MLB Trade Deadline

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Two Touchdowns In Toronto


The Red Sox pitching, both starters and bullpen, have been very good all year. It was the hitting, especially in the clutch, that was killing this team's chances for the postseason.

But now, the bats are heating up and the pitching continues to shine. The Sox exploded last night in Toronto, 14-1, at the start of an important 7-game swing in Canada and St. Petersburg.

David Ortiz belted two home runs, and passed Carl Yastrzemski for 36th place on the all-time home run list. Mike Napoli and Syephen Drew also added home runs, and the Sox scored early and often to win their first blow out in some time.

John Lackey was excellent, giving up just one run on two hits (the only base runners he allowed) in seven innings. He threw only 76 pitches in getting his 11th win, one more than he had in all of 2013.

Everyone in the starting lineup had at least two hits, except for Dustin Pedroia (0) and Christian Vazquez (1). It was a season high in hits with 18. Ortiz and Drew led the way with 4 RBI each. Brock Holt made a sensational catch in right field, robbing Colby Rasmus of extra bases with the score at 14-1 in the fifth inning.

It was just one of those perfect nights we have seen very little of so far in 2014.

The Sox have now won 4 straight, and are 8-1 in the post-A.J. Pierzynski Era. They remain 7 1/2 games back in the AL East in fourth place, as Baltimore won in Anaheim last night.

Monday, July 21, 2014

First Decade of the Century Trivia Tomorrow

Tomorrow night at The Caledonia Scottish Pub, the Special Category for Trivia will be "2000s Trivia," seven questions about events that occurred in the first decade of the 21st century, in pop culture, history and sports.

Since Trivia was called off last week, we will give "Robert DeNiro Character Trivia" another go as the Q Train lightning round. I will give you the names of 10 famous DeNiro characters, and you have to tell me which film that character appeared in.

The Sneak Peek question once again is:
"The United States has shoreline on how many oceans?"

We will get going at 8 PM. The Caledonia is located at 1609 Second Avenue, between E. 83rd and 84th Streets. The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow night, so I hope to see many of you then!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Six of Seven

Not getting overly excited, but the Red Sox won yet another one-run contest at Fenway, a 2-1 win over Kansas City.

This was the eighth straight one-run win at Fenway, and the boys have now won six of their last seven.

Mike Napoli hit his 11th home run of the year, and Rubby De La Rosa pitched seven strong innings. Shane Victorino came off the DL and had one hit, and Mookie Betts returned to Pawtucket.

Jackie Bradley turned his sixth double play of the season, and continues to show he is a Gold Glove outfielder right now. He leads all outfielders will 11 assists and no other outfielder has as many as three DPs. (Thanks to Allan at Joy of Sox for that fact.)

Two solid wins since the All-Star break. The Sox are 6-1 since A. J. Pierzynski (who has cleared waivers and was released) left the team. Draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

No Re2pect


Well, we all knew it was going to be "The Derek Jeter Show" at the All-Star Game last night, and it certainly was.

Fox made sure everyone knew this was the retiring Yankee captain's final All-Star appearance, with 100 mentions of him throughout the night. Listen, I have no problem with that. I thought John Farrell handled Jeter's leaving in the game in 4th inning perfectly, as he substituted Alexei Ramirez for him before the inning started, so Jeter could soak up all the applause. More than fine with all that.

Controversy sprang up late in the game when Adam Wainwright admitted he "grooved" a fastball to Jeter in the first inning, and he slammed it for a double, and later scored on Mike Trout's triple. Wainwright certainly isn't the first pitcher ever to do something like this, but in a game that now "counts", that wasn't the smartest thing to do, as it led to the AL's 5-3 win, and gives the AL team the home field advantage in the World Series.

I've always thought it was silly to have home field riding on this game, but MLB figured the game was slipping into irrelevance like the other three major sports' all-star games had, so they had to do something drastic. If you're playing to win, than play to win. (I've always thought it was overreaction to what happened in 2002, that 7-7 tie travesty.)

The All-Star Game was better when it was just an exhibition game, the AL vs. NL meeting for league pride. That is all gone, as now it has to "count." (Interleague also ruined it, but that's another story.)

But what bothered me most last night was the Fox coverage. Jeter was going to be the star of last night's coverage and you accept that. But with all the Jetermania, the incessant commercials about "Gotham", Fox stars "who just happened to be there", there was no mention of six great stars of MLB who died this year: Tony Gwynn, Ralph Kiner, Bob Welch, Jim Fregosi, Jerry Coleman and Don Zimmer (Gwynn, Welch and Zimmer all died within the last month).

How you can have a 3+ hour broadcast and have not a single mention of any of these great players is simply mind boggling. Especially of Zimmer, who was close to Jeter in his championship years. (I noticed that David Price touched his "ZIM" patch when he was introduced. No mention of that.) The losses of Zimmer, Welch and Gwynn were still fresh in the minds of baseball fans, especially Gwynn, who died at the very young age of 54.

Yes, "Fox Ruins Baseball" strikes again.

The Padres sure noticed Gwynn's snub, and after the game tweeted the above picture, with no caption. Very classy.

Last night was NOT Fox's best hour, as Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci should have known better. I'm waiting for the excuses Fox will come up with for dropping the ball on this one.

Postponed By Rain

Tuesday Night Trivia at the Caledonia Scottish Pub didn't happen last night, as the heavy rains that hit New York City in the late afternoon and early evening kept just about everyone away, including all the regulars (except my intrepid friend Larry). So we called it off and watched the All-Star Game.

We will roll most of last night's Trivia to next week. We will have a new Special Category for next week.

Let's hope for better weather next Tuesday, July 22nd at 8 PM. And I hope many of you can make it then. Have a good week.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Why DeNiro? Why Not?


Tuesday Night Trivia this week will feature "MLB All-Star Trivia" as the Special Category, in honor of the Midsummer Classic game, which will be going on as we do Trivia. It will be seven questions connected to the players who've played in the game, and for those of you who aren't huge baseball fans, it will be multiple choice.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Robert DeNiro Film Character Trivia." I will give you the names of 10 famous characters that DeNiro brought to life on the big screen, and you tell me the film. No particular reason we are doing DeNiro films this week. Maybe only because he's Robert F'n DeNiro.

The Sneak Peek question this week is:
"The United States has shoreline on how many oceans?"

We get started at 8 PM tomorrow night at the Caledonia Scottish Pub, which is located at 1609 2nd Avenue, which is located between E. 83rd and 84th Streets. We have been growing as the weeks have gone by at the Caledonia, and I hope to see more of you tomorrow night for a another great night of Trivia Q&A!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Retrieving a Little Dignity

The Red Sox ended a lousy 10-game homestand with two wins in their final turn at-bat against the White Sox. They now lead the AL with 8 wins in the final at-bat, tied with the Mets for the MLB lead.

The Sox are now 2-0 since they jettisoned A.J. Pierzynski (coincidence? I think not). They didn't get their first base runner until the 6th inning yesterday (that has to be at least the sixth time the Sox have gone through the first three innings in a game without a base runner; seems more like 50).

Jon Lester was superb in 7 innings, but Koji Uehara, who has looked more human lately, gave up a two-run homer in the 9th to tie it at 3. Mike Carp's RBI single in the 10th won it for the Red Sox.

Two straight wins and a weekend series in Houston to wrap it up for the All-Star break. Can't get excited at all about this, but it would be nice to see the kids contribute the rest of the way.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

2004 ALCS Redux In Brazil


Germany stomped all over Brazil in yesterday's World Cup semifinal, 7-1. To say it shocked the sports world would be an understatement.

As the destruction was taking place, I was trying to find the best American equivalent to what was taking place. And I found it: Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.

Germany scored early and often, and it was 5-0 by the 29th minute. On that memorable night in 2004, the Red Sox scored early and often, and it was 6-0 by the second inning. Both games were all over by those points but the shouting.

The Germans added on in the second half, and it was 7-0 by the 79th minute. The Red Sox added on, and by the fourth inning it was 8-1. Brazil added a late consolation goal, and the Yankees scored what amounted to runs that made the score look a little more respectable by the 7th inning, 8-3. But the Sox put it on ice late for a 10-3 win and a trip to the World Series.

The German win puts them in the World Cup Championship final on Sunday against the Netherlands-Argentina winner. (Technically the World Series isn't a World Championship series, although it is called one. Close enough.)

And of course, both losing squads were humiliated at home.

And if that wasn't enough, here's a cool clip of the great wrestling announcer Jim Ross, with his commentary put over yesterday's 7-1 German thrashing, courtesy of Deadspin. Good stuff.

Trivia Q&A: July 8

We had yet another nice crowd in at the Caledonia for Trivia on Tuesday night. We are building some nice momentum over the past month, and it was also nice to see Matt and Monica, two Trivia regulars from the old days, in for the first time at the new place. Always warms my heart to see such loyalty from such great folks.

We had a great three-team race last night, with the teams separated by two points heading into IQ Trivia. The winners on the night were The Confused State, who got 4 of 5 correct in that round and wound up with 48 points. Second went to Three Sheets to the Quinn! (Best Team Name winner) with 44 points, and third went to Carroll Hardy May Have Pinch Hit For Ted Williams, But He's Never Won at Trivia with 39 points.

Current Events
1. According to a recent poll from Quinnipiac, who was selected as the worst US president since World War II?
2. In a recent article from Consumer Reports, what fast food restaurant was ranked as having the worst hamburger?
3. What female pop singer and her record label was hit with a lawsuit last week by a Christian rap group, who claim she used part of a song of theirs on her 2013 album without permission?
4. The French bank BNP Paribas was fined a record $9 billion for violating US sanctions in its dealings with three sanctioned countries including money laundering. Name 1 of the 5 countries.
5. The NY Daily News selected which pop singer as number one in its recent list of "The 50 Most Powerful Women in New York?"
6. Nicolas Sarkozy, former president of what European country, was arrested last week on charges of bribery and influence-peddling?
7. What country recently regained the rank as the number one oil producer in the world from Saudi Arabia recently?

