Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Review: Slumdog Millionaire

When I walked into the movie theater on Sunday afternoon to see Slumdog Millionaire, I was deliberately ignorant about the film. I knew it was being universally praised by film critics, and that it was raking in the awards. But I didn't want to be colored by those assessments - I wanted to see it fresh.

The trailers and brief reviews I'd allowed myself led me to believe I was walking into the "feel good" film of the year. So I was unprepared for the gritty and grim opening - a young man being tortured in a jail cell. I was apprehensive, but decided to be patient. Thankfully! The story began to unfold: a young man, raised in the slums of Mumbai, is a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." The host cannot understand how a barely literate "slumdog" has reached the highest level and is about to go for the 20 million rupee final prize. His torturers - who are actually policemen - want to know how he knew the answers. Jamal begins to tell his story: each question on the program has a key in his past, and we leap back through his childhood and adolescent as these touchstones are uncovered.

The film is incredibly well cast. Three sets of actors play Jamal, his brother Salim, and their friend (and love interest) Latika, at three stages of their lives. The youngest kids aren't precocious or stiff - they're natural and quite believable. (I understand they actually came from the slums of Mumbai, which is amazing). There is no one in the cast who the average American filmgoer will recognize (I've seen a few "Bollywood" films and still didn't see a familiar face). But this anonymity allows you to focus on the story, to really involve yourself in the lives of these young people.

And it IS a feel good film (I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying there's a happy ending). If you go, be sure to stay for the closing credits, which feature an incredibly infectious song (nominated for an Oscar) - I put it on my iPod last night, and would love to sing along - but I don't know Hindi!

I'm not sure it's THE best film of the year (I haven't seen Milk yet), but it is definitely in my top five. A lovely story, beautifully filmed and directed.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Remembering Chaplin

One of the things I love about Netflix (besides the fact that the dvds come right to my mailbox) is the chance to see films I haven't seen in years, or never seen. I wrote last week about "Fear Strikes Back," which I had recently seen for the first time. This weekend, I revisited an "oldie" I saw over ten years ago: Chaplin starring Robert Downey, Jr.

Released in 1992, this was Downey's breakout role. He'd done other films previously, but this was his first "big" role - and he won the Oscar for best actor for his performance. Looking at it now - 17 years later - it's amazing to see the magnitude of his talent. It would be easy to lament his wasted years - the years he spent drunk, drugged, and in rehab - and wonder where he'd be now had he not had this "hiatus." I choose instead to celebrate his performance in this film biography.

Downey portrays Chaplin from his early vaudeville years until his death. He perfectly captures the pathos, the unfortunate circumstances of his life, his fabulous ability with slapstick, his fatal attraction to underage women. Every role in the film seems perfectly cast - from Kevin Kline as Douglas Fairbanks to Dan Ackroyd as Mack Sennett to Moira Kelly as Oona O'Neill Chaplin. The most inspired bit of casting was Geraldine Chaplin - Chaplin's daughter - playing her own grandmother, Chaplin's mentally unstable mother.

Chaplin's journey was amazing. I have a vague memory of him receiving an honorary Oscar in 1972 - his first visit back to the US since he was exiled in 1952. He received a 5 minute standing ovation - the longest in Academy history.

As for Downey, his journey has been equally amazing and epic. 2008 was the year he truly made his comeback - with bravura appearances in "Tropic Thunder" (for which he's been nominated for Best Supporting Actor) and "Iron Man." His next big role is Sherlock Holmes - I'm really looking forward to that!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009


Globe photo

This is how I felt at 12:53 pm today. After almost three hours of watching eight different screens refresh every 30 seconds, I saw it. The Red Sox ticketing screen!! I quickly whipped out my list of proposed games, and ran through the proposed places to sit. Within five minutes, I was out - poorer, but on my way to five games this year at Fenway: May 22 & 24th vs. the New York Mets, and July 24, 25 & 26th vs. the Baltimore Orioles. I think I got pretty good seats - mostly in Loge Boxes. Weirdly, I'm sitting in the same seat I did for one game in 2006! And last year, I sat in the LBs on the 1st base side (that's what came up); this year, it's two games on the 3rd base side. Their computerized ticketing process is so strange.

