Barks & Bites

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Steroid Era Over -- Sanchez Caught

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And a call for submissions for a Red Sox documentary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Juice Me Up for the Ball Game

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

And Michael Cardin adds:

The Night They Drove Ole Barry Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not everybody hates the song parodies:

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

- Anthony"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give me General Belichick. Every time.

Jim Weldon
Capt., USMC
VMFA-25"

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

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

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

On the political front: 

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

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

-- Shaun Connor, Lifelong Democrat and Sox fan"

They're Still Fallon in Love with Jimmy and Fever Pitch

3.25.05: Warning spoilers... if Fever Pitch can even have spoilers. Not spoilers like Sox superfan Jessamy Finet plays Teresa in the movie and the character had her stomach stapled, but some spoilers, and a review, by LA's Ryan Corrigan:

"There are Fever Pitch billboards plastered all over Hollywood, and in some cases, directly across from each other on opposite sides of the street, so no matter which way you're driving, you're forced to look at Fenway Park. Can't complain.

"I went to a test screening of Fever Pitch at Fox Studios last Saturday, and the theater was at full-capacity. The very first guy in line was Soxed out to the max, like he was camping for ALCS tickets under the Monster or something. Some other Boston paraphernalia was seen, but we likely comprised the minority. Seeing as how the movie will surely kill in Boston anyway, I figured the film's performance with this particular crowd might be a good barometer for national audiences. And if it is, the movie ought to do quite well, because it played favorably to those discerning members of Raider Nation.

"The film is, of course, just as much about Jimmy Fallon's love affair with Drew Barrymore as it is with the Red Sox. As a romantic comedy, it's okay. I'm not big on romantic comedies, but this one sets itself apart from the pack by taking the oft-neglected "girl versus baseball team" approach. You can thank Nick Hornby for that. I haven't read his book or seen the 1997 film about his beloved Arsenal football club, but it looks like the filmmakers got it right. They certainly picked the right sports team for a movie about the trials and tribulations of love. The Americanization also includes some typical Farrelly Brothers moments, i.e. puking and head injuries, but they're restraining themselves here, for which we should all be happy.

"As for the presence of the Red Sox players, organization, and general team mythos, it is constant and unrelenting. This makes watching the film a complete blast if you're a Sox fan, because it feels like Hollywood is pandering just to you. Jokes abound that only Bostonians will pick up, like when Fallon kisses a photo of Tony C. and blesses himself, or the simple sight of Bob Lobel on the silver screen -- in DTS, mind you -- just like he was meant to be experienced. And there's also an absurd sequence that puts Tim McCarver, Harold Reynolds, and yes, Don Orsillo in the same announcer's booth. What?! It's like the Yalta Conference of play-by-play. I can't imagine a Devil Ray diehard (is there such a thing?) or your run-of-the-mill Philly Phanatic liking this movie nearly as much as a Sox fan.

"I happened to meet Jimmy Fallon about a month ago, and he talked about how amazed he was by the timing of the film's production. He said the events of October literally changed the script and the film itself, and you can definitely see it onscreen. The way the couple's relationship parallels the team's fortunes, right down to Game 4 of the ALCS, is pretty crazy. It makes for a better movie. And though the Red Sox's victory march isn't the focus per se, it does get attention. Watching Roberts steal second on the big screen in a dark theater, and Mueller drive him home and Ortiz drop one in right, well, it still gives you chills."

More hot Boston leftovers taken down to Florida…

3.15.05: Got a boatload of emails from people bashing Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore for their roles in being on the field for “Fever Pitch” during the “sacred” final out of the World Series. Also received many notes from people with the common sense to say “don’t blame the actors, they’re just doing what they were told.” If you are going to blame anyone for their being on the field, blame the Farrelly brothers or the Red Sox who authorized it.

Regarding Fallon, he gets a very favorable review from Moriarty in a sneak preview from the aintitcool.com website (no worries, no spoilers):

“…I walked into the screening ready to hate Jimmy Fallon in this film. I don’t get him. I think he’s painfully unfunny on SNL, and TAXI was like being kicked in the balls by my DVD player for two hours. Somehow, though, the Farrellys managed to strip away all of Fallon’s bad habits here and they got a real performance out of him. Maybe it’s appropriate that he’s not the best-looking guy and he’s not suave and hilarious all the time. Same thing with Barrymore. She’s normal, approachable, and that’s a big part of her appeal.”

