Monday, April 30, 2007

The Reason the Yankees are in Last Place

I understand they have been a bit distracted since Derek Jeter insisted they install these new soap dispensers in the locker room.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Heh Heh - The Golfing Nun

[This joke was in my email this morning and I thought I'd share it.]

A nun walks into Mother Superior's office and plunks down into a chair. She lets out a sigh heavy with frustration. "What troubles you, Sister?" asks the Mother Superior. "I thought this was the day you spent with your family."

"It was," sighed the Sister. "And I went to play golf with my brother. We try to play golf as often as we can. You know I was quite a talented golfer before I devoted my life to Christ."

"I seem to recall that," the Mother Superior agreed. "So I take it your day of recreation was not relaxing?"

"Far from it," snorted the Sister. "In fact, I even took the Lord's name in vain today!"

"Goodness, Sister!" gasped the Mother Superior, astonished. "You must tell me all about it!"

"Well, we were on the fifth tee...and this hole is a monster, Mother - 540 yard Par 5, with a nasty dogleg left and a hidden green...and I hit the drive of my life. I creamed it. The sweetest swing I ever made. And it's flying straight and true, right along the line I wanted...and it hits a bird in mid-flight not 100 yards off the tee!"

"Oh my!" commiserated the Mother. "How unfortunate! But surely that didn't make you blaspheme, Sister!"

"No, that wasn't it," admitted Sister "While I was still trying to fathom what had happened, when this squirrel runs out of the woods, grabs my ball and runs off down the fairway!"

"Oh, that would have made me blaspheme!" sympathized Mother.

"But I didn't, Mother Superior!" sobbed the Sister. "And I was so proud of myself! And while I was pondering whether this was a sign from God, this hawk swoops out of the sky and grabs the squirrel and flies off, with my ball still clutched in his paws!"

"So that's when you cursed," said the Mother with a knowing smile.

"Nope, that wasn't it either," cried the Sister, anguished, "because as the hawk started to fly out of sight, the squirrel started struggling, and the hawk dropped him right there on the green, and the ball popped out of his paws and rolled to about 18 inches from the cup!"

Mother Superior sat back in her chair, folded her arms across her chest, fixed the Sister with a baleful stare and said...

"You missed the fucking putt, didn't you?"
Randy Moss

So the New England Patriots acquired talented receiver Randy Moss for just a 4th round draft pick. With Moss in the fold - the Patriots now have perhaps the deepest and most talented receiving corps in the NFL.

The big concern with Moss is not just his on-the-field performance but also his off-the-field-behavior. Many people are comparing this trade to the deal that brought Corey Dillion to Foxboro after 7 seasons in Cincinnati. I, however, think there is a better comparison to make here.

In 1980 a Boston area team traded for a tall, talented player from the Oakland area. This player had a poor reputation due to supposed attitude problems and we know now that this player also enjoyed an occasional bong hit in his spare time. This player was Robert Parrish and he worked out just fine for the Boston Celtics. I don't think anyone would dare think Randy Moss will have the same sort of Hall of Fame impact as Robert Parrish had on the Celtics but I think it is not unreasonable to hope that Moss will help the Patriots raise another championship banner like how Parrish was able to help the Celtics to their 14th, 15th and 16th championships.

Randy Moss also gives Tom Brady his own personal "big three" receiving corps with Moss, Donte Stallworth and Ben Watson (at tight end) with Wes Welker and Kelley Washington playing the roles of Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge receiver wise.

Looking at the Randy Moss as Robert Parrish analogy in full is not without its downside. Like how the arrival of Robert Parrish convinced Dave Cowens that it was time to retire - the arrival of Randy Moss probably will have a similar effect on Troy Brown.

It looks like the Patriots will have Moss, Stallworth, Welker, Washington, Reche Caldwell, Jabar Gaffney and last year's number-one draft pick Chad Jackson on the depth chart. I don't see the Patriots carrying 8 receivers into the season - so that probably leaves fan favorite Troy Brown on the outside looking in.

Randy Moss has an under-publicized history of spending his time and money on charitable endevours and that will endear him to the Kraft family (who own the Patriots). His ability to gain yards after the catch and his ability to catch jump ball passes in the end zone will endear him to Tom Brady and the Patriots.

With the acquisition of Randy Moss - I will make the following three predictions:

1. Randy Moss will have double-digits in TD catches this season.

2. Tom Brady will easily top his career best 4,110 in passing yards.

3. The New England Patriots win this year's Super Bowl.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

There are only 4 teams in the AL who haven't scored 100 runs as a team yet and there are only 4 teams that haven't allowed 100 runs yet. Somehow both Oakland and the White Sox have managed to be on both lists... The New York press is into protecting Joe Torre mode and shifting the blame for the Yankees bad start onto GM Brian Cashman. Before blaming Cashman for the poor state of the Yankees pitching - let's look at who the Yankees signed this offseason and who they could have signed. They signed Kei Igawa (who came up big for them yesterday), brought back Andy Pettitte (a very good move) and re-signed Mike Mussina (they pretty much had to do that - 2-years $23 million). When you look at the free agents who could have made a significant impact - only three stand out (Barry Zito, Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf) and all three of those signed deals with West Coast teams because they wanted to be in California. Realistically there wasn't much else Cashman could have done except for out-bidding the Red Sox for Daisuke Matsuzaka. If Cashman has an off-season sin - not getting Dice-K is it but I don't think that sin will cost him his job... It will be interesting to watch the Kirk Radomski situation unfold. Radomski admits dealing steroids from 1995 to 2005 but that's not something you just fall into. You don't just leave college and immediately start dealing cocaine (for example) without first being exposed to cocaine. It seems a rational assumption that Radomski was exposed to steroids use while working in the Mets clubhouse. Look for additional scrutiny to start falling on players like Jeff Kent, Bobby Bonilla and Howard Johnson who were three of the big sluggers during Radomski's time with the Mets... Julian Tavarez starts for the Red Sox today against the Yankees. I wish there was some place I could bet that Tavarez hits either Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez. If there was a place that took such bets - I'd probably parlay that he hits them both... I think Nick Cafardo is right on in his analysis of the A-Rod out clause in his contract:
Understanding the way Scott Boras operates and the inclusion of an out-clause in Alex Rodriguez's contract, I'm one of the few who believe A-Rod will stay with the Yankees. He'll stay with some enhancement to his contract, despite the current insistence of Yankee management not to tinker with the deal -- of which Texas is footing $21 million (of $81 million) over the final three years from 2008-10. Boras has perfect leverage in this case. Never mind the Angels, the leverage comes in the possibility that the Red Sox would be interested. The Yankees didn't want Gary Sheffield going to Boston, so they picked up his option and dealt him safely to the Tigers.
Only a couple of teams could afford A-Rod (the Red Sox, Mets, Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers and Angels). You can probably take the Mets off the list because they have David Wright at 3rd and Reyes at SS. You can also probably take the Dodgers off the list because they have Furcal at short and prospects like Andy LaRoche and Brandon Wood for 3rd. Couple that with the fact that the Yankees won't want A-Rod going to the Red Sox plus the fact that there really aren't any big name free agents next year (assuming the Cubs get a contract done with Carlos Zambano) - Carfardo is correct in that the Yankees will re-tool A-Rod's contract and he'll be in pinstripes next year.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Red Sox / Yankees - Live Blog

Friday night and I'm home with the kids. So I thought I'd take the time to jot down some thoughts as the game progressed (assuming its not rained out). Dice-K is going for the Red Sox tonight and many people may know that the Yankees are trying to stop a current 6-game losing streak but did you know that they have also lost 5-straight to the Red Sox (dating back to the last 2-games of last season)? If the Red Sox win tonight it will match the longest winning streak they ever had against the Yankees.

(7:03) I swear to God - when I heard Gary Thorne try to weasel out of his huge mistake about the bloody sock without ever saying that he apologized - I immediately thought of Captain Quint from Jaws, "Well it proves one thing, Mr. Thorne. It proves that you wealthy college boys don't have the education enough to admit when you're wrong."

(7:26) End of one and both Andy Pettitte and Dice-K look sharp. This could be a pretty quick game. Mike Lowell made a very nice play on A-Rod's grounder to end the inning.

(7:46) End of second inning. Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo spoke about Dice-K's personal masseuse during the inning. I'm just glad that the words "happy ending" were not muttered. If I had the opportunity - I would have bet that Dice-K was going to strikeout Hideki Matsui in their first encounter. Just as well as Matsui flies out to center. (I still say that Dice-K strikes out Godzilla at least once tonight.) The Yankees were a slight favorite tonight with the over / under at 9.5 runs. I think the under would have been a good bet.

(8:07) End of the third inning. Kevin Youkilis puts the Red Sox on top 2-0 with a 2-run HR. The Red Sox drafted Youkilis in 2001 in the 8th round. That year the Red Sox did not have a first round pick (they traded it to Cleveland who used it to draft pitcher Dan Denham who last year had a 8.21 ERA in Buffalo). The Red Sox first pick in the second round was Kelly Stopach who last year was traded to the Indians. So in a way - the Red Sox two top picks from 2001 are with the Indians. Youkilis is actually the only Red Sox pick in the first 8 rounds to come close to amounting to anything (besides Kelly Shoppach). Way to go there Dan Duquette!

