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Home » Monthly Archive » April 2005

April 30, 2005


Game 22: April 29, 2005
Red Sox (11-11), 2
Rangers (12-12), 7
L: Tim Wakefield (2-1)
W: Chan Ho Park (3-1)
S: Ron Mahay (1)

I’m going to pretend that innings 6 through 9 never happened, which will be quite easy for me because I fell asleep watching this game. As much as I was looking forward to baseball after 2 days without it, watching Park ease through the Red Sox lineup with 111 pitches (66 strikes) through 7 innings despite walking 4 hitters inspired somnolence.

You might remember that I mentioned Millar has actually been able to drive balls to the opposite field of late. In the 4th inning with two outs, Millar tripled to center field. How unlikely is that? It was his 14th career triple. He and Ortiz should have a contest for most three-baggers this season. Stock up on that applesauce.

Wakefield wasn’t doing badly at all until the 6th inning. His ERA went from 1.75 to 2.78 with this game. If only there was a way to attribute one of those earned runs to Ramirez and Damon. I had an ominous feeling about the game from the 1st inning because of those outfield miscues. I’m sure Voros McCracken has accounted for defensive sluggardness somewhere.

Deathwish goes tonight to lay down the law against the pesky Rangers. If you’re a Red Sox fan in Texas enjoying the games, be sure to be on the lookout for these unsavory characters. They only put out a grand for information on the fugitives, but it might help defray the cost of your trip.

April 29, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: Bacterium® 4 Processor

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature.
Rich Kulawiec

Sorry this week’s column is a little late; I was busy troubleshooting Terry’s laptop because it had a virus. As I was disinfecting his computer, I thought about the possibilities of biological processing through engineering bacteria. It’s a fascinating topic, and I could tell Terry was enraptured by my explanation. Unfortunately, he got pulled away into a pre-game meeting before I could finish explaining this new computational methodology. At least I get to tell my readers about this novel nexus of life and artifice.

Ron Weiss is a major figure in a new inter-disciplinary field that could be labeled “synthetic biology.” He is an assistant professor of electrical engineering and molecular biology at Princeton University, and he programs cells by developing and inserting synthetic gene networks into cells. By being able to control biological material on a cellular level as if it were a living computer, Weiss anticipates his research will advance living tissue engineering, biosensing and effecting, biomaterial fabrication, and the understanding of naturally occurring biological processes.

BacteriacomputerHis team was able to manipulate E. coli colony to glow with either red or green light in response to a signal sent by a different set of E. coli. Although we’re probably decades away from full control of cells through artificial mechanisms, one of the first applications of this technique may enable us to detect bioterrorist compounds with greater efficacy. Unlike current methods of detection, bacteria could be programmed to “have an exquisite capability to sense molecules in the environment,” Weiss said. “The bull’s-eye could tell you: This is where the anthrax is.”

Weiss exploits the widely found biological phenomenon of “regulatory cascades,” which in computer programming terms are simply algorithmic processes to respond to a set of stimuli. When the naturally occurring sets of instructions are replaced by artificial means, Weiss calls them “synthetic transcriptional cascades.” In a paper submitted to the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, Weiss states that although there is a certain level of predictability in the output of programmed cells, phenotypic variations in cell populations introduced variable reactions, and these differences are more pronounced in longer cascades.

I’m encouraged by this new fusion of biology and engineering, both genetic and electrical. Maybe the next time I fix Terry’s computer, I’ll be giving it an aspirin rather than downloading a software patch. Take two of these and your laptop will be able to go over the advanced scouting reports in the morning.

Every Friday, Dave McCarty will join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site.

The Suspense is Killing Me

Major League Baseball announced the punishments for the Red Sox/Devil Ray fisticuffs of April 24, 2005. Below is list of the disciplined, the length of suspension, and my opinion of what the punishment should be.

  • Bronson Arroyo, 6 games. He should be forced to wear a Charles Bronson-inspired moustache for 3 outings, if he can grow one. If not, one of Manny Ramirez’s dreadlocks will be used.
  • Dewon Brazelton, 5 games. Three weeks of community service served by working for a manicurist. That will teach him not to scratch Trot Nixon.
  • Lance Carter, 5 games. In order to teach him how to play better with others, he will join a boy band with Aaron and Nick Carter. He will have to perform a complete set for an Ortiz family gathering, and they must be entertaining. If his group does not please, David Ortiz will have an array of foodstuffs to hurl at his head.
  • Terry Francona, 3 games. One week of community service at a local area shop class.
  • Trot Nixon, 2 games. Attend 3 two-hour training sessions for the proper care and cleaning of a baseball cap and write an essay on what he has learned.
  • Lou Piniella, 3 games. Participate in a series of three debates against Curt Schilling, with topics to include real baseball, ethics, and leadership.

On a serious note, the three-game suspensions of the managers are overkill. MLB is claiming it is because of the clubs’ fractious history, in which Francona played no role. The players will appeal, but the field managers have no recourse.

April 28, 2005

Deserving Comment

I have to say that my readers have been writing much more interesting things than I have lately. Be sure to check out their sites:

  • Read up on twitch’s research on replacement players being hit at a greater rate than other players here. I’m glad she took the time to look into the claim I made in the Tampa Bay hullabaloo game. Plus she knows about Harajuku EGL style.
  • NU50 outgeeked Dave on the trajectory of objects in flight. Not many can claim this. See his new puppy here.
  • Tim at Bullshit Memorial Stadium always has great game commentary as well as views on politics, music, and other sundry topics. He’s probably forgotten more about baseball than I’ll ever know.
  • If you’re like me, you anxiously await the new “Red Sox logos in nature” at A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory. Thanks to Jere for correcting me on some of the factual errors I’ve made lately. The check is in the mail.
  • I wonder who Sam at Blue Cats and Red Sox will cheer for at the Hall of Fame Game which pits the Tigers against the Red Sox?

Also, I’m in a bit of a quandry because of the rainout. When I recap games, do I contiue the numbering with “Game 22” or skip that number? I checked what Retrosheet does, and they just use the date. It’s sad. These are the things that keep me up at night.

April 27, 2005


Game 21: April 26, 2005
Orioles (14-7), 11
Red Sox (11-10), 8
W: Jorge Julio (1-0)
S: B.J. Ryan (3)
H: Mike Timlin (3)
BS, L: Keith Foulke (1, 1-3)

The Red Sox had not let an opposing team score in the 1st inning until last game, and they continued the trend with this game. It was an inauspicious beginning to a loss that felt as if one were being slowly bled to death by a leech. The less said about this game by me the better. Feel free to read MLB’s wrap for the gory details.

Happenings off the field were more entertaining than last night’s game. Curt Schilling and Lou Piniella had a war of words through the “Dennis and Callahan” show on WEEI and the St. Petersburg Times, respectively. But now Schilling has been put on the disabled list with a bone bruise. Maybe he got it putting his foot into his mouth?

How nauseating is it that Alex Rodriguez had 10 RBIs last night? It inspired this exchange:

With the wind blowing out to right field during batting practice, Jeter had told Rodriguez, “No human alive can hit a ball out to left tonight.”

But Rodriguez hit two to left, and another to center. “I think I called Jeet every name in the book,” he said.

Way to “Go Pro,” Rodriguez. Uncanny timing that his historic night came so quickly on the tail of this announcement that he is going to be a spokesperson for Pepsi along with Vladimir Guerrero.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the Pepsi family this year, and look forward to working with them for many years to come,” said Rodriguez. “It is an honor to be associated with such a world class brand, and a corporation with a long tradition of excellence.”

If Rodriguez thinks that Guerrero is upstaging him during the filming, watch for the disparaging comments. “You’re standing in my key light.” “I have to be standing here, this is my best side.” “I think I should have more lines, since I speak better English.” One more chance for Rodriguez to show that he thinks he’s the best player in baseball.

April 26, 2005


Game 20: April 25, 2005
Orioles (13-7), 8
Red Sox (11-9), 4
W: Bruce Chen (2-1)
H: Todd Williams (2)
L: David Wells (2-3)

Why can’t we get pitchers like this Chen guy? Whenever I hear his name, I think back to the May 20, 2003 game the Red Sox won against the Yankees. I got free tickets through a Yankee fan, the proviso being we had to be next to him during the game. (He’s not so bad, even though he cheers for pure evil. He truly did feel badly for Red Sox fans following Game 7 of 2003. He did not rub it in at all.) We were excited because we thought Pedro Martinez would be starting, but it turned out he had strained a new muscle. (“They are going to have to invent muscles for him to pull,” quoth the Yankee fan.) It wasn’t until around 4 PM that they announced Martinez was scratched, and I heard the news while waiting on Yawkey Way for my friends to arrive. Once word had spread that some guy named Bruce Chen was starting, scalpers looked as if they had sunk their life savings into a dotcom stock.

The Red Sox trailed until the 7th inning, when they came back with 5 runs to beat Jeff Weaver, who at that point wasn’t damaged goods. I remarked that Weaver was a fly ball pitcher and that Fenway and Yankee Stadium’s dimensions were far different from the vast Comerica Park. I also called a Bill Mueller double, who was then leading the league in two-baggers, if I recall correctly.

Thinking back to that game makes me feel better because Wells’s outing last night was fetid. He went 3.2 with 8 hits, 6 runs (all earned), 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 1 home run, and an ERA roughly equivalent to his IQ, 4.91. Yes, I’m getting frustrated with him. Because Chen went 6 innings, 9 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 3 walks, 3 strikeouts, 1 home run, with an ERA of 3.62. Why can’t we get pitchers like Chen?