This is the best film the Farrelly Brothers have made since THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, and it feels like a huge step forward for them as artists.”

Speaking of movies, reader Cobsie sends in the following from a website interview with Tom Cruise and Steven Speilberg about the upcoming flick “War of the Worlds:”

Super Bowl ad - Yankees fan lives and Red Sox fan dies.

Spielberg: There's a lot of little moments throughout the film just like that one.

Are you a Yankees fan in real life?

Cruise: Yes, of course I am.

Spielberg: I'm a Boston fan.

Cruise: Yeah, of course I'm a Yankees fan.

Received a nice out-of-the-blue note from Duke son-of-Joe Castiglione who is going to send me one of those nifty bottle openers with his dad’s World Series call on it. Duke is a sports anchor at CBS2 in New York City and he’s also working as a reporter for ESPN and will be doing the Sox-Dodgers game in Vero Beach on the 21st.

ESPN Outsider email:

Can we somehow use the Boston Dirt Dogs site as a forum to point out the ridiculous number of articles on ESPN.com/mlb that you have to buy the ESPN Insider to read? Dirt Dogs is my home page, and from there I have a daily list of web sites I browse, including Boston Globe, Boston Herald, the Soxaholix, MLB.com, and www.espn.go.com/mlb. I don't give a crap about the opinion columns in the Boston Herald that you have to pay for but ESPN has a lot of good articles that people can't read, and it seems to be growing. I remember Rob Neyer used to have insightful articles that I don't get to read anymore, they have info on minor leaguers, trade rumors, and now just general articles that normal sports fans don't have access to. I think Dirt Dogs could use their web site to put a little pressure on ESPN- at least embarrass them a little bit. Thanks for your time- again, your site is my home page, keep up the awesome work.

LTJG Casey Kirkpatrick USS ROOSEVELT

Got the usual flood of emails for daring to poke fun at politics when the Sox visited the White House. Here’s the only nice one:

Dear BDD,

I read your site with relish through most of last season, enjoying your straightforward take on the entertaining and exciting 2004 season. That's why it pains me so much that you choose to interject political comment into a site that is about a sport. I happen to ardently disagree with Curt Schilling's politics and religious beliefs, as I do with those of George W. Bush. Does that make me less of a Sox fan in your eyes? If so, you are dead wrong on that. I'm writing because I like your site and I'm afraid you're on the verge of diluting your own fan base. Please, leave the political diatribes out of it and stick to your funny, interesting take on the Sox. Just a suggestion....

Sincerely,

Mark Huntley
Lifelong Sox Fan

Trey Jackson of Jackson’s Junction has the video of the meeting and adds “Watching the President have fun with John Kerry is great! Knowing the biggest star on the Red Sox (Curt Schilling) campaigned for the President. Sorry John. Enjoy, this is funny!”

Another hot topic was an email from a reader who was critical of the popular Sox watering hole -- and sometimes Tom Werner hangout -- Sonny McClean’s in Santa Monica, Calif. Many loyal patrons of Sonny’s chimed in to defend the gin mill, including the owner himself, Jim Connors, originally from Foxborough:

Sorry about your feelings towards Sonny's. We try and accommodate everyone we can, but just like Fenway Park not everyone can get in and if you do you might not get a seat. The two things we do at Sonny's on big games whether it is the Sox, Pats, Celts, and when there was Hockey the Bruins, we reserve seats for our regulars. Kind of like a season ticket holder. These regulars come into the pub to watch at least 3 to 4 Sox games a week, watch the Patriots before they started winning and who are also here when the game is on the local TV out in LA. Those REGULARS account for about 60 people out of the 138. The other 78 seats are reserved for the people who call up and make a reservation, which for Pats games we would take every Tuesday starting at 11:30 pm. For the Sox games we list it on our web site and our answering machine when we will be taking reservations.

We do this for a few reasons:

1. Santa Monica is very strict on capacity so we don't want to overbook and get shut down.

2. In the past when our regulars would come in, let's call them Norm and Cliff, to watch the Seventh game of the ALCS they see sitting in their seat Eric Anderson, who has recently decided to hop on the bandwagon and start cheering for the Sox and is sitting in Norm and Cliff’s seats. This causes much pushing and shoving, which we don't need.