Of course, it's going to be interesting to see who is actually on that team. Jonathan Papelbon (the crazed guy above) signed a one year contract this week, helping Theo Epstein keep his no-arbitration record intact. Paps got himself a sweet deal - well-deserved, IMHO. Also signed to a one-year was my pal Javier Lopez

I heard an interesting stat on the MLB Network this morning. There are only 25 spots left on the 40-man rosters in the Major Leagues this year. And there are currently 90 free agents sitting out there, waiting for an offer. Many pundits are saying we'll see a bunch of "names" opting for retirement soon, rather than being left off any rosters come spring training. So we could see Tom Glavine, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, and even our captain, Jason Varitek, joining the group that already includes Greg Maddox, Jeff Kent, and (?) Curt Schilling.

Of course, we still need a catcher....

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Friday, January 23, 2009

My political beliefs

Nothing shocking here!

My Political Views
I am a left moderate social libertarian
Left: 4.5, Libertarian: 2.24

Political Spectrum Quiz

My Culture War Stance
Score: -7.38

Political Spectrum Quiz

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Coming up....

So, coming off the high of Tuesday, it would be easy to feel a little let down. However, I took a good long look at the calendar, and realized there are several events coming up in the next few weeks. Events bound to keep me going until Pitchers & Catchers report to Fort Myers (which takes place in 20 days and 14 hours, according to

First up: the sale of single game tickets for Fenway Park occurs this Saturday, January 24th. Yes, it's time to set aside probably an entire Saturday to stare at this on the computer screen:
The Virtual Waiting Room!! Or, as some of us call it, a preview of Hell. You go to, click buy tickets, and this is the screen you see. Every thirty seconds, it refreshes - giving you a glimmer of hope that the computer fairies will choose you to be next to purchase tickets. Or to consign you to another 30 seconds of crossed fingers and toes. The key is to open several windows - at least as many as you can keep track of. Because if you miss your opening, it's back to VWR.

Of course, once you're in, you're in! You can buy up to 8 tickets. And since I'm only trying for 5 games, if I can get it, it should be a snap. The two most important dates to get are in May for Megapalooza - the Friday and Sunday games of RS-Mets weekend. WooHoo!

After that big event, the next on the calendar is TRUCK DAY! Yes, only we crazed RS fans would get excited about the sight of a big truck parked on Yawkey Way, being packed up with all of the baseball equipment needed in Fort Myers. But for us, it's a harbinger of spring, our version of the first sign of "robin redbreast."

Plus, who can forget last year's Truck Day, which brought the first burst of fame for our friend Steve T. Ferret?!

Steve's agent, Kelly O. Borass, dodges questions from the press regarding Steve's pending deals. She claimed several other teams were vying for Steve's allegiance, which was later proven false. No word on whether Steve will appear this year.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hope for a new era

AP Photo by Susan Walsh

I've found it hard to sum up all that has transpired in the last few days. I'm still trying to get a grasp on the enormity of the event that happened yesterday, January 20, 2009. At noon, Barack Obama took the oath of office, becoming the first African-American President of the United States. What an awe inspiring moment.

It's hard to think how far our country has come in my lifetime. On the day I was born, the Civil Rights movement hadn't even begun. Segregation was a reality. When I entered elementary school, the Voting Rights Act had just been passed. When I began high school, the first black family moved into our little suburb, shaking things up! My eyes were really opened when I went to graduate school at the University of Michigan - always a center of diversity and tolerance. It was a life changing two years in many, many ways. When I moved to the Scenic City in the early 80s, it was a city that was still recovering from generations of oppression. I still remember doing a book display my first year to commemorate Black History Month in February. One of the African-American students brought his parents to see it - it was the first time our school had recognized the occasion.

And now, we have a government that is beginning to reflect the real America. The Obama family - now the First Family - is itself a microcosm of America. President Obama (wow, it gives me such joy to type that!) had an African father and a white mother; he has a half-sister who is Indonesian and American, married to a Chinese Canadian. Michelle is the descendant of slaves, and has a cousin who is a rabbi. And they all seem to get along fine. Hopefully, America can follow their model.

We look to this intelligent man to lead us through the grim realities of a slowing economy. We look to him to inspire us to change. We look to him to help us discover our potential both as a nation and as individuals. We look to him to keep our nation safe. It's a big job - but I have faith that this slim man from Illinois is the one to do it. Just as another slim man from Illinois led our nation through another dark time in our history.

