Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Now it's real

Here's this week's Sports Illustrated cover. It seems even more real now!

When you wish upon a star

I have to admit to something. It's kind of silly...but for the past several weeks, I have this funny little thing that I do every day. When I go out to collect the newspaper in the morning, I can see one very bright star in the sky. (It's actually, probably a planet, but let's not quibble). I look up a the star, and I say that old rhyme "Star light star bright..." And every morning, my wish is the same: please let the Boston Red Sox win the 2007 World Series. (I started out just saying win the WS, but realized I needed to be specific or it could happen in ten years!).

So, they won. I'm not claiming responsibility, but I'm simply pointed out that they didn't lose on my account!

Yesterday, the Sox got back to Boston, and the big Rolling Rally Victory Parade was at noon. It looked like a huge crowd - one commenter said a million, but crowd estimates are rough. All along the route, Theo was greeted by chants of "Re-Sign Lowell" and "Don't sign A-Rod." Lowell's agent must be drooling - clearly, the fans want Lowell and that might give them an edge in negotiating. Since he's simply my favorite player this year, I can't comment objectively. I do love this photo from the Globe:

What nice hardware he has - and the trophies aren't bad either!

Back in April, I wrote an entry with my wishes for the Sox for 2007. Let's revisit it, shall we?

I'd like to share some of my wishes and hopes for the year. I hope that --

1. Josh Beckett makes his case to be the staff ace. A lot was written about Beckett's "down" year - but he actually ended up with some pretty good numbers. Now that he knows the American League and has some familiarity with the opposing teams, I look for him to have a HUGE year. With Schilling making noises about retirement, we need some of these young guys to step it up. Done

2. Papelbon has a lights out year as closer. Now that he's chosen the role himself, I hope he does become Mariano Rivera. Done

3. Tek bounces back for a much better year. He's got something to prove - that age hasn't affected him - and he's got the kind of inner drive to silence the critics. Done

4. Coco has something to prove too. And his recent interviews show that he knows people are going to be watching him closely. We saw hints of huge potential last year...Somewhat accomplished - although it looks like Ellsbury has played himself into the starting position in CF. That makes Coco explendable.

5. JD Drew stays healthy. Please make it so! Done. And although he had a mediocre year, he's shown signs recently that next year he will bounce back.

6. David Ortiz is named MVP of the American League. I hope those voters are starting to realize their past mistakes, and will vote for him. The man is clearly the most valuable player on this team. Oh, well, it's definitely A-Rod's year again.

7. Manny is still with us at the year's end. And please no drama this year at the trade deadline - although I'll be in attendance at that game again this year, so I can at least see the drama first hand. Done

8. A-Rod is in his last year with the Yankees. Wow - this looks like it's true

9. The Red Sox win the American League East! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! YEAH is right! We won the East - and the American League Championship - and the World Championship!

So, maybe I should head to Vegas next!

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Monday, October 29, 2007


MLB Photos

Red Sox win. Unbelievable - it hasn't sunk in yet. And here's your World Series MVP - my Mikey Lowell

Sunday, October 28, 2007

More of this please!

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm incredibly greedy. You'd think that 2004 was enough to satisfy me. But, no, it's not. That victory was so incredible - mainly, because it came at the end of such an unexpected playoff run. They caught me totally off guard. Maybe because the only games I had access to at that time were those that the national networks deemed SE Tennessee worthy of seeing. I remember making some serious decisions: stay up for game 4 of the ALCS and risk another broken heart - like the one from 1986 that had taken me a decade to overcome? Oh, well, okay, maybe I'll give them one more chance...

And because my access had been so spotty, I didn't "know" the team. Oh, sure, I knew some of the key people. But I hadn't been there all the way. In some ways, it makes me feel like a faux fan - I didn't endure the heartaches of that season first hand...

But I do owe that team a huge debt of gratitude. They got me hooked on Red Sox baseball again - and I realized early in the 2005 season just what I had been missing out on. Before that season even began, I had my new satellite tv hooked up - and was able to see as many games as I could stand. Not long after, I got my first home computer - suddenly I had access to all kinds of kindred spirits through the various RS forums and chat rooms. I got to go to a week's worth of Fenway games - my first visit back there in almost 30 years. Wow.

In 2006 my obsession grew! I got the chance to see a game from the Green Monster seats, and saw my first series at an away park - Turner Field. Got to visit Camden Yards for the first time. And saw 5 games at Fenway - which included two walk off wins. Okay, a huge disappointment for the post season, but..

