I just completed reading a new book called "Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling and Baseball" by Joe Peta. It's an interesting mashup of Las Vegas meets Sabermetrics.
Peta was a 15-year veteran of Wall Street, a trader who lost his job when Lehman Brothers famously collapsed in 2008. In early 2011, he was injured on a New York City street with a severely broken leg. He was confined to a wheelchair for several months, and hit upon an idea while he was recovering: make money by using sabermetrics to bet on the entire 2011 MLB season.
He swears it's better than betting on football or basketball.
Peta created an investment model based on the sabermetrics favored by Bill James. He made season projections for every MLB team, and took on the Las Vegas betting line.
"Trading Bases" is really for the statisical nerd in all of us. I'm not the biggest proponent of sabermetrics. It definitely has its place but I'm not a slave to it (I'm not one who thinks like Joe Morgan once said, about how sabermetrics is "ruining the game"), but I did like many of Peta's stories of working on Wall Street and his little asides. (Although I take umbrage with his swipes at Red Sox fans, and the section when he becomes a Yankee fan, after being a lifelong Phillies fan, in 1996 made me cringe.)
Peta made money off his model in the end, including the 2011 playoffs. He did have times when he lost money in this venture (especially midway through the regular season). But in the long run, over the course of an entire season, he made money. I got the impression that this is something you'd have to be committed to for a long stretch of time to see any real cash.
So, if betting on sports is your thing, you're into WAR and PECOTA, and think Bill James is god, then "Trading Bases" is definitely for you.
Friday, May 17, 2013
I just completed reading a new book called "Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling and Baseball" by Joe Peta. It's an interesting mashup of Las Vegas meets Sabermetrics.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:39 AM
The offense was shut down again last night, this time by Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb. Felix Doubront was better than he's been, but walked six in 5+ innings, and the Rays broke a 1-1 tie right after he departed.
The Sox had split the first two games in St. Pete, and beginning a nine-game road trip. it was 3-1 in the ninth, and they fortunate to run into Fernando Rodney, who is not having the stellar year as a closer he had in 2012.
The inning was feast or famine for Rodney. He walked the bases loaded and struck out two. He went to 1 and 2 on Will Middlebrooks before he slammed a pitch into the gap in left field to clear the bases and put the Red Sox out front for the first time on the night.
Junichi Tazawa, who pitched the 8th inning, got the win. He allowed two singles in the ninth but held on.
Had the Sox lost, they would have dropped the series, but due to Middlebrooks' heroics, they start a nine-game road trip with a series win. I looked at the nine games before it began and figured they needed to win five. Now they are off to Minnesota for a weekend series, and then to Chicago.
New York's loss last night but the Red Sox in second place, one game back.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:48 AM
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Right after Trivia Night at The Mad Hatter last night, I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with a Red Sox fan named David Rubin. David was telling me about a video he recorded of his 97-year-old father Lawrence telling him about his first trip to Fenway Park as a youngster in 1924, when he was 11.
Those were some lean times in Red Sox history, probably the worst era in team history. The Sox finished 7th that year, the only time between 1922 and 1930 they didn't finish last.
Anyway, Mr. Rubin tells his son about a doubleheader he attended in 1924 against the Washington Senators, and David told me that everything his dad said turned out to be 100% correct. (The Senators went on to win the 1924 World Series that year, the first in team history. They wouldn't win their next until they were the Minnesota Twins in 1987.)
And in the background you can hear the NHL Outdoor Classic going on (the clip was made on January 1, 2010). It was happening at Fenway Park that year, and Mr. Rubin was shocked to a hockey game going on at the Fens!
My thanks to David Rubin for telling me about the clip. Mr. Rubin has since passed away since the video was made.
Here it is:
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:13 AM
Trivia at The Mad Hatter brought out another nice crowd, including a team that was celebrating one of their teammates' birthday. I rewarded them by giving them the Best Team Name (see below).
It was a close night throughout, but the team of Our New Waitress Is Humorless wound up the winners, with 49 points, and by the slimmest of margins. They edged out Direct TV Sucks (we had the TVs go out briefly before we started last night), who wound up with 48 points.
Third place was a tie between Too Late To Think Of a Name and Now The Browns Are Only The Second Most Notorious Bunch of Cellar-Dwellers From Cleveland, both with 39 points. We broke the tie with "How many movies did Elvis Presley star in in his film career?" It was 33, and Too Late To Think Of a Team Name was closest and took third.
An important announcement for all Trivia players: Next week we will be doing a special Wednesday night edition of Trivia at The Mad Hatter, as the bar will be hosting a Manchester City supporters party next Tuesday night. So we will be doing Trivia next on May 22nd at 8 PM. We go back to the usual night and time the following week.
Best Team Name: Wendy's Nuts Dragon Your Face
1. What eastern state became the 11th state to enact a same-sex marriage law last week?
2. The silver spire was officially put on 1 WTC last Friday, making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. What building was the previous tallest building in the US?
3. Forbes magazine named what NFL player as its "2013 Most Influential Athlete?"
4. 19 people were injured on Sunday in a shooting during a Mother's Day parade in what US city?
5. What world leader took a lot of heat last week after it was revealed he had a bed worth $127,000 (at taxpayer expense) installed on his plane for a five-hour flight to attend Margaret Thatcher's funeral?
6. What comedian will succeed Jimmy Fallon as the next host of NBC's "Late Night" show when Fallon takes over as host of "The Tonight Show" next year?
7. Former president Efrain Rios Montt, of what Central American country, was found guilty last week of genocide and crimes against humanity?
1. In 1994, what musician was found dead at his home by an electrician who had arrived to install a security system?
2. What MLB team won back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993?
3. Edwina and Patsy were the two main characters in what 1990s British sitcom?
4. Who was Bob Dole's running mate in his failed 1996 presidential bid?
5. In 1994, Israel signed a peace treaty with what Middle Eastern country, ending a state of war between them since 1948?
6. In 1992, the Euro Disney Resort opened in what country?
7. Name 2 of the 5 top grossing films of the 1990s in the United States.
5,6, 7 or 8 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The total number of US presidents that have died while in office.
2. The number of judges needed to make a majority decision in the US Supreme Court.
3. This is the number of pitches an MLB pitcher gets to warm up before every inning.
4. This is the number of "deadly sins."
5. This is the atomic number of carbon.
6. This is the Interstate highway number that runs from San Diego, CA to Blaine, Washington.
7. This is the number of gb in the first iPod Apple released in 2001.
8. John Quincy Adams was this number US president.
9. In Hinduism, there are this number of chakras.
10. The Pittsburgh Steelers have won this record number of Super Bowls.
1. What is the sixth planet from the sun? ( 1 pt)
2. Mt. McKinley is located in what US state? ( 1 pt)
3. What city did the NBA's Lakers move to L.A. from in 1960? ( 1 pt)
4. Al Capone was convicted of what crime in 1931? ( 2 pt)
5. Elvis Presley made his acting debut in what 1956 film? ( 2 pt)
6. Who was the first author to become a billionaire from their books? (2 pt)
7. The Orkney Islands are found in what country? ( 3 pt)
1. What 19th century US president also served as president of the NRA after his time in the White House? ( 5 points)
2. The movie "Fierce Creatures", which was originally called "Death Fish II," was at first conceived as a sequel to what 1988 comedy film? ( 4 points)
3. In 1887, Oregon was the first state in the US to establish what holiday as a legal holiday, seven years before it became a nationwide one? ( 4 points)
4. Name 1 of the 2 teams that are the only charter members of the NFL, from its inaugural season of 1920, still in existence today. (3 points)
5. What actor has won the most Golden Raspberry ("Razzie") Awards in its history with 10, and in 2000 was named "Worst Actor of the Century?" ( 4 points)
1. Delaware; 2. Willis Tower; 3. Tim Tebow; 4. New Orleans; 5. Benjamin Netanyahu; 6. Seth Meyers; 7. Guatemala.
1. Kurt Cobain; 2. Toronto Blue Jays; 3. "Absolutely Fabulous;" 4. Jack Kemp; 5. Jordan; 6. France; 7. Titanic, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Jurassic Park, Independence Day, The Lion King.
5,6,7 or 8 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. 8; 2. 5; 3. 8; 4. 7; 5, 6; 6. 5; 7, 5; 8. 6; 9. 7; 10. 6.
1. Saturn; 2. Alaska; 3. Minneapolis; 4. Tax evasion; 5. "Love Me Tender;" 6. J.K. Rowling; 7. UK.
1. Ulysses S. Grant; 2. "A Fish Called Wanda;" 3. Labor Day; 4. Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals; 5. Sylvester Stallone.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:09 AM
Monday, May 13, 2013
We did "1980s Trivia" last week for Tuesday Night Trivia at The Mad Hatter, so this week we'll be doing "1990s Trivia." It will be seven questions about the Roaring '90s, in pop culture, sports and history.
