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July 1, 2015

Taking a Break

Because of my kitten's injury (see "I've Got 99 Problems and a Kitten is One"), trying to train my puppy, and other personal and professional reasons I need to take a break from this blog for now.

I hope to return once things have settled. Thank you for all the support over the years.

June 25, 2015

I Got 99 Problems and a Kitten is One

I’ve been a bit behind in recapping games because I'm taking care of my kitten Kumo. He broke his leg playing on his shiba inu puppy sister’s crate. Please send your healing energy to Kumo. I’ll post game summaries and pictures as I can.

Here’s Kumo in his better days. He was not a fan of Tommy Layne’s pitching.

Momiji hides behind her penguin in fear, dreading John Farrell’s next pitching change.

April 27, 2014

Blogrolling Along

I had resisted succumbing to 140-character soundbites and thumbnail pins but Twitter and Pinterest widgets are now featured on the right side of my site. Feel free to follow me on your preferred platform:

Facebook
Google+
Pinterest
Twitter @jjmhicks
Tumblr omnia mutantur, nihil interit

I went through and updated my favorite links. Sad to see many people who had blogs move on, but happily a few are active on Twitter and I’ve added them to my Red Sox Twitter list.

June 7, 2008

News Page Revamp

I made a long-overdue update to this site’s News page; to access just click on Peter Gammons’s noggin in the sidebar on the right. Now included are feeds from the Hartford Courant and Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. The Boston Herald section was deleted as they no longer provide RSS feeds.

Eventually I hope to have feeds from each New England state was well as each affiliate listed on this page. I was particularly excited to tap into Kevin Thomas’s blog Clearing the Bases as he will have the inside track on promotions from his post in Portland, Maine.

I’ve also been updating my Favorite Sites sidebar and page. Sad to see some great Red Sox blogs fall to the way side I’m going to create a “Defunct Sites” section and keep the links up for posterity’s sake.

April 19, 2008

Another Championship

...another banner. I could get used to updating this graphic regularly.

Previous banners:

Banner

Bannerremix

March 22, 2008

Remote Locale

Today my family and I will be on the road for about two hours to get to the “town” of Kaupo. If you explore this area, you’ll see that Pi‘ilani Highway is really a dirt road. Part of it is closed due to a 6.7 magnitude earthquake off the coast of the Big Island in October 2006. For frame of reference, Kaupo is about as far from populated areas as Hana is, but without access via paved road.

When I was seven I was so inspired by the name Kaupo after I had traversed Haleakala Crater with my parents and other adults that I named the best cat I ever befriended after the town. I remember one of hiking party, my dad’s best friend, in fact, continually doubting that I could make the hike. We had two days to take the Sliding Sands then Kaupo Gap trails. Not only did I make it, but I wore slippers (a.k.a. flip flops) for the last few miles.

We sat on the steps of the Kaupo Store after the excursion and my dad bragged about me to amazed tourists.


View Larger Map

March 19, 2008

Ono Grinds

I realized my previous post was a little bitter, so I thought I should write about something that is far from acrid: Hawaiian food.

I don’t do much sightseeing as I’ve pretty much seen everything on the two islands I’ll be on, Oahu and Maui. So I have been eating all my favorite foods that are hard to find in Massachusetts.

One of the first things I had was gau gee at Waimalu Chop Suey. Gau gee are like won ton on steroids. They don’t cut down on the meat at Waimalu; it’s stuffed full of pork and deep fried.

I also had laulau, which is a traditional Hawaiian dish of pork and butterfish steamed in taro leaves. It came with lomilomi salmon (sort of like a ceviche) and haupia (coconut pudding-ish jello-ish dessert).

I’ve been to two different kinds of Japanese restaurants, one that serves mostly ramen and one that serves teishoku, which are set dishes of teriyaki, tempura, and other Japanese specialties served with rice (of course), tsukemono (Japanese pickled vegetables), and miso.

One of the things that is popular is mixing satsumaimo (purple Okinawan sweet potato) in various dishes. I had it in fried mochi (sort of like cascaron) and coconut tapioca. Satsumaimo is less tangy than yams or other kinds of sweet potato and doesn’t break up when cooked. So ono (Hawaiian word for “delicious”)!

When I come back I’m going to weigh 20 pounds more, but will be tremendously happy about it.

March 15, 2008

Back in Hawai‘i

When the Red Sox open in Japan later this month I’ll be closer to the team physically though more distant temporally as is Hawai‘i on the other side of the International Date Line from Daisuke Matsuzaka’s homeland.

With Josh Beckett’s back woes putting him on the shelf, the Japanese pitcher is set to start the first game of the two-game series against the Athletics in the Tokyo Dome. Matsuzaka and his wife Tomoyo had their second child (and first son) this morning, so neither the couple or the team need further worry about the starting slot.