1990s Trivia
1. What MLB team won back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993?
2. Madonna earned her first Golden Globe acting award for what 1990s film?
3. In 1999, what Keanu Reeves film became the first DVD to see one million copies?
4. In what year was Nelson Mandela released from a South African jail after 27 years?
5. The 1992 Summer Olympics were held in what European city?
6. Who was the best-selling rap/hip-hop artist of the 1990s?
7. Edwina and Patsy were the two main characters in what 1990s British sitcom?

US States Nicknames Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The Spud State
2. The Nutmeg State
3. The Equality State
4. The Razorback State
5. The Show-Me State
6. The Old Dominion
7. The North Star State
8. The Silver State
9. The Evergreen State
10. The Terrapin State

General Knowledge
1. Who was the first US Secretary of State? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the official language of Iran? ( 1 pt)
3. Who was the first MLB player to have his number retired? ( 1 pt)
4. The longest day of the year occurs every year on what month and day? ( 2 pt)
5. How many different letters are used in the Roman Numeral System? ( 2 pt)
6. Between Meryl Streep, Katherine Hepburn, Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day-Lewis, who has won the most total Oscars? ( 2 pt)
7. What sport takes place in a velodrome? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What is the world's top-selling tie color? ( 3 points)
2. In 1954, what was the first human organ to be successfully transplanted? ( 4 points)
3. The first nuclear test explosion took place in 1945 in what US state? ( 4 points)
4. In 1937, Great Britain became the first nation to establish what three-digit emergency services number, which is still in effect today? ( 4 points)
5. What famous author wrote the first novel ever written on a typewriter? ( 5 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Barack Obama; 2. McDonald's; 3. Katy Perry; 4. Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Sudan; 5. Beyonce Knowles; 6. France; 7. United States.

1990s Trivia
1. Toronto Blue Jays; 2. "Evita;" 3. "The Matrix;" 4. 1990; 5. Barcelona; 6. Tupac Shakur; 7. "Absolutely Fabulous."

US States Nicknames Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Idaho; 2. Connecticut; 3. Wyoming; 4. Arkansas; 5. Missouri; 6. Virginia; 7. Minnesota; 8. Nevada; 9. Washington; 10. Maryland.

General Knowledge
1. Thomas Jefferson; 2. Persian; 3. Lou Gehrig; 4. June 21; 5. seven; 6. Katherine Hepburn (four); 7. cycling.

IQ Trivia
1. Blue; 2. kidney; 3. New Mexico; 4. 999; 5. Mark Twain.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Back to the 1990s On Tuesday


Tomorrow night at The Caledonia Scottish Pub, the Special Category will be "1990s Trivia," seven questions about the last decade of the 20th century in popular culture, history, sports, etc.

The Q Train lightning round will be "US States Nicknames Trivia." I will give you popular nicknames of ten states and you have to tell me which state I am talking about.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Who was the first MLB player to have his number retired?"

We get started shortly after 8 PM. The Caledonia is located at 1609 Second Avenue, between E.83 and 84 Streets. It's been great to see the crowds increasing over the last three weeks, as our new Trivia home is taking shape. Remember that first place gets $50 gift certificate to the pub, $20 to second, and a free round of shots for third place. I look forward to seeing many of you for a great night of Q&A tomorrow!

Some Will Stay. Some Will Go.

Another uninspiring weekend at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox dropped another series at home, this time to the first-place Baltimore Orioles. A doubleheader split on Saturday, and an extra-inning loss on Sunday, after a 5-run comeback in the 7th inning that went to waste.

39-49. The Sox are now back in last, as Tampa Bay has gotten hot, winners of 10 of 12. The Rays are now 1/2 game ahead of the Sox in fourth.

I'm beyond the anger stage now. It's a hopeless situation, but now I am curious as to exactly what Ben Cherington will do over the next few weeks. The Sox figure to be one of the more active teams over that time period.

Jon Lester was the lone Red Sox selection for the All-Star Game in Minneapolis next week, and Koji Uehara seems like to go as a replacement for a pitcher that bows out before the game takes place.

Now it's just a matter of which Red Sox players are playing in the final month with the team before they get moved to a contender. All kinds of names are being floated out there: Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski, Jonny Gomes, Andrew Miller, Koji Uehara. Even Jon Lester or John Lackey could be gone for the right deal.

It's time to retool for 2015, and give more of the youngsters at Pawtucket playing time in Boston. I'm guessing we'll see more of Jorge De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Garin Cecchini, Christian Vazquez and few others before the calendar strikes August.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Going From Bad to Even Worse

Just when you think it can't possibly get any worse, it does.

The Red Sox were swept by one of the NL's worst teams at home, allowing 16 runs in the process in last night's finale, an excruciating loss that took an unbearable 4 hours and 19 minutes to play.

I'll spare you all the gory details, only to say that Mookie Betts hit his first MLB home run over the Green Monster.

How many times have we heard the term "rock bottom" this year? I've lost count.

Just 7 1/2 months to go until the players report to Ft. Myers for Spring Training.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Boys In Brazil Do The US Proud


The US went down to defeat at the hands of Belgium in the second World Cup yesterday, but left with their heads held very high.

I remember the World Cup draw from last December, and the groans from critics and fans alike from the draw the US got: Germany, Portugal and Ghana. Very few gave the United States much a chance to advance out of the Group Stage, and the group was deemed the infamous "Group of Death."

The first match was a win over Ghana, 2-1, and combined with Germany's rout of Portugal, 4-0, gave fans hope that the US could pull off at least a second place finish.

The US outplayed Portugal in their second match, but a last minute goal by Portugal in stoppage time gave the Portuguese a 2-2 draw and kept the US from advancing. No one gave the US much chance of beating the Germans, but they nearly did to them what Portugal did in the previous game: a draw with a goal in stoppage time. It was 1-0 defeat, but the US played well enough to advance by gaining second place, by beating Portugal on goal difference. (And a word about that. I found it absolutely laughable that some knuckleheads in the media couldn't understand the concept of a "round robin tournament." They simply couldn't grasp that you didn't need to win the last game, just finish in second place in a four-team group to move on to knockout rounds. I even read where some morons even accused the US of "backing in" to the second round. Ugh.)

Belgium won all three of their Group Stage matches, and were an underrated opponent. It was a tough match yesterday, but Tim Howard, the US goalkeeper, was unquestionably the "man of the match." He made 16 saves, the most by a World Cup keeper since 1966. Belgium could have had at least 5 goals easy, but Howard kept the US in the match. The US had their best chance in injury time, as substitute Chris Wondolowski shot a ball wide where he had an open goal to shoot at, and will probably see that in his dreams forever. It stayed scoreless for the first 90 minutes.

The Belgians scored two goals in extra time, one in each 15-minute period. It was all over until Julian Green scored in the 107th minute to make it 2-1. The US basically emptied all their guns, but ultimately came up short. Clint Dempsey had a glorious chance late, but was denied.

The US goes out having reached the Round of 16, but they leave having opened a lot of eyes. This team will be a force to be reckoned with in Russia in 2018, and brought some new fans to soccer with their run. They did their country proud yesterday, and we thank them.

P.S. To all those soccer haters who've gone to great lengths to say that "soccer will not now or ever take over America": you are correct. (We go through this crap every four years like clockwork, and we will again in the summer of 2018. Bank on it.) Baseball, American football, hockey and basketball have been so ingrained in the American culture for so long that that will never happen. Soccer is only looking for its niche in the United States, and continues to make those strides. MLS continues to grow steadily in popularity, and the good showing by the US in the World Cup only helps that along. You can put down your pitchforks now. You have nothing to worry about.

Trivia Q&A: July 1

For the third straight week, we had exactly eight teams in for Trivia at The Caledonia, and there were even more folks in the pub then either of the last two weeks. I take that as a hopeful sign that our new Trivia Night is growing by the week.

The team of Squam Rock Land Trust won the night, garnering 47 points and the win. They were tied with the second place team, And the Living Is Easy, going into IQ Trivia, but they got 4 of the 5 questions correct to pull into the winner's circle and take it by five points. The Macs were third with 35 points.

Best Team Name: Two Morons (It got laughs every time I said it!)

Current Events
1. What female pop singer recently offered to write a campaign song for Hillary Clinton if she should run for president in 2016?
2. Tim Lincecum, a pitcher for what NL team, threw the second no-hitter of his career last Wednesday against the San Diego Padres?
3. Howard Baker, former US senator from Tennessee, died last Thursday at the age of 88. Under what president was he the Chief of Staff?
4. Board members of what famous bridge unanimously approved a $76 million project to build a steel suicide barrier last week?
5. The son of what movie star, who has had his own problems with drugs, was arrested on cocaine possession charges last Sunday?
6. What rock icon's original draft of his most famous song, written in 1965, was recently sold at auction for $2 million?
7. What country is preparing to try two American tourists as spies, claiming they were "attempting to carry out hostile acts" against the country?

July 4th Trivia
1. On this day in 1976, Israeli commandos raided Entebbe Airport in what African country and rescued hostages held by Palestinian terrorists?
2. In 1863, the Battle of Vicksburg was won by the Union in the Civil War. Which Union general did the rebels surrender to?
3. In 1855, "Leaves of Grass," the most famous book published by what American poet, was first released in Brooklyn?
4. On this day in 1881, Tuskegee University first opened in what US state?
5. In 1997, NASA's Pathfinder became the first US spacecraft in over decades to land where?
6. On this date in 1894, a short-lived republic was proclaimed by Sanford Dole in what future US state?
7. Name 2 of the 3 19th century US presidents who died on July 4th.

