Thursday, June 30, 2005

Jennifer Tilly Wins WSOP Bracelet

Actress Jennifer "Bride of Chucky" Tilly won a World Series of Poker bracelet (and $158k) in the Ladies No-Limit Event LINK

Something tells me that she'll be insuferable at the Hollywood home games Vince Van Patten is always prattling on about.
Terence Mann = JD Salinger? Who Knew?

Excellent background article on Archie "Moonlight" Graham and the writing of Shoeless Joe (the book Field of Dreams was based on).

I really found it interesting that WP Kinsella researched the book with JD Salinger (the Ernest Borgnine of Amerian writers) at his side. Is it just me or would the writing of Shoeless Joe make an interesting book or movie all on its own?

HT Off Wing Opinion
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

I love Bill Mueller but he does ground into too many double plays. Currently he leads the AL with 14 GIDP... Brian Roberts of the Orioles has an impressive triple crown going - he leads the AL in batting average (.365), on base percentage (.437) and slugging (.617)... Even more impressive is the fact that Derek Lee of the Cubs has Roberts topped in all three categories - batting average (.385), OBP (.461), and SLG (.717)... The Red Sox remain the number one road draw team in MLB with a 38,921 average per road game. The Cubs are second (37,888) and the Yankees third (37,136)... Do I have to remind you that Kenny Rogers couldn't handle the pressure of playing in New York... I don't like Gary Sheffield but he is arguably the Yankees MVP so far this season (he has more Win Shares than A-Rod). I don't see how trading him helps anything for the Yankees. In act I wouldn't be surprised if the Mets just played along to leak it to the press and implode the Yankee team from within...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Morning Rant

The Pesky Pole giveth and the Pesky Pole taketh away. Last night the Red Sox were leading 8-7 into the 9th and then the wheels fell off. First Mark Bellhorn screwed up an excellent throw from Manny which would have nailed a runner at second (that's the second error in two nights for Bellhorn) and then Keith Foulke gave up a grand slam that just made it past the Pesky Pole. I didn't have any money on the game but I do have Keith Foulke as my closer on two fantasy teams. Yuck!

My "bad" luck continued in the online poker tourneyment I entered. It was a $50+2 entry fee with $10,000 guaranteed in prize money. I played solid but finished out of the money because of two hands. In one hand I had AK suited and the flop came A, 6, 7 and a guy who was rather loose bet all-in for half my stack. I called and he showed QQ. Of course the next card was another Q. In the last hand I was getting close to finshing in the money but I was short stack with just $500 with $200/100 blinds coming up. A guy in front of me bet $500 and I called with a 55. There was a second caller behind me who went all-in for $1,000 and the first guy called that too. They both had A-K and my pair was in good shape. The flop came 9,X, 9 and the turn was another blank. Of course the river was another A and I was out. Fiddle-dee-dee today is another day.

It looks like the Celtics really struck gold last night with their picks of Gerald Green and Ryan Gomes. This is going to be a really good team in 3-years.

Yesterday I meant to post about the book the Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. The battle of Gettysburg started on June 29th 1863 and the past few years I have re-read the book at this time of year. There is no overstating the importance of the Union victory to the history of this country but sadly so few are aware of the history of this battle.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Busy Night

Big night to get a work out with the clicker finger. I have the Red Sox / Indians on NESN, the NBA draft on ESPN and President Bush giving a speech at 8:00. Here are the miscellaneous thoughts I had while channel surfing.

NBA Commissioner David Stern wins the award for worst dressed right away. Tan slacks? What was he thinking?... I like Andrew Bogut and I'm surprised that people don't compare him to Tim Duncan. I also like Marvin Williams - they both seem like good guys. I feel a bit sorry for Williams because he has to play for Atlanta - a franchise that's worse run than the Clippers... BTW - I'm drinking Smirnoff Twisted Watermelon a very refreshing drink on a warm June night... 3-1 Indians after 2 innings... Did One-eyed Stu just say that Deron Williams has 7 tattoos but still has character? I think that's a backhanded compliment at best... Clint Eastwood's Hang Em High is on the Hallmark Channel later tonight. I just find that humorous. What's next - Death Race 2000 on the Family Channel?... Bush's people could really help out David Stern with how to dress for a big TV event. I'm wondering if that is a Carolina blue tie the President is wearing.... I think it was Napoleon who said that the inevitable result of a defensive war is surrender. We are on the offensive in the war on terror and we are winning big time. People who argue a defensive posture just don't get it... There is no historical parallel to what we are accomplishing in Iraq. Nothing even comes close... Basically our exit strategy in Iraq is to win. And that's the way it should be... Bringing patriotism back to the 4th of July. Ooh rah! Bush may be right up there with Truman as far as popularity with the troops is concerned... The NBA is up to the 11th pick and it is still 3-1 Indians in the 5th - oops make that 4-1 damn it!... Charlie Villanueva was taken 7th by the Raptors. I was hoping he would slip to the Celtics at 18. Double damn!... The Orlando Magic take the love child of Fred Gwynn and Anthony Quinn with the 11th pick... As much as I was uplifted by Bush's speech - I'm still bumming about the passing of Shelby Foote... 4-3 Indians at the end of the 5th... America Supports You - bookmark it!... The Celtics take 19-year old Gerald Green with the 18th pick. I miss the days back when you'd at least recognize the names of the players your team drafted. I know nothing about Gerald Green. It does look like a good pick - Green for the Green sure to sign for a lot of green... Sox take the lead with 5 runs in the 6th - now 8-5... Sox winning, excellent speech by Bush and it looks like the Celtics got a stud in the draft. Good night! Think I'll try my luck at online poker...
Shelby Foote - RIP

Civil War historian Shelby Foote has passed away at the age of 88.

Foote's history of the Civil War is on my list of "must read" books and I feel his passing even more this time of year as we are about to reach the 142nd anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in the next few days.

Foote is survived by his wife Gywn, daughter Margaret Shelby and son Huger Lee.
Heh Heh - Just Desserts Cafe

This is pretty funny.
Book Meme

Eric at Off Wing Opinion asked me to do this meme and who am I to refuse the Glenn Reynolds of sports blogging? My titles are more general in nature and not sports centric like Eric's.

1. Number of books?

Like Eric most of my books are in boxes. I would estimate about 500 total. My wife is involved with a mothers group and each year they have a yard sale to which I contribute about 50 books (which helps to thin the herd - so to speak). A side benefit to this generousity is that I get to pick from the other books donated to the sale for free. This usually nets me between 6-12 new titles (most of which get re-donated back to the yard sale the next year).

2. Most recent purchase

Super System II by Dolye Brunson. You really have to love poker to appreciate this book. I leaned much from Mike Caro's chapter that I was able to use in my business life.

3. Currently reading

Super System II by Doyle Brunson, The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (I'll post more about this later today) and Three Centuries of Harvard by Samuel Eliot Morison. This last title was written in 1936 for the tri-centennial of Harvard (I found it at a book sale at a local town library).

My most recent sports titles were Idiot by Johnny Damon and Juiced by Jose Canseco. Damon's book was by far the best I've read on last year's World Series Champs and Juiced was better than expected too (maybe because I expected the worst).

4.A Five books that "meant the most"

(No particular order)

- The Razor's Edge by Sommerset Maugham. I picked up this book my senior year in high school and I've re-read it about 10 times since. I can't explain my attachment to this book but its "follow your bliss" message was Joseph Cambellish before Joseph Campbell was big.

- Trinity by Leon Uris. I'm first generation Irish and this book helped me connect with the history of the land of my parents.

- The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. If I had my way this book would be required reading for all high school students.

- The New Bill James Baseball Abstract. It's Bill James!

- Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein. Actually had to read his for a college English class and was hooked.

4.B. Worst book of all time

A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Any Englsih teacher who makes their students read this crap should be made to teach how to work a fryolator at McDonald's.

5. Next up?

Looking for 5 volunteers to continue the meme. If you take up the challenge - let me know in the comments and I'll link to your answers.

- Lyford has his list up (I had a feeling that he had a ton of books)
- Lee at Merc's Place has his responce up (he also did one for video games)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Afternoon Links

Some links to some good stuff on this hot June day.

- Jay Nordlinger has a new Impromptus up. Always a good read.

- Louisiana tax dollars at work. The Saints aren't worth this. It's not like anyone goes to New Orleans just for the Saints. To top it all off - in the future LA hopes to cover these payments via money raked off their gambling take on slots. (My suggestion is to tax beads - they could call it the "show us your tits" tax)

- Peter Gammons has a new column up (went up yesterday actually).
[Billy]Beane has told everyone who calls that he will not trade Barry Zito during the season, as he believes that with Rich Harden, Dan Haren, Joe Blanton and Kirk Saarloos and Huston Street at the end, the A's could have a big second half.
Hey didn't I just say that same thing a couple days ago?
Whomever designed that park in Philadelphia was an idiot. The home-road run numbers are the same as Coors Field.
Don't sugarcoat things Peter - tell us how you really feel about the new park in Philly.

- I meant to link to this brilliant and touching piece from The Anchoress yesterday.

- The Iraqi Panic Excellent piece
The polls show the American people are growing pessimistic about Iraq, and no wonder. They are being rallied against the cause by such statesmen as the two above. Six months after they repudiated the insurgency in a historic election, free Iraqis are continuing to make slow but steady political and military gains. Where the terrorists are gaining ground is in Washington, D.C.
Charlie Manuel Must Go!

