November 19, 2008
Sox trade Crisp for a bag of balls, er, a middle reliever. The online poll at that link suggests I am in the minority on the wisdom of the trade.
I like Crisp as a player. He brought speed and outfield defense to the Red Sox at a time they had little of either. Now they have Jacoby, Bay, and Drew for the outfield, all "plus" outfielders defensively, each with decent speed and Jacoby with exceptional speed. I also like Crisp as a person; he just always struck me as thoughtful and articulate. He also is still one of the leading sources of traffic for this website.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 1:44 PM
November 18, 2008
I've Said it Before
But if Ned Martin were still alive, he would have one word for today's news about Dustin Pedroia winning the AL MVP: Mercy!
People were certainly thinking about it, but I figured one of the Twins, Morneau or Mauer, would win it. But maybe the Twins falling short of the playoffs hurt their chances. As it turned out, the two Twins players got second and fourth while Pedroia and Youk got first and third.
The thing that jumped out at me was that Petey is the first AL MVP at second base since 1959, when Nellie Fox of the White Sox won it.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 2:44 PM
September 29, 2008
So this is my view when I walk to the office in the morning. That's the Boston Public Library to the left, Old South Church straight ahead.
Oh, and I won my fantasy baseball league, despite making a bonehead trade at the beginning of the season and having David Ortiz hurt for a long stretch.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:24 PM
The Sox retired Johnny Pesky's number yesterday, a great tribute to a great man. I am too young to remember Pesky playing, but I remember him as both a full-time coach and an announcer, and more recently as the fungo-hitting special-assistant-ambassador-baseball-lifer and mentor to Red Sox stars such as Nomar Garciaparra and Jim Rice.
I have two memories of Pesky, both from to Red Sox Spring training in Fort Myers. In one, Pesky has parked himself in a shady spot where he sits and signs autographs all day. I take my sons through the line and he signs baseballs for both of them. He is warm, sunny, avuncular. He talks to everyone, asks my boys if they play baseball, and wishes us well, tells us to enjoy the day and the season.
In the other, Pesky is on a far field hitting ground balls to a minor leaguer. Jim Rice is standing not far from us. Seeing Pesky walk around the field collecting stray balls in a bucket, Rice grabs his own bucket and a bat and begins lofting fly ball after fly ball onto the field, behind and around Pesky. Rice--a giant of a man known for his surly disposition as a player--is giggling in delight as Pesky starts to grouse loudly about the balls, not sure yet that he is being pranked. When Pesky finally sees one of Rice's fly balls land near him he turns and yells goodnaturedly at Rice, and the two share a long laugh from a few hundred feet apart.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 10:18 AM
September 8, 2008
Stan Grossfeld and the Art of Storytelling
I've mentioned before that when I was growing up, the Boston Globe had unquestionably one of the best sports sections in America. Well, the newspaper world is changing dramatically. Newsrooms, including sports sections, are shrinking, but the Globe still has some of my favorite columnists, including Bob Ryan. And they still have Stan Grossfeld, who early on in his career won two Pulitzers for his photography, but now creates wonderful human-interest stories such as this one. You can see a slide show of related pictures here.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 6:20 PM
August 19, 2008
Posted by Bill Trippe at 10:14 PM
August 11, 2008
Welcome to the Show...
... Charlie Zink!
And a knuckleballer no less.
His last name makes me wonder if I need a new category of baseball names. Besides names that are also the names of Massachusetts cities and towns and food names, should I add a category of chemical elements? A quick search of baseballreference.com suggests the pickings are a little slim...
Posted by Bill Trippe at 11:00 PM
August 10, 2008
Six Degrees of Manny
One of the pleasures of the Sunday Boston Globe is reading the baseball notes, a long collection of short essays, stats, random facts, and other baseball detail. The format is a staple in major metropolitan newspapers, usually for the four major team sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey), but my memory tells me it was invented by Peter Gammons when he was the Globe's baseball beat writer.
Today's notes has a terrific graphic detailing the "six degrees of separation" from Manny Ramirez to each of the sluggers ahead of him on the all-time home run list. Unfortunately, they only shoveled into a GIF format, not even bothering to add links. They could have created something that was fun and instructive. Still, the details are cool--who knew, for instance, that Dave Winfield and Willie McCovey were once teammates?
Posted by Bill Trippe at 2:44 PM
July 31, 2008
Adios, Mi Amigo
For Boston, no more Manny being Manny. I will miss him. After Jim Rice, Manny was the best right-handed hitter I saw in a Sox uniform. Overall, Manny has/will have a greater career, but we didn't actually see Manny's best statistical seasons while he was here in Boston. Rice, on the other hand, had the greatest single offensive season I ever saw in 1978.
