Friday, October 31, 2008

Deja vu?

It looks like someone from the New York Times has been reading my blog. Last week (10/23), I wrote about rediscovering "The West Wing." I've been watching each day on Bravo - they're showing the 7th season episodes covering the election of Rep. Matt Santos.

Yesterday, I read the Times, and discover this article: "Following the Script: Obama, McCain and the West Wing." It discusses how that 7th season seems to have predicted this year's presidential race: the veteran Senator taking on the brash, young minority Congressman.

Hmmm.....Sounds familiar, eh?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A good substitute - for now

AP Photo
Well, we won't have a pennant raising at Fenway in the spring of 2009. Tonight, we got a nice substitute. The raising of the Celtics' 17th Championship Banner at the Garden. A lovely salute to that team, and it's appropriate that the key emotional moment was provided by team captain Paul Pierce. His tears of joy reflected his long years of waiting for a decent team to play with, waiting for the Celtics to recapture the magic of the 1980s.

And now the road to a repeat begins!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Daytime TV Discoveries

Through a set of circumstances I don't choose to go into right now, I've been stuck at home for the past two weeks. With little else to do, I've been surveying the landscape of daytime television. On the whole, it's not too bad. Oh, sure, a steady diet of Oprah and Regis will kill many of your brain cells. But I've found several bright spots. TV Land is a great source of nostalgia. I've caught a few episodes of "Third Rock From the Sun," for example, and have been reminded what a funny and imaginative program that was, before it became a parody of itself.

But the best part of this has been my rediscovery of the "West Wing." I was a huge fan of the show in its first few seasons, but somewhere around season four or five I tired of it. I'm not sure why. It's a show that certainly requires you to pay attention, to listen to the political arguments and try to make sense of our present situation. I think I also got tired of the Donna-Josh "will they or won't they" drama...

Bravo is running the series daily from 8:00 to 10:00 am. When I tuned in last week, I realized they were on season six, episodes I hadn't seen. In this season, the Bartlet administration is entering it's last year, and the race is on for his successor. Josh (Bradley Whitford) has gone to work for Rep. Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits), and they are facing off against Senator Vinick (Alan Alda). Each episode seems like a reflection of our current race - the idealistic young politician vs. the aging Senator who truly wants what's best for our country. Even the shows set in the White House reflect our current situation - a President trying to forge his legacy.
Although, face it, George Bush is no Jed Bartlet (unfortunately). It's been so exciting to rediscover this series - it's still thought provoking, honest, and smart.

My other find is the Bonnie Hunt Show.
I've always liked Bonnie. She's made a career of playing the best friend/girlfriend/harried wife, but she never gets lost in the crowd. Her performances are always real. So when I heard she was going to be hosting her own talk show, I was so excited. I never got around to watching it until this past week, and I'm hooked. She's charming, funny, and, well, normal! Right now, she's been raising funds for cancer research - turns out that she once worked as an oncology nurse - by having guests use a sledge hammer to ring the bell. She also has a fireman's pole that she invites her guests to use. What I also like about her is her loyalty to her old friends. She surrounds herself with people she's known since her Second City days, and that chemistry adds a lot to the show.

You can see why she always plays the best friend - because I'd like her to be my best friend!

Of course, there are dark places in the schedule. I can only stand about 5 minutes of "The View" each day. I don't care for Elizabeth's politics and she is a pure mouthpiece for everything the McCain campaign is feeding her - but I feel sorry for her sometimes. How hard must it be to come to work every day and know that those four women are going to attack her. It never gets personal, but it would bum me out to face that every day. I'm sure she's looking forward to the end of the campaign. I also have discovered that you can go years without watching a soap opera, and easily pick up the story within one episode. Luke & Laura, Hope & Bo, Victor & Nikki, etc.

I've also discovered that it IS possible to watch too much ESPN. Last week, while the Sox were still in it, I must have watched every ESPN channel every minute. This week, not so much. As a matter of fact, I didn't remember until nearly 8:45 last night that the World Series had started!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Congratulations to the Rays

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Congratulations to the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays for winning the American League Pennant. Yes, I'm sad the Sox couldn't pull off the victory in game 7 last night, but I have to admit, the Rays had the better team this year. They just looked hungrier this whole series. The Sox were hampered by injuries this year, and the team just looked tired by last night.

