin. I haven't really seen him play, but he looks like a heck of an athlete from the small amount I saw of him.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Curt Schilling announced his retirement today.

It wasn't unexpected. Whenever Curt has been asked, I sensed some uncertainty about whether he wanted to put fourth the effort to rehab and get in shape to make a comeback.

Curt only spent four of his 20 years in MLB with the Red Sox, but he provided some moments that will live forever. Starting with his Thanksgiving, 2003 negotiations with Theo Epstein that paved the way for him to come to Boston, Schill was always fun to watch. He made those Ford commercials about how he had come to Boston to break an 86 year curse, and then backed it up. I remember the bloody sock, the near no-hitter against the A's, his amazing performance in the 2007 post-season, winning with nothing but pitching smarts and location and so many other great moments he gave us during his time in Boston.

Thanks, Curt, for coming here and helping to break that curse. Enjoy the rest of your life with your family.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A couple of thing about baseball's two biggest lightening rods, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez. Plus the Best. Quote. Ever.

Is it possible for A-Rod to look like more of a joke? First all the stuff in Joe Torre's book, then the steroids, and now the goofy pictures in Details magazine. Is he really so oblivious to his self-absored public image that he didn't realize that he'd be seen as a big joke? Thank goodness the Sox didn't end up with him in the winter of 2003. I'm thinking about sending Donald Fehr and Gene Orza a thank you note.

One of the big questions of the winter was how Manny ended up with a $45 million contract. Here's what I think. Somebody in the Dodgers organization did the math and figured out that the additional revenue streams that Dodgers with Manny bring in over Dodgers without Manny were worth the money they were paying him. I'm talking tickets, concessions, sponsorships, increased TV ratings, etc. Let's put it this way. Assume the average fan going to Dodger Stadium spends $100 on tickets, food, drink, souvenirs and such. The Dodgers would have to draw an additional 250,000 fans this year to cover his $25 million salary. That's about 3,000 a game. Can Manny put 3,000 fannies in the seats a night? Frank McCourt is betting he can.

Here's a classic quote from Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby from the Baseball Hall of Fame's Memories and Dreams magazine: "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." That about sums it up, although I think the 21st century equivalent would be watching the MLB Network and wait for spring.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Yes, two posts in one night! This couldn't wait, though. Former Red Sox pitcher Julian Tavarez signed with the Washington Nationals. Here's his classic quote from the Washington Post:

"Why did I sign with the Nationals?" Tavárez said on Sunday. "When you go to a club at 4 in the morning, and you're just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J-Lo. And to me this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It's 4 in the morning. Too much to drink. So, Nationals: Jennifer Lopez to me."

That's right. Tavarez compared signing with the Nats to beer goggles. Don't know if Julian can still pitch, but he certainly hasn't lost his unique sense of the universe.