How about the injuries of Matt Mantei and Wells? The box score says it was 49 degrees, so perhaps adjusting to lower temperatures after playing in Florida was an issue. Still, they are professional athletes. Well, professional ballplayers, at any rate. Do they know how to properly stretch before a game?

Offensively, there were some bright spots and things to look forward to. Jason Varitek went 2 for 4 with a double and a home run. Johnny Damon worked counts, going 3 for 3 and had 2 walks as well. You can read about those in his upcoming book. Mueller finally returned and pinch hit for Ramon Vazquez, but struck out.

I feel compelled to mention that Michelle Damon’s segments in the pre-game show are pure unintentional comedic gold, not unlike her bleach job. (Scratch that; it was catty.) She visited the Museum of Fine Arts for the “Rockwell and the Red Sox” exhibition, and looked about as out of place as a Las Vegas showgirl in a nunnery. (Must see into getting myself declawed.) Not only that, she had her husband’s ring with her. File this under “whipped,” along with Doug Christie and Kris Benson. (Although I readily admit I’d probably ask to carry around the ring were I married to a World Champion Red Sox player. I’d put it on a chain and wear it around my neck, like in high school. ’Cuz we’d be going steady. So concludes my championship ring fantasy.)

The Michelle piece also made me think of Dorothy Parker’s riposte to the challenge to use “horticulture” in a sentence: “You may lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” Dorothy and me, we would have had fun together.

April 24, 2005


Game 19: April 24, 2005
Red Sox (11-8), 11
Devil Rays (8-11), 3
W: Bronson Arroyo (2-0)
H: Matt Mantei (2)
H: Mike Myers (1)
H: Mike Timlin (2)
L: Hideo Nomo (2-2)

Avoiding the sweep is good, and so are two bench-clearing incidents. Nothing gets the blood flowing and generates esprit de corps more than a scuffle with the enemy. Terry Francona may have worried about forging a team identity last season, but this year the personalities seem to be meshing quickly. Would you have ever imagined Edgar Renteria spoonfeeding applesauce to Albert Pujols or Scott Rolen? Me, neither. I also saw a recent postgame show where Kevin Millar had him singing “Whiskey for My Men, Beer for My Horses.”

Trot Nixon continued his personal vendetta against the Devil Rays. He just has something against mobuloids. Who can forget his bat “slipping” when hitting against Ryan Rupe? Creative retaliation, there. The ejections were balanced on both sides and all happened in the 7th inning: for Tampa Bay, Lance Carter, Dewon Brazelton, and Lou Piniella got pulled; for Boston, Nixon, Arroyo, and Francona were tossed.

The skirmishes would have been for naught if the Red Sox didn’t come away with a win. It was an outstanding (Don Orsillo’s favorite superlative) outing for Jay Payton, who I’ve taken to calling “Payday Payton.” Three Red Sox hit home runs: Manny Ramirez in the 7th, right after getting thrown behind; Payton in the 8th, getting his second career grand slam; and David Ortiz in the 8th, after Carter had thrown near his head in the previous inning.

An interesting development is Millar being able to get the ball towards opposite field, relying less on pulling pitches. He’s only been flying out to center and right fields, but it’s refreshing to see a different approach from him. Someday, in some game, a ball will drop in for him, or he’ll be able to execute a sacrifice fly with a runner on 3rd, and his efforts will be rewarded. Speaking of Millar, it seems as if he’s a particular target for retaliation, and I believe it is because he was a replacement player. I realize some of the pitches that hit him were not intentional, but I do think that outside of the Red Sox organization he is not held in high regard.

Applesauce. It does a body good.

April 23, 2005


Game 18: April 23, 2005
Red Sox (10-8), 5
Devil Rays (8-10), 6
L: Curt Schilling (1-2)
W: Casey Fossum (1-1)
H: Seth McClung (1)
H: Trever Miller (3)
S: Lance Carter (1)

This is the kind of game I hate to recap, part two.

David Ortiz hit 2 massive home runs, one in the 3rd (432 feet) and another in the 5th (455 feet). The second one inspired this classic Orsillo/Remy exchange, paraphrased since I didn’t record it:

Remy: Must be nice hitting one like that and knowing it’s a home run.
Orsillo: Are you saying that when you hit your 7 career home runs you were never sure right away?
Remy: Nope, I was sprinting all the way around second.
Orsillo: So, you didn’t stand and watch them leave the park?
Remy: I used to watch my bunts.

Curt Schilling isn’t back to regular season form yet, but we did see flashes of his former self. He pitched 7 innings and 9 hits, 6 runs (all earned), struck out 5, and ended with an ERA of 7.13. Some good news is that he didn’t allow any base on balls.

Well, at least the Celtics won 82-102.

Let’s hope the baseball club doesn’t get swept tomorrow.


PerezhrGame 17: April 22, 2005
Red Sox (10-7), 4
Devil Rays (7-10), 5
L: Alan Embree (0-1)
H: Travis Harper (3)
BS, W: Danys Baez (1, 3-0)

This is the kind of game I hate to recap.

I can go over all the great things that happened, like the Red Sox resurgence in the top of the 9th inning. That started with Trot Nixon getting a walk after a 7-pitch at bat against Baez. Mark Bellhorn then hit an RBI double to atone for his error in the 3rd which led to 2 runs, one of which was earned. With Bellhorn on 2nd base, the Red Sox played a bit of small ball.

Ramon Vazquez sacrifice bunted over Bellhorn to 3rd base, enabling the 2nd baseman to score on Johnny Damon’s ensuing single. This is exactly how I think small ball should be used, especially with a potent lineup like that of Boston’s. In late-game situations with a tight score, I don’t disagree with suffering an out to move a runner into better position to score.

But it ended with one pitch from Embree to the pinch-hitting Eduardo Perez. It was a massive home run, at least, not some barely fence-clearing fly ball. I’m surprised MLB Gameday could properly place the red dot within the confines of its spray chart. Tampa Bay has so little to cheer for, we’ll give them this.

April 22, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: Beyond the Fields We Know

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.
Jalal ad-Din Rumi

You might think of me as simply an outstanding first baseman, especially after that play I made earlier this week, but I also pride myself in my outfield prowess. Whenever I’m prowling the edges of the field robbing hitters of extra base hits, the other guys ask me what the heck I’m doing out there. So I tell them I’m using a combination of the linear optical trajectory (LOT) and optical acceleration cancellation (OAC) models of tracking moving objects.

Some of my teammates think I’m crazy for using both LOT and OAC, because I guess they are proponents of a simplified adoption of either one or the other. I then decided to attempt to prove that my tactic was correct. I had offered to take part in this April 2002 study, but after I had sent a dozen or so e-mails to Dennis Shaffer and Michael McBeath, the authors, with some of my suggestions, they regretfully informed me that they had all the participants they needed. It was a great effort, however, only to be refuted by a competing faction with this comment in December of 2002.

OacFielders using the OAC model supposedly have a two-step approach. They first align themselves horizontally with the path of the ball, then they run towards to ball at a speed that makes it appear as if it were rising at a constant rate. For this approach to be successful, fielders need to adjust to the correct speed to cancel the ball’s acceleration. Run too slowly and the ball will appear to slow down and land in front of the fielder; too quickly, and the ball seemingly speeds up and land behind the fielder. The essential assumption behind this method is that people are adept at discerning acceleration, which is actually not the case. In practice, the most difficult ball to field is one hit directly at a fielder, while the OAC theory presumes that it would require more effort to run laterally to the flight of the ball. I’ll be the first to tell you, and I’m not alone among outfielders, that it is actually easier to track down a ball from the side.

LotThis brings us to the LOT framework. LOT assumes that a fielder uses the differential between straight and curved trajectories rather than changes in speed. The LOT theory is based on evidence that people are better at determining minute changes in optical curvature. When I’m out in the field, the ball looks like it moves in a straight line and at a constant speed relative to the background scenery. To counteract this, I would run on a curved path to accommodate the curvature of the ball’s trajectory.

There are limitations to using only one of the methods at a time, so, like the best outfielders, I use an amalgam of both strategies. Especially on windy days or balls hit with a lot of spin, where the trajectory of the ball is less predictable, both modes should be employed.

Every Friday, Dave McCarty will join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site, and this week perhaps Ultimate aficionados like NU five oh who likely use a synthesis of LOT and OAC when playing.


Game 16: April 21, 2005
Red Sox (10-6), 1
Orioles (9-7), 0
W: Matt Clement (2-0)
S: Keith Foulke (3)

L: Rodrigo Lopez (2-1)

The Baltimore Orioles are a tough team to beat. Just ask the Yankees, who got swept by them.

The Orioles are so hot right now, I can’t see them getting shutout two games in a row. That would be inconceivable.

I mean, could you imagine a starting pitcher like say, Clement, going 8 innings against them and having 8 hits, no runs, 1 base on balls, 7 strikeouts, and leaving with a 2.13 ERA? Or a closer, someone like Foulke, getting his third save against them?

There’s no way a utility infielder batting 8th, like Ramon Vazquez of the Red Sox, would be responsible for the only score of the game with an RBI-generating ground out to the second baseman. No, not against this vaunted Orioles team, who have insistent contact hitters such as Brian Roberts and Melvin Mora as well as offensive powerhouses named Miguel Tejada, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro arrayed against their opposition. And don’t even fantasize about the Red Sox getting a win against Lopez, who have .275 BA and .339 OBP against him.