(8:42) The Red Sox were not patient against Andy Pettitte and they quickly went down 1-2-3 whereas the Yankees were taking all sorts of pitches from Dice-K who walked the first three batters of the inning. They played Black Betty when Matsui came to bat. Do they always do that? I didn't know that Ram Jam was popular in Japan. Jorge Posada bloops in a single to make it 2-1. Damon's "excuse me" swing bloops in and scores 2 more to make it 3-2. Jeter squeaks a grounder through the right side and its 4-2. Those walks to lead off the inning are killing the Red Sox.

(9:09) Three walks, two singles and a wild pitch allow the Red Sox to score 3 to take a 5-4 lead. It looks like the under won't come in (good thing I didn't take it). It also looks like with Pettitte's pitch count up there - the Red Sox will be up against the vaunted (ha ha) Yankee bullpen.

(9:52) Sox lead 6-4 after Julio Lugo hit a HR. It's now the seventh inning stretch and I've been re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. No reason why - I was looking for my copy of The Best and the Brightest and when I didn't find it - I picked this back up. I think I've read this book about 5 times now. Mike Timlin come in to relieve Dice-K.

(10:31) I started with a Captain Quint quote and I may as well finish up with one - this time Quint is talking about Jon Papelbon, "This closer, swallow you whole. No shakin', no tenderizin', down you go." The best laid quotes of mice and Jaws characters often go awry. The Red Sox score 4 runs in the top of the 9th to go ahead 11-4 and ruin the chances of Papelbon coming in. Joel Pineiro comes in instead.

(11:05) 4-hour game but the Red Sox win. Thaaaaaaaaaaa Red Sox win.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

He may be going under the radar of most but Tiger 2nd baseman Placido Polanco is having a heck of the season. He's currently 4th in the AL in batting average at .360 and tied for first for hits with 31. What's really amazing is the fact that he's only struck out twice in 86 at bats. He's by far been the hardest player to strikeout this season in the AL... The hardest player to strikeout in all of baseball has been David Eckstein - who has only struck out once in 75 at bats... The bloody sock crap that has been in the news has been the biggest non-story that I can recall in a long time. And if we are honest with ourselves - then we have to say that Gary Thorne comes out of this looking like a moron. A moron not to catch the humor in Mirabelli's comment in the first place, a moron to invent from whole cloth that it was paint and not blood and a moron for saying this all on a major league broadcast... John Smoltz has signed a contract extension that should keep him in Atlanta for his whole career. He'll need those extra years if he is to catch Tom Glavine for 4th place in wins all-time for the Braves. Smoltz has 195 wins for the Braves while Glavine had 242. There is no way Smoltz moves any further up the list than 4th since Phil Niekro is 3rd with 268 wins (I guess if Smoltz turned into Nolan Ryan and pitched till he was 45-years old he'd have a chance), Kid Nichols is 2nd with 329 and Warren Spahn is 1st with 356. Smoltz should take over the all-time lead in strikeouts this season though since he's just 112 behind Niekro for the top honor in Braves history...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Bloody Sock

Gordon Edes explains the controversy.

David Pinto also weighs in on the situation and openly says that he does not like Gary Thorne. I also harbor a dislike of Thorne but its not born of any personal contact - it stems from the fact that Thorne uses one of those deep "announcer voices" when he broadcasts. The phony voice always makes me suspect of the person using it.

I think this picture should answer any questions about whether the bloody sock was genuine.
Dustin Pedroia

How can you not root for a guy like Red Sox rookie Dustin Pedroia after reading something like this?

Just for the record - I'd also be very happy with a Pedroia / Alex Cora platoon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Heh Heh

I thought this was pretty funny.

On a personal note - I take the Browns to the Super Bowl every moning (I'm pretty regular).
David Halberstam

I was saddened at the news of the loss of David Halberstam but I did not write anything about it. Bob Ryan gives an appreciation of the talent that was David Halberstam much better than I could (even if I took years to write it).

If you excuse me - I have to go find where I left my copy of The Best and the Brightest.

Today is a sacred day in Australia. Today is ANZAC day. For an understanding of what ANZAC Day means click here.

I cannot thnk of ANZAC Day without thinking of the song The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. This song has some of the most moving lyrics ever put to music and although I'm not a big fan of people who post lyrics - I will make exceptions once and a while.

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of the rover.
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in nineteen fifteen the country said, "Son,
It's time to stop rambling, there's work to be done."
And they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun,
And they marched me away to the war.
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As our ship pulled away from the quay,
And amidst all the cheers, flag-waving and tears
We sailed off to Gallipoli.

And how well I remember that terrible day,
How our blood stained the sand and the water.
And of how in that hell that they call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk he was waiting, he primed himself well,
He showered us with bullets, and he rained us with shell,
And in five minutes flat he'd blown us all to hell,
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.
But the band played Waltzing Matilda,
As we stopped to bury our slain.
We buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs,
Then we started all over again.

Now those that were left, well, we tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire.
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive,
But around me, the corpses piled higher.
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head,
And when I woke up in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done, well, I wished I was dead.
Never knew there was worse things than dying.
For I'll go no more Waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and free,
To hump tent and pegs, a man needs both legs,
No more Waltzing Matilda for me.

So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed,
And they shipped us back home to Australia.
The armless, the legless, the blind and insane,
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla.
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where me legs used to be,
And thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me,
To grieve and to mourn and to pity.
But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway.
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared,
Then they turned all their faces away.

And so now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march,
Reviving old dreams of past glory.
And the old men marched slowly, all bones stiff and sore,
They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war,
And the young people ask,"What are they marching for?",
And I ask meself the same question.
But the band plays Waltzing Matilda,
And the old men still answer the call.
But as year follows year, more old men disappear,
Someday no one will march there at all.

Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda,
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me ?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong,
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me ?

Good on ya Australia and God bless and keep all your fighting men in Iraq safe. If you want to download The Band Played Waltzing Matilda - I would recommend either the version by the Pogues or by the Clancy Brothers.
Harry Potter Factoids

- The Hogworts headmaster prior to Albus Dumbledore was Armando Dippet

- The Hogwarts motto is Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - never tickle a sleeping dragon

-Most Harry Potter fans know that Snape is head of Slytherin House and that McGonagall is head of Griffendore but did you know that Professor Flitwick is the head of Ravenclaw? Professor Sprout is head of Hufflepuff.

- In warmer climates - colorful birds are used in place of owls to deliver the wizard mail

- The hospital in the Harry Potter books is called Saint Mungo's - did you know that there really is a Saint Mungo and that he's the patron saint of Glasgow, Scotland?

- To gain entance to the Ministry of Magic - you first go into an old telephone booth where you dial 6-2-4-4-2 to get the receptionist. On a telephone keypad - 6-2-4-4-2 spells "M-A-G-I-C".
Top 5 Seinfeld Episodes of All-Time

1. The Contest (I'm out!)
2. The Fusilli Jerry (AKA The Assman episode)
3. The Marine Biologist (It was an angry sea)
4. The Opposite (Bizarro George)
5. The Rye (Beefarino!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Everybody is talking about A-Rod getting to 14 HR so fast and what has gotten lost in the shuffle is the fact that if the Yankees lose tonight against the Devil Rays then they will be in LAST PLACE in the AL East... For what its worth - the Braves are a game ahead of the Padres for the NL Wildcard... Frank Thomas hit his 490th career HR last night against the Red Sox. He needs just 3 more to tie Fred McGriff and Lou Gehrig for 21st place on the all time list... Happy 35th birthday to Chipper Jones who is having a pretty good season so far (6 HR, .319 BA, 1.090 OPS)... There are many reasons why Jeff Francoeur has become a fan favorite in Atlanta but I'm guessing the fact that this season he's hitting .538 with RISP and 2 outs has to be near the top (15 of Francoeur's 22 RBI have come with 2 out)... Henry Owens is listed as the Marlins closer but he has just 1 save - the same number as three other Marlin relievers... On the Mets - Ramon Castro has played in 8 fewer games than Paul Lo Duca but yet Castro has 2 more HR and 2 more RBI than the 35-year old Lo Duca. Just saying but Lo Duca has a history of starting out fast and tiring late in the season (career .238 BA and .643 OPS in September games) - maybe age has caught with Lo Duca? I wouldn't be surprised to see a catching controversy by the All-Star break in the Big Apple... The Washington Nationals are 6-13. My question is - how did they win 6 games?... For those of you out there thinking that there is no way the Yankees lose a 5th game in a row and fall into last place - please note that you'd be risking $168 to win $100 on a road team that is facing Scott Kazmir who pitches very well in Tropicana Field (career 3.12 ERA in 30 home starts). I'm not trying to talk you out of it - just giving you the facts...
Harry Reid as Tom Daschle

There have been some calls for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) to step aside due to some recent comments where he basically said that the US has lost the war in Iraq and that we should adopt the equivalent of a cut and run strategy to get out of Iraq. Some people have compared Reid's verbal gaffes to those which cost Republican Trent Lott his position of majority leader. Those comparisons don't work but I think comparisons between Harry Reid and Tom Daschle do work.