3. Also when we fill up we like to tell the people to go across the street and watch the game at the Shack, which is all Boston fans during any big Boston games. We also send people down to Hermosa Beach where there is another Boston bar called Fat Face Fenner's Fish Shack.

So once again Eric were sorry for any inconvenience and I hope your Buddy's new place Clubber Langs Mexican Bar is a big success if you wanted some Boston business we would of helped you out like Fat Face Fenner's (best chowda in town) ... Thanks Gary (Fat Face Fenner) for not calling us CHUMPS and AMATEURS when trying to accommodate the Boston crowd like some others.

FROM #1 CHUMP
Jim

Vanity Fair's (I know) Seth Mnookin replays the knife's-edge dramas, with exclusive access to the men who remade a legend. In VF's April 2005 issue, Mnookin gives the first real-time, behind-the-scenes account of the Sox sale. It’s a great read, with some cool pics. The article is on newsstands now.

The Sound of music (or lack thereof). Geez, and I thought everyone loved the snappy song parodies:

Dear Big Dog,

There's no easy way to say this, so I'm just gonna come right out with it....

NO ONE, AND I MEAN NO ONE, ENJOYS IT WHEN YOU CHANGE THE LYRICS OF A SONG TO FIT WHATEVER SPORTS STORY IS RELEVANT AT THAT TIME. WHEN YOU WRITE, "TO THE TUNE OF...", IT MAKES FOR AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL SPORTS WRITING AND EVEN WORSE HUMOR.

This is a column, and having the reader conjure up a soundtrack to a headline is a half-ass attempt at recreating something you might hear on WEEI or Sportscenter....and it does not work. Think of it this way...you are asking your readers to sing in their heads to get the joke, would you want to do that? No way.

So sorry to be this rough on you, but it needs to stop. They are not funny, they never will be, and they are gradually getting worse. There is maybe about 10% of your readers who have the ability to "soundtrack an article".

I am one of them (I am musically inclined, I'm in the biz), and there has never been even a hint of humor, wit, or creativity in one of these awful ideas.

BUT, keep up the great work on the rest of the site. I will still continue to check it 3 times a day as always, but will continue to put off the use of the word "perfect" to describe Boston Dirt Dogs until this madness stops.

Respectfully,
Anthony Villa

Yes, we are well aware that the “Queer Eye” guys are in Fort Myers and knocking around town for the big episode with the Sox. The QE guys are still not as big as "Baby V," the Fort Myers local who is part of American Idol" final dozen. And if we listed every Red Sox TV, radio, magazine, and in-person promotion, we’d have to start a new website. These guys are popular. We get it. Speaking of heavy Kevin, reader Eric Luoto wrote in “Hey I see Kevin came in 15 lbs heavier… coincidentally, has anyone see Nelson de La Rosa??”

Longtime baseball writer and Boston Herald sports columnist Steve Buckley has a book coming out. “Who doesn’t?” is the question thrown around these days. But Buck’s book IS NOT about the 2004 Red Sox. In “Red Sox: Where Have You Gone?,” fans have the opportunity to catch up with 50 former Red Sox players, reliving both their on-field glory and their post-playing career and life choices, such as Cy Young Award-winner Jim Lomborg going from the mound to dentistry school and Billy MacLeod, who spent just two games with the club, working a variety of jobs. Fans will read about Sox players from more than six different decades, from stars like Fred Lynn, Dennis Eckersley, Dick Radatz, Bobby Doerr, and Johnny Pesky, through players with brief Fenway stops like Lou Stringer, Jeff Plympton, and Jack Baker. One player profiled never appeared in a game for the Sox, but played a key role in the re-ignition of the surprisingly (at the time) dormant Red Sox-Yankees blood feud. With a World Series title under their belts, looking back at the history of the Red Sox has lost some of its associated pain.

Buck will sign copies of his new book on Monday, April 4, at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Burlington from 7:30 to 9:00 pm.

Was fortunate enough to get out of Fort Myers and spend some quality time in Naples. If Ft. Myers is the Framingham of Southwest Florida, Naples is certainly the Newport, RI. Sadly, there were no signs of Neumy chasing down balls on the links, or chasing cougars at the Naples Beach Club, Chop City Bar Grill, Yabba’s on 5th or Campanellis on 3rd. All great spots if you ever venture down that way. Neumy must have been on his way to Italy to chase down Sophia Loren.