While here I’ll try to see a University of Hawai‘i baseball game, but it won’t be as interesting as it was the last time I was here when the University of Washington was here for a tournament and Tim Lincecum started a game. Instead, I’ll probably catch the game against San Diego State on the 18th.

As much as I miss the non-stop baseball coverage when I’m in Boston, 80 degree weather isn’t anything to complain about.

December 8, 2007

How the VWR Stole Christmas

For the first time since its inception I did not get an invite to Christmas at Fenway. Instead, I spent hours looking at this:

Vwr

Judging by the threads at SoSH and Royal Rooters, I was lucky to have purchased tickets at all. I didn’t get the Holy Grail of Sox Pax, the Opening Day, but I did get the Cactus and TGIF offerings. Usually every pack has a Yankee game included, but in this post-championship year the weekend sets don’t include that premium perk.

I was particularly interested in seeing the Diamondbacks in person because that is my team in the all-encompassing fantasy franchise league I am in, The Wood, the Abad, and the Uggla (registration required; contact me for a guest account), called WAU (pronounced “wow,” I think) for short. This league has taken over a considerable part of my life since its inception last year and I must admit that my affection for a few of my remaining Diamondbacks almost matches that for the Red Sox. Almost.

The league has deepened my appreciation for younger players, and even though some of the filler games included seem to be clunkers, there are exciting kids to look for on each team.

  • Blue Jays: LF Adam Lind, RHP Jesse Litsch, C Curtis Thigpen
  • Cardinals: C Bryan Anderson, CF Colby Rasmus, RHP Chris Perez
  • Devil Rays: 3B Evan Longoria, RHP Jeff Niemann, 2B/OF B.J. Upton
  • Diamondbacks: SS Stephen Drew, RF Justin Upton, CF Chris Young
  • Rangers: RHP Matt Harrison, RHP Edinson Volquez, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

July 17, 2007

Philadelphia (Not) Freedom

I was summoned to a last-minute business trip to Philadelphia so I have a bit of catching up to do.

Things that have hampered my full enjoyment of baseball the last 48 hours:

  • Traffic on 128
  • Need for sleep (and the lack thereof)
  • Work

I actually turned down tickets to tonight’s game because I have been run so ragged. I’ll keep my chin up, stay within myself, and always remember that it’s a marathon not a sprint.

July 5, 2007

Spamalot

Apparently using the city name “San Francisco” in a post title makes a blog vulnerable to spam attacks. Thanks for that slogan for Okajima, Papelbon. I look forward to annihilating you in Scrabble someday.

I’ve had to enable comment authentication through TypeKey; registration is free and enables you to comment on Movable Type blogs under the same identity. I hope this will be a temporary workaround, however, and will at some point in the future allow any visitors to leave a comment once again.

March 8, 2007

Malice Towards None, Charity For All

Your Turn at Bat
There’s still time to enter a charity raffle for an authentic bat signed by 25 members of the 2004 World Champion Red Sox. (I hadn’t typed that in a while; still feels good to do so.) Proceeds will be divided between the Villa Augustina School and Crispin’s House, both in the Goffstown/Manchester, New Hampshire area. The Villa Augustina School was established by the Religious of Jesus and Mary, a congregation founded in France by Claudine Thévenet in 1818. Crispin’s House, founded by a judge and police chief in 1989, is a non-denominational organization dedicated to reducing juvenile delinquency in the Goffstown area.

Like Being at 4 Yawkey Way
The Mini Fenway Park will be opening this summer in Quincy, Massachusetts. The replica will provide a place for kids aged 4 through 17 to pretend they are little Pedroias. (That’s not redundant, at least for not for the six-year olds.) You can contribute to the park by attending the charity event at the real Fenway Park’s State Street Pavilion on April 7. If you aren’t low on lucre, you can also bid on a Fenway Park license plate emblazoned with a significant Red Sox number, like an eight or perhaps even an eleven.

December 30, 2006

Happy New Site

To ring in 2007, I’ve added two new features to this site.

Each entry will now have tags, which are a more informal way of organizing posts. When you click on the “Tag” link below each entry you will be taken to this site’s Tag Cloud. When you click on a specific tag link you will navigate to a page with links to all the entries with the same tag.

tagexample

Also, if you would like to add a comment in response to a previous reader’s thoughts, you may now respond directly thanks to Arvind Satyanarayan’s Movable Type plug-in Simply Threaded.

threadexample

Part of my plan for next year is to help spread awareness for worthwhile charities and causes. I’ll be linking to at least one non-profit organization and placing its banner in the left sidebar. I did have a link to the Save the Internet folks before. With the recent elections, it seems that net neutrality is safe (for now), so I’ve changed the link to The Red Panda Project.

