20/20 Commentary



Schadenfreude (n) (German) [SHA-d’n-froy-duh] joy in another’s misfortune

OCT. 10, 2006 -- In my office, hanging in places of honor, I’ve proudly displayed the front and back covers of the New York Post’s October 21, 2004 edition, headlines screaming “Damned Yankees” and “What a Choke” in typical Post 48-point type. I didn’t hang up anything about the Red Sox winning the pennant.

A week later, when they won the World Series I didn’t hang up anything about that. No, what resonated with me was not the uplifting of the Sox to the rarified air of the Winner’s Circle; it was the abasement of the Yankees to the lowest low of their modern history.

It was, in short, Schadenfreude. And oh, does it feel good – when you’re on the right side of it. When it’s your team that’s getting its assets kicked in, it doesn’t feel very good at all.

Take for example the Pinstripers’ five-game sweep of the Sox at Fenway (a sweep that Gotham wags have already christened “The second Boston Massacre”) earlier this year. It caused Yankee fans everywhere to forget about the embarrassment of 2004 and revel in the Sox’ misfortunes. One didn’t hear about how the Yankees solidified their position as leaders of the AL East. One heard about how they took the boots to the Red Sox but good.

In fact, that was DOUBLE Schadenfreude. Not only did Bombers fans revel in our misfortune, most Sox fans gnashed their teeth not because we lost ground to the first place team, but because it was the Yankees who abased us so completely.

But such is the nature of a sports rivalry that redemption is ever around the next corner, and, if the rivalry is heated enough, your team doesn’t even have to be playing to take part.

Barks and Bites

>>> Most Recent September Entries <<<

Theo Talks Sox

From Extra Bases Blog Theo Talks Red Sox
Epstein Defends Red Sox Offseason Moves,
Responds to Rumors About His Return

Jan. 6, 2006: Former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein took to the radio airwaves this morning, defending the Red Sox’ offseason moves and responding to the speculation that he may return to the team in some capacity.

“I really haven’t gone into all the substantive reasons why I left,” Epstein told Boston radio station KISS-108’s Matt Siegel this morning. “I think that’s probably the right thing to do, but there were reasons why I left and it was a tough decision, left a lot of great friendships, left a great organization, left a lot of work that we still had ahead of us but in the end I thought it was for the right reasons as difficult as it was.”

More comments from Epstein during the interview:

On reports that Red Sox owner John Henry was caught off guard by his resignation:

“I don’t think he was necessarily surprised because in the final days we had been talking and he certainly knew this was a strong possibility but I think he was genuinely disappointed as I was genuinely disappointed and I enjoyed, and still do enjoy, a very close relationship with him, working relationship and professional one and it was hard on both of us to see this interruption in that relationship at least from a professional standpoint. I don’t think he was shocked but I do think he was disappointed as I was.”

Would Johnny Damon be a Yankee if he were still Red Sox GM?

“Probably, given the way it’s gone down. I hate to comment on negotiations when I’m not directly involved in them but I’ll say this, I don’t think anyone’s at fault for the way things transpired. Johnny did what was best for him and his family. The Yankees, given the need they had at leadoff and in center field, did the right thing for them. They did a good job in the negotiation. And the Red Sox offered $10 million a year and really adhered to the philosophy of setting a value on a player, remaining disciplined through the course of the negotiation, a philosophy that played a large role in 95-plus wins three years in a row and as tough as it is when you lose players, as tough as it is on the fans, that philosophy will serve the fans well in the long run because it will lead to winning teams.”

Did he make a mistake in signing Edgar Renteria to a four-year contract to play shortstop for the Red Sox last winter?

“Oh yeah, I think I did based on the results in the first year. I think we got bad results the first year (but) I think the process was good. We had excellent scouting reports universally across the board excellent scouting reports on Edgar and we’d done our subjective work and our objective work on him and we thought he was a great fit for whatever reason, physically he wasn’t the same player last year that he was and I think one of the reasons the Red Sox were open to moving him was that we… they just couldn’t take the risk that that would be the way he’d play the game going forward so he certainly could bounce back and be the player that he was for the rest of his career but if he doesn’t, that would really hurt the Red Sox at a key position so that trade was in both team’s best interest. The Red Sox were able to acquire one of the top two or three prospects in the whole game in Andy Marte. And the Braves were able to get a guy, who for all but one season, had really been one of the better shortstops in the game and fits their ball club perfectly.”

Did Bruschi's Return Sack Theo's?

Barks and Bites

Did Bruschi's Return Sack Theo's?

Tedy Bruschi and Theo Epstein

(Bruschi: Getty Images Photo / Nick Laham | Epstein: Boston Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)

WEEI’s John Dennis Believes That Theo Epstein Would Be Here if the Sox Scheduled a Press Conference Announcing His Re-signing Sooner

"What a fine mess you've gotten us into!" -- Stan Laurel to Oliver "Ollie" Hardy, 1932

Could it be that a public relations mistake and a football player’s return to action resulted in the Red Sox being without a GM today? WEEI’s John Dennis thinks so and told his audience that on last Friday’s Dennis and Callahan program.

Dennis, who refers to an “inside source” who gave him information throughout the Theo Epstein negotiations, described what could be called a fatal public relations miscue by the Red Sox.

His comments:

“John Henry loves Theo Epstein. And somebody in his business ran this kid out and he’s not firing anybody? Off with no heads. And I know he’s a gentle, quiet, calm man, but doesn’t it seem like somebody really screwed up?