God Bless the United States indeed - and God bless our new President Obama.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Past, Present and Future

I've been watching history take place today. HBO is broadcasting the Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, live, this afternoon. A cavalcade of timeless entertainers - culminating with Pete Seeger singing "This Land is Your Land" accompanied by Bruce Springsteen (tears and chills!). No matter where you stand politically, you must admit that Democrats have access to the BEST entertainers around! The next four years will provide us with a welcome break from the conservative elements of the country music world.

Meanwhile, I have continued to be mesmerized by the programming on the MLB Network. I've watched portions of the 2007 postseason (they're up to game 4 of the WS right now), and earlier in the week caught parts of Ken Burns' "Baseball" documentary series. And continuing with the historical bent of my weekend, this afternoon I watched "Fear Strikes Out."Life photo of Jim Piersall and RS manager Joe Cronin by George Silk (1957)

Piersall was the promising RS rookie who suffered from Bipolar Disorder. As this bio from ESPN says:

It didn't take long for Piersall to establish himself as a sideshow. And he soon displayed the signs of the mental illness that had stricken his mother. An antagonist of fans and umpires alike, he called attention to himself by taking bows after almost every catch.

Before a game on May 24, Piersall goaded Yankees second baseman Billy Martin into a fight and then brawled with teammate Mickey McDermott. Less than three weeks later, he made pig noises at St. Louis Browns pitcher Satchel Paige.

Following other instances of erratic behavior, Piersall was shipped to Triple-A Birmingham on June 28. Three weeks later, he entered Westborough State Hospital for psychiatric treatment; he was released after six weeks.

Of course, even a sane man could be goaded into punching Martin, but... I didn't realize that Piersall was still alive - after retirement, he found work as a broadcaster with Harry Carey for the White Sox:

In 1980, Piersall, angry that a reporter was questioning White Sox players about the team's decision to remove him as a voluntary outfield coach, choked the writer. That night, he also scuffled with the boss' son, Mike Veeck, because Piersall had called Veeck's stepmother "a colossal bore." Seeking to "rest and recoup," Piersall spent three nights in Illinois Masonic Hospital suffering from exhaustion.

As controversial on the air as he was on the field, Piersall was suspended by the White Sox in 1981 for calling baseball wives "horny broads." In 1983, he was fired for being too critical of the White Sox

He now controls his illness with Lithium (some sites I read said he, in fact, was manic depressive). As a person living in 2009, the depictions in the film of early psychiatric treatment are hard to watch. Piersall underwent electroshock therapy several times, and was confined in a mental hospital several times. The film seems to point the blame on his strict father's pushing him into baseball - his dad was himself a frustrated player. There was also a history of mental illness in the family, as his mother seems to have suffered from a similar disorder. And yet, after therapy and drug treatment, Piersall returned to the Red Sox - he ended up playing 17 years, won two Gold Gloves, and was on two all-star teams.

An interesting story of a memorable character in Red Sox history. Interesting that Piersall wore number 37 - the same number worn by another memorable RS character, Bill Lee. The current bearer of the number: Hideki Okajima. Stay sane, Oki!

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

My buddy, the famous blogger

Not that she needs any publicity, but my buddy Cyn's blog is now on the WEEI website. She won a contest to name the next great blogger! Check out her musings on the Red Sox and other important issues!

As I was surfing the channels on this super cold day (we've even got a dusting of snow on the ground right now!), I discovered that the MLB Network is saluting the 2007 playoffs this weekend. I got sucked into watching game 7 of the ALCS all afternoon - it still is awesome even though I know the outcome. Pedie with the incredible game, Papelbon at his scariest. The only downside was that they didn't play the pre or post-game shows. So didn't' get to see Paps dancing again. Oh well. Now they've gone into the WS Game 1. Those poor Rockies never stood a chance.

Good times!

Hoping to hear some good news about Tek. He and John Henry met for 90 minutes last night - with that ass Boras - so maybe we'll hear something about his coming back next year?!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Youk.... and more

Today, Kevin Youkilis finalized a 4-year deal with the Red Sox. They've locked him in to a great contract : 4 years for $41 million. So we've locked in the AL MVP and the runner up to long term contracts. Who needs Teixeira?

I applaud Theo and Company for what is shaping up to be a great off-season. While everyone was lamenting that we were losing out on the pricey free agents, our Front Office has quietly gone about cementing some of the key elements in our 2009 success. And another piece of the jigsaw puzzle may be about to fall - from the Globe:

In what may be a final attempt to end a stalemate that has existed throughout this offseason, Red Sox captain Jason Varitek has a meeting planned with club owner John Henry on Friday night that could facilitate a resolution with the free-agent catcher. Reached by phone on Friday, Varitek would confirm only that he is meeting with Henry "tonight,'' in the Atlanta area, where Varitek makes his offseason home.