Happy New Year! Thanks to everyone for continuing to visit and welcome to any newcomers.

December 22, 2006

Daisuke Daisuki

I saw a segment on my local morning news where Japanese media were asked how to say certain phrases in Japanese so that Red Sox fans could make Daisuke Matsuzaka feel at home in Fenway. One reporter was asked how we would say “we love you, Daisuke” and he responded 愛してる [ai shite iru, literally there exists love] but emphasized that this is not said man-to-man.

The clip was cut short to fit time constraints, but I’m sure the Japanese reporter went on to explain that this phrase is rarely spoken, even between long-term companions.

Instead 好き [su ki], translated to “like,” is used. The first character is a kanji that combines the symbol for mother/woman and child together, implying the closeness of that relationship; the second symbol is from the hiragana syllabary.

If you really like someone, you could add the character 大 [dai], which means “big.” If that symbol looks familiar, it is indeed the first character from Matsuzaka’s given name, which I explained here. So, “Daisuke daisuki” is a bit strong for anyone but Matsuzaka’s wife to say, but “Matsuzaka-senshu ga suki desu” is appropriate. “Senshu” is an honorific, like “san,” but it is specifically added to athletes’ family names.

The sensation this box artist has caused remains remarkable. The Boston Herald, noting a huge increase in hits from Japan, will be publishing articles on Matsuzaka in Japanese.

Even Mike Plugh of Matsuzaka Watch will continue to follow his favorite pitcher despite the latter’s affiliation. I can’t say I would continue to follow a particular player if he were signed with a rival team, but I can see how Matsuzaka could inspire someone to do so.

I’ve also found a fellow Red Sox fan whose Japanese skills are much better than mine: Nichibei Red Sox Blog is a snazzy new blog headquartered in my birth state. 日米 [nichibei] means Japan-United States; the first symbol means “sun” and the second is “rice.” In his first post Kazuneko provides his translation of the press conference.

It seems like an odd thing that the US is called 米国 [beikoku] in Japanese as that would literally translate as “land of rice.” However, “beikoku” is actually a shortened form of 亜米利加 [amerika]. This particular way of spelling America, where kanji are used phonetically, is called ateji. Words are no longer created in this manner. Instead, the katakana syllabary, which equates each phoneme with a symbol systematically, quite unlike the ad hoc ateji method.

December 18, 2006

Nice Cup of Jose to Fire You Up

There’s been a bit of shift in the domains of the Red Sox blogiverse.

You can now find Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME back at Blogger. What was formerly Wallball Single has evaporated into the interethernet; the URL now redirects to the redesigned Fire Brand of the American League.

It is not known at this time if part of Melendez’s move comes with a masseuse, trainer, translator, and personal assistant. MRIs of Evan Brunell and Zach Hayes’s knees are being evaluated by a second physician after injury concerns; the slick new MVN design has entailed quite a few tumbles.

November 30, 2006

Hither and Yon

Allan Wood’s The Joy of Sox is up for the 2006 Canadian Blog Awards. Please take a moment to support the Red Sox and baseball in that benighted country where they are so enamored of hockey and vote for him in category 13. Without Allan, there would be no EE. But please don’t hold that against him and vote anyway.

Have you checked out Baseball Reference Play Index yet? Sean Forman of BR has teamed with Retrosheet to create a tool for rooting out the obscure. So when Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy speak of an impending threat to the second baseman’s Red Sox record of six hits in a game, you can check and see that Remy does indeed hold this record along with Nomar Garciaparra and Pete Runnels.

July 22, 2006

Site Upgrades

I recently updated to Movable Type 3.3 and haven’t weeded out all the code weirdness. If you notice anything odd while perusing the site, please feel free to e-mail me.

Also, you may have noticed that Dave hasn’t been able to write many diegeses lately. He’s been too busy with his NESN responsibilities lately, but promises to return should any compelling topics require addressing.

May 5, 2006

Happy Boy’s Day

Koi BannerAs I described back in March for ohinamatsuri, people in Hawai‘i celebrate many Japanese holidays, some of which are no longer observed in quite the same way as their country of origin.

On May 5th, households would fly banners in the shape of carp for every male member of the household. Carp, or koi, symbolize luck, perseverance and strength. The Japanese used to call the holiday Tango no Sekku (端午の節句); tango has multiple meanings. Tan can mean “edge” or “first” and go can be translated as “noon.” Sekku means “seasonal holiday;” and May 5th is one of five official Japanese sekku. In Japan, the holiday has been converted to recognize kids in general and has been renamed Kodomo No Hi (こどもの日), or just plain Children’s Day. But Hawai‘i and rural parts of Japan stubbornly adhere to the old ways.

Happy Boy’s Day to our favorite bunch of boys!