The Q Train lightning round will be "5,6, 7 or 8 Trivia." I will ask you ten questions where the answer will be one of those numbers.
The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Mt. McKinley is located in what US state?"
We get going at the usual time of 8 PM on Tuesday night. A reminder that next week we will be doing a special Wednesday night edition of Trivia at 8 PM on May 22nd, as The Mad Hatter will be hosting a party for the Manchester City soccer fans next Tuesday night, ahead of their exhibition game in the Bronx the following Saturday.
Hope to see many of you on Tuesday night!
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:41 AM
Saturday, May 11, 2013
The whole baseball world knows of the travesty that occurred in Cleveland last Wednesday night when the umpires botched a ball that the A's Adam Rosales hit which was originally called a double, but on replay was clearly a home run that cleared the wall.
The crew chief was the infamous Angel Hernandez, who is generally agreed to be the worst umpire in MLB (and maybe of all-time). Anyone with half a brain can see it hit the railing three feet above the wall and came back on the field. And you can't blame the TV equipment in Cleveland, as their TVs are in HD, and should even be clearer.
Peter Gammons went on the Dan Patrick Show and had an interesting theory: that Hernandez deliberately botched the call in protest to the current replay system in place.
If there is any truth to this, Angel Hernandez should be fired immediately. Replay is part of the rules of the road, and will probably be expanded in the future. Hernandez should find another line of work if he can't handle modern technology. And if there is NO truth to it, it proves what a disaster he is as a umpire.
Again, if it's true, what Hernandez did was deliberately cost the Oakland A's a possible win, and it's as if he had bet money on the Cleveland Indians to win. The integrity of MLB is one the line if they keep this incompetent on the field with his track record. How in the world did he become a crew chief? Must have been as a birthday present. (In 2006, a Sports Illustrated poll of players had him ranked as one of the worst of all MLB umps. So naturally, he becomes a crew chief.)
There's a big difference between Hernandez and Jim Joyce, who famously cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game in 2010. Joyce (who is generally considered one of MLB's best umps) was simply heartbroken over the missed call and immediately apologized. It was a classy move by a good ump. Hernandez is an arrogant SOB generally disliked by many players and still hasn't admitted the error from Wednesday night.
MLB has a serious problem with incompetent umpires, as we saw again in Houston on Thursday night. Crew chief Fieldin Culbreth was suspended two games for that botched pitching change, but MLB has still done NOTHING in regard to Hernandez. And it seems that becoming an umpire is like becoming a Supreme Court justice. You have the job for life, and no matter how incompetent a job you do, nothing can touch you.
It simply boggles the mind. Hernandez simply has no business being an umpire any more.
And it hurts the game of baseball.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:24 AM
He faced just one man over the limit, and retired the first 17 hitters before Maicer Izturis doubled down the left field line in the sixth. He then retired the next 10 to complete a masterful performance. It was as good as his 2008 no-hitter, when he faced just 29 hitters that night.
Lester struck out just four, but didn't go to many 3-2 counts. It was exactly what the Red Sox needed, having dropped six of their last seven. Both he and Clay Buchholz (who pitches today) have been pitching like aces, stopping losing streaks. Lester is now 5-0, and it was his 10th career complete game.
The Sox scored four in the seventh to ice the game, after struggling most of the night with runners on base. Daniel Nava got the key hit, a two-out double that scored Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia.
New York and Baltimore both won last night, so the Sox remain tied atop the AL East with both of them today.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:50 AM
Friday, May 10, 2013
I had a feeling the Red Sox run of good luck wouldn't last very long.
The 5-3 loss to the Twins last night means that the Red Sox have now lost 6 of 7 (and 3 of 4 to Minnesota) since taking a series from the Blue Jays in Toronto last week. John Lackey pitched well again for five innings, but his error on a possible double play ball opened the gates for a big inning, and Minnesota took advantage, scoring four runs.
The starting pitching has slumped, and it looks like the Sox have lost Joel Hanrahan for the season, as Tommy John surgery maybe looming for him. He was placed on the 60-day DL yesterday, and he was visiting Dr. James Andrews in Alabama today for a second opinion on his injured right elbow. (That visit is never a sign of good things ahead.)
Junichi Tazawa has been named closer until the other injured closer, Andrew Bailey, returns from his bicep injury.
The bullpen was an early strength, and now it is going through a difficult time.
David Ortiz' hitting streak ended at 27 games on Wednesday night. And he also had to deal with that jackass (who will not be named here) from the Boston Globe throwing brick bats at him, accusing him of being on PEDs because of Papi's hot start. I didn't think my contempt for this individual could get any worse. Now it has. The guy is a shit stirrer, plain and simple, and relishes causing controversy. (And that Papi is 0-for-his last-13, is he now off the juice? Rat bastard.) There's no evidence to go on, just Papi's hot return to the lineup. He reminds me of one of those "9/11 Truther" assholes, the ones who throw around totally baseless accusations without a shred of proof, and it's up to those accused to prove they are innocent.
The Sox play the Blue Jays this weekend, sitting on a 21-14 record. They are in a tie with New York and Baltimore for first place. There's still a long way to go, and overall the Sox have played well over the first 35 games.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:06 PM
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
We had a small but enthusiastic crowd in The Mad Hatter for Trivia on Tuesday night. And it was a night for team of There's Something Funny About Chemical Warfare, as they won the night with 41 points and also took Best Team Name. Congrats to Alex's friends, who were victorious without Alex.
Second place went to Ship of Fools with 40 points, just missing the top by one point. And third place went to Roy G. BIV deVoe with 28 points.
1. Chris Kelly, who was a member of what 1990s hip-hop group, died of an apparent drug overdose last week at the age of 34?
2. The governor of what US state signed a same-sex marriage bill last Thursday, becoming the 10th state to do so?
3. Jeff Hanneman, lead guitarist for what heavy metal group, died last Thursday from what is believed to be an infection caused by a spider bite two years ago?
4. What controversial rap star was dropped by Mountain Dew as a spokesman after making a crude lyrical reference to Emmett Till, a civil rights figure slain back in 1955?
5. What NBA star is suing his mother to stop a memorabilia auction she is involved with, as it will sell off over 100 items from his pro and high school career?
6. The reality TV series "Cops", which spent 25 seasons on the Fox TV network, will be moving to what cable network this fall?
7. What Oscar-winning actress, dressed as Queen Elizabeth in a play in London, recently ran out on to a street and cursed at musicians from a gay pride parade whose music was disturbing her performance?
1. At what age did Mike Tyson become the youngest heavyweight champion of all-time in 1986?
2. At the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, what country made their first ever appearance in the bobsled event and became fan favorites?
3. In 1987, Manuel Noriega was charged with drug smuggling and money laundering while being the leader of what country?
4. What tragic event made worldwide headlines on April 26, 1986?
5. The 1985 Live Aid concerts took place in what two major cities?
6. What star of the film "The Breakfast Club" was also part of the original cast of the TV series "The Facts of Life?"
7. Name 2 of the 5 highest-grossing films of the 1980s.
True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Philophobia is the fear of libraries.
2. Apple was the world's most profitable company in 2011.
3. Bananas are radioactive.
4. Saddam Hussein was forced to watch the South Park movie over and over again after his capture.
5. "Evan Almighty", made in 2007, is the most expensive comedy film of all-time.
6. After overeating, your hearing becomes more sharp.
7. You would have to consume over 1500 pounds of marijuana to overdose.
8. Adolf Hitler's nephew fought in the US Army during WWII.
9. The largest bill ever created by the US was worth $250,000.
10. Every night after closing, Disneyland releases 200 cats into the park to keep the rodent population under control.
1. Paper was invented in what Asian country? ( 1 pt)
2. The Mojave desert is located in what US state? ( 1 pt)
3. Who was the first Supreme Court Chief Justice? ( 1 pt)
4. What 19th century author wrote "Anna Karenina?" ( 2 pt)
5. The Zambezi River is located on what continent? ( 2 pt)
6. What human organ stores bile? ( 2 pt)
7. Who was the first English monarch to live in Buckingham Palace? ( 3 pt)
1. What soap opera ended its run on TV in 2009 after a 72-year history that began on the radio in 1937? ( 4 points)
2. Mount Mitchell, the highest point in the US anywhere east of the Mississippi River at over 6600 feet, is located in what state? ( 4 points)
3. In which Shakespearean play does the gift of a chest of tennis balls provoke a declaration of war? ( 5 points)
4. For which novel did Ernest Hemingway win a Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954? ( 4 points)
5. What is the only NFL football team that is publicly owned? ( 3 points)
1. Kris Kross; 2. Rhode Island; 3. Slayer; 4. Lil Wayne; 5. Kobe Bryant; 6. Spike TV; 7. Helen Mirren.
1. 20; 2. Jamaica; 3. Panama; 4. Chernobyl nuclear disaster; 5. London and Philadelphia; 6. Molly Ringwald; 7. "ET", "Return of the Jedi," "The Empire Strikes Back," "Batman," and "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
True or False Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. false, falling in love; 2. false, Nestle; 3. true; 4. true; 5. true; 6. false, less; 7. true; 8. true; 9. false, $100,000; 10. true.