Still, I will miss Manny. He is an amazing hitter. Remy has made the point about how Manny is "quiet" at the plate. He really does not have extraneous movements, and when he swings he is always prepared to put the best swing on the ball. I also came to like his fielding, though this is where a lot of people would disagree. But he fielded well in Fenway, even with some style.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 8:51 PM
July 18, 2008
It's All in the Numbers...
And it's one of the reasons I have always loved baseball. How many other sports would be featured in Science Daily?
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:41 AM
May 22, 2008
Back in the day, I would get to 6-8 Red Sox games a year, but the tickets are just incredibly expensive now, and with the boys so busy and expensive, we go less. I think each of the last two years, we have only gone once. But we got to go as a family on Monday, and we saw an incredible game--a no-hitter by Jon Lester, a young man who is only a year away from battling an aggressive form of cancer.
I've been to a lot of Red Sox games over the years, and I have enjoyed them all, and seen many great games and many great individual plays. I saw Mark McGwire hit three home runs in a game. I saw the great Sox-Yankees playoff game when Pedro beat Roger and we serenaded Roger off the field. I saw Bo Jackson hit maybe the hardest home run ever in Fenway Park. I've seen great pitching from the likes of Pedro, Roger, Bruce Hurst, Oil Can Boyd, Tom Seaver, Frank Viola. But I had never seen a no-hitter before Monday night, and it was something to see.
I noticed there were no hits after the fourth inning, but I didn't really start thinking about it until an inning or two later. I figured a hit would come. But then all of a sudden it was the eighth inning and people were really into it. Lester seemed to be both taking energy from the crowd but also not getting too swept away by it. When he walked someone to start the ninth, the crowd reacted more than Lester. He spent a minute behind the mound. Our seats are close enough that we could see he was trying to compose himself--a deep breath or two. But then he was back on the mound and finished strong, striking out a completely overmatched someone-or-other for the final out.
It was great. I was thrilled for my boys. They have missed coming to the games, and the one game we got to last year was a loss to the Yankees (boo!) and in really terrible, obstructed view seats. This game we were back in our old seats, the weather was great, and the game was one for the ages.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 3:28 PM
May 7, 2008
Baseball and Breakfast
Since I was eight years old, I have had my breakfast every morning during baseball season while reading the box scores. It's always more fun when the Red Sox win of course, but even when they lose, the box scores still never disappoint. Not familiar with a box score? Wikipedia can explain.
But even in baseball, all good things must come to an end. Julio Franco retired, and this article is a nice tribute to a fine career. I had watched Franco closely the past few years. After Rickey Henderson left the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004, Franco was the only active player in major league baseball who was older than me. Alas, now I am older than every single one of them. I guess I won't ever be center fielder for the Red Sox after all.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:22 AM
April 8, 2008
All is Forgiven
UPDATE: The Globe's Amalie Benjamin has a nice article about the emotions of the day.
March 25, 2008
Quirky Signs of Spring
- My clock radio waking me at 6:30 AM to the sounds of a Red Sox baseball game
- Even stranger--being in bumper-to-bumper traffic when the Red Sox tied it in the top of the 9th on Brandon Moss's first-ever major league home run
- Three guys ogling a new driver in the parking lot when I got to the office.
- We just had Easter, which is about as early as you can have it, and I don't see much green yet. I am still waiting for more traditional signs of Spring, like buttercups!
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:35 AM
March 22, 2008
So I drafted my fantasy baseball team this morning. It's a traditional rotisserie league team, so the stats are runs, home runs, average, RBIs, and stolen bases for hitters, and innings pitched, wins, saves, strikeouts and WHIP for pitchers. I think I did OK. I ended up with:
- C--Kenji Johjima
- 1B--David Ortiz
- 2B--Plácido Polanco
- 3B--Kevin Youkilis
- SS--Derek Jeter
- OF--Vernon Wells
- OF--Jacoby Ellsbury
- OF--Raúl Ibañez
- Util--Frank Thomas
- Bench--Evan Longoria, Melky Cabrera, Casey Blake, Bengie Molina, Mark DeRosa
- Starting Pitchers--Jake Peavy, Roy Halladay, Dontrelle Willis
- Relief Pitchers--Jonathan Papelbon, Takashi Saito, Todd Jones, George Sherrill
I don't feel like I have enough pitchers. (You never have enough pitching in baseball, right?)