March 3, 2006

お雛祭 (Ohinamatsuri): Happy Girl’s Day

Mebina EmpressHawai‘i has a large Japanese-American population due to immigration following the social upheavals in Japan during the Meiji Restoration. Farmers could no longer make a living on agriculture due to the rapid industrialization of their country, so from 1886 through 1911 more than 400,000 Japanese immigrants entered the United States, primarily in Hawai‘i and the West Coast. They brought with them their culture, foods, and celebrations, including Girl’s Day, or Doll Festival, which is celebrated March 3rd. Japanese dolls representative of the royal court from the Edo period are put on display and mochi colored pink, white, and green are served. Other than the dolls and treats, it’s also a day to recognize the girl or woman in your life and treat her to a nice dinner or gift.

In honor of Girl’s Day and Women’s History Month, I wanted to mention Effa Manley’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. As owner of the Newark Eagles, she was a woman ahead of her time and she will be the first woman enshrined in the hall. With her husband, she was co-owner of championship-winning Negro League team that she believed could have beat the non-integrated teams of the time. In 1934, she carried her influence into her community by organizing boycotts against businesses that refused to hire African-Americans. These businesses relented, leading to the employment of over 300 African-Americans just a year later.

Obina EmperorIn less inspirational news, the UH Rainbows lost to the Arkansas Razorbacks last night. I know I really talked up Steven Wright, but he was inconsistent last night, lasting just six and a third innings yielding five runs and eight hits with two walks and nine strikeouts. Wright looked dominant at times, as evidenced by his strikeout total, but often left too much of the ball on the plate for his opponents. I didn’t see a single non-white Arkansas player or fan, who were obnoxious visitors. They riled up the usually easy-going UH fans with their boisterous antics, prompting some locals to yell at them to shut up. To see Wright pitch, I had to be in person at Les Murakami Stadium last night because the local television and radio stations that cover UH sports were deployed for the basketball game only.

Les Murakami Stadium
This photo is from the Mavericks-Rainbows game that was rained out.

Ohinamatsuri icons courtesy of Cedarseed.

February 16, 2006

Aloha ‘Oe

According to Baseball Reference, there have been 30 players born in Hawai‘i, the first being a 24-year old pitcher who made his major league debut and departure in the same year, 1914. Johnnie Williams, called “Honolulu Johnny,” was a right-handed pitcher who made three starts, lost two games, and had one complete game for the Detroit Tigers. Since then, there have been a few more players from the islands that have made bigger impacts, such as Sid Fernandez and Benny Agbayani, both of whom played in the World Series for the New York Mets, although separated by 14 years. Fernandez pitched in that World Series while Agbayani played in the 2000 Subway Series, affectionately known to everyone outside of the five boroughs as “Who Cares?” I cared enough to cheer on Benny. I was thrilled when he was picked up by the Red Sox in 2002.

As I have written before, I have a place in my heart for any kid from the islands that makes the big time. One player that made a tremendous showing in the 2004 College World Series for Cal State Fullerton was Kurt Suzuki. That same year Suzuki was drafted by Oakland in second round as the 67th pick overall, the first Hawaiian player to be drafted.

My thoughts are turning back to the islands becase I’ll be there for the next few weeks. I can’t imagine a more ideal and idyllic place to devise my fantasy league strategies for my first foray into the hobby. Also, sheer chance, USC will be playing UH for the first time since 1993 and the First Hawaii Title Rainbow Baseball Tournament will take place while I’m there. It will be a unique opportunity to scout some players. The baseball team of the University of Hawai‘i, my alma mater, is off to a strong start. The Rainbows won the season-opening series against Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State Aztecs 4-1 and are currently 6-2.

January 30, 2006

MLB Using RSS for Product Placement

Perhaps I’m overreacting, but I don’t think RSS should be used to advertise products. I am committed to keeping my site ad-free. What do you folks think about this? Here’s the e-mail I sent to mlb.com:

MLBAdTo whom it may concern:
I have an RSS news ticker on my blog that is derived from a Google search of RSS feeds for “red sox.” Today I noticed that an ad for 2004 Red Sox DVD Set appeared on my site. I am extremely alarmed that mlb.com is now using RSS as a way to promote its goods and services. Here is the link.

By choice, I have kept my site ad-free. It appears that mlb.com is taking advantage of technology to insert itself as a commercial presence through a typically non-commercial medium. I believe I do enough to promote the league by owning a site that encourages discussion about baseball and I highly resent that MLB would take advantage of RSS for advertising purposes. I have rejected other advertisers who would pay for that space.