1. China; 2. California; 3. John Jay; 4. Leo Tolstoy; 5. Africa; 6. gall bladder; 7. Queen Victoria.
1. "The Guiding Light;" 2. North Carolina; 3. "Henry V;" 4. "The Old Man and The Sea;" 5. Green Bay Packers.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:02 AM
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
It wasn't one of the more attractive wins of the season, but it's still a W.
Clay Buchholz didn't have it on Monday night, and was in big trouble in the first inning. Two runs in, bases loaded, one out for the Twins. He was having lots of trouble locating his pitches, but he struck out the next two hitters to escape putting the Red Sox in a real hole.
Buchholz settled down, but did allow two more runs, mostly on doubles. He went six innings, allowed four runs. He was due for an off night, after six straight wins.
The Red Sox grinded out some runs, getting them on solo home runs by Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew and Dustin Pedroia. (The Sox should have scored a run in the fifth, but umpire incompetence at a play at the plate nearly cost the Red Sox dearly.) Pedey's eighth inning blast put the Red Sox ahead, 5-4. But with Joel Hanrahan throwing in the pen (back as closer with Andrew Bailey put on the DL yesterday), I was thinking that might not be enough.
And sure enough, I was right. With one out, Hanrahan served up a meatball to Brian Dozier, and it was 5-5. He's allowed four HRs in four Fenway appearances. Later in the inning, Hanrahan left with right forearm tightness. The DL looks like a real possibility. I would guess Koji Uehara could become the interim closer until Andrew Bailey returns, as he closed for the Orioles a few years back.
Clayton Mortensen came on and pitched 2 1/3 innings, and got the win when the Sox got three straight hits with 2 outs in the 11th, and capped by Stephen Drew's fourth hit and third RBI of the night off the wall to give the Red Sox a tough 6-5 win. (Nice to see him interviewed on NESN afterward and not see him get that stupid "shaving cream-in-the-face" nonsense. The Sox have "been there before.")
David Ortiz doubled in the 8th inning, and extended his hit streak to 26 games.
The Red Sox again have MLB's best record at 21-11, and lead the AL East by two games.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:06 AM
Monday, May 06, 2013
The Q Train lightning round will be "True or False Trivia."
The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The Zambezi River is located on what continent?"
We will get started at 8 PM. The Mad Hatter is located at 26th Street and 3rd Avenue, and I look forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday night for some great Trivia!
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:17 AM
It was a rotten weekend for the Red Sox in Arlington, Texas, as the Rangers swept the Sox. You knew that sooner or later a series like this would happen.
The offense was virtually non-existent, as the Sox were shut out on Friday, scored just once on Saturday, and could manage just three runs on two home runs on Sunday.
Felix Doubront allowed a staggering 12 hits in 4 innings on Friday, allowing 6 runs. (He really should have allowed just 1, as a swinging third strike to end the inning on Ian Kinsler was not called, and Texas went on to score 5 in the inning.) His velocity was noticeably down, and that is a worrying sign.
John Lackey wasn't terrible on Saturday, going 5 innings and allowing just 2 earned runs. But the offense couldn't back him up. And Texas strolled to an easy 5-1 win.
The best matchup of the weekend was Sunday: Jon Lester vs. Yu Darvish. The Sox got to Darvish early, on home runs by David Ortiz and David Ross. But that was basically it. Darvish settled in, allowing just one more hit and striking out 14 in 7 innings. Lester pitched well until the 6th, allowing a Nelson Cruz two-run shot in the sixth to tie it at 3.
The Rangers won it in the ninth on Adrian Beltre's RBI single off Clayton Mortensen.
Texas outpitched the Sox to the sweep, with most Red Sox hitters having tough weekends. David Ortiz did extend his hitting streak to 25 games (dating back to last July when he was injured, ending his 2012 season).
The Sox are now tied with Texas and St. Louis for the best record in MLB, and still lead the AL East by 1 1/2 games over New York. They now return to Fenway for four games with Minnesota.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:07 AM
Sunday, May 05, 2013
My good friend Matt (who was the only person I knew who predicted the Red Sox would come back from the 0-3 deficit in the 2004 ALCS) has a new smartphone app called "LovePowerup", about spreading love and peace to everyone you know.
It's a cool little app, free and available for iPhone and Android. And there's also a video that was made for it, featuring guys that look like Barack Obama and that wacky leader from North Korea:
We all need a little love in our lives...
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:41 AM
Friday, May 03, 2013
Now I really hope Jack Morris never gets into the Hall of Fame.
You've probably heard about this, but apparently Jack Morris, Blue Jays broadcaster and borderline Hall of Fame pitcher, accused Clay Buchholz, your AL Pitcher of the Month for April with 6 wins, of doctoring the baseball during the Red Sox 10-1 win in Toronto on Wednesday night.
Funny that no one else connected to the Blue Jays made the same accusation.
Morris didn't stop there, as he agreed with booth colleague Dirk Hayhurst (who?), as Hayhurst accused Junichi Tazawa of pulling the same kind of monkey business in Thursday night's win.
I watched the game on NESN last night, and didn't know anything about it until Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy were talking about it. And rarely have I heard RemDawg as angry as he was about it.
And Dennis Eckersley wasn't happy about it, either:
“When you throw a spitball, the ball falls off the table, and you know it right away. The hitters didn’t complain, but Jack Morris is. I think Jack Morris should zip it.”
Here is Eck and RemDawg on the postgame (courtesy of Barstool Sports).
Unless Morris can produce some doctored baseballs, or even get anyone else on the Blue Jays to back up his claims (and I still haven't heard anybody on Toronto talking about it), he should keep his suspicions to himself. He comes off sounding like one of those whackjob "conspiracy" theorists running around everywhere these days.
And oh yes, the Red Sox won another series last night, a 3-1 win over the Blue Jays, with Ryan Dempster going six innings and allowing just a Brett Lawrie leadoff home run. The Sox left runners everywhere, but Toronto couldn't push anyone else across. The Sox are now an amazing 20-8, the best record in MLB, and head to Texas for a weekend series with the Rangers.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:29 AM
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Clay Buchholz became MLB's first six-game winner last night, as the Sox pummeled the Blue Jays, 10-1, on five home runs. Buchholz struck out 8 and allowed just two hits in another dazzling performance.
Last season, Buchholz, in his first six starts, had an ERA of 9.09. This year, it is an amazing 1.01.
So, do you think the presence of John Farrell made a difference with this guy or what?
Mike Napoli hit two bombs last night (and they both went up decks in the Rogers Centre), and Mike Carp, Daniel Nava and Stephen Drew (his first Red Sox home run) also went deep. The Red Sox have hit 31 home runs on the season, and an amazing 16 have been against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Balls are just flying out of the Rogers Centre so far this season.
The Sox won the same night that the Celtics won Game 5 in their playoff series with the Knicks. The Knicks won the first three game of the opening round series, but the Celtics won Game 4 in overtime, and took last night's game to make it 3-2 Knicks.
No team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series in NBA history.
And with their win last night, the Red Sox' 2013 overall record is 19-8. (Remember Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS?)
So, are the stars aligning here for the Celtics? We'll see.
Anyway, the Red Sox begin business on May 2nd with the best record in baseball. The last two times the Red Sox had baseball's best record going into May? 2004 and 2007. We all know what happened in the end in those two years.
Does 2012 seem like lights years away now?
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:55 AM
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Our last Trivia Night for the month of April brought out a nice crowd, and the numbers on the night were fairly strong throughout.
They were especially strong for General Knowledge, in which most of the teams aced all the answers. (That happens every once in a while. That just means that that category will be a little tougher next week!)
The top two teams were seperated by just one point heading into IQ Trivia, but the team of May Day! was the only team to get 4 of 5 correct, and wound up winning the night with 47 points, by a comfortable 12 point margin. Congrats to Pian, Charles and the gang on their win.
Second place went to Handsome Refugees with 35 points, and third place was tie between Ship of Fools and The Sloppy Latecomer, both with 32 points. The tie-breaker question was "What is the estimated population of Canada for 2013?" It is 35,600,000, and The Sloppy Latecomer was closest, and took third. Nice job by Dave, who missed the first round but wound up in the money.