Trot Nixon could not have fished out a double hit to deep right field by Jay Gibbons in the 4th with Palmeiro on base, surely a guaranteed run. Can you envision Nixon then getting an outfield assist, throwing to Kevin Millar who throws to Jason Varitek, who only just gets Palmeiro’s spikes with the tag before the first baseman slides into home plate?

These kinds of things would never happen. Nope. Because the Orioles own the Red Sox. Don’t they? I mean, this is the team that swept the Yankees.

April 21, 2005


Game 15: April 20, 2005
Red Sox (9-6), 8
Orioles (9-6), 0
W: David Wells (2-2)
L: Bruce Chen (1-1)

Good things come in threes, they say, and insert a joke about Wells’s weight being in the 3-hundreds here. Actually, he’s probably not that heavy any longer, since he lost some water weight doctoring the ball before pitching it last night, according to Lee Mazzilli. Not many expected Wells to pitch a 3-hitter over 8 innings, and even fewer thought that Blaine Neal would be able to have a 1-2-3 9th. It’s nice when improbably good things happen to recently suspect pitchers. Wells has earned a brief reprieve from the “embedded Yankee” and “Mendoza redux” monikers.

Mazzilli, a fellow Yankee alumnus, even had the umpires visit Wells in the 6th because of the lefty’s spitting in his hands. Playing mental chess with Wells. Ponder that irony for a bit.

What’s up with all the balking? Balking always makes me think of Balki Bartakomous; am I alone in this peculiarity? Jason Varitek scored on a balk in the 5th when Edgar Renteria was batting. Varitek then hit a 3-run homer in the next inning. Other players contributing RBIs were Damon, Ramirez, Mueller, and Bellhorn. Everyone loves a potluck scoring approach. “How did you make your RBI, Mark?” “Oh, I singled it in. I didn’t want anything too heavy. How about you, Billy?” “Well, I doubled. I just prefer it that way. Spicier.” “Check out Johnny. He grounded one in. But that’s because he’s on the Atkins diet.”

Where Art Thou

Art arises when the secret vision of the artist and the manifestation of nature agree to find new shapes.
Kahlil Gibran

More compelling than Christo and Jeanne-Claude, earthier than Andy Goldsworthy, and edgier than the Red Sox exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Jere of A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory presents the first in his “Red Sox logos in nature” series.

April 20, 2005

Paws for Thought

PawsoxpairThe jet set life of baseball mascots may seem like a world of luxury and glamor. I sat down with Paws, the mascot for the Triple A affiliate Pawtucket Red Sox, and his wife, Sox, to learn the truth about life behind the masks. They dispelled some of the myths built around being baseball novelty acts and offered their views on recent mascot happenings.

EE: Paws, you’re coming up on your 6th birthday this season. That’s 18.849 in human years. Tell me, what changes have you seen in your time?

Paws: Well, I has brought on to make McCoy Stadium and the Pawsox an affordable, family-friendly venue. With the skyrocketing prices at Fenway Park, Ben Mondor wanted to give families a price-conscious alternative. They have the Longest Game thing going, but they wanted something the kids could relate to, and that’s where we come in.

EE: How did you two meet?

Sox: I had been with Norton over at the Roger Williams Park Zoo for a while, but that relationship was going nowhere. Finally, April last year he just up and moved to Detroit. He had this “founder bear” obligation, so he’s very much in demand. Then Paws came along...

Paws: And I gave her the pawticular attention she craved.

Sox: Yep, I really have to hand it to him, I was pawsitively smitten.

Sox and Paws: (Laughter)

Sox: I love puns.

EE: Apparently. So, who are some of your mascot heroes? Characters that you look up to?

Sox: You know, I don’t think mascots should be idolized. We put our pants on, well, those of us who wear pants, the same way any other person, or anthropomorphic creature does. And that’s one leg, or equivalent appendage, at a time. I don’t want to be put on a pedestal. I’m just here to help promote the brand and maybe sell a few pieces of memorabilia.

Paw: Yeah, you look at Wally, how the fame has worn him down. It’s sad. He had it all, really, but it was empty. Private jets, fancy food, the nightlife. He could look at any woman, mascot, human, whatever, and know that he had her. All it took was a little eye contact and a suggestive head tilt. But in the minor leagues, you never get blinded by the spotlight. You bring the fans into the spotlight with you.

EE: The most difficult part about being a mascot?

Paws: Making little kids cry. I was talking to one of the players about this one time, that tall guy.

Sox: Dan something...? Don McCaffrey...?

EE: Dave McCarty?

Paws: Yeah, yeah, him. My overly large head and outsized eyes are supposed to inspire the nurturing instinct in humans, acting on people’s urge to adore neotenic beings. But little kids just see me as a competing threat for their parents’ attention. It’s a double-edged sword. Dave’s a weird fellow, isn’t he?

EE: Just a bit. Well, thanks to both of you for spending time with me today. Best of luck with the rest of the season.

Paws: It was our pleasure.

Sox: Not a problem. And don’t forget the fireworks spectactular on Friday, April 29th following our game against the Red Barons!

Flutterbys Forever

Tim Wakefield was the third person to receive his World Series ring on April 11, 2005, after only Terry Francona and Ellis Burks. He should have been the ALCS MVP in 2003. He has been with the team over 10 years. He has been the Red Sox nominee for the Roberto Clemente award 6 times, in 1998 and for the last 5 years in a row. Then there are the intangibles (one word too often profaned): the innings he eats, the dedication, the loyalty, not complaining if he’s in the starting rotation, long relief, or spot starting.

Wakefield signed a 1-year $4M contract extension for next season, with a club option for 2007 and each following season. With the rarity of knuckleball pitchers in the majors, it makes sense to continue investing in Wakefield. The less a hitter sees of a certain kind of pitch, the less able he is able to make adjustments to it. Learn all about knuckleball pitcher history, physics, and feats at The Knuckleball Headquarters and see this New Yorker article on Charlie Zink.


Game 14: April 19, 2005
Blue Jays (9-6), 4
Red Sox (8-6), 3
W: Roy Halladay (3-0)
S: Miguel Batista (4)
BS: Alan Embree (1)
L: Keith Foulke (1-2)

I converted someone into a baseball and Red Sox fan tonight. I explained many key concepts of the game as well as Fenway traditions and history to the extent possible. There’s no rationality behind 32,000 plus people singing “Sweet Caroline” in the 8th inning. (Speaking of music at the ballpark, when the Fenway organist plays “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé it never fails to crack me up.) A beachball bounced near us and I admirably restrained myself from appearing psychotic and did not violently deflate it, as much as I wanted to. Unfortunately he didn’t get to hear “Dirty Water.” He quickly apprehended what it means to be a Red Sox fan, although he does have some ideas on “enhancing” baseball with soccer rules:

  • Questioning the visual acuity of the home plate umpire: “Who is that guy that said that it was a ball? I’m not an eye doctor, but I have suggestions for him to improve his vision.” (He’s an MD.)
  • Upon seeing David Ortiz fouling a ball off of his foot: “Maybe I should go down and help him. That’s very dangerous.”
  • Commenting on the quick Red Sox at bats: “Why does our team keep on swinging so early? The other pitcher hardly has to throw any pitches.”
  • When Kevin Millar got drilled in the 7th inning: “Isn’t there a penalty? Why doesn’t he get a red card or something?”
  • Second guessing of the insertion of Jay Payton and Dave McCarty: “Why isn’t Manny batting here? He got pulled?”

I was saddened I did not get to explain the infield fly rule, but I did get to explain a balk. Bronson Arroyo is a great pitcher to show the difference between a full windup and pitching from the stretch, and Foulke was a fine example for demonstrating that not everyone’s fastball has to be over 90 MPH to be effective. I’ll give him a followup quiz regarding the requirements for a pitcher to be part of a decision. Next time I’ll introduce him to the nuances of scoring the game. Speaking of which, once I get my score sheets scanned in, I’ll post them with the corresponding “Game Comments” entry. I keep score (or try to) at every game I attend. They aren’t in demand like Jerry Remy’s work, but might be of some interest.

April 19, 2005


Game 13: April 18, 2005
Blue Jays (8-6), 7
Red Sox (8-5), 12
L: Dave Bush (0-2)
W: Curt Schilling (1-1)

Sunny day swept the errors away for both Toronto and Boston’s left fielders Frank Catalanotto and Manny Ramirez. The 11 AM start of Patriot’s Day games is a league anomaly, a New England tradition that has irked other teams. Just last year Mike Mussina complained about the early start, saying that the shadows adversely affects his pitching prowess. I’m sure Dave McCarty disagrees; the two Stanford graduates might have to debate this issue at some point.

Curt Schilling earned his first win, going 5 innings on 117 pitches, 84 of them strikes. He also hit Shea Hillenbrand, which makes me wonder if there is any history between them, if he was retaliating for Bill Mueller getting hit, or perhaps he was getting back at Hillenbrand for his comments about the front office when he was traded.

If Blaine Neal were any less effective, he’d soon earn the moniker “Human Save Generator.” He came into the 9th inning and gave up 2 straight singles before striking out Alex Rios. He then gave up an RBI single to Orlando Hudson. If not for a 6-4-3 double play to end the game, a Keith Foulke appearance would have been required.