Best Regards,
Joanna Hicks
www.empyrealenvirons.com

January 30, 6:30 PM Update: I thought the service that provides my ticker may have slipped in an ad, but I did a search of RSS feeds through Google News and the DVD set is appearing as a news item. I am sure this goes against the Google News philsophy, which you can read at this link. I found a method to get in touch with Google News through this feedback form. If you would like to take a stand against advertisements via RSS as I do, please do drop them a line. I recommend including a link that shows the current results of a search for “red sox” on Google News showing the results below.

redsoxrssad

January 31, 9:10 AM Update: I corresponded with Dave Winer, the pioneering software engineer and leading contributor to RSS 2.0. He stated that this is actually a common use of RSS and not one that he endorses. Since this is my first encounter with such a feed item, I was taken aback. I’m taking steps to ensure that no further advertisements without my consent appear here.

January 29, 2006

Wise Old Saws for the New Year

kadomatsuleftI’ve unearthed new content to spiff up the Quotable page: baseball terms from The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary. The book is a time capsule of evocative phrases from the days of nickel sodas, but does shy away from modern jargon and controversy. Under the entry for “juice,” for example, there is no mention of steroids. You won’t find an entry for “greenie,” either.

kadomatsurightThere’s also a television section on my About page now. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I watch way too much of it.

Happy New Year, to those that celebrate it according to the lunar calendar. Although most of Japan switched over to the Gregorian calendar with the Meiji Restoration, folks in the rural areas, like my great-grandparents, followed the lunar calendar. When they came to Hawai‘i, they brought this tradition with them. Pictured here are kadomatsu, which are placed on either side of doorways. The pine represents longevity and the bamboo symbolizes health. The kadomatsu are designed to shelter kami (spirits), who will then bring wellness to those in abodes so adorned.

January 23, 2006

In Too Deep

Instead of being able to regale you with my penetrating analysis of the impending Coco Crisp trade, my limited number of neurons have been engaged in a far more mundane task: struggling with the nemesis of web designers near and far.

Yes, Microsoft Internet Explorer, versions 6.0 and 7.0 beta, have mangled my CSS. Every other browser, including Mozilla on Windows, correctly renders my site. But not MSIE, which, with the addition of just a few letters, becomes “misery.” I converted my entry-driven pages (the main page as well as the category pages like Dave’s Diegeses and date archives such as the memorable month of May 2005) to PHP so that those nifty “Recent Posts” and “Recent Comments” don’t change with every context switch as they used to, aptly demonstrating a Movable Type limitation.

But now these PHP pages have the incorrect font size in MSIE, which is so very odd because they otherwise have the correct styling. And, despite what my hosting company and every Movable Type resource is telling me, my CSS is not broken because it still is fine on my HTML pages such as “Meta” or “News.”

If anyone can give shed some light on this issue, please drop me a comment or e-mail.

As for the Covelli Loyce Crisp (as if the nickname weren’t enough, his given name also rolls insouciantly off the tongue) trade, waiting this long to get a center fielder may have weakened the Red Sox’s leverage, but sometimes even an organization with a commitment to the future must make such a swap in the face of an exigent situation. Not that I am in any way comparing Crisp with Pedro Martinez, but Boston traded Carl Pavano to get a proven major league player. Even though Andy Marte was the poster boy for potential star of the future and gave all the farm fans someone to swoon over after Hanley Ramirez was traded, the club needed a player manning the triangle this season. They could have done much worse then come up with Crisp.

January 14, 2006

Welcome Back

Well, the names have all changed since you hung around. But those dreams have remained and they’re turned around.

So, here’s my new domain. Someone stop me before I make a hackneyed “Seinfield” reference. I’m still getting accustomed to the new application, so if you experience any odd behavior (on the site; I’m not talking about your bizarre neighbors), please be sure to e-mail me.

On second thought, it might be amusing to hear about your quirky neighbors.

I hope you find that this new hosting company is faster. On the publishing side I have found that it is. My company also supports PHP, so I plan on adding a few more bells and whistles here and there. Thanks for following along.

January 8, 2006

New Sensation

Since real Red Sox news has been about as slow as J. T. Snow making his way down the first base line, I’ve had time to make updates to this site’s subpages:

  • The News subpage is now fully operational. Clicking on Old Hickory gives you access to the most recent feeds from the Boston Red Sox official site, Boston Herald, Providence Journal, Boston Globe, Rotoworld, and baseball headlines from the Associated Press. So much for my attempted boycott of the Globe spurred by Steve Silva’s irresponsible use of Civil Rights era picture. As demonstrated by the Theo Epstein saga, this news organization is such an integral part of the Red Sox news scene that it is difficult to be comprehensive without including their feed. I would have liked to include the Hartford Courant but they do not have a Red Sox or even baseball specific feed, surprisingly enough.
  • I’ve added a countdown to the Sea Dogs’ Opening Day and made the Countdown page a place for the webcam at the corner of Lansdowne and Ipswich courtesy of Fenway Views. For some reason the webcam inside of Fenway displayed by Weatherbug hasn’t been updated since October last year. Hopefully it will go live again once the season starts.
  • Also see About, Meta, and Red Sox Links for some nifty updates if you haven’t been there in a while.