I grant that it is a snap judgement but I'm convinced that I'm correct in this - Charlie Manuel must go as the manager of the Phillies.

Did I come to this snap judgement because the Phillies are underperforming this season? Because I watched the Red Sox just completely abuse the Phillies in their own park? Because the only time the team showed any life was after Manuel was ejected from the game?


I've come to the decision that Charlie Manuel must go as the manager of the Phillies after seeing him wear a warm-up jacket yesterday in million degree heat. If the man doesn't have the sense to wear something cool on a hot day - how can he be expected to make the decisions concerning the team?

Time for the dog track Charlie.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Hey I agree that it's a very good movie but come on! Batman Begins has already cracked the IMDB list of the top 250 movies of all time (number 85!)... Defending Manny Ramirez - Lyford does a very good job (in case you were unaware - Manny came under fire from a local writer who came unhinged this week and made Manny was his target from the bell tower)... Todd Brunson (son of poker legend Doyle Brunson) won a bracelet in the World Series of Poker by taking first in the Omaha Hi-Lo Split Event. Doyle and Todd become the first father/son combination to win bracelets at the World Series of Poker... I would like this opportunity to remind people that Manny Ramirez actually makes less money per year than Judge Judy... Yesterday was the anniversary of Custer getting massacred at Little Big Horn - you'd think some cable channel would have the forethought to air Little Big Man last night... Just sayin' but if Andrew Bogut were black - would people be touting him as the next Tim Duncan? As it is - it seems the expectations are that he's the next Eric Montross because he's big and white. Just sayin' is all... Yesterday was also the anniversary of North Korea invading South Korea - the act that started the Korean War. Did you see any mention of this anywhere in the MSM? Korea truly is the forgotten war...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Only 20 more days til the release of the next Harry Potter book - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince... I don't know why this bothers me but I'm bothered when Mary Carey is referred to as a porn star. Sure she worked in the porn industry but calling her a star is like calling Andy Dick a TV star... The filming of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix is returning to its England because the parents of Daniel Radcliffe were concerned about his safety if filming remained in the Czech Republic. They were concerned about letting their son - who plays Harry Potter and who turns 15 next month - spending long periods of time in a city increasingly famous for its nightlife and growing sex industry... I'm not a newcomer to the Derek Lee bandwagon. I picked him to be the MVP last year. I think it will turn out that I was just 12 months too early... Rumor has it that the producers of the Harry Potter movies are pursuing Elizabeth Hurley to be in the upcoming Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix. Hurley would play evil Bellatrix Lestrange. Not sure about you but Elizabeth Hurley was very far from my mind when I pictured Bellatrix Lestrange while reading the book (not that I wouldn't welcome seeing Hurley on the screen)...

Friday, June 24, 2005

An Old Observation of Mine

There is a muscle on your back, below the shoulder blade and close to the spine that every dad will at some point pull. Normally the muscle pulled is opposite of the shoulder that you have your child rest their head on when you carry them or when they sleep on your shoulder. If someone could come up with a stretching excercise for this muscle it would become to new dads what Kegeling is to expectant moms.

And speaking of Kegeling - every expectant dad who has gone to child birth class has tried Kegeling. It's just one of those things where the dad says "I could do that".
Dear Penthouse

I never thought something like this could happen to me. I never considered myself beautiful but today I feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. I'm 5'8, 150 pounds with a fresh face and jet black hair that most people don't appreciate because I keep it hidden behind my traditional hijab.

The other day I was working off some of the stress that comes with being a Harvard graduate student when something happened. Something so special that I had to share it with Penthouse.

I was jogging on a treadmill when I accidently dropped my keys as I reached for my towel. Suddenly I saw a man's hand reach down to pick up my keys and as I looked into the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen I suddenly realized that I was looking into the eyes of former Vice-President Al Gore.

"I've been watching you from behind," he said as he let his hand linger on mine as he gave me back my keys, "and I must have you."

That's when he ...
Top 5 - Movies Based in Massachusetts

2. Good Will Hunting
3. The Thomas Crowne Affair (w/ Steve McQueen)
4. The Verdict
5. (tie) The Paper Chase (tie) The Boondock Saints

The Perfect Storm, The Brinks Job and The Last Hurrah almost made the list but I gave no consideration to Love Story.

The idea for this list came from a list of the top movie set in each state by Steve Silver (which I found via BST)
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Mitt Romney's real first name is actually Willard. If he runs for President look for chants of "Willard" or "Willie" from the opposition - similar to how Chipper Jones gets taunts of "Larry, Larry" at Shea Stadium... Cesar Izturis hit .333 in April, .350 in May but is hitting just .113 for the month of June. Izturis is leading the voting for NL All-Star at short but this June slide may end up causing him to lose out to David Eckstein for the starting job (Eckstein's just 65,000 votes behind)... Q: What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back?... Hardhat Jesus would be a good name for a band... I would think that Toronto is probably dangling former Rookie of the Year Eric Hinske to teams that need a left-handed bat or help at 3rd or 1st. Hinske is a bit of a spare part with Shea Hillenbrand, Cory Koskie and rookie sensation Aaron Hill all on the roster... Q: What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back? A: A stick...
The Hudson and Mulder Trades - How's That Workin' Out?

I thought I'd take a look at how the players involved in Oakland's two big trades are making out.

Oakland sent Tim Hudson to Atlanta for Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer and Charles Thomas.

Hudson - 6-5 / 14 GS / 3.78 ERA / 85.2 IP / 51 K / 39 BB
Cruz - 0-2 / 0 GS / 8.49 ERA / 23.1 IP / 27 K / 19 BB
Meyer - no appearences in 2005 for Oakland
Thomas - 46 AB / .109 BA / 0 HR / 1 RBI / .255 OBP / .109 SLG

Tim Hudson is not looking like Cy Young but Billy Beane shouldn't be lining up for pats on the back for this move (though to be fair - Meyer could be the key and he wasn't expected to contribute this year).

Oakland sent Mark Mulder to Saint Louis for Dan Haren, Kiko Calero and Daric Barton.

Mulder - 8-5 / 15 GS / 4.75 ERA / 94.2 IP / 58 K / 28 BB
Haren - 5-7 / 15 GS / 3.98 ERA / 95 IP / 73 K / 32 BB
Calero - 2-0 / 0 GS / 6.46 ERA / 15.1 IP / 17 K / 5 BB

Barton hasn't played for Oakland this year.

Dan Haren has been the best pitcher of all the ones mentioned so far and I have to wonder if the Cardinals made a mistake trading the young stud for the name pitcher. Haren was by far the best Cardinal pitcher in last year's World Series.

I have to think that if Oakland had kept Mulder and Hudson then their record wouldn't have been that much better because Haren, Kirk Saarloos and Joe Blanton have about equaled or bettered the production of Mulder and Hudson (who have a combined 8 Win Shares compared to 12 for Haren, Saarloos and Blanton). You also have to factor in the salary saving Oakland managed by trading two of the big three plus consider the fact that another year of Mulder and Hudson would have hampered the development of some of Oakland's young pitchers (and they wouldn't have had Haren).

Overall I think the trades were a good thing for Oakland (with the Mulder trade being better than the Hudson trade). The A's are 10.5 games out in the West but the money they saved and some of the young talent they got from the two big trades may enable them to trade for a big bat.

Don't count the A's out of the race just yet.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Smoking Bans

I've been thinking a lot about the prohibition on public smoking today. What got me thinking was this piece in The American Spectator on how Christopher Hitchens thinks smoking bans are un-American.

Now I expect to rant on for a bit so I will do you the courtesy of providing a summary of my thoughts up front.

1. I haven't made up my mind whether smoking bans are good or bad things.
2. Smoking bans are at their core anti-market force and I don't believe that behavior should be legislated.
3. The "science" behind the threats of second-hand smoke don't pass the smell test.
4. All work environments have hazards to some degree or another. If a person doesn't want to work in a bar where there is smoke - they should get a job elsewhere.
5. Smoke is an assault upon the non-smoker but the non-smoker has the free will to not go to an estabishment that allows smoking

Smoking cigarettes is not a basic civil liberty like the right to free speech, freedom of religion or the right to vote but neither is it a threat to society that needs to be stamped out. It's basically a private vice (but as one writer pointed out - so is masturbation but you're not allowed to publicly whack off in a bar or restaurant either).

I like the fact that the bans have been either local ordinances or state laws. I would completely be against any federal attempt to ban smoking (and yes I know that smoking is banned in federal buildings but that's not the same as a federal law banning smoking throughout the land).

I like eating at a restaurant without smoke "ruining" my meal. Recently I had lunch up in New Hampshire and the presence of smokers really did take away from my eating experience. I also like the idea of leaving a bar without my clothes reeking of smoke (I'm a non-smoker).

I don't like the idea of legislating something that a free market should have been able to handle. If there was a demand for smoke free restaurants - wouldn't the market have provided them? A year ago it would be tough to find Atkins friendly menus but today they are everywhere. Nobody had to pass a law for this to happen. Simple demand was all it took. The smoking bans have hurt business significantly at a number of bars that I know about. I haven't seen any data to suggest that smoking bans have increased business anywhere. Laws that are bad for business are in general bad laws. I also agree with the article that "smoking bans undermine the personal liberty of both patron and proprietor" but I'm not sure to what degree.