The defeatist views that Harry Reid has recently spouted aren't out of line with the far left of the current Democratic Party. The Code Pink wing of the Democratic Party and their ilk have Reid's back and will shout down the people who think Reid's comments are disgraceful (just read the comments to this post for proof of my statement) and thus effectively protect Reid from suffering any repercussions to his job status.

This far left wing of the Democratic Party is a Catch-22 for Democratic leaders. Just as in Presidential politics where the far left has to be appeased in order for candidates to win primaries but find that the candidates acceptable to the Kos-kids are usually unelectable in general election because their adopted positions are out of step with the general population - there are risks for any member of Congress in appeasing the left.

Take Tom Daschle as an example. He was once one of the most powerful men in the country but as he started adopting positions and views that he thought were popular to the inside-the-Beltway Washington cocktail party circuit crowd - he found himself further from the belief set of his constituents in South Dakota. The result was that when Tom Daschle faced re-election - he lost (even though his position of power could have helped the state much more than the power wielded by a freshman Senator). Now Tom Daschle is the invisible man. Really - when is the last time you heard about or thought about Tom Daschle? Likewise - do you think Harry Reid's Code Pink appeal extends to the average voter in Nevada?

The good news for Reid is that he's not up for re-election until 2010 and by that time he's sure to be a very rich man. Maybe no politician has en-riched themselves more while drawing a simple government salary. So it should be no real surprise that a Senator who long ago adopted the morals of a French politician is suddenly espousing the military strategy most often used when the French find themselves in battle (surrender).

So Harry Reid is probably secure in his job (unless he's arrested for ethics violations) until 2010 and Nancy Pelosi would be hard pressed to take positions that are too-far left for her Congressional District. However, the hard left turn of the Democratic Party and their Congressional leaders will probably cost them the Presidential election in 2008 and control of both houses of Congress in 2008 as well. For that - I guess we should be thankful to Harry Reid and his inability to control the things he spouts off about.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Wow - Who Knew Jeff Foxworthy Had This Fire In Him?

I was absolutley floored by this speech.

Good for Jeff Foxworthy.

HT Hugh Hewitt (you can find a clearer video if you follow the HH link but I'm not sure if it works on Macs or Firefox)
Peter King - Always Unintentionally Funny

I was amused by this bit from Peter King's MMQB column today:
I know Eric Wright is the most seductive player in this draft. Wright is a corner from UNLV. He transferred from USC after being accused of rape (the charges were later dropped) and having 136 tabs of Ecstasy found in his on-campus dorm room. He played but 22 college games, starting 10. But then he went to the Combine, ran a 4.36 40-yard dash, and scouts started studying his six UNLV starts from 2006 like crazy. Interesting case.
Emphasis added. Only King could cluelessly describe an accused rapist as "seductive" and be blissfully unaware of the inappropriateness of it.

I would not be surprised to see the word "seductive" changed to something else by the editors at SI later in the day.
Top 5 - Shakespeare Plays

Today would have been the 443rd birthday for the Bard. Here are what I consider his top plays:

1. Hamlet
2. Romeo and Juliet
3. Macbeth
4. Julius Caesar
5. A Midsummer's Night Dream

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Red Sox / Yankees - Live Blog

At the last minute I decided to live blog tonight's game. What prompted the decision was me listening to Chris Berman doing Baseball Tonight on ESPN. They had just got done with the A's / Rangers highlights and Berman threw out the gem that Mike Piazza continues to impress with his switch to DH. Mike Piazza is hitting .242 with 1 HR and 4 RBI as the DH for the A's. Yeah Boomer - that's really impressive!

(7:44) Just as an aside - the Boys & Girls Clubs are an official charity of MLB. The NFL also supports the Boys & Girls Clubs but they do it through the United Way (unless things have changed). I think the way MLB does it is much better. Why lose money to the middle man when dealing with a charity? It makes no sense to me.

(8:00) The Red Sox have to start hitting home runs. Period. As a team the Red Sox only have 2 more HR than Alex Rodriguez and the only person other than David Ortiz to have more than one HR is Doug Mirabelli who only plays every 5th game.

(8:15) I hope the plate umpire squeezes the Yankee starter as bad as he's squeezing Dice-K who had Bobby Abreu struck out twice but didn't get the call. Even though A-Rod came in to score - I'm glad Dice-K pitched him inside and hit him. Yankees lead 2-0 on Giambi's double (had to love the "steroids" chant in the crowd). The Dice-K / Pedro similarities continue including a problem getting out of the first inning unscathed.

(8:37) OK - it looks like the ump will have a tight strike zone for both teams which is OK by me since I think Dice-K is better prepared to handle that than Chase Wright who was very lucky to get out of the first inning (Manny and Ortiz kill those pitches if they see them again).

(8:42) Joe Morgan said that Willy Mo Pena is playing because Coco Crisp is injured. That's news to me and coming from Morgan - I doubt if its true. Dice-K settles down in the second inning (just like Pedro used to do).

(9:05) I have to wonder if Pedroia wasn't playing so deep if JD Drew would have been able to charge in and catch that flair by Giambi? The Yankees lead 3-0 but they aren't hitting Dice-K, however, if this was a chess match I would compare it to a better player sacrificing some pawns in order to probe the defense of the opponent. Look for the Yankees to go scoreless in the next three innings. Meanwhile - I doubt if Wright makes it out of the 5th inning with the number of pitches he's thrown and the way he's been walking the razor's edge.

(9:17) I leave the room to grab a beer and Manny hits a bomb. Then JD Drew hits one. Then Mike Lowell hits one. Then Jason Varitek hits one out. Holy crap! I started out this post tonight by noting that the Red Sox needed to start hitting some home runs but I never imagined they would all come back-to-back in the same inning!

(9:52) I was correct about Wright not making it to the 5th but I was wrong about the Yankees not scoring on Dice-K - Jeter's HR ties the score at 4 each.

(10:21) End of six and Yankees lead 5-4. I'm going to have a bowl of ice cream. Chocolate marshmallow.

(10:40) Mike Lowell hits a 3-run HR off Scott Proctor. I swear I can't see Scott Proctor pitch without thinking about the Seinfeld quote, "According to the state of New York - you are the assman." Swear to God. Red Sox lead 7-5.

(11:00) Dice-K leaves the game after A-Rod starts off the 8th with a single. Hideki Okajima comes in and Joe Morgan says that Okajima isn't a "trickster". Umm sorry Joe - that's exactly what he is. Okajima relies on deception because he's not a fireballer. Oh and remember how you said Willy Mo Pena was playing because Coco Crisp was injured? Isn't that Coco Crisp out in center now? Joe Morgan is just awful. Does anyone out there like Joe Morgan as an announcer?

(11:15) Dustin Pedroia makes a nice stab to keep the score at 7-6. I think Francona pulled Dice-K when A-Rod got on base because he wanted to make sure that Dice-K could only win the game. Now I wonder if we'll see Jon Papelbon (I'm hoping we don't because that would mean that the Sox scored a couple in the bottom of the inning).

Papelbon giving that cop a high-five on his way out of the bullpen is one of my favorite things in baseball. That cop must be a god to his friends and family for being Papelbon's good-luck charm. Johnny Damon flies to left - one out. Jeter fans - two outs. Nice pitch calling by Varitek on that strikeout. I think Abreu puts the bat on his shoulder (one swing you big phony). Abreu walks. I guess it was destined to come down to this - A-Rod vs Papelbon. Ground out - the Red Sox win. Thaaaaaaaa Red Sox win.
Anna Wroblewski

Pauly from Tao of Poker has an interesting little tidbit in today's post:
While Hellmuth and Jamie Gold put on a show for everyone in the Fontana Room, along the other wall everyone had their eyes on Anna Wroblewski. The 21-year old came out of nowhere to win an event at the Bellagio a week earlier. As the story goes, the nymph-like Wroblewski grew up in Chicago and moved to Las Vegas when she was 19 to play poker for a living. She played around town illegally before she went broke and headed back home. She returned to Sin City after she was finally legal but lost her bankroll again. Determined to stay in Las Vegas, she found a job in the service industry grinding out a $10/hr salary. Her first paycheck was $300. Grubby would have been proud, because she cashed it and headed for the Bellagio. She bought into a satellite for a $3K NL event and won a seat. Then she managed to win the entire event collecting a free seat into the WPT Championship and $337K in cash for a first place prize.
Anna looks like a minx and her story reminds me of two Kipling items.
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
Of course Anna is clearly a woman and not a man - which of course makes me wonder if she's ever Kippled?
Heh Heh

Anchorman meets The 300.