(The title of this post was inspired by the song “New Sensation” by INXS. I loved that song and video. It had frenetic stop motion and an exposure rate that allowed for neon lights to write words in the air. Waxing nostalgic about the 80s, I checked on some of my former obsessions. I was surprised by the number of suicides of these past idols. Michael Hutchence died in 1997. I hadn’t realized until recently that another musician who broke out in the 80s, Paul Hester, the drummer for Crowded House, killed himself last year. As Stuart Adamson of Big Country did in 2001, Hester hung himself. It’s bizarre that a seemingly fun-loving decade also cultivated self-destructiveness in its wake.)

January 5, 2006

Start Spreading the News

Now that I have an RSS ticker for news, I often see odd headlines scrolling by that begged to be read. Today, an unsigned feed from the New York Times popped up. Intrigued, I clicked the link and got This Day in Sports: January 5, 1920. It’s the 86th anniversary of the selling of Babe Ruth to the Yankees, and not even Dan Shaughnessy noticed. His most recent column his is attempt to stir the Patriots’ pot in advance of the Super Bowl. Only those Red Sox-obsessed New Yorkers even bothered to note this date, and that person wouldn’t even ascribe their name to the piece.

At first I wasn’t happy with the news ticker because I’m not able to customize the feeds. But the somewhat random nature of it is beginning to appeal to me. It’s based on a Google search for RSS feeds tagged “red sox” and therefore leads to articles that I would otherwise not know of. Once I get better idea of how to convert the RSS to HTML and a new host that has the server side support I need for this, the “News” subpage will be populated. You can access it by clicking on Peter Gammons’s noggin. And he thought getting into the National Baseball Hall of Fame was a grandiose tribute.

December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Happynewyear

Wishing everyone a happy new year and many more walk-off wins. If Eric Frede runs out of questions for David Ortiz, I wanted to give him some suggestions to spur on the conversation:

  1. Come here often?
  2. Is your car standard? It must be, because you’re so clutch.
  3. I have a jeweler’s loop in my pocket here. Let’s get a look at those earrings?
  4. What’s the deal with players feeding each other applesauce?
  5. The mango salsa recipe--give it up already. Everyone wants to know the ingredients.
  6. While we’re at it, how about the beans and rice recipe, too?
  7. What kind of cookie did you get with your D’Angelo Big Papi sub?
  8. Who does the naked pull-ups now that Kevin Millar is gone?

December 23, 2005

Jesus Wept

Depressingly, traffic on EE has spiked since Johnny Damon’s signing with the New York Yankees. From Orange County, California to Orange County, New York, readers are hitting this April post about the Fever Pitch gala featuring none other than Michelle Damon née Mangan.

I’ll actually miss Michelle’s “In Style” segments. As twitch124 pointed out, she wasn’t the typical baseball wife and sustained much criticism for not conforming to the norm. She was unapologetic about being different and pursuing media attention. In some ways, I prefer that celebrities acknowledge their publicity-seeking impulses rather than disguise their desires behind the pretense of charitable acts.

At least there are two hits for Curtis Leskanic, whose 2004 story should be better publicized. He pitched 1 and 1/3 shutout innings in Game 4 of the ALCS, throwing so hard he ended his career. Perhaps he should hire Michelle’s agent.

Searchengine

December 16, 2005

Bad TypePad

Typebad TypePad, SixApart’s hosted weblogging service and the platform on which this site is published, experienced another major outage today. This would be the second outage in the span of two months. Ironically enough, it occurred during the deployment of a redundant data system.

I’m in the process of evaluating different hosting and publishing solutions because I no longer wish to pay for TypePad’s substandard performance, although I give them credit for not losing any of my data. I’ve grown accustomed to the TypePad interface and features, so I’ll probably resort to a hosting company that supports Movable Type. I’d much prefer my money going to a responsive, reliable company. Any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks to my readers for their patience. I hope the incompetence of SixApart doesn’t reflect badly on this site; I can do that on my own and don’t need further assistance.

November 9, 2005

Tinker Toys

If some of the navigation pictures and headers are behaving strangely, give them a sharp rap, some Ritalin®, and then refresh your browser. If that fails, try to clear your cache as well. If the images still don’t resolve, it is a server-side issue with SixApart, the company that hosts TypePad blogs. They are currently undergoing a data center transition, and the necessary files may not have replicated themselves across their servers. The images should fall into line in due time.

Hope you are enjoying the redesign of this site. I finally have time to customize a bit, so expect incremental changes. Let me know if you have any suggestions, too. I’ll run them by the programming and graphic departments and determine if such changes are in the budget.

