Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Hot Club


As I type this, the Red Sox are playing their Patriots' Day game, which was delayed by rain from a 10:05 AM to a 12:18 start. It's 6-1 and the Sox have Beckett on the mound. Just need to go 5 innings. Beckett went 6 and the Sox played 9 winning 7-2.

Congrats to Victoria's daughter Sophie, who ran the Boston Marathon. She was cheered on by hubby Barak and sons Liam and Tiernan. I give Sophie a lot of credit. Walking the track at McCoy is my speed. And Victoria was cheering from Rhode Island.
Sophie did the 26.2 miles in 3 hours, 28 minutes and 53 seconds, but who's counting? Liam told me his mom won a unicorn medal. Bravo Sophie.

So far the only thing stopping the Red Sox juggernaut is the rain. Their pitching is the best in the AL (2.72 ERA and 2nd only to the Mets' 2.69) and their hitting is getting better (7th in the AL at .254). However it's April, the 1st month in a 7-month (hopefully) season.

The Yankees' starting pitching is a mess but Wang and Mussina will be back (it's anyone's guess on 'Plague and Pestilence' Pavano) and Pettitte has been pitching well. I noticed that Kyle Farnsworth, who was obtained to take Tom Gordon's spot, lost Torre's confidence after giving up a game-tying homer to the A's Nick Swisher Friday. The Yanks lost the game in 11. Then Sunday night Marco Scutaro, who has been a pest against the Sox, hit a two out 0-2 pitch off of Mariano Rivera for a 3-run game-winning homer. What I found interesting was that Rivera had 2 outs and no one on and then gave up a hit to old friend Todd Walker and a walk to Jason Kendall. Scutaro's homer would have meant nothing had those 2 things not occurred (the A's won 5-4). Of course this will be probably be the last blown save for Rivera until July.

Interestingly, despite their struggles, the Yankees' pitching is 5th in the AL with a respectable 3.76 ERA. Their hitting is 3rd in the AL (team BA of .270). The Blue Jays are first with a .294 BA and the surprising TB Devil Rays are 2nd with a .272 BA.

The Red Sox get to play the depleted Yankees this weekend and next. Boston had better make hay (well the sun's not shining) before New York gets its injured back. With that lineup, the Yankees can still pummel a lot of opponents and win those 7-6, 10-9 games, even with a weakened pitching staff. The rivals play 6 games over the next 2 weekends. The Sox need to win 4 of those 6.

For the first time in memory, the Sox actually have some reinforcements at Pawtucket. During Friday night's PawSox home opener, stats keeper Aaron asked me who I thought the Sox would grab if there were an injury to a starter. I said LHP Kason Gabbard (2-1, 4.41 ERA after Monday's loss to Scranton). Then I told him to keep an eye on RHP Devern Hansack. Hansack has had 2 good starts and struck out 10 in each of his games.


The first game of the season is always extra special even when the PawSox don't win, as happened against the dreaded, hated Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Must have been the Friday the 13th jinx. However the Saturday the 14th curse did them in the second game.

Anyway it was great to see everyone including Jane and Gloria, Big Al minus Caroline (too cold for her), and Ted and Joanne. Ted asked me "How can you drink (beer) on a night like this?" My reply: "I brought gloves." Joanne was wearing what looked like half a sleeping bag to keep her warm. I resisted an urge to call it a body bag.
The first game is always special as it ushers in the beginning of the 72-home contests. And the weather while cool wasn't too bad since the wind was mild. A state trooper did a great job singing the National Anthem.

A huge mockup of Jim Rice's #14 jersey was in left field. Jim Ed and Mayor Jim Doyle threw out the ceremonial first pitches. Rice's 'jersey' will be signed by fans and sent to Cooperstown in hopes of getting Jim Ed elected to the Hall of Fame.
It was about 35-38 degrees. The visiting club's batboy was wearing short sleeves. The field announcer introduced Scranton 2B Angel Chavez as he came to bat. Only problem was that the scoreboard in left had him playing shortstop.

Then when the PawSox were up to bat, Jeff Bailey's picture was on the video board while Luis Jiminez was up. The count was 3-0 before we got to see a photo of Luis. Don't know if the score keeper and video board operator are one and the same, but he/she was in early season form.

Ted read Sportzine and told me he wanted ink. He wasn't happy that I mentioned Andruw Jones was batting .130 for Ted's favorites, the Atlanta Braves. So Ted asked me, "Who was the MVP of the World Series?" David Eckstein, of course, one of Ted's favorite players. "And he won a Corvette", said Ted. We were fortunate to see Eckstein play in Pawtucket. Ted added, "Things get better when you go to the senior league." Ted seems to have forgotten that over the last few years, the National League has been playing more like senior citizens.