But I'm also excited about the way they played this year. What a fantastic season of memories they gave us! From the opening in Japan (who can forget THOSE early mornings!) to Lester's no-hitter - the All-Star game - Manny's 500th - Manny's trade - the arrival of Jason Bay - all those gut-wrenching games in September - battling through injury after injury - and ending with that fantastic, memorable 7-game ALCS. Not to mention, my various road trips around the season with them - Baltimore, Cincinnati, Tampa, Boston. My first in-person Yankees-Red Sox game at Fenway. Wow.

I must admit that, as far as I'm concerned, the season is over now. I don't have much interest in watching the World Series - not a Phillies fan, torn about whether to cheer for the AL representative - and certainly NOT interested in listening to McCarver and Buck for two weeks. I also have real doubts that the Series will be able to capture the excitement and drama of this AL Championship Series. I feel like I've just had a fantastic meal at a gourmet restaurant - I'm satisfied, full, happy. The desserts looked tempting, but it just might push me over the edge into the "I'm-so-full-I-feel-sick" category. Better to wipe your mouth, pay the bill, and push away from the table. Plenty of time later to wish you'd ordered more - you're happy now.

[PS - I posted the above photo for one reason. The fellow in the middle is Matthew Silverman, President of the Rays. Wow!]

Sunday, October 19, 2008

And now game seven

I'm pretty sure this was taken by KellyO

Kelly and I made our first Red Sox road trip in June 2006. We met up in Atlanta for a three game series between the Sox and the Braves, and we were treated to the ML debut of a young pitcher named Jon Lester. The Sox had sent Lester ahead of the team to Atlanta, in the company of their newest acquisition - Josh Beckett. We guessed that the Sox wanted Lester to see how an ace acts, how he preps for a road start, how he handles the life. At the time, we were a little scared for little Lester - we'd heard the stories already about Beckett enjoying la dolce vita in Boston.

Fast forward two years. Lester is now the hot young ace, our go-to guy as Beckett has been convalescing from various stints on the DL. He's learned his lessons well - and survived the many curves he's hit in the road. And tonight, we turn to him to see this season out. To usher us into the World Series.

All the talking heads are saying Lester is "tired." That Papelbon is "too gassed" to play tonight. I've got news for you --- THIS IS IT! IT'S DO OR DIE TONIGHT! You better believe every member of that team is going to leave it all on the field. That they are going to do everything they can to keep playing, to continue on to the final round of the "tournament."

At the risk of tempting the baseball gods, I've got a good feeling....

GO SOX!!!!

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Happily back at the Trop

So, the Sox made it back to the Trop for game 6. Back under the catwalks and the crooked dome - under the big top. They may have "Big Lame" James going for them, but we've got Beckett. And at the risk of calling down the jinxes, I've got a really good feeling about Josh tonight. I think he's going to step it up a notch, and rain down pain on the Rays. As Picard would say, "Make it so"

Now I've got a big decision to make. Thursday night, I shut off my computer and watched the game from bed starting in the 6th. Then came the big turnaround. So here's my dilemma: do I do the same tonight? Maybe, I'll play it by ear and see how it's going...then go to that fallback position if necessary. It KILLS me to miss the patter on SG!

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Friday, October 17, 2008


Photo by Elsa

Wow. Simply wow. What a game. I have to admit, I shut off the computer and crawled into bed at the top of the 6th. I just felt that the Sox' bag of magic tricks was empty. And then came the bottom of the 7th. Before you knew it - it was tied 7-7 in the bottom of the 8th. That's when I knew we were going to pull this one out.


Plenty of time later to think about games 6 and 7. Now, I'm just going to watch a lot of SportsCenter and listen to the experts backpedal on their predictions of the Red Sox' demise. And enjoy every freakin' minute!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Keepin' the Faith...