“It will be interesting to find out. People in this organization will be dispatched from it or big time players -- partners and limited partners -- in this organization bail before the likes of a Charles Steinberg might get fired. Word has it there are at least a couple of limited partners who are pissed to a fare-the-well about this. Not big fans of Theo either. They are very angry at Larry Lucchino and Dr. Charles to the point that they might be considering bailing. Two, in fact. One that’s a limited and one that’s much bigger than a limited (partner).

“…(Henry) knows who took a tactical mission, regarding the release of this whole story and screwed it up and out-thought himself and the entire organization. Did it occur to you when you read or heard Dan Shaughnessy talking about the conference call he had with Theo and Larry simultaneously …. they were (celebrating). (The deal) was all but done. They were presenting a united front. Dan even describes the conversation as hunky-dory, everybody’s happy.

“Now the second thing is that sometime on Friday, maybe the Red Sox public relations staff, or maybe The Maestro himself, put out the word that there would be no announcement about Theo’s future with the club over the course of the weekend and Monday would be the first time we hear anything. That’s weird that they would put out a statement that they’re not going to make a statement until Monday rolls around.

“Here’s how The Maestro, Charles Steinberg, out-thought himself. My guy tells me that Dr. Charles went to Larry and said, ‘Listen, we have this all done, we could announce this Saturday and have a press conference or we could do it Sunday, but there’s something that’s going to blow us off the pages of the newspaper, that’s going to happen this weekend, that’s going to make Theo’s re-signing with the Red Sox a one-day story.’

“Charles, being the bright guy that he is, says, ‘If we announce on Saturday that it’s all done,’ and it essentially was, ‘it will get lost in the Bruschi (return story) until Sunday night. Then we won’t get any publicity out of this deal. I got an idea, Larry. Why don’t we do the little conference call, we’ll make nice with Dan on the phone. Don’t agree that it’s done… just sort of hint that we’re moving that way. We’ll have a press conference on Monday, and the best thing is, we’ll cut the Patriots off at the knees, so the Bruschi story will be a one-day story, Sunday, Sunday night, I guess a little bit on Monday, but on Monday afternoon, we’ll trump the Bruschi story, and stop it in its tracks, with the Larry Lucchino jack-o-lantern smiles sitting next to Theo announcing Theo’s continued employment with the Boston Red Sox.’

“The little fly in this big time pile of ointment was the fact that more leaks happened. Shaughnessy writes on Sunday, and then the stuff happened on Monday, and between Friday night’s hunky-dory conference call and Monday morning’s discovery of ‘Hey, it’s all but done, it’s gonna happen whenever’ in the Boston Globe, Theo changed his mind, got pissed off, realized the circle of trust had been broken, and walked away.

“So in the interest of extending this story a little bit longer, delaying it until Monday, getting Bruschi off the front or back pages, this thing fell apart. That’s called out-thinking yourself from a public relations standpoint.

“So this takes you back to your question: Does John Henry look at the people he is paying good money to, not to leak, not to spin, not to smear, but to create, you know, publicity to get him on the back page, and they screw up this badly, is that person’s job in jeopardy?

“You know what the irony is? If Dr. Charles wanted this Red Sox-Theo story to be longer than a one-day deal, he sure as hell got his wish.”

Today Dennis added that his source, whom he described as a limited partner, told him that John Henry said, “It’s a good thing we left on good terms with Theo, because we don’t know how long Larry Lucchino is going to be around,” lending credence to the theory that Epstein may return to the Red Sox someday in a larger capacity than general manager.


On a related note, Murray Chass wrote in Sunday’s New York Times: “In seeking to be his own man, Epstein felt he had outgrown Lucchino and wanted to get out from under what he felt was Lucchino's suffocating oversight. Lucchino was willing - reluctantly - to give Epstein the money he wanted but wasn't about to relinquish the control he felt was his as team president.

“In addition, Epstein was upset with Charles Steinberg, the executive vice president for public affairs for the Red Sox. Steinberg was conspicuously absent from the Epstein news conference, lending credence to that aspect of the story. For Epstein to turn on Steinberg is especially strange because Steinberg was perhaps more responsible for his career than Lucchino.

“Steinberg hired Epstein as a public relations intern in Baltimore, took him to San Diego, then steered him to law school with the idea of getting him into baseball operations after he graduated.

“Like Lucchino, Epstein and Steinberg did not return calls seeking clarification of the circumstances of Epstein's departure.”

Quotable Quotes

Barks and Bites

Quotable Quotes

What might have been overheard in and around the Red Sox clubhouse following the White Sox three-game sweep of Boston last Friday...

Kevin Millar: "What's the problem? We came back from 0-3 last year didn't we? We're loose. The guys will just take a shower, go home, rest and come back and give it our best shot tomorrow."

Manny Ramirez: (Sorry. Couldn't get a quote from Manny ... he was still completing his trip around the bases after admiring his home run that brought the Red Sox to within one run of the White Sox.)

WEEI Big Show Co-Host, Pete Shephard: "I just hope that Schilling doesn't have to warm-up, sit down, warm-up, sit down and warm-up again on Saturday if it rains."

Johnny Damon: "This team revolves around me. I should be paid $10 million a year. You saw what I did in the clutch in the sixth inning, didn't you? If I got a hit there, we surely would have won. So, I'm sure you would all agree that if we're going to win, it's because of me. Manny is great. David is great. But without me hitting, neither one is going to get a chance to get a big hit. I think I proved that in the 6th inning when I popped up to the catcher with the bases loaded."

Terry Francona: "If we could have scored one more run than the White Sox in each game, I think we would have won the series."

