Friday, March 30, 2007

Only 3 days to go!

Only three days until my long national nightmare is over. The start of baseball season! It officially starts Sunday night, but for me, it starts Monday at 4:05 - the Red Sox vs. Kansas City. Live on NESN - and ESPN, too, I think. I believe I'll be deferring my lunch hour until 3:30 - so I can be home in time for the first pitch!

MLB today further angered me. They've banned Johnny Pesky from the Red Sox dugout during games. On the one hand, I guess I can understand - having extra people in the dugout could get out of control. How would I feel if the Yankees invited Bernie Williams to sit there - the chance he'd decipher all kinds of signals and pitching tendencies. But, hey, this is our Johnny. He's 87 years old - the man has given his life for baseball, and it's probably what's keeping him alive at this point. Why not let him suit up and sit next to Manny? Maybe they could allow anyone over the age of 85 to sit there?

I'm also ticked at NESN & Direct Tv. They are not allowing out-of-market fans to access the RS specials on tonight. No season preview show, no Remy Awards. Boo Hoo.

The new Gameday is kinda cool! Hey, and Manny just hit a homer! Yeah! Interesting that the Phillies announcers said they expect more for these two games vs. the Sox than for their opening game. Kinda sad.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

More crocs

I like these better than the yellow ones!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Random Wednesday Thoughts

For March 28th:

1) I haven't commented on all the pitching drama at Fort Myers this spring. All I can say is that I'm REALLY glad Papelbon decided to go back into the pen and be the closer. After watching him last season, I can't imagine him in another role. That intense stare as he looks in to read the sign from Tek...whoa, gives me chills! I especially love his comment that he wants to play the role of closer for the rest of his career. "I want to be Mariano Rivera." Teh awesome

2) Only 5 days until the season opener in Kansas City. Our long national nightmare is nearly over....

3) I am really enjoying Curt's blog over at I think it's great that a player can sidestep the often nasty Boston media and answer his fans directly. Some of his commentary on his pitching, really helps you get into the mind of a professional ballplayer. It's fascinating stuff.

4)The most incredible blog I read today is the "Project A-13." Some Yankee fan is using the internet to try to garner support of A-Rod - to stop the booing. You can't make this stuff up:
Are you tired of being against him? Are you tired of expecting him to fail, and standing up to boo when he does so? Are you tired of not feeling good about having Alex Rodriguez play third base for your favorite team? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you are ready. Welcome to The Movement

5) Speaking of the Yanks, their drama shifts now to the Front Office. It has often been assumed that the heir to Steinbrenner is his son-in-law Steve Swindal. Well, today Mrs. Swindal (Steinbrenner's daughter) filed for divorce. Hmmm.

6) Congrats to Nomar and Mia Hamm- they had twins earlier today. Two little girls. There is some serious sports dna.

7) Booked my Red Sox Road Trip today!! Three games each in Atlanta, San Diego and Seattle. Awesome.

9) I have a well-known love of Crocs. And I saw these today - the official U of Michigan Croc! I may have to get them!

8) On a person note: today is my birthday!! Ironically, I usually don't like to celebrate it too much - even though my friends will urge me to. So, this year, I thought, yeah, I'd like to celebrate somehow. And not a single friend suggested we do something! So I took myself out to my favorite splurge restaurant, and had a wonderful meal. A total indulgence - and I was so glad I did! (I also ordered my new Mike Lowell shirt - yeah!)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Home again!

So, I finally made it to DC! Only 2 days later than anticipated. And what crazy weather - 45 degrees one day, 75 the next. Phew! (Of course it was 87 today here in the Scenic City - I dread July). Anyway, here are some photos:

At the Vietnam Memorial.

This is the fountain in front of the Library of Congress (my mother ship!). I love this one, because it shows the power of my "baby" - you can literally see the water drops. Cool.

I love gargoyles - and this one from Washington National Cathedral seems made to order for me.

A Red Sox batting helmet, yes. But not just any batting helmet. It belonged to Yaz! It's in the collection of the Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.