Some food for thought to chew on

2.28.05: Some random leftovers while still digesting the SoSH Trophy Party carving station offerings :-) and waiting for Dr. Charles to give us the official count of members in Red Sox Nation based on the not-yet-delivered official membership cards...

If Nomar lied to his teammates about the extent of his "day-to-day" injuries, as was well-documented last season, don't expect him to be forthcoming about how he really feels about getting a World Series ring when questioned by reporters. And yes, we know the 2005 calendar was updated.

Pedro fans can read on about how Pedro can save the Mets here. And why the Red Sox shouldn't be so confident about beating out the Yankees in the AL East.

And I thought they hated Jimy Williams in this town:

I'm a regular reader of your site, going back a few years. I am not prone to write angry letters except under extreme duress. In this case, I have to say, however, I was VERY disappointed to see your site acting as a shameless shill for the ultimate Red Sox fraud, Jimmy Fallon. Let me say that again:

THE ULTIMATE RED SOX FRAUD.

Nevermind that he is from New York, an admitted Yankees fan (not to mention the most overrated member of the SNL cast in twenty years); I get things free with my breakfast cereal with more talent than this %#@!.

The fact that he defiled the field in St. Louis with his no-talent presence moments after the Boston Red Sox won their first World Series championship in nearly nine decades just to film an alternate ending for his new film about a team he is at best indifferent to, and at worst hates, should in and of itself be enough for all of Red Sox Nation to boycott his film.

As one of the supposed keepers of the flame, I am nothing short of appalled that you are now shilling for this super-fraud and that you can't or choose not to see through him.

I am THOROUGHLY disgusted. Outraged. Mortified and stupified.

Jimmy Fallon stinks goats, and you should be calling for true Sox fans to boycott this film, not giving press to this wimp, no-talent fraud. You can count one less member of your readership if you don't call this guy out for the fraud he is. What a joke. I thought you were better than that.

Your probably former reader,

-- DP

One of many replies to DP:

First of all DP, who the heck still watches SNL and if you do - who admits it... remember what it says in the begining, "Live from New York"... who's the sellout now? And your overall rant about Jimmy Fallon as a fraud. Come on now... that's just silly!

Simply, it's a movie and Jimmy Fallon is an actor. By the statements below you are actually complimenting Mr. Jimmy Fallon as an actor. Who the heck cares if he's a Yankee fan or a freakin' Birmingham Barons fan - the movie is about Red Sox Nation and us, and we should be proud that we are on a national stage for all to try and understand. Take care and once again, it's a movie and he is an actor.

-- Sean Patrick Farrelly

Wait until Trot and Curt hear about this:

Speed Stick commercial slams A-Rod subliminally!

There is a new commercial for Speed Stick deodorant starring Alex Rodriguez. He's talking about how tough a town New York can be. But at the end, there is something that I noticed that I don't think was really part of the message. Here it is:

At the end of the commercial, it shows the product in front of the backdrop of a baseball stadium at night. You can clearly see the light fixtures. Some bulbs are missing, but the lights are on. In the main fixture, it appears that the bulbs that are on are in the configuration of the characters "E5".

Was this on purpose?

-- Dave

Hopefully A-Rod had his Stick on in this picture with Jetes. And what is this Yankee fan in training up to?

Good-time Derek Lowe just can't let it go. So much for taking the proverbial High Road out of town. D can't stop whining about the party lines written (and only one of many stories made it out in public.)

Okay, so we weren't the only ones in the online crowd to support the Nomar-for-Cabrera deal:

Nice scoop on the surly, sourpuss ex-shortstop. I am not surprised at whiney Nomah at all.

BTW: We also fully supported Theo on the move at the time.

Thanks and looking forward to a great season. Keep up the humor - baseball is too important to be without comedy! -- John M.

Yes it's true. David Wells did not find the humor in the NY Diner Photoshop we had with the number "3" stitched in his forehead.

I think they should have named it the JeterCenter for the day. Some people need to lighten up.

If you read one of the 717 Red Sox-Yankees-World Series books this year, it looks like "Emperors and Idiots" by the New York Post's Mike Vaccaro is the must-read of the season. (OK, fair disclosure, our snappy commentary is mentioned throughout :-)

Jose Canseco is on board with the plan, now it's your turn Bud. Greenwell for MVP.

