Archive for the 'Sports' Category

Permanent Fixture

Jun 22, 2007 in Sports

The Soxaholix is usually pretty good, but I particularly enjoyed today’s strip

Look, for evidence of the complete shrink of the shank consider this: he’s now bettah known as the butt of a Carl Everett joke, i.E., the CHB, than he is for anything else including his now uber passe tome The Curse of the Bambino. Res ipsa loquitur, you know.

This is, of course, in reference to my favorite Boston Globe sports columnist.

Keith Foulke Retires

Feb 18, 2007 in Sports

This was actually from a few days back, but former Red Sox closer Keith Foulke announced his retirement from baseball, prior to reporting to spring training with the Cleveland Indians.

About two years ago, I wrote that the Red Sox were lucky to have somebody like Curtis Leskanic during the 2004 season — a player who was willing to put the needs of his team ahead of his personal well-being when the team needed him the most. Leskanic never threw another professional pitch after the 2004 post-season, but he did get to go out a champion and, by all accounts, didn’t regret the decision.

With Leskanic, people had a pretty good idea that he was pitching hurt and, probably, when he shouldn’t. What we didn’t know, at the time, was that the same could be said about Keith Foulke. Over 3 days against the Yankees, Foulke pitched 5 scoreless innings as the Sox came back from down 3 games to none. He also pitched a scoreless inning between games 1 and 2 in the series and had pitched 3 innings of scoreless baseball against the Angels. In the World Series, Foulke would proceed to pitch another 5 innings of 1-run ball against the Cardinals, fielding the ball that would become the final out of the World Series.

After helping bring a championship to Boston, Foulke struggled in the 2005 and 2006 seasons, as he never really recovered from the workload he endured during the ’04 post-season. Over the winter, Foulke turned down the option year on his contract, saying he wanted to pitch closer to his family. Often, that’s code for “I’m leaving and I’m not telling you why,” but Foulke’s actions make you think he’s one of the rare professional athlete’s who simply spoke the truth — by retiring before spring training, Foulke walked away from a guaranteed $5 million which he could have received by showing up to camp and going on the disabled list.

Foulkie, thank you for everything you did while you were with the Sox. You’re definitely on the Free Beer list.

I Think He’s Actually Saying “Screw You”

Feb 18, 2007 in Business, Sports

Tim Brosnan:

We offer the following assurances to our fans: Any deal for the Major League Baseball’s Extra Innings subscription package, when concluded, will in no way affect a single fan’s ability to watch games of his home club in his home market.

Tim Brosnan. Proud graduate of the Music Industry School of Reading Comprehension.

Yes, Tim, the reason many of baseball’s biggest fans are upset about the moving EI to DirecTV is due to local market games. Sure. It has absolutely nothing to do with moving the only televised option for out-of-market games to a service many people either cannot or do not want to purchase.

I’ll be honest. The new Premium option from MLB.tv looks decent. The demo of the 700K video looks decent, though it remains to be see how well it holds up with live content versus the prerecorded content you get in the demo. The Mosaic feature (watch six games at once) has also gone final and is now available for both Macs and PCs (it was PC-only during last season’s beta).

That said, the way this process has been handled and the BS being spewed by MLB is making me think very hard about eventually just getting a Slingbox. From what I understand, the video quality is worse than the Premium offering, but at least it won’t feel like I’m saying “Thank you sir! may I have another?”

Slingbox Info?

Jan 31, 2007 in Entertainment, Gadgets, Internet, Sports

Any Slingbox users out there? With the MLB Extra Innings package likely moving to DirecTV for the 2007 season and beyond, I thinking about installing a Slingbox Tuner at my parents’ house so I can get the Red Sox games down in DC (or wherever I end up).

The other option would be another year of MLB.tv, but that offering left me thoroughly unimpressed last year. Supposedly, the stream quality will improve to 700 Kbps for next season (versus 350-400 Kbps last season), but you still have to contend with the blackout issues.

I have two main questions/concerns about the Slingbox.

1) How’s the video quality when streaming over the Internet?

2) What’s the impact on the location you’re streaming out of? For example, would my parents notice a slowdown if I was streaming a video off of their internet connection?

Yes, moving to DirecTV would be another option, but it’s not an idea I’m particularly fond of for several reasons. Right now, I live in an apartment, so the dish is a no-go. I like the option of having the TiVo UI, either through dedicated TiVo hardware or the upcoming TiVo software offered by Comcast. I don’t want to use satellite internet and it’s generally cheaper to bundle Internet access and television (since I don’t have a landline, DSL isn’t a real option).

Peter Gammons and the Red Sox

Jun 29, 2006 in Sports

Wow. The Red Sox just won their 12th straight game — they’ve swept the last 4 NL East opponents and are heading down to Florida with a set against the Marlins. It’s the Sox longest winning streak in just under 11 years.

