Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rotary 4, Village Bank 2, 14 Inn.

Red Sox beat White Sox in 5-hour Little League-ish affair. We scored in the first, then didn't have another hit until the 9th. We trailed 3-1 after 7, but sac flies in the 8th and 9th (aided by about a hundred walks) tied it. Then we scored a run in the 11th and were one strike away from victory, but Mujica gave up a game-tying single. We got the first two guys on base in the next inning, but couldn't score. In the 14th, the White Sox basically forfeited, putting in a position player to pitch. But incredibly, our first two hitters made outs. Finally we realized we should just stand there. Two walks later, Jackie Bradley was up. The White Sox manager had come out and basically told the poor guy on the mound not to walk anyone else, using the "just throw it slow" method. So you knew Jackie was either gonna get a walk, or a pitch that even the mom from Alf could hit. He got the latter, and drilled it down the line for a two-run double. Chicago had the tying run up in the bottom of the 14th, but we held on for the 4-2 win, one that we really needed.

Speaking of Chicago teams that can't do much of anything, the goddamn Cubs couldn't score in either game against the Yanks today. Terrible job.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Goddamn Sonofabitch

Bottom 9, tied. Men on first and second. 2-2 count. White Sox dude tries to check his swing. Pitch is in the zone, and he clearly goes around. Home plate ump blows strike call. First-base ump blows appeal call. Now it's 3-2, easy grounder to short, Xander throws a one-hopper to first, Carp can't handle it. Since the runners were going on the pitch, run scores easily before Carp even picks up the ball. Adding insult to injury, both Don and Jerry say it's the White Sox who "walk off" while we're literally watching the Red Sox walking off the field and the White Sox running onto the field, and to add insult to that insult, Xander does that thing where you try to spit, but it stays hanging off your mouth and you're left to wipe if off with your hand, fooling no one.

Shitty, shitty loss. And the only reason Carp was playing first was because Napoli slid head-first into second and basically broke his finger in half. It took Don and Remy a very long time to notice this, as they first thought the ball hit him, and then, after all the viewers have seen Napoli wearing the extreme ouchy face and his finger Theismann'd in the wrong direction, they show yet another replay at which point Don goes, "oh, that's a dislocated finger." I'm reading now that X-rays were negative so hopefully he comes right back. Also, Pedroia pinch-ran in this game, will start tomorrow. Yanks and Cubs were rained out.

And here's what I wrote earlier in the night, in less shitty times. Spoiler: it's also about Don being bad at his job.

Does Don Orsillo know there's a baseball game going on? When he shows you his bad* behind-the-scenes videos, he's completely flabbergasted when they're cut off...in order to get back to the actual game so we can see a pitch being thrown. Tonight it happened twice in a row, as he couldn't wait to show us the super-exciting ending to the video. It gets cut off and he's shocked. He then (presumably) realizes that's why it was cut off, then they cut back to the video, and again he's ready to show us this payoff, and again, because they rewound it too far and because everything has to begin and end with the "logo wipe" which wastes even more time, it cuts off. And again he's not just sad but genuinely surprised, as if something has gone wrong. No Don, they're cutting back to the game you're supposed to be announcing! Best part was, they never did get back to that video. Or if they did, I missed it, but they didn't do it right away, as, surprise, they had some other pre-planned thing to cut to.

*Are these supposed to look horrible, for that everyman, Twitterific, we are pharmers, bum badum bum bum bum bum, we-have-technology-but-purposely-aren't-using-it feel? Or is Don just that shitty at filming stuff?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Raiss Relations

One thing that will be fun about the Derek Jeter "One Last Bloop" self-announced-because-that's-the-(new)-classy-way-to-do-it tour: The Raissman articles. Here's the latest. If only the Boston media had some writers like that. Instead they just tell us how Jeter's god, and that Pedroia's and Koji's careers are over when they miss, like, a game.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Replay Replay

So here we are, in a world where MLB has replay...and it seems worse than before. I'm glad to hear basically the entire media agree with me that challenges are ridiculous. I thought that the first time I heard it even suggested. Getting the calls right shouldn't have anything to do with strategy, it should just be part of the rules of the game. So maybe they'll get rid of the stupid NFL challenge system. But even without it, we're stuck with the same incompetence as before, only by different people. One completely blown replay, followed the next day by a call being changed without indisputable evidence. And both went against the Red Sox, while playing the Yankees, on national TV. So yeah I'm pissed, but I'd be pissed no matter what the teams involved were.