...although it's not easy. I woke up yesterday morning, resigned. I told myself that it's just not our year. We had a good ride this year - some really fun, exciting, frustrating, heart-breaking, shocking games. I'm glad I got a chance to see these Rays play in person - they are a remarkable team. And they just seem a little more hungry, and certainly more intense, than our guys looked Tuesday night.

But then....

I turn on ESPN2 and hear that Maddon is going to have Scott Kazmir pitch instead. No "Big Game James" to close out the series. Instead, they go with Kaz who has struggled mightily this year.

Damn you, Joe Maddon. You've made me believe and hope again,


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Keep the Faith!


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Monday, October 13, 2008

Game three - a day game!

Here's an Ortiz WalkOff from July 2006. Just for luck. We need Big Papi!

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rant: TBS=Totally Biased Station

AP Photo

So, the story in ALCS game one was pitching. A low scoring pitcher's duel. Pitching = Good. And the story in Game two will also be pitching. Pitching = Bad. Neither team's ace - Scott Kazmir for the Rays and Josh Beckett for the Sox - could hold a lead for their team, and neither lasted more than five innings. It then became a battle of the bullpens - and we were tied until the bottom of the 11th when a rusty Mike Timlin coughed up three walks (one intentional) and a sac fly to lose it.

I choose to focus on the positive, namely that the bats showed some signs of life. Dustin Pedroia had two homers, and the RS had four total. Jason Bay continues to inspire awe - that man wants a championship ring!

But for me the biggest story was the incredible, horrible reporting by the team on TBS. I have never heard such obvious favoritism on a national broadcast. Their play-by-play was what I would have expected to hear on the home feed for Tampa Bay. I thought Chip Caray was going to dance a Papelbonesque jig every time Tampa got a hit - the excitement and raised pitch of his voice was nauseating.

Yes, I realize that the Rays are a very compelling, dramatic story. I know that TBS is hoping for a competitive, exciting seven game series so that they can make lots of money off the advertisers. Still, the Red Sox are due some respect as defending World Series champs. The media has been filled with stories this week comparing us to the Big Bad Wolf to the Rays' Goldilocks, as Bruce Dern to the Rays' John Wayne in The Cowboys. We are out to rain on their parade, they claim. Big Bad Red Sox Nation must be stopped, must be humbled.

How did we go from Cute Underdogs to the Bad Guys? Perhaps we do act a little arrogant at times, when we claim Boston as the center of the sports universe:
(Actually, THEY chose Boston as the best city, but..)

But we spent many years building up to this point. Couldn't we have just one year of respect, of people kissing OUR butts instead of Tampa's. You know that deep in their hearts, the media wants the Red Sox in the Series - the potential ratings on a TB-Phillies match-up is keeping many Fox executives awake at night, I'm sure.

The thing that bothers me most is that the way they spoke last night is typical of a recent trend in America, a trend that is manifesting itself in the political race this year. Instead of building up one side, showing how good they are, we are instead given to a stream of negatives, tearing down the other side in the most viscous manner possible. The GOP isn't giving us reasons to vote FOR Grandpa McCain, they keep giving us reasons NOT to vote for Obama. Instead of focusing on issues - like the economy - they try to distract us with talk about Obama's next door neighbor.

So, instead of further bitching about TBS (as in These Broadcasters Suck), I am going positive. To forget about last night, I went searching thru the DVR and found the 2007 World Series Ring Ceremony. What an incredible day that was back in April - sunny, crisp, the air tinged with nostalgia and the satisfaction that a World Championship brings. Who can forget Big Papi showing off his rings and hugging Johnny Pesky?

Good times. And I refuse to believe that a season that started with the incredible scene of Bill Buckner throwing out the first pitch to Dwight Evans,
a home season that began with Johnny Pesky saying "Play Ball" and that ended with his number 6 being retired - I refuse to believe that a season like that will end in our defeat by the Tampa Bay Manta Rays. That kind of kharma can only result in another appearance in the World Championship.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

One down....