With baseball season over, I’m also attacking the accumulated stacks of books I’ve been intending to read, so expect book reviews in the future. That is if I can pry myself away from Photoshop® long enough to write a review.

I feel like Bret Easton Ellis with all the brand names I’m dropping.

November 7, 2005

New and Subdued

Now you can see what I’ve been doing instead of writing. This redesign is in preparation of other changes that will be happening shortly with this site.

Hopefully you will find this page easier to navigate. Be sure to make use of the main menu to the left. The other picture headings aren’t active yet because I am thinking of a way to make them interesting. In the meantime, have fun trying to figure out what the images represent.

One amusing idea I had was to have the sound of an umpire yelling “You’re out!” when a visitor left this site. I thought about going up to Country Joe West or Angel Hernandez and having them bellow into my iTalk. I can think of no finer use for podcasting.

October 27, 2005

TypePad + Microsoft = Stomp Profit, Decay!

You may have been experiencing difficulties accessing this site with Microsoft Internet Explorer when using the “empyrealenvirons.blogs.com” URL. I’ve been trying to resolve this issue with TypePad. In the interim, you shouldn’t have problems if you use “www.empyrealenvirons.com” instead, or a different browser. I highly recommend Firefox.

September 25, 2005

New and Improved Quotables

Longtime visitors know that each time you refresh, you get a new quote in the upper left corner. I’ve recently added more memorable quotations about baseball, and some of them are from people you wouldn’t necessarily equate with the game. I’m always on the hunt for more memorable phrases, so if you think of any I may have missed, please do e-mail me.

New quotes, folks. Now with 50% more absorbancy and fewer calories per serving compared to leading national brands.

September 22, 2005

Up and Coming

This past Sunday, September 18th I had the pleasure of interviewing Red Sox prospect Chris Jones. He played with the Lowell Spinners this past season, and his team just missed the wild card. The interview was just posted here on the Royal Rooters message board, so do drop in if you would like to see a glimpse of the team’s future. Not as though Terry Francona would actually send them to the mound if these young pitchers were on the team, but that’s another post.

September 12, 2005

Talking Baseball

Thanks to the Royal Rooters message board interview guru David Laurila, I had the opportunity to talk with left-handed pitching prospect Jim Baxter recently at LeLacheur Park. You can find the interview I did here in The News Hole subforum. Be sure to check out previous interviews, especially the following:

September 1, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort

If you haven’t already, please consider donating to a charity that is assisting with the relief efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Visit The Truth Laid Bear Katrina Relief page and Instapundit’s roundup page for further information, including extensive lists of organizations that are part of the aid effort. My selected charity is the American Red Cross. Anything you can offer will help those whose lives have been devastated. TTLB is having a competition of sorts where contributors list who prompted them to donate. Honestly, you don’t need to log donations at TTLB. I just hope that all those who are able to contribute do so.

July 13, 2005

Letter to the Boston Globe

I sent the letter below to the Boston Globe through their feedback page. I kept the boycott issue separate for sake of clarity.

To Whom it May Concern:
I am the writer and owner of a blog that was once listed on redsox.feedster.com. I noticed that traffic from this source suddenly dropped off. When I checked boston.com’s feedster page, I saw that my blog had been removed.

I am one of many Red Sox bloggers that have voiced our disgust with Steve Silva’s Boston Dirt Dogs site because of his recent use of a Civil Rights era picture in a racist manner. Silva also has control over the blogs that are listed on redsox.feedster.com. Under this arrangement and with the tacit approval of the Boston Globe and boston.com, Silva not only has freedom to disseminate hate speech on his site but also controls the access of other blogs to the public. I believe that my blog was removed because of my stance against Silva’s site.

If I am mistaken and my blog was removed for other reasons, I would like to know the reasoning behind this decision. If my suspicions prove correct, I recommend that someone other than Silva be responsible for the blog listing on the feedster page in order to achieve a level of respectability and integrity that is otherwise lacking.

If I get a response, I’ll post it here.

July 12, 2005

Empyreal Environs Removed from Red Sox Feedster

It was a matter of time, and I’m surprised it did not happen sooner: my blog was removed from the Boston Globe’s Red Sox Feedster page. Note that the administrator of this page is none other than Steve Silva of Boston Dirt Dogs. I’m in good company, as A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory had been removed a while ago when he rallied for the inclusion of Bullshit Memorial Stadium (currently on hiatus).

I don’t care if I’m listed on this page or not, and considered asking to be removed from the list since it is affiliated with the Boston Globe. You might recall that I am boycotting the Globe and boston.com along with other Red Sox bloggers, whom you can find on the Dump the Dog site, until they discontinue their association with Silva. However, I have to admit it was fun calling for the removal of Boston Dirt Dogs from Silva’s own fiefdom, like an inmate taking over the asylum. Click on the image below for a larger version of a screenshot I took when I announced my boycott.