HT Aaron Gleeman
Happy Birthday to Betty Page

Today is pin-up icon Betty Page's 84th birthday.

Betty Page is definitely not to be confused with Betsy's Page.
AL MLB Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous AL MLB thoughts and observations.

With his HR yesterday - David Ortiz took over 10th place on the Red Sox all-time list (he was tied with Nomar Garciappara). Ortiz now has 179 HR in Boston. Next up on the list is Rico Petrocelli with 210 HR... Alex Rodriguez is tied for 30th in the AL in walks which is very surprising to me. You'd think that as hot as he's been that some teams would at least pitch around him if not intentionally walk him outright... Highly touted Royals rookie Alex Gordon has struggled out of the gate. So far in his young career - Gordon is hitting just .145 (which is haunting some fantasy baseball team owners who thought Gordon was going to be a steal)... I find it hard to believe that the Angels have such an abundance of starting pitching that they can afford to option Joe Saunders back to AAA. Saunders in three starts was 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA (tied for 6th in the AL)... The Orioles are in second place in the AL East in large part because they have hit 16 HR while their opponents have only hit 8. I guess that's another way of saying the team pitching has been pretty good (3.89 team ERA - 5th in the AL). Is this evidence of the efforts of Leo Mazzone bearing fruit?... Sure Sammy Sosa has 4 HR and every time he hits one - he makes the SportsCenter highlights but overall he's hitting just .196 with an OPS of just .696. That's well below replacement player levels... Speaking of the Rangers - what's up with Michael Young? He's hitting a Sosa-like .171 with an even worse OPS of .520 (in six of the Rangers last 10 games Young has failed to get a hit)... Ichiro is on a pace for 212 hits this season. Ichiro has had at least 206 hits in each of his six MLB seasons... The leading hitter on the A's (batting average wise) is Eric Chavez with his .265 average. That's just awful. As a team they are hitting just .226 which is pitiful but interestingly not the worst in the AL. That (dis)honor belongs to the White Sox who are hitting just .223 as a team. Even though they seemingly can't hit - the A's are still in first place in the AL West because their pitching is second in the league with a 2.98 team ERA... Minnesota is third in the AL in runs but they still haven't hit double digits as a team in HR (they have just 9 - which is tied for worst in the AL with the weak hitting A's)... I guess those last couple of points is another way of saying that if you are a fantasy baseball team owner - bench all of your hitters from the A's...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Red Sox / Yankees - Game 2 Preview

Really nice save by Hideki Okajima last night. It's amazing that he gave up a HR to his first batter this season and hasn't surrendered an earned run since. With Papelbon closing and Okajima, Donnelly and Timlin doing the 7th and 8th - the Sox bullpen should be OK this season.

A-Rod is certainly on fire but Red Sox starter Josh Beckett has been equally hot to start the season (3-0 with a 1.50 ERA) and A-Rod hasn't had much success in the past against Josh Beckett going 1-9 (12 plate appearences) with his one hit being a double. Hopefully Beckett wins this battle today and cools A-Rod down a bit.

It is nice to see that Terry Francona has Alex Cora in the game today - starting at 2nd in place of Dustin Pedroia. Cora's been the hot hand these past couple of games and you know Francona love the veteran Cora. Pedroia I'm sure isn't concerned - he'll get his 400+ at bats this season.

The Yankees start rookies Jeff Karstens today and Chase Wright tomorrow. You have to wonder if the Yankees rotation keeps getting depleted if they will be forced into a panic move like giving Jose Lima a shot. And speaking of Jose Lima.

John Law

Today would have been Scottish economist John Law's 336th birthday. Law was a fascinating character who was very much in the middle of the birth of modern finance and gambling probabilities in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

I heartily recommend the book Millionaire : The Philanderer, Gambler, and Duelist Who Invented Modern Finance if you want to learn more about the life and times of John Law.

When Did the Washington Post Hire Emily Littella as Ombudsman?

"I'll see your two Oreos and raise you three Doublestuff."

If the above sentence makes no sense to you - then you haven't read Deborah Howell's Washington Post Ombudsman column this week.

In the column Howell addresses the pressing issue of sportswriters engaging in a low dollar betting pool at Augusta during coverage of the Masters. Que Captain Renault, "I'm shocked - shocked that sportswriters have pools for fun amongst themselves!" In her last line of the column she suggests "Maybe the Masters bets next year should be in Oreos, not cash." Que Will Hunting, "Great, or maybe they could wager a bunch of caramels instead because if you think about it, they're just as arbitrary as betting Oreos."

Now in the above paragraph I quoted two fictional characters and one real person and I take it as a sad commentary on the state of the Washington Post that the imaginary people have a better grasp on reality then Ombudsperson at the Washington Post.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Red Sox / Yankees - Live Blog

Well I really haven't posted much this week but since I was in Vegas - I'm sure you'll understand.

To make up for the lack of blogging - I'll be live blogging tonight's Red Sox / Yankees game while I do some paperwork and basically putz around my home office. Tonight has Curt Schilling going up against Andy Pettitte and I think if the Yankees are going to win a game in this series that tonight is their best shot since Pettitte is a career 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA in his starts at Fenway.

(6:44) I enjoy Jack Welsh's books but good God is he annoying on NESN. Does he have naked pictures of John Henry or something? I don't know anyone who doesn't think he's plain awful doing those appearances on NESN. Before the series starts here are my two predictions; 1) if the Yankees lose tonight then they get swept and 2) look for Manny Ramirez to have a monster series (and conversely for A-Rod to come up small and the talk about him being Mr. April to start back up in earnest). Somebody please get Jack Welsh off my TV set.

(6:57) Interesting version of the national anthem using Taiko drums. I love the sound of those drums but they always make me think of the Michael Crichton movie Rising Sun where the Japanese were going to take over America. I also think the wearing of the Virginia Tech logo on the shirts and hats of the Red Sox is a very nice tribute. No surprise that Jason Varitek was behind the idea.

(7:14) Imaginary conversation in my head:
Joe Torre: Last week we made the comment that A-Rod comes into the season like a lion but usually goes out like a lamb. Now here to reply is our captain of intangibles, Derek Jeter, with a report update.

Derek Jeter: Thank you Joe. Well, another April is almost over and A-Rod true to form has come in like a lion, but hopefully will not go out like a lamb. However, that’s how A-Rod usually works here in the Big Apple.

But did you know that A-Rod behaves differently in other countries? In Norway, for example, A-Rod comes into the season like a polar bear and goes out like a walrus. Or, take the case of Honduras where A-Rod comes in like a lamb and goes out like a salt marsh harvest mouse.
(7:44) Yankees take a 1-0 lead on a couple of lead-off singles, a bunt and a ground out. The home plate umpire is Randy Marsh. I wonder if he has a son Stan and is from Colorado? Neither the Red Sox or Yankees seem happy with Randy Marsh.

(7:58) NESN has Bob Cousy in to talk during the bottom of the third inning. I love listening to Cousy talk and I'm glad the Red Sox are honoring Red Auerbach by wearing the green uniforms tonight. Remy should have asked Cousy if he grew up as a Yankees fan though since Cousy is from New York City originally.

(8:07) A-Rod starts off the 4th with his 11th HR which is hit into the Monster Seats over the left field wall. So much for wishful thinking that A-Rod would go into the tank this series or go out of April like a salt marsh harvest mouse. Speaking of Monster Seats - I'll be adding the Red Sox blog to my blogroll. The over/under for tonight's game was 9 runs. I thought that was a good bet but I never touch the Red Sox / Yankees games because you never know what's going to happen.

Jason Varitek ties the game with a 2-run HR. Varitek has been killing lefties this season hitting .571 so-far and career he was at .361 against Andy Pettitte in particular going into the game. Varitek only has a .241 batting average against the Yankees in his career but it sure does seem he comes up with hits in big situations.

(8:44) A-Rod is on fire! The fastest to 12 HR in MLB history (according to NESN). The Yankees go up 5-2. I give Coco Crisp props for going all-out trying to catch that HR from A-Rod. Conversely - I have to wonder why JD Drew is playing so deep in right. Schilling looks to be tiring and I'd like to change my mind on the chances of this game going under 9 runs. Damn - I only have one beer left in the fridge!

(8:58) Running out to the package store - let me know how many books NESN pimps while I'm gone. (I know that's harsh and that I respect the hell out of Bob Woodruff but what was with the Big Papi autobiography infomercial?)

(9:10) I was feeling bad for being so curt in that last post but then I come back and the first thing I see is the gorgeous Hazel Maye talking about Big Papi's book. Now I think pimp was exactly the right word. Meanwhile - Jason Varitek gets a single and my God-honest first thought was "Now he's just a double and triple away from the cycle." (Hey - it could happen.)

(9:40) Yankees are up 6-2 and I'm about to check the channel guide to see what else is on. Don't get me wrong - even though the Red Sox are losing - I'm very content. I have my cold beer and salted peanuts and what the heck - gunga-lagunga - you can't win them all. I am hoping that whoever is pitching for the Red Sox plunks A-Rod the next time he comes up (I'd even settle for plunking Jeter).