Let the games begin! The Sox open in Japan this coming Wednesday. I hope it's warmer here than it is here, though I believe the games are going to be held indoor.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 5:35 PM
February 23, 2008
Today's Spring Training Weather
Meanwhile, back in Boston, I wake up to about 9 inches of snow on the ground and 27 degrees.
And people wonder why we get so excited about "Truck Day."
UPDATE: I was getting my hair cut this morning and a friend walked in. Knocking the snow off his boots, he announces to no one in particular, "83 degrees and sunny in Fort Myers this morning!"
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:57 AM
February 14, 2008
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
Pitchers and catchers report today!
With apologies to Lewis Carroll.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:13 AM
February 13, 2008
Well, sort of.
What I am actually doing is launching a new blog and practice as part of the Gilbane Group (press release here and the new blog, XML Technologies and Content Strategies, here). The new blog and practice are collaborations with my long-time Gilbane colleagues Mary Laplante and Leonor Ciarlone.
As we launch the new blog at Gilbane, I am transitioning this one to a personal blog, much like the one I had before, A Thousand Furnished Rooms. I will be discussing writing, literature, baseball, and life, not necessarily in that order.
I have been at this blog thing for more than four years, and it has always been an evolution. I started with a technology blog, Ideas in Technology and Publishing, then started A Thousand Furnished Rooms. Somewhere in there I briefly had a politics blog (an ugly undertaking in a nasty little world). Also somewhere in there, I began blogging at Gilbane's primary blog, folded the politics blog (oh, happy day!) and combined Ideas in Technology and Publishing and A Thousand Furnished Rooms into this blog.
So now I evolve again. If you want to read about content management, XML, and publishing technologies and strategies, check out the new Gilbane blog (Atom feed here). If you want to hear about more nebulous topics, stick around here. You are more than welcome.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 12:37 PM
November 19, 2007
Looks like Lowell is going to re-sign with the Sox. Fingers crossed, as it is not a done deal apparently, but I would love to see him stay on. As a friend of mine quipped, someone should name a town after that man.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 8:17 PM
October 29, 2007
I've used this before, but what the heck. It is a good one, and it is fitting for today if you are a Red Sox fan.
I see great things in baseball. It’s our game — the American game. It will take our people out of doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair those losses, and be a blessing to us.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 10:48 AM
October 28, 2007
A Story That Never Gets Old
In more ways than one.
Some stats on tonight's game, for those so inclined.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 2:29 PM
October 27, 2007
Leading Off, Playing Center Field
Jacoby Ellsbury. The picture is from a game this year when Jacoby scored from second base on a passed ball, something I have never seen before in 40 years of watching baseball.
Of course, now he is much better known because of the taco thing.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 10:19 AM
October 26, 2007
Pledge Your Allegiance
At the United Countries of Baseball. A cool app.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 1:33 PM
October 25, 2007
Even the Lion in Winter...
... was once a cub.
No, not that kind of cub.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 3:45 PM
October 24, 2007
The Impossible Dream
I became a Red Sox fan in 1967. I was 8 years old, grew up 8.2 miles from Fenway Park, and had a Dad, Mom, and two older brothers who loved the Sox. My allegiance was foreordained. By dumb luck, that was also the year the hapless Red Sox turned it all around to become The Cardiac Kids, the Impossible Dream Team that won the AL pennant on the last day of the season and went on to take the mighty St. Louis Cardinals to a full seven-game World Series before they lost. To this day, I consider Bob Gibson to be the greatest picture of all time and the name Julian Javier makes me want to curl up into a ball. The seventh-game loss broke my 8-year-old heart, but I was hooked, and have lived and died with the Red Sox ever since.
Nothing is more astonishing than the passage of time, and this year marks the 40th anniversary of that Red Sox season. At opening day this year, the Red Sox staged a nice tribute to that team. They're old men now--how on earth did that happen?--and some of them have even passed on, but many of them were there. Yaz, Rico, Gentleman Jim, even the Hawk. The Boston Herald put together a nice photo montage.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:28 AM
October 21, 2007
First pitch at about 8:20 EST tonight, all happening right here.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 5:13 PM
October 20, 2007
Boston's Tenth Man Could Not be Wrong
Posted by Bill Trippe at 2:22 PM
October 5, 2007
I've watched a lot of baseball over the years, and I have to say the plague of mayflies that rattled the Yankees into a loss against the Indians last night was maybe the strangest thing I have seen. It did bring to mind another Cleveland baseball oddity though. Back in 1986, the Red Sox and Indians once had a game postponed due to fog, which led Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd to famously observe, "That's what you get for building a ballpark on the ocean."