The main reason for smoking bans is supposedly the danger of second hand smoke which everyone knows is true (emphasis mine). What studies exist that prove the existence of second-hand smoke? Proponents of smoking bans argue that the dangers of second hand smoke create hazardous working conditions. Hitchens rightly skewers this notion.
"Nobody can be compelled to take a job in a restaurant that allows smoking. I'm not an uncritical fan of market forces, but I'm sure they're good enough to sort this out without any help. The idea that there's a worker whose only skill is being a barman or a waiter who can only find a job in a place where he has to inhale others' smoke... I don't believe in the existence of this person. And if he does exist, he shouldn't be able to change my behavior."
I would argue that the person working the fryolator at a fast food restaurant works in a much more hazardous environment than a bartender in a smokey bar. The kid at the fryolator has to deal with getting splashed with hot grease and getting exposed skin and their clothes covered in a film of fat. I bet more studies exist to support the permanent scarring from acne cause by working a fryolator than do studies supporting the existence of the dangers of second-hand smoke. Yet do you think any law banning french fries would ever see the light of day? And I haven't even brought up the dangers of second-hand grease stains or the dangers of slipping on greasy floors.

The argument about hazardous work environments is a slippery slope.

Some people simply didn't want smoking in bars and restaurants but market forces that created a limited number of smoke free environments wasn't enough for them. These people wrongly established laws based upon things that may or may not be true and were able to foist their belief system upon others. This way of doing things is no better than activist judges in my book.

I think a better argument for smoking bans would be the idea that smoke is in itself an assault upon the non-smoking patron. Imagine sitting in a bar when suddenly someone comes in and sprays everyone in the bar with a fine mist of perfume whose smell gets into your hair and clothes and stays with you for the rest of the day. That person would not be tolerated in the bar and may even face arrest. Yet that's exactly what the smoke from a cigarette does.

The problem for people who want to ban public smoking is that what if people knowingly agreed to go into bars where they knew that they'd be sprayed with a fine mist of perfume or more commonly be subjected to cigarette smoke. Wouldn't this negate the assault argument?

Smoking bans were enacted via bad-science and legislative back doors. I like eating in smoke free restaurants but I'm not willing to trade that in exchange for bad laws.
NL All-Star Team

Here's my choices for the NL All-Star Team. I've tried to keep in mind who is leading in voting plus the one rep per team rule in making selections.

C - Mike Piazza New York
1st - Albert Pujols Saint Louis
2nd - Jeff Kent Los Angeles
SS - Caesar Izturis Los Angeles
3rd - Scott Rolen Saint Louis
OF - Carlos Beltran New York
OF - Jim Edmonds Saint Louis
OF - Bobby Abreu Philadelphia

Bench: Ramon Hernandez C San Diego, Derek Lee 1st Chicago, Nick Johnson 1st Washington, Todd Helton 1st Colorado, Craig Counsell 2nd Arizona, David Eckstein SS Saint Louis, Edgar Alphonso 3rd San Francisco, Rob Mackowiak 3rd Pittsburgh, Cliff Lee OF Milwaukee, Adam Dunn OF Cincinnati, Andru Jones OF Atlanta

Pitching: Pedro Martinez SP New York, Dontrell Willis SP Florida, Roger Clemens SP Houston, Jake Peavy SP San Diego, Chad Cordero RP Washington, Billy Wagner RP Philadelphia


* Piazza is in there at catcher because I'm assuming he'll be the leading vote getter. If Hernandez is not able to catch because of injury - I would expect Michael Barrett of the Cubs to replace him on the roster.

* Pujols will get the votes at 1st but who can argue that the best player in the NL this year isn't Derek Lee? Lee will start the game as the DH probably. I put Helton on as a third 1st baseman and because he's the most likely Colorado rep (with Barmes injured). This will leave Carlos Delgado out in the cold.

* Edgar Alphonso gets the nod as the only member of the Giants to make the team but that bumps Arimis Ramirez of the Cubs from making the team. Rob Mackowiak also gets a backup 3rd spot and that will keep Morgan Ensberg from making the team. Its too bad because Ensberg is having a better year than Rolen, Ramirez, Alphonso or Mackowiak. Wright in New York is the one really getting jobbed at 3rd though but New York will have Piazza, Beltran and Pedro on the team already.

* Louis Gonzalez was personally my toughest omission because he may be my favorite person in baseball. The dearth of good players at 2nd and the plenty of good outfielders made it a numbers game and he didn't make the cut. Counsell may also get bumped in favor of Brandon Webb because it would be easier to justify taking a pitcher from Arizona as the sole rep then it would be for Pittsburgh (who would you take from Pittsburgh Jason Bay or Mackowiak vs. Mesa or Redman? In Pittsburgh it has to be a position player). Alphonso in San Fran may also fall victim to this reasoning if Schmidt is picked as the sole rep because the team needs a pitcher. I took only 6 pitchers because I know some position player will be jobbed but I couldn't decide who it would be.

Tough omissions: Carlos Delgado, Louis Gonzalez, Troy Glaus, David Wright, Omar Vizquel (just for past history), Chris Carpenter, Brian Giles, Johnny Estrada, Brad Wilkerson, Brett Myers (just 5-4 and who do you bump - Clemens?). Giles gets left off because there are just too many good outfielders and Jake Peavy deserves the recognition although Peavy could easily get bumped off the team if Hernandez is able to go at catcher and it is decided that San Diego gets just the one rep at the game.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

God Bless and Keep You Pete from New York

Today's must read is a transcipt from Hugh Hewitt:
Hugh: Are you proud of the way your men conducted themselves vis-a-vis these prisoners?

Pete: Absolutely. I mean, you've got guys from New jersey who were just, you know, minutes away from the Towers when the fell, who knew family members who died that day. And the professionalism with which they conducted themselves around men who may have been involved in those attacks was extraordinary.

Hugh: Do you feel they are being slandered by these conversations, the Durbin statements, the Minneapolis Star Tribune?

Pete: Oh, sure. It is something that I have come to expect but thankfully we have men and women who are willing to conduct themselves, you know, the right way on a mission no matter what anyone is saying about them.
Felon Voting Rights

Large Bill points to the fact that Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack is issuing an order to restore voting rights to felons who have served their sentences.

The above made me think of this.

From The Simpsons episode The Black Widower where Sideshow Bob marries Bart's aunt Selma with the intention of murdering her on their wedding night by blowing her up in a hotel room full of natural gas (oops sorry for the spoiler):
Sideshow Bob, "But wait, if you saved Selma, why did the room explode?"
Chief Wiggum: "Me and the boys were celebrating a job well done," [cut to Wiggum, Homer, and a few cops smoking cigars] "When I threw my match in the vicinity of the crime scene."
The police start to take Sideshow Bob away, and he yells, "I'll be back. You can't keep the democrats out of the White House forever. And when they get in, I'm back on the streets, with all my criminal buddies!" (Maniacal laughter).
Turns out that I guess we need to keep the democrats out of the Governors mansions as much as the White House I guess. Not only get them back on the streets but get them their vote back as well? What's next? Just enough pardons to swing an election? Harry Truman must be spinning in his grave. Couple this with the crying over the treatment of prisoners at Gitmo and I don't see how the democrats can avoid being painted as not only soft on crime but also of coddling and pandering to criminals.
Clock Strikes 12 for Cinderella Man

On this date, 68 years ago, Jim Braddock lost his heavyweight title to Joe Louis.

Braddock was the subject of the current movie Cinderella Man (a movie I give two enthusiastic thumbs up to).

Think about how much has changed in boxing over the past 68 years.

Back then Max Baer was the heavyweight champ. Baer killed a man in the ring and most blame the death of a second man on the punishment Baer doled out in the ring. Baer was beaten by Braddock - a man who became the symbol for the common working man who refused to be beaten by the Great Depression. Braddock was beaten by Joe Louis - a man who gave hope to the even more downtrodden black America. Louis was beaten by Max Schmeling - a man who became a symbol of the power of the Nazi party and of the superiority of the Aryan race. Schmeling was beaten by Louis - who became the symbol of freedom defeating fascism.

Back then the whole world including Presidents and Dictators cared about the outcome of matches.

Today we have Mike Tyson. It's amazing how much things have changed.
Editing HST

I meant to link to ths yesterday. Here's a piece on being Hunter S. Thompson's editor.

I enjoyed reading HST but I think he'll be assigned to the dust heap of history and barely remembered 20 years from now. He's the Abbie Hoffman of journalism (and when's the last time you heard anyone bring up Hoffman's name in any meaningful discussion?).

HT Sports Frog

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

AL All-Star Team

Here's my choices for the AL All-Star Team. I've tried to keep in mind who is leading in voting plus the one rep per team rule in making selections.