Jason Varitek: "I'm the best catcher in the league when it comes to managing a pitching staff ... as long as that pitching staff has Pedro Martinez, a healthy Curt Schilling, a focused Derek Lowe and some semblance of a bullpen."

John Henry: "We're co-champions of the AL East. And, I've asked our grounds crew to keep our name up on top on the left field scoreboard all winter long."

Charles Steinberg: "Oh, Tessie ..."

NESN's Tom Caron: "Well, at least the Yankees aren't going to win. They got the worst of it when they won they AL East and had to travel to Anaheim to play the Angels. The Red Sox got the easier opponent, and only had to fly to Chicago. Right, Eck? Huh, Eck? Please say yes, Eck. Oh, please, Eck."

Keith Foulke: "How'd the Bruins do last night?"

Red Sox Idiot Nation: "This year doesn't count. Only 2004 really matters. Yankees suck. Yankees suck. Yankees suck ..."

-- Bill Bingham, Westerly, RI

There's a Sucker Born Every Minute

Yesterday's News: Read more daily headlines here

Barks and Bites

There's a Sucker Born Every Minute

To quote the actor better known as "Squiggy" on "Laverne & Shirley" from the movie "A League of Their Own"... "Take me home momma, I have seen enough to know that I have seen too much."

The Boston Red Sox are now offering for sale, "Championship Sod used on the field at Fenway Park during the 2004 season" on their website.

So let me see ... the Rolling Stones trash the outfield grass two weeks ago, causing it to be replaced. Will that be for sale once the Championship turf sells out?

Have these guys -- Red Sox ownership -- no shame whatsoever?

What's next?

Bottled hot-air from Kevin Millar from any post game interview?

Authentic pieces of the plastic used to cover the players' lockers during the World Series post Game 4 celebration?

Wood chips from the stage used for the presentation of the World Series trophy?

Cloth remnants from the towels used by players after their championship clinching showers?

Empty champagne beer (and, of course, Jack Daniels) bottles from the Sox locker room celebration?

Genuine spittle from David Ortiz's batting gloves from right before his ALDS game-winning home run versus the Angels?

Wads of chew gnawed on by Terry Francona during the 2004 season?

Pine tar from Trot Nixon's helmet?

Paper towels used by Manny during one of his outfield "Green Monster breaks?"

Baggies of vomit scooped from Lansdowne Street following the series victory?

Johnny Damon was only partly right.

It's all of Red Sox Nation who are really the idiots.

-- Bill Bingham, Westerly, RI

Oldtime Baseball Game

Barks and Bites

12th Annual Bank of America Oldtime Baseball Game Wednesday, Aug. 17 in Cambridge

Oldtime Baseball Game

Some of Greater Boston’s finest amateur baseball players will assemble at St. Peter’s Field, on Sherman Street in North Cambridge, on Wednesday, August 17 for the 12th Annual Bank of America Oldtime Baseball Game. Gametime is 7 p.m.

This year's game is being played as a benefit for the Lupus Foundation of New England.

What makes the Oldtime Baseball Game so special is the glittering array of old-style flannel uniforms worn by the players. Used just once a year for the Oldtime Baseball Game, the uniforms represent such long-ago teams as the Brooklyn Dodgers, St. Louis Browns and Boston Braves. Negro League teams are represented by the Kansas City Monarchs, Baltimore Elite Giants and Homestead Grays. Even long-ago minor-league teams are represented, including the San Francisco Seals, Oakland Oaks and Roswell Rockets.

Because of the beauty of these uniforms, along with the period music, the raffles, and, yes, the enthusiasm of the players, the Bank of America Oldtime Baseball Game has evolved into a Greater Boston summertime tradition. The Game features amateur players from throughout the area, representing such schools as Harvard, Tufts, Suffolk, Boston College and Holy Cross. Though not billed as an “all-star” game, more than 20 veterans of the Oldtime Baseball Game have gone on to play professionally. Carlos Pena of Haverhill and Northeastern University, who played in the Oldtime Baseball Game in 1996 and ‘97, is the first alumnus of the game to play in the big leagues. Oldtime Baseball Game

The Lupus Foundation of New England serves all people with lupus as well as their families and caregivers. A dedicated team of volunteers and staff works to help fulfill the Foundation's mission of providing support and education, public awareness and funding of medical research.

Those attending the game are strongly advised to bring beach chairs or blankets and set up camp along the foul lines, as seating at St. Peter's Field is limited. In fact, it's this "festival" setting that adds to the charm, as fans hug the field to watch this very special event.


St. Peter’s Field is located on Sherman Street in North Cambridge. From Harvard Square, follow Massachusetts Avenue north about one-quarter of a mile, turning left on Linnaean Street. At the end of Linnaean Street, turn right onto Garden Street. Bear right at the fire house onto Sherman Street and follow to St. Peter’s Field, which is on the left.


Take Exit 29A, picking up Route 2 East. Continue on Route 2 East 6.3 miles to Route 16 East, being sure to bear left at the fork, following the “Arlington-Medford next left” sign. Follow to Massachusetts Avenue and turn right. Follow to Rindge Avenue and turn right. Follow to Sherman Street and turn left. Follow to St. Peter’s Field, which is on the right.

