Monday, June 29, 2009

"I must be sitting in the front row"

Picture by Jere.
I'll post more later about the Atlanta leg of my road trip. But I had to share this photo - posted by one of Kelly's LJ friends. You can clearly see us sitting in front on Thursday night!


Friday, June 26, 2009

An update from the road

The Washington leg of my Red Sox road trip wrapped this morning. Kelly & I went to two of the three Red Sox-Nationals' games - and had a ton of fun! The Sox won Wednesday, 6-4, in a fairly tight ballgame. Homers from Tek and Big Papi made the difference. Unfortunately, they lost Thursday night, a game which marked the return to pitching for John Smoltz. He was shaky at the outset - giving up 4 runs in the first. But then he seemed to settle down, finishing by striking out the side in the 5th. I think we might see some fun stuff from him this year.

Meanwhile, Kelly once again proved to be an expert at procuring tickets. Wednesday night, we were in separate seats, albeit in adjoining sections. I was literally in the first row on the right field side of the Nats' dugout. But the next night was fantastic. In the picture at top, I am literally standing at my seat. First row behind home. I was closer to the batters than the pitcher. It provided some solace for the loss.

This morning, we left our Nation's Capital, and are here in Atlanta for three games between those "natural rivals," the Red Sox and Braves. And tonight, we are have purchased VIP passes to stand on the field during batting practice! I doubt they'll let me take a swing, but you never know!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An Outlander at Fenway - May 2009

Over Memorial Day weekend, I had my first Red Sox road trip of 2009. What a fantastic time!

The original impetus for the trip was to be a gathering of my pals from Surviving Grady. If you haven't visited, SG - well, head right over there immediately. It's some of the funniest and clever writing on the experience of being a Red Sox fan, all the agonies and ecstasies of the season. When I stumbled upon it over three years ago, I was delighted by the daily post. Then, I stumbled upon the comments section - just at the same time that many others did. The daily comments section has now taken on a life of its own! There's a regular cast of characters, with guest appearances by lurkers and trolls to liven things up. Think of a more profane "Cheers," and you'd be close.

So, last fall, we hatched the idea of a great SG gathering, to be called "Megapalooza." When the RS schedule came out, we picked the weekend that the Mets would be in town, and there followed a flurry of airline reservations and hotel reservations. The actual gathering began Saturday at 11 am - but many of us also planned to see at least one game. I ended up with tickets for both Friday and Sunday - as well as one for the Boston Pops Concerts Saturday night. All four events were fantastic!

The two games were a mixed bag. The Sox - with Daisuke on the mound for his first post-DL outing - lost, 5-3. I sat in a loge box on 3B side, pretty good seat. I missed pre-game batting practice due to a pre-game gathering with the SGers - but still got some good photos. Sunday's game had something of everything - great pitching from Wake, a hail storm in the middle of the 1st for a 35 minute rain delay, an offensive explosion in the 7th that led to a 12-5 victory. I was on the 3rd Base side again, although closer to the walkway, which led to a lot of obstructions. The highlight for me, though, was getting my picture made with 8 time Gold Glove-winning right fielder for the Red Sox, Dwight Evans. Sigh.

I also saw the Boston Pops perform for the first time. The concert was in support of their newest album, called (appropriately) The Red Sox Album. It's all baseball-themed music, and also includes a dramatic reading of "Casey at the Bat." A GREAT album - and a great concert. I think I may be a little in love with Keith Lockhart! (I put some of the music on my iPod - there's nothing to inspire you while you're fitness walking than a Sousa march)

It was a great weekend - a fantastic start to the summer as well as a fantastic way to end the school year - and a wonderful way to start off a summer of RS Travel.

Next Up: Detroit
And here are some photos!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Review: Disney's Up in Digital 3D

What a sweet movie! I had no idea it would be so poignant, moving, funny - an all around great flick.

"Up" is the latest from Disney/Pixar, and is available both in 3D and regular D. We decided to go with the 3D version - even though it cost $2.50 more! - and were so happy we chose that option. There are some really cute effects - and man, have they improved those glasses! Much easier to see the movie, even when you're wearing them over your own specs.

The story: a senior citizen is being forced into selling his home - which is in the middle of a high-rise construction site. Rather than leave behind the memories of his wife and their life together, he figures out how to lift the house out - and heads to South America, a place his wife had longed to visit. However, a local Explorer scout has stowed away - and together they embark on a series of adventures.