Feedsterscreenshot3

July 1, 2005

This Week’s Mailbox

I can’t promise this will be an actual weekly thing because most of the readers here respond with comments. But this week in particular I received and sent correspondence that I wanted to share.

Regarding Null, Game 75:

Thanks for the great site. An interesting footnote to Game 75 and the connection between the Cleveland Indians and their Native name: the team was actually named after Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot Indian (Maine) who played for the team in the early days. FMI: http://www.4edrice.com/inside.html

By the way, I was sitting in the right field grandstand and had a great (if unfortunate) view of Trot Nixon’s inadvertent gift to Grady Sizemore. It probably would have hit the base on the wall at the warning track were it not for the change in trajectory.

A reader from Auburn, Maine

Thanks for the compliment and the additional information on Sockalexis, who is listed as Chief Sockalexis, or Louis Francis Sockalexis, on Baseball Reference. He played on the Cleveland Spiders from 1897 to 1899. I found another book entitled Louis Sockalexis: The First Cleveland Indian by David L. Fleitz, a SABR member who has also written notable books on Shoeless Joe Jackson and the more obscure players in the Hall of Fame.


Regarding Debacle, Game 76:

I have not read much of your blog, but was told to go see it by a friend who Googled my name to see what’s being said of me now that the nation (world?) has seen me in my skivvies.

What I have read of your blog makes me smile, being called personable (maybe? I don’t know if “more personable than Angry Bill, et al...” means personable or something less than that) and having it noted that the fame has not (at least as yet) gotten to my head.

In point of fact, the fame has gotten to my head just slightly -- I am having some delusions of grandeur, most particularly the idea of taking Katie Holmes away from Tom Cruise.

Leo Fitzgerald

The man, the myth, the legend! Judging by Cruise’s comportment of late, Holmes should be having a new man adorning her arm shortly. I wasn’t giving you a backhanded compliment there, Leo, but rather comparing you to previous representatives of Red Sox fandom that have let their personal glory outshine the team’s. I’d say Leo rates at the Michael Chiklis level of the Red Sox Celebrity Fan Coolness Scale (patent pending), which is way above Ben Affleck but slightly below Dennis Leary.


Dear Dale and Michael,

I wanted to alert you to the recent use of a Civil Rights era picture of an African American man being kicked by a white man on the boston.com sponsored website written by Steve Silva called Boston Dirt Dogs. You have most likely heard of this site as it is often touted by the media, including influential baseball writers such as Peter Gammons, as the voice of Red Sox fandom. He used this picture and made it analogous to Terry Francona returning to Philadelphia. Myself and others in the Red Sox blogging community found this to be an inflammatory misuse of a photograph that chronicles the racial strife in our nation and are appalled that the Boston Globe and boston.com continue to give Silva a forum to spread his hateful words and images. For documentation of the picture, please see Tim Rogan’s site.

The picture was eventually pulled, only to be replaced by a picture of a protest in Philadelphia in which a police officer suffered a heart attack and died in the course of a struggle with protesters. This picture can still be found on Silva’s website.

Boston.com also issued an online apology regarding the use of the first picture. However, I have not found their apology to be sufficient, and I will boycott boston.com and its advertisers until Silva’s site is dropped from boston.com.

I e-mailed the letter above this past Tuesday. I have not received any response from Dale Arnold, Michael Holley, or WEEI. I don’t know if they have addressed the Silva issue on their show, so if you hear anything this topic mentioned, please let me know.

Members of the Red Sox blogging community continue to use different means to express our disgust with the boston.com’s continued affiliation with Boston Dirt Dogs. Most recently, Dump the Dog was set up specifically to centralize our efforts and voices against Silva.

Feel free to write me here if you have something you would like to contribute to the mailbox. Be sure to let me know if you would like your identity published.

June 27, 2005

Replaced Probable Pitchers Link

Due to my boycott of boston.com and its advertisers for providing Boston Dirt Dogs the bandwith to post his inflammatory use of controversial images, I now link to Sports Illustrated’s Probable Starting Pitchers page in my Red Sox Blogs & Links section.

May 20, 2005

Anonymous Comments

Due to a recent spate of anonymous, spam-like (no offense to Spam lovers) comments that added nothing to the conversation, I am going to have a policy of sorts where I delete nonsensical comments. Some will argue that if I strictly adhere to this policy the entire blog would wink out of existence. If that were the case, then this post would go unfini

January 1, 2005

Will This Be the Year... Again?

RedsoxcelebrateHere’s hoping for a recreation of this scene in 2005. Happy New Year!

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