Posted by Bill Trippe at 11:20 PM
September 1, 2007
As Ned Martin Would Have Said
For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, see this.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 10:57 PM
April 5, 2007
The Word of the Day...
Posted by Bill Trippe at 5:18 PM
April 1, 2007
Hope springs eternal!
Baseball will take our people out-of-doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair these losses, and be a blessing to us.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 11:42 AM
February 12, 2007
Hope Springs Eternal!
Or, if you leave now and keep driving 24 hours, you will reach someplace warm and sunny.
The truck that will carry Red Sox team equipment to spring training arrived outside of Fenway Park at 5:30 a.m. this morning (live photo above), and will depart for Fort Myers in an official ceremony at 1 p.m.
For fans who want to see it off, the truck will leave from the players parking lot entrance on Van Ness St., and will be followed in procession by Fenway Ambassadors, Red Sox staff, and Wally the Green Monster tossing gifts from a flat-bed truck.
Kevin Carson of Atlas moving in Holliston is supervising the loading process.
"I love it," said Carson. "Its like Groundhog Day for two reasons: Its the first rite of spring, when the moving truck arrives. And its the same every year, just like the movie."
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:16 AM
December 2, 2006
A Chapter for the Ladies
The joys of Project Gutenberg: baseball, as viewed in 1888.
On account of the associations by which a professional game of base-ball was supposed to be surrounded, it was for a long time thought not a proper sport for the patronage of ladies. Gradually, however, this illusion has been dispelled, until now at every principal contest they are found present in large numbers. One game is generally enough to interest the novice; she had expected to find it so difficult to understand and she soon discovers that she knows all about it; she is able to criticize plays and even find fault with the umpire; she is surprised and flattered by the wonderful grasp of her own understanding, and she begins to like the game. As with everything else that she likes at all, she likes it with all her might, and it is only a question of a few more games till she becomes an enthusiast. It is a fact that the sport has no more ardent admirers than are to be found among its lady attendants throughout the country.
September 21, 2006
Welcome Back, Peter Gammons
Peter Gammons returned to action for ESPN last night. Gammons, the Hall of Fame baseball writer, had a brain aneurysm in June, and the baseball season hasn't been the same without him. Gammons was the baseball beat writer for the Boston Globe when I was a kid and up through the time I flirted with the idea of being a sportswriter. I covered sports for my college newspaper and was a stringer for the New Bedford Standard-Times during a time when the Globe had an amazing array of sportswriting talent, including Gammons, Bob Ryan, Leigh Montville, and Ray Fitzgerald. Even among them, Gammons was in a class by himself. He created a feature that is now a staple of many sports pages, a weekend "notebook" of short items that runs a full page in the broadside Globe to this day (now written by the Globe's current beat writer, Gordon Edes). I can draw a line from that kind of short-form collection to today's blog. Gammons' blog (for ESPN Insider subscribers unfortunately) has been dormant since his illness, but he does have a new column up (and it's free!).
Posted by Bill Trippe at 10:21 AM
August 21, 2006
Yankees Finish Red Sox Beat Down
Wow, good thing I am not a Sox fan or anything.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 4:48 PM
August 13, 2006
Posted by Bill Trippe at 11:33 PM
July 7, 2006
Don't Look Back
Happy Birthday, Satchel Paige.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 3:46 PM
June 7, 2006
Vote Early and Often
So out of the blue I get an email from Mike Hatcher, Cleveland Indians fan and soon-to-be newlywed. Mike writes, "My name is Mike Hatcher from Ohio. My fiancé and I are 1 of 3 finalists for the Cleveland Indians Dream Wedding at Jacobs Field. We have worked very hard to get to this point and now need your help with votes to make sure we win. Please visit the Cleveland Indians official website, then vote for Mike and Janet under fan forum in the wedding giveaway section."
I don't know Mike. I assume he got my name, and wrote to me, because I have written about Coco Crisp, formerly of the Indians and now of the Red Sox. So, good sport that I am, I watched the video, and Mike and Janet got my vote. It's very clever and very cute. Or, maybe I just have a thing for couples where the guy is a big lug and the woman is small.
Oh, and if you are really hooked, you can vote up to 25 times.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 12:07 PM
April 9, 2006
A Few Changes
I added a few more categories, and am going through the process now of re-tagging some old entries. I now have separate categories for publishing, baseball, and poetry. They only go back a few months right now, but that will grow as I have more time to re-tag older entries. I also have a nascent category on RSS, as I expect to write more about that in the future.