I love that Jason is removing Borassss from the equation. As the guys on MLBN's "Hot Stove" said tonight, it's up to Tek to tell John Henry that he wants to end his career as a Red Sox. He may only get a one or two year deal out of it, but it would be beneficial to both sides for this deal to get done.

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I can't wait either!

Tickets for Fenway games go on sale next Saturday, January 24th, at 10 am. Although I dread the Virtual Waiting Room, this ad sums up my feelings for the year:

I can't wait!!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome John Smoltz!

AP Photo
John Smoltz was introduced today as the newest member of the Boston Red Sox. He says he's "determined" to contribute to the team, and to pitch well again.

I really like this pick up. And after gazing at some of the lovely eye candy of last year (I'm looking at you, Jacoby), it's kind of refreshing to have another handsome, veteran player to cheer for. :)

I can't stop looking at this photo!

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Jim Rice finally to the Hall!

Finally! That was my reaction at 2:01 pm today, watching the live announcement of this year's inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was Jim Rice's 15th and final time on the ballot and, although I strongly believed he deserved the honor, I was still nervous about the how the vote would turn out. I literally let out a whoop!

Watching Jim Rice play was a huge part of my Red Sox apprenticeship. I loved watching that outfield of Rice, Freddy Lynn and Dwight Evans. And watching Rice at the plate - well, it's like watching Ortiz now. He was such a dominant hitter for ten years. Here's some stats -- From Adam Kilgore in the Globe:

Rice compiled 35 homers and 200 hits in three straight seasons, finished in the top five in Most Valuable Player voting six times, and led the league in total bases four times, including a staggering 406 in during the 1978 season, when he was named the American League MVP after hitting .315 with 46 homers and 139 RBIs in one of the finest individual seasons in franchise history.

One of my favorite parts of the pre- and post-game shows on NESN nowadays is seeing Jim, expounding on various and sundry aspects of the current Sox. (I also love that Eck, but that's a subject for another entry). Not only does he have some fun insights, he also is a pretty natty dresser!
AP Photo by S. Senne
Here's Jim at the HOF press conference this afternoon. He's always been nonchalant and noncommittal about being elected - but it was a different Jim Ed today. He was emotional talking about Yaz, about inheriting left field from him and Ted Williams. He was clearly relieved, and clearly elated.

So, here's to you Jim Ed Rice. Congratulations on an honor loooonnngg overdue!

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mark Bellhorn!

Photo by Kelly O

My first RS boyfriend - after a long lapse in the late 90s - was Mark Bellhorn. The scruffy second baseman - who had a career year with the Sox in '04 - just stole my heart! When he was scuffling at the start of the post-season in 2004, I was ill. And then, came his big turnaround - including two homers off the pole in ALCS Game 7 and WS Game 1. Be still my heart.

Unfortunately, Mark's post-World Series career hasn't been noteworthy. He's played in New York (boo), San Diego, and for a couple of minor league teams. He was actually due to play here in the Scenic City in August - but was released by the Suns before that date. Oh, well..

But now, here's some news!!
On Jan. 13, the Brewers will hold a tryout in Arizona. Yes, [Randall] Simon, who is only 33 and played last year for the independent Newark Bears, plans to be there. So does second baseman Mark Bellhorn, among others.
WooHoo! Good luck Mark!!


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Some random thoughts for a Thursday

1) Almost old news by this point in the day, but the Red Sox made two additions to their roster today. They signed Rhode Island native Rocco Baldelli, who played last year with the Tampa Bay Rays. He's suffered from some health problems in recent years, but made a comeback during the '08 season - a great story that is being celebrated at tonight's Boston Baseball Writers Dinner. He's being awarded the Tony Conigliaro Award - the same award that Mike Lowell won several years ago.