C - Jason Varitek Boston
1st - Mark Teixeira Texas
2nd - Brian Roberts Baltimore
SS - Miguel Tejada Baltimore
3rd - Alex Rodriguez New York
OF - Manny Ramirez Boston
OF - Ichiro Suzuki Seattle
OF - Vlade Guerrero Anaheim
DH - David Ortiz Boston

Bench - Ivan Rodriguez C Detroit, Travis Hafner 1st Cleveland, Alfonso Soriano 2nd Texas, Brandon Inge 3rd Detroit, Derek Jeter SS New York, Johnny Damon OF Boston, Mark Kotsay OF Oakland, Carl Crawford OF Tampa Bay, Emil Brown OF Kansas City

Pitchers - Roy Halliday SP Toronto, Johan Santana SP Minnesota, Kenny Rogers SP Texas, Matt Clement SP Boston, Mariano Rivera RP New York, BJ Ryan RP Baltimore, Eddie Guardado RP Seattle

This roster has at least one player from each team but carries only 7 pitchers. Some notes on the roster:

* Tino Martinez is leading the voting at 1st but I don't expect that to last. He clearly doesn't deserve the honor.

* Pudge Rodriguez over Jorge Posada is a coin flip but remember that the game is in Detroit - so Pudge will get the nod.

* I took Mark Kotsay as the rep for Oakland over Eric Cavez but I would not be surprised if Chavez got the nod over the more deserving Kotsay because Chavez is the poster boy for Oakland while Kotsay may be traded if they can't sign him. If Chavez is the pick then host team favorite Brandon Inge probably gets bumped at third and Torii Hunter (my toughest ommission) is in at an outfield slot.

* Can you believe that Johnny Damon has only made one all-star team? Terry Francona as manager of the team will make sure Damon is on the team - an honor he well deserves.

* I picked Carl Crawford over Julio Lugo as the rep for Tampa Bay. That could go either way. Extra SS over extra OF? Six of one vs. six of another. Francona could shock us and take Lugo over Jeter for the bench but I don't see that happening.

* Emil Brown was my pick as rep rom KC and I'm sticking to it.

* For pitchers - I could see Rogers being left off but I picked him for my team. Brian Wickman could be the rep from Cleveland just as it easily could be Travis Hafner or CC Sabathia. If Wickman is chosed then Hafner gets bumped from the team by Paul Konerko from Chicago.

* I picked Guardado over Francisco Cordero, Joe Nathan and Frankie Rodriguez. I'd pick all these guys over Everyday Eddie if I were a GM of a team and I needed a closer but Eddie has had the best first half of 2005 among the group. Any one of those guys (plus Keith Foulke as manager's choice) could replace Kenny Rogers on the roster.

* Matt Clement has been Boston's ace so far this year and Francona better reward him with an all-star berth.

* Tough ommissions - Jon Garland, Aaron Rowand, Mark Buehrle, Gary Sheffield, Melvin Mora and Richie Sexson. Garland has fallen off his hot pace and teammate Buehrle is actually more deserving (they probably cancel each other out) meanwhile Rowand is too young and doesn't get the nod over either Damon or Hunter (who I hope makes the team) but one of these guys has to make the team as the rep from the White Sox if Konerko is not the back-up at 1st. Sheffield will go ballistic when he doesn't make he team and blame it on racists from Boston (only half joking on this). Mora gets no respect and Sexon is just hitting his weight.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Top 5 - Here are 5 Changes I would Make if Made King of the World for a Day

1. I would have TV Land play re-runs of the classic show Maverick as often as Bravo shows re-runs of The West Wing

2. I would have the producers of Wheel of Fortune bring back the part of the show where the players went shopping and had to spend their winnings on merchandise.

3. Just as the Cartoon Network has "Adult Swim" late at night - so too I would have ESPN institute an "Adult Swim" that would feature women's topless tennis and naked beach volleyball.

4. I would require TV stations that carry baseball games to include the playing of the National Anthem.

5. I would make Red Auerbach's birthday a national holiday.
MMQB Review

Here are the five things I think I think about today's Monday Morning Quarterback column by Peter King.

1. Selective stat alert:
I like [Sammy] Knight, who's a turnover-maker; no player in the league has as many takeaways (fumble recoveries and interceptions) over the past eight years as Knight's 46. (Stole that one from Chiefs Web site maestro, Kansas City radioman and Hall of Fame voting peer Bob Gretz. Great, great note.)
Why pick 8 years? Isn't that a bit long? Isn't ths like Denver saying no reciever has had more receptions over the past 20 years than Jerry Rice? Cool stat but what does it have to do with current production. All the stat King picked out tells me is that Sammy Knight has been in the league a long time.

2. Call Southwest next time Mr. Butterpants:
Can someone explain why flying in and out of Kansas City is as difficult as flying in and out of Altoona? There are hardly any non-stops. Small planes galore. I'm sure it has everything to do with market size, but for a significant American city to have such a poor schedule of flights is bizarre.
KC is a hub for Southwest and you can almost always get a direct flight there with Southwest. Problem is - Southwest charges larger patrons for two seats if their ass can fit in a single.

3. I completely agree:
I will say this about Kansas City: That baseball park is underrated. Caught Dodgers and Royals game with some Chiefs' front-office folks on Wednesday -- Jose Lima's 14th start of the year and first win -- and was astounded to hear there's some sentiment about moving the team to a new downtown park. OK, I love downtown ballparks. But sitting upstairs between third and home, looking out on the fountains, the green hills, the grass and I-70, I thought: Other than the really new parks and the Fenways and Wrigleys
I've been to many parks and KC remains a favorite.

4. I'm telling you - under the surace the NBA is in real trouble:
I'm more interested in the NHL settling its strike and getting ready for a full season than in the NBA Finals. I've seen exactly zero minutes of that.
This thought by King almost echoes exactly the thought I had on the NBA this morning.

5. None of King's children were mentioned in the column. That's always a huge plus in my book. It's even a bigger accomplishment when you consider yesterday was Father's Day. I half expected KIng to allow Mary Beth to guest write the column.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I went to a wedding last night and at the reception instead of a guestbook - they had a photo of the couple centered in a large frame surrounded by a white area for the guests to sign their names and best wishes. I thought this was a great idea and I also thought the guy who signed Luca Brazi style "May your first child be a masculine child" was genius... I didn't see a minute of last night's NBA Finals game and I didn't miss it at all. In fact I didn't even know who won till just a couple of minutes ago. When the NBA starts losing the interest of fans like me - then they are in more trouble than they know... I've seen some people mention Arizona as a team that would be interested in trading for Jay Payton but is Payton really an upgrade over Jose Cruz Jr.?... Is Lance Niekro the NL Rookie of the Year or is it Admiral Halsey?... With Niekro doing so good at first for the Giants - do the Giants try to trade JT Snow to a contender? It would save the Giants some cash but Snow is a 10/5 guy and could veto any trade... Time for a Jeromy Burnitz vs. Sammy Sosa update:

Burnitz - .291 BA / 12 HR / 41 RBI / .340 OBP / .504 SLG
Sosa - .262 BA / 9 HR / 26 RBI / .330 OBP / .462 SLG

I said it at the time Burnitz signed with the Cubs that he'd be more productive than Sammy in 2005 and some of you Cubs fans doubted me (nay mocked me!)...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Godfather Though for the Day

Michael Corleone is often thought of as a poor husband and father. He tried to be like his father Don Vito but it just didn't work out. Sure he loved his kids but it just wasn't enough. In the end his family is a mess.

How come Kaye never gets any of the blame for this? Seriously.

Keep in mind that Kaye was Michael's second choice (in fact second wife). If Appolonia had lived - do you think Michael would have had so many family problems? Do you think Appolonia would have ever had an abortion? Divorced Michael? I don't think so.

Maybe the real lesson to be learned from the Godfather trilogy is to not marry a WASP.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Visible Radiation would be a good name for a band... Betsy has an excellent reminder of what a piece of dirt Robert Byrd truly is... Barry Bonds is a (blank)... I got an email last night from someone who promised "results so good you'll need new underwear". Now I assume this was a penis enlargement deal but it also could have been something so good that I would shit my pants. Now we will never know because it went straight to the trash... Don't forget - July is American Beer Month... OK - how many finished the sentence "Barry Bonds is a (blank)" by saying "prick (or asshole)" or "cheating bastard"? How many said "great hitter"? That's his legacy in a nutshell...This is one of my all-time favorite stats: Did you know that Tris Speaker actually had more triples in his career (222) than strikeouts (220)?.... The two player nicknames that I've come up with and like the most are Sidney "Greenstreet" Ponson and Bartolo "Meet the Klumps" Colon... Do you think a cartoon strip about a wife-beating drunk like Andy Capp would ever make it into the papers today?.. Ronald Reagan quote for the day, "Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears". It occurs to me that Reagan was the true turning point in US politics. He made the Republican Party into the party of solutions by his very example. Today the Republicans are the ones getting things done while the Democrats seem either mired in Vietnam era nostalga or asking "why do they hate us"?
Mark Steyn Nails Durbin - the Senator from al-Inois

Heh heh - read the whole thing
Throughout the last campaign season, senior Democrats had a standard line in their speeches, usually delivered with righteous anger, about how "nobody has a right to question my patriotism!" Given that nobody was questioning their patriotism, it seemed an odd thing to harp on about. But, aware of their touchiness on the subject, I hasten to add that in what follows I am not questioning Dick Durbin's patriotism, at least not for the first couple of paragraphs. Instead, I'll begin by questioning his sanity.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Heh Heh

Lyford nails it

You would think that Durbin for one would welcome his Republic overlords.
Torture and Humanity

Never mind the stupid comparisons of Gitmo to Saddam Hussein or worse yet to the Nazis or Stalin - the comparison I've had stuck in my head for a few days now is between the US and the French.