2007! Wow! From the day pitchers and catchers reported in February, I've been totally dialed in with this team. I love to keep a scorecard during key games and, as I look back, I have scorecards from some Spring Training games, some with players whose names I barely remember. I expanded my love of RS into a new travel goal: to visit as many of the Major League Parks as I can. I took a fantastic and fun trip with Kelly - saw 9 games in Atlanta, San Diego and Seattle - incredible parks made all the more fun because they were filled with Red Sox fans. And saw three games at Fenway - man, I love that place. Please scatter my ashes there.

So, this post-season has been the end of an incredible year. When I look back at my blogs from April and May, they're full of admonishments not too think too far ahead, take one game at a time. But even then, I felt we had a special team. In my wildest dreams, I thought we'd make it to the World Series - but the pragmatic me thought, no, lightning can't strike twice. Yet here we are. 8 months removed from those first Spring Training games. When I was reading reports of those promising rookies, Buchholtz, Ellsbury, Pedrioa. When our multi-million dollar man Matsuzaka had only been seen on Asahi beer commercials. When we thought Beckett had already shown us his best stuff. When we thought Okajima had only been signed to be a companion to Daisuke. When we thought Papelbon was going to be a starter.

The picture above was taken in November 2004, during the Trophy's tour of Red Sox Nation. It made an appearance in Atlanta - I felt like a complete idiot for driving 120 miles just to see a hunk of metal. But there were 100s there just like me - transplanted New Englanders, Red Sox fans, wanting to share the excitement of that 2004 season.

I'm greedy. I want the chance to have another photo like this one taken.

Go Red Sox!! Time to fire up the VCR - I want this night's festivities available for me to watch and rewatch many times over the next few months of the off-season. I just hope to see Papelbon and Beckett doing that Riverdance in a few short hours.

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World Series Game 3: Rookies Rock!

Aren't our Rookies awesome? Last night, behind the tag team of Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedrioa, the Sox beat the Rockies in Game 3 of the World Series, giving the team a "breath-taking" three game lead in the best of seven series. It was the longest 9-inning World Series game in history - 4 hours, 19 minutes! It was an exciting game - for the most part. The Sox scored 6 runs in the 3rd (including a 2-rbi single for pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was 0-4 this year) , and looked to be cruising. But the Rockies countered with 2 in the 6th, and 3 in the 7th. Oki came in with two on to face Holliday, and gave up a first pitch 3 run homer. Ugh. But he settled right back down, struck out two and got the third out on a ground ball back to the mound. Papelbon came in for the last four outs - and cue "Dirty Water."

The stars of the game were our four rookies. Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury - 4 for 5, with 3 doubles and 2 rbis.

AP Photo

Second baseman Dustin Pedrioa - 3 for 5, with 2 rbis

Photo from Boston Herald

Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka - 5.1 innings pitched, 101 pitches, 2 runs, 3 hits, 5 strikeouts - and 2 rbis -
Boston Globe photo

Hideki Okajima - 1 IP, 1 run, 2 hits, 2 ks

AP Photo

Our Rookies > Their Rockies

I'm afraid to say too much about tonight's game four, lest I jinx them. But the Sox looked very overpowering last night, and the Rockies looked pretty shellshocked. Everything they threw up at the Sox, the Sox handled. Even in the Rockies manage to win tonight, I don't see them coming back with four straight wins. But, stranger things have happened (see also: Red Sox- Cleveland ALCS)

Tonight we've got our feel-good story of the year starting. Jon Lester - as has been much documented elsewhere - survived lymphoma last year, and bounced back in fantastic fashion. There's a voice inside me that things this is how it was meant to me - an incredible season of Red Sox baseball; a near knock-out in the ALCS, only to come back and plow through the Indians; and now, a potential sweep of the Rockies in the World Series, behind the pitching of our miracle man.

Let's go Red Sox!!!

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Little Dustin

Image taken from Sons of Sam Horn

Oh, my, is that not a cute kid?! It's little Dustin Pedroia - uh, littler Dustin Pedrioa!

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How my cat wakes me up

This is such a funny video - and definitely seems like it could be true!

Getter closer to Game 3!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lowell news

Love this from the Boston Herald:

Even before Lowell came through with his double in the fifth inning that drove in David Ortiz [stats], general manager Theo Epstein offered a ray of hope that the veteran might stick around.

“(Re-signing Lowell is) a priority for the offseason, and I’m sure we’ll be able to get something done,” Epstein said of his pending free agent. “We have a desire to keep him here a long time. He’s a core member of the organization. It’s just not the time to talk about that.”