UPDATE: Oops. I failed to mention an obvious thing. I have disabled trackback pings, and have decided to default to "no comments" on entries, though I will open up some entries to comments. I have been dealing with too much comment and trackback spam (and some other related abuse, such as referral spam), so I had to take a few corrective actions.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 12:35 PM
April 4, 2006
What's in a Name?
I have mentioned before the suprising number of Red Sox players, past and present, who have first or last names that are also the names of Massachusetts cities and towns. So this year the Sox added Mike Lowell (hometown of Jack Kerouac) and Josh Beckett (an acceptable (in my book) spelling variant of Becket, MA, home of Jacob's Pillow). And we already had Tim Wakefield, of course. Too early to say of course, but some of the Red Sox minor league players include Matthew Hancock and Roger Lincoln.
April 3, 2006
Pennant Fever Grips Hub
Sox win their home opener, 7-2.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 5:28 PM
Red Sox Opening Day
And I have offered this quote in the past, but it is so good I will take the trouble and repeat it here.
"I see great things in baseball. It's our game -- the American game. It will take our people out of doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair those losses, and be a blessing to us."
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:26 AM
February 8, 2006
Coco Crisp Links
Looking at my site activity logs, I seem to get a lot of visitors who arrive at the site looking for information on Coco Crisp. I have discussed him briefly here and here. One common search query is about Coco's real name, which is Covelli Loyce Crisp, but people also have queried about his nationality (born in Los Angeles), and how old he is (26 as of November 1, 2005). As a service to my loyal readers and these visitors, let me also provide the following useful and interesting Coco Crisp links:
- Coco's "Player Card" page, including lifetime stats, at ESPN.com.
- Coco's page at Baseball-Reference.com, which tells me that Coco was first drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals but later sent as the "player to be named later" to the Cleveland Indians in a trade for pitcher Chuck Finley
- An article from the Boston Herald analyzing Crisp's trade to the Red Sox.
- A Canadian Red Sox blogger (no, I am not making that up) wrote some thoughts on the Crisp trade before it was official and elicited some interesting response. The blogger was one of a dozen or so who used the headline, "Cuckoo For Coco Crisp," and if you don't understand that, read this.
- Here's a good analysis from FoxSports.com, prior to the trade, of what they trade would mean for the Red Sox and Indians.
- Here's Coco's Wikipedia entry, which explains where his nickname comes from.
- Here's something you may not have known about Coco--he recorded a hip hop song, "We Got That Thing."
- Here are a couple of pictures of Coco when he played for the New Hampshire Ravens (now the Fisher Cats) in the Cardinals' minor league system.
Find this useful? Don't hesitate to click the PayPal button on the right-hand side of my main page and send a handsome donation to the author!
January 22, 2006
Coco Crisp, Redux
So the Red Sox might get Coco Crisp, whom I have written about in the past as a member of my all-time Major League Baseball Food Team.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 10:51 AM
January 1, 2006
Baseball cards are so much cooler now than when I was a kid. Take this one, for example, which is of Moises Alou, a minor star in my book. It starts with a "throwback" graphic design, based on a set of cards that Cracker Jack first issued in 1915. Topps came out with a set of cards for 2004 that used the old design with some new twists. This card then includes a "game worn" Jersey swatch. They take an actual Jersey he wore in some game, and cut it up into tiny pieces and include little swatches in the cards. The one shown here, owned by my son, has a nice swatch because it shows a small piece of pinstripe. For a collector, this card is modestly attractive, worth $3-8 according to Beckett's, the publisher that tracks such things.
My older son is a fairly serious collector, and does some buying and selling on eBay. For a complete listing of all the cards my son is currently selling on eBay, click here.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 1:30 PM
April 24, 2005
I saw Fever Pitch, and it was quite good. I am not a Farrelly brothers fan, so I can't really compare it to anything else they have done. But if you are a Red Sox fan, and enjoy romantic comedy, you should absolutely see it. All of the Red Sox details are spot on, and the love story is quirky and fun. Plus I think I have a new favorite song.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 1:26 PM
February 12, 2005
Spring is in the Air
Some people wait for the crocuses; I wait for this.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 10:44 PM
December 11, 2004
Me and Julio Down at the Schoolyard
46-year old infielder Julio Franco signed a contract to remain an Atlanta Brave today. That means, as of this writing, there is still someone in Major League Baseball who is older than me.