The club goes for a sweep in this 2-game series tonight, and I’ll be there in person again. I enjoy these match-ups with the Blue Jays because I imagine J.P. Ricciardi’s family giving him grief with every game: “Why can’t you run a real team like Theo?” “Can you get me tickets? No, I’m not cheering for the Jays.”

April 18, 2005


PawsoxmascotBuffalo vs. Pawtucket
Bisons (5-6), 4
Pawtucket Red Sox (4-7), 9
L: Francisco Cruceta (1-1)
W: Scott Cassidy (2-0)

Paws, the Pawtucket mascot, is so much more approachable than Wally ever was. To get in touch with the Boston mascot I had to go through a gauntlet of agents, spokespeople, PR flacks, and attorneys. He wonders why he is being ostracized. On the other hand, Paws mills with the hoi polloi, knows the regular fans by name, and even had time to pose for a picture with me. Now that he is in a stable, longterm relationship with Sox, we’ll probably be hearing the pitter patter of little pawlings soon.

Chris Narveson started for the Pawsox and went 3.1 innings with 3 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. He got through a rough spot in the first inning. After striking out the first batter and inducing the second to fly out, he hits Mike Kinkade. He then walks the next two pitchers, loading the bases. With the designated hitter Jeff Liefer hitting, Narveson then balks in a run. He hangs on to get Liefer to line out to Kevin Youkilis.

Scott Cassidy then pitched the next 3.2 innings and was shaky. He gave up 2 home runs and 3 walks, striking out only 1. At that point, however, the Bison’s pitching was worse, with 4 runs in the 5th inning providing an adequate buffer. left-handed pitcher Jason Kershner came in the 8th to shut down the Bisons, allowing no runs.

Alejandro Machado was an offensive sparkplug. He doubled in the 3rd and then stole 3rd base. In the 5th he legged out a triple when the right fielder fell down fielding the ball right near the foul line and wall, scoring on a single hit by Luis Figueroa. At this point I was hoping that he’d hit for the cycle, and he nearly hit a home run in the 7th, but only got a ground-rule double. Reading the scouting report on Sox Prospects, they say he has minimal power. I wonder if it’s something that he’s been able to improve since then, because he looked like a force yesterday. He also made a fine defensive play in the 7th, fielding a ball that was sharply rapped by Ernie Young and then hustling to 2nd base to get the force out.

Approaching McCoy from the $2 a spot parking lot.

Fishing for autographs.

Martinez, Malaska, DiNardo, Alvarez, and Youkilis with the trophy. Please move, photographer person!

Imagine the scorecard for this one. You’d need 8 sheets if they only held 10 innings per sheet. The International League hosts a page showing the particulars of the game.


Game 12: April 17, 2005
Devil Rays (4-8), 1
Red Sox (7-5), 3
L: Scott Kazmir (0-1)
W: Tim Wakefield (2-0)
H: Matt Mantei (1), Alan Embree (1)
S: Keith Foulke (2)

I can’t believe I missed a Devil Rays game live. After spending these past two evenings watching this delightful, young, up-and-coming team, I feel as if there is a void in my life. I may even have to remedy the situation and go down to Florida to the always charming Tropicana Field to take in a few games. Isn’t that heckler amusing? I wonder who his target will be?

All kidding aside, we all know that any game against a divisional team is important because the Yankees also play them. Recall how poorly the Red Sox did against the Orioles last year, going 9-10, while the Yankees dominated them with a 14-5 record. This is the difference between winning the division and dueling it out with the other AL teams for the wild card.

Since I was in Pawtucket (more on this in a separate post later), I can only go by what the box score and game log tells me. It’s saying:

  • When there’s a 5-4-3 double play with Mueller, Bellhorn, and Millar involved, it might be the most L-intensive defensive play in the majors. Definitely something to look in to.
  • Spelling Trot Nixon for lefties is a good thing. I like what I’m seeing in Jay Payton, who so far seems to be an upgrade over Gabe Kapler as an outfield replacement. I’ve taken to calling him Payday Payton, appropriate for this game since his 3rd inning 2-RBI single was key.
  • Wakefield is looking like the 2002-3 version, seasons where he was 22-12 and ERAs of 2.81 and 4.09, respectively. He struck out 5, allowed 3 walks, and had only 1 earned run. Wakefield now has 1,343 strikeouts in a Red Sox uniform, passing Cy Young (1,341) and trailing only Roger Clemens (2,590) and Pedro Martinez (1,596). It would be nice to see him in 2011, still throwing the butterflies.
  • The Red Sox hitters’ approach to Kazmir was patience personified early on. First inning-33 pitches; 2nd inning-24 pitches; 3rd inning-21 pitches (they get aggressive here, possibly believing they have figured him out); 4th inning-8 pitches; 5th inning-12 pitches. Kazmir’s control wasn’t there; he walked 4 and only had 8 first pitch strikes out of 25.
  • Any concerns about Edgar Renteria’s production were premature. Actually, any attempts at trending data at this point is hasty. But, it’s Boston. I do it, you do it, even educated fleas do it. Let’s do it. Let’s come to conclusions without due deliberation.

We’re not alone, however. George Steinbrenner is not taking his team’s 4-game losing streak well. Many Bothans died for this information, and I suspect many more will. Steinbrenner likes neither losing or Bothans.

April 17, 2005


Game 11: April 16, 2005
Devil Rays (4-7), 2
Red Sox (6-5), 6
L: Dewon Brazelton (0-3)
W: Matt Clement (1-0)

Clement finally went long enough in a game to be part of the decision, going 7 innings, walking 2, striking out 6, and and allowing only 1 earned run. All that natural movement that Clement has was harnessed in this game. I looked up at the pitcher info board and at one point in the early innings his strike percentage was 80%, a fact that shows the he was locating well and also that the Tampa Bay team is fairly free swinging.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing from David McCarty at some point this Friday about the awesome play he made with Mike Timlin on Carl Crawford in the 9th to get the 2nd out of the inning. With any luck, he’ll be distracted by some other topic before then.

Again with the observations thing:

  • The first pitch kid had a red and blue rocker wig and painted face.
  • I go to a game and another grand slam is hit, this time by Manny Ramirez. A guy near me is visiting town from Portland and is neither a Red Sox or baseball fan. It’s the first granny he’s seen in person. I tell him it happens all the time to crush his special moment. Ramirez now leads all active players in grand slams with 18.
  • There were scattered chants of “steroids” for Alex Sanchez. But it’s difficult to get worked up over Sanchez, even after the 1st inning triple. For his career, he’s .293 BA, .327 OBP, and .366 slugging.
  • Listening to a drunk person calculate slugging percentage with his equally drunken companion can be torture. I’m certain this may violate some clause of the Geneva Conventions. Friends don’t let friends explain statistics drunk.
  • Look for an upcoming documentary entitled Dig Fenway. If you were in Fenway on Opening Day, you might be shown milling around the concourse near Gate B, where a few of the pictures below were taken.
  • Baseball fans taking the Green Line postgame along with the Saturday night social scene does not a plesant juxtaposition make. The combination of annoyed, dressed-up folks wanting to get drunk and Red Sox fans who already are sounds like it might be fun in theory. Perhaps the two groups would suddenly stop and dance an elaborate waltz like in The Fisher King. But more likely they’d do what they did last night and roll eyes at each other.
  • Saturday night crowds seem more diverse, consisting of younger groups of friends who are out to watch some baseball and have a good time (not necessarily in that order) and families with young children. In contrast, the Friday night crew around me were more the after-work set who were out with coworkers rather than friends. On Saturday nights, I’ll expect to see many more dirty looks (“stink eye” we say in Hawai‘i) from parents with their kids to raucous fans.
  • Why was there a “Yankees suck” chant in the 6th inning? How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? The world will never know.
  • An idiot stole one of the new signs about fan interference from the right field box seats. He was showing it off in the T station. Sign stealer guy: you, sir, are a moron. If you’re going to steal something, take a memento that says “2004 World Champions.” At least I got that huge banner that covered the Green Monster. I had to rent a UHaul and hire a team of five ninja to get it, but now I can cover a home (should I ever buy one) with the banner when it requires fumigation.





April 16, 2005


JackierobinsonlogoGame 10: April 15, 2005
Devil Rays (4-6), 0
Red Sox (5-5), 10
L: Hideo Nomo (1-1)
W: David Wells (1-2)

Jackie Robinson Day

My first live game of the season. Just a Tampa Bay game, to be sure, but it was nice to be back. Some impressions and observations:

  • It is possible to clap and smile maniacally every time the public address announcer says “defending World Champions” and not look too much like a fanatic, because everyone else is doing the same.
  • There were two sets of kids in the section near me, one pair of Yankee fans (I don’t know why they were there, but both were wearing “NY” caps while their mother or maybe aunt wore a Red Sox World Series hat) and a duo of Red Sox fans. The Yankee kids sang songs, made fun of each other and the teams, and in general did not pay attention to the game. The Red Sox kids watched the game and asked questions about baseball strategy during the course of play. One even said something like, “Wow, when Nomo started, his ERA was under 1. Now, it’s like double digits.” May I adopt him? It starts early, I’m telling you.
  • At one point, the Red Sox mom/aunt grabbed the kid’s Yankee cap and smushed it. I really wish I could have taken a picture of this. She then pointed to her own cap, mouthing the words “World Champs.” This is what made me think she was perhaps not the mother of the kids, because it seemed a little cruel. Hilarious, but cruel. One of the Yankee spawn’s name was “Alex.” Maybe it was child Alex Rodriguez saved?
  • Sadly, the memory and legacy of Jackie Robinson is not as widely revered as it should be.
  • On a cold night, you don’t want to be at a game where tarriers like Hideo Nomo pitch. Thanks for knocking him out early, guys.
  • Standing up and talking on your mobile phone to try and find your friend in a different section might be acceptable if you do not do so when the bases are loaded with Manny Ramirez at the plate. Thank you for at least sitting down by the time Ramirez reached base by walking and David Ortiz got to the plate, inconsiderate mobile phone guy.
  • Do Bronson Arroyo and Casey Fossum share dieting tips?