“I guess that’s good,” Lowell said of Epstein’s confidence. “It sounds like I got an endorsement from the GM, but I really don’t know how to respond.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

World Series Game 2

Getty Images
I wasn't sure what to expect after the Game 1 blowout. I knew the Rockies would rebound - and the result was a real nail-biter. Great pitching performance by Curt Schilling, Okajima

Photo by Elise Amendola
and the finish by Papelbon. The Sox take a 2-0 lead in the Series, which now shifts to Denver on Saturday night.

Assisting in the ceremonial first pitch:

AP photo by Elise Amendola

Oh, my. Dwight Evans. Dewey was always my second favorite on the teams of my youth (Carlton Fisk was #1 of course!). Not sure what Dewey and Eck have been doing, but they are even better looking now. WOW!

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World Series: Game 1

Boston Globe photo

Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. I had hopes for another dominating performance from Josh Beckett last night in game one of the 2007 World Series. But I never expect the impressive offensive display. 13-1, Red Sox win, in a game that could have been called after the Sox scored 7 runs in the bottom of the 5th. Beckett was awesome, of course: 7 IP, 1 run, 1 BB, and 9 Ks. He started the first by striking out the side, which Pedrioa immediately followed up with a homerun. Every starter had at least one RBI- except the season RBI leader, Mike Lowell (how ironic!). A new record of 8 doubles in a World Series game. And we disproved that old cliche that the game was closer than the box score indicates - it was never close. The Rockies looked totally defeated by the 5th - I was almost feeling sorry for them. Almost! Our lead even survived an appearance by Gagne - another sign that luck might be with us.

Josh's seven innings allowed Francona to rest the bullpen an extra day; the Rockies weren't so lucky. They used six pitchers - leaving some holes for tonight's game 2.

I'm trying to remain confident and humble. The Rockies hit the ball hard. They could explode tonight - especially if we used up all of our offense last night. "Baseball's a funny game." But if we can head to Denver with a 2-0 lead - we'd only have to win 1 out there, and be able to return to Fenway for Game 6 - and another on-field celebration!!

Meantime, I had to live through those inane idiots over at FOX. I'd forgotten how totally over-the-top their coverage can be, particularly on the pre-game show. And they've brought back Eric Byrnes - who was actually using statistics last night! Some other low-lights from the broadcast:
  • Wow! Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis graduated from high school in Canada with a 4.0 GPA - but only managed to score 1210 on his SATs? Of course, since Joe Buck and Tim McCarver's combined SAT score was 1210, they were impressed.
  • McCarver's favorite rock group is Van Halen - but only when David Lee Roth is singing lead.
  • Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is so enamored of Derek Jeter, he actually wear's Jeter's Driven cologne - which McCarver describes as "breathtaking." As in, so bad, it takes your breath away?
  • The DirectTv blimp- which I've never even seen at a sporting event prior to last night! - is "the prettiest blimp." Cuter than the Hood Blimp? I think not!

I do give them props, though, for putting a microphone on Red Sox bench player Royce Clayton. His exchange with Coco Crisp about the Taco Bell "free taco" promotion is a classic. SG has the transcript! I didn't get my Taco!!

Just a few hours more until game 2. Curt Schilling, our own Braveheart, takes the mound - against some dude named Ubaldo Jimenez. How's that for a great baseball name?

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Let's get this party started!

Photo from the Boston Globe

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Opening night

Overture, curtain, lights,
This is it, the night of nights
No more rehearsing and hearsing our parts
We know every part by heart
Overture, curtain, lights
This is it, we'll hit the heights
And oh what heights we'll hit
On with the show this is it

Tonight what heights we'll hit
On with the show this is it.

(Bugs Bunny theme)

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another day of rest

Photo from the Boston Globe

Thank goodness for the two days to recover from the ALCS and get ready for the World Series. Trying to work Monday on 3 1/2 hours sleep was brutal - but it's almost worse today. It's like jet lag - or, I guess I should say, sleep lag. Another night tonight to get in bed early and prep for tomorrow.

However, I'd much prefer this schedule to the one the Rockies' fans have had. I can't imagine going 8 days between ball games - you'd be totally out of practice in the quick recovery. And it's allowed RS fans to stay totally stoked and ready for the Series.

I just hope the same is true for the teams. Pedroia was saying in today's paper that they haven't had the chance to get rusty, and that the Rockies won't have faced live pitching in quite a while. I know the Rockies have had incredible momentum, but the long lay off has to play havoc with that "mojo." And as I told one of my students yesterday, the thing about winning streaks is that they always come to an end sometime. Let's hope that happens tomorrow night!

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Still sinking in...


Getty images

I'll post more later, but all that is important is this: THE RED SOX ARE THE AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!!!

Jonathan Papelbon is the best thing to happen to this team since Kevin Millar. Well, except that Pap is leap years ahead of old Kev on the field! Everybody riverdance!!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gettin closer to game time!

