Thursday, May 29, 2008


Okay, so not really. But I couldn't be more excited if I WAS on "The View"! I'm headed to Baltimore (Balmur) tomorrow morning for the first three games of the Red Sox series vs. the Orioles. The weather looks good - only slightly threatening day is Saturday, and the Sunday afternoon game looks to be in the 80s and sunny. (Yes, I've got the #30 sunscreen packed). We're doing the tour of Camden Yards Saturday, and I hope to see Edgar Allan Poe's Grave and the Babe Ruth Museum. And drink some beer. And eat some of Boog's BBQ (and see Boog Powell!) And see some great baseball. I'd really like to see this:

Reuters Photo
Here's Manny hitting #499 Tuesday. The stars would appear to be aligned for him on Friday: He's been hitting well, it's his birthday, and he's expressed a wish to hit #500 away from Fenway. So I HOPE we'll be seeing this scene Friday night. Imagine being present at such an historical moment. A player's 500th career homerun. A sure ticket to Cooperstown. And I MIGHT be there to snap a photo of it!! Woot!

Expect reports on Monday!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

2 days!

2 days until the Baltimore Road Trip! Yeah!

Can you tell I'm getting excited?!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cool stuff

Thanks to Tex for a heads up to this cool site. It's filled with graphic designs by Chris Speakman, and I love his artwork! He was commissioned by Dunkin Donuts to do some free posters - guess I'll miss out on those - but he will be releasing some new posters soon. I particularly like this one of Mikey!


Countdown is three!

Only three days until Kyle's Angels hit Baltimore! Watch out, Charm City!

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Monday, May 26, 2008

In remembrance and with thanks

For all who have given their lives in defense of our country.....

For all who have given of their lives in defense of our country....

Thank you.


4 days!

Only 4 days until my first live Red Sox game of the year! I'm getting excited. I dug around yesterday, and unearthed my Millar jersey - gotta wear that. And found my scorebook from last year's road trip. It's only 1/2 full, so I'm going to use it for my one dozen games this year!

Next up: checking camera batteries, charging up the battery pack on my BIG camera, and checking my sunscreen supply!

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Review: Prince Caspian

Today I saw the second movie in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series: Prince Caspian.

I did watch the first film last night, so that the story would be fresh in my mind for the sequel. But, really, the sequel isn't too confusing. If you saw the first one, you'll quickly remember the plot: four British children during WWII are transported to the magical land of Narnia, where they help save the land from the White Witch. In the next chapter, it is one year later - in England. In Narnia, 1300 years have passed, and Narnia is now under the control of the neighboring kingdom Telmarin. The young prince escapes his treacherous uncle, and enlists the aid of the Narnians to recover his throne. In desperation, Caspian blows a magical horn, and the four children are transported from the London Underground back to Narnia, and the "ancient kings and queens" aid Caspian.

The four young leads have clearly been taking some acting lessons since the first film; they were quite effective. The actor playing Edmond is the strongest. And when did Peter get to be such a hottie? The same for the young actor playing Caspian - quite easy on the eyes. And the supporting cast of humans and non-humans all contribute well.

The special effects are terrific - really advancing the story. And the story itself was good - darker than the first film but still fun - and poignant at times.

A good popcorn film. Fun, touching, eye candy....what more could you want from a summer film?

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Weekly Hydrangea update

Here's how my hydrangea's are looking this week. Look at all those buds!

Although I prefer the blue hydrangeas - and put chemicals into the soil to attain them - I do like the occasional pink as contrast


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Smilin' Mike

Globe Photo by John Bohn

The Red Sox beat the KC Royals today, a four-game sweep of the series. This on the heels of a three game sweep of the Brewers. The Sox have won 7 in a row, and finished the home stand 7-0.

The highlight of the game was two Grand Slam homeruns! JD Drew hit one in the second, and Mike Lowell hit another in the 6th. As you can see, Mike was pretty pleased with the results! Unbelievably, Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up 6 walks (he now leads the AL in that category!) but also had 7 strikeouts (and he leads the AL in that category, too!) He's now 8-0 - and the Sox have won every one of his starts. His hot start feels so different from Josh Beckett's 9-0 start last year. Josh simply dominated every one of those outings. Matsuzaka isn't dominating - yet he does manage to get himself out of every jam. Plus he's been fortunate with his run support.

So the Sox are now off to the West Coast. A ten day road trip thru California and Washington State, and ending with those games in Baltimore!!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

9 days!