This is a frieze from a ceiling in the Library of Congress. It's based on ancient Greek friezes of athletic events - but this has a modern twist. If you look closely, you can see that this is a team of baseball players! All dressed as Greek athletes did - that is, naked. Now if only our Sox would go back to the old fashioned ways...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Pat's

So, I won't be in that Irish pub in DC tonight to celebrate - but I do get to see the Sox game today! They're playing the Reds - and the Globe reports that Bellhorn made the trip with them! Yeah! No Bronson, but...And they'll be wearing their traditional green uniforms today. According to, the tradition started in 1990 when Roger Clemens bought green hats and stirrups for everyone. Papelbon's time!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Travel plans derailed

So, I was supposed to be in Washington this evening. Two friends and I decided we'd spend our spring break in our nation's capital - we've been to many of the great world capitals, but don't know our own! So, we planned to spend a week there.

However, Mother Nature refused to cooperate. Many, many airline flights got cancelled today due to snow and sleet - and our flight was one of them. And Saturday's flights were quickly booked. So, we're not going until Sunday. Bummer - our hotel had an Irish pub that looked to be a great spot to celebrate St Pats.

Oh well. Bright side: I can watch the Sox game tomorrow!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Big Papi is an author!

Photo from

So, David Ortiz is now an author! Yes, his book will come out on April 17th - you can get the details an pre-order here. It's already in my shopping cart. I mean, what an incredible story - raised in poverty in the Dominican, cast-off by the Twins, and then to find fame and adoration in one of baseball's most difficult markets - Boston. The book is co-authored by Tony Maz from the Boston Herald, who's not a bad writer. I think this may have to be my birthday present to myself!

ETA: I love this - in their description of the book and its author:
He has a 3282 batting average
Too funny!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Random Wednesday Thoughts

For March 14th:

1. So, Ben Affleck - probably the most visible Sox fan - is now going to help train a new generation of Red Sox fans! From
Ben Affleck may have scored his best gig yet. The rabid Red Sox fan and father of 1-year-old Violet will be heard in the new kiddie DVD "Red Sox Baby: Raising Tomorrow's Boston Red Sox Fan Today" when it comes out next month. The DVD promises to help teach "counting, spelling, and color recognition. It will also instill a love of the Red Sox in young ones," according to a promotional blurb
Better drop it into your Amazon cart today!

2. Over on the SG message board the other day, someone was lamenting the lack of give-aways and promotional days at Fenway Park this year. I looked - and they're right. There isn't a single "special." Granted, most teams do these to attract fans to the park, and the Sox are already practically sold out for the season. Still, would it kill them to give out magnetic schedules or ball caps? Using an idea that I saw at Camden Yards last year, how about a Dustin Pedroia Growth Chart? At least I can experience some promos when I travel this summer - heck, one night in Atlanta is Asian Heritage Night (think Dice-K will pitch that night?) and one night in San Diego is 80's Retro Night!

3. Speaking of the Road Trip, I've gotten on the email list for the Padres and the Mariners. Today, the Mariners made their new 2007 commercials available on their team site. Without a doubt, the Mariners have some very creative minds producing these ads. They're always hysterical! Check out the "Double Play Twins"!

4. Speaking of hysterical, check out this year's Red Sox Spring Training Cookie-Off! Last year, Gabe Kapler and Dan Roche faced off - having the Sox vote on their favorite cookies. They repeated the challenge this year, with Kevin Youkilis getting into the mix, too. It's pretty funny. And check out last year's while you're at it - our departed Bronson sings the theme song and long-gone Trot does his Cookie Monster impression!

5. Finally, this is one of my least favorite times in the sports year. "March madness" I am ssoo sick of it already and they've only played one game. Thankfully, my spring break usually falls during the first week of competition, so I'm saved from the wall-to-wall coverage!

Monday, March 12, 2007

I got your back

AP Photo
This was the scene Saturday afternoon, prior to the Tigers-Red Sox pseudo-brawl. Looks like Tek is adding to the mayhem! But my favorite part of the photo is the guy to his immediate left. I love how he's peeking out from behind Captain Quads - if I were involved in a brawl, this is exactly where I'd be. Right behind Tek, a ducking for cover. You know he'd protect you!