Hey we just said Nomar was named in Caseco's book. He was. Bill Burt linked him to steroids. We always believed Nomar was clean in that regard.

Overthemonster.com wants a shout out. So does this Bellhorn geosite. FenwayFanatics. Red Sox Hall of Famers. Yanks Fan vs. Sox Fan. And the humorous TalkingBaseball.

While we love Jeff Horrigan's work at The Herald, you read about Mrs. Petagine here first on February 8: "On a non-baseball note, his wife Olga, who is 24 years Roberto's senior, was his friend's mother when they met." -- Daigo Fujiwara, Boston Dirt Dogs, founder of JapaneseBallplayers.com

An unconfirmed report on Tedy Bruschi:

Totally rumor (no first hand info.)...reports I (a Doctor) hear suggest that Tedy Bruschi could have something called a patent foramen ovale, allowing for a small blood clot to migrate from the right side of the circulation to the left and go to the brain. One would not discuss anticoagulation (blood thinning) for a leaking blood vessel/aneurysm.

Puljols too? I'm sure Tony-the-Phony LaRussa knows the deal:

The Boston Globe reports that Cardinals are cautiously observing Pujols Plantar tendonitis! An inflammation of the muscles surrounding the heel. A rare injury but one that Mark McGwire once experienced! I think the Globe is trying to tell us what we all suspect bout Poooo Holes, THE JUICE! Talk about exploding craniums. This guy has the world's largest melon.

Next Barry "the fraud" Bonds will be on the 15 day disabled list for a strained left eyebrow muscle.

Damn freaks!  -- Jim Berish

In case you missed it, the Red Sox Inc. may getting into NASCAR next.

Thank God we don't have to deal with any more curse crap like this any longer.

Not only is the Nike Pro Warriors campaign the most horrendous advertising seen in decades, Nike screws things up at the local level as well:

Nike Town on Newbury Street has their new Nike Pro ads up in the windows, I was walking by last week, the one right behind the counter facing outside was Keith Foulke, but it was spelled "Foulk." I walked by yesterday and the sign is now turned around so that it looks like a white backdrop. How does somebody make the mistake of spelling his name wrong in BOSTON when he was on the mound for the last out of the Sox first WS win in 86 years?!?

If you get a chance, check out the band "Breaking Benjamin" when they make their run through Boston.

Bet the house on the Sox in Los Angeles:

My LA book is carrying these odds to win the AL East:

Baltimore Orioles 50-1
Boston Red Sox 7-2
New York Yankees 1-8
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 100-1
Toronto Blue Jays 100-1

Amazing value to get the Sox at +350. The Yankee odds are ridiculous.

Ballgate negativity:

Would you please DROP the subject of Minky and that stupid ball? This has gone beyond ridiculous. If you want to chase him down for the ball, you'll have to do the same for every other baseball player who took home a simliar ball, including Cal Ripken. And while you're at it, what about Tom Brady, who left Heinz field Sunday night with the final football, saying "I'm trying to build up my trophy case." Where's the vendetta against HIM?

Though Minky is now apparently on his way to the Mets, I for one will never forget him and the key contributions he made to the Red Sox season. No Minky, no World Series championship. He deserves accolades, not condemnation. And your Web site is a disgrace.

...And you might call it a "fun topic," but Jodi and Doug and their families have been going through crap (including threatening and vicious phone calls) for doing something that anyone else in the same spot would have (and have) done. And I don't think abusing people is "fun." And that is why your site is indeed a disgrace -- you take pleasure in causing people pain. -- Harry and Charlotte Marks

Not always Sonny in Santa Monica:

I know reading or hearing about a Boston bar in Santa Monica seems exciting to people here in the Hub. I've been to Sonny's a couple of times and at first it is pretty cool. You walk through the threshold and it's like you stepped 3,000 miles into Beantown. The TV is tuned to Boston stations, the wall is covered with pictures of Cousy, Russell, Orr, Williams, Bird, etc, etc.

But do not be fooled. This place is for chumps and run by chumps. They clearly have been out of Boston for far too long. On game days, whether is the Pats or Sox they hold seats for folks even when dozen are standing. What is this!? Do you think an establishment in Boston would try to pull that? The place is not all that and I warn Dirt Dogs about legitimizing a place run by rank amateurs and used to be Bostonians.