There were many subtle jokes that would fly over the head of a child, clearly aimed at the adult audience. For example, when Carl, Russell and Doug the dog are watching traffic and counting cars. Carl: There's a red one. Russell: There's a blue one. Doug: There's a gray one! (FYI - studies have shown that dogs don't see colors, everything looks gray to them). Even the cartoon portraits are a shout-out to the golden age of movies: Carl looks just like Spencer Tracy, and the villain Charles Muntz is the image of Errol Flynn. But there's also plenty to entertain the kids. Talking dogs (they wear collars that translate their barks into language), beautiful animation, some silly humor. And a great message about not wasting your opportunities in life, and the importance of not taking your loved ones for granted.

A great film "for kids of all ages." Just be sure to bring kleenex!

Labels: ,

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jacoby gets his SAG card

Apparently, Jacoby Ellsbury had some time to kill yesterday afternoon. So, finding himself in downtown "Salem," he stopped into the Java Cafe for a coffee:

(This was just after the guy on the right said threateningly, "I wish I had a baseball bat in my hand right now!")
My favorite shot was this one:
Guess, Jacoby found a few local Red Sox fans to chat up!

(Screen caps taken from "Days of Our Lives," 6-18-09

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The nicest man in baseball

Tim Wakefield has to be one of the nicest guys in the game. Today, a baseball field was named in his honor for his charity work with Franciscan Hospital in Boston. The Tim Wake Field - aw!

I read not long ago about how Wake goes to visit kids in the hospital very quietly - no media accompanying him. Just trying to brighten the days of sick children. Awesome.

This man needs to be on the All-Star Team! Are you listening Joe Maddon??


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In an alternate universe somewhere...

Last year at this time, we were counting down to Manny's 500th homer. We were starting to hear reports that he was unhappy, and was making those around him unhappy. We were starting to hear whispers - again - on the message boards that Manny might get traded. We were gearing up for another turbulent trade deadline.

Wow, what a difference a year makes. One of the Marlins' beat writers made this observation this morning:

//But Bay, who came from Pittsburgh, is an MVP candidate this season while Manny sits at home, serving his suspension//

That comment gave me pause. What IF Manny hadn't been traded. What IF the Sox had exercised their option, and he was still playing for us when he got suspended for steroid use. What IF he was twiddling his thumbs waiting to return to the Sox right now. What state would Red Sox Nation be in right now??

But, that's the bizarro version. Here in the real world, the right world, Manny idles in his Dodgers' sweatshirt, while we enjoy the Quiet Canadian. The man who seems to be doing his talking - and his contract negotiating - with his bat and his glove. The man who seems to fit in seamlessly with his Sox colleagues.

I don't know about you, but I like this version much better!

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Review: My Life in Ruins

I admit it: I'm a sucker for a chick flick. There's something comforting and soothing about curling up with a bowl of popcorn and watching a movie that you know will not tax you mentally or emotionally. And I also admit to buying a lot of these movies when they come out on DVD, because many stand the test of repeated viewings quite well (ex: Kate and Leopold) - the perfect accompaniment for a Sunday afternoon nap.

So, I was looking forward to the first romantic comedy of the summer: My Life in Ruins, starring Nia Vardalos from My Big Fat Greek Wedding (another one that repeats quite well). Vardalos plays Georgia, a former classical history professor who finds herself unable to get a teaching job. So, she opts to be an English speaking guide in Greece, leading groups on one of those horrible bus tours of the must-see spots. The film follows her on one such outing, with a group that includes Richard Dreyfus, Rachel Dratch, and Harland Williams - as well as a hunky bus driver played by Alexis Georgoulis, pictured above.

Of course, romance ensues, as Georgia tries to recapture her joie de vivre - or "kefi," as the Greeks would say. And it all ends up tied with a pretty bow, just as you'd expect.

What I loved most about the movie was the gorgeous Greek scenery - and I'm not just talking about Georgoulis! Vardalos arranged for many of the scenes to be filmed on site, at the Acropolis and the Temple at Delphi in particular. They are fantastic - it made me want to book a Greek holiday immediately!

I also must say, stick with the film. The first 15 minutes or so really did suck - my friend and I were thinking that we wouldn't make it through the whole thing. But then it definitely picked up steam, became funnier and more poignant. So don't give up!