And there are so many rules that are hazy, managers are going to be coming up with some weird-ass challenges. For example:

A batter-runner cannot be tagged out after overrunning or oversliding first base if he returns immediately to the base

That's how the rule is written. We thin of it as "...can't be tagged out after overrunning first base as long as he doesn't turn toward second. Also, he can take his sweet-ass time getting back to first after the overrun, as everyone does because they've never been called out for not immediately returning to the bag in the history of baseball."

How long is "immediately"? If it's Game 7 of the World Series and you're up a run with two outs in the ninth, and a guy beats out an infield single, have your first baseman wait five seconds and then tag the guy. Is the World Series over or still going on?

And what about a runner being outside the baseline before first base where they have that box? Any time a guy gets on, just claim he was outside the box, which they usually are. And do it all game long.

I think they need to write a whole new replay rulebook. Some manager is gonna find a way to tilt the machine and it's gonna get weird. (Probably Girardi, since Jeter will probably give him the idea.)

Live-Blogging Myself Reacting To The Providence Outdoor Movie Schedule

Kim just gave me the news: the schedule is out. As I say every year, the NYC movies at Bryant Park are my favorite, but they think a little too hard when choosing titles, whereas the severely scaled-down Providence one just says, "Okay, you're all children of the 80s, here's the shit you like. Again." And we eat it up. So here we go:

June 5th: The Breakfast Club. Those "rat pack" movies were a little ahead of my time. I mean I remember them coming out, and I remember some kids in my class (probably the ones who had kissed girls already) breaking the "rules" and seeing these R-rated flicks. I was sticking with Short Circuit and the one about the kids who somehow fly a Space Shuttle mission by accident. But eventually I came to watch and appreciate some of these movies, TBC being one of them. I ain't no neo maxi zoom dweebie. Good start.

June 12th: Thelma & Louise. Never did see it, because at the time, I was a 15-year old boy, not a 30-year old woman. But it might be good. People seem to like it.

June 19th: Amelie. Kim loves this movie, and after overhyping it for years, she finally showed it to me, and I just didn't see what the big deal was. Maybe I missed something. My neighbor's boyfriend says the director is really cool and has done some other even weirder stuff. Maybe I need a second try at Amelie, or maybe I should try one of his other flicks first.

June 26th: Cocktail. Wow, we continue the theme of "movies Jere was just a little too young/immature for when they came out." In the summer of '88 I was 12, and had no reason to see movies about bars (or whatever). Still don't. And unless Tom Cruise pulls a full McConaughey and sells his soul for some talent, I'll probably never see this movie.

July 3rd: Woodstock. Wow, interesting choice. I have to say, despite being anti-hippie (I'm anti- the free love, weed, trippy music, tie dye, and general barefootedness, not the politics or Hendrix), I'm completely fascinated by Woodstock. I've watched the doc a bunch of times. But I don't know if I'd wanna sit through the whole thing in one sitting. That's 3-4 hours depending on which version they show. We'll see.

July 10th: Adaptation. Nice! I love this movie, in which Nic Cage plays twin brothers. I love a lot of stuff Spike Jonze has done. The "push, push" line gets me every time. And nice job by Brian Cox in this one. And Chris Cooper, of course. (But that Meryl Streep is such a phony!)

July 17th: The Great Escape. I guess this is another one of those classics I missed.

July 24th: Reality Bites. Liked, kinda, didn't love.

July 31st: Smokey and the Bandit. Ha, this would be a good one to see outdoors....

August 7th: Moonrise Kingdom. Nice. You know I've loved Wes Anderson since the beginning. And this movie was shot in my state, including scenes at a beach I spend a lot of time at because one of my old people likes to eat lunch there. Oh, and I've been waiting to use this joke: Isn't it odd that MooKi is the first Wes movie without a Wilson? Ba-dum-bum. PS I just saw a car the other day with the license plate "MINOSO." The type of car? A Mini! I'm all for making a baseball joke with your plate that nobody would get even if Minnie Minoso were still playing, let alone now.

August 14th: Annie Hall. Can't go wrong with Woody. Or NYC movies. Double bonus.

August 21st: The Professional. I can't remember if I saw this. Is this the one where Natalie Portman is like 4 years old?

August 28th: The Wizard of Oz. That would be fun, I'll just have to remember to not watch it if it comes on TV in the months leading up. Because I feel like I've seen it so many times now that I have to wait a while between viewings.