One of the things people have complained about regarding our treatment of prisoners at Gitmo is that on occasion we had turned up the air conditioning too high on some of the prisoners. Yup - that's torture in some people's eyes.

I can't help but recall that in August of 2003 - close to 15,000 people died in France during a heat wave. Many of the people who died were the elderly who were left to fend for themselves in the cities while their adult children went on holiday. At the time I mentioned that the temperatures that caused so much devastation in France would be considered just "average" summertime temperatures in much of Texas (George Bush's Texas if you will) and yet only the occasional death is recorded from heat in Texas (not thousands upon thousands).

In general then, I think we can say that we treat the prisoners at Gitmo better then the French treat their elderly parents. Yet it is the US that is failing some sort of "global test"? Please.

I think Congressmen and Senators who argue against school vouchers should be forced by law to send their children to public schools. Likewise, I would like to see prisoners from Gitmo be placed under house arrest in the homes of people like Senator Dick Durbin. Let's see how that dose of reality would work for his rhetoric.

Some people think our treatment of the prisoners at Gitmo is some sort of crime. I think the crime is that it is now almost 4 years since 9/11 and pilots still don't have the right to carry guns in the cockpit. You won't see any stories about that on CNN though.
Jay Payton Wants to be Traded

Jay Payton has made it known that he would welcome a trade that would send him to a team that would allow him to play every day. Payton is a role player with the Red Sox. A role player for the first time in his career and I can accept the fact that he still views himself as talented enough to be a starter. I also respect the fact that Payton is keeping this low key and that he readily admits that the players starting in front of him is Boston are more talented.

I've been wondering whether the Sox should trade Payton.

Payton backs up all three outfield spots for the Sox. His defence is good but not gold glove caliber. Payton also plays right field for Trot Nixon when the other team starts a leftie. So in order to replace Payton - the Sox would need a player who can cover all three outfield positions and who is a rightie (or a switch hitter at least).

Trot Nixon has a career OPS of .636 against lefties and I think Payton was helpful in that he allowed Terry Francona to sit Nixon against leties without bruising Nixon's ego too much. Payton is a guy who could start for many teams and Francona has to get him some AB's. In the past Nixon wanted to prove that he could hit lefties. Maybe the presence of Payton has allowed him to come to terms with the fact that Trot just can't hit lefties consistently.

Now Payton's career OPS is just .811 against lefties and this year it was just .764 - so I don't think replacing his bat would be too hard.

If worse comes to worse - Kevin Millar's career OPS is .842 against lefties - so he could be used in right field on days the opponents start a leftie. This would have the side benefit of getting additional AB's at first base for either John Olerud (career OPS .765 against lefties) or even better Kevin Youkilis (career .876 OPS against lefties). This means that the Sox would really just need a centerfield defensive replacement to replace Payton's productivity. Plus if they could get a base-stealer it would be even better than what they have now.

The first name that comes to mind is Dave Roberts but he was traded to San Diego so that he could be a starter. I don't think Roberts is an option this time around but what about Xavier Nady - Robert's back-up?

This Payton for Nady trade would seem to work except Payton would go from being a back-up in Boston to a back-up in San Diego (albeit with the promise of more playing time since Klesko's throwing shoulder is iffy at best, Brian Giles has been known to visit the DL and who's to say Payton doesn't split time with Roberts in center?). Keep in mind that San Diego is paying much of Payton's salary this year anyway. Nady has a career .830 OPS against lefties.

I'm sure there are other options out there and I'm sure Theo Epstein is exploring every avenue to improve the team. I also wouldn't be surprised if Jay Payton doesn't go anywhere. I just thought I'd throw this trade possibility out there.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I saw Batman Begins last night and it was everything I hoped it would be. This movie is 10 times the movie that the Michael Keaton / Jack Nicholson movie was. I can't wait for the next installment... I saw a blog that proposed that the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Devil Rays trade managers. I'd link to it if I could recall where I saw the idea. After thinking about it for a while - I don't think Dusty would be the best thing for the young Devil Ray pitchers... This is a worthy cause and a good use of the Internet. Please read it and if you have a blog - please link to it on your blog.... Over the last 7 days - Manny Ramirez has hit .360 (9/25) with 3 HR and 8 RBI. I think Manny will be fine and that the adjustments he needed to make at the plate have been made. Sorry Lyford but I think you fell trap to the too small sample size (said by the guy who just used the sample size of 7 days as an example)... I think it is grand that some people have started calling Senator Dick Durban - "Senator Dick".... 190 years ago today - Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo by the Duke of Wellington. This event has lead to a string of defeats by the French military who hasn't won anything of note since Napoleon defeated the Prussians in 1815. No truth to the rumor that Dan Shaughnessey is working on a "Curse of the Short General" book...

Friday, June 17, 2005

New Impromptus Up

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus columns are among my favorite things to read on the web. Here's a nugget from today's offering.
A reader living in Moscow sent me a photo from a rally in Azerbaijan, which showed a youth holding up a poster of President Bush with the words, “We Want Freedom.” The reader commented, “It’s good to remember whom people turn to when they’re desperate — and it ain’t Kofi Annan.”

Amen indeed!
Scott's Shots

Always good stuff regarding the Boston sports scene
. I have to agree with this observation:
The problem with naming the left field pole after Carlton Fisk is that such monuments need to be massaged into the lexicon over time. To foist it upon the fandom and make it "“official"” de-legitimizes the entire event. . .
I feel the same way about the recent official naming of the left field foul pole at Fenway. First off - the right field pole is called the Pesky Pole after Johnny Pesky. That's what fans call the pole - it is not the official name. Second, Fisk already has his number retired by the Sox - naming the pole after him is overkill. Third - no alliteration. Pesky Pole rhymes and rolls off the tongue. Fisk's Pole? Not so much. I promise you will not read the word's "Fisk's Pole" uttered in this space. Bonus points to Scott for using the word "foist".
VDH Friday

As always - Victor Davis Hanson is must reading.

I would pay good money to watch a pay-per-view debate between VDH and anyone the Left could trot out to argue against our policies in Iraq. I would pay very good money to watch that.
The Bubbler

Do you know what a bubbler is? If you do - there's a good chance you're from New England.

For those not in the know - a bubbler (pronounced "bub-lah") is what you'd probably call a drinking fountain.

Bubbler is one of those words or phrases that are particularly New England. Others include "packie" (short for package store - what you would call a liquor store), "basement" (growing up - kids in school all asked if they could go to the "basement" instead of asking if they could go to the bathroom or restroom) and of course "a large regular" (which is a large coffee with cream and sugar).

What words or phrases are particular to your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Morning Links

- FSU Quarterback thinks he's Alec Baldwin

- Global Warming? Its June and I'm wearing a freakin' sweater today!

- Jackpot Jay at the WSOP

- VDH on illegal immigration
John Harvard, Ungutted Mackerel and Goat Dung

You may recognize the name John Harvard as belonging to the man for whom Harvard University was named. Did you know that he had no real connection to the school? He wasn't a founder, he wasn't a teacher, he wasn't even a student.

John Harvard's connection to the fledgling university in Cambridge, Mass. was via Nathaniel Eaton who was Harvard's schoolmate, friend and with whom Harvard had sailed to "the New World". John Harvard died in 1638 of tuberculosis and because he liked what his friend Eaton was doing as the first "master" of the newly formed college in Cambridge - Harvard bequeathed his library of 400 books and a pretty good sum of money. Because of the size of the gift - the good people of the Bay Colony named their university after him.

If Harvard died a year later - everything might have been different because his friend Eaton was fired.

Nathaniel Eaton was fired in 1639 in part because he was a stern taskmaster who beat his students but he was fired mostly because his wife was a lousy cook.

Like today - students paid for not just an education but also for room and board. Back then all the students and the teachers lived under the same roof and the wife of the master provided the meals. Eaton's wife was a lousy provider.

At the hearing there were allegations that Eaton's wife provided no beef and instead served ungutted mackerel (an allegation she denied) and that there was goat dung in her hasty pudding (another allegation she denied). Personally I think Eaton's wife would have been all set if she just served the students more beer (students haven't changed all that much).

So if Harvard died a year later - would he still have bequeathed the money to the college that fired his friend? Would the school have a different name today? Wouldn't "Ungutted Mackerel" be a good name for a band? Will you be able to think of Harvard's Hasty Pudding Award without thinking of the words "goat dung" from now on? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Watched Stripes the other night. I'm still bothered about why the police raided the mud wrestling bar in the first place. And no you can't blame that on "John Ashcroft's America". Little things like that bother me... Good God! Is that Farrah or Don Corleone in a wig?... Another movie thing that bothers me. In Die Hard 2 - why didn't they just let the terrorists get their general and go on their way? The Air Force could have caught up with the 747 they were escaping on whenever they wanted with a couple of F-15's to splash them down...
Tony Womack Sucks

That's the basic premise of Tom Verducci's latest offering.
The Yankees made a mistake in signing Womack to a two-year, $4 million deal rather than keeping Miguel Cairo. They made the blunder bigger by playing Womack every day. They made things even worse by batting him first or second, giving a guy with a .289 OBP extra plate appearances. And they goofed again by moving him to left field, as if an American League team can simply write off offense from a corner outfield position.
To that I say - well duh!