The music kept us inspired for much of the game. Ray Charles' Hit the Road Jack. Bittersweet Symphony (the Verve). Ironically Summer Breeze by Frank Sinatra and even the theme song to The Dating Game. Not sure who picks the music but when I heard Perry Como's Papa Loves Mambo, I figured that was a Ben Mondor selection.

It looked like manager Ron Johnson or RJ was wired for sound, but a different sound -that of his commentary as the game was on Cox.
Ted pointed to the scoreboard and there was a rarity - David Murphy #22 was up. He was hitting .222. The count was 2-2 and there were 2 outs.

The trivia question was: Who's the only player to hit for the cycle in both the US and Japan? Tuffy Rhodes, I wondered. No, our own Alex Ochoa. Big Al knew. I neglected to ask him. My first error of the PawSox season.

Oh yeah, the PawSox lost to the Yankees 6-2 as Ross Ohlendorf bested Runelvys Hernandez. Run-el-vees (I like Run-Elvis better) didn't give up a hit until the 4th (or 2nd time thru the lineup). A Joe McEwing error started what would be a 5-run inning capped by Shelley Duncan's 3-run blast to right center.
As I was leaving there was a huge satellite dish on a truck bearing a Ch 16 and WNEP logo. A Scranton station? Everyone wants his/her baseball. And AAA baseball is good.


• Jackie Robinson is being honored posthumously for breaking the color barrier in 1947. Branch Rickey deserves acclaim too for having the guts to do it. No one amongst us can really understand what Robinson had to endure 60 years ago as the first black player in the Major Leagues. Robinson should be honored every year on April 15.

• All I recall about Pumpsie Green, Boston's 1st black player, was that he was a 2nd baseman and wasn't all that great. He was better than his double play partner Don Buddin. Oh and Green almost got talked into visiting the Wailing Wall by Gene Conley.

• The Herald's Steve Buckley (4/16) observed that Tom Yawkey was the last owner to integrate yet he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. 'Buck' says Yawkey was elected because he was a benefactor of the Hall and should be removed. There are two sides (at least) to every story and I remember how warmly Jim Rice spoke of Tom Yawkey.

• The Pawtucket Times reported (AP - 4/17) that a 14-year old matador was gored by a 900-lb bull which punctured his lung (he survived). All this while his father, once a matador, watched. Seems that the father moved from Spain to Mexico because of a law prohibiting matadors younger than 16. So he saw his son gored in a Mexico City bullring.

• On Saturday, there were 3 excellent sports stories - Terry Nau's interview of Ben Mondor (see Quotes), Joe McDonald's recap of Red Sox memories of Nolan Ryan (who called up ex-teammate Remy and told him not to even think of bunting) and Kevin McNamara's account of Bill Russell who was at Fenway to throw out the first pitch. Russell revealed that he was a pallbearer at Jackie Robinson's funeral because Rachel Robinson asked him to do so, Russ being Jackie's favorite athlete.

• The PawSox will honor the winners of a "Jackie Robinson Remembered" Award before the game against Buffalo on April 28. One male and one female minority student-athlete from area public high schools will be honored by the Providence NAACP.


The Wizard called me after I e-mailed Sportzine to him. "Amy Tobey" he kept saying. "Who is that?" The answer to why Sweet Caroline is played at Fenway Park. The Wizard sent me the following, which was also provided by Chuck D Computer. Thanks to both.

Another mystery of the Diamond, explained at last
By Stephanie Vosk, Globe Correspondent | May 29, 2005
"…So why does ''Sweet Caroline" pump from the speakers at Fenway Park in the middle of the eighth inning of every single Red Sox game? …Amy Tobey knows the answer to the ''Sweet Caroline" question.
Tobey began working for the Red Sox through her job at BCN Productions, a film and video communications company, having interned for the Boston Bruins. Her assignment was to decide what music would be played at the park from 1998 to 2004.
She had noticed ''Sweet Caroline" was used at other sporting events, and she decided to send the sweetness over the Fenway speakers. The song was picked up by fans, and the more it caught on, the more superstitious Tobey became about playing it.
Tobey would play the song somewhere between the seventh and ninth innings if the team was ahead, depending on whether she felt the team was going to win. She didn't go by any specific margin of runs, but rather who the opponent was, and her gut instincts.
''I actually considered it like a good luck charm," Tobey says. ''Even if they were just one run [ahead], I might still do it. It was just a feel."
In 2002, when new management took over at the park, they requested that Tobey play the song during the eighth inning of every game. ''They liked it and they just loved the crowd reaction with it and stuff," she says. Though Tobey says she was nervous the change would be bad luck for the team, its appeal to fans ultimately ruled. And under the song's spell, the Red Sox last season won their first World Series in 86 years." (NY Times-2006)