My best buddy and a crew of hard core Bostonians are boycotting the joint and I hope others will too. If you are in the area, there's a great bar on Franklin St. The Mr. T. Mexico Bar will treat you right with REAL Boston fans and folks who treat everyone fairly. F Sonny's!  -- Eric Anderson

More proof we get more Yankee fans reading here than any Yankees' site, and some of them are very good people. This from Bill who wrote "Talkin' Disgrace-Ball" for today's front page:

Your website really makes my and my wife, Toni's, day. She is 58-years old and a three-year cancer survivor (non-Hodgkin's small lymphocytic lymphoma). Her disease is not curable, but thankfully, has remained stable to the pint where she continues to work -- and has missed only 3-4 days in the past 3 years. She'll be thrilled when I show her that my parody made it onto your website.

As I said, we're both Yankee fans, but always enjoy the Sox/Yankee rivalry.

One of our good friends is 78-year old Arthur Richman, who is a senior advisor to George Steinbrenner, and the guy who recommended that he hire Joe Torre back in November of 1995. We became friends with Arthur when I lived and worked in the Tampa, Florida area back in the early to mid-'90s, and have stayed close with him through the years. (Arthur's older brother was the late Milton Richman, a Hall-of-Fame sportswriter who used to work for UPI.)

My background includes over 25 years in advertising, marketing and freelance journalism (my major in college). I started out as a sportswriter for the now-defunct Worcester, News Recorder and did some stringing for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette back in the 1970's.

I still love to write, though I have become jaded and quite cynical over the years. Lately, my only "contributions" to the field of journalism have been e-mails to WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show (I'm known only as "Bill in Rhode Island). They keep reading what I submit ... so I guess I'll keep sending them my stuff.

That's one of the reasons Toni and I thoroughly enjoy BostonDirtDogs.com so much. You have an uncanny ability to find the irony and humor in things that many fans are beginning to take way too seriously, in my opinion.

No matter what the outcome of the games, it's always great to logon to your site and be able to laugh out loud the next day.

I'm proud to have become an honorary contributor.

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart (and for the big smile I know it will bring to my wife later today when I show it to her).

Keep up the great work. Best regards,

Bill Bingham

NESN's 2005 Boston Red Sox pre-season television schedule

THURSDAY March 3, 2005 MINNESOTA. AT FT. MYERS 7:00 PM
SATURDAY March 5, 2005 CINCINNATI AT SARASOTA 6:00 PM 38
SUNDAY March 6, 2005 PHILADELPHIA AT FT. MYERS 1:00 PM
MONDAY March 7, 2005 NEW YORK AT FT. MYERS 7:00 PM HD
SATURDAY March 12, 2005 TAMPA BAY AT FT. MYERS 1:00 PM
SUNDAY March 13, 2005 MINNESOTA AT HAMMOND STADIUM 1:00 PM 38
THURSDAY March 17, 2005 FLORIDA AT FT. MYERS 1:00 PM 38
SATURDAY March 19, 2005 BALTIMORE AT FT. MYERS 1:00 PM 38
SUNDAY March 20, 2005 PITTSBURGH AT BRADENTON 1:00 PM
TUESDAY March 22, 2005 CINCINNATI AT FT. MYERS 6:00 PM HD
FRIDAY March 25, 2005 MINNESOTA AT FT. MYERS 1:00 PM 38
SATURDAY March 26, 2005 TAMPA BAY AT. ST. PETERSBURG 1:00 PM
SUNDAY March 27, 2005 PITTSBURGH AT FT. MYERS 1:00 PM
TUESDAY March 29, 2005 NEW YORK YANKEES AT TAMPA 1:00 PM 38
WEDNESDAY March 30, 2005 TAMPA BAY AT FT. MYERS 1:00 PM 38
THURSDAY March 31, 2005 ARIZONA AT PHOENIX, AZ 6:30 PM HD

Trot talks

1.26.05: Slaps headphones, not gloves: "It's easy to go to the ballpark every day when you've got 25 guys who never have headphones on. Some teams, you've got 25 guys with headphones on all the time and that makes it difficult. We'd slap them off."