Well, Daisuke got it done for us in a big way! After loading the bases on three walks in the first, we carried a no-hitter into the 7th (thanks, Chip Carey for jinxing that one for us). As usual, it wasn't a stress-free outing - I was on the edge of my seat most of the way. Still, Daisuke and the bullpen got it done, and the Red Sox won 2-0.

I had hoped we could split these first two in Tampa, and the game I most doubted was last night's. I now realize how big that game one victory was. It pretty much takes home field advantage away from the Rays, and sets us up well for the rest of the series. I don't want to be greedy, but taking game two tonight would put us at a huge advantage. And it doesn't hurt that we've got "Commander Kick-Ass" on the mound for us.....

Yes, time for Josh Beckett to retake his rightful place as leader of the free world - er, as Ace of the Staff!

Go Sox

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Manny Rant

Alyssa Milano is not one of my favorites - but I've never vilified her to the extent that others have. Granted, her "Touch" line of clothing is both outrageously expensive and outrageously inappropriate to wear to a baseball game. But, still, good on her for her entrepreneurial attempts.

She is also a huge Dodger fan - at least, the Dodgers seem to make up the majority of her list of ex- and current boyfriends. Her blog over on MLBlogs is rightly very slanted towards her team. Still, I can't let this line from her latest entry pass without comment:
Could you imagine a Dodgers-Red Sox World Series? Torre against his old rivals. Manny against the team still paying his salary and the fans that turned against him. Wow. Emotions will run high.
Whoa. The fans that turned against him??? Well, yeah, maybe we've turned against him NOW. But I for one staunchly defended him all season - even when his behavior was abhorrent and inexcusable. (Check my entry on May 14th for a recent example) Pushing Jack McCormick? Aw, must be a misunderstanding. Refusing to even attempt a swing against Rivera? Aw, he didn't see a pitch he liked. And I was not alone in continuing to defend him. Even up until the day he got traded, most fans were willing to put up with his antics, because he could play.

Or at least, we thought he was playing for us. Sure, his hammy bothered him occasionally, as did his knees, and he needed a day of rest. But, did his flight to LA stop in Lourdes en route? Because he sure has hell has played healthy since he left. Suddenly, he can run out routine grounders? Suddenly, he can talk to the press, mentor younger players, and cure cancer?

Understand this, Alyssa, we did not turn against him. He turned against us. Somewhere along the way, he and that spawn of the devil he calls an agent decided he wanted OUT of Boston. And they conspired to get him out town. I still think Big Bad Bud needs to investigate this - because there was a ton of stuff going on behind this trade. I do not like to wish people ill, but there would be all kinds of justice in him coming back to Fenway in the World Series and truly becoming unable to play. At the very least, the welcome he'll get will be awesome. You think the vitriol spews when ARod steps to the plate? Just wait.

And now to cleanse the palate, I offer this photo from the wonderful

Ahhhh. Much better


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Not on a ledge - yet

It's okay - I planned to work until I was 100 anyway....

Dow plunges 679 to fall to lowest level in 5 years

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Pimping here! My buddy Kelly has some fantastic pictures of the RS victory and celebration Monday night. Have I mentioned before that I am in awe of her talent, her camera, and her accessibility to Fenway? Or maybe I should admit that I am insanely jealous!

Pedroia looks like a rag doll here!

Love Wally greeting all the RS kids - here he's found a friend in JD Drew's son.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Puppet!

Posted by "ragecage" over on SoSH - this is all kinds of awesome!!

I will be sound asleep by 8:30 pm!

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Monday, October 06, 2008


Jim Davis photo
AP Photo

On to Tampa!

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Just do it!

Herald Photo by Nancy Lane

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Red Sox Enemy #1

Photo from

Okay, Red Sox, listen up. You see this guy? It's Mike Napoli. He must be stopped. He's trying to set himself up as some sort of Red Sox killer - and two homers last night are probably making him feel like he's accomplishing this. So, in tonight's game, let's show how we get it done in Fenway. Shut him down.