(10:00) I think I'd find it easier to like the smell of Sex Panther cologne than liking the Yankees. The Red Sox climb to within 3 runs on Mike Lowell's single. Fans who have Mariano River on their fantasy teams are happy with what is now a save opportunity while those who took the over in tonight's game are happy with at worst a push. People who took the under are rooting for Rivera to close out the game (even some Red Sox fans). That last bit is why I don't bet on the the teams I root for very often. Conflicts of interest arise and its no longer fun action.

(10:08) Wow! Coco Crisp triples in two runs to tie the score at 6-6! Alex Cora comes up big once again for the second time in two days - singling in Crisp from third! Red Sox lead 7-6.

(10:16) Hideki Okajima comes in to close the 9th inning. Too bad those Taiko drummers aren't still around. It would be great to have them beating those drums between pitches. How cool would that be? Okajima was born on Christmas Day in 1975. Here's hoping he delivers an early Christmas present for Red Sox fans tonight.

(10:29) Okajima saves the game! The Red Sox win. Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Red Sox win!
Manny Being Manny

Very good article on Manny Ramirez in the current New Yorker. If you really follow the Red Sox - then there was not much new to learn but it was interesting reading to see all the anecdotes strung together in one place.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Out in Vegas

I'm out in Las Vegas - so posting has been light. I do have a horror travel story to tell but that's probably going to have to wait. And I do realize that horror travel stories are like poker bad beat stories - many times people could care less but hey - this is my space and I'll write what I like - right?

Just a quick note that I found interesting - the New England Patriots at 3-1 are the favorite to win next year's Super Bowl but they are not the favorite to win the AFC Championship - that would be the Chargers at 2-1. I just found that a bit odd.

Hopefully I'll time to doing some posting later in the day.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Heh Heh - Pepsi Fan of the Game

HT Boston Sports Media Watch
Into the Valley of Science Rode the 600

Into the valley of science rode the 600 and in the morning they departed tired and more than a little sore from sleeping on the floor.

Saturday night my son and I did a Boy Scouts sleepover at the Boston Museum of Science with 598 other scouts, parents and more than a few siblings. It was both a fun experience and a little lesson in perspective.

We arrived just at 5:00 (the earliest we were allowed to report since my son wanted to get there early to meet up with his friends). The event was supposed to end 11:00 am the next day. That meant that from when I arrived I was about to spend the next 18 hours at the Boston Museum of Science. I know it may sound awfully cynical but almost as soon as I got there – I began a countdown till the time to go home. You parents in the crowd – get my back on that.

The Boston Museum of Science is a very cool place – full of very interesting exhibits – but it never ceases to amaze me that what catches kids’ imagination is usually something very mundane. In this case what caught the boys’ fancy was the museum’s hands-free bubblers. They thought they were wicked cool. [For those readers outside of New England – a bubbler is what you might call a water fountain or a drinking fountain. Bubbler is a much cooler name for the water dispensing machine if you ask me.]

Maybe my highlight of the night was getting a call from my friend Tim who gave me my Red Sox update. Tim was nice enough to let me know that David Ortiz had just hit a home run in the Red Sox 8-0 route over the Angels. I say it was nice of Tim because that home run cost Tim $20.

I’ve mentioned this before but Tim and I have a home run pool. Prior to each Red Sox series – we take turns picking three players each. The first guy to pick (almost) always takes David Ortiz. If any one of your three players hits a home run – you win $20. If it happens to be a grand slam or a walk-off home run – you win $40. By the end of the season – we finish about equal but it makes for a little extra fun along the way (like having action on every single game).

Speaking of David Ortiz – he was supposed to wear the number 42 in Sunday’s game in honor of Jackie Robinson but the game got cancelled due to a monsoon. A couple of thoughts on this:

1. The last player to wear #42 for the Red Sox was Mo Vaughn. I would have loved for Big Papi to wear #42 just to do a “Separated at Birth” deal between him and Mo “Foxy Lady Season Ticket Holder” Vaughn. I have a friend who knows his baseball but still calls Ortiz “Mo” very once and a while.
2. Originally it was supposed to be Coco Crisp and third base coach Demarco Hale who were going to wear #42 on Sunday but Ortiz was a late addition to the mix. I have to wonder if that had anything to do with the fact that Terry Francona decided to sit Coco in favor of Willy Mo Pena – supposedly to give Wily Mo some at bats since the team was about to face a few lefties in a row.
3. Knowing that Coco was supposed to wear #42 and that was a big deal on Sunday and also knowing (being the statmeister that he is) that Coco was a career 4 for 4 with 2 walks against Angels starter Ervin Santana - you have to wonder if Terry Francona was sending some sort of message of independence in benching Coco crisp for the game. Francona may have been sending a message that he only cares what’s best for his team to win that day and not some league-wide promotion or he won’t be beholding to starting who has the bigger contracts on the team. Just remember that I was saying there was a story in the Willy Mo vs Coco long before Boston sport talk radio would admit an issue existed.

Back to the museum of science – it was good to go to sleep (finally) but even with two cushioned camping mats – it was like sleeping on hard concrete. The museum probably planned it this way but two of the more interesting activities happened in the morning.

On Sunday morning both a planetarium show and an Omni (Imax in a dome) show were on the schedule.

South Park has made me leery of Planetariums (just joking) but sleeping on concrete made me too sleepy to really appreciate the show (but it would have made me very susceptible to being hypnotized to pick up the South park theme). On the plus side – I think I’ll be able to identify Ursa Major for the next six months (and then I’ll forget it again).

The Omni (Imax) show was about Dr. Jane Goodall and her work in Africa with chimpanzees. What I found most interesting is that Dr. Jane (as she is referred to) took the job in the first place out of a sort of romanticization of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan. Dr. Goodall was not a fan of Tarzan’s Jane (in her heart – she wanted to be that Jane and in my opinion there is no doubt that Dr. Jane would have treated Tarzan much better – sort of the reverse of Michael Corleone and his first wife Appolonia and his second wife Kaye).

What peaked my interest in the reference to Tarzan was the fact that I had just got finished re-reading the original Edgar Rice Burroughs masterpiece for the umpteenth time. As I kid I love the series and read every book in the series that I could get my hands on. I had just re-read the original on a whim and I had been tempted to interest my son in the book. What had held me back was Edgar Rice Burroughs treatment of blacks. The natives were cannibals, the servants were like children – helpless and ignorant without their white “betters’ and the other blacks Tarzan encounters are borderline criminally psychopathic.

That was the issue that I contemplated on the way home from the museum of science on Sunday. In the end – I trusted my son to figure things out for himself and to judge his friends by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin without having to puzzle out the historical ramifications from earlier days. When he’s older maybe he can enjoy Tarzan as just an adventure story (and let me stress that the racial issues are completely an undertone and not a major plot issue). Let’s face it – if people like Don Imus can’t handle the racial issues of today – why should I subject my son to the racial issues of the early 1900’s?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Heh Heh

These are pretty funny.

HT The Big Lead
Imus and Risk Reward

You'd have to live in cave not to know that Don Imus has been fired by both CBS and MSNBC for his "nappy headed hos" comment. What really got Imus fired instead of just suspended was the threat that advertisers were going to be leaving and not coming back because Imus was just not someone they wanted to be associated with anymore.

It came down to money. Simple economics. Simple risk vs reward economics basics.

Imus brought in an audience because he took risks (where do you think the word risque comes from?). His show was the definition of being suggestive or bordering on indelicacy or impropriety. People tuned in to see what he'd say next. And advertisers spent money to put spots on his show because he had an audience.

Somewhere along the line the risk / reward matrix became inverted. It was now the advertisers who were taking the risks by advertising on his show and it was Imus that was reaping the reward. However, with the threat of boycott from professional race baiters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson - the risks for the advertisers outweighed the reward of reaching Imus' audience and once that happened - Imus' value to CBS and MSNBC vanished as did his status as an employed person.

The obvious cautionary tale here is to be careful of what you say as a public person. The not so obvious cautionary tale may be more impactful.

If advertisers start to shy away from shows that take risks then those shows will cease to be. What you will end up with is bland entertainment on radio and TV and who wants to watch or listen to that? Advertisers will start to spend less and less money on traditional media and more money on new media that is taking risks and getting bigger audiences because of it.