The other signing is John Smoltz. Of course, I'm well familiar with "Smoltzy" - he's been a part of the Atlanta Braves organization for nearly his whole career. From SI:
Smoltz, who has 210 career victories, 154 saves and a 3.26 earned-run average, is the only pitcher in major-league history with more than 200 wins and 150 saves. He is the winningest pitcher in post-season annals, with a 15-4 record. He won the 1996 NL Cy Young Award with 24 regular-season wins, and plays golf well enough to comfortably play 18 or 36 holes with his good buddy Tiger Woods.
I wrote earlier how I wished Smoltz and Glavine had chosen to retire this year with Greg Maddux, allowing them all to enter the Hall of Fame together. Now, I'm kind of glad he didn't retire - I think he'll make a great addition to the rotation. He's being touted as a starter, but I see him more in the reliever role. And like Tim Wakefield, he's the kind of player/teammate who will play in whatever role the team needs him. Bravo, Theo

But it is ironic that out of the Big Three, it's not Massachusetts-born Glavine who'll be on the mound in Fenway.

2) Still no catcher, however. Interestingly, there seems to have been very little interest in Tek so far - which may be good for the Sox. In a little more time, Boras may be willing to lower his expectations and deal with the front office. It would kill me to see Tek in another uniform (although I'd deal with it - eventually), and if they could cut a one or two year deal with him, I think it would benefit the pitching staff and the team.

3) The MLB Network is awesome! On Tuesday night, they began running "Ken Burns' Baseball," an 18 1/2 hour documentary series. I somehow missed seeing it when it was originally run by PBS, so I am excited about the opportunity to see it. Within five minutes of the start, I was already welling up - just listening to Bob Costas talk about "the beautiful game."

In related news, from today's Courant:

If only to add the achievements of the Boston Red Sox in the new century, Ken Burns will return to the subject of his most popular documentary, "Baseball," with an update.

"The Tenth Inning," due out in spring 2010, will cover the 16 years of baseball since the original 1994 series, seen by 48 million viewers.

And, according to the tease last night, Kevin Millar will be in studio tonight on Hot Stove!!

4) Off baseball, but still on tv: I love the show "Spectacle," which is broadcast on the Sundance Channel Wednesdays at 9pm. Elvis Costello is host for a show about music, musicians, and musical influences with a wide variety of guests. For example, he's interviewed Bill Clinton about his musical preferences and experiences; and James Taylor was on, playing cuts off his new cd "Covers" (which is great!) and talking about his background. Last night was the best episode so far: the Police! He interviewed each man separately, which led to some fun comments by Sting about Stewart Copeland, and Copeland about Sting. Sting also jammed with Elvis, which was really cool. Elvis is a surprisingly good interviewer and host, asking some off-beat questions and sharing some of his own influences. I loved hearing him and Sting talk about the first time they heard the Clash play and how it effected their musical direction. I look forward to more episodes!

5.) And I'll end with a rant. My local ESPN radio has opted for some hokey, local sports call-in show in place of Turico and Van Pelt in the afternoon. Why couldn't they have eliminated that idiot Colin Cowherd??

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Review: Benjamin Button

I decided to devote a large-ish portion of my Sunday afternoon to seeing "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," the new fantasy/parable/romance starring Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt (pictured above). The film claims to be based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Actually, it bears little resemblance to the original story, starting with the length - the story is 5 pages long, the film is nearly 3 hours long! The plot of the film version is this: in 1918 New Orleans, a woman dies giving birth to a "deformed" baby. Her distraught husband leaves the baby on the steps of an old age home, where it is taken in by Queenie, the caretaker. But it seems Benjamin isn't deformed - he is born an old man, and ages in reverse. The film follows his life as he becomes younger, and the love of his life ages in the normal way. They finally "meet in the middle," have a few happy years, and then the age difference takes effect again.

Pitt spends nearly the first two hours in old age makeup. (What struck me is how much the old Benjamin looks like the current Robert Redford! Scary.) So, that means the film is 2/3 over before we see the "hot" Brad Pitt, but when he shows up - WOW! The camera loves this guy - he was sizzling. And his final appearance as a very young teenager perfectly captures Pitt's early days on film - he steps back in time. Pitt is very effective in the role - even if it is makeup-enhanced most of the way. Blanchett is terrific as Daisy - she ages so well from the ingenue to old woman. She is strinkingly beautiful as the young dancer - and she and Pitt make a gorgeous couple.

I liked the film - it never seems long. The story is sweet, and moves along pretty quickly. It never becomes sappy or maudlin - even though you basically know how it will end. Pitt and director Fincher go a little heavy on the New Orleans/Katrina stuff, but... If you've got the time to invest in a nearly three hour, light film, this would be a good choice.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Resolutions for the New Year?

Three reasons I'm a lifetime member of Weight Watchers

Peanut Butter

Within reason, all are okay. Within reason.....