I just had to post this photo from my buddy Kelly:

This afternoon, ESPN Classic has been running the best World Series comeback games, and of course they ran Game 6 of the 1975 Series, the game that ended with Carlton Fisk's 12th inning home run off the left field foul pole. What a classic. I remember my mother allowing me to stay up just until the end of the inning - it was a school night, after all. Pudge was my very favorite player, so that home run sent me into a frenzy. The foul pole in left has been renamed the Fisk Pole - but the original is preserved in the private box area of Fenway:
But my other favorite on that team was Dwight Evans. Dewey. What an arm - he fired that ball in from right. Guns. And he has aged ssoo well - check out that picture!

Channeling some 1975 magic, I hope!!

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ALCS Game 6

I'm still totally stoked about last night's game! The Sox won, 12-2 (!) and evened up the best of seven series at 3 games each. A victory tonight puts them in the World Series. It's too much to even dream about...

The Sox are definitely calling on the 2004 Mojo. The first pitch last night was thrown out by past fan favorite, Billy "The Pro" Mueller. Mueller got the single that scored Dave Roberts in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, after "the steal." Looks like retirement agrees with him.

Boston Globe photo.

And tonight, our old buddy Kevin Millar is throwing the first pitch. Of course, FOX won't show it - we'll have to read about it in tomorrow's paper.

Last night's long overdue hero: JD Drew!
Globe photo (Jim Davis)
Drew gets some flack for being cool and unemotional - which can come across as apathy. That guy in the photo sure doesn't look like he doesn't care. Drew had just hit a grand slam home run in the first inning - and it gave the team a major emotional boost. All Schilling had to do was put it on cruise control, which he did. Not a lights-out performance, but sufficient.

And speaking of a sufficient pitching job:

Globe photo
Eric Gagne came in in the 9th - and closed out the victory. He pitched well - I think it was the first 1-2-3 inning he's ever pitched for us. I'm not sure if he should have a place on the WS roster, if it comes to that, but...

So, tonight game 7. We've got Matsuzaka on the mound, and I'm nervous. I don't think he's shown us yet what he's capable of, and I hope we'll see something "special" (to quote Schill) tonight. One writer pointed out that with the performances of Lugo, Drew and Gagne last night, it was like Theo's revenge - it's like they were showing us that Theo knows what he's doing. That could continue tonight with a good outing from Daisuke - show the world that he was worth every yen.

I just hope that, comes the end of the 9th inning, we see another scene like this on the field:

Photo by sitting still

One thing missing from the 2004 season was a chance to clinch at home. We came back to beat the Yankees - but had to celebrate on the field at Yankee Stadium. We swept the Cardinals in the Series - but had to celebrate on the field at Busch Stadium. How sweet would it be to win tonight, and get a chance to celebrate on the field at Fenway Park. In front of the adoring, insane nutjobs that make up Red Sox Nation. Please, please, please....

Go Red Sox!!

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Game on

I'm drawing on RS tradition - hoping the spirit of Teddy Ballgame is with us tonight. And let's celebrate with a glass of ...

And Bill Mueller to throw out first pitch tonight!!

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Big Game tonight!

"Kind of the motto in the clubhouse right now is, 'It's better to die on your feet than live on your knees.'" --Josh Beckett

So tonight is Game 6 of the American League Champtionship series. So many incredible story lines - you've got Curt Schilling pitching another key game 6. How can we forget the bloody sock of 2004? That was a game 6 too. Schilling will be a free agent at the end of the season - this could be his last game in a Red Sox uniform. Same for Mikey Lowell - I sure hope we haven't seen the last of him at Fenway. They're bringing in Bill Mueller to throw out the first pitch - he got the hit that scored Dave Roberts to tie the Yankees in that game 6. And Lucchino has asked all the fans to wear red to the game tonight - we don't need no stinkin' rally towels!

And for further motivation, here's Kevin Millar's words of wisdom from before Game 5:

Go Red Sox!!!

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Friday, October 19, 2007

ALCS Game 5

Boston Globe photo

It's been a while - well, almost exactly 3 years - since I've had a morning like this. Stumbling out of bed after only 4 hours sleep, forcing myself through my morning workout, arriving at work and realizing you don't remember the drive in, mainlining caffeine... Yes, it's Red Sox playoff time!

What a great feeling! The Sox pulled off a total beat-down of the Indians last night - starting with Kevin Youkilis' first inning home run off their ace, CC Sabathia, and continuing through Josh Beckett's awesome 8 innings. He had 11 strike outs, one earned run. And he totally dominated a very dangerous Indians lineup. And the bats finally woke up - Josh got the kind of run support that makes a game like this look easy.