There is blood in the water for the PC police and woe be to the next traditional media person to cross the line. What's getting lost in the shuffle is the fact that the average person (the very people who make up a show's audience) really doesn't care about this issue and all the navel gazing by the media and watering down on the risk factor will cause these people to find their entertainment elsewhere. And the advertisers and their mother's milk of advertising dollars will follow them.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Going into Thursday's game - no Oriole player was batting above .250. I like to call that "the Kevin Millar effect". However, last night Miguel Tejada and Jay Gibbons went 2-3 and 3-5 respectively to bounce over the Millar line (for the time being)... Don't overlook the great start of Angels pitcher John Lackey who is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA. Lackey starts tonight against the Red Sox which means Boston gets Felix Hernandez and now John Lackey back-to-back. That's enough to maybe put any offense into a slump... One player I'm rooting for is pitcher Chris Sampson of the Astros. Sampson, who turns 29 in May, started out as a shortstop but didn't get higher than Single A ball and after the 1999 season he quit pro baseball completely because he realized he couldn't hit big league pitching. The next three years he helped coach a community college and by throwing batting practice - he realized he had a pretty good arm. The Astros gave him a shot as a pitcher and he's made the most of it. So far he's 1-0 in one start for the Astros without giving up an earned run in 8-innings... Talk about bad luck. Dan Haren is 0-2 despite having an ERA of 0.69 and only giving up 1 earned run in two starts (there were 5 additional unearned runs in his starts). Here's hoping he has better luck against the Yankees tonight... Angels fans have been waiting for Casey Kotchman to be the player he was projected to be and a good sign that he may have finally figured out big league pitching is the fact that he's only struck out once in 31 AB this season. Prior to this year Kotchman would strike out at least once every 10 AB. Now he just has to show that he can hit lefties...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Vonnegut at SI

I never knew Kurt Vonnegut worked at Sports Illustrated:
Kurt Vonnegut worked briefly at SI until being told to write a story about a race horse that had jumped the rail and terrorized the infield at a local track. Vonnegut stared at his desk for what seemed like hours before finally departing the building without a word. Inside his deserted typewriter was this: ''The horse jumped over the fucking fence.''
Heh heh - great story.

HT My Life in the Basement
Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut has died at age 84.

In my youth I loved reading Vonnegut. I think Breakfast of Champions was my first book of his that I read. That was soon followed by Cat's Cradle, Player Piano, Slaughterhouse 5, The Siren's of Titan, Mother Night and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Some of the books were read more than once and some more than twice. I found his writing often made me laugh but always made me think.

But I got older and I haven't picked up one of his books in years. When I'd see or hear Vonnegut on radio or TV - he always made me think of Grandpa Simpson. You know - the guy who would be scolding the kids today about how things were better when they were kids when not rambling into a discussion that may or may not only make sense to them.

I was wrong to think that way. At their heart - the message to Vonnegut's books is simply that life is unfair and often plain weird but there is no reason not to be nice to each other. It was me who had become more insular and jaded - not Vonnegut. I need to go back and re-read some of his books to reconnect with that message that I understood early in life but later lost the meaning of.

It also seems strange to me that some people used to categorize Vonnegut as a Science Fiction writer. I never thought of him as anything but a writer and I think most people of my age or younger thought the same. Sure Cat's Cradle, Player Piano and the time travel and aliens of Slaughterhouse 5 could be science fiction on their own but it just never occurred to me to think of Vonnegut as a sci-fi writer.

Last year we lost Hunter S Thompson - who was a contemporary of Vonnegut's. With the loss of Vonnegut - many are bringing up HST but that's not fair to Vonnegut because he was such a better writer and talent than Hunter S ever was. When Hunter S Thompson died - I said that in 20-years he'd be mostly forgotten and that nobody would be still reading his stuff. Not true of Vonnegut. His novels will stand the test of time and will be read long after I'm dead.

I must also say that the recent Anna Nicole saga seems like something that Vonnegut could have penned as a plot to one of his novels (in fact God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater seems to come awfully close). I think Kurt Vonnegut would have gotten a bit of chuckle that the news of his death would be overshadowed by a paternity DNA test to see who is the father of a C-List millionaire actress who first came to prominence via her wide open beaver.

Kurt Vonnegut is dead.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

ESPN Names New WSOP Writer

Congradulations to Dr. Pauly for this great accomplishment. All the best Pauly - knock 'em dead.

Another example of a blogger making a name for himself and then cashing in. I for one will read every word Pauly writes on the 2007 WSOP. If you are not familiar with the good Dr. - here's a sample of his writing style:
Booze is a social lubricant in any language and the bar saved my ass in Monte Carlo. The act of buying someone else a drink is a timeless gesture of good will. Garth told me that I should buy rounds or "shouts" in Australia to get on the good side of the Aussies. And you know what? He was right. Same thing worked in Monte Carlo. I offered to buy everyone drinks at some point. That time at the bar within steps of the media room was used to mellow myself out and forge new friendships and alliances. I also used my new contacts to attain essential information on the featured players from their home country. I had no idea who 95% of the players at the EPT Championships were. I needed a crash course in tournament poker in Europe and the other media reps helped me out. A few like Snoopy and Chris from Blonde Poker physically walked the floor with me pointing out wild Scandis or unknown Brits that I had no clue existed.

You also get juicy stories from other media reps, like Dave Colclough catching his wife Rhowena in bed with another guy or a famous Scandi poker pro who had a penchant for hookers and blew most of his winnings in Germany on one of the many working girls. That's stuff is gold in my eyes and I could never get those types of stories if I did not schmooze the "local" press.
Who Pays the Taxes

Interesting post on who has been paying the federal taxes the past 10-years.

I'm not going to comment on what the numbers mean since if you don't know by now - you'll always vote Democrat.
O Captain, My Captain

Today is Red Sox Captain Jason Varitek's 35th birthday. Varitek is old for a starting catcher but interestingly - he's younger than Yankee starter Jorge Posada (by almost a year). Red Sox fans pray that Varitek ages more like Posada than ex-Phillies starter Mike Lieberthal.

Over the past three years Varitek's batting average has gone from .296 to .281 to .245 and his OPS has gone from .872 to .856 to .747. You'd have to be blind not to see a trend and dumb not to be concerned. All of Red Sox Nation joins me in hoping that Varitek both has a happy birthday and is able to reverse this trend we've seen the past three years.

Today is also Trot Nixon's birthday - he's two years younger than Varitek but still two HR ahead of Varitek on the all-time list for HR by a Red Sox player. Varitek will always be two years older than Nixon but look for him to replace Nixon and be in 17th place on the all-time list pretty soon. The top 18 for the Red Sox is as follows:

1. Ted Williams 521
2. Carl Yastrzemski 452
3. Jim Rice 382
4. Dwight Evans 379
5. Manny Ramirez 234
6. Mo Vaughn 230
7. Bobby Doerr 223
8. Jimmy Foxx 222
9. Rico Petrocelli 210
10 Nomar Garciaparra 178
11 David Ortiz 175
12 Jackie Jensen 170
13 (tie) Tony Conigliaro 162
13 (tie) Carlton Fisk 162
15 George Scott 154
16 Reggie Smith 149
17 Trot Nixon 133
18 (tie) Frank Malzone 131
18 (tie) Jason Varitek 131
Thoughts on Imus

Greg wondered why I haven't written anything about Don Imus' comments. I guess the reason is because the subject combines two things which independently I care very little about (Don Imus and women's college basketball - hey I'm being honest here). Let me explain.

Don Imus is a mean-spirited prick. I don't think anyone who has ever listened to the Imus show is surprised that he could say mean and hurtful things about anyone. As Phil Mushnick has said about the people shocked by what Imus said, "Where have you been?" Imus says hurtful stuff like "nappy headed ho's" every day but he passes it off as "comedy". I would be shocked if he didn't use those same words to describe the girl who accused the Duke lacrosse players for example.

Now I'm not a huge women's basketball fan and I kind of resent that women's basketball is almost forced upon the sports viewer on TV (whether it be college basketball or the WNBA). I feel bad for the Rutgers players but I also feel bad for the Tennessee players because they were this year's champions but the news of their victory was nothing compared to the amount of ink and newsprint being spent over what Imus said about the Rutger's players.

I've also been silent on the matter because I'm more than a little bit disgusted with the media coverage. The MSM loves them a victim and it loves them a powerful person they can pull down from a pedestal. If you doubt the MSM loves a victim - Google "Jessica Lynch" and then do the same for "Brian Chontosh". Combine that with the fact that lowlife's like Al Sharpton get to play the race card - well you have a frenzy on your hands. I'm not sure about you but as soon as I hear that Al Sharpton is involved with a story - my mind flashes a neon sign that says "Send in the clowns."

To summarize - Don Imus is a mean-spirited prick who said something hurtful about some girls who had been toiling in obscurity and their cause has been picked up by people who have no credibility. The only people with any socially redeeming qualities here are the Rutger's players and now they've said their peace.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thomas Jefferson and a Promise Not Kept

Very interesting story of a promise Thomas Jefferson made to a hero of the Revolution which Jefferson failed to keep.

The story was new to me and I found it very interesting. However, like Professor Bell (not sure if he's a really a professor but since he's always teaching me something - he gets the title) - I'm not sure if the promise not kept had more to do with Jefferson's stance on slavery or his self-knowledge that if he couldn't manage his own money that he had no business managing someone elses. Probably a little of both.
Mike Vaccaro Interview

Excellent interview of New York sportswriting mainstay Mike Vaccaro.