So if you're looking for a good date film, or just wanted to while away a rainy afternoon, this film would be a good choice.

Labels: ,

Review: The Hangover

This movie is hilarious!! I saw it at an early Sunday matinee - and there was a large crowd. Everyone roared - as did I .

The premise is this: four buddies go to Las Vegas for one last crazy binge before Doug gets married. The action fades in on three of the guys awakening in their hotel room the next morning, unable to remember what they did or where Doug is. Their only clues are a baby they find in the closet, a tiger in the bathroom, and Stu the Dentist seems to be missing a tough. So, they set off to reconstruct their evening - and to find Doug before the wedding takes place.

It's rated R for a reason. A lot of "adult" language, violence, blood, sex and innuendo. Yet it's all handled in a very funny way. The cast is put together of hitherto second bananas - Ed Helms from the Daily Show, Bradley Cooper (who I loved as best friend Will in Alias), Justin Bartha (Riley Poole in the National Treasure movies), and Zach Galifianakis, who steals every scene he's in. They've got great chemistry together, and play off each other perfectly.

The storyline moves quickly, and it's all resolved quite satisfactorily. So if you want some cheap laughs, a roaring good time, check out the Hangover.

PS- the photo above kind of sums up how I felt this morning - although mine was a baseball hangover. Four excited, tense, stressful games in a row left me glad for the off day today!

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Is Smoltzie in my future?

So, it looks like I might see Smoltz pitch on the next road trip. Although it's not quite clear when he'll be activated - he could have one more start in Pawtucket. What is sure is that he has to be added to the roster by June 19th. If that happens, and he goes into the starting rotation, I should see him pitch on my next trip - Washington and Atlanta. Yeah!!

Meanwhile, a couple of killer games. I went out to dinner with friends Friday night, and couldn't believe it when I got home at 9:15 and it was already the 8th inning. I thought it would be an early night - but the Phillies had other ideas. After tying it up, the game went to 13 innings! But we won! And last night's game included a one hour thirty five minute rain delay - I was seriously dozing at the computer. But it was all good - another interleague victory. At least it's an afternoon game today, followed by an off-day tomorrow. Phew!

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Great memories!

Relaxing, doing laundry this afternoon, and while surfing the channels, found that the MLB Network is showing games two and four of the 2007 World Series. It's been an awesome trip down memory lane as I wait for tonight's second interleague game against the Phillies.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, June 12, 2009

I love mornings like this!

AP Photo - Michael Dwyer

I don't know why this photo gives me such pleasure, but it does. Johnny "Judas" Damon just committed an error - dropping a routine fly ball. It was part of an incredibly exciting game and comeback for the Sox. After winning the first two games in this series, it looked like we might be about to lose the third game. A fantastic outing by Brad Penny (who clearly is NOT washed up) was spoiled when Manny DelCarmen gave up three runs in the 7th - hey, our bullpen can't be brilliant every night. But the Sox came back in the bottom of the eighth, scoring three runs to make the score 4-3. Papelbon came in and did NOT make things interesting - 1-2-3 and it's adios New York. Better yet, we now lead the division by 2 games.

The Sox have now won the first 8 games of the year - and we don't play them again until August. I know that the race in the AL East will probably still be tight then, but somehow I don't care just now. I want to bask in the glow of a three game sweep. Enjoy the after effect of that wonderful comeback. It felt like a playoff game, rather than a series in mid-June.

Now on to a three game set vs. the Phillies in Philadelphia. Go Sox!

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Cheezy Welcome

Cheezy, yes, but I love it!

RS: Next Gen

From WEEI:

With their 36th round draft pick, the Red Sox selected Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of Red Sox great and Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski. Michael Yastrzemski is a power-hitting outfielder out of St. John's Prep in Shrewsbury. Yastrzemski, considered a legitimate big-league prospect with talent commensurate with an early-round draft pick, has a scholarship offer to attend Vanderbilt University, leading to his fall in the draft due to concerns that he could not be convinced to forego his college commitment.

Labels: , ,

Hee Hee!

May I offer you some schadenfreude with your morning coffee?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Go Wake!

I love that knuckleballer! Luckily - as I've been to 5 games this year, and already seen him pitch - and win - twice! He's such fun to watch - you can never predict where the ball is going. So you can imagine what a hard time a batter has when facing him. (If you click on the picture above, you'll get a good closeup of how he grips the ball.)