Baseball-wise, it was the night of the Davids, with Ortiz’s grand slam and Wells looking as if he is returning to form. Even McCarty contributed with a 2-RBI single in the 7th. He’s not your typical late innings defensive replacement.

Below are some of the better photos I took last night, including the new warning sign to fans in right field.






April 15, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: Neurochemistry in the Time of Cholera

It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these are oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. Serotonin is probably strongest of all. Or perhaps it is vasopressin receptors.

In trying to understand Terry Francona’s almost obsessive attachment to Mike Myers, I sought answers in the realm of neurochemistry. Why is the already feeble human brain, continually wrought with counter-productive emotions such as guilt and self-doubt, subject further to the unpredictable neurochemical chicanery of love? This is the question Helen Fisher, an anthropologist, delves into throughout her research. Fisher defines three stages of love and the associated chemicals that drive the impulses underlying those phases.

The first stage is lust, where the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen play center stage. I’m fairly certain Francona has gotten over this phase since, as we all can see, Mike isn’t much to look at. But, when they initially met, testosterone probably surged. This hormone aids in gaining lean body mass, increasing sex drive, and promoting aggressive behavior.

Second, there is attraction, where you think continually about your object of affection. This is where Francona is at with Myers, I believe. A set of secretions that are both hormones and neurotransmitters, called catecholamines, consisting of dopamine, norepinephrine (similar to adrenaline), and serotonin bombard the brain.

  • Dopamine is found in the areas of the brain that controls movement and balance. The lack of this transmitter is a factor of Parkinson’s Disease. This catecholamine is also a primary actor in the pleasure centers of the brain. Vital activities such as eating and sex are rewarded, but this also engenders the danger of addiction.
  • Norepinephrine causes the increase of heart rate, strengthens the heart’s contractions, opens airways in the lungs, and in general enacts a range of impulses that comprise the fight-or-flight response. This compound mobilizes the sympathetic nervous system to meet a challenging situation, like which LOOGY to call up in the correct situation.
  • Serotonin is the primary mood-elevating chemical. More properly called 5- hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), its original name has its origins in the fact that it was originally thought to be an agent only in vasoconstriction, or decrease in the diameter of blood vessels. However, 5-HT’s effects are far wider ranging, and play a large role in affective disorders and addiction. A deficiency in 5-HT can lead to depression and anxiety. A study has shown that in some cases, the 5-HT levels for infatuated people actually decrease, causing depressive disorders.

Finally, there is the attachment phase where lasting commitment is required, primarily to ensure that the couple bond will last long enough to raise children. Two hormones in particular, oxytocin and vasopressin, are thought to play a role in long-term relationships.

  • Oxytocin is released by during child birth to secrete milk and also fortify the mother-child bond. However, it is also released during orgasm, which Fisher theorizes may intensify adult bonding.
  • Vasopressin primarily directs kidney function, but may assist in forging committed unions. Vasopressin receptors were originally studied in prairie voles, one of the 3% of mammal species that are monogamous. A closely related species that differ by less than 1% genetically, montane voles, are a stark contrast with their cousins, since they are inveterate philanderers. It turns out that the montane voles have no receptors for oxytocin and vasopressin, and therefore building loyal relationships do not affect the reward centers of their brain.

So, love isn’t really a drug, but a complex interaction of neurochemicals that imbue those in our lives with a complex reaction of varying hormonal secretions, dependent upon whether or not the receptors for said chemicals exist. Isn’t it romantic?

(Incidentally, the bitter almond reference in the Marquez quote alludes to a common symptom of cyanide poisoning. Cyanide works by blocking metabolism on the mitochondrial level. You’re not likely to last very long with reduced aerobic respiration. You’ll be able to breathe, but oxygen would not be processed on the cellular level. Glycolysis, or anaerobic metabolism, will continue, and the buildup of high levels of lactic acid (lactic acidosis) that is the by-product of glycolysis can be life-threatening. Lactic acidosis, in conjunction with the shortage of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the universal energy-releasing molecule found in all known living things, make a lethal pairing. Although cyanide targets metabolism, the brain has a high metabolic rate, which makes the poison effectively a neurotoxin. The breath of victims of this poison often have a characteristic almond odor. The huge, energy-consuming human brain, the bane of us all.)

Every Friday, Dave McCarty will join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site. Special thanks to Pine Tar Helmet for her insights into the Francona/Myers relationship.


Game 9: April 14, 2005
Yankees (4-5), 5
Red Sox (4-5), 8
L: Tom Gordon (0-1)
W: Keith Foulke (1-1)

It seemed as if everyone, the fans, the players, the managers, the umpires, was on edge. Being on the edge can be an advantage, heightening your awareness and enhancing the accuracy of your response. Or, for others, those with poor coping mechanisms, like umpire Greg Gibson, it can turn you into a being incapable of calling a consistent strike zone. For others, like a random fan in the stands, it might embolden you to take a swipe at a baseball player. For still others, like Gary Sheffield, it may perhaps inspire you to retaliate at said swipe.

Being on the edge can inspire a team guided by a single purpose, to sharpen that focus and win the first series of the season, making an April game seem almost like a September one.

Randy Johnson gave up 5 hits, 3 of the home runs. Notably, Jay Payton and Edgar Renteria, both formerly of the National League, were able to take Johnson yard, as well as Jason Varitek. It seems that familiarity breeds some contempt (as much as one can against a 5-time Cy Young Award winner).

As I recall, Terry Francona took months before he was ejected from his first game of 2004. He’s starting off early this year by getting thrown out in the 4th inning, perhaps on recommendation by his doctor to not let things fester within. He was ejected right after hitting Ron “Papa Jack” Jackson was dismissed, for what reason everyone is still attempting to discern.

My first live game is tonight. Sure, it’s only the Devil Rays, a bit of a comedown from the classic American League East glamor match-up. With Lou Pinella coaching the opposition, there’s always the chance of him throwing a tantrum. David Wells also has something to prove to the skeptical home crowd. If you have any words of advice you’d like me to pass on to him, by all means let me know.

April 14, 2005


Game 8: April 13, 2005
Yankees (4-4), 5
Red Sox (3-5), 2
W: Jaret Wright (1-1)

L: Curt Schilling (0-1)

Schilling returned from his ankle injury looking in Game 6 ALCS form for the first 4 innings, but left seeming more like the Game 1 version of Curt. When asked if he took away anything positive from his outing, he said, “No, it’s a loss. This counts. I get paid to win, period. I don’t take positive things out of games like this.” In 5.2 innings, Schilling had 9 hits, 5 runs (all earned), only 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, and 2 home runs, with an ERA of 7.94. He worked efficiently until to the bottom middle of the 4th, allowing only 3 hits and no runs. It unraveled in the 5th a bit, where Tony Womack reached on a 7-pitch base on balls, and 2 runs scored.

In total, Schilling threw 108 pitches. He stated that the hits off of him were due to poor location, not lack of stamina. I find it hard to believe that locating a pitch doesn’t require an endurance and concentration that has to be tempered in Spring Training, not against a top-flight slugging team like the Yankees. As much Schilling prides himself and his preparation, both mental and physical, the mind may be willing, but the body not. At least not yet.

Offensively, the team isn’t yet reached full stride. Ten men left on base, with key lack of capitalizing on scoring opportunities in the 3rd and 5th. Trot Nixon continues his hot hitting, slamming a home run in the 5th.

The Red Sox attempt to secure their first series win on Thursday evening, with Bronson vs. Johnson. I think Johnson may retaliate at some point this evening for all of the Yankees that have been hit by pitches, since it is documented that Mike Mussina would not every do so. We all know that Arroyo is a headhunter with that terrifying inside breaking ball of his, so perhaps it will be a volatile game tonight. Not anything like hooligans at an Italian soccer match, however.

April 11, 2005


Game 7: April 11, 2005
Yankees (3-4), 1
Red Sox (3-4), 8
L: Mike Mussina (1-1)
W: Tim Wakefield (1-0)

It was the Wakefield we remember from the 2003 ALCS, the one with the butterflies that baffled and befuddled the team from Gotham. The knuckleball pitcher is the Red Sox player with the longest tenure, a member of the club since 1995. Fittingly, he was third in line to get his ring, following only Terry Francona and Ellis Burks. Wakefield went for 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, no earned runs, 1 unearned run, 5 strikeouts, and now has an ERA of 1.32.

I will admit to buying and watching Still, We Believe. As horribly as 2003 ended, it was a tremendous season. I bought the movie as a somewhat masochistic memoir of that season. Since I was at the Wild Card-clinching game against the Orioles, I felt a particular empathy for that group of renegade cowboys. The scene that sears the memory is watching Wakefield walk, zombie-like after giving up the game-winning home run, to a chair in front of his locker. You hear sobbing and see heaving shoulders. Trot Nixon comes up to him, tells him it’s not his fault. It’s clear that a teammate made the film crew stop their cameras.