Beating a Dead House


Beating a Dead House

An eyewitness account of the House/Sheffield incident from a friend of ours who says she was there:

Here is my view on what happened on that infamous night of “the scuffle”. When Jason Varitek hit a ball into the corner of right field, fans were leaning over into the field and sweeping at the ball. The ball was bouncing along low to the ground and out of reach of the fans. Chris House was sitting on the left of me (Linda). When the ball came closer to where we were sitting, Sheffield bent over attempting to field the ball. It seemed Chris House was swiping at the ball while Sheffield was trying to field the ball. I don’t even think House was even looking at Sheffield. I was watching the whole play. Everything happened so quickly. At that moment, it didn’t seem House even touched Sheffield. If anything he might have slightly touched or brushed the side of Sheffield’s face or hat. I didn’t hear a whack or slap while the incident occurred and no verbal reaction from Sheffield. This makes me believe that it was not a direct hit. I feel if Sheffield seriously got punched in the mouth as he states he did (Sheffield stated he thought his lip was busted), he would have jumped into the stands, no question. And the scuffle would have been much more violent.

Sheffield picked up the ball, while ball in hand, he charged at the fan and pushed him back, then turned around to throw the ball back into the infield. When Sheffield pushed House, House pushed me and I landed on my side along the seats and still have a bruise on my leg to remind me of the altercation. I was truly frightened when I saw Sheffield coming after House. All I could think of is Sheffield rubs that “crème” on his knee.

As I landed along the seats I looked up at my friend Helen, who had fell to my right, and saw a look of horror on her face. Helen’s expression made me start laughing. After Sheffield threw the ball back into the infield, Sheffield turned around and again went after House. This is when the security guard came to intervene. To get away from the scuffle, I grabbed my friend Helen and we made our way over to the visitor’s bullpen until everything settle down near our seats.

A fan should not interfere with a play, but it's a fan reaction that occurs sometimes. Does it make it right? NO. Red Sox (including myself) and Yankee fans close to the incident felt there was no malicious intent on House’s part. But I do believe House is in the wrong for interfering with the play. But I also believe Sheffield was wrong in the way he reacted. He made contact with House. Someone could seriously have got injured.

Sheffield is a big guy and House is not the smallest guy either. My friend and I were afraid we were going to get hit in the scuffle. We're lucky my friend and I (members of Red Sox Nation) were not seriously injured. To get the facts straight, my friend and I were not with Gap boy or Chris House. I am in on season tickets in the section where the incident occurred. I do know Chris House from just sitting next to him during games. He seems like a decent guy. I’ve never had problems with him.

Also, my friend and I were not drunk. I had 1 ½ beers all game, my friend the same. If anything, over eaters to put it nicely, we had 2 Fenway Franks each and popcorn that night. ;-) It’s funny how the media can twist and develop a fictional story more than the factual story. -- Linda

MLB invades a Nation


04.25.05: New York Stories. From The New York Times 4.21.05:

The Upper West Side, like all New York neighborhoods, moves to it's own rhythms, fueled in large part by population density, acute parenting, entitlement, and retail. Some weeks, you feel there is something in the air, a pinched intensity pushing everyone within a 20 block radius just an inch off the platform of reasonable behavior.

"On Monday, on Broadway near 90th Street, a mother in low-rise jeans stood waiting for the light lecturing her son, who appeared to be about 5 years old. "If you want to root for the Red Sox, that is your choice," the mother said, "but you may not sit with the rest of the family during the games.

The pained child protested. "But we are Yankees fan," mom replied, ticking off the names of each member of the family as they hurried across the street. The child tripped, fell and dissolved into tears. Mom scooped him up. They made the light.

"What a disgrace this mother is. How can we get this kid to know that it's ok to be a Sox fan and not have his mother yell at him. Invite him into the family with a invitation on your website. Someone who knows the kids is bound to see it. Thanks! Rob Maynard"

MLB invades a Nation. If you are one of the nearly 100 blogs and websites that uses "Red Sox" in your url, or any other MLB nickname for that matter, lookout because Goliath is eating David again and MLB is going to bring the hammer down on you next. A California kid named Will Markham had a homegrown Red Sox site named RedSoxNation.com, after the term that the Boston Globe's Nathan Cobb coined in the 1980's. As you now know, the Red Sox needlessly took over the fan term for their little $10 "membership" cards, but they didn't stop there. Per Will "Yes, MLB Properties contacted me in November and threatened to take me to arbitration over the use of the name and over the issue of cyber squatting -- which by definition I was not doing. I consulted with a couple of lawyers and given that the Red Sox owned the name since the early 1900's and due to my limited resources against MLB it just wasn't worth it. I argued that I actually started using the phrase Red Sox Nation before the team used it as a marketing tool or as a way to sell membership cards but to no avail. I actually bought the url in the early 90's. Anyway, I stood a chance of a $100,000 fine plus expenses. I tried to explain that it was just a fan site and really small time -- I am talking 750 hits a day before the wonderful days of October -- but they didn't care. It was fun while it lasted and a kick to get emails from all over the world."

Shameful doesn't begin to describe.

Fenway Fever. Ian Failes has a website called vfxblog.com that focuses on visual effects in films. Check out how the vfx artists transformed Fenway Park back to the 1980's look.

A-who? Incoming: "I'm sure you've heard about this but I'd love to hear your take on this punk A-Rod and what he said today! "Run him over! Run him over!" Rodriguez yells at Sheffield, imploring him to barrel through Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. Sheffield scores, and Varitek turns to Rodriguez. "You would never do it," Varitek replies sneeringly." ...Maybe "Run him over!" was what A-Rod was yelling at the truck driver doing "40-50 mph" (yeah right) on Newbury Street before he realized the kid was a Yankee fan?