Only 9 days until I can see a live baseball game! And not just any game. I'm heading for Baltimore, for three games at Camden Yards. Orioles vs. the Red Sox! I'm getting excited!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yeah Tek!

Getty Images photo

Certainly not overlooked last night, but also worth celebrating, was the role played by Jason Varitek in the no-hitter. Tek became the first catcher in ML history (!) to catch FOUR no-hitters! Yes, no-hitters are a lot of luck, and some breaks. But you've got to think that Tek's calling of the game played a big part in those games.

Just remember: Schilling and Pedro almost had no-hitters, too - but they shook off a sign from Tek in the 9th inning that led to a hit.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Yeah Jon!

Getty Images/Jim Rogash

More later - but Jon Lester pitched a no-hitter tonight at Fenway Park!! That's two no-hitters by our young pups in the past 8 months! Yeah!!!

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Two other old favs

Forgive me if I go all fan-girly here for this post. But I had some updates on two of my past favorites!

First - Gabe Kapler returns to Fenway Park tonight!
Last year at this time, Gabe had retired from active playing, and was managing the Red Sox' single-A affiliate, The Greenville Drive. I hear he did a great job over there, but apparently his heart was still on the playing field. He decided this spring to give it another try, and landed on the Milwaukee Brewers. He got a lot of playing time when Mike Cameron was unable to play due to taking steroids, and really played well. Unfortunately, Cameron served his suspension and is back playing full-time. Which means, Gabe is "riding the pine" (as I'm sure Hazel Mae would put it). Still, it'll be great to see him!

And this even more exciting news: Mark Bellhorn is back playing baseball! Yes, he has just been added to the roster of the Jacksonville Suns, the double-A affiliate of the LA Dodgers. He's actually one of the oldest guys on the team (the other? Tanyon Sturtz!) - so he's looking like the stereotypical older minor league player. The guy who had a short run in the "show," and isn't willing to quit baseball as long as someone is willing to pay him. So he hops on the bus every night, perhaps hoping to recapture some of the magic that propelled him to the Majors in the first place.

The good thing for me? Jacksonville is part of the Southern League, to which our local affiliate of the Reds (the Chattanooga Lookouts) also belong. The Suns will visit the Scenic City in mid-August for FIVE games!! Five opportunities to see the Bell in action - if he's still with them. Yahoo!

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

I miss Millar

This video is mesmerizing:

I know he's not a great 1st baseman - and I certainly WAY prefer Youks at that position. Still, I miss Kevin Millar's clubhouse presence. He's the best cheerleader any team could have. Watching Manny give it to him last night after his awesome catch brought back such memories!

And that Adam Loewen - playing the keyboards on that clip - looks like he's having way too much fun!

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The Manny Video

Here's the video of Manny Awesome Catch:

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Manny is Awesome!

AP Photo
I am not going to dwell on the fact that the Sox have lost 5 out of the last 6. That they went 4-6 on this road trip. That they had and lost the lead in the past four games. That our reliable bats have failed us. That our starting pitchers look horrible.

No, I choose to focus on the fantastic play Manny Ramirez made in the bottom of the 4th inning in today's game. One out, man on 1st, our old friend Kevin Millar at the plate. Kev hits a long shot toward left field. Manny chases it down, grabbing in over the shoulder. His momentum carried him up to the wall, which he bounced off of. But has he bounced, he high-fived a fan in the front row! THEN, he comes down to earth, spins and throws it in. Caught by Pedroia who relayed it to first to get the base runner. Score that a 7-4-3 double play - and an outfield assist for Manny.

This has to be one of my favorite Manny-Being-Manny moments. I love Manny. Hopefully, he hits homeruns 499 & 500 this weekend, at home, at Fenway, so that RS Nation can cover him with praise!

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Bon Voyage

I have some friends who are taking off for a few days of drunken debauchery in Boston this weekend. Yes, I'm incredibly jealous - but my turn will come in two weeks!

In honor of the SG palooza, here are two of my favorite Boston-themed songs:

Of course, "I'm Shipping up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys (Also known as Papelbon's Theme) --

And this lovely ballad by Augustana - Boston

Have a safe trip, SGers!

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Monday, May 12, 2008

A flowery spring

I really like having blooming things in my yard. I do not like having to do any work to accomplish this, however. So I love flowery things that come back every year all on their own. Things I don't even have to prune in the winter if I don't feel like it.

Here's proof that my system works! Above is my clematis - it's the third year it has bloomed after my benign neglect. And here is

my baby! My hydrangea! All I have done to it this year is dose it with some kind of chemical that makes the blooms blue. All those light green things you see are blossoms - it is going to be gorgeous this year!