Here's to you, Julio.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:49 PM
November 29, 2004
This is Cool
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:10 PM
November 3, 2004
One Last Baseball Quote for Now
I often share the following quote with friends at the end of the baseball season. Like the one in the previous entry, it is from the late (and great) A. Bartlett Giamatti, who in his lifetime was a Renaissance scholar, President of Yale University, and the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. If there were a baseball team of intellectual gods, Giamatti would hit cleanup in my lineup.
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today... a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:04 PM
October 30, 2004
Quote for the Day
I see great things in baseball. It's our game -- the American game. It will take our people out of doors, fill them with oxygen, give them a larger physical stoicism. Tend to relieve us from being a nervous, dyspeptic set. Repair those losses, and be a blessing to us.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 8:45 PM
Red Sox Parade
I am down for the count with a bad cold today, so I stayed away from the Red Sox parade, watching a long stretch of it on television today. I have to say I really liked a lot of the touches--the Red Sox traveled in the amphibious "Duck Tour" boats. Each boat seemed to have its own theme--starting pitchers in one, relievers in another.
The camera work was not great. It was overcast, and it looked like a lot of shots were taken at a great distance, but I think I saw former Sox manager Joe Morgan in one of the duck boats, along with former player (and a personal favorite of mine) Rick Miller, who is also a New England native as I recall. I am not sure though, so will check the writeups tomorrow.
The other great thing about the parade is that it featured nearly all of my favorite parts of Boston--starting at Fenway Park, then the Back Bay and Copley Square, the Public Gardens and Boston Common, and finally both the Boston and Cambridge sides of the Charles River. I love a lot of different cities, but the backdrop of the parade also reminded me how much I love Boston.
This calls to mind a book about the Boston cityscape, referenced below.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 4:34 PM
October 25, 2004
Speaking of Roy Hobbs
There is a small universe of novels about baseball that I have enjoyed over the years. A couple of these are obvious, and the others less so.
There is no lack of great baseball writing of course. Andre Dubus, for example, has at least two great short stories that center on baseball. And James Thurber's, "You Could Look it Up" is a delight.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 2:09 PM
Where do I Start?
There are just too many themes and stories, plots and subplots, and texts and subtexts of this year's baseball postseason. There is the whole curse of the Bambino angle, the improbable Red Sox comeback over the Evil Empire, and the Roy Hobbsian story of Curt Schilling bleeding through his socks.
For my part, I love all the small stories of redemption. It was Tim Wakefield, who coughed up the series-winning homerun to Aaron Boone in 2003, only to come back this year and win the crucial game five over the Yankees. It was Mark Bellhorn emerging from a slump to deliver key hits to beat the Yankees (and, since then, to deliver key hits against the Cardinals as well.) It was Derek Lowe recovering from a woefully disappointing season to win the clinching games in both the AL Division Series and AL Championship Series.
You couldn't write these stories in advance. They are too quirky and almost entirely unpredictable. And that is one of the things that makes baseball great.
Now if the Red Sox can only stop making so many damn errors.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 1:45 PM
October 21, 2004
Yankee Tales, II
I met Reggie Jackson during the 1978 season. No, I am overstating it. I was in the same room as Reggie Jackson during the 1978 season. He actually came into the store where I was working. My buddy, Kevin Whalen--a huge Yankees fan--was also working that day. Kevin was so excited that he was quivering. He went straight up to Reggie and asked for an autograph, and Reggie turned him down. Kevin was crushed.
But Mrs. DiOrio came to Kevin's rescue. Mrs. DiOrio ran our cosmetics counter. She was as blunt and funny as they come, and she marched right over to Reggie and bellowed, "Who the hell do you think you are? Give that boy your autograph!" Nobody said no to Mrs. DiOrio, not even Reggie Jackson, who just laughed, motioned Kevin over, and added his autograph to Kevin's book.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 8:59 PM
October 12, 2004
Yankee Tales, I
When I was in college, I used to work summers at a nice drugstore in the plaza level of the Prudential Center in Boston. One of the perks of working there was that it was right next to a nice hotel, what was then the Sheraton Boston, and the visiting baseball teams often stayed there, since it was also very close to Fenway Park.
As a result, I ended up coming face-to-face with a number of major league baseball players. Reggie Jackson was easily the most famous, and there were plenty of unfamous ones--rookies, journeymen, and various one-hit wonders.
This would have been the summers of 1977, 1978, and 1979--so the height of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry of that era, with Jackson, Thurmon Munson, and Ron Guidiry on the New York side, and Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Carlton Fisk, and Bill Lee on the Boston side.