A couple of interesting moments along the way, though. Beckett and Lofton had a showdown - no punches thrown, but the benches did clear. The home plate umpire was pretty funny - they had him miked up, and he just kept standing in front of Beckett saying, Not a word, Josh, not a word. Then he told the relief pitchers to head back to the Bull Pen, telling them it was a good opportunity to get in some sprints.

The Indians tried a little gamesmanship - the national anthem was sung by one of Beckett's ex-girlfriends. That apparently got the team pretty fired up! Asked about it in his post-game presser, Josh had a few great profanities to express his opinion!

And Manny of course offered the haters something to complain about - not sliding into home on a throw from right field; not running out what looked to be a double... But I love that guy. He plays with the abandon of a puppy - he clearly loves the game, loves playing, and just lives in that moment. When he said that once the game ended and life went on, he was just embodying the view we try to tell our kids - enjoy the game, play with all your heart, leave everything on the field, and then go on to the next game.

And speaking of the next game - it's back to Boston for games 6 & 7, Saturday and Sunday evenings. We've gained back the "home field advantage" - and when that home field is Fenway Park, you've got to think we hold a slight advantage.

Go Sox!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Do or Die

So, tonight. Game 5 of the ALCS. We're down 1-3. If we lose, we go home and the season is over. If we win, the boys return to Boston for more baseball.

I'm not ready for baseball to be over. April seems like a long time ago, and there have been so many ups and downs over the course of the 162 games. Some great moments, too.

But I'm talking like it's over. There's plenty of time for rehashing the season - hopefully, around the 1st of November during a parade.

Tonight: BECKETT!! Our ace takes the mound, with the season on the line. He's the guy to do it! However, he can't do it alone. He needs the offense to produce. First, the "table setters" have to do their job - Pedroia, Youkilis and the bottom 3 in the order need to come up big. Manny, Big Papi and Lowell can't do it all. We need to make Sabathia pitch - none of this swinging on the first pitch crap. They've got to be patient!


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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ALCS Games 3 & 4


This scene of the RS dugout during last night's Game 4 of the ALCS just about sums up how things have gone in Cleveland. It hasn't been pretty, to the point that I'd already repressed all memories of Monday night's game, and had to go back and re-read the recap on redsox.com Not fun.

Monday, Daisuke Matsuzaka could only go 4.2 innings, and the Sox bats were basically dead. The highlight offensively for the Sox was Jason Varitek's two run homer in the 7th, but it was not enough. The Sox lost 4-2 The dead bats have lead to too many double plays, and on Monday one of those DPs came with the bases loaded. Crushing.

So, with the Indians leading the series 2-1, last night's game was big. Okay, not a do-or-die game (that will happen tomorrow night :( ) , but it would have tied the series and ensured a return trip to Fenway. Instead, the pitching and offense again proved mediocre. Actually, after a 16 day rest, Tim Wakefield gave us some pretty good innings. He had a no-hitter going until the 4th, and the knuckleball really seemed to be fluttering and confusing the young Indians batters. But then came the bottom of the 5th - and inning that seems to sum up the series. A lead-off homer to Casey Blake (who has the best beard in baseball, IMHO). Some defensive boo-boos, including a wild stab by Wake that bounced off his glove and killed what looked to be a sure double play. Suddenly, the knuckleballer had crossed over into ineffectiveness. I give Francona credit for the quick hook - and in came the usually reliable Manny Del Carmen. Unfortunately, not so reliable. He gave up a 3 run homer to the man with the horribly spelled name, Jhonny Peralta - and suddenly it was 7-0. Ugly.

The bright spot was the first signs of life for our bats in the top of the 6th. Back-to-back-to-back homeruns by Youkilis, Ortiz and Ramirez seemed to signal a momentum shift in our favor - but it was not to be. That was it, and the Sox went down 7-3.

There was lots of talk yesterday about whether Francona should have skipped Wake and gone straight to the ace, Beckett - have him pitch on short rest. But Tito opted for Wake - and that decision seemed the right one for the first four innings. But...there will a lot of second-guessing and armchair managing going on today in RS Nation.

But now we do have a fully rested Beckett on the mound tomorrow night for the pivotal game. We lose, we go home...We win, WE GO HOME! Fenway hasn't been kind to our opponents in the post-season. I said a week ago that Joshua Patrick would get us to the promised land of the World Series, so let's hope he gets something started for us Thursday night.

Keep the faith! Go Sox!

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Review: Elizabeth: the Golden Age

A friend and regular reader of this blog recently commented to me that although they enjoy my reviews, I seem to like every single movie I see - they couldn't tell if I truly loved a movie or was merely luke-warm.