United States of Baseball. "I wanted to write to let you know about the new United States of Baseball web site. The site features articles from my local newspaper column, ranging in subject from baseball’s continuing status as America’s favorite game (More Than Ever, It’s The National Pastime) to ‘out of control’ player salaries (The Case Against Fiscal Sanity). There's a big section on the steroid controversy as well, one with pieces on drugs’ dire performance effects (Steroids, 'The Miracle Drugs'), confessed steroid users' ruined health (Losers), and overall press coverage (The Media’s Performance Enhancers). An archive can be found here. The emphasis of the bi-weekly columns, and daily blog postings starting this upcoming week, is on issues that matter to fans everywhere. The site brings a contrarian’s perspective on the state of the game, one with a special focus on baseball’s often overlooked and/or misunderstood strengths."

Check out SoxStats.com too before MLB shuts it down. And Yankee-Empire if you're so inclined. And The Rivals, which is what else, a Sox fan and a Yankees fan chiming in. The self-proclaimed Fan's Commish has a Sox blog called Around the Horn. Weild Baseball is working our side of the street with NY Post sized headlines. Lastly, check out Digital Derek's Sox blog. Oops, one more BostonSportsMassacre.com, a Sox podcast is now live.

There's a draft in here. I'd rather watch the horrific 50 First Dates 50 times than waste 10 minutes of a weekend watching the biggest non-event of the century, the NFL draft.

Millar is The Man. More from the email bin: "Hey, I was privileged enough to receive opening day (in New York) tickets from my friend's dad, championship box right behind the visitor's on deck circle, easily worth $500 bucks on eBay. I am a huge sox fan from Jersey which is hard enough as it is. I went to the game two hours early, and when I got in with my friends we stood first row right next to the sox dugout, it was awesome seeing all the players come out and talking to them. Kevin Millar was the first man out, and he instantly came up and yelled something at a guy in the CEO seats behind home plate, a Yanks fan. The fan cursed him out and said go back to Boston and Millar said "(expletive) you" to the fan and laughed in his face, it was amazing. I yelled at Kevin that I had a bottle of jack for him and called him Kentucky Fried Kevin and he came out and nodded at me, it was insane. I just thought you might want to know how big a bad ass Millar is." -- Chris Mezzacappa"

No magic link for this crew. "Here's a photo of the Dirt Dog frontrunners in line for day of game tickets yesterday (Fenway opener). We starting arriving at 5pm Friday through the night into Saturday early morning. Mostly locals with a couple of us who came in on the 3:00am Amtrak from NYC. We all got in at about 12:45 and got seats in RFGS 1 and 2." -- Ryan St. Germain
Fordham University

Home opener

He's not feeling good about Hood. "I am watching the Sox game and was actually listening to one of those Hood announcements. They say Hood donates $1,500 whenever the Red Sox win. OK first off $1,500 is not THAT much money, so why only when the Red Sox win? Are there children sitting around watching the Red Sox thinking, "Please hit a homer Manny, I need food and clothes" Come on Hood, give the poor kids $1,500 even if the Red Sox lose, that way at least the kids win. From a fellow Bostonian and non Red Sox Nation $10 card holder."

Left-handed compliment. I couldn't bring myself to correct him: "In regards to the photo of Schilling and Kerry hanging out on Boylston... Schilling is a hero, who cares if he is a left winger and a Liberal, he could be a Satanist and a communist for all I care as long as he is still the pitcher he has been. People need to lighten up. I love the webpage and everything you do on it. Keep up all the good work. -- Michael Haggerty."

Boycott the Riveria in NYC. SoSH's Jneen writes "Can you do me a favor and edit out your recommendation that fans go to the Riv in NYC for games? As you may have heard by now, bartender Jim who turned the place into a Sox venue in the first place was fired the other day by the a-hole bar manager, so we'd like to get the word out that people should avoid the place and go to Boston212 instead." While a couple of SoSH'ers are bartenders at Boston212, there was a negative review on the boston.com message board: "Hey everyone, this is to alert y'all to a giant SCAM that someone is trying to perpetuate on the Nation. The New York City chapter of Red Sox Meetup has been taken over by a businessman who is trying to make some money off the Yanks/Sox rivalry by promoting this "Boston (212) cafe." Only, this is not a sports bar or a decent place to watch a game. It's the basement of a restaurant (Scopa) with zero charm, zero ambience and no character. It looks like it could be hold a wedding reception with a little bit of work ... it's really insulting that anyone would try to foist this off on discerning Sox fans. Anyway, any Sox fans visiting (or living in) da city can do a lot better than this dump. I'd encourage y'all to check out Harrisons or the Hairy Monk." Sox fans should also check out Foley's in Midtown/Murray Hill.

Not Sweet Caroline. There's a "tribute" song about the 2004 Red Sox

Still mad at Moose. See the sign if you thought Sox fans were harsh.

Opening not closed. Still no word on why the '75 World Series hero, Bernie Carbo, was a no-show at the ring ceremony on opening day at Fenway. Same goes for the architect of the World Series champs, Dan Duquette.

Vinnie from the Bronx. A caller into WEEI last week was lamenting the Yankees demise and how the hired-gun approach wasn't working saying "I want dirt dogs not individual all stars. Dirt dogs win championships."

Maybe he should keep The Ball. "If they punish the normal fan, it's not fair,'' he said. "You can't lump two or three morons in with everybody else. They're the best fans in the world. They don't get much better than Red Sox Nation.'' The "he" is none other than Doug Mientkiewicz.