Great job with Zine 376 and 377……along with your blog that broke the Jim Rice “cheating” comments at Kirkbrae before the local print media took it far beyond where it should have ever gone.
Let me make sure I’ve got this straight. Rice, who was pilloried by the press attending the event for news outlets other than the Zine for NOT talking to the media during his career, spoke candidly at a media event….at length….and is now being roasted for doing what he did not do as a player. Knowing a couple of guys who have ridden the buses in the bushes, and the amount of money NOT involved in pursuit of the dream, isn’t Rice’s advice an option? And no…..I don’t think for a second he was talking about cheating with performance enhancing drugs.
Moving on, I was glad to see you touched on the presence of part of the ’67 Sox at Opening Day. These players and their manager are getting a bit of credit for creating the fan base that exists in New England for the team to this very day. There was an aura in New England in the Summer of 67 that….as an 8 year old….I did not truly understand, let alone appreciate, for a long time thereafter. Only 2004 can compare. In mid-September of 67, a 22-year-old 3rd grade teacher STOPPED teaching late one Friday afternoon and popped on a transistor radio because the Sox were in a four-team dead heat and the season was winding down. The atmosphere was electric as the season wound down. No child was left behind that day at Garvin Memorial School…….because for the last 30 minutes of our day….we were instructed in the art of a pennant race by our guest lecturers…..Mr. Coleman, Mr. Martin and Mr. Parnell.
As for warming up to the game…..I typically don’t pay much attention to April numbers. As T.S Eliot once wrote: “April is the cruelest month.” Oh…..this just in…..it’s snowing again in Cleveland.
I’m not sure what was up with Don Imus the other day….perhaps all of that substance abuse in his younger days has finally caught up with him. Maybe he ran out mileage on Anna Nicole Smith. It’s all about ad revenue for this wonder of modern chemistry……and this little controversy isn’t going to help. Keep me posted on the Vegas Odds.
As for the NESN booth……I’m partial to listening to music while viewing these days. I am happy to see Channel 10 alum Kathryn Tappen at the desk.
By the way, based on the Zine…..I stopped by Roundagain Records over the weekend and picked up a vinyl copy of Taj Mahal’s “Natch'l Blues.”
Tom 'The Q' Queenan

Your 3rd grader story about listening to the '67 team captures that special time well. I was in my junior year of college. People would be sitting in front of the RIC library listening to transistor radios. It was the beginning of Red Sox Nation. Thanks for sharing a youthful memory that sums up the moment.
Funny you should mention Roundagain records which I frequent when I'm in the area. The Natch'l Blues was the first Taj Mahal album I ever bought. In fact I took it out to play after my review of the Greatest Hits collection (Done Changed My Way of Living should be on it). Music over the Sox TV commentary? I used to have parties with a couple TVs on showing sports with the sound turned down and music on the stereo. - Z

Looks like I was wrong - again. Imus was fired first from MSNBC and now CBS radio. Maybe he should have gone right to "rehab" like all the other miscreants --- "rehab" cures all problems these days.
I'm surprised at MSNBC - other than Imus' morning show there's nothing worth watching on that channel as evidenced by their pathetic ratings. They might as well just shut down now.
CBS bowed to pressure from a "feeding frenzy" of "devastated" complainers who took advantage of the situation to bag a big media star. A hollow victory at best. Let's see what good comes from this coup.
First the Easter Bunny is gone, now Imus. Who's next-- Santa ? There'll be no more "HO HO HO" this Christmas if he knows what is good for him.
Political correctness has made this country a boring, barren, cold and humorless place to live. Sorry about my diatribe, I just need to vent.
Tricky Ricky
Have to disagree with you here. This is way beyond 'political correctness'. What Imus said was despicable. He denigrated African-Americans and women. I have no problem with him getting fired. Imus will land on his feet. Anyone who brings in $15 million to a network will find work. He'll be forgiven as is our custom in the US. $15 million buys a lot of forgiveness. Now as Bill Reynolds of the ProJo noted, the Reverends Sharpton and Jackson need to apologize to those Duke lacrosse players. - Z


"The underlying reason why discrimination still occurs is because people just do not know when they are being offensive. I had a woman come up to me at breakfast one time and say she knew me well enough that she could call me the 'n' word…I whispered something foul in her ear!" (Cliff Monteiro, President of the Providence NAACP, reflecting on what Jackie Robinson endured as the first black player in MLB history. As quoted by Terry Nau in the Pawtucket Times of 4/17)
It all starts with the "little joke" at someone else's expense. Once you think you're better than a group of people, discrimination has set in. - Z

"You and I both know people who can't wait until they retire. Then when the big day comes, they don't know what to do with themselves. They go back and visit their old friends at work, but they see they don't fit in there anymore. They begin to feel they're not needed. That works on a person. That's why there are so many widows out there."
(Ben Mondor as quoted by Terry Nau - Pawtucket Times of 4/13)
And that's why I keep busy doing Sportzine and helping Victoria, my mom and my daughter Cara. - Z


This movie attracted my interest because I knew it was on my list of recent horror films reviewed on bloody-disgusting.com (http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/). That and the several positive blurbs on the DVD box including this from Roger Ebert: "I can not ignore it, nor can I deny that it affected me strongly…the movie works."