Things running through my mind a mere three weeks (!) from Opening Day:
  • Has there ever been less concern over an injury to a starter than there is among Red Sox fans about Julio Lugo's knee? I think most folks are happy that Jed Lowrie will be playing shortstop, at least until Lugo returns. The only issue might be if Mike Lowell isn't 100% and Lowrie is needed to fill in at third.
  • Manny's hamstring tightened up yesterday and he left the game. Welcome to Manny's World, Dodger fans. You're just living in it.
  • Because of the poor economy, the Vintage Base Ball Federation isn't running the playoffs and world championship this year. It's too bad because it was a great event, but we can't really expect people to travel to go see it out in Westfield this year. Hopefully, we'll be able to pick it up again in 2010.
  • I'm really looking forward to MLB Network's nightly coverage this season. They have dedicated cameras in all 30 ballparks and can switch to any one instantly when something big is happening. I'll be doing a lot of flipping betwen NESN and MLBN this year.
  • I'm having trouble figuring out the thinking behind the new iPod Shuffle. Apple made it smaller by removing the buttons from the iPod itself to the earbud cord. Of course, if you don't like the Apple stock earbuds you need to buy an adapter or other headphones (which aren't available yet). I really liked the previous version, which was already really small (1.07 x 1.62 inches and weighed a bit over a half an ounce). This seems like a solution in search of a problem. It'll be interesting to see what customers reaction will be.
  • I have really tried, but I just can't get into the World Baseball Classic. I'll watch an inning or two here or there, but it's not holding my interest very well.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A few thoughts as we radically shifted from 60+ degrees weather on the weekend to snow, sleet and freezing rain on Monday.
  • Reports say that the Red Sox have signed Jon Lester to a five-year, $30 million contract, with a team option for a sixth year. It's good to see Theo locking up the young core of this team for the next few years, adding Lester to the earlier signings of Dustin Pedrioa and Kevin Youkilis. I love the fact that key Red Sox players are coming up through the farm system and the Sox are spending the dollars to keep them in Boston unforms for the long term.
  • I have said this before, but the current group of farm system products compares favorably with the mid-'80s Red Sox, when you had guys like Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Bruce Hurst, Oil Can Boyd, Jim Rice, Marty Barrett and Dwight Evans on the team. Although they are still pretty young, I think the group of Lester, Youk, Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Justin Masterson and Jonathan Papelbon looks pretty good.
  • There has been a lot of focus on the new Yankee Stadium and their $2,500 seats, but the Mets new home, Citi Field, is no slouch when it comes to ticket prices either. They have five pricing tiers and 28 different seating levels, so a seat for Opening Day or against the Yankees could cost you more than double what the same seat for a weeknight game against the Nationals or Marlins would go for. This makes a certain amount of economic sense but fans once again pay through the nose for the most desirable games. I guess the only upside is that the money goes to the team instead of to a scalper.

Friday, March 06, 2009

"Sometimes you're better off to have a two-year deal in a place that you're going to be happy than have an eight-year deal in a place that you're going to, you know, suffer."

- Manny Ramirez, at his Dodgers press conference yesterday

We're sorry we made you suffer so here in Boston, Manny. We're sorry the unconditional adulation of the fans, the two World Series championships and the $160 million you earned was so intolerable. How awful for you that you were so uncomfortable here in your multi-million dollar condo, playing for a manager and front office that would bend over backwards to deflect attention from your occassional failings. How on earth did you survive 7 1/2 seasons is such a situation?

/sarcasm off

I have a lot of respect for Nomar and Pedro because, despite whatever issues they had on their way out of town, I never felt like they gave any less than 100% when they were between the white lines. Not so with Manny. He could have taken the high road and said something positive about his time in Boston or, failing that, said nothing at all. Taking a ridiculous shot like this shows just how divorced from reality Manny is. Enough already.

Here's my thought. Retire #24. For Dwight Evans, a guy who was proud to wear the uniform.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Midweek thoughts running through my mind:
  • So, Manny finally signed with the Dodgers (2 years, $45 million). Like he really had a choice. However, there is no relationship between this signing and the fact that Joe Torre just ordered a case of Pepto Bismol.
  • Is it just me, or does this seem like it's been the longest winter ever? We finally get a few warm days and most of the snow has disappeared when we get socked with another foot of the white stuff. I'm really hoping this is it as far as significant snow.
  • I bought a six pack of Sam Adams Black Lager over the weekend. It's one of the best beers I have tasted recently. It doesn't have the kind of bitter taste you would think from looking at the color, yet it has a richer taste than a regular lager. Try it out if you are looking for something new.
  • J.D. "Iron Man" Drew is having problems with his back? I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you!
  • I'm trying to figure out how Battlestar Galactica is going to wrap everything up in just three remaining episodes. There seem to be way too many questions left to answer.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Curt Schilling posted this list of some of his top teammates on his blog:

4) My top teammates (not all inclusive) list would start with a few names: Doug Mirabelli, Craig Counsell, Gabe Kapler, David West, Kevin Jordan, Pete Harnish, Bob Milacki, Ben McDonald, Brady Anderson, Todd Pratt, Jason Varitek, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, Bill Mueller, Dustin Pedroia, Jeff Bagwell, Ken Caminiti, Greg Swindell, Dan Plesac, Brandon Webb, Todd Stottlemyre, Greg Colbrunn, Tony Womack, Mickey Morandini, Lenny Dykstra, Dave Hollins. Many more but that’s where it would start.

Manny's not on the list? :-)

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