It is what it is. Incoming: "Thanks for your great coverage and your take on the whole House thing. Shows that true Sox fans no matter how spirited still have their priorities straight. Some things are bigger than the Sox, bigger even than 'hate the Yankees.' I lived in Boston five years and fell in love with baseball because of the Red Sox. Thanks for helping me reaffirm that I picked the right sport, the right team, and the right fan blog to follow. -- Bill Kayser, Portland, OR"

Beating a dead House. One more view "Dear Dog, It's obvious by looking at the replay what really happened. Sheffield starts running toward the guy before the ball leaves Gordon's hand. As he gets near the guy, the ball just happens to get hit over to where Sheffield is running. The guy, House, who was just before the play knitting a shawl for his poor grandmother, was minding his own business. His two friends, the woman and the guy in the Gap shirt were practicing for their church choir. All of a sudden Sheffield starts throwing haymakers at House. He stops to throw the ball back in and then continues, this time with a blackjack that he keeps in his back pocket. The guy in the Gap shirt, seeing Sheffield's steroid induced white hot rage, throws his beer on him so his shirt won't spontaneously combust. Finally, the security guy drives back Sheffield with high flying Kung-Fu kicks. Come on, it's obvious! If you can't see that, you're blind!"

Mother's Day in the Country. Country 99.5 has committed to partnering with one of Boston’s newest charities, Christopher’s Haven. Together with Andover Country Club, we will host the ultimate Mother’s Day promotion for charity. Christopher’s Haven is working in conjunction with Massachusetts General Hospital to acquire a residence for families battling cancer. It will be a free place for the families to stay while the children undergo cancer treatment. We have secured country music star Tracy Byrd to play a 30-minute acoustic set on Mother’s Day. (Sunday, May 8th) Country music newcomer Zona Jones will open the show. Afterwards Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar will join them on stage for photos with all of the guests. Tickets are on sale now through www.wklb.com.

100 Innings ALS fundraiser. Curt's Pitch special events coordinator Mike Lembo writes: "Thanks for all of your help in promoting the 100 Innings of Baseball Spectacular. I am pleased to say that it looks like we will have once again eclipsed the $100,000 mark when all is said and done. The final score was 88-79 in favor of Team Marciano over Team Hagler (as we played in Brockton) - Twenty-One players played the entire 100 Innings - Jimmy Kind recorded 11 hits (with Saturday marking his 50th birthday!!!!!!) - Matt LoPresti pitched a remarkable 18 innings - Mike Lembo, event coordinator, was the winning pitcher of record and co-event coordinator Brett Rudy caught the final out in left field."

10 things he hates about Seattle. You may remember Seattle's David Schoenfield's forgettable ESPN.com column "86 things I hate about the Red Sox" (no, I'm not re-linking it). Here's a humorous response from Thomas Gerber:

1. Great teams with long traditions (like the Yankees) are hateful. Good teams with tragic history (like the Red Sox) are Shakespearean. Bad teams with tradition (like the Cubs) are cuddly. Consistently mediocre teams that can't ever got it done - like the Mariners, Seahawks and Sonics - are just flat out boring.
2. Your biggest athletic hero is a retired, out-of-shape DH named Edgar.
3. Two words: The Boz
4. Bill Gates is an insufferable monopolist geek.
5. Dunkin Donuts kicks Starbucks' ass every day of the week.
6. Kurt Cobain is dead. Get over it.
7. Top sports columnist in Seattle = copy boy in Boston.
8. If Seattle is such a great place to live, how come Ken Griffey Jr., A-Rod, The Big Unit, Sweet Lou Pinella and many, many others can't wait to get the hell out of town?
9. You're uncomfortably close to the racist militias in Idaho.
10. Try as you might to convince us that you hate the Red Sox, we know you're actually green with envy.

Barks & Bites


Steroid Era Over -- Sanchez Caught

04.05.05: They got him. Alex Sanchez the lone steroid user has finally been caught. Thank God. And once Roger Maris is reinstated as the official single-season home run king any day now, and Manny Alexander is banned from the game, we can declare this ugly era over once and for all.

In case you missed it, the Sox championship was a fluke. Read every time-worn cliché by this AOL web hack here.

ESPN2 has a Red Sox special on the offseason, and is dusting off "new" Nation faces like Ben Affleck, Denis Leary, Steven King, Still, We Believe cast members, etc., and talks a lot about some curse being gone. Yawn. Okay... it got much better and more original as it went on.

It's not Johnny "Desperate Baseball Wives" Damon, but there's another book signing coming up as Tony Massarotti and John Harper will be signing their book A Tale of Two Cities: The 2004 Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry and the War for the Pennant on Tuesday, April 12th at 7:00pm at Barnes & Noble in Saugus.

The publisher of Leigh Montville's book Why Not Us? writes "You were kind enough to run an excerpt when the book first came out around Christmas. This time, I'd like to offer you 5-10 free copies of the book to give away to fans through the Boston Dirt Dogs site." If anyone has any ideas on a contest I can easily execute for these books, please let me know.

Line of the day by Steve Buckley this morning on WEEI's Sunday baseball show (sadly sans Neumy): "Nomar should never have been allowed to put the (Sox) uniform on again after that display in Yankee Stadium last season." Agreed.

Do not miss the curated show entitled "The Color of Baseball" that opens at the Panopticon Gallery in Kenmore Square (inside the Hotel Commonwealth). The opening is next Thursday, April 7th, from 5:30-7:30. Details here. BDD contributor and renowned photographer Bill Chapman writes:

"The show will contain some great historical stuff, from both the BPL and the Sports Museum, Ernest Withers Negro League Photos... and 30 of my pictures taken of fans all over the country. I have been about 50,000 miles in the last twelve years. I enclose the picture from the announcement, Ernest Withers holding two balls he had signed by Cool Papa Bell and others (below).