The Sox are clicking on all cylinders right now (well, duh) and tonight was no exception. David Ortiz gave the Sox an insurance run with an 8th inning homer to center field after “manufacturing” a run earlier in the game by doubling, taking third on a sac fly, then scoring on the next sac fly.

The starting pitching been quite solid and Papelbon‘s been his dominant self during this run. (Over the season, the Sox won both of his blown saves and I believe the Sox are yet to lose a game they’ve led after 8 innings).

The real change from previous years has been the Sox defense. Tonight’s game featured several highlight reel plays, including Coco Crisp‘s insane diving catch in center. Easily the best catch I’ve seen in a long time. With tonight’s game, the Sox tied a Major League record for consecutive errorless games at 16 games.


On a related note, I want to send along best wishes to Peter Gammons as he recovers from brain surgery to repair an aneurysm. I grew up reading Gammons’ Baseball Notes in the Sunday Globe and he’s one of the reasons I’m so in love with the game. Although he’s moved onto the national stage at ESPN, Gammons is very clearly still a Boston guy and it shows when he covers the Olde Towne Team.

Since being stricken on Tuesday, it sounds like Gammons is recovering nicely. He was awake and coherent on Wednesday afternoon, wanting to know the result of Monday’s Red Sox game.

Gammons influence reaches beyond the world of baseball, as he’s active in the charity and music communities — Eddie Vedder dedicated a song to Gammons after hearing his friend’s illness. Those two interests often collide and will again on Independence Day, as Gammons releases his first album, Never Slow Down, Never Grow Old. Proceeds from the album’s sale will go towards the Foundation to Be Named Later, which aids “non-profit agencies serving disadvantaged youth in the Greater Boston area.” I’ve already ordered my copy.

Get well soon, Peter.

Youth Movement

Jun 21, 2006 in Sports

Boston Globe:

Papelbon, the mainstay among that young group, is 25. Delcarmen is 24. Hansen and Lester are 22. Lopez is 28 but is new to the team and is in his fourth big-league season.

It looks like the Red Sox are making a commitment to youth in the pitching staff right now, which is great. From a fan’s perspective, the young guys are always interesting because they represent the potential for new and possibly great things. In the Sox case, none of the off-season bullpen acquisitions (Julian Tavarez, Rudy Seanez, and the now-departed David Riske) have been consistently good and the Sox have already lost 2/5 of the Opening Day starting rotation, so the possibility of greatness (or even competence) is better than the reality of the current situation.

As I write this, the one starter from that group (Lester) is currently pitching against the Nationals. Thanks to David Ortiz’ Grand Slam, Lester has a 4-1 lead and he’s struck out 9 though 4 innings. Performances like this make me wait to check my laundry until the Sox are batting.

2006 Rose Bowl

Jan 05, 2006 in Sports

Things heard while watching the Rose Bowl with a Jets fan and another Pats fan:

Second Quarter: “I can’t believe USC is coached by Pete Carroll.”

Third Quarter: “I still can’t believe USC is coached by Pete Carroll.”

Fourth Quarter: “OK, that looked like a team coached by Pete Carroll.”

(I know, I know, 34 consecutive wins is nothing to sneeze at. But some of the stuff USC pulled at the end of the game – calling their last timeout on a PAT, Leinart running around in the pocket while the game clock expired – looked like it came straight out of the Pats game-plan at the end of the Carroll era.)

Hello, Goodbye

Nov 01, 2005 in Sports

Last week, I thought about jotting down some comments on Tedy Bruschi‘s return to the Patriots following his stroke last February. Bruschi has long been one of my favorite Patriots (and I think that can be said about a lot of Pats fans, or at least those not swooning over Tom Brady 🙂 and his offseason stroke had an emotional impact on a lot of people.

I didn’t get around to writing anything that day because I was swamped for time (three exams, two case studies, and a very-belated ATPM article). Of course, I also couldn’t think of words to explain exactly how if felt to see Bruschi healthy enough to play the game he loves. I’m glad the Pats won on Sunday night, but my concern for the outcome was a distant second to the sheer joy of seeing Bruschi careening all over the field.

Yesterday, I had the TV on in the background while I was finishing up one of my case studies. The football guys on ESPN were lauding Bruschi (which, by the way, is a complete 180 from what they were doing last week) and I was enjoying it. Then, something on the info ticker caught my eye.

“Theo Epstein resigns…”

WHAT?!? Just hours earlier, I’d read in the Boston Globe it was a done deal. WTF?!?

You’ll notice there’s no link to the Globe article. Even though I have nothing against Chris Snow and Gordon Edes, I’m not in the mood to send their bosses any eyeballs.

From what it sounds like, the dynamic duo of Larry Lucchino and Dan Shaughnessy succeeded in driving Boston’s most successful General Manager in the last 90 years out of his dream job.