This is what I said about Womack last December 27th:
Tony Womack - 2-years $4 million from the Yankees. The Yankees both overpaid and downgraded the position at the same time. The smart move would have to just keep Miguel Cairo.
One thing that Verducci fails to do is offer a solution to the Yankee's problem with Womack. Do they release him and eat the contract? Keep him on the bench to fester like an open sore? Trade for an outfielder? With what? Their cupboards are bare. What do the Yankees have to offer for a Preston Wilson? An amateur like me could tell you Womack was a bad move months ago. It would be nice if the professionals could let us know what the Yankees could do now to fix the problem.
Otto Frederick Rohwedder

You may have been seeing lists of the top 100 Americans but these lists always seem to exclude Otto Frederick Rohwedder. He's the man credited with inventing sliced bread. What's greater than sliced bread?
Lou Pinella Analogy

Homer: You know, when I was a boy, I really wanted a catcher's mitt, but my dad wouldn't get it for me. So I held my breath until I passed out and banged my head on the coffee table. [cheerily] The doctor thought I might have brain damage.

Bart: Dad, what's the point of this story?

Homer: I like stories.

Just substitute Lou Pinella for Homer and baseball writers for Bart. Then pretend Pinella was just asked the question of why he's not responsible for his team's performance.
Revisiting One of Last Year's Big Trades

About this time last year a trade was made between the Mariners and the White Sox. The Mariners sent Freddie Garcia to Chicago in exchange for catcher Miguel Olivo and centerfielder Jeremy Reed. Let's take a look how they're working out this year:

Olivo: 110 AB / 2 HR / 14 RBI / .145 BA / .174 OBA / .236 SLG
Reed: 193 AB / 2 HR / 20 RBI / .259 BA / .335 OBA / .368 SLG

Garcia: 6-3 / 88.0 IP / 59 K / 21 BB / 3.78 ERA

It seems clear that Chicago got the best of this trade. Now - Reed may still blossom into a star but Olivo? Not so much. In fact he's already been sent down to Tacoma. Garcia is only 28 and trading him now looks like a mistake.

With the catching a big question (Pat Borders and Dan Wilson?) - maybe the Mariners would be interested in Kelly Stoppach?
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

- Don't forget that A-Rod was traded for Alphonso Soriano. So far this year A-Rod is 2nd in the AL in total bases with 142 but Soriano is just 4 bases behind him with 138. The money the Rangers saved by shedding A-Rod's contract has allowed them to be more balanced. Four of the top 10 in total bases in the AL play for the Rangers.

- Todd Helton leads the NL with 10 intentional bases on balls. He's got no protection in the Rockies line-up.

- The Mets need some offense out of 1st base. How ironic would it be if they acquired Kevin Millar from the Red Sox? Millar and Mientkiewicz would be back together again. I see a certain elegance to that.

- John Olerud needs 4 more doubles for 500 in his career. That would also move him past Rusty Staub for 41st place on the all-time doubles list.

- Maybe the Red Sox could trade Kevin Millar to the Braves. They could use his bat either at 1st or in the outfield. Have you gotten the idea that I'd like to see the Red Sox trade Millar yet?

- So far this year I think the Rookies of the Year for both leagues are pitchers. Chris Young of the Rangers in the AL and Brad Halsey of the Diamondbacks in the NL. Clint Barmes was a shoe-in for the NL ROY before he got hurt.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Please Lend Some Emotional Support

Sometimes the posts you read on other peoples blog's just devastate you. I stopped by Merc's Place today to check in because he hadn't posted for a while. I was unprepared for this.

If you have a moment - stop by - and if you can - leave Lee a note of support.

Crap from SI

I have to call "crap" when I see or hear crap and this column by Stephen Cannella on is pure crap.

First off he says that Manny Ramirez was "benched" which is not true. Manny was rested for one game because Interleague does not allow for the DH and manager Terry Francona was trying to keep David Ortiz in the line-up while also trying in involve Kevin Millar who has shown signs of life as of late. Sitting out one game is not being benched. David Ortiz sat out last night - was he "benched" too?

Cannella links to a Boston Herald piece to try and support his "benched" comment however the Herald points out:
He [Manny] is on pace for 39 home runs and 124 RBI, slightly ahead of his five-year averages as a Red Sox of 38 homers and 118 RBI. What is lagging is his batting average, which was at .254 yesterday.
As Lyford has pointed out - the only thing that has really declined this year for Manny has been singles and many times that's a matter of luck. Line drives are hit right at outfielders or ground balls that made it through in the past are now knocked down.

I also take issue with Cannella calling Manny a "savant". Manny works very hard at his hitting and I think it was telling that Greg Maddux explained that no batter in baseball knows the opposing pitchers better than Manny. Cannella's casual use of the English language would have you believe that this knowledge just sort of happens and is not the result of hard work.

Cannella also tries to make some sort of point with comparing Ramirez to the top five "similar" hitters from What his point is - I don't know because Cannella seems to want the reader to draw his own conclusions. Is Manny a steroids tainted guy like Juan Gone? Will he fall to a freak hip ailment like Albert Belle? What's your point Cannella? Maybe he'll be like Willie Mays who is number 6 on that list but who you don't include. Maybe he'll be like Ted Williams who is number 8 on that list but likewise not mentioned.

Crap writing. Lazy writing. SI can do better than this.
The Return of Rainbow Head Guy

Do you remember rainbow head guy? When I was growing up it seemed rainbow head guy was everywhere. He would show up on TV at almost every major sporting event. He was even included in a beer commercial once.

Today there are crazies at almost every sporting event but rainbow head guy with his rainbow head afro was the original.

I think now would be the perfect time to reintroduce rainbow head guy to a whole new generation of sports fans and I would accomplish this in one of two ways.

First there could be a made-for-TV movie about the guy. There's plenty of interesting stuff and the drug induced taking hostage of a hotel cleaning lady and subsequent standoff with the SWAT team makes for an exciting ending (the original rainbow head guy is now serving a life prison term). This would be much better for ESPN than either their Bobby Knight movie or the Junction Boys.

The second way would be for some company to get their own rainbow head guy and send him to all the major sporting events as a means of underground marketing. The original rainbow head guy was famous for his John 3:16 sign (I learned about that passage from rainbow head guy). To me the name "John" seems attached to rainbow head guy so I would suggest Papa John's co-opting the marketing campaign.

They could find a guy with lots of energy, put him in a Papa John's T-shirt and rainbow head afro wig and send him out to all the major events. The whole thing would cost less than a 30-second Super Bowl spot. Instead of a John 3:16 sign - the new rainbow head guy could have a sign that simply says "PIZZA".

The new rainbow head guy would become the focus of stories in the paper and maybe local TV news. It would be a ton of publicity for Papa Johns and it would be relatively cheap.

It's time for rainbow head guy to make a return.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Joe Morgan and Jon Miller are awful. Jon Miller used to be good but I think being paired with Morgan for so long has sucked the talent out of him. For instance - when Johnny Damon hit a triple for his third hit of the night (in addition to a double and HR) - it took them a full inning to mention Damon was a single away from hitting for the cycle. Red Sox fans were aware of that as soon as they saw Damon on third base the inning before... The sins associated with playing cards are nothing new. The Synod of 1404 forbade card-playing by the clery and in 1423 Saint Bernard called for the faithful to go home get their playing cards and burn them right in the public square outside Saint Peter's... Another thing that Miller and Morgan overlooked - no mention of the fact that Doug Mirabelli went on the DL May 20th and in the 4 starts since then Tim Wakefield gave up 21 earned runs while failing to make it into the 6th inning in any of the 4 starts. Clearly Wakefield missed his batterymate. It wasn't until Wakefield was interviewed that this was brought up... I wonder if members of the clergy are still forbidden from playing cards?... Alex Rodriguez leads the AL in HR and RBI - just sayin' but A-Rod lead the league in HR 3 times (2001-2003) and each time his team finished last in his division. A-Rod was playing for Texas at the time and the AL West has just 4 teams. That meant last in the division also meant 4th in the division. Currently the Yankees are 4th in their division. Just sayin'.
Heh Heh

Here's something to tickle your funnybone today. Actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. Here's just a few to give you an idea:
His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E.coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
Hat tip to the Happy Carpenter
Interesting Stuff

I hope to learn something new every day. This article actually taught me two things.

It gave me an awareness of the disease - pulmonary hypertension. This was a disease I had never heard of before.
Pulmonary hypertension is a rare blood vessel disorder of the lung in which the pressure in the pulmonary artery (the blood vessel that leads from the heart to the lungs) rises above normal levels and may become life threatening.

Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension include shortness of breath with minimal exertion, fatigue, chest pain, dizzy spells and fainting. When pulmonary hypertension occurs in the absence of a known cause, it is referred to as primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH). This term should not be construed to mean that because it has a single name it is a single disease. There are likely many unknown causes of PPH. PPH is extremely rare, occurring in about two persons per million population per year.
You can learn more about the disease at the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) website.