Oh, and meanwhile, how about a little productive offense? We don't want another jaunt to the left coast after tonight's game. We want those Angels to droop on over to Logan and aviate off into the sunset.

Get 'er done!

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hopefully, not Deja Vu

As I mentioned, my three games at Fenway this summer were a series with the LA Angels. Unfortunately, they swept all three games. Bummer. We lost the third game 9-2, and the same two pitchers are facing each other again tonight: Josh "The Commander" Beckett and Joe Sanders. Beckett just didn't have it that day. Sanders did.
But, Josh is notorious as a Big Game Pitcher. After a little time on the bench with a strained oblique, watching his teammate decisively win games one and two of this series, I suspect Josh can smell the blood in the water. He's got a chance to clinch the first round of the playoffs for the Sox tonight. I think he's up to the task!

Photo by Barry Chin


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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Two down, one to go

Boston Globe photo by Jim Davis

Wow! What an incredible game last night - and here are the three heroes! The Sox blasted out to an early lead (thanks to Jason Bay's three-run homer in the 1st inning, pictured above). Then, the Angels slowly whittled away at that lead, scoring single runs in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th. Suddenly it was 5-5 ( A side note: I must admit, I fell asleep for the 5-8th innings - awoke in time to see Paps record the 3rd out of the 8th. Hey, it was a late start!) Things looked grim. But - these Sox never give up. Papi lead off the 9th with a double; Crisp replaced him on the basepaths; and then JD Drew (on the left, above) connected for a two run homer to center. WOOT! It's now 7-5. Papelbon finished them off in the bottom of the 9th - which included a spectacular catch by Youkilis (in center).

And suddenly, we're up 2-0 in the Division Series. So, too, are the Rays - we can only hope that the White Sox can rally and at least make the Rays work for another victory.

Meanwhile, tomorrow is game 3 for us - and we're back home in Fenway Park. I'm afraid to jinx anything, but I find it hard to believe we can win at least one of the next two. Of course (gamedropping), the only three games I saw at Fenway this year were three losses to - ahem - the LA Angels.'s hoping.

An interesting twist. The Sox have beaten the Angels in three straight post-season series. In1986, the Sox defeated the California Angels. In 2003, we beat the Anaheim Angels. In 2007, we beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Maybe they need to take a page from the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays' playbook and rename themselves yet again?!

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Without a Trace: MLB edition

On tonight's episode: Jack (Anthony LaPaglia) and his team go searching for the California Angels. They were last seen playing competitively in early September, but now the team and its manager (Mike Scioscia) seem to have gone missing. Can Jack find them before it's too late? Forces surrounding them hope not....

But seriously, were these guys separated at birth or what?

Last night's victory was huge. I had a good feeling about Lester all day - just knew he had the moxie to step up and help us get that victory. And the return of JD Drew and Mike Lowell to the lineup (even though they didn't contribute any offense) was a huge morale booster.

Between Lester and a two-run homer by the "new guy" (Jason Bay), the Red Sox were able to continue their streak of ten post-season victories over the Angels. But this series is far from over. Although I think going back to Boston with two wins would be incredible - back to Fenway where we are so hard to beat - I suspect the Angels will be really turning it on Friday night. With Matsuzaka on the mound, it's time to stock up on adult beverages and Maalox.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008


The Sox announced their ALDS roster today - here it is courtesy of the Globe:


Jon Lester (L)
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Josh Beckett

Tim Wakefield
Paul Byrd
Javier Lopez (L)
Manny Delcarmen
Hideki Okajima (L)
Justin Masterson
Jonathan Papelbon


Projected starting lineup
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Jason Bay, LF
Mike Lowell, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Jed Lowrie, SS

Mark Kotsay, IF-OF (L)
Coco Crisp, OF (S)
Sean Casey, 1B (L)
Alex Cora, IF (L)
Kevin Cash, C (R)
David Ross, C (R)

No Timlin...but Wakefield is on there.

The Globe also notes that Mike Lowell and JD Drew are slated to start tonight. Yeah!

Now if I can just stay awake. First pitch is @10:07 pm! Gonna be a long day tomorrow.