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Review: Iron Man

I haven't been to a movie at the theater in several weeks - I was almost going through withdrawal. But today I caught the hottest movie of the 2008 movie year, "Iron Man."

Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark, one of the world's biggest manufacturer of weapons. On a sales trip to Afghanistan, he is injured and taken hostage by some Afghani militants. Ordered to build a weapon for them, he instead builds an armored body for himself, which he uses to escape his captivity. Back in "civilization," he decides to stop building weapons and concentrate on improving life on the planet. He builds a new version of his Iron Man suit, and sets out to save the world from his crazy partner, Obadiah Stone (Jeff Bridges).

Downey (who I have a soft spot for!) was really terrific in the role. I think the fact that Iron Man has no "super powers" - everything comes from the suit he's built - makes him more compelling and certainly more interesting. Jeff Bridges is fantastic as the evil Obadiah, and Terrence Howard provides able support. A lot has been written about Gwyneth Paltrow's role as gal Friday, Pepper Potts. She's very understated, yet compelling. It's the first part I've seen her in recently that I really enjoyed.

Yes, a fun popcorn movie. Great special effects, good segments of non-stop action. But what elevates it is the wonderful character portrait by Downey. His Stark is human, flawed, heroic, and compelling. All of the other actors are good, but Downey makes it a good flick!

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Friday, May 09, 2008


AP Photo by Duane Burleson

Man, Kevin Youkilis has been on a tear this past week. He four home runs during the four game series with Detroit (two in one game), and his offense has been incredible. Not too many walks for the Greek God of... Throw in his always reliable defense at first base, and you know that Billie Beane is crying himself to sleep every night. Aren't you glad young Theo couldn't be convinced to trade for him?!

It's strange to think that this is the last time we'll play the Tigers this year (unless we meet up with them in post-season play). I'm afraid that they looked so good on paper at the start of the year - but they haven't shown it on the field. I know that they will eventually come to life - and it's unfortunate that we won't be able to test ourselves against them as they improve. Those MLB schedule makers are so weird.

Tonight, it's the first of three against the Twins in the Homerdome. One bad note: ESPN has picked up Sunday's game, so it won't start til 8pm. Better try to work that nap in Sunday afternoon!

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Says it all! Here's the original


File photo
When Tim Wakefield has his knuckleball going, it is an awesome sight. Just look at how delicately he holds that ball - like he's just pushing it toward the plate. And last night, he definitely had it going on! At one point, he retired 17 batters in a row. He didn't issue a single walk, and had 6 strikeouts. He only threw 98 pitches in 8 innings of shutout pitching. Wow. He probably could have pitched a complete game, but I guess Timlin needed some work - he finished up the shutout in the 9th. This interesting tidbit from Gordon Edes:
Research by the Elias Sports Bureau indicates that last night marked the first time since 1900 a team pitched a shutout using multiple pitchers all over the age of 40.
[Does the Elias Sports Bureau just sit around waiting for these calls? Do they have these stats just readily available?]

Oh, and Manny hit #497! Yeah!

AP Photo - Paul Sancya

Tonight it's the third game of this four game series. Buchholz is "on the bump" - and the Tigers have Galarraga going. We haven't had much luck against him, but...

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Walk hard

Just do it! I felt this many, many times last night. The "it" was throw a strike!! 8 walks?? And yet Daisuke still pulls out the win. Unbelievable. I kept thinking that all those walk were going to come back to haunt us, but our defense pulled out some great outs, and the offense was hot! Ortiz with a homer, Youk with a homer, and Lowell with a homerun! (Timely: his autobiography came out today. Title: Deep Drive!)

Tonight, Wakefield is pitching really well. It's the 8th inning, and we're ahead 5-0. Manny hit home run #497 (!), going back-to-back with Papi. Yeah! And at last check, we are in 1st place in the AL East by 3 1/2 games! Yeah!

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Another Fenway tune

I found this song by Marie Digby today (via Red Sox Monster - great blog!). I think it's a neat little tune:

And happy 4th birthday to Surviving Grady - my #1 favorite spot on the net!

Sox are on to Detroit for 4 games - their only visit to Tiger Stadium this year. Go Sox - let's keep those winning ways going.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

The bats - they are alive!

AP Photo by Charles Townson

Manny Ramirez gets a lot of crap - mostly from tv commentators and not fans - about his defensive play. He's playing too shallow, he's lackadaisical, he loses focus, he can't throw, blah, blah, blah.

