Tag: Boston

What Time Is It?

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Game Time.

It’s that time of year again.  The leaves are changing.  The wind has that crisp, cool feel in the morning.  Football is reestablishing itself as the premiere American sport.  And baseball playoffs have begun.  Per the usual, there are grumblings about the scheduling of the opening round of the Major League Baseball playoffs.

Imagine that you are baseball.  Not the commissioner, just a human embodiment of the sport itself.  You dominate the airwaves and sports talk shows with non-stop games since the Warriors upset the Mavs in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs.  There are games every single day and five out of seven days a week, every single team is playing.  Regular season scheduling can take place whenver you want.  Day Game? Sure.  Night Game? Sure.  Doubleheader? Sure.  Games in April with the potential for snow in Boston, New York, and Cleveland? Sure.  West Coast game the day after playing on the East Coast in Sunday Night Baseball against your biggest rival? Sure.  You have no limits, no rules, no regulations when it comes to scheduling.

That’s why it is no surprise that when baseball sells its opening round of the playoffs, it gives the broadcaster full reign to schedule the games whenever they want.  Well, the broadcaster has very different goals than baseball or its fans.  Thus, conflict.  The broadcaster (this year it is TBS, but ESPN has been just as guilty if not more so of this kind of chicanery) wants to maximize revenue, particularly catering its big games to the big markets.  But beyond that, it wants to make sure that televisions are turned to TBS for the maximum amount of time.  The result is our incredibly stretched schedule, where everyone is scrambling home for the early games, while no one is watching the prime-time games. Read More

Is this what it’s like in Brazil?

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Wednesday, September 11th Brazil and Mexico were having a friendly soccer match in Foxboro, MA. I had a friend who had a ticket with my name on it. This should be a great event even if I’m in the very highest back row, I can still hope to see Kaka or Ronaldinho. Well Foxboro is 16 miles from my house. There will be traffic, so I figure 7:00 is a good time to leave to get to an 8:30 game. Added to this is that the people with tickets are leaving at 6:30 from slightly further away.

Look at all the TrafficOf course, nothing goes to plan. My ride shows up a little later than expected, we don’t leave until 7:30. At 8:15 we’ve gone 3 miles (that’s an average speed of 4 MPH… about 1/15 of the speed limit) and give the ticket holders a call. “We’re running late. You can just put our tickets at the Will Call window. Oh, your still in traffic on route 1? Well, call me back when you park, we’ll tell you how close we are.” Yes, for an extra hour of driving, they were only 10 miles ahead of us, but at our speed that was an hour and a half away.

Using the powers of GPS navigation, we decided to forgo the interstate and travel lesser known back roads to our destination. With a little luck and a little magic, we were at foxboro at 9:30. One hour after the game was supposed to start. We call the holders of the tickets. “How the fuck did you get there before us!? We’ve only gone about a mile or two in the hour and 15 since we last spoke. I see that stadium, and should be parking in about 15 minutes or so. I’ll meet you at the gates.” Read More

Drinking Wine with the Red Sox

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Every time I go into a liquor store there is always a large stack of these Red Sox charity wines. It’s like “Get Drunk, Help Children.” So I decided that a tasting (and getting drunk to help the children) was necessary. I had one tasting with RJ (and other non Nerds on Sports) that involved watching Red Sox, eating cheese and drinking wine. Then I had a second tasting with Peiser that was a precursor to a beer tasting event later in the day.

Manny on BostonFor tasting 1, I paired the Wakefield Caberknuckle with some Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, and Gouda (from Ireland). Ok, I didn’t really choose the pairing, I chose the cheese and gave the guests the choice of Manny Being Merlot or the Caberknuckle. The Caberknuckle describes itself as being well paired with grilled meats, burgers, pasta, and pizza. Sadly all I had was cheese and crackers, so that would have to do. Now before I go any further into this “review” I want to say that I’m not a wine person and when I do drink wine I usually drink something whiter and/or cheaper.

The bottle describes itself as showing “a deep red color with aromas of blackberries, currants and a hint of spice. With it’s long smooth finish, this [is a] well-balanced red.” I have to agree that the aroma (Don’t the winos call this the “nose?”) is good. I don’t know what a currant smells like. Hell, I don’t even know what a currant looks like. The aroma of this 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious. I could have just smelled my glass for a while but I don’t know if I would classify it as blackberries and currants – there was definitely a grape scent in there too. But maybe there’s some unwritten rule about not talking about the grapes. The taste, on the other hand, wasn’t as great. Nowhere near as fruity as the scent led me to believe and I think it had a bit of that “spice” that was supposedly in the aroma. It wasn’t for me. Read More

Gameday Report: August 31, 2007

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When I was buying my Red Sox tickets for the year back in January, I had no real rhyme or reason to the dates I ended up picking. The priority was more for finding dates that were actually available. But I do remember, in considering dates for the Labor Day weekend, that I picked Friday on the chance that something – road trip with friends, etc. would be happening the rest of the weekend. Little did I know back then that in late August I would be looking forward to that weekend as a chance to be relatively low key, making that decision moot, and the reason why Willis and I attended that game instead of this one the following day.