So when I checked out bloodydisgusting.com I was taken aback to find that the reviewer had given it zero skulls (on a scale of 0-5). Not deterred I watched it and I am here to tell you that this is one nasty movie.

Chaos is even stronger than Wes Craven's Last House on the Left, which was shunned by some viewers just for its reputation. A look at the review of Chaos reveals that the writer was hung up on the similarities with Craven's cinematic entry and the bald-faceness of writer-director David DeFalco who credits himself and producer Steven Jay Bernheim as doing the story from 'an original idea'. I have no such hang-ups since everything has been pretty much done already. Wasn't it Shakespeare that said there are a limited number of plot variations? And Last House is considered to have borrowed from Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring.

What got my attention was that Chaos is a well-made movie that scares you, repulses you, creeps you out and provides a villain that is as mean and nasty as they come. For the Chaos of the title is the name of the lead bad guy, not just what he and his hellions bring to those who cross their path.

Kevin Gage as Chaos gives a memorable performance as one sick MF. His nastiness burrows under your skin. His sadism is branded on your brain like a steer has its hide burned. If this movie ever gets seen by a wide audience of Psychotronic-loving cinemaphiles, Gage will be all the rage at the next horror convention. Chaos will rank up there with such other creepy characters as Freddy, Jason, and Michael. Of course the same curse that afflicted Last House on the Left may prevent this film from being viewed.

Admittedly this is not for every taste. But if you like edgy movies that punch you in the gut, then smile and kick you in the groin, this is it.

IMDb gave it a 2.5 out of a 10. And a couple reviewers said, "This is s--t!" I beg to differ. Interestingly, IMDb notes that David Hess who was the #1 bad guy in Last House was originally supposed to be in Chaos but was replaced. And it was Hess that recommended Sly Stallone's son Sage for the character Swan. When Hess was removed, Sage Stallone tried to quit but because he was under contract he had to finish all his scenes. And the movie was intended as a remake of Last House until DeFalco and his producer decided that their film was different enough not to be considered a remake.

The movie is 74 minutes short (it won't seem like it if you watch it) and is rated R for violence and language. Originally the film was given an NC-17 by the MPAA (as an aside, see This Film Is Not Yet Rated, the documentary on the MPAA. It's on IFC.)


There was a new canopy or umbrella on the HC deck near Moda's. Did they buy another from the Herbster for $2000? No, it was a gift from him. A Herbster Job. As Hooks noted it was an HJ not a BJ.

Saw Dan the Man who agreed with me that Daniel Craig was good as James Bond but the movie was a little lacking. Dan decried the lack of gadgets. I told Dan it might have been because it was based on the first Ian Fleming book Casino Royale.

Foot Joy said his brother Steve once worked as a doorman at the Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel near the IRS/SSA building. The police asked Steve about a patron found stabbed to death in the city the night before. Why were they questioning Steve? Because the dead guy had a Lupo's hand stamp from a concert the previous night. The hand stamp read "Deceased". It was the last time Rich Lupo used that hand stamp.

I recalled seeing Roy Orbison with Mr. D. at that edition of Lupo's. They didn't kick patrons out after the first show and Mr. D. stuck around to hear Orbison a second time. I wanted to hear Roy again but was renting a summerhouse at Bonnet Shores. If I stayed I could see myself wrapping my car around the telephone pole at Snoopy's diner as someone had just done.

Jokin' Joe was talking about a video with a woman doing bad things to a stick shift. "While driving?" I asked. So the talk turned to 4 on the floor and Foot Joy said, "Three on a tree." Bags chimed in "And a fifth on the seat." I had never heard the expression '3 on a tree'. That's what they used to call a manual that was on the column.

Bags called Katie 'Princess' and quickly added "The last time I called a woman 'Princess' she cost me $1000 a month." I asked him if that lasted any more than one month.

Hooks said that the two things he'll never say to a woman again are: "My money is your money." And "It's only a car."

With a nor'easter expected Sunday night, the 3 gates in the Hurricane dam were closed.

Hooks said he had been cleaning his house. Does that mean a woman will be visiting?

I was telling 5 Angels' cousin Tommy about Mean Streets which takes place in New York City. Said Tom-Tom of NYC, "It's a 3rd world country disguised as the greatest city in the world."


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