Best Team Name: I Thought All the Basketball Players Were Gay
1. What Oscar-winning actress did People magazine select as their 2013 "Most Beautiful Woman?"
2. More than 300 people were killed last week when a building collapsed in what Asian country?
3. Three men from the United Arab Emirates were deported last week from what Middle Eastern country because authorities there thought they were "too handsome" and "feared women could be too attracted to them?"
4. What female pop singer did Elton John select as godmother to his new adopted son Elijah?
5. What classic rock band surprised fans in LA last Saturday by playing a small club there ahead of their upcoming tour starting next month?
6. The prime minister of what country survived an assassination attempt on Monday when a bomb went off near his convoy, killing one of his bodyguards?
7. Eric Fisher, an offensive tackle from Central Michigan, was the number one pick in last week's NFL draft taken by what team?
April 30th Trivia
1. On this date in 1812, the Territory of Orleans became the 18th US state under what name?
2. In 1939, the first New York World's Fair opened. In what year did the second New York's World Fair open?
3. On this date in 1980, Queen Beatrix ascended to the throne of what European country?
4. Former vice-president Alben Barkley died on this day in 1956. Under what president did he serve as vice-president?
5. In 2009, what American automaker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy?
6. Actress Jill Clayburgh was born on this day in 1944. Name 1 of the 2 late 1970s films she was nominated for Best Actress Academy Award for.
7. On this day in 1993, what tennis star was attacked and injured by a deranged fan during a match in Germany?
Oscar Winning Characters Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Clarice Starling
2. Roger "Verbal" Kint
3. Frank Slade
4. Velma Kelly
5. Daniel Plainview
6. Virginia Woolf
7. Brandon Teena
8. Det. Alonzo Harris
9. Katherine Hepburn
10. Dr. Sean Maguire
1. What was the currency of Italy prior to the Euro? ( 1 pt)
2. America's first public park was founded in the 17th century in what major city? ( 1 pt)
3. The musical "Man of La Mancha" is based on what 17th century novel? ( 1 pt)
4. The characters of the TV series "Desperate Housewives" lived on what street? ( 2 pt)
5. What movie beat out "The Wizard of Oz" for the Best Picture Oscar in 1939? ( 2 pt)
6. 90% of all lobsters trapped in the US are caught in what state? ( 2 pt)
7. The flag of Sweden is what two colors? ( 3 pt)
1. Christiania was the original name of what northern European capital city? ( 3 points)
2. What best-selling author got back at a critic of his 2004 novel "State of Fear" by naming a child molester in his next book after the critic? ( 5 points)
3. What day of the week is named after the wife of Odin, the Norse god? ( 4 points)
4. Patrick Lucey was the running mate for what 20th century independent presidential candidate? ( 4 points)
5. In 1949, which eastern Canadian province became the tenth and last one to join Canada? ( 4 points)
1. Gwyneth Paltrow; 2. Bangladesh; 3. Saudi Arabia; 4. Lady Gaga; 5. The Rolling Stones; 6. Syria; 7. Kansas City Chiefs.
April 30th Trivia
1. Louisiana; 2. 1964; 3. Netherlands; 4. Harry Truman; 5. Chrysler; 6. "An Unmarried Woman" and "Starting Over;" 7. Monica Seles.
Oscar Winning Character Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Jodie Foster; 2. Kevin Spacey; 3. Al Pacino; 4. Catherine Zeta-Jones; 5. Daniel Day-Lewis; 6. Nicole Kidman; 7. Hilary Swank; 8. Denzel Washington; 9. Cate Blanchett; 10. Robin Williams.
1. lira; 2. Boston; 3. "Don Quixote;" 4. Wisteria Lane; 5. "Gone with the Wind;" 6. Maine; 7. blue and yellow.
1. Oslo; 2. Michael Crichton; 3. Friday; 4. John Anderson (1980); 5. Newfoundland.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:25 AM
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
On April 2, 1972, the sports world was stunned by the sudden death of Mets manager Gil Hodges, who suffered a fatal attack after shooting a round of golf with his coaches as spring training was wrapping up in Florida.
Hodges was just a few days short of his 48th birthday. He had suffered from heart problems a good part of his life (and even suffered a mild heart attack late in the 1968 season). He was an icon for New York baseball fans, especially for those who lived in Brooklyn.
Gil Hodges lived about a half-mile from where I lived in Brooklyn. (His wife still lives there.) He made Brooklyn his year-round home after he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, and never left there, even when the team did.
On April 6th, Hodges was laid to rest. His funeral was at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, where he attended Sunday mass. I was 10 years old in 1972, and I have vivid memories of this time. I can remember being at my grandparents house and my father getting a call from my uncle with the terrible news about Gil's death. My dad was a huge Hodges fan from his Dodgers days, and it understandably shook him up. My whole family went to his wake at the church, and I'll never forget passing his coffin. He was wearing his World Series rings, and I was impressed by how enormous the size of his hands were.
On the day of the funeral, my father took me and two of my sisters to the church, as the funeral was going on. There was a huge crowd there to pay their respects. The crowds were held back by barricades and the police. We stood across the street at Avenue M and East 28th Street, and I remember seeing news crews on the roofs of the houses.
All types of dignitaries and former and current baseball players were there. I'll never forget seeing the Mets players arrive, but my lasting memory was seeing a black man with white going up the steps, and someone next to me saying "There's Jackie Robinson." It was him, with close friend Ralph Branca, and it was just six months before his premature death at the age of 53. (At the end of the second video, he is together with former teammate Pee Wee Reese. Amazing stuff.)
Last week, I was checking out some videos on YouTube, and came across two stunning videos of the funeral, taken before and after the service. It includes all kinds of people, from the Mets and Dodgers players, to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, broadcaster Howard Cosell and New York mayor John Lindsay. (Listen to the boos after he exits a police car!)
I honestly don't know who made the film, but it is in very good condition, and it is credited to "ABC News Video Source. It brought back a lot of memories for me. (I looked for my dad in the crowd, but couldn't find him. I'm sure that I was buried somewhere among them.) There's no narration to it, just the sounds of the crowd, and the sound quality is pretty good too.
I can't believe it was 41 years ago this month that we lost Gil Hodges, but he has never been forgotten by his adopted New York City borough. It's still a shame he isn't in the Hall of Fame, but that's a discussion for another time. Anyway, here are the two videos, and both are about 12 minutes in length.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:03 AM
Monday, April 29, 2013
Tuesday Night Trivia at The Mad Hatter will feature "April 30th Trivia," seven questions on the day in history, with people, places and things connected to it.
The Q Train lightning round will be "Oscar Winning Characters Trivia." I'll give you the names of ten movie characters that garnered the actors or actresses who played them Academy Awards. And they will be of the more recent vintage, within the last generation of films.
The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"The musical 'Man of La Mancha' is based on what 17th century novel?"
We get going at 8 PM. If you'd like to book a table for your Trivia team, please do call the bar on Tuesday and let them know how big your team will be. The Mad Hatter is located on 26th Street and 3rd Avenue and the phone number is 212-696-2122. Thanks so much, and I look forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday night!
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:30 AM
Sunday, April 28, 2013
The Red Sox have two games remaining in the month of April, and so far it's been a pretty historic month. They are tied with Texas for the best record in baseball and are off to their best start since 2002. It was just what they needed to put the crapfest that was 2012 in the rear view mirror.
Going into today's game with Houston, the Sox are 17-7. The team record for wins for the month of April is 18, done twice, in 1998 and 2003 (both seasons the Red Sox went to the postseason).
The Sox lead the American League in many offensive categories: runs batted in, stolen bases, extra base hits and total bases. They are in the league top five in doubles, triples, batting average, runs, walks, OBP, slugging percentage and OPS.
The pitching has been equally outstanding, as the Red Sox lead the league in wins and strikeouts, and are in the league top five in ERA, saves and opponents batting average.
The team is second in the AL in defense, having made just 9 errors in 24 games.
Mike Napoli is leading the majors in RBI with 27. Clay Buchholz is one of two five-game winners, and is second in the AL in ERA (1.19).
There is so much to like with this team. Terrific hitting, pitching and defense. They go for the sweep over the Astros today with the return of John Lackey from the DL.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:37 AM
Friday, April 26, 2013
Lenny Dykstra had legions of fans during his playing days with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, from 1985-1996. His run-through-a-wall, take-no-prisoners style endeared him to the fans of both northeastern baseball cities. He never quit, and always seemed to come up big when his team needed him most.
Christopher Frankie, who worked for Dykstra in the late 2000s, has chronicled the life of the former baseball star-turned-Wall Street magnate in "Nailed! The Improbable Rise and Spectacular Fall of Lenny Dykstra."
It's a cautionary tale to be sure. After Dykstra's career ended prematurely in 1996, he was determined to build a financial empire. He built up a car wash business in Southern California and sold it for $55 million. He bought Wayne Gretzky's mansion for $18 million, and flew around the country in private jets. He was living the good life, and appeared to living out his dreams and fantasies.