The second thing I learned from the article is that Condoleezza Rice's first name has its roots in an Italian music term:
Rice, whose first name is a variation on the Italian musical term "con dolcezza," which is a direction to play with sweetness, learned to read music at the age of 3.
Hat tip to Betsy's Page
A Must Read Basketball Story

I got pretty misty reading this story. Very touching story.

Hat tip LGF
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

So Tyson quit on his stool in the sixth round? Shame on any of you who paid $49 for the pay-per-view for that "fight". Shame on you - you're just encouraging him... Speaking of boxing - I meant to link to this picture of Jeremy Schapp earlier in the week. Do you remember that interview that Schapp did with Bobby Knight a few years ago? Something tells me that the more time passes Knight will look less of a jerk in people's eyes and Schapp more of one... Afleet Alex is one awesome horse. Not sure if I agree with the folks who call horses athletes but Afleet Alex certainly is something special... If you only read one thing today (well besides my blog) - make sure it is this commencement address by Ben Stein. It is an address he gave this month at Ithaca College. If you don't get a bit misty reading it, if you don't feel a surge of heart full of gratitude for being born in America, well then I just don't know about you... More Ben Stein (he's been on quite a roll lately). This is a piece I meant to link to yesterday (if you only read two things today beside this blog - make the first thing his commencement address and make the second thing this article)... Today would have been Jaques Cousteau's 95th birthday (he died in 1997). Cousteau was a pioneer in underwater photography and scuba diving (he literally invented it). Sadly, like Joe Foss, Cousteau seems destined to be a person we think about less and less as the years pass... Speaking of things that we are probably going to forget more and remember less - there was a time when half of Europe was not free. There was a time when Eastern Europe fell behind an Iron Curtain. 17 years ago today Ronald Reagan said these immortal words:
Secretary General Gorbachev, if you seek peace--if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe--if you seek liberalization: come here, to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.
It will be interesting to see if there is any mention of this anniversary anywhere in the Main Stream Media.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Red Roof Inn

Have you seen the new commercial for Red Roof Inns? It features two white guys who seem ecstatic both with their rooms and the fact that the room has video games. I find myself asking who Red Roof thinks they are marketing to.

Neither of these guys in the commercials seems to be married. No phone calls home to the wife and kids for them. Neither guy seems interested in a quality restaurant or room service (which is a good thing seeing how it is Red Roof and all). Neither guy seems interested if the hotel has a lounge or in the local nightlife. Nope - the only thing that interests these guys is the in-room video games.

Red Roof is targeting to the loser market.

Part of me thinks that the guys are so happy that there are video games in the room because now they won't have to risk leaving the room and have a run in with one of the truckers who are always staying at Red Roof. I also wonder if these guys know that the in-room video games are charged separately on the bill and that their company probably won't reimburse them for the charges.

I don't see this commercial being successful for Red Roof.

If I could be so bold as to suggest a new marketing approach - I'd have them change the name from Red Roof Inn to Red Neck Inn. They could stock the pool with trout and have nightly fishing derbies.

Hey - can't be any worse than the current marketing campaign.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Last year Angels fans would probably have told you that Colon is American for ass. As in "Bartolo really sucks ass" or "super Colon blow." This year Angels fans would probably tell you that Colon is actually Spanish for Columbus as in "the new world of a 3.10 ERA"... The real reason the Pistons lost last night was because Ben Wallace did not wear his afro. Simple as that... I really disliked the movie Chariots of Fire. I disliked it for the same reasons that many people have given like "its boring" or "its wicked gay". I also disliked it because of its title. In the period the movie was set - the term "chariots of fire" referred to trains. To take a "chariot of fire" was to take a train not run on the beach in your undies... One of the toughest questions in sports today has to be the question "who is the more unassuming superstar - Tim Duncan or Tom Brady?"... I cannot recommend the movie Cinderella Man enough. Great flick. I'll see it again and buy the DVD when it comes out. One thing that bothered me is the fact that even though many sportswriters were portrayed in the movie - the director did not have anyone cast as Damon Runyon even though it was Runyon who gave Jim Braddock the nickname of Cinderella Man. Runyon is one of my favorite writers. I've been trying to come up with my list of the top 5 US writers of all-time and I'd be pressed to keep Runyon off the list... Is Jeff Gordon really the world's fastest Christian?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Hemingway and the Squirrels

He was sitting on the second floor porch. The condensation of the cold beer felt good on his right hand. It felt almost as good as the sensation of the cold amber liquid going down his throat.

In his left hand laid open a book of Hemingway's short stories - I think it was The Snows of Kilimanjaro.

"What a prick Hemingway was," the man thought to himself. "Everything is either sex, fear of death or being a jerk to a woman because he's drunk and can't get it up." Still the man kept reading.

Hemingway lived on his own terms and that realization pissed off the man who took no risks and who did things because he thought they were proper or they were expected of him. It was then he heard the noises.

It was a high pitched screech, followed by a what sounded like a wheeze and then the screech again. The source of the noise was two squirrels chasing each other in the trees outside the second floor porch.

"Ahh, a squirrel fight," the man thought as he put down the book and took another gulp of his beer. Slowly the man realized that only one of the squirrels was making the noises and that they were not chasing each other. There was one chasing and one trying not to be caught. "Ohh," thought the man, who was somewhat disturbed with himself for wishing to see the squirrels "being married" as Milton would say. Disgusted with himself as he may be, the man stood to get a closer look.

The female squirrel had made several laps around the tree before finding refuge. The tree they were in was dead and one of the larger limbs had dried out and split. Inside the hollow of the split the female squirrel took shelter and when the male came too close she took a swipe at him with a forepaw. The male was not discouraged. In fact his screeching and wheezing became louder as he circled the dead limb.

The commotion attracted another male who joined the first male in making laps around the dead limb while they alternated taking bites at each other with getting hit with swipes from the female trapped in the hollow.

Finally, the female had enough and made a break for it. She raced around the trees until coming back to the dead tree where she scampered out to the end of a branch that looked like it could barely hold her own weight. She was trapped. She turned to be ready to swipe at either of the males who were foolish enough to come out onto the fragile bough.

Neither male squirrel seemed anxious to place his weight on the branch. The man was disappointed. He looked around the second floor porch. It was his sanctuary. It held the spare fridge where he kept his beer. It was where he listened to baseball on lazy summer weeknights. It was also where he stored much of his athletic gear.

His eyes fell upon his softball glove. Inside he kept a softball with the idea that it kept the glove in proper shape. The sight of the ball for some reason made him angry. He picked up the ball and looked back at the squirrel standoff. Without warning he threw the ball at the bitch squirrel. The ball missed the squirrel but hit the branch which broke sending the squirrel hurtling toward the ground.

He saw it clear. The squirrel's head and left shoulder hit the ground with a sickening "thump". The two male squirrels seemed to stop and stare at the man and then look down at the unmoving female only to look back at the man once again before scampering off in separate directions.

The man looked down at the dead squirrel, then looked up into the sky as if he might glimpse the squirrels spirit ascending into the heavens. Finally the man's gaze fell upon the book he had left open with cover side up.

"Stupid Hemingway," the man muttered as he left the porch to go inside the house to take a shower.
John Kerry's Medical Records

Recently much hay has been made about John Kerry finally releasing his college grades and of him giving the Boston Globe access to his military records. I thought Kerry not releasing those records seemed to indicate a desire to hide his past and I thought the fact that the press did not pressure him to release those records showed a complicity to keep the truth from the American people. I also think the school grades and military form 180 are small potatoes compared to Kerry's medical records - which he never released.

John Kerry got into and graduated from Yale. That's enough for most people and certainly enough for me. If you went to a lesser known school like Whittier then maybe you would expect the person to excel but even then - it doesn't really matter. Quick - what college did Harry Truman go to? What were his grades? Did he even go to college? See what I mean? John Kerry's grades at Yale were a curiosity and nothing more.

In terms of Kerry's military record - well I think former shipmates on the USS Gridley describing him as "just another goofy ensign" and the passion of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth gave people as much or more information about Kerry as his full records ever would. Kerry's detractors wanted the full records to show that Kerry's medals were a sham but this living in the past seems counter-productive and I think the fact that the American people chose military service avoiding Bill Clinton over military hero Bob Dole showed that people are more interested in the future than the past (and rightly so).

The health records are a different story completely.

John Kerry is a cancer survivor. He owed it to the American people to go the extra mile to prove that the person they are electing is healthy enough to handle the job. The last US Senator to run for President from Massachusetts was Paul Tsongas who ran for President in 1992 claiming to have beaten his cancer but was dead by January 1997 at the age of 55.

John Kerry was 61, a cancer survivor and running for President. Yet the press made no real attempt to make his refusal to release his medical records a campaign issue. Duplicitous is the word that comes to mind.

Dick Cheney was not running for President but because of his past heart issues - Cheney's medical records were a major issue. Double standard? You bet.

The funny thing is that now that Kerry lost - the public no longer deserves to see his medical records. Even ex-Presidential candidates deserve privacy when it comes to their medical records. The story to me is not Kerry's medical records but how the press blatantly took sides in the last election and failed to make Kerry's refusal to release those records a story of the magnitude it deserved to be.
Red Sox Draft Picks

If you asked me what I knew about the players the Red Sox drafted the other day, I would have to give the Cliff Claven-like answer, "I know they are a bunch of guys who have never been in my kitchen."