"On the surface, the colors of baseball are easy to identify. Of course, we think of green grass, blue skies, vivid colors of the crowd — add the red, white and blue of the American flag — and your palette ambles toward completion. Over the years, owners have provided a spectrum of uniform designs and colors that keep us motivated to buy tickets and merchandise.

"As one moves beyond the vivid surface colors, colors of anger and the results of cruelty become added to the palette. The color of money, as it relates to the game, came to the public knowledge as gamblers fixed the 1919 World Series. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was brought in to “save” baseball from the evils of gambling and to restore the public’s faith. He did — but he kept blacks out of the game until he was coerced into resigning in 1944. What about baseball integrating before the United States Army and that particular hue of shame that painted the nation? Once baseball was integrated in 1947, think about what color Jackie Robinson’s leg and thigh were after he was deliberately gouged by the incoming spikes of a base runner. That will also add to the palette."

This lively, thought provoking and entertaining exhibition includes photographs of legendary players from the Negro Leagues, intimate photos of fans and players, a photograph of the Boston Pilgrims before their first game with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first World Series, and a panoramic view of Fenway Park under construction during the 1914 World Series, as well as historic photos of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, and many others.

Things I did on my spring vacation: Lie on the beach and wonder why we live in North Poleville otherwise known as Boston, and laughed my arse off watching that Jersey goof Charlie O'Connell doing body shots off former NESN up-and-comer and "salon coordinator" Krisily Kennedy on The Bachelor. Bet the house that Krisily goes down in flames in the next few episodes.

Fever Pitch reviews keep pouring in: Melrose native Julia Sen writes "I went to a preview screening tonight (in LA) with some east coast BU kids (from ME, RI, and NY), and we thought it was amazing. Jimmy Fallon was adorable, as were the supporting actors, including "Still We Believe's Jessamy Finet... Drew Barrymore was Drew Barrymore, quirky and loveable, but I couldn't help but be annoyed by her character's quest to overcome her boyfriend's Sox addiction... (Asking a Bostonian to pass up a Sox game for an acquaintance's birthday party is not acceptable!)" and Michelle from Seattle adds "I'd have to say that I give it 3 stars out of 5. I loved the Red Sox aspect of it and seeing Johnny Damon and some real life fans from Fenway in the movie but other than that, it wasn't that brilliant. The highlights of the movie were seeing the Dirt Dog t-shirt and seeing Johnny Damon in the movie :)"

Speaking of movies, 1918 (a short film by New Bedford's Jay Burke) co-producer Andrew Simpson wants to let our readers know of some upcoming screenings:

1) Sunday, April 3rd starting @ 6:00PM at the Cask and Flagon across from Fenway Park (the Red Sox Opening Day game vs. the Yankees will be shown after 3 screenings of the film)

2) Friday, April 8th starting @ 6:00PM at the Cask and Flagon across from Fenway Park (Fever Pitch Theatrical Release date, the Red Sox vs. Toronto will be shown @ 7:05PM after 2 screenings of the film )

3) Monday, April 11th @ 6:00pm - Venue TBD (Common Ground or The Sports Depot in Allston/Brighton, Red Sox Home Opener @ 3:05 shown first then 1 or 2 screenings of the film to follow @ around 6:00pm). Check the site for updates

And a call for submissions for a Red Sox documentary:

"Hey Red Sox Fans, what's your story? We're doing a documentary about Red Sox Fans, and we want you to tell us what you personally did to help "break the curse"! Where were you physically and emotionally at key moments during the ALCS and World Series. We are a team of independent filmmakers who want to preserve the stories we've heard and archive them for fans everywhere. Contact us with your story at rsfans@cineking.com, including as much detail and color as you can re-live, for your chance to be interviewed on camera and become part of baseball history."

When in Rome: In addition to the Riviera, you can now go to another Boston bar in New York City: The Boston (212) Cafe opens in lower Midtown, Manhattan, on 28th & Madison and will be a "BOSTON-FANS-ONLY" bar during Red Sox broadcasts.

In case you missed it, Johnny Damon, not Jason Varitek or David Ortiz or Manny Ramirez or Curt Schilling is the new face of the Red Sox as he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated's baseball preview issue that hit newstands last week.

SI ranks all 30 teams and says the Red Sox are the No. 2 team in all of baseball (of note, SI ranks the Yankees No. 1, predicting the Bronx Bombers will go on to beat the Red Sox in the ALCS before winning the World Series against the Atlanta Braves). The Blue Jays Tom Verducci lists this year's 20 most contentious rivalries in baseball... topping the list is Red Sox vs. Yankees (shocker). Other Red Sox mentions include Pedro vs. Posada (8) and Randy Johnson vs. Curt Schilling (17).

Kyle Siskey of Newark, DE, writes: "This made me so happy. An e-mailer to the Sportsbash on ESPN radio wrote:

"I don't think the Arizona Wildcats collapsed yesterday.

The 1992 Oilers,
Greg Norman at the '92 Masters,
'95 California Angels,
and the 2004 NEW YORK YANKEES."

This is a must read for any baseball fan, or human being for that matter.

Friend of BDD and self-proclaimed "The Fan's Commish" Rick Swanson writes on Opening Night.