The reality is that I usually like EVERY movie I see. I guess it goes back to my awkward teen years - movies were my escape from my dull, everyday existence. In the confines of the movie theater, I could travel the world, meet interesting people, gaze upon beautiful men... And even now, that two hours in the theater is often the bright spot in my week, a chance to dream like I did when I was so much younger. I'd be hard pressed to tell you a movie I truly hated of late....let me work on that. In the meantime...

Today I saw Elizabeth: the Golden Age, a sequel to the 1998 film Elizabeth which first introduced the world to Cate Blanchette. She really has the character of England's first Queen Elizabeth down. She is exactly how I would envision her - and I've read a lot about Good Queen Bess (another hero of mine). Tough, strong, some feelings of doubt, a weakness for pretty men...

The plot is centered on Bess in her early 50s. Really beyond the "marriageable" age, but still being shopped around to various heads of state. There is the threat of Mary Queen of Scots - cousin to the Queen, next in line to the throne, and who has an enthusiastic following among the Catholics in England. Another fan: Phillip II of Spain, who still believes he can gain control of England. The various plot twists lead up to the disastrous attempt by Spain to invade with their Armada, which ended in a decisive English victory, and the beginnings of their Empire.

The soap opera-ish subplot deals with Elizabeth's infatuation with Sir Walter Raleigh, all of which is pretty much fictitious. Even as Bess becomes obsessed with him, he turns his eye to her ward and lady-in-waiting, Bess Throckmorton. It's a somewhat boring subplot, but it does allow one to enjoy this:

Yum. Clive Owen as Walter Raleigh. Lots of glamour shots of ol' Clive - as a matter of fact, there are a lot of "money" shots - Elizabeth standing on the cliffs of Dover, her gown wafting behind her in the wind, Clive hanging off of his ship's rigging, softly lit...

The costumes are fantastic! It's interesting how they match up the colors of the Queen and Bess until they start to drift apart - then the colors shift. In the beginning, Elizabeth wears bright, shiny colors - then as war clouds gather, her colors get darker and darker. The CGI effects are phenomenal, also. The shots of the Armada moving towards England are "way cool."

So, an enjoyable costume drama. Good performances. Compelling storyline. Do I recommend? Yes!


Sunday, October 14, 2007

ALCS Game 2

Photo by Elise Amendola

The tail feathers are definitely dragging this morning. Last night was Game 2 of the American League Championship series. Thanks to FOX, the first pitch wasn't until 8:23 pm - and the final out was made 5 hours and 14 minutes later, at 1:37 AM! It was a very exciting game - the lead went back and forth and back and forth, until the game was tied at 6 at the end of the 9th. Extra innings! And then the world spun off its axis. Tito brought in Eric Gagne (or, perhaps Gagme is more appropriate) - and that was it. The Indians scored 7 runs in the top of the 11th - game over. At the end, there wasn't a single pitcher left in the bull pen, and we find ourselves tied with the Indians in the series, one game each.

I admit, Friday morning if you'd told me we'd get a split out of the first two games, I would have been satisfied. But after the huge win Friday night, I got greedy. Why couldn't we get the 2nd game - and the next two after, for that matter. And to lose in such a cardiac-inducing game, with such emotional highs and lows...

But, day off today, and back at it - in Cleveland - Monday night. Thank heavens the game starts at 7pm - that extra hour makes a huge difference in the amount of sleep I get before a full day of work!

At least, maybe now, the Sox will give up on Gagne. I had such high hopes for him at the time of the trade. We really felt he was what we needed to put us over the top, that he would be a key player in October. Oh, wait, he HAS been a huge factor in the post-season - but not for positive reasons and not to our benefit. Yeah, maybe Tavarez might not have saved us. But I feel a lot more comfortable putting the game into the hands of Tavarez or Snyder.

Last night's big hero - old Trot Nixon.

Getty Images

Trot, you are dead to me now, man.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Big Daddy Schilling

(I think this is a Globe photo, but not quite sure)

Tonight, Curt "Big Daddy" Schilling takes the mound for Game 2 of the ALCS. He may not be the pitcher he was in 2004, but he is still one of the best big game pitchers in either league. His performance against the Angels was masterful. I love his line that he has to be like a sniper, picking his targets and executing against them. I hope we see that guy tonight - and that our offense continues their carnage!

Go Sox!

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ALCS Game 1

So, Beckett settled down after a first inning homerun to "Pronk" - a really strong outing. On the other hand, Sabathia = not quite so good. The combination of Ortiz and Ramirez were on base all ten times they came to the plate - a new record. Mikey and Manny each had 3 RBIs - and a Lowell's postgame interview was muy sexy! SIGN HIM NOW!!