Chris Frankie went to work for him in 2007, with a magazine he was putting out for ex-athletes called "The Players Club." Frankie grew up a Mets fan and thought working for Nails was his dream come true.
It was a nightmare for him. Frankie chronicles a very different Dykstra from the one the fans knew in his playing days. Reckless with money, overly demanding, racist, homophobic, and generally not the kind of guy you'd want to split a beer with after work. His attitude towards women was equally appalling.
"Nailed!" is not so much a baseball book (although it does chronicle Dykstra's life before and during his playing days), but mostly a horror story told by Frankie of working for an unstable individual who built up an empire made of cards. Dykstra does whatever he can to keep that empire viable, and ripping off those he was closest to wasn't beneath him. It was all built on lies, cheating and deception, and it all eventually came crumbling down on him.
It's a truly stranger than fiction story, and it ends up with a deadbeat who eventually ends up paying the piper, and winds up behind bars.
If you grew up loving Lenny Dykstra and wondered what the hell happened to him that led to his landing in jail last year, this will open your eyes, and shatter some illusions as well.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:23 AM
Thursday, April 25, 2013
The Red Sox took the three-game series with Oakland yesterday, 6-5, and now have a record of 14-7, and a winning percentage of .667.
They are currently tied with Texas for the best record in the American League, and only the Atlanta Braves have a better record in all of MLB.
The Sox have now been in first place every day this season (24 in all), and lead the Orioles by two games.
There are two four game-winners in baseball, and the Red Sox have two of them: Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Lester got his latest win yesterday, despite giving up a three-run home run to Chris Young and walking six. But he sure looked like he was being squeezed big time on pitches in the lower part of the strike zone. Overall, the starters have an ERA of 3.14, and the defense has made just 6 errors in 21 games. That combo makes for winning baseball.
Allen Webster, who the Sox got from LA last year in the blockbuster trade, looked terrific in his MLB debut last Sunday, allowing just two earned runs in six innings. He figures to be back later on in the season. (And speaking of that trade with the Dodgers last August, isn't about time Carl Crawford moved on from it? He can't keep from running his mouth about it.) One guy who probably will NOT be back is Alfredo Aceves, who was optioned to AAA last night. After a truly awful performance in the rain and cold on Tuesday, the loose cannon blamed everyone but Barack Obama for the loss after the game. With John Lackey making the start coming off the DL this Sunday, Daniel Bard back in the pen, and with Franklin Morales and Craig Breslow on rehab and returning shortly, Aceves appears done in Boston. The Sox have unsuccessfully tried to deal him, so he will either languish at Pawtucket or be released.
The Red Sox begin a four-game series tonight at Fenway against the newest members of the American League, the Houston Astros, who currently have the league's worst record at 7-14.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:29 AM
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
We had another good turnout on Tuesday night, with some folks in at The Mad Hatter for the basketball playoff games as well. It was also good to see an old friend, Mike, a regular from The Other Place, in with some friends. Always good to see support from folks I've known for a long time.
It was a night when a team did something I've rarely seen on Trivia Night: went from fourth to third to second to first in the last four rounds and get the win. It was done tonight by The Blueprint For Greatness In Trivia, who won with 42 points, winning by two points. Great job by Larry and Dave getting the victory!
Second place went to You Take My Blood with 40 points, and third place went to I'm Not Gay But $20 Is $20 with 39 points.
Best Team Name: My Grandma Is a Great Wrestler, But You Should See Her Box
1. TV Guide recently selected the opening theme from what 1980s sitcom as the top TV theme song of all-time?
2. What Asia-Pacific country's parliament approved a gay marriage bill last Thursday, and broke out into song after it was done?
3. Pervez Musharraf, former president of what Asian country, was arrested on charges relating to his dismissal of judges in 2007?
4. A massive collection of memorabilia that was recently discovered in a Florida storage facility once belonging to what classic American rock band will go up for auction next month and is expected to garner several million dollars?
5. What Asian country reported that over 100 cases of bird flu were there as of last Sunday, with 20 reported deaths?
6. A skier and four snowboarders were killed last weekend in what state during the deadliest avalanche there in 50 years?
7. Name 1 of the 2 celebrities who had run-ins with the law this past weekend: one was arrested for DUI and the other was busted for disorderly conduct, both on Friday.
1. In 1821, the US acquired Florida from what country?
2. Jacksonville is the largest city by population in Florida. As of 2010, which city is second?
3. How many total teams in the four major sports play home games in Florida?
4. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which is over 4 miles in length, is located near what major Florida city?
5. The oldest European settlement in the United States is located at what Florida city?
6. As of the 2010 Census, Florida is ranked what number in terms of total population out of the 50 states?
7. Actor Burt Reynolds played college football in the 1950s at what sunshine state university?
1, 2, 3, or 4 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. The number of state capitals named after US presidents.
2. In astrology, Taurus is this number sign of the Zodiac.
3. On a telephone, the letters DEF are found on this number.
4. This number was a hit song for The Bee Gees, Faith Hill and U2.
5. The number of Super Bowls won by the New York Giants in their history.
6. In volleyball, this is the number of sets needed to be won to win a whole match.
7. The number of US presidents that have been impeached.
8. This is the number of Noble Truths in Buddhism.
9. A Beatles greatest hits album from 2000 was this number.
10. Second baseman in baseball is this number position.
1. Nicolas Sarkozy is a former president of what country? ( 1 pt)
2. What is the second letter in the Greek alphabet? ( 1 pt)
3. What instrument did jazz great Dizzy Gillespie play? ( 1 pt)
4. What fraction is often used to estimate pi, since it computes to 3.14285? ( 2 pt)
5. St. George is the patron saint of what country? ( 2 pt)
6. A "cat's game" is slang for a draw in what game? ( 2 pt)
7. What is the only nation that borders both the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea? ( 3 pt)
1. In 2001, what was the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Feature Animated Film? ( 4 points)
2. The League of Nations was headquartered in what city until its demise in 1946? ( 4 points)
3. John Oliver will be filling in for two months for what TV host, who will be taking his first ever hiatus this summer? ( 3 points)
4. What category has the most Nobel Prize winners between 1901 and 2012? ( 4 points)
5. In 1781, what was the first planet in our solar system to be discovered using a telescope? ( 5 points)
1. "Cheers;" 2. New Zealand; 3. Pakistan; 4. The Beach Boys; 5. China; 6. Colorado; 7. Al Michaels and Reese Witherspoon.
1. Spain; 2. Miami; 3. nine; 4. Tampa; 5. St. Augustine; 6. fourth; 7. Florida State.
1, 2, 3 or 4 Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. four; 2. two; 3. three; 4. one; 5. four; 6. three; 7. two; 8. four; 9. one; 10. four.
1. France; 2. beta; 3. trumpet; 4. 22/7; 5. England; 6. tic-tac-toe; 7. Russia.
1. "Shrek;" 2. Geneva; 3. Jon Stewart; 4. medicine; 5. Uranus.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:23 AM
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Former Mets Rusty Staub and Joe McEwing were selected, and Rusty was always one of my favorite Mets players, and I always appreciated "Super Joe" and his style of hard nose play.
The other three selected are: Peter O'Malley, the former Dodgers owner, whose father stabbed Brooklyn in the back by moving the Dodgers west in 1958; New York Daily News writer Bill Madden, a known Red Sox hater and writer I have very little use for; and Dan Shaughnessy. (Do I even have to even have to describe him?)
No matter, congratulations to all and they will all be formally inducted at Foley's NY Bar and Restaurant on May 7th at noon.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:40 AM
Monday, April 22, 2013
We bumped "Florida Trivia" last Tuesday as the Special Category for Trivia Night, as we honored the victims of the Boston Marathon attacks with a round of "Boston Trivia." But this Tuesday, we will do the round of Florida Trivia we didn't do last week. It will be seven questions all having to do with the Sunshine State.
The Q Train lightning round will be "1,2,3 or 4 Trivia." It will be ten questions where the answer to each will be the numbers 1, 2, 3 or 4.
The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What instrument did jazz great Dizzy Gillespie play?"
We get going at The Mad Hatter at 8 PM. The bar is located at 26th Street and 3rd Avenue, and if you are coming with a group, please do call the bar on Tuesday to let them know how big your party will be. There won't be any problem getting a reservation, but it just helps out to know how many tables will be needed. The bar's number is 212-696-2122. I appreciate that very much, and look forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday night!
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:08 PM
Saturday, April 20, 2013
This day needed a storybook ending, and it got one.
The Red Sox were down, 2-1, with two outs and two on in the bottom of the 8th. David Ortiz had bounced into a DP two better earlier, and it was rather deflating. Mike Napoli walked, and up came Nava. He had been picked off second base by Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez in the seventh, and the Sox came up empty in that inning.