Red Sox - Yankees tonight. And it's on tv. Yeah. So sorry, got to run - I got a date with RemDawg!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Review: Shut up & Sing!

I was never a fan of the Dixie Chicks - until their big controversy in 2003. At a concert in London, just before the US invasion of Iraq, lead singer Natalie Maines made an off-the-cuff remark about George Bush that created a huge controversy. (She said they were embarrassed that Bush was also from Texas). Country music was in an uproar - radio stations boycotted their music, fans burned their cds, and they found themselves losing revenue. This documentary examines their rise and fall - and rise again. By the time of the release of their new cd in 2006, Bush had fallen in popularity, people were finally seeing the folly of the invasion and questioning Bush. People were FINALLY realizing you can oppose the war and yet still support out troops.

I absolutely loved their latest album "Taking the Long Way." Most of the songs are a response to the 2003 controversy, with a tougher edge than their previous work. The documentary follows the recording of the album, the strategy behind the marketing for it. The controversy made them take a step back and re-think their music. Were they still country artists even though country fans and radio had whole-heartedly rejected them? Were they pop artists?

The film really allows you to get to know the trio. We see them with their husbands and children (bonus: Natalie is married to "Heroes" hunk Adrian Pasdar!). We see how this all affected them. They received death threats - this made me this most mad. We all have a freedom to speak out - how can these so-called conservative "Christians" threaten to kill someone just because of a remark they made?? Most touching is how the three stuck together. It would have been easy for the other two Chicks to distance themselves from Maines, to claim they didn't share her views. They clearly do share her view - although I think they would have been happy to not make that public.

I really wanted to see this doc when it first came out - how shocking that it never played in this conservative outpost I choose to live in. [Aside: I very proudly bought this at my local WalMart - proudly, because I think it was the WalMart crown who clearly led the anti-DC movement.] This is a gripping story - one every lover of our American freedoms needs to see.

And as a bonus - the music in it is awesome!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Random Wednesday Thoughts

I'm going to try to continue this tradition during the 07 season!

1) So, they think they've found the root of Beckett's blister problem. It's eczema run amok! According to Bradford:

After doing tests last year it was determined that blisters usually coincided with outbreaks of eczema. To help battle the condition he took supplements of C0Q10.

Funny - did the Marlins never take the time to have him fully examined? Or our docs just more thorough?!

2) So, if you can't get enough of Curt Schilling, you can now read his blog, 38 Pitches. The first two entries are pretty interesting - he goes into some of his inner thoughts while he's on the mound. He also has enabled the comments section, and is actually responding to a few questions. I thought this one on his relationship with Tek was interesting:
Ya. I am making it abundantly clear that when Tek and I differ opinions, 99 times out of one hundred, he’s right.
Where I get in trouble is internally, not doing the things I need to do at times when he calls something I am not expecting.
He’s as prepared as any person on the planet to do his job, and when he wants something he will usually go right back to it after the pitcher shakes it off, thereby saying, without actually saying anything, that he’s got a feel or has seen something that will work better than whatever it is I planned or we had talked about.
Those are the times when, as a pitcher, you have to commit to his pitch and make it. I have, more than once, thrown a pitch I didn’t mentally commit to, and gotten beat by it.
When the ball gets whacked it always falls on the pitcher, if you can’t commit to the pitch, don’t throw it.
Seems easy enough but it’s a hard lesson to learn.
It'll be interesting to follow this blog over the course of the season.

3) Great to see Jon Lester in action! What an incredible story of survival and resiliency. How can you not root for him?

4) And the Pap is back! Just watching him on the recap of today's ST game against the Mets. Wow. 4 Ks over 3 scoreless inning. I hope he sustain this form over the course of 6 or 7 or 8 innings! That intense look of his on the mound...whoa.

5) Speaking of the game, I heard the ending on Game Day Audio - a walk off grand slam to win the game. I don't know who Ed Rogers is, but you know this is a memory he'll cherish. Even if he never plays in another MLB game.