The Red Sox ended wtih 10 runs, 12 hits. Beckett: 6 innings pitched, 7 strike outs, 0 walks, and 2 earned runs. He only threw 80 pitches - but I'm not sure that makes him eligible to pitch game 4. I guess that decision depends on how the next three games go. I like the RS focus on each game, one at a time. I'm a big believer in just focusing on the small steps you need to take to reach your goal. It's the reason I was successful at Weight Watchers - I never tried to look at the "big" picture - at how far I had to go to reach my goal weight. Instead, I marked the small milestones - my first five pounds, when I lost ten percent of my starting weight, on being able to wear clothes that hadn't fit when I started. Those small steps led me down the path to success - and that's the philosophy the RS seem to have adopted. Just concentrate on this pitch, this out, this half-inning...and they'll add up to victory.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Go Beckett!

Okay, Joshua Patrick, get us started on the road to the World Series!

(Photo stolen from someplace...)

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Review: Becoming Jane

I admit to being a big fan of Jane Austen - although, like Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, it took some time for her to grow on me. My introduction to her came in a British Literature class in high school, where we were force-fed Pride and Prejudice. I did not care for it - and, must admit, I read the Clifs Notes instead of the novel itself. Ah, youth. In college, as an English lit major, I couldn't fall back on old Clifs, and instead resigned myself to reading the actual novel. This time, however, I was enchanted from the opening paragraph. Did I need more experience in life to appreciate her observations, or did I require a little more maturity? Not sure, but from there I went on to read the rest of her oeuvre - all six novels!

As a result, I have a soft spot in my heart for the film adaptations of her works. How many times have I sat through the six hours of the 1995 P&P miniseries with Colin Firth? (Okay, not such a chore!) How many times have a chuckled over "modern" retellings of her novels (Bridget Jones - Clueless) So, I was pleased to discover Becoming Jane was playing in town - and set out yesterday to see it.

First, I must comment on the crowd. A Thursday afternoon matinee showing I thought would be to a nearly empty theater - instead, there was a half-full house. Could have been a school group. But also, senior citizen types - some of whom appeared to be on dates! I was especially amused by the two women behind me, who appeared to be much younger than me. They were apparently shocked several times. In one scene, the two young male protagonists run down to the river after a cricket match, shedding their clothes and jumping into the water. The camera lingered over their naked backsides - and both women gasped loudly!

But on to the film. Being familiar with the life of Miss Austen, I knew that she never married, and lived a quiet life with her sister, writing. So I knew that the plot - young Jane falls in love with a penniless rogue, while her mother tries to marry her off to the scion of local gentry - would end with her alone. In fact, the screenwriter and director have in some ways used Shakespeare in Love as their model - this failed romance clearly echoes the plot of Pride and Prejudice with Jane Austen herself as the model for Elizabeth. Her early encounters with Mr. Lefroy echo those of Lizzie and Mr Darcy, and one even finds phrases from P&P uttered by characters in the film. So, the suspense element - will they elope? - was removed for me. But not so the women behind me. One commented, "so it was basically a tragedy. She was left alone for the rest of her life." I would argue that there was a happy ending for Jane - she became the writer she so desperately wanted to be, even attaining a small bit of recognition in her lifetime, which was unusual for that era. And, yes, she never married, but don't we all make trade-offs?

It is a pretty film, lovely costumes and locales. Beautifully filmed. And fairly well acted - I always enjoy Anne Hathaway, and she doesn't disappoint here. She and James MacAvoy (best known for The Last King of Scotland) have real chemistry - and he was a very attractive hero. As I said, the story isn't compelling or taxing, doesn't require a lot of work from the viewer.

Would I recommend it? If, like me, you're an Austen fan (and not one who will do a lot of nitpicking on details), you'll enjoy it. If you're looking for a pleasant 90 minutes, go. But, on the whole, I'd say this is a good renter for a cold, snowy winter afternoon - when you could curl up with some cocoa, snuggle under a blanket, and doze during the film - your enjoyment won't suffer by sleeping through portions!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

30 hours

Only 30 hours to go until ALCS Game 1. I'm so ready - I miss baseball! This is shaping up as a great series - same with the National League, for that matter. I for one am relieved we don't have to go through Yankee Stadium to get to the World Series - but I think we'll have a challenge in the Indians. They're a hot young team, with two ace pitchers. But I believe that the Sox are hitting their peak at just the right time.