Odd Numbered Trivia
1. This is the number of days February has in leap years.
2. Alaska is this number US state.
3. This is the minimum age for a person to run for a seat in the US House of Representatives.
4. First base in baseball is represented by this number.
5. A soccer match contains this number of minutes in each half.
6. Prohibition was ended in the US with this numbered amendment to the Constitution.
7. This is the number of flavors of Baskin-Robbins ice cream.
8. The lunar month is approximately this many days.
9. The debut album from pop singer Adele was this number.
10. Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified at this age.

General Knowledge
1. What American city holds the oldest annual marathon in the world? ( 1 pt)
2. The headquarters for Amazon is located in what US state? ( 1 pt)
3. Hilary Swank won her first Best Actress Oscar for what film? ( 1 pt)
4. What car company owns the Lexus brand of automobiles? ( 2 pt)
5. What color is the number 3 ball on a standard pool set? ( 2 pt)
6. On which continent did the pineapple originate? ( 2 pt)
7. What actor/comedian was fired by MTV for dressing up as Bin Laden on the day after the 9/11 attacks? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. In the classic 1974 western "Blazing Saddles," what last name is shared by all the citizens of the town of Rock Ridge? ( 3 points)
2. What Caribbean country's president, Michael Martelly, became famous there in the 1990s as "Sweet Micky", a popular musician? ( 4 points)
3. Comedian Jack Benny was actually a skilled musician on what instrument, which he often made a gag of playing badly in his act? ( 4 points)
4. What is the only continent without an active volcano? ( 4 points)
5. What 19th century US president is remembered with a statue in Madison Square Park in New York City? ( 5 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Katy Perry; 2. San Francisco Giants; 3. Ronald Reagan; 4. Golden Gate Bridge; 5. Robert Downey Jr.; 6. Bob Dylan; 7. North Korea.

July 4th Trivia
1. Uganda; 2. U.S. Grant; 3. Walt Whitman; 4. Alabama; 5. Mars; 6. Hawaii; 7. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.

Odd Numbered Trivia
1. 29; 2. 49; 3. 25; 4. 3; 5. 45; 6. 21; 7. 31; 8. 29; 9. 19; 10. 33.

General Knowledge
1. Boston; 2. Washington; 3. "Boys Don't Cry;" 4. Toyota; 5. red; 6. South America; 7. Russell Brand.

IQ Trivia
1. Johnson; 2. Haiti; 3. violin; 4. Australia; 5. Chester A. Arthur.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Inept Offense Returns Yet Again

The best thing I can say about last night's lifeless 2-0 Red Sox loss to the Cubs was I was proud to be a Red Sox fan seeing the deserved standing ovation Jake Arrieta got after leaving the game in the 8th inning. The Fenway Faithful proved again they are the best in baseball.

The Red Sox looked totally dead against Arrieta, who only gave up a walk to Mike Napoli in the fifth inning before Stephen Drew singled with two outs in the 8th.

Two inspiring wins to end the weekend series in New York, and the Red Sox started making me believe a run maybe coming. Silly me.

The offensive ineptitude returned again last night. Take nothing away from Arrieta. He was superb. But he's not exactly Clayton Kershaw.

When the Red Sox were held hitless for six innings a couple of weeks ago by Jesse Chavez in Oakland, I had the strong feeling that SOMEBODY will no-hit this team in 2014. I thought it might be last night, and as early as the third inning.

Last night was the 15th time in the month of June the Red Sox were held to less than 3 runs in a game. That's more than half of their games.

It was also the first game of an important 10-game homestand. And they were nearly no-hit by one of the worst teams in the majors.

Oh brother.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Celebrate Your Independence On Tuesday


Tuesday Night Trivia at the Caledonia Scottish Pub tomorrow night, July 1st, will feature "July 4th Trivia," seven questions about events that have occurred in history on the day of our nation's independence. They are not necessarily connected to our independence...

The Q Train lightning round will be "Odd Numbered Trivia." Since we did Even Numbered Trivia last week, why not odd numbered this week. The answers to the ten questions I will ask you will all be odd numbers from 1-50, with no answers being the same number.

The Sneak Peek question for this week:
"The headquarters for Amazon is located in what US state?"

We'll get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. The pub is located at 1609 Second Avenue, between E. 83 and 84 Streets. Remember that first place gets $50 gift certificate to the pub, second place $20, and third place gets a free round of shots. We have been building momentum in the last few weeks with more people coming in for Trivia, and that's a very good thing. Hope you can join us tomorrow night.

Everyone Gets In On The Act, Even The New Guy

Big win for the Red Sox last night, taking the series in the Bronx.

Reminded me of one of those "2013 victories." Sox scored early and often, and despite the Yankees getting close, they held on for an 8-5 win.

John Lackey gutted through 5 innings for the win, allowing 5 runs. (The Yankees always seem to give him trouble, especially in the Bronx.) The bullpen was superb as usual, allowing just three hits in four innings.

David Ortiz hit a majestic three-run shot in the third, and every hitter had at least one hit, so it was truly a team effort. Dustin Pedroia once again had three hits, and is getting hot.

Mookie Betts made his MLB debut last night by hitting into a double play to end the second, but also had a single, a walk and scored a run.

The Sox ended the 10-game road trip at 4-6. Not what they wanted of course, but looking at the bright side, they won three of the last four, and actually gained a half-game in the standings from where they were before they left Boston. The Sox are 6 games back, and were 6 1/2 back in the AL East after they swept Minnesota.

13 games to go until the All-Star break. The next 10 are at home: 3 with the Cubs, 3 with the Orioles, and 4 with the White Sox, before ending the first half in Houston.

Yes, we've been down this road before in 2014, but this is a golden opportunity for the Sox to build some momentum. Let's hope it's not wasted yet again.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Much Needed At The Midway Point

Mike Napoli hit a fly ball to right field in the top of the 9th inning last night that would have been a home run in just one ballpark in America: Yankee Stadium. And that's where last night's game was played, and the home run gave the Sox a huge 2-1 win.

Live by a short porch, die by a short porch.

Those stupid Fox cameras that follow players to the dugout after they hit home runs (I'm still trying to figure out their purpose) caught Napoli calling Masahiro Tanaka "an idiot" for throwing him a high fastball on that pitch. Tanaka shook off his catcher twice, and had struck out Napoli twice on splitters. It was a 1-2 pitch. So why didn't Tanaka throw a splitter?

He is an idiot for doing that.

But naturallly, the NY Daily News is attempting to stir up crap, with their back cover talking about "payback" on Napoli for his "idiot" comments. If the Yankees are smart, they let this go. This is a struggling Red Sox team, that has scored just two runs in two games in this series, both on solo home runs. The last thing you want to do is wake up a team in the throws of an enormous offensive slump. And besides, a lot worse is usually said in dugouts that these snooping cameras don't pick up. And I haven't heard anyone with New York screaming about "payback."

Jon Lester was magnificent last night, going eight innings, allowing just one run. He didn't allow a hit until the sixth, and earned his ninth win and Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save.

Last night's game marked the midway point of 2014, and the Red Sox are a disappointing 37-44, 7 games back in fourth place.

The Sox are 3-6 on this 10-game road trip, and it ends tonight with John Lackey on the hill, and the Mookie Betts Era will begin, as he is expected to be in tonight's starting lineup.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Brock Holt Can't Do It Alone (And Here Comes Mookie)

Friday night's game was a game I thought the Red Sox FOR SURE would win.

They salvaged the last game of that brutal series in Seattle, 5-4. After a day to travel to the Bronx, they would have Brandon Workman facing the worst New York pitcher in Vidal Nuno, who has gotten torched in his last two starts against Baltimore and Oakland.

Yeah, the Sox would win this game for sure. Silly me.

They didn't bother to show up. If you can't beat up and get healthy against an awful pitcher like Nuno, you have more or less thrown the towel in on the season.

They managed just two bloody hits in 5 2/3 innings against Nuno, and only one after he left. It was a lethargic, lifeless 6-0 defeat. Brock Holt made a wonderful catch in RF taking a home run from Brian Roberts, and had one of the few hits, a double, and was one of the only players to reach second all night. He also looks like one of the few who care right now.

And I'm sorry, David Ortiz is just making excuses blaming this mess on the schedule. You play the schedule you get (and approve), and live with it. I am REALLY tired of the lame excuses I keep hearing trying to cover this team's asses.

This offense just stinks. Period. Full stop. Too many black holes not producing (Bogaerts, Pierzynski, Drew, etc., etc.) have left the Sox dead last in the AL in slugging percentage, and near the bottom in batting average, runs scored and BA with RISP. In my opinion, the pitching, both the starting and relief pitching, is good enough to contend. The offense is just DESTROYING this club. Just 75 runs in 26 games in June.

I could go on with more and more brutal numbers, but you get the idea.

And as I was writing this article, the news has emerged that the Red Sox are promoting Mookie Betts from Pawtucket. There will be a lot of pressure on the kid, with many fans thinking he's coming in as some kind of savior. Just let him play, and let's see if he lights a spark under these guys asses.

Mookie might be the only reason to check out this team in the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Trivia Q&A: June 24

We had another fine turnout on Tuesday night, matching last week's number of teams at 8. My two favorite regular teams took the night off, but it was nice to see an old familiar face. Michael, who was a Trivia regular from the old days in the first place I did my Trivia Night, came in and surprised me with two friends. Always good to see friends from the old days.

It was a lively crowd on Tuesday. The scores weren't particularly high all around, but that didn't dim anyone's enthusiasm. The team of I May Have Opted Out of the Knicks But I Opted Into Trivia (who also took Best Team Name) won the night with 37 points. Congrats to Larry and his friends on the win.

Second place went to Tom Cordell with 24 points, and third went to Team Babe with 22 points.