Friday, January 02, 2009

A new era dawns

My life as I once knew it completely changed at 6pm yesterday. That was the moment that the new MLB Network premiered. 24 hours a day of baseball, only baseball. No BCS reports, no hockey scores. Only baseball. Is this heaven? Is it Iowa? No, it's channel 213.

They won me over almost immediately (what a shock). They opened with the first episode of their nightly show, "Hot Stove Report." First up: an in-depth examination of Manny Ramirez' free agency status and speculation on where he'll go. In-depth! Intelligent. Thought provoking. WOW!!

Following that was a broadcast of Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series. I don't think this broadcast has been shown before - and it was incredible. I saw Mickey Mantel hit a home run, I saw Roy Campanella squatting behind the plate, I saw GIL HODGES bat!! Incredible. And in the midst of the full-game broadcast was Bob Costas interviewing Larsen and Yogi Berra. It was some of the most compelling television I've seen in a while.

Upcoming is Ken Burns' Baseball miniseries - which I somehow have missed up to this point. They've also installed cameras at every park, so during the season, they can cut to any game and give us a report. If I wasn't excited and anxious for the season to start, this has added to the anticipation tenfold.

My only question is WHY did it take so long to get this channel on the air???


Thursday, January 01, 2009

My Red Sox year

Yeah! Happy 2009! In many ways, I'm glad to leave 2008 behind. But as always, I choose to focus on the positives of the year. Here are some of my favorite Red Sox-related moments of the past year:

1. My three Red Sox road trips. I got to visit three Major League parks this year: Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Tampa Bay. All part of my travel goal to visit every park - preferably, to see the Sox play in each. I love sitting in a different part of the stadium for each game - having the different perspectives on the games. I love doing the ballpark tour - the fan girl in me loves sitting in the dugout, visiting the press box, seeing all the behind-the-scenes activities. I love connecting with all the other Sox fans who have followed the team on the road - Sox fans get a reputation for obnoxiousness, but I rarely witness such displays on the road. As a matter of fact, in Tampa, the fans that were most disgusting were the apparently former Yankee fans who had adopted the Rays this year. And at the risk of sounding stalkerish, I love sitting in the team hotel's bar and watching the guys come and go. I never bother them - never ask for an autograph or sneak a photo - I just enjoy being near them. (Okay, I'll wave back when Okajima waves at me first, and I'll talk to Manny's hairdresser when given the chance!)

And I'm already making plans for 2009: Washington and Atlanta are definite, and I'm pretty sure Detroit will appear on my schedule.

2. Meeting Bill Lee - and discussing the works of Salvador Dali! Very Cool!

3. My three Manny moments. I was lucky enough to see him hit his 500th home run in Baltimore - what a fantastic moment. The Oriole fans were so appreciative of his accomplishment, and the greeting he got coming back on the field in the next inning was spine tingling and goose bump inducing. On the other end of the spectrum, I also got to see Manny play his last game in a Red Sox uniform. Looking back, I can't believe how wildly my feelings for him had swung in the opposite direction by that day in late July. It was almost a relief to read the next day he was bound for LA. And in between those two moments was my trip to Tampa Bay - we rode on an elevator with Manny and Papelbon. I was nearly struck dumb - he has such charisma. Plus he was guarded by a couple of bodyguards.

4. I got to attend my first Yankees - Red Sox game. And thanks to my sister Meg, we had a fantastic perch in the Pavilion Seats. What a great way to see the game - without having to be too close to Jeter.

5. I nearly saw a no-hitter in person in July, when the Angels' John Lackey took one into the 9th at Fenway. But then our MVP Dustin Pedroia came to bat - and immediately got a single, which Youk followed up with a homerun. I had such mixed feelings when DP got his hit - glad that we hadn't been the victims of the no hitter, but disappointed not to have witnessed history.

6. The Red Sox missing a return to the World Series by one game. Disappointing - although it was hard to be too devastated after their thrilling comeback in game five of the ALCS.

7. My FaceBook friend, Curt Schilling.

8. The Baseball Project cd. Simply my favorite cd of the year - some great tunes.

9. My insane, fun, outrageous, thoughtful, endearing buddies from Surviving Grady. It is so cool to meet them in various major league outposts, to share the ups and downs of the Red Sox season with them both online and in person. I'm looking forward to a couple of meet-ups in 2009, including what looks like an epic "palooza" in May.

Just a few of my favorite moments. To be relived through my thousands of photos and my scorebook. Until this season!!

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