September 4th: Dazed and Confused. Did I ever tell you my thoughts on this? I saw this movie in the theater in college when it came out in 1994. As you know, I love the late 70s/early 80s. And I had gotten into 1979's Over the Edge right around 1989 at age 14. It's great because it's authentic. (Bonus: Much later I found out that Kurt Cobain was inspired by it, as revealed in the Smells Like Teen Spirit video.) So I went in worried about a NEW 70s movie. Sure enough I came out saying, that wasn't about 70s kids, it was about 90s kids, dressed like 70s kids. Which is kind of how 90s kids dressed anyway, with minor comfort alterations. I remember at one point, during the school dance scene, the audience started chuckling. I couldn't figure it out. I finally realized they were laughing at the "funny" clothes. But I was so used to those from A. remembering clothes like that and B. seeing Over the Edge so many times, that it wasn't "funny" to me, just an attempt at authenticity which I respected. Anyway, I guess I still appreciated the movie. Have seen it maybe twice since '94. Would see it again. PS Of course I saw American Hustle (before I knew it would be "Oscar-worthy") based on the 70s-ness and my illogical crush on Bradley Cooper. And my logical crushes on Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence. And it ended up losing out to McConaughey. Go figure.

September 11th: The Goonies. What movie says 9/11 like The Goonies? This is exactly the kind of movie I should have been seeing when it came out, but for some reason, I didn't. But I saw it later. Another fun one to see outside.

September 18th: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Here's another one I'm a fan of, saw it in the theater. I think at the time I hadn't given a crap about George Clooney since The Facts of Life, and OBWAT made me learn to respect him. Sometimes. Great soundtrack, too. (Cue comments about how it's bluegrass watered down for the mainstream, and that my favorite punk band must be Green Day too.)

September 25th: The Never Ending Story. Haha! Classic! To an 80s kid who was too young for the brat pack, anyway. Freakin' Bastian, man, he's so serious. Actually, so are the kids who played Atreyu and the Empress. Say my name! I bet the casting call for this film was weird, with adults in whatever the hell country they filmed it in being all stern and telling these child actors that if they're there to fuck around, they've come to the wrong place. (Remember when characters like Atreyu and Belle and Sebastian weren't band names? Those were the days.)

Wait, didn't it go into October last year? Oh well. Looking back up at the top of the article, I see that our nation's McConaugh-hay fever has led Dazed and Confused to be the top selling point. And I see the restaurant that has always hosted these movies closed! Oh well, they lost Kim's credit card one time, so to hell with them. Maybe we'll get a better host now. Also, Ghostbusters turns 30 and Ramis dies, and it's not on this schedule?

G-Damn

Frustrating shit this weekend. Will quickly follow this post with a one I wrote a few days ago about movies. Bye.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Replay

Shitburger of a loss yesterday. So this replay thing.... I'm not saying that one call cost us the game or anything, I'd be saying this even if it had been 15-1 and no matter which team got screwed: what's the point of a reply system if a replay shows an obviously missed call, the umpires look at it, and still don't change the call? Guy's foot came off the bag, glove is on him, how is he not out? (And didn't you love how the guys in the truck had to spell it out for Don and Rem before they even noticed, finally just putting up a still frame of the moment the guy was out?) And Don/Rem watch this happen and don't say shit about it! There was your chance to say "what in the world happened there?" and go on and on about how stupid this is, but they just moved right on. I don't know, maybe they covered it in post-game or maybe it's "being talked about" today, I have no idea. In my world, that play would be the top story of the next shitty 24-hour twitterverse intersocialstupidwhatever cycle.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sox Beat CC As Per Usual

Saying "I predicted it" online or anywhere else is about as pointless as describing a dream, but I SWEAR I visualized that Sizemore dong exactly. I mean I was cheering for it before it happened. We'd been getting shutdown by Skinny Oprah, until Jonny Wadd slapped a johnson in the 6th to tie it at one. At that point I was thinking that we just need one big inning. Take a big-ish lead and get this win. Two men got on, and then it was Lil' Grady. And I made it happen with my mind. Three-run job and it was 4-1, and you could turn your sets off there, folks. Actually, you would have missed Koji NOT come into the game. We had to sweat through Mujica, but he made quick work of the Yanks in the 9th to preserve the 4-2 victory.