It's good to be Rich

1.25.05: Reports of El Guapo's kidnapping may have been greatly exaggerated. New details will be coming out later this week. File under: Family issues.

City of Palms Out

1.22.05: For anyone with a weekend to kill, MLB's Virtual Waiting Room (VWR) is open again on January 29. Online ticket brokers, scalpers, and net savvy types will bypass the VWR per usual by splicing some urls together and buy the motherload of the 2005 Fenway inventory. Same old song and dance. Meanwhile down at City of Palms Out Park, the box seats went from $16 to $24 - a 33% increase. They also added 300 premium seats ($36 to $44). Gordon Edes called the increase "naked greed." Charles Steinberg, said the team is "humbled and grateful" that the spring season sold out in 6 hours.

Denny_Tomori.jpgTurning Japanese again

1.19.05: Our underpaid correspondent Daigo Fujiwara who runs the Watertown, MA website JapaneseBallplayers.com checks in with the latest from the Far East:

"Sports Nippon is reporting that the Sox offered Denny Tomori (photo on right) a minor deal with incentive if he makes the cut for major league roster.

"Tomori is a 37 years old side-throwing relief pitcher that can throw 95 mph fast ball. (152 km/h please check the math) he also throws a sinker (fork ball?, I don't know what it is called in English), along with three other kind of breaking balls from the sidearm. Similar style pitcher is Shingo Takatsu of the White Sox and he was effective last year. (Editor's note: Hopefully Tomori doesn't throw the "Palm Ball" that Joe Garagiola With Vin Scully referred to coming out of Bob Stanley's hand 60 times in Game 2 of the '86 Series on NESN last night)

"Though his numbers are less than impressive, his odd style might throw the hitters off. The Sox made an offer and waiting to hear back from him. He may wait to see if any other team offers him a roster spot.

"Yesterday's Sports Nippon reports that the Boston Red Sox is showing interest in sending coaching staff(s) and young player(s) to Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (was Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, but Daiei sold it to Softbank this off season, yes, its Iguchi's team) 's spring training camp. The Japanese team told the media. The Hawks spring training camp will be at Ikimeno Mori ground in Miyazaki, starting Feb. 1.

"The reason for this is, reportedly, to "study and learn how Japanese train and develop young talent." but the newspaper goes on to say the Red Sox must have interest in scoping out Hawks's catcher Kenji Jojima.

"Jojima will be FA after the 2005 season and have requested to the club for a permission to attend major league team's spring training this spring. It is not uncommon for Japanese players (especially bigger name players) to be invited to the MLB camps. Ichiro did it in 1999 with Seattle and Nori Nakamura was with Dodgers last year etc.

"Hawks wanted to sign Jojima for multi year contract this season, but he insisted in one year deal, it is widely known that he is interested in coming to the major 2006 and become first Japanese catcher to do so. He is 28 years old. He signed 1 year $5mil with the Hawks, has career .293 average.

"The article shows no mention of Varitek and I think it is baloney! Yes, he is a pretty good hitter but I don't see him playing anywhere with Tek behind the plate.

"If anything, Hawks and Sox might engage in more business partnership sort of thing, that would be cool. The new owner, Softbank's Masayoshi Son is ambitious and partnership with them is a good move on Sox's part, I think. Yomiuri Giants and Yankees have a thing going, but Yomiuri's fan base and player talents are both declining. Son shocked the NPB by signing Tony Batista this year."

Better than the Bruins.

NESN will debut Red Sox World Series Winter on Monday, Jan, 3 at 7 p.m. Red Sox fans have seen all the highlights, but now they can see all the games as NESN re-broadcasts a total of 25 World Series and postseason games in prime time on 25 different nights this January and February.

Included in NESN’s Red Sox World Series Winter presentations will be each game of the 1975 World Series, 1986 World Series, 2004 American League Championship Series and 2004 World Series. Red Sox fans can tune-in and hear the original broadcast teams including Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek in 1975, Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola in 1986, and Joe Buck and Tim McCarver from this past October.

NESN’s Tom Caron will host Red Sox World Series Winter, providing background information and interesting anecdotes looking back at these history making post-season appearances. 