The reality is = Manny is a pretty decent left fielder, and last night we saw some of that brilliance. He grabbed a wall-ball and threw out a runner at home - no cut-off man, just a straight bullet. Tek applied a fantastic tag, and a run was saved. Here he is celebrating with one of the biggest cheerleaders on the team, Julio Lugo. (And you can say what you will about Lugo's lame offense and somewhat erratic defense, but he sure is an enthusiastic member of the team)

Meanwhile, the Sox bats awoke with a vengeance. Pedroia had his second consecutive three-hit game, and Papi had three hits as well. Every Sox that came to bat got a hit. Final: 12-5.

And we now lead the AL East by 2 games.

Now joining the MASH unit now, though, is Brandon Moss, who had an emergency appendectomy during the game last night. (At the hospital, not in the clubhouse!) Amazing that the symptoms started to manifest during Friday's game, yet he managed a home run and a couple of great catches. The birth of a new dirt dog?

Today, the return of Rays ace Scott Kazmir. Hopefully he's still rusty from his time on the DL; we'll need to capitalize early!

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sox 7, Rain 2 hours 30 minutes

AP Photo - Charles Krupa

Okay, I must admit, I couldn't stay awake for last night's game. A two-and-one-half-hour rain delay meant at 9:30 start...way too late for the old lady librarian. And I had to proctor SATs this morning so...

I did leave the tv on as I dozed off, and awoke for the 4th (?) when the Sox blew it open. Still no more homers for Manny, but the Sox bats sure woke up! Sox beat Tampa 7-3. Nice pitching performance from Clay Buchholz - but we're almost coming to expect that from our starting pitchers.

Tonight it's Josh Beckett. I get such joy from watching him work. I'm hoping for a three-game sweep, as payback for last weekend!


Friday, May 02, 2008

Rain Delay

An old picture, but I think it captures how we all feel during a rain delay. The 7:05 pm start tonight is already two hours past. They're saying perhaps a 9:30 start. Not sure if I'll make it up....

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Ridiculous pitching

AP Photo by Charles Krupa

Ridiculous. That's how I describe the pitching we've been seeing this past week. The opposing pitchers have all pitched like aces - I keep thinking that, eventually, we have to go up against a number five starter. Instead, each pitcher has pitched a real gem.

Which isn't to say that our pitching hasn't been good, too. We've had a run of great performances that ended in either a loss or a no decision. Buchholz, Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka - even, to some extent, Wakefield last night. The Globe: "Sox pitchers have made five straight starts of at least seven innings, allowing three or less runs each time." They've more than matched up to the opposition.

The fault, I'm afraid, lies with our offense. The Sox have a reputation for winning games based on the strength of our bats, not our pitching. And although the pitchers have done their part this week, the offense has not. It's actually kind of amazing that we have scored only 4 runs in the past five games. That's not going to keep you atop the AL East for very long.

The good news is that the (Devil) Rays arrive in town tonight for a three-game series. Hopefully, the RS have revenge in mind after the swept us last weekend. To do that, we need those bats to come to life!


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Another cliff hanger!

Winslow Townson
Another night, another cliffhanger ending for the Sox and Blue Jays. Tuesday night, it was Kevin Youkilis who drove in David Ortiz for the game winning run. Last night, it was the Captain - Jason Varitek - who hit a single and scored Manny Ramirez. Both happened in the bottom of the ninth - and it's the 8th last-at-bat win for the Sox this season. [And I'm sorry, Tek, that I doubted you. When you stepped to the plate, I had a K ready to put on your batting line! Oops]

The bats have been pretty dead during the past weeks, but our pitching? Outstanding. Even in our losses, we've seen some gems - both from the Red Sox and the opposition. Can we keep it up?

From Gordon Edes:

How about the pressure facing Tim Wakefield, who takes the mound tonight against the Blue Jays after a bedazzling conga line of high-stepping Sox starters?

The last four pitchers to start for the Sox have taken a one-hitter into the eighth (Clay Buchholz), struck out a career-high 13 (Josh Beckett), pitched eight scoreless innings of one-hit ball (Jon Lester), and pitched seven shutout innings of two-hit ball (Daisuke Matsuzaka last night). You have to go back 11 years to find the last time four consecutive Sox starters went seven or more innings and allowed two or fewer runs.

[PS - Please don't leave us alone with CHB, Gordo]

So tonight, we face the Jays with a chance to sweep them. Sweet payback for their sweep of us in Toronto earlier this season? I hope so! And let's hope to see some dramatics a little earlier in the game - the late heroics make it very difficult to settle down to sleep!

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