As the Red Sox now say, “Turn the page.” But not before marking down a “W” for Wakefield for his first opening day victory. I’d hazard a guess and say there hasn’t been a knuckleballer starting on opening day in a long while.

Many think that signing Mike Mussina instead of Manny Ramirez back in 2000 would have been the wiser choice. Since their signing, the Red Sox have been to one World Series and won while the Yankees have been to two Fall Classics and lost both. We might be seeing the decline of Mussina, who turns 37 this year. He pitched only 5 innings, allowed 7 hits, 7 runs (4 earned), walked 3, struck out 5, and has an ERA of 4.91.From 2003 to 2004, his ERA rose from 3.40 to 4.59.

After several tepid games, the offense enjoyed some home cooking, with every starter getting a hit except David Ortiz. Doug Mirabelli showed why he is likely the best backup catcher in the league with his 2-run homer in the second inning, scoring Bill Mueller, who reached by getting hit by a pitch. Other batters showing signs of life were Kevin Millar (1 for 3, 2 RBIs) and Trot Nixon (2 for 3, 2 RBIs).

A well-played game overall. How else would you play when you have so many legends in and above Fenway Park, watching you?

No Words Required


Game 6: April 10, 2005
Red Sox (2-4), 3
Blue Jays (4-2), 4
L: Mike Timlin (1-1)
BS, W: Miguel Batista (1, 1-0)

How hard is it to write a game summary the day of the home opener at Fenway Park? Who will remember this Toronto series, let alone this game, ever? It is significant that the team has forced closers to the brink, making them blow saves with regularity. The recent inconsistency of the offense, particularly Manny Ramirez, continues to plague the Red Sox.

Matt Clement went 6 innings, with, 6 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 5 walks, 6 strikeouts, and an ERA of 4.35. Facing 27 batters in total, Clement had 14 first-pitch balls, a component of his high rate of giving hitters bases on balls. These extra men on base did not result in more runs, but the additional pitches certainly did curtail the duration of Clement’s outing. Clement’s inconsistent location had him working behind in most innings. He permitted the leadoff batter to reach base 3 out of 6 times, twice with walks and once by hitting the batter.

Another issue is the misplacement or misplaying of Ramirez in left field for Orlando Hudson’s double that scored Reed Johnson for the winning run. Did Brad Mills place the outfield in the correct position to avoid letting the extra-base hit get over him, or was it simply bad fielding by Ramirez? Since I have no idea of the alignment for this play, I’m in no position to judge. This is the drawback to seeing games on television. When I’m watching a game live, I often find myself observing aspects of the game no camera bothers to record.

On to the match-up against the Yankees, with home openers, banners, rings, flyovers, and fanfare.

April 9, 2005


Game 5: April 9, 2005
Red Sox (2-3), 5
Blue Jays (3-2), 12
L: David Wells (0-2)
BS: Scott Schoeneweis (1)
W: Jason Frasor (1-0)

Another inauspicious start for Wells, culminating in a 5-12 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. All you really need to know about this game is tidily summarized below.

David Wells 6.1 9 6 6 0 4 3 78-53 8.44
Matt Mantei 0.2 3 1 1 0 1 0 14-9 13.50
John Halama 0.0 1 3 3 1 0 0 16-8 16.20
Blaine Neal 1.0 3 2 2 0 0 1 12-8 20.25
Totals 8.0 16 12 12 1 5 4 120-78 -

The third inning was particularly brutal, with Wells giving up three consecutive home runs to Vernon Wells, Corey Koskie, and Shea Hillenbrand. The Blue Jays also exploded in the eighth inning, where they scored 6 runs, 4 by way of a grand slam by Gregg Zaun.

On the positive side, David Ortiz continues to be his splendid self, hitting a home run and driving in 3 runs. Also, no one mauled themselves on the LED monstrosities in the outfield. The company guilty of installing the signs is Daktronics, Inc., by the way.

The less said about this game, the better. Tomorrow will bring the opportunity to win the series.


Game 4: April 8, 2005
Red Sox (2-2), 6
Blue Jays (2-2), 5
W: Bronson Arroyo (1-0)
L: Dave Bush (0-1)

How exactly did this game become a squeaker? The Red Sox cruised into the 9th inning leading 6-3, with Keith Foulke coming in to close it out. He did so, eventually, but not before all of this:

  1. Corey Koskie singles with the count 2-2.
  2. Shea Hillenbrand singles with the count 1-0. Koskie to 2nd.
  3. Eric Hinske singles with the count 1-2. Koskie scores and Hillenbrand to 3rd.
  4. Gregg Zaun grounds out with the count 3-2. Hillenbrand scores and Hinske to 2nd.
  5. Alex Rios flies out on the first pitch. Hinske to 3rd.
  6. Frank Menechino walks on 5 pitches.
  7. Reed Johnson hit by pitch with the count 0-2. Menechino to 2nd.
  8. Orlando Hudson grounds out.

The final score was 6-5. To say Foulke was troubled after his performance would be an understatement. “Bad pitches, bad location, very disappointing. I let them get back in the ballgame. That’s everything you need to know,” he said in this Boston Globe article.

What sin have we committed to deserve this brand of diluted Canadian baseball? You would think that since Canada doesn’t have hockey this season, they would try and appreciate the sport more. Instead, we get obnoxious LED scoreboards on the outfield wall that maim players and obscure the view of the ball, paper airplane-making fans, volcanic cinders for the warning track, and a sub-par playing surface.

I can not wait until the team is back in Fenway Park. Until then, it’s two more games in the baseball mausoleum formerly known as the Skydome, now known as Rogers Centre, with Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay in the offing.

April 8, 2005

Behind the Scenes at the Fever Pitch Première

FeverpitchsignDramatis Personae
Drew Barrymore, the girl that was in E.T. Oh, yeah, and now she’s in Fever Pitch.
Tom Carron, resident NESN geek
Johnny Damon, CF and spotlight-adorer
Jimmy Fallon, “actor” and “comedian”
Hazel Mae, NESN SportsDesk anchor
Michelle Mangan, newly wedded to Johnny Damon
Kathryn Nixon, wife of Trot
Trot Nixon, RF
Curt Schilling, RHP
Shonda Schilling, wife of Curt and scarfbearer
Dawn Timlin, wife of Mike
Mike Timlin, RHP
Jason Varitek, C with the “C”
Karen Varitek, wife of Jason

The Scene
April 6, 2005. Fenway Park. The red carpet for the première of the movie Fever Pitch.

HAZEL: Here’s the lovely new wife of Johnny Damon, Michelle. Michelle, who did your dress? Versace?

DAMON: [Pushes MANGAN aside.] I have this new, uh, book coming out. It’s called Idiot. I’ll be doing a signing at Borders on....

MANGAN: [Nudges in front of DAMON.] Well, actually, no Hazel. It’s Armani.

HAZEL: I love how it drapes, simply fabulous.

CARRON: Wait... is that the Sumptuous Shonda’s music I hear?

[S. SCHILLING walks down the red carpet, myriad scarves wafting behind her.]

S. SCHILLING: Michelle, I have an issue with your and your media whoring husband.

FeverpitchdamonsMANGAN: Media whore?! Why, look who’s talking, Mrs. Endorse Bush the Day After the World Series victory?

S. SCHILLING: Strong words. I’m surprised they can come out of your face, you’ve had so much work done on it.

MANGAN: Your pert little nose doesn’t exactly look like it was granted by Mother Nature, either, honey.

[S. SCHILLING strides menacingly towards Mangan, scarves clasped in hands as if to garrote MANGAN.]

T. NIXON: All right! Girl fight! Kathryn, go join in. You’ll kick all those girls’ asses.

K. NIXON: I won’t degrade myself in such shenanigans. Besides, I have to run the marathon soon.

T. NIXON: Aww, come on. Look, Timlin’s wife Dawn is doing it, and she’s going to run, too.

[T. NIXON gestures towards D. TIMLIN, who has K. VARITEK in a Full Nelson.]

DAMON: Hey, this scene, it, uh, reminds me of this story I tell in my book. There was this three-way, and, uh....

M. TIMLIN: Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard this story. [Yells towards D. TIMLIN.] Go for it, Dawn honey, you almost got her! Pin her! Pin her!

J. VARITEK: Five bucks that Karen gets the better of your wife.

M. TIMLIN: You’re on. Get ready to pay up, cappy.

C. SCHILLING: Ten clams that Shonda beats the crap out of everyone.

DAMON, M. TIMLIN and J. VARITEK: [Simultaneously.] No bet.

M. TIMLIN: [Back towards DAMON.] You talk about it all the time. You tell the story to everyone in the center field bleachers. I hear you every game, I’m in the bullpen. Why don’t you just set up a stand and sell copies in the Triangle?

DAMON: Not a bad idea, Timlin. So, uh, look for my bookstand under the 420’ marker in the Triangle....

HAZEL: [Turns microphone away from DAMON.] Thanks very much, Johnny. Hey, there’s Drew Barrymore. Let’s try and see if we can flag her down. Drew! Drew!

FeverpitchfallonBARRYMORE: [Giggles.] Oh my God, I just love Boston. This is my love letter to the city. [Jumps onto dugout roof, flashing the crowd.] Love that Dirty Water!