I know you love the song parodies, so Douglas Morrison of New Cumberland, PA adds:

Juice Me Up for the Ball Game

Juice me up for the ball game
Shoot some designer 'roids
Covered with acne my back's all pink
Head's getting huge while my testicles shrink
So it's shoot, shoot, shoot for the home run
If I'm not caught there's no shame
'cause it's three, four, five strikes you're out
At the old ball game

And Michael Cardin adds:

The Night They Drove Ole Barry Down

(Parody of “The Night they drove old Dixie Down (J. Robertson 1969)

Barry Bonds is the name and I play for the Giants in San Fran
Congress committee come up with “roids” again
In the Spring of '05, baseball was suffrin’ from all the lies
By March 20, McGwire had fell, it was a time I remember,
Oh so well

The night they drove ole Barry down, all the people were jeerin’

The night they drove ole Barry down, McGwire’s eyes were tearin’
Wah, wah wah wah wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah wah wah

Back with my mistress where no way could see the press called for me
Barry bonds are you a BALCO attendee ?
I don't mind publicity but I do care
If don’t make me look good
I took what I needed just like the rest
So how come they can’t see I am one of the best?

Like my father before me, I'm a baseball man
Like Hank above me, I’m a home run champ*
Close, Just 11 home runs away, but a fat Yankee rolls in his grave
Swear by the bruises all over my knees
You can't make a comeback when you're in defeat

Not everybody hates the song parodies:

"This guy is a fool, I get a kick out of every song that you guys redo over. I loved the one you did for Bonds, and Walker. I have been visiting the site for a few years, I look every time I'm in class wondering what you guys are going to say next. You guys keep out the petty stuff that Sport Center puts in and put in stuff that SC doesn't put in. I mean I love SC but this is local, and you got to support the local guys. I never wrote in before because I never had a reason till this fool; I say if that basted doesn't like looking at the songs, then tell him not to visit the site, who needs him anyway? Keep up the GREAT work, DIRT DOGS FOR LIFE!!

- Anthony"

In case you missed it, an old "Queer Eye" interview on ESPN Page 3. T.J. Mahoney writes on QE:

"Seriously, what are these guys doing at camp?? I finally have something to to get back at my Yankee friends all winter and now these guys show up. I've been receiving an email every hour for the last three days about the Queer Eye for the Straight Guys being at the Sox camp. There is a reason I'm a Sox fan. They're tough, gritty and ruffians. The Yankees are the corporate, clean-cut team with their shaved faces, A-Rod's white cleats and batting gloves, etc. Could you see Tek or Nixon wearing white cleats and batting gloves? The Yankees look like they've already been through 5 episodes of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

We don't need these muppets walking around camp with pink Sox jerseys on. It is bad enough they sell pink Sox hats outside the stadium. Lets toughen back up and bring AC/DC or somebody into spring training for a concert. Get these guys outta here!"

On the headline: "They're Queer. They're Here. They're Fabulous. Get Used to It." Ludlow Vermont's Betty McEnaney writes: "Nice job guys. As the mother of a gay son, it's time for all of American to get used to it!" but the military chimes in with:

"If ever there was a more stark contrast in styles......Belichick works on team psychology and Focus from the opening of training camp, reminding his team that every year is a new start and a clean slate, and that winning a championship requires preparation and focus from start to finish. He brings in tapes of General Patton for fighting spirit and leadership, teaches his team they must capitalize on their opportunities, 'cause there are no guarantees in life.

So what do Our Sox do?  They spend training camp getting manicures and having their backs waxed.  Then lose their fifth game in a row while making three errors. I wonder how tolerant the fan base will be when the "Queer Eye" show is broadcast on June 10, and the Sox are in the middle of a 9 game losing streak? 

Give me General Belichick. Every time.

Jim Weldon
Capt., USMC

Jonathan Jackson writes in about the oh-so-boring spring:

"Is it me, or is this a really boring offseason/spring training? No really big signings (well, maybe Renteria, but nothing like Schilling and Foulke last year), no contract disputes, no hot offseason trades, even the Sox/Yankees opening matchup kinda fell flat. Very un-Sox like. The best anyone has drummed up so far was getting some Sox players to rip Slappy, which to me seemed pretty lame.

Don't get me wrong, it's nice to go into spring without having to listen to Pedro whine about how the Sox don't respect (i.e. pay) him enough, or to have to worry about Nomar's wrist, tendons, etc. But we need a little something to get excited about, y' know? I know I sound like a typical Sox fan, worrying about the fact that there's nothing to worry about. It just seems weird not having any drama during spring training. After all the support you've given them, the least they could do is give you some material to work with."

On the political front: 

"How many whiners do you get when you post things regarding the world of politics on your webpage? If the letter from Mark Huntley is any indication you must get a ton of mail from people who can't tolerate someone else having a different political viewpoint then their own.

Schilling is a hero, who cares if he is a right winger and a Christian, he could be a Satanist and a communist for all I care as long as he is still the pitcher he has been. People need to lighten up. I love the webpage and everything you do on it. Keep up all the good work.

-- Shaun Connor, Lifelong Democrat and Sox fan"

BDD is a feature of Boston.com. All posts are by Steve Silva unless otherwise indicated.

Boston Globe:

Rodriguez looks like the steal deal > Despite effort by Rodriguez, Red So fall > Tazawa has come a long way, on and off field

Boston Herald:

Lauber: Eduardo Rodriguez showing Red Sox he's special > PawSox start looms large for Masterson


Rodriguez gem wasted > Chili Davis doesn't want to turn Red Sox into free-swingers > Red Sox draft catcher in third round

NY Post:

How Mariano Rivera has influenced Yankees' top pick > Why starting rotation could be a big Yankees' strength

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The "Curt’s Pitch for ALS" program is a joint effort by Curt and Shonda Schilling and The ALS Association Mass Chapter to strike out Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

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