In July 2006, my annual trip to Fenway involved a series with the Indians. The series featured the famous "Crowmah" game (the Sox were losing badly, and the highlight came in the form of an injured crow that hopped the bases), two walk-off wins, and my first (and only) time to sit in the Monster seats. Oh, and another highlight:

Grady Sizemore....slid into base a little too vigorously. Mmmm.

And here's David Ortiz' walkoff homer - a homer he happened to hit off game two starting pitcher Fausto Carmona. I sure hope this is an omen of good things to come!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Counting the hours

Globe photo by Bill Greene

Yum. Uh, excuse me.

Yes, I am ready for baseball. I hate that we've had all these days off. I want the carnage to start! The game is set for Friday night, 8pm, at Fenway. And it's only Wednesday!!!

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A new day dawns

(Photo by T. Green)

It's morning again in America. Today more men and women will go to work with a lighter heart than ever before in our country's history. With the elimination of the Yankees from the playoffs, we're seeing the end of a dynasty, the fall of an empire, and the rise of a new era. With the fate of Joe Torre all but sealed in the Bronx, Americans can rejoice in not having to see his mournful visage on their tvs - nor watch Alex Rodriguez' preening. This Friday afternoon, men and women will turn on their tv sets, and they can look forward with confidence to the future of the Red Sox. It's morning again in America, and under the leadership of Terry Francona, our team is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?

(With apologies to Hal Riney)

Monday, October 08, 2007


Photo from Boston Globe

I guess I'm twisted - but I think this is an incredibly sexy picture....

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dirty Water!

Yeah! The Red Sox swept the Angels, winning today 9-1. A great game for offense - and Curt showed he's still a big game pitcher.

Now on to the American League Championship series - which doesn't start until Friday. Bad news is that it's being carried by FOX - and that means McCarver and Buck...ugh....

ALDS Game 3

Coming up: Game 3 of the Division Series. Curt "Big Daddy" Schilling vs. Jared Weaver. I love this quote from Curt during his press conference yesterday:
“It’s like Josh goes through a lineup with a bazooka for the most part, and Daisuke is like a machine gun and I’ve turned into a guy who has to use a sniper rifle, pick my spots and pick my targets and execute perfectly.”

And this note from the AP:
George Steinbrenner says Joe Torre most likely won't return to the New York Yankees unless they overcome their deficit against the Cleveland Indians and reach the AL championship series.

"His job is on the line," the owner was quoted in Sunday's editions of The Record. "I think we're paying him a lot of money. He's the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series."

Rogah on the mound for the Yanks tonight...

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

ALDS Game 2

The Red Sox won game two of their AL Division Series - on a three run homer by - no, not Oritz - but Manny Ramirez. As soon as the ball left the bat, Manny and everyone watching the game knew it was heading to the Mass Pike.

Reuters Photo

Photo from sittingstill.net

"It feels great," said a buoyant Ramírez. "It's been a long time since I've done something special like that. But I haven't been right all year long. When you don't feel good and still get hits, that's when you know you're a bad man."

Awesome! Red Sox now up 2-0 - and heading to Anaheim for game 3. The final game of the series, I hope. "Big Daddy Schilling" on the mound - and tons of mementum!

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Photo by Kelly

Fantastic article in today's Globe about the man pictured above, Mike Lowell. Jackie MacMullan has really captured Lowell, talking about his battle with cancer, his childhood flight from Cuba, and his years in Boston. I really hope the PTB get this guy a contract!

And as I write this, it's the 7th inning. Sox up 4-0 - and Joshua Patrick Beckett is making a real case for Cy Young. Awesome!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Playoff Roster

According to the Boston Globe, here's the Red Sox roster for the ALDS:


Jason Varitek
Kevin Youkilis
Dustin Pedroia
Julio Lugo
Mike Lowell
J.D. Drew
Coco Crisp
Manny Ramirez
David Ortiz


Eric Hinske
Alex Cora
Jacoby Ellsbury
Bobby Kielty
Doug Mirabelli
Kevin Cash


Josh Beckett
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Curt Schilling
Jon Lester
Jonathan Papelbon
Eric Gagne
Hideki Okajima
Mike Timlin
Manny Delcarmen
Javier Lopez

Wakefield has been left off - he had a cortisone shot on his back. Which makes you wonder why the included three catchers... No Snyder or Tavarez, which is a disappointment. Glad to see Hinske and Ellsbury included.

Go Sox!

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Playoff Schedule

After waiting all day, they finally announced the starting times for the playoff games. The Sox will play:

Wednesday at 6:30 pm
Friday at 8:30 pm
Sunday at 3:00 pm

From my selfish viewpoint, good times. I teach a class on Wednesdays at 5pm - this will give me just enough time to get home and tune in! Friday - well, might have to have a little nap....

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