Nava then slammed a pitch over the bullpens in right to make it a 4-2 game. Andrew Bailey was shaky in the ninth, allowing a home run, a walk and a single. But he got Alex Gordon to ground out to shortstop to end the game and give the Sox their 7th straight win, 4-3.
Clay Buchholz got his 4th win with another terrific effort, and the Sox starting pitchers have now gone 16 games from the start of the year allowing less than three runs.
It was an emotional day as the Red Sox played their first game in Boston since the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon last Monday. But doesn't what happened in that 8th inning sound vaguely familiar?
To me, it sure does.
In the 8th inning, the Mets were down, 2-1 (like the Red Sox today), and up stepped Mike Piazza, with two outs and one man on. And he blasted what is generally regarded as the biggest home run hit in Mets history, and the Mets held on for a 3-2 win over the Braves.
Sounds like what Daniel Nava did in the 8th inning for the fans of Boston.
Thank you, Daniel. But more importantly, thank you to all the first responders who risked their lives this past week in Boston.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 6:22 PM
It was a really moving pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park today, as the Red Sox honored the first responders and the victims of Monday terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon.
David Ortiz concluded the ceremonies by saying this:
"This is our f***in' city. Nobody will dictate our freedom. Stay strong!"
Sure it was crude, but it definitely made a point. Boston has been through a lot this past week, and Papi was letting certain people know in no uncertain terms that the people of Boston (as well as America in general), won't be intimidated by terrorists.
For those of you who did not see it, here it is, courtesy of my friend Derek Hixon:
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 2:04 PM
Thankfully it all ended with the arrest of the suspect, and now baseball will resume on Saturday, in what should be an emotional day at the Fens.
David Ortiz will also make his 2013 debut, as he was activated from the DL for the weekend series with the Royals. Today is also the 101st anniversary of Fenway Park. Today the Sox will wear the special uniforms shown above: home whites with the letters BOSTON on the chest, in honor of the city they play for. Very classy.
Friday's postponed game will be made up with a split doubleheader (naturally, is there any other kind anymore?) at 1:10 PM and 7:05 PM. (And I won't get to see the second game here in NYC. Thanks always, ESPN.)
A huge thank you to all in law enforcement who put their lives on the line over the past week to catch the terrorists. And please say a prayer for the four people who killed because of these people, those who were injured (many for life), and their loved ones.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:40 AM
Friday, April 19, 2013
The Red Sox completed a sweep in Cleveland on Thursday, taking the Tribe, 6-3, behind another stellar start from Jon Lester.
It's been an amazing start to 2013. Better than I could have hoped for.
The Sox are 7-1 on the road, and 11-4 overall. They lead the AL East by 2 1/2 games. Only the Oakland A's have a better record in the AL.
The pitching has been spectacular. The Red Sox starters have now allowed three or fewer runs by the starters in all 15 games so far. Every one of them have pitched at least five innings, except in the game in Toronto when John Lackey got hurt (and he pitched into the fifth). Going into last night, the Sox starters had an ERA of 2.30, and overall the staff ERA is 2.66.
And in sweeping our old friend Terry Francona and his Indians tonight, the current winning streak is at 6.
David Ortiz is expected to be activated on Friday, and Jackie Bradley Jr. is expected to be sent to Pawtucket. It was a rough go for the kid since the Sox left New York, but he will be back.
And Friday is "Wear Boston Day," in support of the great city of Boston and the marathon victims. Everyone is encouraged to wear something associated with the city, or the sports teams.
I will certainly do my part. It will be an emotional night at Fenway on Friday, as the Sox return home to play Kansas City, their first game in Boston since the devastating attack on Monday afternoon.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:37 AM
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I had a busy night with Trivia on Tuesday at The Mad Hatter, but I was able to get the Red Sox-Indians game on one of the TVs in the bar across from where I was hosting.
It was clearly a very emotional night in Cleveland. The Red Sox were going up against their former manager Terry Francona for the first time since he left, but that of course, took a back seat to the terrible events that shook the Boston Marathon on Monday.
The team hung a special jersey in the dugout: "Boston 617 Strong." (617 is the Boston area code.) Both teams wore a black arm band in memory of the victims.
And the Sox gave the fans back home a treat, scoring seven runs in the second inning, and that was all they needed for a 7-2 win. Felix Doubront went 5 innings, allowing two earned runs. The Sox starters continue their streak, now at 13, of games where the starters have gone at least 5 innings and allowing 3 runs or less.
Clayton Mortensen and Alex Wilson pitched four innings of shut down relief, allowing no runs.
It was also an "historic" game as well. It was the first time since 1900 that a nine-inning game has 25 or more strikeouts and 15 or more walks. The Sox struck out 16 times, and drew 9 walks. And still managed to win.
They are now 9-4. These boys continue to impress, and even under some very trying circumstances.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:55 AM
It was nice to see another larger crowd come out to The Mad Hatter for Trivia Night, including old friends/Red Sox fans Rhonda, Ruth and Amy from The Other Place. We continue to get larger crowds as the weeks progress, and some new faces every week.
I had to do Boston Trivia on Tuesday night, in light of the terrible events at marathon on Monday. (I also wore my old Red Sox road jersey, as it says BOSTON across the chest.) I'm glad I did, and the numbers were generally pretty good in that round.
The team HBP led throughout the night, and pulled out a one point victory with 42 points. Ship of Fools finished second with 41 points, and we had a tie for third between Green Monkeys and We Don't Want To See Any More Weiner (which won Best Team Name) with 39 points. We had a tie breaker question: "How many total titles have the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots collectively won in their histories? The answer is 33, and Green Monkeys was closest with their guess and won third place.
1. What rock star made a startling confession on Facebook on Monday, saying he relapsed back into alcohol and drug abuse over the past year and a half after years of sobriety?
2. Tim Cook, the CEO of what company, was ranked number one on Out magazine's list of the "50 Most Influential Gay Men and Women in America?"
3. A New York State appeals court declined to revive a $330 million lawsuit brought by what personality against Sirius XM Radio for refusing to pay him stock awards he said he was due?
4. What Oscar-winning film was mysteriously pulled from theaters in China last Thursday, its opening day there, for reasons not specified?
5. A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck what Middle Eastern country last week, killing at least 37 people in a sparsely populated southern area of the country?
6. The BBC announced it will not play what song when it entered the UK pop chart last Sunday, saying it finds it "distasteful" the song's rise up the chart in the wake of Margaret Thatcher's death?
7. Adam Scott became the first golfer from what country to win The Masters tournament last Sunday, after a sudden death playoff?
1. Alexander Graham Bell was a professor at what Boston institution of higher learning before securing his telephone patent?
2. At 790 feet, what is the name of Boston's tallest building?
3. Martin Scorsese won an Academy Award for Best Director for what Boston-based film?
4. The Celtics have won the most titles of any Boston sports team. Between the Red Sox, Bruins and Patriots, which one has won the second most?
5. What Boston tunnel is named after one of the city's all-time sports legends?
6. True or False: The first subway built in the United States was built in Boston.
7. What American statesman defended British soldiers involved in the infamous Boston Massacre of 1770?
Oscar Winners' Films Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Whoopi Goldberg
2. Christian Bale
3. Geoffrey Rush
4. Sandra Bullock
5. F. Murray Abraham
6. Frances McDormand
7. Tim Robbins
8. Adrien Brody
9. Natalie Portman
10. Judi Dench
1. What was the last Apollo mission to the moon? ( 1 pt)
2. The town Truth Or Consequences is located in what western US state? ( 1 pt)
3. Hydrography is the science of surveying and mapping what? ( 1 pt)
4. In craps, what roll of the dice is often called "puppy paws?" ( 2 pt)
5. A Queen Conch is what type of animal? ( 2 pt)
6. As of 2013, who has hosted or co-hosted the Academy Awards show the most? ( 2 pt)
7. What South American country's flag most closely resembles the flag of the state of Texas? ( 3 pt)
1. What small European country has the world's highest income per capita, as of 2013? (4 points)
2. The Waikato River is the longest river in what country? ( 5 points)
3. What 20th century American historical figure was mockingly called in American newspapers "The Napoleon of Luzon?" ( 4 points)
4. What American automaker launched the EV1 in 1996, billed as the world's first production electric car? ( 4 points)
5. "Remote Control" was what cable channel's first game show? ( 3 points)
1. Ozzy Osbourne; 2. Apple; 3. Howard Stern; 4. "Django Unchained;" 5. Iran; 6. "Ding Dong, The Witch's Dead;" 7. Australia.
1. Boston University; 2. John Hancock Tower; 3. "The Departed"; 4. Red Sox; 5. Ted Williams; 6. true; 7. John Adams.
Oscar Winners' Films Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Ghost; 2. The Fighter; 3. Shine; 4. The Blind Side; 5. Amadeus; 6. Fargo; 7. Mystic River; 8. The Pianist; 9. Black Swan; 10. Shakespeare In Love.