DAMON: [Chases after BARRYMORE.] Hey, Drew. How you doin’?

HAZEL: Um, thanks, very much, Drew. [Spots FALLON.] Jimmy! Jimmy! A word?

FALLON: [Giggles.] Oh my God, I just love Boston. I mean, I was born in Brooklyn and the thought of eating New England clam chowder makes my skin break out in hives, but I just love this town. I feel like I’m really part of Red Sox Nation.

[S. SCHILLING grabs a bat weight, ties a scarf to it, and fashions a makeshift flail-like weapon.]

S. SCHILLING: You guys aren’t real fans! You desecrated the field where the first Red Sox World Series Championship in eighty-six years was won.

[S. SCHILLING takes out BARRYMORE and FALLON with her MacGyvered device.]

CARRON: Oh, the humanity...!

Dave’s Diegesis: Stemming the Tide

One topic that incites much furor and little understanding is stem cell research. With the ethical, religious, medical, and scientific interests that converge over this subject, many people find themselves taking sides without the access to unbiased information. Much of what is available is skewed towards the agenda of political groups.

To familiarize you with the terminology, there are many key definitions to learn. First, there are three classes of stem cells: pluripotent, multipotent, and totipotent.

Pluripotent stem cells come from human embryos a few days old. Once a cell “line” has been isolated and established, however, they can be used indefinitely in the laboratory, since they can proliferate without differentiation in vitro. Cell differentiation is the process where the features of a specialized cells are acquired.

Note that some adult stem cells, specifically hematopoietic cells, bone marrow stromal cells, and brain stem cells, are also pluripotent. Hematopoietic cells can develop into three major types of brain cells (neurons, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes), skeletal muscle cells, cardiac muscle cells, and liver cells. Stromal cells may differentiate into cardiac muscle cells and skeletal muscle cells. Finally, brain stem cells can generate blood cells and skeletal muscle cells.

There are other stem cells originating from adults that are multipotent. They are further down the path of differentiation than pluri- and totipotent stem cells, and therefore their potential for treatment is limited. The potential supply of adult multipotent stem cells is much lower than other types of stem cells since they are more difficult to isolate and purify. Furthermore, these cells are more prone to mutations upon replication.

Finally, there are totipotent stem cells, which can originate all different cell types. An embryo is totipotent until around the 16-cell stage.

Stem cells are necessary for the experimental cell-based therapies that may eventually treat every known illness. These novel techniques induce stem cells to differentiate into the specific cell type required to repair damaged or depleted adult cell populations or tissues. Another aspect of stem cell research is uncovering the molecular and genetic controls of the process of cell differentiation to better manipulate the cells into the correct cell type needed.

Many have labeled stem cells as the holy grail of medicine, a panacea for all the infirmities that trouble people. However, significant barriers remain until cell-based therapies can be widely used, including overcoming technological, ethical, political, and religious limitations.

Perhaps someday stem cells can be used to stop Tom Carron’s male pattern baldness, correct Jerry Trupiano’s lack of depth perception, and adjust the ear deformities that plague the Ronan Tynans and Eric Friedes of the world. But, more importantly, stem cell research may possibly cure ailments such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, chronic heart disease, liver failure, cancer, spinal cord injuries, burns, stroke, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The amount of suffering these maladies cause is reason enough to further investigate cell-based therapies.

Every Friday, Dave McCarty will join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site, and in this case, beatlesfab4fan, a proponent of science alleviating human suffering. We all know how we suffer with one of Trupiano’s “way back” calls.

April 7, 2005


Game 3: April 6, 2005
Red Sox (1-2), 7
Yankees (2-1), 3
W: Mike Timlin (1-0)
BS, L: Mariano Rivera (2, 1-1)

The Red Sox win their first game of the 2005 season, 7-3. A few years ago, if I told you that Mariano Rivera, the greatest reliever of his time, would give up five runs in the ninth inning to blow the save and lead, you would mostly like laugh in my face. Rivera has been vulnerable to Red Sox hitting, and this game was no exception. Unable to find the strike zone, Rivera struggled with the location of his mythic cut fastball. The sequence in the ninth piled improbability upon improbability:

  1. Mueller walks.
  2. Bellhorn singles. Mueller to 2nd.
  3. Damon singles. Mueller to 3rd, Bellhorn to 2nd.
  4. Nixon strikes out.
  5. Ramirez reaches on error by A. Rodriguez. Mueller scores, Bellhorn to 3rd, Damon to 2nd.
  6. Ortiz grounds out. Bellhorn scores, Damon to 3rd, Ramirez to 2nd.
  7. McCarty walks (appreciate the incredulity of this).
  8. Renteria singles (his first RBI-generating hit this season). Damon and Ramirez score, McCarty to 2nd.
  9. Mirabelli walks. McCarty to 3rd, Renteria to 2nd.

And then Rivera is finally, mercifully pulled by Joe Torre. Does he trust so few people in his bullpen that he had to extend Rivera? Has the Hammer of God lost his handle? I feel strongly that his participation in Nike’s bizarre “Find Your Game Face” ad campaign led to his downfall.

Two day games in a row enabled me to diagnose several office-related ailments that are opportunistic to Red Sox fans’ weak immunity system:

  • Trupianeurosis: Primary symptoms include tachycardia, hyperventilation, sudden, irrational fear and feelings of danger or impending doom (or, in stark contrast, great joy followed by deep disappointment, dependent upon which team is at bat.) Induced by the phrase “way back,” with symptoms intensifying with the repetition of said phrase.
  • Red Sox-related Tourette Syndrome (RS-RTS): Sudden outburst of expletives when a Trupianeurotic attack overwhelms the individual. Other expressions of emotion have also been documented, including pounding of desks, throwing of stress balls, and rude gestures toward the real-time, self-refreshing game summary site of choice. Some have conjectured that there might be a related disorder consisting of the spontaneous expression of positive emotions, characterized by laughter and smiles, known as Championaphasia. Since October 27, 2005, fewer cases of RS-RTS have been reported because these incidents are nearly always accompanied by the immediate and profound onset of Championaphasia.
  • Chat-induced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Caused by inputting text into multiple windows of fan board chats, message boards, and instant messaging systems simultaneously.

The complex inter-relationships between these disorders need to be examined. I am currently in the process of writing a grant to garner funds from the National Institute of Health to further investigate the maladies that plague Red Sox fans.

The Red Sox were not swept, and in fact many of them were chipper enough to head to Fenway and attend the gala Fever Pitch premiere. These social events have been approved by Mom, who, after her harsh words yesterday, wanted to let her boys relax on their day off before facing the Toronto Blue Jays.

April 6, 2005

Terry Francona Hospitalized

Developing News
Terry Francona was taken to the Cornell Medical Center for “stiffness” in his chest. He is being tested. Theo Epstein just had a press conference, but no specifics were given. This has been reported on both WEEI and the Boston Globe. Bench coach Brad Mills will be covering for Francona this afternoon. Best wishes to the Francona and Red Sox families for a positive outcome to this.

1:30 PM
In the game radiocast, Joe Castiglione states that Francona is resting comfortably and awaiting test results. He is, however, peeved that he can’t get the game in his room.... It certainly seems like he’ll be fine.

7:30 PM
I’m not sure when this was posted, but here are more details from the Boston Globe about Francona’s condition.

April 5, 2005


Game 2: April 5, 2005
Red Sox (0-2), 3
Yankees (2-0), 4
L: Keith Foulke (0-1)
BS, W: Mariano Rivera (1, 1-0)

Closer this time. It was tied going into the bottom of the ninth inning, thanks to another blown save by closer Mariano Rivera. Jason Varitek evened it up in the top of the last inning by homering off Mariano Rivera, who had flashes of mortality last year, and now suddenly seems human like the rest of us.

Someone who is so far inhuman against us is Hideki Matsui. A Wiener Whiner Line caller claims he might in fact be a robot, but I won’t descend to that level of humor. In nine at bats, he has six hits (2 of them home runs), struck out only once, and hasn’t had a base on balls. Today he was 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. As I said before, far too comfortable at the plate. Perhaps tomorrow Tim Wakefield’s pitches can confound him.

Derek Jeter hit the game-winning home run off of Keith Foulke, to the opposite field, no less. Foulke did fall behind 3-0, but he got it back to a full count. Jeter fouled off one pitch, and then used his inside-out swing to deposit the ball in the short right field porch.

In trying times like these, it always helps to talk with your Mom. What would Mom say to the starting nine and pitchers?

  • “Johnny, I’m proud that you wrote that book and all, but they pay you to be a center fielder. Go out there and play like the former All-Star you are. How you got to be one with that noodle arm I’ll never know. Oh, and when will you cut that hair! As God is my witness....”
  • “Christopher Trotman Nixon, you come here right now! You run off your mouth all offseason, and now look. 0 for 4 and 2 strikeouts. Grounding into a double play and leaving men on in scoring position. You just wait until your father gets home.”
  • “Now, where did my beads go? I was going to use them for my macrame proj... Manny, what’s that in your...? Oh, no. What am I going to do with you? Just... just go outside and practice hitting. Go! Now!”
  • “David, you’re my favorite. Here, have some more ice cream. Of course it’s your favorite: Green Monster Mint from Hood.”
  • “Now Kevin, that was indeed a great double play you had in the fifth. But don’t think you can rest on your laurels. Hold on a second, come here. What’s that I smell on your breath? Jack Daniels...?”
  • “Edgar. Enrique. Renteria. To your room. No dinner. No Playstation. Straight to your room.”
  • “You look so good in that uniform with the “C” and everything. Okay, now smile. Smile, I said! I’m sending this picture to everyone this Christmas.”
  • “Where did Billy go? He went 3 for 4 with a run and had some nice defensive plays, I wanted to reward him. Oh, he’s helping little old ladies across the street. Such a sweet boy.”
  • “He’s up there burning incense again and listening to Pink Floyd. Damn hippie kid. But he did go 2 for 4, so I can’t smack him around.”
  • “As for the pitching staff. Well, everyone gets an extra piece of cake... except Keith.”