I was working one day the Yankees were in town, and Chris Chambliss came in to the store. Chambliss was a big, slugging first basemen for the Yankees. On any other team, he would be the heart of the order, but on that Yankees team he was one of many stars. His relative obscurity on the team saved him, I think, from the wrath of Red Sox fans.
There was something, too, about Chambliss' demeanor though. He was a tall, quiet African-American man, and this was a period in history when Boston was not necessarily a friendly place for a person of color to visit. The protests over busing were only a few years in the past, and the Red Sox, who had been the last team in major league baseball to integrate, were still a team of white, lumbering stars. The 1978 team had both Jim Rice and George Scott, as I recall--both African-American men--but Boston always seemed to have the fewest nonwhites on the field.
I say all this as backdrop to Chambliss and his demeanor. Next to Reggie Jackson, who was all swagger and flash, Chambliss was the strong, silent type--a star in his own right who carried himself with a quiet dignity. The cynic could easily say that this is how white Americans prefer their African-American athletes--productive and quiet--and this could be seen as especially true of Boston at that point in time. But I like to think there was something else at work with Chambliss too. Even as rival fans--even as rival and primarily white fans--we liked him both for his obvious talent and his workmanlike approach to the game. In that way, he was like Boston's superstar of the time, Carl Yastrzemski. No one else approached the game with the stoicism and New England work ethic of Yaz; he appealed to that flinty New England sense of life as effort, life as grim duty. Perhaps we saw in Chambliss some of the same gritty everyman we saw in Yaz.
So I am standing at the cash register and in walks Chris Chambliss. After briefly wandering the aisles, he comes to the register and chooses a couple of newspapers--a Boston Globe and a New York Times. (Baseball players are not the most cerebral types, so one of them buying the Times--and passing up The Daily News and other NY papers--is noteworthy, in my book.)
So here is Chambliss, now, pulling out a pocket of change and handing me 50 cents, to which I reflexively reply, "that's 75 cents."
And then here is Chambliss, who up until this time hasn't even looked at me, instead scanning the papers in front of him, looking up and saying, "Why 75 cents?"
And here I am, about to say what I always to to people, that the total is 75 cents since we charge extra for the New York Times because it is an out of town paper. But instead, for some reason, I say, "Because you play for the Yankees."
I only let this hang out there for a few seconds, but I wish I had the skill and vocabulary to describe the look on Chris Chambliss' face in the few seconds before I said, "Just kidding!" It quickly went from confused to bemused to, well, horrified, and I imagined in that very brief moment that he was considering that I was really and truly crazy. This was Boston, after all; in games that season the Yankees and Sox had slugged it out with bats and fists, and, of course, the Red Sox were on the losing end on both counts. Why couldn't I be a crazed fan seeking vengeance? He was probably thinking it was just his damn luck to buy a newspaper from some me.
But the moment passed. I nervously explained I was joking, that the Times cost extra because it was an out-of-town newspaper. He smiled very briefly, but I wasn't sure if he was smiling at my little joke or smiling because he was certain now that I was nuts and was just trying to be polite. He folded his newspapers under his arm and walked back toward the hotel.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 1:28 PM
So here we sit on the cusp of another Red-Sox Yankees playoff series. The last two times they have met for the American League Championship, the Yankees have won. The Yankees also won a one-game playoff to decide the American League East in 1878. Since the Red Sox last won the World Series in 1918, the Yankees have won the World Series 26 times. Yet people still use the word "rivalry." A more accurate description would be something along the lines of a sado-masochistic relationship.
I am still traumatized by Grady Little's vapor lock in the playoffs last year when he left Pedro in just long enough to lose the game, and, as a result, the series, the season, and his job. As a result, I doubt I will be able to directly watch even a minute of this series. I will probably listen to the radio in short bursts... just long enough to determine the score. Unless the Red Sox are up big (5 or more runs with less than 4 outs to go), I won't sit down and watch. I am committed to this strategy after I thought I took sufficient care during the Red Sox-Angels series but ended up terrorized yet again.
I missed most of the clinching game against the Angels, working instead. I only got the score second-hand on my subway ride home. They were up 6-1 when I stepped into my wife's car, moments later it was 6-2 and, two pitches after that, 6-6. I almost had a stroke. I decided at that moment that I needed some new hobbies.
So I will follow this series from a distance, thank you. I really do love reading about baseball almost as much as I like watching it, so this will be a much safer way to go.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 11:45 AM
July 8, 2004
More on the major league baseball All Food Team:
Pepper Martin and Spud David were teammates on the 1928 St. Louis Cardinals.