Upon entering the park, I was deeply disappointed to learn that the batteries in my digital camera had died. It would turn out to be especially unfortunate since this would turn out to be one of the weirdest games I’ve been to. First, I had resigned myself to Wakefield pitching, not because I dislike him as player, but because Wakefield = no Tek. So I was surprised when the rosters were announced, and it featured neither Wakefield (Tavarez in his stead), and Kevin Cash was catching (who?).

The game started off, the Sox took the lead. Willis and I passed the time by playing “Guess the Shirt,” which is, whenever you see someone coming by with a Red Sox shirt or jersey, you guess by their appearance whose name they have on the back. Of course, the chances of getting it right are statistically pretty low: there are so many players on the roster; there are blank shirts/jerseys; people don’t even necessarily have current Red Sox players on their jerseys (I saw a couple of Yastrzemskis. It made me wonder if there were any Renterias out there.)

In the fourth inning, things got interesting; Dave Trembley got ejected from the game, and there was a marriage proposal. From what I could gather, the proposer was more successful than this guy. Also, pretty ballsy to do that pretty early in the game. I mean, if she said no and doesn’t storm off, then there could be all kinds of awkwardness, like in the seventh inning when you just want a hot dog, but that means you’d have to have the money and food pass through her…not a good scene for anyone.

Anyway, also in the fourth inning, the Orioles took the lead, which means the lone Orioles fans in the entire park started getting excited. It was all in good fun; they were high-spirited, their taunts were all in good fun. My favorite cheer of theirs was probably, “Oh-wee-oh….Orrrrr-i-oles…” Most of the people in our section were just amused after they overcame their shock that Orioles fans existed. The one unfortunate exception was a scary, one-toothed man who could not wrap his mind around the fact that they let non-Red Sox fans into Fenway Park and started to get in their faces about it. We other Sox fans were dismissive of him – one guy told the O’s fans that Scary One-Toothed Man needed to shut up, but Scary One-Toothed Man overheard that and words were exchanged. Fortunately, the least intimidating “security personnel” came into our area to make sure nothing more came of it.

Though the Sox were down 9-3 by the end of the sixth, they scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh (ah, I love pitcher’s duels), and when a fan charged onto left field in the eighth, I was reminded of the Mother’s Day game. Alas, though they made it quite interesting in the bottom of the ninth, Varitek ended any chance of a rally by grounding into a double play.

KG Men’s Superstore

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I’ve got a real hard time with basketball.

The FranchiseAll the rage in Boston today is over the late night Kevin Garnett trade. And I’m certainly excited for Boston to get him – devil knows the Celtics could use anything up to and including Boston College-level point shaving to get a winning season again.

But apparently, you can get one player in exchange for “five players and two draft picks” and still come out ahead on the deal.

This makes no sense to me. It doesn’t even read right. Imagine Bill Belichick trading eleven players and the second and third round draft picks in exchange for Carson Palmer. Imagine Billy Beane trading his first, second and third basemen for Tom Gorzelanny.

I know, I know, apples and oranges. But as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I have a hard time with basketball because I don’t like the inordinate influence one player has on an entire team. It’s not about the billion-dollar superstar or the sneaker deal. It’s about teamwork! It’s about ball handling! It’s about the fundamentals! Gene Hackman doesn’t give a damn whether Jimmy plays or not!

The level of despair that Boston sports fans exuded after the Celtics drew fifth in the draft lottery reached, well, truly Bostonian proportions. At that point we were just waiting out next season – Paul Pierce listlessly dribbling down the court, waiting for the shot clock to expire before bouncing the ball off his shoe and weeping – until next season, when maybe the air-driven path of a Ping Pong ball would favor us again. Now, suddenly, with the addition of a guy from the Timberwolves (?!?) to our line-up, SI puts us at third in the East. “Instant contenders.” The hell?

I’d like to be proven wrong, mostly because I like the spirit that comes from living in a four sport city. And Kevin Garnett’s a nice enough guy – just look at him! – that I’ll have no problem rooting for him. But somebody engraved in my brain at an early age that it takes more than one man to win a championship, and I’ll always be skeptical of the exception.

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