1. Apollo 17; 2. New Mexico; 3. bodies of water; 4. two fives; 5. snail; 6. Bob Hope (18); 7. Chile.
1. Luxembourg; 2. New Zealand; 3. Douglas MacArthur; 4. General Motors; 5. MTV.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:36 AM
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
We have a change in tonight's Special Category for Tuesday Night Trivia. We will be doing "Boston Trivia" tonight, seven questions in honor of that great city to the northeast of us that suffered greatly yesterday. We will do "Florida Trivia" next week.
The Q Train lightning round will be "Oscar Winners' Films Trivia." Hope to see many of you tonight at The Mad Hatter at 8 PM for a great night of Trivia Q&A!
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:49 AM
Monday, April 15, 2013
Tuesday Night Trivia at The Mad Hatter tomorrow at 8 PM will feature "Florida Trivia," seven questions about all different things concerning the Sunshine State.
The Q Train lightning round will be "Oscar Winners' Films Trivia." I will give you the names of ten Academy Award-winning actors and actresses (who won just one Oscar), and you have to tell me what that film was. Most will be from the most recent generation of winners.
The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"What was the last Apollo mission to the moon?"
We get started at 8 PM. The Mad Hatter is located on E. 26th Street and 3rd Avenue, and the weather should be a bit nicer on Tuesday evening. If you could call ahead if you'd like a table, that would be great. The bar's number is 212-696-2122. I look forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday night for another great night of Trivia!
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 4:31 PM
Before the 2013 season began, I thought that if the Red Sox had any chance this season, the keys to moving on up would be that both Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz would have to pitch like aces.
For the first two weeks, they sure have.
Lester pitched another dandy on Saturday, holding Tampa Bay to one earned run over seven innings, in a great pitcher's duel with David Price. The Sox pulled it out, 2-1, in 10 innings on Shane Victorino's infield single.
Lester is currently 2-0, with a 1.42 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. He has struck out 18 in 19 innings.
Meanwhile, Clay Buchholz has been even more spectacular out of the gate. He flirted with a no-hitter on Sunday, losing it on Kelly Johnson's broken bat single to begin the eighth inning. That's not really important, as he shut down Tampa Bay on just two hits over eight innings in getting the win, 5-0.
Buchholz is now 3-0, with an otherworldly ERA of 0.42, and WHIP of 0.95. (He has walked four in both has last two starts however.) He also has 23 strikeouts in 22 innings, and struck out 11 yesterday, just the second time in his career he has fanned in double figures in a game.
The Red Sox pitching overall has just been fantastic. The starters have allowed three earned runs or less in the first 11 games, which is a team record (the 1916 Red Sox broke from the gate with 9 straight, the old record).
Obviously, Lester and Buchholz can't keep up this pace, but they are clearly motivated and the return of John Farrell has helped them both enormously.
The Red Sox go for the sweep today, with the Patriots Day game at Fenway beginning at 11:05 AM.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 10:59 AM
Saturday, April 13, 2013
I just completed reading "Long Shot," the autobiography of the life of Mike Piazza, which he co-wrote with author Lonnie Wheeler.
Piazza is remarkably honest and forthright in his book (with plenty of salty language as well), and touches on a various number of subjects that surrounded him. (The book gets the name from the fact that Piazza was a 62nd round pick of the Dodgers, and done more as a favor to Vince, who was close friends with Tommy Lasorda.)
He talks extensively about his family, especially his father, who is clearly the guiding light to his baseball success. He also talks about his dad's relationship with Lasorda, and some of the myths surrounding it, such as the fact that Lasorda was not Mike's godfather.
Piazza's relationship with his first MLB manager is also explored in some depth too, and he is very candid about how it became strained and was never the same once Piazza was dealt to the Mets.
Mike is also very open about his relationship with many ballplayers, especially his best friend in the game, Eric Karros. He is also rather blunt about the Martinez brothers, Pedro and Ramon, who he was teammates with in LA, and with Pedro in New York.They were never pals, and goes into some depth of the problems he had with some other Latin pitchers he played with as well.
And as you would expect, he talks at great length about the dustups he had with Roger Clemens, and Piazza is more baffled by Clemens than anything else. Piazza feels in many that Clemens robbed of the joy of playing in his one and only World Series and looks back at that whole situation with regret.
"Long Shot" is one of the more open and honest books that I have read about an athlete in a long time. Piazza talks at length about his Catholicism, and credits his late mother for instilling that in him. He also talks at great length about how self-absorbed he was during his career, and how he'd wished he'd been more open. But his relationship with the press was never very good, and he thinks that could ultimately hurt his Hall of Fame chances, which are clearly very important to him.
He also talks about how the 9/11 attacks changed him, and the famous home run he hit in the first game back at Shea in September 2001 against the Braves.
He also chats very honestly about the steroid rumors that dogged him later in his career, and swears he has never gone near them. And he touches on the famous gay rumors that got started in the 2000s. Piazza still does have a strong ego, and he is not shy to tell readers why he should be in the Hall of Fame, and lays out all his stats and reasons.
Piazza lets it all hang out in "Long Shot" and if you are a Mets fan or just a baseball fan who likes a compelling story, I would recommend the book.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:05 AM
Friday, April 12, 2013
A couple of really tough losses for the Red Sox to end the series with the Orioles. The first series loss of 2013. But the Red Sox are still in first as we begin Friday, tied with Baltimore at 5-4.
Joel Hanrahan melted down in the ninth inning on Wednesday, after three stellar innings by the pen. He allowed five runs in the 8-5 loss, and got hit hard on the opener on Monday as well, but managed to get the save then. He's allowed three home runs in his first two Fenway games as Red Sox closer, and that is a concern.
But John Farrell won't do anything foolish. Hanrahan is the closer, but he'd better get his stuff together. Already we've heard people saying Andrew Bailey should be closing, but that is way too premature. Hanrahan will have his blown saves, like all closers do. Heck, Mariano Rivera has never had a perfect season in his career, as he is supposedly the greatest closer of all-time.
Alfredo Aceves gave the Red Sox five good innings last night, allowing two runs and left with the game tied. he will get the start next week against the Indians in Cleveland on Tuesday while John Lackey is on the DL. The bullpen has been tagged with the last two losses, but it is still a Red Sox strength.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is really struggling at the plate, and figures to be heading to Pawtucket by April 19th, when David Ortiz returns from his rehab assignment at AAA. He got off to a good start there last night, going 2-for-3 in the Pawsox' opening night win. Bradley is still a big part of the future, and getting his stroke back at AAA will really benefit him long term.
And finally "The Streak" ended at 794 on Wednesday night. That was the so-called "sellout streak", which the Red Sox claim that every game since May 2003 was sold out at Fenway. Like most other fans, I never cared about that at all, and it had become an albatross that needed to end. And now fans can come to the ballpark and buy some affordable tickets at the box office just moments before a game begins. And that's a good thing. And most of those fans will be there to see baseball, not be there because it's the "cool" place to be.
The Sox begin four games with Tampa Bay this weekend, ending with the Patriots Day game on Monday at 11:05 AM.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:23 AM
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
It was a gorgeous day and night in New York on Tuesday, and a really nice crowd (including a few regulars I hadn't seen since The Other Place), bigger than the last few weeks, came into The Mad Hatter for Trivia. The bar has a back garden for people to enjoy their meals outside, and that brought many people out, and a few from there checked out our Trivia when we got going.
We had some strong scores for TV Trivia, but for US States Nicknames, they were all over the map. It was a two team race heading into IQ Trivia (the scores were really good for most teams in the round), but the team of Welcome Back Emily! We Needed You! wound up winning by just one point, with 47 in total. Second place went to Weekend at Thatcher's (who won Best Team Name), with 46 points, and third place went to We're Too Damn Hot with 44 points. (The next two teams were each a point back, so it wound up much closer in the end.)
Congratulations to Emily and her friends (who have been some of my loyalest regulars) on their first victory at The Mad Hatter!
1. What classic rock band announced their first concert tour in six years last week, with dates in North America and concluding at Hyde Park in London in July?
2. The daughter of the king of what European country was subpoenaed last Wednesday in a charity embezzlement scandal her husband may have been part of?
3. What state's governor signed comprehensive gun control laws last week, making it the third US state in 2013 to pass new gun legislation?
4. What pop singer signed a $50 million deal with Pepsi to star in TV commercials and have her face emblazoned on soda cans as well?
5. Legendary film critic Roger Ebert died last Thursday of cancer at the age of 70. In 1975, he was the film critic to win what prestigious award?
6. Margaret Thatcher, Britain's longest-serving prime minister, died on Monday at the age of 87. How many years was she the prime minister?