Luckily Lyford has been able to give us an idea of who these guys are

The only guy I had heard of before was Craig Hansen of St. John's and there is no better expert on anything to do with St. John's sports than Denis Gorman.
Cam Neely - Hall of Famer

Cam Neely was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame yesterday - an honor he well deserves.

It put it simply, Cam Neely was the greatest foward to ever lace up the skates. If you described the perfect power forward hockey player - you would be describng Cam Neely.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

State of the Red Sox

This is the second report on the state of the Red Sox. My first looked at the catcher and infield positions. Today I'll look at the outfield, DH and bench.

Left Field: Manny Ramirez will finish the season as a top 5 MVP candidate. Some people are worried that Manny is only batting .254 but I don't think anyone really thinks that average will continue for long. Manny has had some bad luck and he also hasn't had his streak where he hits 7 HR in 10 games while hitting .600. Manny will be fine.

Centerfield: Johnny Damon has been everything you could ask for in a centerfielder / leadoff hitter. OK if you wanted to be picky you could ask for more HR and a stronger throwing arm.

Damon is hitting .346 with 42 runs and 31 RBI. A strong argument could be made that Damon has been the team's MVP (he leads the team in Win Shares with 10). The big question with Damon is his health. He plays reckless in the field which leads to injuries. You also can't talk about Damon without talking about the fact that he's a free agent at the end of the year and that Scott Boras is his agent.

Will Damon take a Tim Wakefield-like hometown discount or will he try to break the bank? I could see Damon either signing a 2-year $16 million contract with an option or going for the big bucks.

What are the options for the Sox? Preston Wilson? Seeing if Hanley Ramirez can play centerfield? Damon has said he wants to stay in Boston. If he leaves the team takes a PR hit and may not be able to replace his productivity in the field. I think signs point to Damon staying in Boston.

Right Field: Trot Nixon and Jay Payton have been basically platooning in right. Nixon starts against righties and Payton against lefties. Nixon could finish at about .300 with 20 HR and 100 RBI. Payton meanwhile will finish with the fewest at-bats he's had as a pro since 1999. Payton is solid defensively but it would be nice to have someone with either more speed or more pop in the bat.

DH: David "Big Papi" Ortiz is the best DH in baseball - bar none. Right now he has 13 HR, 46 RBI and an OPS of .931. When both Ortiz and Manny are "on" then there is no better 3/4 combination in baseball.

Boston may have a number of areas where improvement is needed but DH is not one of them.

Bench: Right now the Sox are carrying five bench players. They have Jay Payton backing up all three outfield spots; John Olerud is backing up first; Kevin Youkilis backs up Bill Mueller at third; Ramon Vazquez backs up both short and second and Kelly Stoppach is the back-up catcher while Doug Mirabelli is on the DL.

Payton: I'd give him a B+ for his defense but just a D for his bat. Payton is betting just .237 but I'm willing to hold off judgment until the 4th of July whether the Sox need an upgrade here. Payton may be heating up since he's hit .333 in June so far (3 for 9). Adam Stern may offer more speed than Payton and it will be interesting to see what happens once Stern is healthy (as a Rule 5 Stern has to be put on the roster or the Sox lose him).

Olerud: I've made no secret of the fact that I think Millar needs to be replaced at first. I'd like to see Youkilis start and Olerud be the late inning defensive replacement. I doubt I'll see this happen. I've been impressed with Olerud so far and I think he's another example of Theo out-hustling Cashman.

Youkilis: Crowd and personal favorite. He can back-up both first and third and he's even seen some action at second. Unfortunately, he's still got options so he'll probably be sent down once Stern is healthy enough to join the club.

Vazquez: Color me unimpressed. I long for Freddy Sanchez as a back-up in Boston. Maybe we can get Pokey back?

Stoppach: Just a place-holder for Mirabelli. Stoppach is probably trade-bait come late June.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Before we had the phrase "thrown under the bus" - many people used to say "sold him down the river." What most people fail to realize is that the phrase "sold him down the river" has its roots (no pun intended) in slavery. Oftentimes a slave owner would break up a black family by selling a member "down the river" to a larger plantation. In its original form the phrase meant the awful betrayal of an innocent... Changing gears here - I just want to mention that I still have a sneaking feeling that Ted Knight fakd his own death... Did you know that the word "Canadian" is often used as bar slang for a non-tipper? You won't learn that from a Snapple bottle cap... Donald Duck is usually singled out for not wearing pants but what about Winnie the Pooh?... Where do the white lab rats and mice come from? Think about it. Are they some sort of snow rodents? I don’t think so. They are probably some sort of genetic anomalies. I think scientists should have to note that fact in their findings. Instead of reading something like, “Scientists find that excessive caffeine causes cancer in lab mice” – the report should read, “Scientists find that excessive caffeine causes cancer in genetically altered rodents.” Makes a difference on your reaction doesn’t it?
4 More Years! 4 More Years!

What? Did you just wander into a Richard Nixon 1972 rally? No - that's just what I started chanting when I read that yesterday was Eric McErlain's 4 year blogiversary.

4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!
Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza woke up this morning and had breakfast. That's enough reason for me to re-post this picture of his wife Alicia Rickter.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

- The difference between first and last in the AL East is the road record. The home record for Baltimore is 17-14 and the home record for Tampa Bay is 16-14 (1/2 game difference). The difference in road records is huge. Baltimore is a league best 18-8 while Tampa Bay is a league worst 4-23 - thus Tampa Bay trails Baltimore by 15 games. Baltimore is the only team in the AL East with a winning road record. That's why they are in first.

- Danny Haren of the A's is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his last two starts. Prior to this Haren was 1-7 with a 5.02 ERA. The big difference is control. In his last two starts Haren hasn't walked anyone while striking out 9. Before - he had 27 walks and 46 K's. If Haren can harness this control and Harden comes back and pitches the way he was pitching before he went on the DL and finally if Barry Zito continues his improvement - then it is probably too early to count out the A's as many people are doing. Huston Street looks like the real deal at closer and Eric Chavez is coming around. The A's need a big bat and Bill Beane isn't shy on pulling the trigger on a deal. Don't count out the A's yet.

- Let's take a look at Randy Johnson vs. Javier Vazquez

Johnson: 5-5 / 4.07 ERA / 84 IP / 73 K / 20 BB / 12 HR
Vazquez: 5-4 / 4.38 ERA / 78 IP / 69 K / 8 BB / 8 HR

Pretty even except you have to remember the salaries involved and the fact that the Diamondbacks also got Brad Halsey (4-3 and 3.48 ERA) plus a top prospect. Good deal for Arizona - bad deal for the Yankees.

- Nobody illustrates the power of Coors Field better than oufielder Matt Holliday. Here's his splits for this year:

Coors: .376 BA / 3 HR / 16 RBI / .417 OBP / .604 SLG / 27 G
Road: .213 BA / 1 HR / 7 RBI / .283 OBP / .281 SLG / 25 G

Holliday is a decent player for your fantasy baseball team if you only play him at home.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Today's Must Read Article By Ben Stein

I don't know what to say or to add. Just go read it.
Kris Benson Wins!

Anna Benson must have been satisfied last night with her husband's performance.

Kris Benson also went seven innings - giving up just one run to get his fourth victory of the season.

Some people (myself included) thought Benson was way overpaid by the Mets this offseason but in retrospect I think it may have been another New York signing that deserves the overpaid label. Check out the stats this year for Benson vs. Carl Pavano:

Benson: 4-2 / 3.74 ERA / 43.1 IP / 31 K
Pavano: 4-4 / 4.50 ERA / 70.0 IP / 41 K

Benson looks like a bargain with his 3-year $22.5 million deal compared to Pavano's 4-year $4 million deal.
Red Sox to Retire Boggs Number? No Way

On Saturday Peter Gammons included this nugget in his column:
This summer, the number 26 will be retired in Fenway Park and put up on the roof with 1, 4, 8, 9 and 27.
Gammons is known for just throwing things against the wall, hoping something sticks. This will not stick.

The Red Sox have three criteria that have to be met for a player to have his number retired. First they have to had played at least 10 years in Boston. Second they have to have been elected to the Hall of Fame. Finally, the have to have retired as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox waived this last requirement for Carlton Fisk because he was a special case. Fisk was born in Vermont and raised in New Hamshire. Plus Fisk's final act in baseball was to choose the Red Sox hat over the White Sox hat for his plaque for the Hall of Fame. Nobody had a problem with Fisk's number being retired.

Boggs will be a different case.

First off - Boggs left Boston to play for the Yankees. That's a major no-no. Wade Boggs also has already had his number retired by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Finally and most importantly - players like Jim Rice, Dwight Evans and Johnny Pesky all meant more to the Red Sox and all deserve the honor of having their number retired much more than Boggs. Retiring Boggs number would be a slap at these players.

Wade Boggs is known just for his stats but he is not the career leader in any category for the Red Sox (unless you count most Barbara Walters Specials). Cy Young is tied for career wins for the Sox and he doesn't have his number retired. Chances are that Roger Clemens won't have his number retired either. Same thing with Pedro Martinez. What makes Gammons think Boggs is more special than any of these players?

Peter Gammons is slipping and is approaching crazy uncle status with some of his pronouncements of late.