Tonight, Tim Wakefield goes for his 8th victory. I hope that knuckleball is dancing all over the strike zone - and that the Yankees' "big bats" continue to be silenced.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


AP Photo by Elise Amendola

Jeter's expression sums up the outcome of tonight's game. 7-0 Red Sox - and they're undefeated against the Yankees for 2009. Josh Beckett turned in another gem - again, had no hits until the 5th, 8 "punchouts" - lights out! On the other hand, AJ Burnett was pretty bad - only lasted into the 3rd.

And Big Papi with a two run homer!!

Tim Wakefield tomorrow night - Go SOX!

Labels: ,

Friday, June 05, 2009

A friend for Steve

Our travel mascot, Steve T. Ferret, is fairly well known around RS Nation. His fame is apparently spreading, as another critter seemed intent on making his acquaintance at Tuesday night's Tigers-RS game!

One of the funniest parts of the incident was seeing the reactions in the RS dugout when the squirrel was chased into there. The cameraman in front of us was totally freaking out!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Big Papi

On this crazy trip that we Red Sox fans have been since 2003, some the most endearing and enduring images have been of David Ortiz. I picture him standing at the plate, intimidating the opposing pitches just by that glare. I picture him pulling out that clutch hit. I picture him smiling that mile wide smile. I picture him hugging everyone.

So it kills me to see him like I saw him last night. Striking out, walking dejectedly back to the dugout. It makes me so sad. And it hurt me to hear the abuse rained down on him last night by Tiger fans. I know it's part of the game, but to hear them taunt him and rail against him... I don't remember hearing it on other road trips. Perhaps it was there, but Ortiz always managed to silence the jeers with one mighty stroke of the bat.

I don't care to speculate on what's going on with him. Enough ink and bandwidth has already been spent on that. Instead, I'll continue to support him, to hope he'll break out of this funk he's in. I don't care to speculate on roster moves or staff changes. I choose to hope.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

People who have traveled with me know that I am a geek about museums. Even on an intensely baseball-oriented trip like this coming week, I always manage to squeeze in some "cultuh." So, you know that one of my favorite recent films was "Night at the Museum," the story of a museum coming to life after hours. I loved it!

So I was pretty excited to see the sequel, "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian." Security guard Larry Daley is back, although he's moved into private industry. He's called into action when most of the exhibits from the Museum of Natural History are put into storage at the Smithsonian - and the tablet of Ahkmenrah goes along. (The tablet is the reason all the exhibits come to life at night.) Larry must liberate the tablet, all the while dealing with all the newly enlivened statues, paintings, and historical relics.

I liked the sequel almost more than the original! There isn't a lot of time spent on explication - so the action is non-stop. How fun to see Ivan the Terrible and Napoleon duking it out, "American Gothic" coming to life, and George Custer struggling with low self-esteem. But the film is stolen by two characters: Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart and Hank Azaria as Kahmunrah. When they are on screen, you don't see anyone else. Adams in particular is fantastic as Earhart - just the right blend of sexiness and "moxie." Ben Stiller is, well, Ben Stiller. Cute, funny, he carries the picture along.

It's a non-stop ride through the halls of the Smithsonian and American history. I can't wait to see it again, because I'm sure I missed all kinds of little details!


Monday, June 01, 2009

Red Sox Road trip: Detroit

I'm headed up to Detroit today - my second RS road trip of 2009. I'm going to see the Red Sox and Tigers play three games, in the company of my travel buddy Kelly. I've never been to Comerica - so I can check another ML stadium off my list. I did go to a Tigers game in 1982 at the old Tiger Stadium - it was a "staff outing" with my fellow dorm staffers at U of Michigan.

Strangely, even though I spent two years in Ann Arbor, I only went into Detroit on a couple of occasions. So I'm looking forward to poking around downtown - maybe going to the top of the Renaissance Center and eating in Greektown (maybe hitting the casino??) Unfortunately, a tour of Comerica is out of the picture - they only offer them on non-game Tuesdays. I'll try to get around and look, though.

I'm armed with my netbook and free wifi at my hotel, so I'll try to post an update along the way. In the meantime, the Sox are 3-4 on this road trip - I'm hoping to bring them luck so that we can at least go home with more losses than wins.

Labels: , ,