Current Events
1. 14 people were killed last Wednesday when a bomb went off as fans were watching the World Cup at a public viewing site in what African country?
2. Chuck Noll, the Hall of Fame coach who won multiple Super Bowls with what team, died last week at the age of 75?
3. What country's president ordered a week-long ceasefire in his nation last Friday, in the hope the fighting in that country that has killed hundreds will subside?
4. What eastern US state's legislature last week approved a bill raising the minimum wage to $11 per hour, which will become the nation's highest?
5. Pope Francis denounced what group last Saturday, and announced they were all officially excommunicated from the Catholic Church?
6. What 16-time Grammy-award winning British rock singer said in an interview last Sunday that his six children will not be inheriting his $300 million fortune, saying it would be an albatross around their necks?
7. The Presbyterian Church in the US voted last week to divest its holdings with companies that do business with what nation?

TV Trivia
1. What Saturday Night Live cast member left the show in 1994 after having been in a record 153 shows?
2. What rock band performs the opening theme to the TV series "The Big Bang Theory?"
3. What groundbreaking 1970s TV series was based on an English series called "Til Death Do Us Part?"
4. "I Want to Believe" was a phrase featured on a poster in what 1990s TV series?
5. What TV actor had to reject the offer to follow Roger Moore in the 1980s to play James Bond because of his TV commitments?
6. On the TV series "Glee," what was the name of the high school on the show?
7. What current TV talk show host almost single-handedly made the word "truthiness" a word in the dictionary?

Even Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The highest number on a standard dartboard is this number.
2. The pearl wedding anniversary is this number of years.
3. This is the number of dominoes in a standard dominoes set.
4. Virgo is this number astrological sign of the Zodiac.
5. Ronald Reagan was this number US president.
6. This is the freezing point of water in degrees Fahrenheit.
7. This is the total number of lines in a sonnet.
8. This was John F. Kennedy's age at the time of his assassination.
9. Visa bank cards have this many digits.
10. In a normal deck of cards, there are this number of red cards.

General Knowledge
1. Jazz musician Dave Brubeck was famous for playing what instrument? ( 1 pt)
2. How many Russian cosmonauts have ever walked on the moon? ( 1 pt)
3. "The Fame" was what pop singer's 2008 debut album? ( 1 pt)
4. Robert Morris University is located in what eastern US state? ( 2 pt)
5. Which of the following people lived the longest: Michael Jackson, Robert F. Kennedy or Emily Bronte? ( 2 pt)
6. In 1990, what was the first country to declare its independence from the Soviet Union? ( 2 pt)
7. A typical human body has how many ribs? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What female author wrote six Romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott? ( 4 points)
2. Leslie Lynch King Jr. was the birth name of what 20th century US president? ( 3 points)
3. In 1960, the largest earthquake ever recorded, 9.5 on the Richter scale, occurred in what South American country? ( 4 points)
4. Who is the only artist to have a song in the Billboard Top 40 Singles chart every year from 1970 to 1999? ( 5 points)
5. In 1975, what sport banned lefthanders from participating for safety reasons? ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Nigeria; 2. Pittsburgh Steelers; 3. Ukraine; 4. Massachusetts; 5. The Mafia; 6. Sting; 7. Israel.

TV Trivia
1. Phil Hartman; 2. Barenaked Ladies; 3. All in the Family; 4. The X-Files; 5. Pierce Brosnan; 6. McKinley High School; 7. Stephen Colbert.

Even Numbered Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 20; 2. 30; 3. 28; 4. 6; 5. 40; 6. 32; 7. 14; 8. 46; 9. 16; 10. 26.

General Knowledge
1. Piano; 2. none; 3. Lady Gaga; 4. Pennsylvania; 5. Michael Jackson; 6. Lithuania; 7. 24.

IQ Trivia
1. Agatha Christie; 2. Gerald Ford; 3. Chile; 4. Elton John; 5. polo.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Test Your Boob Tube Knowledge On Tuesday

Tuesday Night Trivia at The Caledonia Scottish Pub will feature "TV Trivia" as the Special Category tomorrow night. I will ask you seven questions concerning the medium lovingly known as the Boob Tube. They will be of the more recent vintage.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Even Numbered Trivia." I will ask you ten questions on various subjects, and every answer will be an even number up to the number 50.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"'The Fame' was what pop singer's 2008 debut album?"

We get going at 8 PM on Tuesday night. The Caledonia Scottish Pub is located at 1609 Second Avenue, between 83rd and 84th Streets on the Upper East Side. Hope to see many of you tomorrow for a great night of Trivia Q&A!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dead Ball Sox

Bloody hell.

When will the Red Sox offense ever show up? When it's too late?

Yesterday was another day to bang your head against the wall. One run in 10 innings against the A's. Rubby De La Rosa was terrific, and held the AL's best offense to one run and four hits over seven innings, while striking out seven. I'll take that every time.

But it was yet another pathetic offensive display. The Sox didn't get their first hit until the 6th inning. And they went 0-for-6 with RISP and left 8 on base.

It was the 8th consecutive game they have scored three or fewer runs. They've scored 15 runs over those eight games. Yesterday's 2-1 loss was their 17th loss by one run in 2014.

The numbers get uglier. 34-41. 7 1/2 games behind Toronto in fourth place. Today Jon Lester pitches just so the Sox can avoid getting swept in Oakland. Ugh.

I said before the Oakland series that they needed to go AT LEAST 5-5 on this 10-game road trip. So far, they are 0-3 and not hitting a lick.

Draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Old Time Baseball


The Red Sox swept the Minnesota Twins at Fenway this week, and by scores of 1-0, 2-1 and 2-1. Can't remember the last time the Sox scored five runs in three games at Fenway and won them all.

John Lackey was absolutely brilliant in going the first nine innings yesterday, allowing just three hits and walked just one. He deserved a win, and got a no-decision for his efforts.

That's because the Sox offense didn't show up until the 10th inning. Daniel Nava's double in the 5th was the first Red Sox baserunner, after Kyle Gibson retired the first 14 hitters. (The way the Sox offense has been so anemic, he might as well have been BOB Gibson.)

Chris Parmlee hit a Koji Uehara splitter into the bullpen with two outs in the 10th for the first run of the game. (And he had 3 of the 4 Minnesota hits.) Shocking, to say the least.

It looked like another game the Red Sox would have superb pitching, and lose again.

With one out in the bottom of the tenth, David Ortiz hit a Casey Fien pitch straight down the right field line and into the seats to tie the game at 1. (Papi did him self no favors by whining after the game about a hard hit ball to first that Joe Mauer knocked down and was charged with an error. He thought it should have been ruled a hit, as did I. He reminds me of Ted Williams in that every little slight is some declaration of war.)

Mike Napoli then hit a blast into the bleachers to give the Red Sox a 2-1 win. It was the first time in club history that they have swept a three-game series by scoring five runs or fewer.

I can't say I was ecstatic about this win. The offense continues to struggle big time, and it was the strength of the pitching that saved the team's bacon. They now head out west to begin an important 10-game road trip, against Oakland, Seattle and New York. The A's and Mariners currently have the two best team ERAs in the AL. So this will be difficult test, one in which the Sox need to score more runs. I would expect no less than 5 wins on this trip.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mr. Everywhere


I think it's safe to say that Brock Holt is in Boston to stay.

He's played everywhere this season, and center field last night for the first time, and right on cue, Holt made a dazzling play in the outfield.

In the third inning, Brian Dozier of the Twins hit a ball to left-center that Jonny Gomes totally lost in the sky. The cameras were focused on Gomes, and suddenly there's Holt, making a diving catch in the alley. It has to be seen to be believed, so check it out here. (The look on the faces of Dozier and Jon Lester are simply priceless.)

Holt had two hits last night, stole a base, and scored both runs in the Sox' 2-1 win over the Twins. He's hitting .338. Jon Lester earned his 8th win, and the bullpen was stellar after he left: 2 2/3 innings, one walk allowed. Edward Mujica got the save, as Koji Uehara got the night off. Boy, when I saw that on my iPhone (I was doing Trivia last night and followed the game by phone updates) that Mujica was getting the ninth, I was scared. But he was fine, striking out 2 of the 3 hitters he faced.

Holt is here to stay, but we wish a fond farewell to Grady Sizemore, as he was designated for assignment previous to last night's game. It just didn't work out for Sizemore, as he's clearly a shadow of the player he once was. Too many strikeouts, not enough production in the action he saw. It was a chance worth taking, but it just didn't click. Garin Cecchini was recalled to take his spot.

Today is the final game of the homestand, and a win would mean a sweep over Minnesota and a 5-2 homestand. John Lackey will try to make that happen this afternoon, before the Sox head out west to begin a road trip to Oakland, Seattle and New York.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Trivia Q&A: June 17

We had our best turnout so far in our short history at The Caledonia Scottish Pub on Tuesday, and it was nice to see the regulars back. We also used a new microphone that worked perfectly after having to improvise the first few weeks. Thank goodness for small pleasures.

The team of No Sleep Til John Quinn wound up winning the night, garnering 50 points and the winner's circle. Congrats to Alex and his comrades. Second place went to So, President Bush, Mission Accomplished? with 39 points, and third place went to Lagavulin with 28 points.

Best Team Name went to The Incredible Know Nothings.

Current Events
1. What rap group won a $1.7 million copyright lawsuit against Monster Energy drink recently?
2. Rolling Stone recently selected their 100 greatest country songs of all-time, and which legend had the number one song?
3. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was sworn earlier this month as president of what country?
4. Rafael Nadal won the men's singles tennis title at the French Open last week, setting a new record for most men's titles. How many times has he won?
5. What game show host was confirmed by Guinness World Records as having hosted the most episodes of any show in history?
6. Nia Sanchez, a 24-year-old who holds a 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, was crowned Miss USA on Sunday. What western state is she from?
7. What punk band's debut album from 1976 was just recently confirmed as a gold record, 500,000 in US sales, after 38 years?