6) Dice-K. Yes, I'm pretty psyched about him. As a matter of fact, I think our starting rotation looks pretty darn awesome. The Bull Pen, however, is keeping me awake nights....

7) And a random note. Be very careful of static electricity when listening to your iPod. I nearly blew my brains out Monday!

Monday, March 05, 2007


Photo by Matthew West

Well, the second week of Spring Training games starts today, and Beckett pitched well again. His first game was called "electric" by one sportswriter - and I think this could be an awesome year for him. He definitely has something to prove - although he pitched well in '06, he wasn't the lights-out ace we had anticipated. As a matter of fact, it looks like there is quite a competition shaping up among the pitching staff. Schilling admitted it after his first start. I think that this kind of peer pressure is just what our pitching staff needs. You've got Beckett trying to prove last year was a fluke, Schilling trying to prove he's not old, Papelbon trying to prove he can make the transition from closer, Lester trying to prove he can bounce back from an incredible bout with cancer, Wakefield trying to prove he can still be a starter, and Matsuzaka trying to prove he can make the transfer to the American Major Leagues. I'm getting so psyched just thinking about it!

Speaking of Wake - isn't that an awesome picture of the knuckleballer in action?

And I never thought I'd use the words Youk & cute in the same sentence, but...

(Photo by Matthew West)
Here's Youk playing with David Ortiz' son D'Angelo! Aww!

And speaking of cute, they just had the funniest story on the "Red Sox Report" - showing the players filming introductions and instructions to be played on the electronic scoreboard at Fenway. They're all practicing their "acting" - my favorite was Tek asking if he should smile and be happy, or grumpy. "I can do grumpy" he said! And Papelbon insists on taping his in Spanish! They had to get Lowell to translate. Too funny.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Dice-K the day after

So last night we finally got the chance to see Dice-K Matsuzaka in action. And although he gave up a double on the first pitch, that seemed to settle him down. 25 pitches in two innings, 19 for strikes. Definitely a good start - and now we need to see more. I like what one pundit said - he wasn't electric, but that'll come. (On the even more exciting note, the same reporter said that Beckett had been electric on Thursday!)

NESN was broadcasting today's game, but the wonderful DirectTV has blacked it out. Good Lord...

My Red Sox road trip is now set. Got my tickets to the Mariners' games today - some pretty good ones, I think. Behind the plate or the visitor's dugout. My travel buddy got the Braves' tickets this week, and hopefully my Padres connection will have those for us. Wow - is that not cool? Ten days on the road with the Sox!!

ETA: Isn't Dice's mitt cool?!!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Life is good - enjoy it

So, today I had to go to Atlanta for a meeting - a 90 minute trip was 4 and 1/2 hours due to a horrible bus accident on 75 south. A bus carrying a baseball team from Ohio plunged off an overpass onto 75 south - 5 were killed. We took an alternate route - but still, it makes you stop and appreciate your life and your friends and family.

Makes you thankful for little things. Like Red Sox baseball. Does that sound vacuous or banal? I hope not. Because the RS are one of the things I'm always grateful for. They give me such pleasure, such joy, such angst. For years are 1986, I couldn't bring myself to watch - too painful. But I rediscovered my joy and my joy of baseball in 2003 - how could I have allowed myself to grow so estranged from them for so long. To just hear Orsillo and Remy - I nearly wept Wednesday night! (tonight: Remy complains they're only getting paid for an hour's work!)

Tonight, I'm watching our hope for 2007. Dice-K vs. Boston College. So far (it's the start of the 2nd) - he looks good. I loved how he was laughing and smiling in the dugout between innings. 2 strike-outs in the first.

And how about our young pups in Wednesday's game. Pedroia, Murphy & Ellsbury - wow. They really provided the offense spark. It makes one feel confident for the future!

Tomorrow I've got to spend some time online - securing tickets for the Mariners-Red Sox series at Safeco in June. Fingers crossed for something good!! I'm so psyched for my June trip - 3 games in Atlanta, 3 games in San Diego, 3 games in Seattle. Woo!