7. What woman received an honorary BAFTA award for her support of British film and TV last week, and was honored as "the most memorable Bond girl" for her appearance at the 2012 London Olympics?
1. Every episode of "Seinfeld" contains an image or reference to what superhero?
2. "I Want to Believe" was a phrase featured on a poster in what 1990s TV series?
3. The first interracial kiss on American network TV occurred in what 1960s TV series?
4. What groundbreaking 1970s TV series was based on a British series called "Til Death Do Us Part?"
5. How many seasons has the long-running TV series "The Simpsons" been on Fox?
6. "Venue Flytrap" and "Johnny Fever" were two characters on what 1980s sitcom?
7. Name 2 of the 4 TV series that have won the Best Drama Emmy award a record four times.
US States Nicknames Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Equality State
2. Granite State
3. The Old Dominion
4. Razorback State
5. Magnolia State
6. Yellowhammer State
7. Ocean State
8. Constitution State
9. Gopher State
10. Evergreen State
1. Since 1985, how many tournament wins has it taken every year to win for an NCAA men's basketball title? ( 1 pt)
2. How many is there in a gross? ( 1 pt)
3. Which of the year's four seasons boasts more US federal holidays than any other? ( 1 pt)
4. Which group is more susceptible to colds, teenagers of people over 50? ( 2 pt)
5. A Granny Smith apple is usually what color? ( 2 pt)
6. The Berlin Wall was originally built in what year? ( 2 pt)
7. Biafra was a secessionist African state that left what central African country in 1967 but rejoined it three years later? ( 3 pt)
1. The Onyx River, which is just 20 miles long, is the longest river found where? ( 4 points)
2. What rank, discontinued in the US Navy in the 1980s, comes between captain and rear admiral in the British Navy? ( 5 points)
3. What does a phlebotomist collect? ( 4 points)
4. What 2008 presidential candidate was the bass player for the rock band "Capitol Offense" while he served as his state's governor? ( 4 points)
5. Which of her films did Bette Midler jokingly say "had strong American values: divorce, alcoholism, plastic surgery and revenge?" ( 3 points)
1. The Rolling Stones; 2. Spain; 3. Connecticut; 4. Beyonce Knowles; 5. Pulitzer Prize; 6. eleven; 7. Queen Elizabeth II.
1. Superman; 2. "The X-Files;" 3. "Star Trek;" 4. "All In The Family;" 5. twenty-four; 6. "WKRP In Cincinnati;" 7. "Hill Street Blues," "LA Law," "The West Wing", "Mad Men."
US States Nicknames Trivia ("The Q Train")
1. Wyoming; 2. New Hampshire; 3. Virginia; 4. Arkansas; 5. Mississippi; 6. Alabama; 7. Rhode Island; 8. Connecticut; 9. Minnesota; 10. Washington.
1. six; 2. 144; 3. Winter (five); 4. teenagers; 5. green; 6. 1961; 7. Nigeria.
1. Antarctica; 2. commodore; 3. blood; 4. Mike Huckabee; 5. "First Wives Club."
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:51 AM
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Yesterday was my third trip to Fenway Park for the home opener with the BLOHARDS, and third time I've seen the Red Sox win: a 3-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
It was an enjoyable trip up on the bus from Connecticut, and even happier one returning last night. As a group we had tickets in the right field grandstand just to the left of the Pesky Pole in foul territory. Clay Buchholz was terrific, pitching seven shutout innings. He walked four, but was never really in any trouble. The Sox couldn't solve Wei-Yin Chen for six innings, until they finally broke through in the seventh for three, as Daniel Nava blasted a three-run shot to give the Red Sox all the offense they needed. (There was a bit of grumbling before the game that Jackie Bradley was not in the lineup, sitting in favor of Nava. Is John Farrell a genius or what?)
Joel Hanrahan did the tightrope walk in the ninth (got a feeling that won't be the last time this year I write that), giving up a home run and a double, but nailed down his third save of the year.
It was the 9th straight win by the Red Sox in their home openers. The last loss was in 2004 to Toronto.
BTW, it was also 44 years to the day I went to my first ever Opening Day game. That was at Shea Stadium, when the Mets played the Montreal Expos, in Montreal's very first game in their history. And the Mets lost, 11-10, in a very exciting game. But the year would end happily for the Mets and their fans, with their first ever championship.
The win puts the Sox at 5-2, tied for the best record in the AL. I continue to be impressed with this Sox club. Terrific starting pitching, tight defense (although Dustin Pedroia fumbled a couple yesterday but neither were costly) and clutch hitting. This doesn't look like a world-beater club by any stretch, but they have come out of the gate looking like a hungry, motivated team.
Let's hope they keep it going. There's a lot to like here.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 11:02 AM
Monday, April 08, 2013
Trivia will be happening on Tuesday night, April 9th at 8 PM at The Mad Hatter, 26th Street and 3rd Avenue, with the Special Category being "TV Trivia." It will be seven questions on the history of that "vast wasteland" we all love: television. There will be some classic questions, and a few of the more recent variety.
The Q Train lightning round will be "US States' Nicknames Trivia." I will give you the names of ten well-known nicknames of states from the nation and you have to tell me which one it is.
The Sneak Peek question for this week is:
"Which of the year's four seasons boasts more US federal holidays than any other?"
We'll get going at 8 PM. For those of you requesting tables, if you call ahead during the day on Tuesday, that would help out the staff of The Mad Hatter very much. The bar's phone number is: 212-696-2122. Thanks so much, and I look forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday night.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 5:27 AM
Sunday, April 07, 2013
Before this season began, I looked at the schedule and saw the Red Sox opened on the road, with six games in New York and Toronto. (Is it my imagination, or do the Sox ALWAYS seem to play a series in Toronto before their home opener? It seems that's been happening a lot in recent years.) I figured if they could split those six games, that would be a good start.
And after the last two years beginning 0-6 and 1-5, the Sox REALLY needed to get out of the blocks in good shape.
So what do they do? They go into both cities and win both series, 2-1. And they looked mighty good doing so.
Jon Lester looked like the Lester we have all come to know and love, winning his first two starts, and in very impressive fashion in Toronto on Sunday. Seven shutout innings, and was never really in any kind of trouble. He looks like the ace his needed to be, as the jays did not a runner past second the entire game.
The Sox gave him five runs before he ever took the mound. The first five batters all got hits off R.A. Dickey, and all scored. It was capped by the first of three blasts by Will Middlebrooks, who just missed hitting a fourth, putting Melky Cabrera on the warning track in the 8th inning. The fours were wild for Will: 4-for-4, 4 RBI, 4 runs scored and 4 extra base hits.
The Red Sox took the "John Farrell Love Fest" on Friday, and got shutout on Saturday by some good Toronto pitching. But today's 13-0 win showed me something, as the entire lineup contributed (except for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jackie Bradley, who both took the collar). The Sox hit no home runs in New York, and there was speculation about this team's power with David Ortiz out. But they answered that today, hitting six home runs (Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Nava and Mike Napoli also all added dingers).
I had the Blue Jays feed on TV all weekend, and you can see that many fans are buying into this Blue Jays "Dream Team" nonsense. Granted, six games don't make a season, but the players better not buy into the hype. They could end up being a carbon copy of the 2011 Red Sox if they are not careful.
The Red Sox pitching over the first six games has been top-notch, the defense playing well and they have been hitting big time in the clutch. (Jays announcers said that the Red Sox had more hits with runners in scoring position in the first inning--four--than the Jays have had all season so far.) That certainly is a recipe for success. It's early of course, but there are good signs everywhere so far.
I'll be at the home opener at Fenway on Monday afternoon, and will have a report about it on the blog on Tuesday. It will be my third opener in four years.
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 6:49 PM
Saturday, April 06, 2013
It's the fourth in a series of CDs released by King of the Road Music since 2001. I've had the pleasure of listening to them all, and this is another fine collection of baseball songs, dealing with subjects as diverse as Johnny Pesky, the St. Louis Browns, the Chicago Cubs, and Willie Mays.
But there is a song called "I'm a Yankee Fan", so you have been warned. (Just kidding.)
To balance that ditty, there is "All I Want For Christmas Is The Yankees To Lose," which to no one surprise, is my favorite song in the collection. The album has a group of various singers, including Phil Coley and Danny Mack, who has been on the other collections.
The CD also includes a few tunes about about America and patriotism. I also liked "Heroes Don't Come Back" very much, which is about those baseball players who went off to fight in World War II and did not return.
There are even two songs about Santa Claus to wrap up the collection, for your Christmas listening pleasure.
Definitely give "Baseball Songs: Sports Heroes 4" a listen. Joe and his crew have done another nice job blending our National Pastime and music.
Here is the video for "All I Want For Christmas Is The Yankees To Lose." Enjoy:
Posted by The Omnipotent Q at 12:06 PM