Then we cut to Tom Caron who went into full media-invented-crisis mode. Why do they pretend like they don't love this stuff? First he said "the Red Sox win but the focus of the next hour will be why Koji didn't enter this game." Then after John Farrell said he wasn't concerned and that it was just shoulder stiffness, TC came right back with "until I SEE HIM ON THE MOUND, I'm gonna be concerned." You could see the glint in his eye, almost as if he was excited to win a bet among colleagues as to who could start the next fake drama. At which point, we all sit there calmly while they panic, but tell us that we're the ones who are panicking.

I'm not saying that your closer not pitching when he's supposed to isn't a big deal, but Jesus, they were showing the guy. He was in the ballpark. He wasn't in a sling. He wasn't on his back. You could tell that whatever it was was minor, then the manager tells us it's minor, and then TC loses his shit over it. Who knows, maybe this minor stiffness is some magic bullet career-ending injury, but let's take it a step at a time, eh?

Some dumbass Yankee fan called the FAN today and said "beyond Pedroia and Ortiz, this Red Sox lineup is weak." He may as well have said, "I've watched exactly ONE Red Sox game and here's what I've surmised." Francesa had to let the guy know about Victorino and "Middlebury" being injured. And nobody mentioned Xander. Meanwhile, Solarte is in Monument Park already. We've got a Timo Perez Syndrome in the making there. It's so funny how any time a young or new-but-poor Yankee does well, you have these callers saying how great it is that the Yanks are this underdog small-market juggernaut, at which point Francesa notes "well they only spent x hundred million dollars in the offseason...."

Q. What's the best part about seeing one of those faux-tough guy drunken "'New Yorker' who's actually from Westport" Yankee fans celebrating in the stands in the "it's manifest destiny that we the Yankees will beat you the Red Sox" style?

A. Knowing that they know which team is the defending world champions, and which one has won a lot of times in the last decade-plus as opposed to one time. If you ever feel like that isn't killing them, simply remember that it is, and your day will brighten by three times.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Class

Good Jeter column by the always-critical-of-the-stupid-Yankees Bob Raissman.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chocolate Doughnut

Well at least ClayHH rebounded, kinda, from his first start. We lose, 4-1 in NY. Heard some* of this one on the radio, and noticed that Castig does the "sad call" when Jeter makes an out. Terrible job, Joe.

*Saw the rest on TV. Figured I'd clarify since that line makes it sound like I missed most of the game.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Winning Via The "Mike"

My (Yankee fan) friend Mike's favorite thing* is when you're the home team, you're trailing headed to the bottom of the 8th, and you take the lead, meaning all of a sudden you're three outs from victory. That 8th inning changes the feel of the whole game. The Red Sox did that today. Peavy was great but we couldn't do much on O, and we trailed 2-1 after 7.5. Then Papi hit a mega-three-run-dong over the P. Pole and suddenly it was 4-2 and Koji Time. So we win the series and head to The Bronx.

I've probably said this before, but baseball on FM radio is so shitty compared to FM. Sure the announcers seem to have better voices, but I swear I can barely hear the crowd. I'm listening to that Papi blast in the car and wondering if anyone's in the stands at all! Freakin' FM.


*At least it was in '89 or whenever he told me. Who knows if he even remembers any of this or if he remained a lifelong fan of this 8th-inning thing.

Jere FAQ: The UConn Thing

Q: Jere, you were born and raised in Connecticut, you're psyched for this UConn thing, right?

A: No. Let me take you back to a year we affectionately called "1990." UConn's basketball team had last won an NCAA tournament game when I was less than a year old. All of a sudden, in 1990, when I'm in high school, they got good. Out of nowhere. Big East champs. Good for them, I thought, and our whole state cheered when Tate George made his last-second shot to send the Huskies into the Existential Eight. My cousin told tales of having babysat for the player who threw the baseball pass to George, Scott Burrell. The euphoria was short-lived, as Duke would give UConn a taste of its own 'tussin. Two days later (right?), Christian Laettner would hit a buzzer-beater of his own and the Huskies were done.

But then a weird thing happened. Before Tate George, there was no such thing as a "UConn basketball fan." Which is only a slight exaggeration. After Tate George, suddenly all these people from my state had a team to root for. And as you know, "because they win now" is not a reason to root for a team, unless you're a Yankee-loving, front-running, wagoner of band. All of a sudden, the halls of Ridgefield High were clogged with bulky, unflattering (remember 1990?) UConn sweatshirts. Oh no, I was not going to be a part of this. I kept on loosely following my parents' invisible Fairfield and Central Connecticut squads while all the other kids were default "winners," eventually celebrating four national championships, the most recent one occurring this week. Add to that the disgust of UConn's women's team being this all-time juggernaut, with a record of, by my estimation, 1,000-4 over the last few years, including another title...this week. What the fuck is that about? How did these teams get and stay so good? Is this ever going to end?