Q-Tip Trivia
1. Which of the following books are in the Old Testament? a. Romans; b. Leviticus; 3. Philippians; 4. Deuteronomy.
2. Which of the following states entered the Union after the Civil War? a. Michigan; b. Minnesota; c. Oregon; d. California.
3. Which of these TV shows debuted in the 1980s? a. Married With Children; b. The Oprah Winfrey Show; c. Saturday Night Live; d. Late Show With David Letterman.
4. Which of the following planets have no satellites? a. Uranus; b. Mars; c. Mercury; d. Neptune.
5. Which of the following have won the Nobel Peace Prize? a. Mother Teresa; b. Al Gore; c. Henry Kissinger; d. Yasser Arafat.
6. Which of these following states have larger populations than New York State? a. Illinois; b. Florida; c. Pennsylvania; d. Texas.
7. Which of the following albums was not done by the Rolling Stones? a. Houses of the Holy; b. Let It Bleed; c. Tattoo You; d. Bridges to Babylon.

Movie Villains Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Bill the Butcher
2. Alex Forrest
3. Patrick Bateman
4. Jason Vorhees
5. Biff Tannen
6. Damon Killian
7. Col. Nathan Jessup
8. Hans Gruber
9. T-1000
10. Annie Wilkes

General Knowledge
1. What city was nearly totally destroyed by fire in 1666? ( 1 pt)
2. What band's 1977 song "God Save the Queen" was declared offensive and banned by the BBC? ( 1 pt)
3. What is the name of the bird with the multicolored beak on the Froot Loops cereal box? ( 1 pt)
4. Art Fleming was the original host of what TV game show? ( 2 pt)
5. In what country was the USS Cole attacked by terrorists in 2000? ( 2 pt)
6. Of all the Beatles US number one songs, which one has the shortest title? ( 2 pt)
7. What baseball legend played in five different positions in his career in the All-Star Game? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. What 1951 movie classic was set on the Ulanga River? ( 3 points)
2. What board game was developed during WWII as a diversion for people waiting out air raids in bomb shelters? ( 4 points)
3. What religious sect was founded in the late 17th century by Jakob Amman? ( 4 points)
4. In 1911, American Glenn Curtiss was the first person ever to receive what? ( 4 points)
5. In what Asian country is the president's office and official residence known as The Blue House? ( 5 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Beastie Boys; 2. Johnny Cash ("I Walk the Line"); 3. Egypt; 4. nine; 5. Alex Trebek; 6. Nevada; 7. The Ramones.

Q-Tip Trivia
1. b, d; 2. none; 3. a, b; 4. c; 5. all; 6. d; 7. a.

Movie Villains Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Gangs of New York; 2. Fatal Attraction; 3. American Psycho; 4. Friday the 13th; 5. Back to the Future; 6. The Running Man; 7. A Few Good Men; 8. Die Hard; 9. Terminator 2: Judgment Day; 10. Misery.

General Knowledge
1. London; 2. The Sex Pistols; 3. Toucan Sam; 4. Jeopardy; 5. Yemen; 6. Help!; 7. Pete Rose.

IQ Trivia
1. "The African Queen;" 2. Clue; 3. The Amish; 4. Pilot's license; 5. South Korea.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Bad Guys Are Back On Tuesday

We didn't have our Trivia Night last Tuesday, but are going to give it another try on Tuesday. Trivia will follow the World Cup game between Russia and South Korea tomorrow at 8 PM at The Caledonia Scottish Pub.

The Special Category will be "Q-Tip Trivia." I will ask you seven general knowledge questions, with four choices for answers. You can pick 1, 2, 3 all 4 or none as your answer. You will get a point for each answer that is correct. However, if you pick an incorrect choice, you will get NO points for that question. You have to be careful in picking the ones you think are correct.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Movie Villains Trivia." I will give you the names of ten famous movie baddies and you have to tell me which movie he or she appeared in.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What city was nearly totally destroyed by fire in 1666?"

We will get going at 8 PM tomorrow night. The Caledonia Scottish Pub is at 1609 Second Avenue, between E. 83rd and 84th Streets. Remember that it is $50 gift certificate to the bar for first place, $20 gift certificate for second, and a round of shots for third. Come on out on Tuesday night and have some fun and win prizes with a great night of Trivia!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Double Figures For The First Time

After a thoroughly rotten road trip where the Red Sox went 2-7, they come home with two convincing wins over the Indians at Fenway.

John Lackey didn't have his best stuff on a rainy night last night, and the game was tied at 3 in the third inning. It had all the makings of a shootout.

But Lackey stopped the Indians right there. And the Sox took off. Old friend Justin Masterson couldn't find the plate for the Tribe, and was gone after 2+ innings. It was a night everyone but David Ortiz had a hit. Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and A.J. Pierzynski each had two RBI. Daniel Nava continued hit recent hot hitting with two more hits, and Jackie Bradley also had two hits.

Last night's 10 runs were the first time all season the Red Sox scored in double digits.

The back-to-back wins were the offense coming alive finally (7-for-16 with RISP last night), and the strong pitching taking charge. The Sox are now at 31-36, eight games behind Toronto. They've taken three of the last four.

Can't get overly excited right now. But some encouraging signs are out there.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

No Trivia. Lots of Rain. Sox Win.

Trivia didn't happen last night, as it was one of those nights when the bar was empty and no one was coming in. Well, that happens when you're getting a new Trivia Night off the ground. We'll be back again next Tuesday night, June 17th at 8 PM at the Caledonia Scottish Pub.

On a happier note, Brandon Workman was superb in shutting down the Orioles at Camden Yards last night, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing just one hit, through two rain delays as well.

Mike Napoli singled in a run in third, and that's all the Red Sox needed in a 1-0 win.

Workman had a no-hitter going into the sixth, when Ryan Flaherty broke it up with a single. The bullpen was rock solid as usual, with Koji Uehara gaining his 12th save of the year.

There's still a mountain for the Red Sox to climb. Toronto's loss leaves the Sox nine game back, at 28-35.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Bad Guys Take Center Stage Tomorrow


Our third edition of Tuesday Night Trivia at The Caledonia Scottish Pub tomorrow night will feature "Q-Tip Trivia" as the Special Category. I will ask you seven general knowledge questions, with four choices for answers. You can pick 1, 2, 3 all 4 or none as your answer. You will get a point for each answer that is correct. However, if you pick an incorrect choice, you will get NO points for that question. You have to be careful in picking the ones you think are correct.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Movie Villains Trivia." I will give you the names of ten famous movie baddies and you have to tell me which movie he or she appeared in. (And no, Hannibal Lechter will NOT be one of the choices. Just looking at that picture gives me the willies...)

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What city was nearly totally destroyed by fire in 1666?"

We will get going at 8 PM tomorrow night. The Caledonia Scottish Pub is at 1609 Second Avenue, between E. 83rd and 84th Streets. Come on out on Tuesday night and have some fun and win prizes with a great night of Trivia!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Spiraling Down

When the Red Sox won their seventh straight game last Sunday against Tampa Bay, I thought that they needed a good road trip to keep the momentum going.

3 games in Cleveland, Detroit and Baltimore each. I figured going 5-4 in those games would keep it going. The month of June was going to be important, especially with the Toronto Blue Jays getting hot getting control of the division.

So we get three losses in Cleveland. And now two losses in Detroit. A 5-4 road trip now won't happen.

Once again, the Red Sox are spiraling downward. Jon Lester was awful last night, giving up 5 runs on 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings. A late ninth inning rally wasn't enough. And the old devil of not hitting when it really counts has returned in this five-game losing streak: they are hitting .143 with RISP since last Sunday.

27-34. 10 games behind Toronto in fourth place. At this time last year, the Sox were 37-24, 1 1/2 games up in first place. A full ten game swing over last season.

The Sox certainly have the wherewithal to make a deal. They can take on payroll, and they have the prospects they can move for a hitter (and preferably an outfielder). The biggest thing working against them is the calendar. It says June 8th. But almost no one will make a trade now. Most teams figure they have a decent chance at the playoffs, with so many teams hovering around .500 now. So they will wait until July 31, when teams looking to move players will pull the trigger, and teams looking for an upgrade will gamble by paying a little more. Any deal made now will be extremely expensive in terms of what has to be surrendered. The Sox need help NOW, before this gets markedly worse. They do get Mike Napoli back today, and Shane Victorino will be back in a few weeks.

But it may be too late by July 31. The Sox may actually be sellers rather buyers. It will remain to be seen, and I certainly don't want to speculate now on who they might move should it look hopeless by the end of July.

Some years it just doesn't go right. As Red Sox fans, we've seen that plenty of times in our lifetime. It's been a lot rarer in the 21st century. The team is just too inconsistent this year. And it's getting late awful early in 2014.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The Road To The Top Gets Rockier

The Red Sox had an awful series just concluded in Cleveland, as the Indians swept a three-game series that the Red Sox led for a grand total of half an inning.

Last night's 7-4 loss in 12 innings, on Asdrubal Cabrera's three run home run at 2 AM, was particularly disheartening, as the Sox came from behind twice to tie it, on David Ortiz' two-run shot, and then on Brock Holt's two-run single in the 7th. But the moment I saw Edward Mujica in the game to start the 12th, I knew this wouldn't end well. He's been useless in an otherwise rock solid bullpen.

And the outfield is absolutely killing this team. Another awful night for them, as the combo of Bradley, Gomes, Nava and Sizemore went 2-for-12 with 6 strikeouts. This getting to historically bad proportions, and the Sox badly need an upgrade out there, but anyone of any quality would cost and arm and a leg right now. Nobody is looking to move anyone until at least the July 31 trading deadline.