DATE

GAME

AIR TIMES

1/3/2005

1975 WORLD SERIES GAME #1

7:00 - 9:00 PM

1/4/2005

1975 WORLD SERIES GAME #2

7:00 - 9:00 PM

1/6/2005

1975 WORLD SERIESGAME #3

7:00 - 10:00 PM

1/10/2005

1975 WORLD SERIESGAME #4

7:00 - 10:00 PM

1/11/2005

1975 WORLD SERIESGAME #5

7:00 - 9:00 PM

1/12/2005

1975 WORLD SERIESGAME #6

7:00 - 10:00 PM

1/13/2005

1975 WORLD SERIESGAME #7

7:00 - 10:00 PM

1/17/2005

1986 WORLD SERIES GAME #1

7:00 - 10:00 PM

1/18/2005

1986 WORLD SERIES GAME #2

7:00 - 10:00 PM

1/19/2005

1986 WORLD SERIES GAME #3

7:00 - 10:00 PM

1/20/2005

1986 WORLD SERIES GAME #4

7:00 - 10:00 PM

1/24/2005

1986 WORLD SERIES GAME #5

7:00 - 10:00 PM

1/26/2005

1986 WORLD SERIES GAME #6

6:00 - 10:00 PM

1/27/2005

1986 WORLD SERIES GAME #7

7:00 - 10:00 PM

1/31/2005

2004 ALCS GAME #1

7:00 - 10:00 PM

2/1/2005

2004 ALCS GAME #2

7:00 - 10:00 PM

2/2/2005

2004 ALCS GAME #3

6:00 - 10:00 PM

2/3/2005

2004 ALCS GAME #4

6:00 - 10:00 PM

2/8/2005

2004 ALCS GAME #5

6:00 - 10:00 PM

2/9/2005

2004 ALCS GAME #6

6:00 - 10:00 PM

2/10/2005

2004 ALCS GAME #7

7:00 - 10:00 PM

2/21/2005

2004 WORLD SERIES GAME #1

6:00 - 10:00 PM

2/22/2005

2004 WORLD SERIES GAME #2

7:00 - 10:00 PM

2/24/2005

2004 WORLD SERIES GAME #3

7:00 - 10:00 PM

2/26/2005

2004 WORLD SERIES GAME #4

7:00 - 10:00 PM

Tickets with Theo.

"Theo Epstein donated to my non-profit arts center some awesome box seats (with him) for any game next season. The winner gets an opportunity to chat strategy, roster changes, etc. We are doing a silent auction, proceeds to benefit the Brookline Community Center for the Arts which is in danger of losing its home. Auction ends Friday, so time is of the essence!" http://bccaonline.com/auction.html

Bum steer.

Ron Bumgarner is the Red Sox senior adviser for ticketing. Thousands of Red Sox overnight campers and out of the loop online purchasers were shut out of Opening Day pax when savvy internet users, scalpers, and ticket brokers used the annual tickets.com loophole to avoid the virtual waiting room and purchased tickets instantly instead. Yet the Providence Journal serves up this report: "The Red Sox use an online ticket sales company called tickets.com that Bumgarner called "the best-in-breed in the business of these providers." Tickets.com has conducted an investigation of these rumors, and determined that it would not be possible to bypass the virtual waiting room by reading the source code.

"They're telling us it would not be possible" to bypass the system in this way, Bumgarner said. It is possible that there were some shenanigans surrounding the online sale. "We are certainly not ruling it out and are aggressively trying to identify" a scam if there was one, he said.

Spare me. The scam is now three years old and running strong. Almost as long as the scalpers have been running the ticket show around Fenway while the frightened front office spends their time and money harassing paying fans inside the park instead. Again, nowhere has current ownership fallen flat on its face more than the ongoing ruse of Red Sox ticket sales and distribution. Bumgarner certainly doesn't have a clue as to what's been happening.

BDD is a feature of Boston.com. The site is not produced by the Boston Globe sports dept.

Boston Globe:

Red Sox agree to deal with Pierzynski > Sox non-tender Bailey, Kalish > Sox face arbitration decisions

Boston Herald:

Sox set Bailey, Kalish free > Doug Fister dealt to Nats > White Sox agree to 1-year contract with C Flowers

ProJo:

Pierzynski reaches deal with Red Sox > Kalish, Bailey non-tendered > Mike Napoli still ideal at first base > Middlebrooks, Red Sox both looking for improvement

NY Post:

Cashman pessimistic on Yankees re-signing Cano > Report: A-Rod called PEDs 'Food'

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