From Michael Silverman at the Boston Herald (look, a link!):

A leading contributing factor, according to sources close to the situation, was a column in Sunday’s Boston Globe in which too much inside information about the relationship between Epstein and his mentor, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino, was revealed — in a manner slanted too much in Lucchino’s favor. Epstein, according to these sources, had several reasons to believe Lucchino was a primary source behind the column and came to the realization that if this information were leaked hours before Epstein was going to agree to a new long-term deal, it signaled excessive bad faith between him and Lucchino.

Who wrote the article that poisoned the well? Our very own Curly Haired Boyfriend, Dan Shaughnessy.

Sheriff Sully does a masterful job of assigning blame. Here’s one of many choice quotes:

Only one man on this planet could’ve given Shaughnessy the information he had. The way in which Shaughnessy presented it was nothing short of sickening. He defended the Sox and Lucchino no less than a dozen times. Bob Ryan would’ve resigned before writing that bogus crap and the Globe knows that. However, Lucchino more than likely didn’t even bother going through channels and just called Shaughnessy himself.

Oh, sorry, we haven’t mentioned this and everyone should be privy to this information. Last year, Shaughnessy asked the second-highest ranking Sox official, Tom Werner, to give his daughter an internship with his production company in Los Angeles. Werner complied.

So when Lucchino – the Sox President and CEO — calls for a favor, let’s just say Shaughnessy owes him.

I’ve never been comfortable with the fact the New York Times, the Globe’s parent company, owns a significant portion of the Red Sox. I didn’t like it when the then-new ownership group took over almost 4 years ago and I definitely don’t like it now. However, I accepted it. I can’t do that anymore.

This is easily the most disgusted I’ve been with the Red Sox since the disgraceful actions of seemingly everybody involved with the team in the aftermath of 9/11. Of course, I don’t think that feeling of disgust will ever be topped.

One of the brightest young men in baseball made the decision that his integrity was worth more than whatever money he was being offered to work for a backstabbing schmuck. Good for Theo. Of course, Red Sox fans are stuck with the two asshats who collaborated on this disaster.

Maybe this will be the thing that will finally get Shaughnessy run out of town. Maybe Lucchino with him. Since I’m not able to watch Theo rebuild the Red Sox and bring home another title, this’ll give me something to pull for during the winter months.

Good luck, Theo. Welcome back, Tedy — with the level of vitrol being aimed at the Sox front office, you could own the town by Thanksgiving.

Hm. I was wondering when Bill Simmons would chime in:

As for the Red Sox, they have shamed themselves beyond belief, with the Shaughnessy column being the final straw. The same guys who brought Boston a World Series also formed an Orwellian media conglomerate in which they control all the information in the city’s most important newspaper, as well as the TV and radio stations that carry the games. Just about every Red Sox-related scoop is directed to one of those three outlets, with Boston Herald writers repeatedly complaining about the unfairness of it all. In particular, the Epstein coverage was appallingly one-sided from the Globe’s side — culminating in Shaughnessy’s incredible column, to the point that Red Sox fans have to question the credibility of anything they read in what used to be a sports section that meant something. It was telling that, on the same day that Theo announced his resignation, Monday’s Globe contained a story reporting that he had signed for three years.

Repent!

Jul 31, 2005 in Humor, Sports

Not that I particularly care about the team or the player, but I love the headline:

Sabres renounce Satan, team’s six-time scoring leader

NHL Lockout Done

Jul 13, 2005 in Sports

Apparently, the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed on a new CBA and there will be professional, major league hockey played in North America this winter.

It’s been a long time since the Montreal Canadiens knocked the Bruins out of the playoffs. (Yes, I’m being Boston-centric. So sue me.) During the ensuing hockey-less winter, there were a handful of times I missed watching the game. I never felt as passionate about its absence as I did about baseball in 1994, though.

The NHL was not a healthy league before it shut down (hence the whole lockout, cancel the season thing) and I can’t imaging the situation with fans being better when the sport returns. There will definitely be some tough going for a number of franchises. I wouldn’t be surprised if the C word — Contraction — is mentioned in the near future.

I thought I had an idea of how bad things were looking for the league the last time I was in Alexandria. I was grabbing some food the the Ballston Common Mall and I saw a large banner hanging over the food court. It read “Future Home Of The Washington Capitals!”

Hmm. I knew things were bad, but I didn’t they were at the point of sharing the home locker room with The Gap and having a Slurpee machine in the penalty box.

OK, so it turns out things aren’t quite that bad — when I got back to my car, I saw that a new rink was being built across the street from mall. I assume the banner meant the Caps will play in this new rink, but I could be wrong.

Update: Ah, the banner was in reference to a new public hockey rink and practice facility that the Capitals and Arlington County are partnering to build. The rink will be open to the public year-round and will be the Caps’ training facility and the home of the team’s administrative offices. So, no Slurpees with your holding penalties and no living 10 minutes from the arena for me.