For those lovers of game, the starting shortstop on that team was Rabbit Maranville.
In an odd twist, the 1927 Cardinals only had Rabbit, but had a number of All Music Team members, including Hi and Les Bell and Jimmy Ring.
(Another idea... unfortunate names for pitchers. Bob Walk. Eric Plunk. Is that it?)
Posted by Bill Trippe at 1:10 AM
July 2, 2004
Am I a Cruel Father?
For turning my boys into Red Sox fans? They found a whole new hellish way to lose tonight, dropping the final game of a three-game series in which the Yankees swept them. The Sox are now 8 1/2 games behind the Yankees.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 12:50 AM
June 27, 2004
Those Darn Red Sox
The Red Sox took two out of three against the Phillies this weekend. They won the Friday opening game, 12-1, lost yesterday, 9-2, and romped again today, 12-3.
Guess which game I spent more than $300 dollars taking my family to see?
I love baseball, and I often remind myself to love baseball first and the Red Sox second. I don't like to see them lose, of course, but what really sucked about the 9-2 loss was the way they lost—they committed four errors in the field, and they only managed to score 2 runs despite out-hitting the Phillies, 14-13. Red Sox pitchers threw a staggering 174 pitches in 9 innings, only 112 of them for strikes, walked four batter, hit another one, and threw a wild pitch.
Today they turned it all around. They scored 12 runs on 12 hits, made a single uneventful error, and pitched well.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 9:42 PM
June 24, 2004
Coco Crisp is the switch-hitting centerfielder for the up and coming Cleveland Indians. I don't even want to know if it is his real name or not, as it rockets him to the top of my all-time Major League Baseball Food Team. It puts him past Catfish Hunter, Mudcat Grant, Tim Salmon, Steve and Dizzy Trout, and one-time teammates Chili Davis and Candy Moldonado. Let's not forget Alfredo Griffin. Bill Bean (and Billy Beane). Randy Bass. Bob Kipper.
(There is also now a Barry Wesson in the majors, but I haven't come up with a rule yet for brand names. That would open the floodgates to the likes of Bill Campbell and Tom Prince, for starters.)
The more uncommon the food name, the better. Thus, I prefer a name like Strawberry over, say, just Berry. There is only one Strawberry in the history of major league baseball. There are a number of Berry's in the history of baseball; the one I always think about is Ken Berry, who played most of his career with the White Sox and was a nemesis to the Red Sox.
The Red Sox have had a few food-named players. Jim Rice of course. Steve Curry. Charlie Berry and, much later, Sean Berry. Jeff Frye and Jack Coffey (admittedly a stretch on spelling, but this is more often a spoken discussion than written, and would allow names like Johnny Oates and Bob Veale to be added to the larger roster). Rob Deer (if you include game) and Jimmie Foxx (if you include game and allow for a stretch on spelling). Catfish Metkovich (you could look it up!).
(If you want to get cute, you could also add to the Red Sox list Bernie Carbo, Eric Wedge, Guido Grilli, Jack Baker, Tom Brewer, and old-time player Ralph Glaze. Don't forget Wes Stock and Taffy Wright.)
Another list, for another time, is the startling number of Red Sox players past and present whose last name is also a place name in Massachusetts. Tim Wakefield. Carl Everett and Everett Scott. Fred Lynn and Lynn McGlothen. Joe Hudson (and a Sid Hudson back in the 1950s). Wes Gardner (and a Larry Gardner back in the early 20th century). Tom Bolton. Jeff Plympton. Erik Hanson. Garry Hancock. Mike Paxton. Bill Lee, Lee Graham, and Sang-Hoon Lee. Lou Clinton. 1920s one-hit wonder Bob Adams. Allen "Rubberarm" Russell, Jack Russell, Rip Russell, and Jeff Russell.
Current Red Sox announcer and former big league pitcher Bob Tewksbury is an honory member, despite having never appeared for the Red Sox.
(In an odd detail of this Boston placename thing, the Red Sox once traded away a promising young infielder, Adam Everett, for outfielder Carl Everett. In another, Lou Clinton was traded for Lee Thomas.)
Sadly, Daryl Boston never played for the Red Sox. Nor did Lee Hancock.
But Ernest Dudley Lee did.
(How about an all music team? Steve and Dave Sax. Frank Viola. George, Buddy, (and many other) Bell's. Ryan Minor. Bill Singer. Jimmy Key. Sam Horn (who was a teammate of Dave Sax and Jody Reed at the same time.)
OK, I will stop now.
Posted by Bill Trippe at 11:36 PM