And by that time it might be too late.

The Red Sox currently stand 8 1/2 games out of first at 27-32. It was a matter of time until someone would seize control of the AL East, and that is the Toronto Blue Jays, who lead the division by 4 1/2 games. Of course there are still about 100 games to go for everyone, but the Jays are making a statement now, and are going for a sweep today against the struggling Tigers in Detroit. A team that many pundits thought would be the class of the AL East in 2013 appear to it in 2014.

The Red Sox inconsistency is killing them right now. 10-game losing streak, followed by a 7-game winning streak. Now back to a 3-game losing streak. The pitching wasn't bad in Cleveland. But they have reverted back to a struggling offense, especially with runners in scoring position. They were 3-for-21 with RISP in the Indians series.

I was hoping that in this nine-game road trip to Cleveland, Detroit and Baltimore they could go 5-4. The Sox are now 0-3, and a winning record on this trip looks like a pipe dream.

They are proving to be a "hot and cold" team. I don't see this as a formula for winning a division. The Sox have big problems right now, and nothing that can be easily solved any time soon.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Trivia Q&A: June 3

Our second night of Trivia at the Caledonia Scottish Pub saw a nice crowd come out despite the heavy rains that hit the city in the late afternoon. I always appreciate the folks who come out for Trivia despite the weather.

We had mic problems in the debut last week, and we used a mic in an iPhone this week. It was strange hearing my voice slightly after I talked into it, but my buddy Keith promised me a new proper mic is on the way for next week.

The team of The Worst Trade Since Bagwell For Andersen won the night with 44 points. Second place went to Six Teachers In One Hand, Half Dozen In The Other with 39 points, and Out of Towners with 27 points finished third.

Current Events
1. Apple agreed to buy Beats Electronics, a music streaming service, for $3 billion last week. Which hip-hop star is one of Beats' co-founders?
2. Which world leader was recently ranked number one on Forbes' list of the "100 Most Powerful Women?"
3. Which Hollywood superstar actor was recently struck in the face on the red carpet at the world premiere of his latest film in Hollywood last week?
4. The LA Clippers are set to be sold for an NBA record $2 billion to Steve Ballmer, who was the former CEO of what company?
5. What pop singer was excused from jury duty in NYC last week due to ill health, but later posted pictures of herself with her family on the beach?
6. What classic rock band announced they will conclude their 45-year career with six shows in New York City this October?
7. Petro Poroshenko was elected president of what Eastern European country last week?

Pop Music Trivia
1. Members of what 1980s rock band originally dyed their hair blond for a chewing gum ad?
2. Ray Manzarek was the keyboardist and co-founder of what 1960s rock band?
3. What future TV star was the lead singer for Gnarls Barkley?
4. What rock band, together since 1992, is named for the frontman's childhood nickname, supposedly due to asthma?
5. Who sang the title song in the 1978 film "Grease?"
6. Michael Jackson co-wrote the 1985 song "We Are the World" with what other pop singer?
7. What rock superstar was the leader of the late 1980s/early 1990s band "Tin Machine?"

Born In NYC Or Not ("The Q Train")
1. John Travolta
2. Barbra Streisand
3. Bruce Springsteen
4. Eddie Murphy
5. Billy Joel
6. Will Smith
7. Alicia Keys
8. Carly Simon
9. Michael Bloomberg
10. Robert DeNiro

General Knowledge
1. What US president made the first phone call to the moon? ( 1 pt)
2. At what US university did Albert Einstein work? ( 1 pt)
3. Who was the first democratically elected president of Russia? ( 1 pt)
4. New Holland was the original name for what current country? ( 2 pt)
5. In addition to its five sides, how many stories is the Pentagon ? ( 2 pt)
6. What is the most populous country in Africa? ( 2 pt)
7. What does a deltiologist collect? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Electric Mayhem was the in-house band on what 1970s TV show? ( 5 points)
2. What US city has two airports that were renamed to honor Americans who fought in WWII? ( 4 points)
3. What car company's name comes from the Latin meaning "I roll?" ( 4 points)
4. Over 10 million people live in the 27% of what European country's land area that lies below sea level? ( 4 points)
5. From 1958-1962 and again from 1965-1967, the Nielsen ratings were led by what genre of TV series, which has never again topped the ratings since? ( 3 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Dr. Dre; 2. Angela Merkel; 3. Brad Pitt; 4. Microsoft; 5. Madonna; 6. Allman Brothers; 7. Ukraine.

Pop Music Trivia
1. The Police; 2. The Doors; 3. Cee-Lo Green; 4. Weezer; 5. Frankie Valli; 6. Lionel Richie; 7. David Bowie.

Born In NYC Or Not ("The Q Train")
1. no (Englewood, NJ); 2. yes (Brooklyn); 3. no (Long Branch, NJ); 4. no (West Orange, NJ); 5. yes (The Bronx); 6. no (Philadelphia); 7. yes (Manhattan); 8. yes (The Bronx); 9. no (West Brighton, MA); 10. yes (Manhattan).

General Knowledge
1. Richard Nixon; 2. Princeton; 3. Boris Yeltsin; 4. Australia; 5. five; 6. Nigeria; 7. postcards.

IQ Trivia
1. "The Muppet Show;" 2. Chicago; 3. Volvo; 4. Netherlands; 5. westerns.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Youth & History All Over The Place On Sunday

Sunday's game may have been the strangest the Red Sox have played all year.

Jon Lester was terrific in shutting out Tampa Bay, 4-0, striking out 12 over 7 innings.

But they lost Dustin Pedroia in the third inning after he was complaining loudly at the home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn over his strike zone and was tossed. (Both teams were chirping at this guy, as he was all over the place.) He was replaced by Garin Cecchini, who in his second at-bat, got his first MLB hit, an RBI double.

Add that to Alex Hassan, playing RF, getting his first MLB hit in his second at-bat of the game. That's the first Red Sox teammates getting their first MLB hits in the same game since 1975.

Brock Holt was playing out of position, at first base, and got four doubles, just the fourth Sox player ever to do that.(And just the second to get 4 doubles and a walk in one game.)

And if that wasn't enough, Pedroia, David Ortiz and Xander Bogaerts all went hitless.

Yes, youth was all over Fenway on Sunday, one day after Rubby de la Rosa pitched seven amazing innings in getting his first MLB win.

The Sox are red hot right now, winning their seventh straight, and are 27-29. It's just the third time in MLB history a team has lost at least 10 straight and come right back and won seven straight.

And Tampa Bay, with their big mouths and Napoleon complexes, can consider themselves paid back for all the shenanigans of the last week. Since the original dustup in St. Pete on May 25th, they have not won a game, while the Sox have not lost.

Now it's off to Cleveland for three with the Indians, and then they move on to Detroit and Baltimore on the nine-game trip.

Were They Born In NYC Or Not?


Our second edition of Tuesday Night Trivia at the Caledonia Scottish Pub will happen tomorrow night, June 3rd at 8 PM with "Pop Music Trivia" as the Special Category. I will ask you seven questions about the wonderful world of popular music down through the years.

The Q Train lightning round will be "Born In New York City Or Not Trivia." I will give you the names of ten current celebrities and you have to tell me if they were born inside the five boroughs of our great metropolis or not.

The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What US president made the first phone call to the moon?"

The Caledonia Scottish Pub is located at 1609 2nd Avenue, between 83rd and 84th Streets. The phone number of the pub is 212-879-0402. Check out there Facebook page here.

I look forward to seeing to many of you tomorrow night for a great night of Trivia in our new home!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

We're Goin' To The Mattresses

You knew this was coming.

David Ortiz got plunked by David Price on the first pitch he threw to him in the first inning last night. It was an obvious retaliation for what happened last Sunday in St. Pete (and probably for the home run he hit off him in last year's ALDS that pissed him off). How obvious was it? Price's teammates were high-fiving him in the dugout after the inning.

John Farrell was shown the door after warnings were issued. Torey Lovullo took over the club, and when Mike Carp was plunked by Price in the fifth inning and was Price was NOT thrown out, he argued and was thrown.

Brian Butterfield took charge, and in the top of the sixth, Brandon Workman threw a pitch behind Evan Longoria. (It was Workman's last inning, so I wasn't surprised by this.) So Butterfield and Workman were sent to the showers.

Here's a wrapup for those of you scoring at home: Price, who has walked only eight batters this season and hit two coming into the game, hits two batters, one after a warning, and is not ejected. Workman hits no one, and the Sox lose their manager and two interim managers. Sure makes sense to me.

This is yet another case of incompetent umpiring MLB is saddled with. Jeff Kellogg and his crew let this game get out of hand despite the early warnings. MLB has a serious problem with the umpires and just ignores it. Thankfully no players were injured in the two times the benches emptied.

But justice was served in the 10th, when Jonny Gomes became the third Sox player hit (it was clearly unintentional, as there was no one on and one out), and scored on A.J. Pierzynski's RBI triple to win it and give the Sox their fifth straight win, 3-2.

Since the two dustup games of last Sunday and last night, the Red Sox have not lost and Tampa Bay has not won.

David Ortiz was not happy after the game let his feelings known about Price in no uncertain terms.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fourth Straight W

The Braves gift-wrapped a win to the Red Sox last night, a game the Sox did not lead in until the last play of the game.

It sealed a sweep in the home-and-home, four-game series for the Red Sox.

Both Upton brothers made errors in the outfield in the 8th, as the Sox tied the score at 3. And their ace closer Craig Kimbrel couldn't find home plate in the 9th, walking two before the red-hot Xander Bogaerts lined a shot to third. Chris Johnson fired to second to get Brock Holt, but the ball skipped away and Jackie Bradley scooted home from third for the winning run and a 4-3 victory.

Solid outing by Jake Peavy, giving up three runs in eight innings. And I continue to love the play of Holt, as he had three hits and a walk.