To add insult to injury for we who were happy for UConn but only for that one moment before they became a powerhouse, Tate George ended up in jail.

And before you go all "you're just like those people who like a band until they start selling enough records so that they can eat" on me, I shall say this: Fuck 311 too!

Sox Lose, Yanks Lose, Jeter Old, Slow, Uncaring

We were getting destroyed tonight, until two late rallies gave us hope and made it somewhat respectable. 10-7 LOSS. So we're tied for last place. But the good news is we're 1.5 out of first. And no team in the division is more than a half-game over .500.

Yanks got truly destroyed today, 14-5. I imagine the conversation regarding the choice of which player to picture along with the game story on yankees.com going something like this:

"Okay guys, Yanks crapped the bed today, but we need a guy for the front page. Anybody homer today?"

"Yup, one by Soriano, one by Johnson."

"Hmmm, what else?"

"Solarte had 2 doubles, went 2 for 4, Ellsbury was 3 for 4 and also doubled...Beltran doubled too...."

"Just not doin' it for me..."

"Gardner knocked in a run....uhhh...Roberts 1 for 3..."

"What about Jeter?"

"1 for 4, no runs, no ribbies."

"That's our man!!!!!"

In fairness, it shows Jeter in a moment of frustration, but if you want to show a symbol of frustration, how about one of the two pitchers who gave up 7 runs?

Or maybe it was yankees.com's wink to us, acknowledging that Jeter didn't hustle "for the first time in his life" for the second day in a row! He also looked like your great-grandpa on what should have been a double play grounder.

It's so funny, the FAN callers with the excuses. (This was about Monday's loafing, I know it's tough keeping track.) Guy calls up and basically says that a career of hustling means you're allowed to not hustle. Fortunately Francesa has a brain sometimes and told the guy exactly what I always say, that if everybody's gonna treat the guy like a god because he hustles all the time, then you can't just let it go when he doesn't.

Tanaka makes his home debut Wednesday night, while the Sox play at 4:05. Both matches are made of rubber.

Terrible job by Don tonight. On a shot of the Big Concourse in right field, he mentions the "wide concourse in center field." Yeah I know CF is next to RF but this walking shot started about even with the right field foul pole. He also emphasized "wide" almost as if to say this was some new concourse you need to go check out, despite that it's ten years old now and was well publicized when it was new. Take a walk around the park, Don, just once!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Jeter Does Something Wrong For The First Time For The Millionth Time

"You never see that," is what they say about Derek Jeter every single time he does something wrong. Every fuck-up is the first and last one of his career. Today he loafed out of the box and was inches from being thrown out at second on what should have been a stand-up double. Which led the world, including the Pride of Pedestria himself, to make jokey excuses. The MLB.com article starts with

Derek Jeter took a few loping steps out of the batter's box, seeming to allow himself a little extra time to take in his final home opener at Yankee Stadium. Why not? The sweet crack of barrel meeting ball had provided the captain with that luxury.

Granted, it does go on to mention how lots of people in the park mocked him for his extremely unclassy, unfundamental play. But Jesus, that first paragraph--it seems to imply that on home runs, taking your time to run to first, the supposed opposite of everything this guy stands for, is okay! The video highlight, in which you hear Michael "Backwards" Kay embarrassing himself almost as much as Captain Anonymous If He Were Ugly And/Or On The Royals himself, cuts off right after the play, conveniently omitting the replay of the "loping steps."

This whole incident is more proof that "we" have decided the guy can do no wrong. I really do mean it when I say that if he gets caught doing performance-enhancing drugs, that will be the day it's decided that doing performance-enhancing drugs is the right thing to do. Either that or people just won't be physically able to hear the story, like how Native Americans couldn't see Columbus' ships.

You never see Jeter jackknife out of the way of a pitch that's nowhere near him to steal a strike call. You never see him try to sell a call at second base only to get away with it and then have a shit-eating grin on his face. You never see him pretend to get hit by a pitch. And you definitely never see Derek Jeter cheat taxpayers out of millions of dollars. Except when you do.