Tomorrow, the Red Sox try not to get swept in their first series. And, for heaven’s sake, you’ll lose an eye playing with that. Someone’s going to end up crying....

April 4, 2005


Game 1: April 3, 2005
Red Sox (0-1), 2
Yankees (1-0), 9
L: David Wells (0-1)
W: Randy Johnson (1-0)

The Red Sox lost the season opener to the New York Yankees, 9-2. Being the champions takes the sting out of defeat, so there is much less rending of garments this year. Insert pithy comment about marathons, sprints, and long seasons here as well. Some observations based on this extremely minuscule sampling of data:

  • Hideki Matsui can rake. He went 3 for 5 with one home run. He continued where he left off before Pedro Martinez buzzed him in Game 5 of the ALCS. Matt Clement will have to step up and brush Matsui back on Tuesday, as Matsui is looking too comfortable at the plate. He also did a Ramirez at the wall in the second inning. No, not throwing out a ball into the stands with only two outs; he made a terrific catch of a ball hit by Kevin Millar.
  • The hair triggered amongst us are probably already labeling David Wells as an embedded Yankee. He was awful, going 4.1 innings, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, culminating in a 8.31 ERA. And don’t forget the balk. Recent evidence to the contrary, I’m more concerned about him in Fenway Park. Wells said, “As I was stepping back, I thought I saw a different finger down.” Will he come back with a finger to the fans if he gets booed?
  • Let’s keep an eye on A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory. Jere was at this game, of course decked out in full Red Sox champgalia, and with a sign no less (“A Ruthian Collapse”). In the right field bleachers. I’m hoping he made it out alive.

First game is over and we got the jitters out. The series is still winnable. Baseball is back.

April 3, 2005

Sensory Overload

All good things arrive unto them that wait — and don’t die in the meantime.
Mark Twain

I tried not to wait in vain for tonight’s game, and found some news to comment on.

Red Sox, Inc.
According to this article by Chris Snow in today’s Boston Globe, the World Champion Red Sox have generated an unprecedented volume of requests for the team’s players, executives, and owners to appear in various media outlets. Not only has the baseball management both on the field and in the front office vastly improved, but the business end of the club has been updated. Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College and author of Baseball and Billions, states that the Red Sox radically changed the culture of the team’s operations. “Basically, they’ve done everything exactly right,” said Zimbalist. “It’s an absolutely remarkable story. They’ve changed the corporate culture of the Sox. They’ve extended themselves into the community. They’ve opened up Fenway to the community.”

I was interested to see how the growth in value of the Red Sox and Yankees franchises compared over the last few years. Using valuations published in Forbes, I generated the following table. The past two years have seen the slowing in valuation growth for both, but more so for the Yankees, an organization that lost $17M in value from 2003 to 2004. In contrast, the growth in value for the Red Sox has slowed since 2002, but the Boston team’s value has never been significantly less than any previous year in the time range I was able to find data. Although it is unlikely that the John Henry ownership group will see valuations as high as George Steinbrenner’s club, the gap between the clubs has lessened in the last seven years.

  1. Red line: Red Sox change in valuation from previous year in terms of percentage, with actual dollar values in millions at each point.
  2. Blue line: Yankees change in valuation from previous year in terms of percentage, with actual dollar values in millions at each point.
  3. Green line: Gap in valuation between the Red Sox and Yankees expressed in terms of percentage.

It is safe to say that the impact of the championship has not been taken into account yet, but when it does, I wonder how much closer the gap will be? Continued success on the field, promotion of Fenway Park and the surrounding areas as an alternate venue, and the further expansion of NESN’s programming are all factors that will keep the pressure on the New York American League club to remain competitive in all aspects of the rivalry.

Show Goes On
Thank you, Red Sox. This means more to Dave and I than you can imagine.


OpeningdayHoy. Kyō. Oggi. Itá nga aldáw. Aujourd’hui. Heute. Ngayón. I dag. Vandag. сегодня. Hoje. Ma. Tänään. Leo. Dzisiaj. يَوْم

April 2, 2005

The Gospel According to William

In the beginning was the name, and the name was “Mueller,” and the name was pronounced “Miller.” There was a man sent from San Francisco, whose name was William. The same came for a base hit, to bear witness of the Light, that all Red Sox fans through him might believe.

On March 31, Chris Snow had another excellent article on Mueller. I’ve written before about those prodigious moments that have been etched in our memories. Even without his dramatic hits, Mueller’s production has been stellar. Since 1996, the year of his debut, if you want a group of third basemen with a minimum of 3,000 plate appearances, .275 BA, .350 OBP, 50 HR, and 400 RBI, you’ll have a list of six:

“Mueller, Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen, Eric Chavez, Corey Koskie, and Jeff Cirillo. Among that class, Mueller ranks third in average (.292) and on-base percentage (.374) and sixth in home runs (72) and RBIs (416). Add “500 or fewer strikeouts” to that search and only Mueller (488) is left standing.

“Jones, next to Mueller, is the only switch hitter on the list. Mueller, in fact, is 16th all-time in on-base percentage among switch hitters with at least 3,000 plate appearances, two spots behind Pete Rose (.375).”

As a sports commentator whose identity escapes me said, “He may not be at the head of the class, but it doesn’t take long to call the roll.”

Let’s compare the 2004 earnings of these players:

  • Eric Chavez: $5.325M
  • Jeff Cirillo: $7.1M
  • Chipper Jones: $15.33M
  • Corey Koskie: $4.5M
  • Bill Mueller: $2.1M
  • Scott Rolen: $7.78M

Admittedly, his injury history has impacted his value. On May 13, 2001, Mueller suffered an open fracture of his left patella after sliding into metal beneath the padding along the Busch Stadium left field wall. He was, as always, playing hard and trying to catch a foul ball.

His lingering knee problems have affected his range and defensive capabilities. As shown below, the argument could be made that he is not is the fielding equivalent of the peers listed, but he is by no definition a liability. The table below is sorted by Defensive Efficiency Rating, explained in David Pinto’s Baseball Musing’s Probabilistic Model of Range.

2004 G GS Inn TC PO A E DP RF Fld % DER
Rolen 141 139 1228 428 93 325 10 23 3.06 97.70 0.107
Chavez 125 125 1129 402 113 276 13 31 3.1 96.80 0.104
Jones 96 93 802 241 58 177 6 13 2.64 97.50 0.092
Mueller 96 94 827.2 247 71 162 14 15 2.53 94.30 0.088
Koskie 115 112 1004 297 79 207 11 14 2.56 96.30 0.086
Cirillo 11 8 78.1 18 8 10 0 1 2.07 100.00 0.083

This is a small sample size, but a head-to-head comparison of Mueller and Rolen in the World Series is eye-opening:

Mueller 14 3 6 2 0 0 2 4 .429 .556 .571 1.127
Rolen 15 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .059 .000 .059

All this from a player that says, “It’s not something I enjoy, talking about myself. I enjoy talking about the game of baseball. It seems like your questions lead outside the lines a lot of times. I try and stay private and really, that’s my business. That’s how I see it.”

Worth every penny. (And if anyone recalls who said that “head of the class” quote, please let me know.)

April 1, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: Fooling the Fire

My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.
Ursula K. LeGuin

I’m as jocular as the next guy, so it should come as no surprise that April Fool’s Day, originally named All Fool’s Day and called Poisson d’Avril in France, is one of my favorite days. Like baseball, however, the origins of this day are disputed. Some say that in the conversion from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1582, the hidebound people that didn’t convert to the new calendar were mocked and sent on fool’s missions. Others say that its genesis was in the Roman festivals of Saturnalia or Hilaria (held in the winter and spring respectively), the Indian celebration of color called Holi (where participants threw multi-hued powders at each other), or the Northern European fete of Lud (the Celtic god of humor). At any rate, it’s a day where people can loosen up around each other, although some folks, like my teammate Kevin Millar and his semi-nude jumping jacks, hardly need an excuse.

Here are some of my recommended pranks:

  1. Tell your friends that you solved one of the Millennium Problems and that you’re going to share the prize money with them.
  2. Write an amusing paper for the Annals of Improbable Research, perhaps something about insomniac cats with eating and/or attachment disorders.
  3. Claim that you’ve downloaded Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and will have a viewing tonight. Show Spaceballs instead.
  4. Develop and design a website showing that Star Trek: Enterprise wasn’t canceled. Send the link to your mailing list.
  5. Fiddle with Theo Epstein’s laptop, adjusting my stats so that I’ll make the 25-man roster.

Enjoy the day, gang. Unfortunately, this will be the last “Dave’s Diegesis” for a while, as I’m working on a knuckleball and that will take up a lot of my time. I’ll try to drop in as often as possible, however.

Every Friday, Dave McCarty will join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site.

April Fools! I’ll be back next Friday, same bat time, same bat channel

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