Lots of hopeful signs out there. Bullpen continues to be rock solid, and the Red Sox are hitting much better when it counts. Still a long way back, as they are now 24-29, 7 games back in fourth place.

Last place Tampa Bay comes to Fenway tonight, with Brandon Workman getting his second start since his recall from Pawtucket.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

'14 Sox Keep Winning As the '04 Champs Are Honored


Anyone else notice that the Red Sox haven't lost, and the Rays haven't won, since the little dustup the two teams last Sunday?

The Sox made it three straight against the Braves last night, as John Lackey continued his fine pitching, going 6 1/3 innings, allowing no runs and striking out nine. The bullpen was its usual stellar self, as Chris Capuano, Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow kept the shut out in tact, and the final was 4-0.

Last night reminded me so much of the many wins the Sox copped in 2013. Clutch hitting, fine pitching, good defense. It marked the first time the Sox had won three straight. I'm not prepared to say the Sox have turned a corner, but they go for the sweep against the Braves tonight in the four-game series with Jake Peavy taking the mound.

Before last night's game, the Red Sox honored the 2004 World Series championship team, and most of the players on that team were there. It was a memorable night, as both Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon made their returns to Fenway, to the overwhelming approval of the faithful. Kevin Youkilis, currently playing in Japan but is currently out injured, was on hand, as well as every star and every marginal player who was on the 2004 squad.

Of my favorite moments was Gabe Kapler coming out to the "Welcome Back Kotter" theme.

And the most poignant moment was Curt Schilling appearing with his son, Gehrig. Curt has been battling cancer and looked pretty good.

And how can you top the first pitch? Manny throwing it out with the entire team around him. As he fires to Jason Varitek, Damon comes racing over and cuts the throw off. Priceless.

Congrats to Dr. Charles Steinberg and his staff for putting on another classy and memorable evening at Fenway.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Trivia Q&A: May 27

We officially opened Trivia Night at the Caledonia Scottish Pub on Tuesday night, and I was so happy to see many of my devoted regulars from the other places I have hosted Trivia before come out. It really means the world to me. Thank you so much.

We had a problem with the sound system, as it was not in working order, and an attempt to do the announcing by iPhone proved fruitless with too much feedback. So I had to do it the old fashioned way: read all the questions without an microphone or sound system.

And it worked.

The night went by fine (but my voice will pay the price tomorrow), and the team of Timorous Beasties wound up winning the night with 48 points. Congratulations to Alex and his friends on the victory. It was a convincing win, with we're Happy You're Back, John! took second with 24 points and Two Bars & I Still Can't Think of a Team Name finished third with 19 points.

My thanks to my old friend, bar manager and softball captain Keith who made the night a successful one. (And I loved the banana bread!)

Looking forward to seeing more of you next Tuesday. Good to be back in the saddle again!

Current Events
1. What rock superstar became a great-grandfather for the first time last week at the age of 70?
2. What western US state's ban on gay marriage was overturned by a judge last Monday?
3. What legendary rock star canceled an entire tour of Japan after coming down with a virus last week?
4. Which Asian capital city recently won an Internet poll conducted by Trip Advisor, over New York and Barcelona as the world city with the best overall experience for travelers?
5. In a recent survey by Forbes, which actor/comedian was ranked number one as the "World's Richest Actor" with a worth over $820 million?
6. What football player was hit with a $25 million sexual harassment lawsuit in Florida last week, one that appears to be a complete hoax?
7. General Prayuth Chan-ocha announced a coup d'etat following months of political crisis in what Asian country last week?

Scotland Trivia
1. What is Scotland's largest city in population?
2. Scotsman Kenny Dalglish made his name in what sport?
3. Scottish actor Sean Connery won an Academy Award for what film?
4. What language joined English to become an official language of Scotland in 2005?
5. James VI of Scotland ascended to the English throne in 1607 following what monarch's death?
6. Which 18th century American navy hero, who was nicknamed "Father of the American Navy," was born in Scotland in 1747?
7. Which saint, one of Jesus' original apostles, is the patron saint of Scotland?

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Fingernails and toenails grow at the same speed.
2. The elephant is the only animal with four knees.
3. The word "Sunday" does not appear in the Bible.
4. The minimum height for an American astronaut is 5' 9 1/2".
5. 99 of 100 tornadoes in the Northern Hemisphere rotate clockwise.
6. Identical twins have different fingerprints.
7. John D. Rockefeller was the first American worth a billion dollars.
8. New York City has over 500 miles of coastline.
9. There are no squirrels native to Australia.
10. Olympic gold medals are made of more than 90% gold.

General Knowledge
1. What American city is most associated with grunge music? ( 1 pt)
2. "The Magnificent Mile" is located in what major US city? ( 1 pt)
3. Conrad Hilton was what famous movie star's first husband? ( 1 pt)
4. What is the most populous country in Europe, not including Russia? ( 2 pt)
5. What is the most common plastic surgery in America? ( 2 pt)
6. What actor played James Bond in the 1969 film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service?" ( 2 pt)
7. What 20th century US president took the United States off the gold standard? ( 3 pt)

IQ Trivia
1. Chris Haney and Scott Abbott invented what popular board game in Montreal in 1979? ( 3 points)
2. What 1981 action film was the first movie to be shot on Libert Island beneath the Statue of Liberty? ( 4 points)
3. What Asian country was ranked number one in 2013 as "The Worst Place in the World to Be a Christian" by the watchdog group Open Doors USA? ( 5 points)
4. What 19th century woman is the subject of the most American statues? ( 4 points)
5. Which classic 1969 Beatles album started off with the working title "Everest?" ( 4 points)

Answers
Current Events
1. Mick Jagger; 2. Oregon; 3. Paul McCartney; 4. Tokyo; 5. Jerry Seinfeld; 6. Johnny Manziel; 7. Thailand.

Scotland Trivia
1. Glasgow; 2. soccer; 3. "The Untouchables:" 4. Gaelic; 5. Queen Elizabeth I; 6. John Paul Jones; 7. St. Andrew.

True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. False, fingernails grow faster; 2. true; 3. true; 4. false, 4' 10 1/2; 5. false, counterclockwise; 6. true; 7. false, Henry Ford; 8. true; 9. true; 10. false, 90% silver.

General Knowledge
1. Seattle; 2. Chicago; 3. Elizabeth Taylor; 4. Germany; 5. liposuction; 6. George Lazenby; 7. Richard Nixon.

IQ Trivia
1. Trivial Pursuit; 2. "Escape From New York;" 3. North Korea; 4. Sacagawea; 5. Abbey Road.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ten and Done

Our long national nightmare is over.

That hideous 10-game losing streak came to an end in Atlanta yesterday, as the Red Sox came from 6-1 down after four innings to beat the Braves, 8-6.

Clay Buchholz was simply awful yet again, walking 8 in just over 3 innings. He continues to claim he's not hurt. But I just can't see how the Sox can continue to march him out there. The offense came alive and bailed his butt out (thanks in large part to David Ortiz' four RBI and three-run slam). He's allowed a mind-boogling 45 base runners in the last 18 innings. He needs to sit for a while. I wouldn't be surprised to see a DL stint on the horizon, whether he's really hurt or not. His ERA is now 7.02, the highest of any starting pitcher in MLB right now.

The offense has shown signs of life the past three games, scoring 18 runs. And the Red Sox scored all five runs with two outs to tie the game in the fifth, and scored two more in the seventh to break the tie.

And every time the Red Sox put runs on the board, the crowd at Turner Field got louder and louder, as it was predominantly Red Sox fans. The Braves continue to have some of the most apathetic fans in all of MLB. (And they're not a bad team, as they are 28-22 on the season.)

The bullpen continues to be the Red Sox' greatest strength. After Buchholz left in the fourth, they did not allow a run, just four scattered hits and a walk for six innings. And last Saturday, they pitched nine shuout innings in the 15-inning loss at Tampa Bay. I'd hate to think where they would be now without a strong pen. But this also shows the need for the starters to go deeper, as the pen has been taxed as of late, and it will begin to show if the starters continue to struggle.

Jon Lester goes tonight to try to extend the winning streak to two.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Back In The Saddle Tomorrow


We kick off a brand new Trivia Night tomorrow at The Caledonia Scottish Pub, which is located on 2nd Avenue between E. 83rd and E. 84th Sts. at 8 PM, and we will begin it with "Scotland Trivia," seven questions connected to the country the bar is based on, as the Special Category. It will be about Scotland in history, pop culture and sports.

I am not planning any major changes to the Trivia Nights I did in my other locations. It will still be five categories, with Current Events, General Knowledge and IQ Trivia being the staple categories, and a Special Category and Q Train lightning round revolving every week.

The Q Train lightning round will be the old favorite "True or False Trivia."

The Sneak Peek question for this opening week is:
"Conrad Hilton was what famous movie star's first husband?"

We'll get rolling at 8 PM. The Caledonia Scottish Pub's address is 1609 Second Avenue, and the bar's phone number is: 212-879-0402. It is a bit smaller than the other venues I have done it in.

First place will be $50 gift certificate to the pub, second will be $20 gift certificate, and third place will be a round of shots. Best Team Name will also get a round of shots.

Hope to see many of you tomorrow night as my new Trivia Night gets off the ground!

Friday, May 23, 2014

September 2011 Redux

Now it's seven straight.

Seven straight brutally ugly losses in a row for the Red Sox. It was 7-1 after an inning and a half yesterday.

It's the third time they have been swept at home in a three-game series this year.

These losses have been horrific to watch. The starting pitching has gone down the crapper. The offense can't muster anything, especially after the starters put them in a large hole. It is bringing back horrific memories of September 2011. Absolutely atrocious starting pitching sank that season, and now it's causing big time leaks in the boat right now. All five starters were awful in consecutive starts this past week. (The bullpen has been the only part of this team that has performed well in recent games. But they have been taxed of late.)