And you wanna talk about loafing? On top of today, I've heard two other Jeter basepath mistakes in the last month alone. On the one in Houston last week, watch here (click "Jeter Lines RBI Single to Right") as he gets caught on a play right in front of him, then slows to a walk and lets himself get tagged out. If it were Manny Ramirez, it would be the blooper of the year: "Watch as uncaring Manny stops playing mid-game!" Now maybe you think you're smart and you're like, "Dude, he was getting in a rundown to make sure the run scored, then when it did, he stopped running like he's supposed to because it didn't matter anymore at that point." Well you can't have it both ways. Either this guy is so super special because he hustles all the time no matter what, or he's an average player with a lot of bloop hits.

And here's another thing. Even if I came out and admitted that he really is this class-o-rific once-in-a-lifetime best-to-ever-grace-the-field golden god, I still would have every right to hate his guts. Are people just so in love with this guy that it breaks their heart to hear that not everyone in the world shares that love? Or do they think I'm lying? Do they think that for some reason I really, really love the face of my rival but I'm afraid to admit it, so I just say I hate him? This crap was disgusting already, but the YOU LOVE JETER JUST LIKE I DO stuff is growing exponentially as we head toward the collapse and cooling of our sun -- er, Jeter's retirement.

Hey, did you hear Jeter was running the scoreboard today and spelled Ellsbury's name wrong? First time he's ever done that.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Sox, Wife Both Win

Kim got to go on the warning track before tonight's game with her uncle (who knows someone who knows someone...) and meet Jackie Bradley, Jr. Said he was incredibly humble and nice. Got his autograph on a ball along with Xander! Bradley went on to be the star of tonight's game, making some fine plays in the field and hitting two ribbie singles. Then on his bunt that the Rangers didn't know what to do with, she was clearly shown jumping and clapping in the bleachers! Nice night for Kim and the Sox, who broke a three-game losing streak.

Lackey gave up 0 earned runs in 7 innings. The game was much closer than the 5-1 score. Up 2-1 in the 8th, Farrell went with Capuano instead of Tazawa, and the leadoff man singled, and it would have been a double had Nava not played the carom perfectly. But a lineout and a DP later, we were three outs away from victory, and we tacked on three in the 8th to make it easier for Koji.

Glad to be out of the weird free-swingin' National League Brewers zone. Top four teams in the AL East within one game. Sox a game out of first.

Opening Day/Ring Ceremony Photo Gallery

Four days after going to the season-opener in Baltimore, I was at Fenway with my mom and Charlie for the home opener, complete with ring ceremony and flag-raising. Above, the awesome new trophied-out 2014 schedule, in front of the 2013 banner.

Beautiful day. Cold, but we've experienced much, much colder.

Everything was moved up because of the ceremony, meaning the Red Sox finished BP before the gates opened. But we did get to see a few Sox while the Brewers were hitting. Above, Lester and Lackey.

Dempster showing off the golden B. Yes, he quit, but he was there to get his ring of course.

We were the first road fans to boo Braun in the post-suspension era. Was just regular boos, no extended chanting or anything.

Overbay.

A picture from underneath, just because.

Dropkick Murphys take the field.

I snapped this a second too late to show you some red peeking out of that box. But I was very excited when I got home and noticed it actually says "OPENING DAY WS FLAG" on the box. At this point we were in front of the blacked-out seats, hoping they'd let us stay there for the ceremony, instead of our much higher bleacher seats.

These official types waved up at the Monster Seat people, who had flag-dropping duties....

And they gave the special waving signal back.

The 2013 trophy, separated from its two friends for a change.

Starting to fill up and we were still in that spot.

Looking straight down at some Boston Strong people on the CF warning track. Finally, though, we were kicked out and headed up to row 24 of section 36.

Of course I totally knew going in that we'd have a rough angle at the Monster, but we decided to just enjoy it all from our real seats. Above, the 20th-century title flags dropping one by one.

Then it was '04, followed by '07, as per the tradition.

I wondered if maybe the 2013 flag would have the B-Strong logo or some other change, but they kept it the same as the other 21st-century ones.

This is the 2013 flag coming down. Notice how many people opted to watch on the scoreboard, missing the unique angle they had. Some people are even photographing the board. So they spend their money to go to a spot right near the championship banners dropping, only to turn away and take a picture of a screen showing the same thing from a different angle. Probably could have saved some money and watched it on TV....

Marathon victims/helpers taking the field, bringing the ring boxes. Newport's own "hard H. Abbott to break," Heather Abbott, is visible at right.

Russell Nua and other non-players getting their rings.