The Big Lead comes through once again.
Coco vs Wily Mo

Around Boston there is a brewing argument over who should be starting in the outfield for the Red Sox - Coco Crisp or Wily Mo Pena. I mention this because earlier today while I was driving I heard both Dale and Holley from WEEI continually dismiss the idea with the "its only been six-games" logic - even though caller after caller was bringing it up. Seldom have I heard two radio guys more tone deaf to what the callers were saying.

Now I'm not saying that I agree that Crisp should be dumped for Wily Mo but what I am saying is that the argument has some valid points and should not be dismissed out of hand.

1. Its not just six games - Crisp was with the Red Sox for 105 games last year while Wily Mo played 84 for the Red Sox (both had injury issues). Here's how they compared:

Crisp: .264 BA / .317 OBP / .702 OPS / 22 SB / 8 HR
Pena: .301 BA / .349 OBP / .838 OPS / 0 SB / 11 HR

The raw offensive numbers clearly favor Wily Mo (with the exception of stolen bases). So its not just six games - it was the whole sample size from last season that is in many people's minds.

2. Defensively - yes Crisp can track down more balls in centerfield but his arm is so weak that runners almost always take the extra base on him. Wily Mo has a pretty good arm - so the balls he wouldn't reach would be made up by keeping runners from automatically advancing. Defense is a wash in my mind.

3. The Red Sox gave up Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena and there are many fans who want Wily Mo to get the at bats to see if that trade was worth it. Whereas, there is a bit of an undercurrent of unhappiness regarding Crisp because his arrival was so heralded and Crisp cashed in with a number of commercials right off the bat. Skeptical New England fans are wondering if they were sold a bill of goods with Coco Crisp and there is some resentment building against the guy.

4. The bottom half of the batting order is pretty average. Last year Mike Lowell has a bit above league average as far as hitting (106 OPS+), Jason Varitek was below average (85 OPS+) and Coco Crisp was the worst of the trio (80 OPS+). (Dustin Pedroia is a rookie but he's batting 9th for a reason). Wily Mo had an OPS+ of 112 and his presence instead of Crisp could really kick start the second half of the offense. The second half of the batting order is a problem that is a sleeping giant for Red Sox Nation.

So it may be early in the season to make a change - but the argument for change in the outfield for the Red Sox can definitely be made.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Today's Must Read

This was simply a great piece. A great concept, well researched, extremely well written and something that will stay with me for quite some time.

Here is a link to Jascha Heifetz playing Bach's Chaconne that Bell starts his "performance" with. You may even want to start the video/music before you start reading the Post piece.

The Post has the audio from the actual performance up at their site as well.
Top 5 - Ward Bond Movies

Today would have been Ward Bond's 104th birthday. Ward Bond happens to be perhaps my favorite character actor. He was never the lead but him being there always made a good movie that much more special. Here are my favorite Ward Bond roles.

1. The Quite Man - Father Lonergan
2. It's a Wonderful Life - Officer Bert
3. The Maltese Falcon - Det. Tom Polhaus
4. Sergeant York - Ike Botkin
5. Mister Roberts - Chief Petty Officer Dowdy
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The economy continues to be very strong with 180,000 jobs added in March and unemployment down to a six-year low of 4.4%. Funny how you don't seem to be reading anything about how good the economy is going in the MSM.... I've been trying to keep an open mind in regard to JD Drew and I must say so far I'm impressed. In the first series he made a running catch in the outfield that maybe only Coco Crisp could also make. Against Texas - he scored from first on a hit from Varitek. On that play he ran like the wind and scored standing up. Nobody on the team could have made it look that easy. Add in the fact that so far this season Drew is hitting .391 and there's not much not to be happy with. If you did want to nitpick - I'd say it would be nice if he cut down on his strikeouts (he's tied for the team lead with David Ortiz with 6) and it would also be nice to see a HR... I've been saying this for a long time. If you have Scott Podsednik on your fantasy team - the question I'd like to ask is why?... Colin Cowherd is just plain awful. When I'm traveling - sports talk radio is the first thing I search out on the car radio. However, if I hear Cowherd on the speakers - then I make note of the station so I can come back to it after Cowherd's show is over and I listen to music instead. This column sums up how much of a jerk Cowherd can be. But it does touch how bad Cowherd is to listen to...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Which Sopranos Character Will Be Killed Off First?

With the return of the Sopranos upon us - here are the odds (via on which character will die first.

Vince Curatola (John "Johnny Sack" Sacrimoni) 1/1
Dominic Chianese (Corrado "Junior" Soprano) 3/1
Michael Imperiolo (Christopher Moltisanti) 4/1
Tony Sirico (Peter Paul "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri) 4/1
Frank Vincent (Phil Leotardo) 6/1
Steven Van Zandt (Silvio "Sil" Dante) 8/1
James Gandolfini (Anthony "Tony" Soprano) 10/1
Aida Turturro (Janice Soprano) 10/1
Robert Ller (Anthony "A.J." Soprano, Jr.) 13/1
Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Jennifer Melfi) 14/1
Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow Mariangela Soprano) 18/1
Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano) 20/1

I'm thinking it could be AJ - which could lead to the Shakespearian plot line of a king without an heir.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Much is being made of A-Rod's walk off grand slam against the Orioles yesterday. Let me say that Alex Rodriguez is indeed a great player and much of the criticism of him is petty and usually based upon either envy of his huge contract, disgust at his hyper-pc always trying to say scripted type things or because some people are big Derek Jeter fans and they think they need to cut A-Rod down in order to keep Jeter on a pedestal. I just wanted to note two things. First A-Rod's two home runs yesterday moved him out of his tie for 28th place on the all-time HR list with Dave Winfield who was derisively known in some quarters as Mr. May (a name some say fits A-Rod better). Second - I still say that the Rangers would have been better off if they just kept A-Rod. They're paying half his salary anyway. If A-Rod had stayed in Texas - he probably would have even better numbers by now and this season he'd probably opt out of his contract with the Yankees begging to sign him... It took only five games but already there are no undefeated teams and no teams who have not won at least one game... The feared Boston offense is dead last in the AL in runs per game with an anaemic 3.20 runs per game. The Indians, Yankees and Blue jays are all averaging at least double that number of runs. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are a combined 8-38 (.211) with just one extra base hit between them... Travis Buck had a great spring training for the A's - leading them in pre-season hits with 21. Buck's great spring coupled with injuries in the A's outfield opened a roster spot for the 23-year old. But since the real games have begun Buck has struck out in 8 of his 13 at bats and may be playing himself out of that roster spot... Pitching was supposed to be a trouble spot for the Mets but so far the pitching staff is sporting a very impressive 1.02 ERA. Of course this could also be the result of playing their openings series against the Cardinals who are averaging a worse than AAA 1.40 runs per game. Seriously - you could bring up a AAA team and I bet they average better than 1.40 runs per game... On this date in 1974 - Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run breaking Babe Ruth's career record for homers. To me and to many others - Aaron remains the true home run king - no matter what Barry Bonds does...

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Red Sox and Dice K Have Wa

"Wa" is the Japanese concept and practice of group harmony (I know this because I am currently reading Robert Whiting's book on Japanese baseball You Gotta Have Wa). In America it is said that winning breeds good team chemistry and the Red Sox with a trio of 26-year old pitchers in Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jonathan Papelbon, and Josh Beckett are poised to have both "wa" and good team chemistry for years to come.

Yesterday was Daisuke Matsuzaka's coming out party and he did not disappoint - proving he was indeed the real deal by pitching 7 innings of one-run ball with 10 strikeouts against the Kansas City Royals.

It seems to me that a trio of young talent like the Red Sox 26-year olds has not been assembled by a major league team since the Atlanta Braves trotted out 27-year old Greg Maddux, 27-year old Tom Glavine and 26-year old John Smoltz in 1993. The Atlanta trio are all possible Hall of Famers (well two locks for the Hall of Fame and one probable) and it would be both overly optimistic and presumptuous to put the Boston trio in the same category as the Atlanta trio. However, when the Red Sox are winning - no phrase probably describes Red Sox fans better than "overly optimistic and presumptuous."

Let me give the perfect example of this.

Last night my wife and kids had Holy Thursday activities at the church so I was left to fend for myself for dinner. So I headed off to a local restaurant for a good meal, some Keno and a few beers. While enjoying my scallops and shrimp over angel hair pasta I overhead a guy at the next table say, "Any discussion about the league MVP has to include JD Drew." Fork of food half-way to my mouth - I couldn't help but stop and look at him. The funny thing is that the other guys at his table all just nodded their head. Talk about overly optimistic and presumptuous.

Let me finish by going back to the 1993 Atlanta trio versus the current Red Sox trio. The Braves trio have a combined 818 wins and they were the core of a team that won their division every year like clockwork. However, what the Red Sox pitchers lack in talent compared to the Braves trio can be made up by the fact that the Red Sox ownership is willing to spend big money to field the best team possible - something that could not be said about the budget conscious Braves. If the Braves won because of "wa" and talent - then hopefully the Red Sox will win because of "wa", talent and the money that comes from one of the deepest revenue streams in all of sports.