Not exactly a recipe for success.

These last six home losses is the first time the Red Sox have gone 0-6 on a homestand in 20 years, and just the second time in club history. And that is saying something, considering all the bad teams they had in the 1920s and '30s. They didn't even do that while Bobby Valentine was in charge.

More horrific stats. In the six home losses, which added up to 54 innings, they had the lead for just one inning, when they grabbed a quick 1-0 lead on Sunday night in the second inning against Detroit. And that disappeared quickly. Go back to the last loss in Minnesota and you can make that the last 63 innings. Ugh.

And the offense is no bargain either. They have continued their stretch of playing bad baseball in the clutch, going 1-for-7 with RISP yesterday. In the last six games, they didn't score more than 4 runs in any game, and the last time the Red Sox did that in a six game homestand was in 1968.

I simply see no easy answers here. They made their beds, now they have to lie in it. Forget any kind of trades now, as the price for anyone of quality is just sky high. (And please DO NOT mention the name Giancarlo Stanton any time soon. The Marlins are not trading an MVP candidate they control until 2017.)

The Red Sox have to fight their way out of this. 20-26, five games back.

Yeah I know, this season is far from gone. But I need a respite from this stretch of lousy baseball from this lifeless bunch, and get these memories of three years ago out of my brain.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Drew To Return; The Losing Goes On

The Red Sox announced before last night's game that Stephen Drew had agreed to the $14.1 million deal he rejected last December. (It will be worth $10.2 million, prorated to the time he's missed this season.)

He will take a physical today. Not yet known when he will be in uniform.

Bringing in Drew to play shortstop will move Xander Bogaerts back to third, and there was a lot speculation about that last night. (Bogaerts made two errors in last night's game.)

I think it is more damning indictment of the terrible play of Will Middlebrooks more than anything else. He is now on the DL for the second time this season, while hitting a paltry .197. His stock is dropping considerably, and I would bet he will be in another uniform before too long. He might end up back at AAA when he is eligible to come off the DL. The Sox want to keep third-baseman-of-the-future Garin Cecchini at Pawtucket for a full season, as his defense at third needs more seasoning (so Brock Holt, who has done a respectable job at third, was called up when Middlebrooks broke his finger).

Bogaerts is without question the Red Sox number one young talent, and still their shortstop of the future. Bringing in Drew tells me the Red Sox brass want to stabilize the left side of the diamond, which continues to be a headache. Bogaerts met with John Farrell after the game, and I'm sure all of that was conveyed to him.

How much can the Red Sox get out of Drew, considering he has missed the first 44 games of the season and has had no formal spring training? We'll find out.

Last night was another lost cause, as Felix Doubront allowed two home runs and left in the fifth inning after experiencing shoulder fatigue. The Sox cut a Toronto 6-0 lead to 7-4 by the eighth inning, but that was as close as they would come.

Five straight losses, four at home. 20-24 overall, with a 10-15 record at home. They trail first-place Baltimore by only 3 1/2 games, but it sure feels like a lot more than that.

Monday, May 19, 2014

See You For Trivia On May 27


I am really pleased to announce that I am back hosting Trivia.

I will be hosting at The Caledonia Scottish Pub, which is located at 1609 Second Avenue, between E. 83rd and E. 84th Streets. It will be happening every Tuesday night at 8 PM, beginning a week from tomorrow.

I am keeping the same format I have done in the previous bars I have done Trivia in. We will have five categories: Current Events, General Knowledge and IQ Trivia as the three staples, and a Special Category and Q Train lightning round every week.

The Caledonia is an intimate pub, specializing in drinks from the wonderful land of Scotland, and is smaller than the other bars we've done Trivia in. Please do check out their social media sites:

Facebook: The Caledonia Scottish Pub

Twitter: @caledoniapub

Instagram: @Thecaledoniapub

The bar is open every day from 4 PM to 4 AM. Their phone number is 347-276-4371.

I will also be putting up a Sneak Peek question every Monday, beginning next Monday, along with the Special Category and Q Train lightning round category names.

First prize will be a $50 gift certificate to the bar, second prize will be a $20 gift certificate, and third prize will be a round of shots. Best Team Name will also get a round of shots.

I look forward to seeing many of you at The Caledonia as we begin a new chapter of Trivia Night!

No Way To Sugarcoat a Brutal Weekend

An absolute crap weekend for the Red Sox, as they got swept by the Detroit Tigers, who have the best record in baseball, and sure proved that at Fenway.

Jon Lester pitched a decent game on Friday, but John Lackey and Jake Peavy didn't on Saturday and Sunday. The Tigers outscored the Sox 13-3 in the three-game series. It marked the first time since the Bobby Valentine Disaster of 2012 that the Red Sox have dropped four straight games.

Sure there's no shame in being beaten by the best team in the game. But this moribund offense continues to cost this team games. The 6-1 loss on Saturday night was the 9th time this season the Red Sox had scored just 1 run or less this season.

More brutal numbers: 10-14 at home and 7-9 in the month of May (after a losing record in April). It was the second weekend they have been swept at home this year (first was by Milwaukee in the opening weekend in April).

And as everyone and his uncle continue to point out, the Sox remain only 3 games back of New York, despite being 20-23. The AL East is still very tight, but it is clear this team needs an offensive jump start. Way too many guys not hitting even close to what they did last year. I can't see any trade of significance coming any time soon, as the prices are just way too high right now for anyone of quality.

So it appears that Sox brass may just have to ride this sluggish offense out. It can be brutal to watch, especially this past weekend. Sure, the season is far from over, but the way the game ended last night, with the last 10 Red Sox going down in order, sure had the feel of a game of no consequence in late September.

Let's hope that doesn't become a reality this year.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Trivia Night Is Back In Business

I am very pleased to announce that my Trivia Night, which has been on ice since last November, will be up and running again within the next two weeks.

Details are being finalized, and I will make an announcement here on the blog on Monday with all the particulars.

I will say right now that I am planning NO changes to the Trivia Night that many of you have enjoyed with me over the years. We will simply have a new venue.

Have a great weekend everyone. See you with more good news on Monday.

20/20

Tough series in Minnesota. The Twins had been playing better ball as of late, and they won two of three games in their final turn at-bat.

Mixed in was a Red Sox romp, 9-4.

Plenty of encouraging signs in the series. Felix Doubront looked good in Wednesday's win. He went 6 1/3 innings, allowed just one earned run and struck out 5 while walking just one. He's been a concern as of late, as he loses concentration and falls into holes the team doesn't can't seem to crawl out of.

David Ortiz was otherwordly in the first two games, blasting four home runs total while driving in six. The Twins finally figured him out yesterday, as he only went 1-for-4.

The Red Sox as a team came from behind late in both of the eventual losses, from 5-1 on Tuesday and 3-1 yesterday. Both losses were tagged on Andrew Miller, who has been pitching very well this season. He gave up a two-run home run to Chris Parmalee on Tuesday, and an RBI single to Aaron Hicks in the 10th yesterday.

It's been a real slog for Clay Buchholz this year, but he pitched a similar game to the one he pitched in Toronto earlier this year. He gave up three runs early, but settled down and went six innings, striking out 6 and walking three.

The young trio of Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley and Will Middlebrooks had their moments in the series, and according to Gordon Edes, John Farrell is sticking by all three, despite some brutal numbers by all of them in May.

The Sox split the six-game road trip to Texas and Minnesota, and return home at .500: 20-20. The AL East continues to be a logjam. Sox remain in third, just 1 1/2 games behind division leader Baltimore.

Detroit, the team with the best record in the AL at 24-12, comes into Fenway tonight for a big three-game series.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Man Versus Ball"

I recently finished reading a fascinating book by a New York guy named Jon Hart called "Man Versus Ball: One Ordinary Guy and His Extraordinary Sports Adventures."

It is very much an "everyman" story about how Jon, who was never a professional athlete but a writer for a number of publications, took on a number of jobs in the athletic world. It brings to mind what George Plimpton, the late celebrated author did in going to training camp with the Detroit Lions, tried to play on the PGA tour and sparred with pro boxers.

I was surprised when I opened the book to the first chapter to discover that Jon had played a season with the semipro Brooklyn Mariners. As a matter of full disclosure, I have known Pudgie Walsh, the Mariners head coach, for many years. I was a waterboy on the FDNY football team that Pudgie coached, in the mid-1970s. (They played the game at Shea Stadium in 1975, and I got to walk on the field and in the clubhouse. My dad was an assistant coach on that team.) I have to admit I laughed at Jon's description of the colorful Pudgie, and his attempts to get even a smidgen of playing time.

Throughout the book, Jon takes us through his adventures as a ballboy at the US Tennis Open at Flushing Meadows, a vendor at both Shea and Yankee Stadiums, Citi Field and at the Red Sox spring training site in Ft. Myers, as an amateur caddie at a PGA tournament in Connecticut, and even taking a turn at a wrestling school in Brooklyn. (His adventures with the world of  "roller basketball" is really out there.) Despite what might be termed as "fun" jobs, Jon goes to great lengths to show us that there's a lot of hard work that goes into these positions, and a lot of the politics that go on in them as well.

I also enjoyed the fact that he refers to many of the people he dealt with by using funny nicknames, like "Sergeant Pepper" for a guy he worked with as a vendor in Yankee Stadium who was a huge Beatles fan. And that players on the Brooklyn Mariners called him "Plimpton" (see above explanation), one that he didn't particularly care for.

I definitely recommend "Man Versus Ball" as a good, quick read for those of you who would like a first-hand account of what it's like to be part of the "very edge" sports world. It's one of those "I wonder what it's like to do that" kind of books. Thanks for an enjoyable ride, Mr. Hart.