Andrew Miller giving an odd handshake while getting his finger-warmer.

Some of your favorite Sox waiting to raise the flag after getting their rings.

View from 36.

Papi got a ring, plus some special other ring.

The team raising the flag. Papi and Koji at far right.

Not much wind at the moment the American and World Series Champs flags went up.

But eventually the wind, much like the 2013 Yankees, blew.

The flags then went down to half-staff due to the recent firefighters dying. Here the team shakes hands with fire department types.

The flags lookin' pretty.

The Sox and the Brewers.

The mayor threw out the first ball, as lots of trophies looked on. I don't care about the other ones, just the ones Pedro, Varitek, and Lowell are holding.

Pedro holds it high.

First pitch of the actual game.

Xander up, Sizemore goes.

My boy Middlebrooks went deep, but we lost.

Briefly sat in the front row by the Brewers bullpen in the 9th. We would lose the next two and get swept by the Brewers. Goddamn.

Those two ladies from Still, We Believe and Fever Pitch. I always remember Jessamy's name but not the other one.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Opening Day Flyover

From Friday at Fenway:



I thought that thing was losing control when it banked toward us like that. My photo gallery from that day coming soon....

Lester snaps our losing streak today at 1:35.

Yes It Is, Pete

Worked till 8, got in car. Castig is not giving me the score but I'm estimating the Brewers have scored while we haven't done much. I'm thinking 1-0 or 2-1 them. After like 15 minutes, Napoli goes deep, three-run blast to his comfort zone and I'm thinking we're now easily ahead. Castig: "and the Red Sox now trail six to five!" Well all right, then. Buchholz had really crapped some bodacious bed in his '14 debut. We'd eventually tie it but it stayed 6-6 forever, until The Good Land notched an ace in the 11th, holding on for a 7-6 win. So we're 2-3.

Yanks were shut out in Toronto, so they're also 2-3.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

G-Pan

I always wanted to be in one of those "Gigapans," which are those pics of an entire ballpark which you can zoom in on. I was happy to see they did one yesterday...but it cut out the entire centerfield bleachers. Booo-jica. If you were there, and not in CF, go find yourself!

But then I saw on their site they had several games up which I attended. Sweet. Found myself a few times. I'll have to do another post about this, complete with close-ups of me and then my original photos from the spot you see me in, hopefully at the exact same moment. (Which is tough since the gigapan is made up of multiple shots which aren't taken all at the exact same moment.)

(Note: This is NOT a paid advertisement for Gigapan. If it was, would I be able to say that its owner and entire staff are members of the Taliban? No, I wouldn't.)

(Note: The owner and staff of Gigapan are NOT members of the Taliban. I only said they were to make a point. See previous note for point details.)

Wata!

Had a great time at the home opener, with the rings and the flags and the Pedros and what have you. Too bad we lost. At least Teixeira got hurt. Will post pictures soon. I know it's a 2014y world where you want stuff NOW but I like to take my time and do it slow, you know, much like Salt 'n' Pepa in their 1990 hit "Do You Want Me."

In the meantime, I'll do that staple of 2005, which used to actually work on you because hardly anybody was posting cell phone pics to the web, the "tease," which in this case is a video from today which has nothing to do with your World Champions. Let's all take a moment to acknowledge an underrated Fenway character, "that vendor who carries a case of water on her head."


Thursday, April 03, 2014

What A Team (We Continue To Be)

Alone at the top! To start with a loss against a division opponent while two others are playing each other and the Yanks are playing Houston and to end that first series alone in first place is nearly impossible. But the Rays and Jays split four, the Yanks shat the bed, and we won the next two. So we go into the home opener in first place by ourselves.

Great job by everybody tonight. Xanadu is on fire. Papi is still Papi to no one's surprise. Same with Koji. (Though after tonight's game TC said that lots of people thought "everything was wrong" with Papi two days ago and that it was good to see Koji get some good performances in early to make sure last year "wasn't a dream.") And Jackie and Brooksie were key too. The pitching's been great, the hitting's been coming from all angles, everything is coming up Millhouse so far in 2014. We really could be 3-0 right now but we'll take 2-1 in first alone, a fact I continue to bring up well into paragraph two.

Bonus: I'd been waiting for the O's to bring that pitcher named Meek into a game with men on base. So I could say "the Meek inherited the runner." Which I did, I assure you.