Of course it would be overly optimistic and presumptuous to talk about this bright future without acknowledging perhaps the biggest difference between the 1993 Braves and today's Red Sox team. The Braves weren't in the same division as the Yankees.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Heh heh - Happy Easter Part II

Heh Heh

With Easter coming I though people would get a kick out of this.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

There are currently seven teams still looking for their first win of the season. If I had to give odds on who will be the last team to win a game this season among the Orioles, White Sox, Rangers, Phillies, Astros, Cardinals and Giants - I would narrow it down to either the Orioles or Giants because of schedule. The Orioles play their next two series against the Yankees and Tigers while the Giants face the Dodgers and then the Padres (again). It is conceivable that either team could start off 0-9 and in the case of the Giants - I would love that. If the Giants started 0-9 - the negativity coming out of the clubhouse would be literally visible... It looks like Trot Nixon has gotten off to a hot start for Cleveland and I think that's great. Nixon leads the AL with 3 doubles and is hitting a hot .556 after 9 at bats. Its too bad he was such a fragile player in his time in Boston... "Mark" this up as one of the bigger early season surprises - the leader in RBI for all MLB right now is 2nd baseman Mark Ellis of the A's with 7 runs knocked in. Who knew?... The Nationals are crazy if they don't play Ryan Church every game... Mike Lowell had 3 errors last night. That's the first time in his career that he had 3 errors in a game. I'd put the over/under on the number of errors he has for the rest of the season till the All-Star break at 3... If you like longshots - the Devil Rays are listed as big underdogs today (risk $100 to win $250). In baseball every game really is a coin flip and this game has a few extra wrinkles. First there was the delay from the postponement yesterday, second you have the extra pressure on Andy Pettitte as he returns to New York, third you have Johnny Damon who is banged up and may miss the game and finally you have Jae Seo who knows what its like to pitch in NYC and won't be intimidated. Tampa always plays the Yankees tough and the longs odds may make this worth a couple of shekels...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Heh Heh

I have to think that every girl has tried to pee standing up at least once in their life.

Now they can do it any time they want.

Go ahead - you know you want to click the link
The Will of the People

I agree with Betsy 100% on this.

A 50-48 vote where some of the 50 votes are bought and paid for with pork barrel spending is closer to subverting the will of the people than representing it.

If she wants to talk about the true will of the people - I'm pretty sure that its not the will of the citizens of Massachusetts that their hard earned tax dollars be spent for peanut storage and other pork projects and I'd bet that the people of New York who she is supposed to represent would agree.
Baseball Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous baseball thoughts and observations.

Alex Rodriguez needs just one more HR to pass Dave Winfield on the all-time HR list in 25th place with 466. I wonder if NY sportstalk radio will make a big deal of those two being linked (once again)... Is this the year that Jake Peavy puts it all together? Six innings of shutout ball is a good way to start the season... Ken Griffey Jr. needs just one more HR to pass Reggie Jackson for 10th place on the all-time HR list with 564... The Washington Nationals are by far the worst team in MLB. I think the question is not whether they will lose 100 game - the question is whether they will lose 110... Randy Wolf is still my dark horse candidate for the NL Cy Young. He gave up 4 runs in 6 innings last night in a 4-3 loss to the Brewers. The problem for Wolf was the HR (as in he gave up 2 of them - accounting for 3 of the 4 Milwaukee runs). If Wolf can keep it down to one or less HR a game - then he'll win 17. Playing half his games at Chavez Ravine should help accomplish that... Carlos Delgado needs just one more HR to pass Duke Snider for 40th place on the all-time HR list. This last example may be the best illustration on how the value of the home run has dropped over the years (and not just because of steroids). Duke Snider's 407 HR were enough to help get him elected to the Hall of Fame. Carlos Delgado may hit 100 more HR than Snider and still not get a sniff of Cooperstown... I know its early in the season but Richie Sexson is on pace for 162 HR this season...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Harry Potter Spoof

Heh heh
A Vote to Destroy the Iranian Navy

Like many - I've been waiting for the crisis of the 17 British sailors abducted by Iran (hey -let's call it was it was - these guys were abducted at gunpoint) to be resolved. I have become convinced that there will be no quick resolution to this situation. This will be drawn out like the taking of American hostages at the US embassy in 1979.

The situation in 1979 crippled the Carter administration and made him an international eunuch. Britain would be wise to learn from that example and take a different course. Here's what I would suggest:

1. Tony Blair should announce that he is holding Iranian President Ahmadinejad personally responsible for the health of the Royal Navy hostages.

2. Blair should also announce that the Iranian Navy either acted on its own or under orders from Tehran and in the case of the former - they are a danger that needs to be dealt with and in the case of the latter - the taking of the hostages was an act of war. The Royal Navy should then systematically have forces start at both ends of the Persian Gulf and going along the 1,400 km of Iranian shoreline sinking every military vessel they encounter. Completely destroy the Iranian Navy (excepting of course the vessels up north in the Caspian Sea). The British should also enlist the US Navy to help provide air support by invoking Article 5 which states that an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all the members.

3. Blair should announce that 17 guided missiles have been put aside ready for use. one for each of the hostages and that the missiles are targeted not just at military targets but also at the best guess locations of the ruling elite of Iran.

Call the bluff and take action. Make it known that steps two and three could only be avoided by the immediate release of the hostages. This was piracy at best and an act of war at worst. British action would go a long way in destabilizing the current regime and neutralizing a potential future nuclear bully.

If there is any criticism from the countries that border the Persian Gulf - it won't be heartfelt. Iran represents a Shi'a Muslim power while the other states surrounding the Persian Gulf are all Sunni Muslim states. They would love for Iran to be taken down a peg or two (no matter what they say publicly).

I know that this may seem completely disproportional to some but I think that these stuations call for disproportional responses. You have to show a bully that any acts of violence on their part will go badly. Very badly.
Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Carlos Beltran went 1-4 with 1 RBI and 1 run scored on the Mets Opening Day. Meanwhile John Buck and Mark Teahen went a combined 4-8 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored in their Opening Day. Buck and Teahen were the main chips acquired by the Royals when they traded Beltran away in mid-season 2004. Beltran will make $14 million this year while Buck and Teahen are getting peanuts. I know its just one game but I like keeping an eye on stuff like this... Historically this is the day that Jesus died in 33 AD. I feel kinda guilty for leading with the tidbit on Beltran now... I don't feel guilty at all for flipping between the NCAA Championship game last light and the Sopranos on A&E. The game just didn't have that certain level of excitement to keep me glued. Plus Billy Packer was announcing. If Pauly Walnuts announced the game - then I probably would have recorded it and kept it for ever... Character actor Warren Oates also died on this day in 1982. I remember Oates mostly for playing Sergeant Hulka in the movie Stripes... Maybe just as impressive as the fact that Florida won back-to-back titles is the fact that the basketball team will also be one of only 3 teams who made this year's tournament who will graduate all their senior athletes. The other two were Holy Cross and Weber State... Tying the the deaths of Jesus and Warren Oates together - let me offer this thought for the day - A life without meaning is like a foot without a big toe. And Jesus is always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe - Jesus....

Monday, April 02, 2007

Opening Day Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations while watching the Red Sox / Royals on Opening Day.

I guess nothing says Royals baseball like REO Speedwagon who came out to home plate sans walkers to sing the national anthem. Meanwhile thousands of people in Boston simultaneously say, "Oh my God! Those guys are still alive?"... When I was out in Vegas I checked the odds to win the Masters. I know Tiger has to be the favorite but I was surprised that he was listed at 6/5. Its as if Vegas expects him to win it. I mean if Tiger is 6/5 - shouldn't you be able to get the rest of the field for even money?... When Tony Pena Jr. hit that triple in the second I had a vision of his dad in the Yankee clubhouse jumping up and shouting "That's my boy!" Tony Pena Sr. is the first base coach for New York... I don't care what the NFL says - the real reason the pre-season game between the Patriots and Seahawks was canceled was because the NFL realized that they set themselves up to be a pawn in human rights issues that are bound to become huge news before the Olympics in Beijing. The downside outweighed the pluses that could have come from a game prior to the Olympics... With his fifth K today - Schilling tied Aaron Sele for 38th place on the all-time Red Sox list for strikeouts. This may be the only time Aaron Sele's name is linked with any accomplishment of Schilling's... OK - after 5 innings its 5-1 KC with Schilling only going 4 innings. Curt's career ERA at Kauffman Stadium is now 7.03. That sucks and there's no way to explain it... I really hope that Schilling doesn't bring up his contract situation when he blogs after the game because right now I think most Red Sox fans would admit that the front office was right to wait to see how he does this season (4 innings against the Royals on Opening Day?)... Tony Pena Sr. was probably out of the lockerroom and at dinner by the time his son hit his second triple against the Red Sox... Just saying but the over / under for today's game was 9.5 runs and if you said the final was going to be 7-1 - wouldn't you have bet that the Red Sox were the 7? That's why they play the games...