Opening Day info here. Yes, I'll be there! I never miss a ring ceremony. (If you're looking to get in and still don't have a ticket, keep checking redsox.com, I see they're showing loge seats available right now, but if you try to get them it says they're down for scheduled maintenance. So keep trying tonight and then in the morning. Looks like they're preparing to e-dump.)

Fenway improvements here. I'm curious about this new area out "above the bleachers" in right field. I guess it extends off the RF roof? Will see it tomorrow. And I gotta try that portobello mushroom sandwich. Actually I don't because it probably costs 12 bucks.

Belated Opening Day Photo Gallery

After a months-long (first world) struggle, I ended up here on Monday morning. My friend Brian and his wife Jen live ten minutes from Camden Yards now, and I hadn't seen them in so long that I actually had to dust off some birthday presents I'd been waiting to give them. I decided long ago I'd take this trip and just hope the Orioles would at some point release tickets to non-season-ticket-holders. If I couldn't get tix, at least I'd get to see my friends. After a sleet-filled (but also Ivan "Iron Man" Stewart's Super Off Road-filled) Sunday in the Charm City, I woke up Monday to find out that finally, but not until day-of-game, the O's dumped some tix. I woke Brian up and we frantically worked on multiple devices, and after some near-misses, came up with two standing room tickets, at $15 each. The lowest ticket price as of the night before on the crap-ondary market had been over $100.

At that point we knew we could leisurely drive over to the ballpark and be some of the first people in line at the gates. Beautiful day. And almost all Orioles fans. Their little plan worked, but they couldn't keep me out. We went inside, and after finding out that the left field seats were open only to, guess who, season ticket holders, we headed to the infield for batting practice.

Here I'm telling Brian that I must have taken more pics of David Ortiz than any other human being.

Castiglione out on the field.

Napoli's beard still in full force.

Xander almost got nailed with a stray warm-up toss. He and Grady laughed about it afterwards.

My official "favorite Red Sox," who unfortunately hasn't pitched in a really long time, Andrew Miller.

Two more world champs.

When we realized Papi was about to hit, we went out to the right field flag court where I got this shot of the original 1954 foul pole (I had no idea) from Memorial Stadium. Papi then hit a ton of balls out there, each one bounding up and hitting the warehouse and floating back down to a scrum of ball-wanters. One direct hit destroyed a glass, sending a hundred shards flying in all directions. It served as a nice distraction as I followed the ball as it went under a picnic table. Two other dudes got there first and were rolling on the ground amidst the legs of the people at the table. The ball squirted free and headed toward me at the other side, but finally one of the doofuses at the table reached down for an easy grab.

After BP we took a stroll upstairs.

This is looking out at the street behind left field. Had we not been able to get tickets, the plan was to "watch the game at a bar or something." After seeing this sight I was mega-glad we got tix.

Baltimore. And some of the football stadium.

Opening Day logo on the field.

Bootleg panorama.

Opening Freakin' Day.

An usher claimed he was a "cameraman" and took this shot of Brian and me, which I only brightened a little to keep a slight air of mystery.

Here we are 14 years earlier on our couch in Danbury.

Eutaw Street.

A close-up of a warehouse window. I did this for the reflection, and only later noticed the Ripken bobbleheads.

Bootleg panorama #2.

We went out to right field to stake out a spot at 2:00. The game was at 3:00. I was happy to get second row. Then the people in front of us left. Suddenly we were at the rail for Opening Day, for 15 bucks, after wondering for months if we'd get in at all. Above, the rolling out of the orange carpet.

Looking along the railing. Grady Sizemore would hit a homer about ten people to our right.

And looking left--we were the first people in fair territory, besides the camera men.

The view. Was 60 and sunny at game time, with wind. By the 6th, I was rolling up my sleeves. The sun was key, though. Shade people had a crappy experience on this day. But it was March after all.

Xander hugs Papi.

The Red Sox in the dugout.

Beard stroking.

New for 2014 for the O's: The 60th anniversary patch, and the Tom Clancy one.

Poor Emily, she's stuck with last year's jersey.

That bird with his flag.

Each O got his own fireworks.

Your 2014 Boston Red Sox.

First pitch of the season! If you can find the ball in this shot, you're good.

My favorite non-pitcher, Will Middlebrooks, playing "third base" in a shift.

Grady up, Carp on. And then I pretty much focused on the game and put my camera away.

Toward the end, we went to the left field SRO, and I was right by the bullpen mound. Here's Taz...

...and here's Koji. Too bad we didn't need him. Sox lose, 2-1.

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