Tag Archives: Red Sox

Dear John Henry: Last Place Teams Should Have First Place Service

Sox tickets jon lester 2014

Dear John Henry:

This is my souvenir ticket stub from Tuesday night, Jon Lester’s second-to-last game in a Red Sox uniform.

I went to Fenway Park expecting no issues getting a seat to watch a last place team. I was so wrong. Unlike other evenings when I’ve purchased Standing Room tix, this game really was sold out. Wall to wall people — a wonderful sign of a faithful fan base.

The line at the Game Day ticket office on Lansdowne Street extended the full length of the Green Monster, meaning that I was guaranteed to miss an inning or two. I didn’t care. I was meeting a childhood friend who I don’t see often and the ballpark is my favorite place to hangout.

But Fenway’s charming atmosphere shattered the moment I handed over my credit card. After I signed the receipt and put the pen down, I heard the ticket agent behind the bulletproof banker’s window mumble something I couldn’t understand. I smiled at him, said “thank you” and started to walk away.

“I SAID, PUT THE PEN BACK UNDERNEATH THE WINDOW!!!” he yelled through the glass.

His angry facial expression and tone would be appropriate if I had been trying to steal something from the Red Sox gift shop. I told him to chill out and walked away, trying my best to forget this unfortunate “Welcome to Fenway.”

Oh, I still had a good time and have a thick skin, but even if I had tried to steal your employee’s 10-cent pen, do you think this is the first impression Red Sox fans should get when they go through the turnstile? Continue reading

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The Man Who Made Me a Baseball Fan

Abraham "Bob" Tubin with Red Sox second baseman Mike Andrews at Fenway Park in the early 1970s. Tubin was making a donation to the official Sox charity, The Jimmy Fund, on behalf of his fellow Boston Herald truck drivers.

Abraham “Bob” Tubin with Red Sox second baseman Mike Andrews at Fenway Park in the early 1970s. Tubin was making a donation to the official Sox charity, The Jimmy Fund, on behalf of his fellow Boston Herald truck drivers.

To my Grandpa Bob Tubin, every Red Sox player who wasn’t Ted Williams or Yaz was an overpaid bum or “primadonna,” but the TV was always on Channel 38.

I used to fall asleep on his couch and get woken up when Butch Hobson or George Scott would go deep.

Awesome that he got to see the 2004 Sox win the World Series before he died. Here he is with 1967 second baseman Mike Andrews, making a donation to The Jimmy Fund from his fellow Boston Herald drivers.

Andrews went on to become president of The Jimmy Fund and my grandfather went on to turn his grandson into a baseball fan. He would have LOVED the World Series victory last night!

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Beyond Crappy Bosses: Favorite Obscure Tidbits Mined from the New Terry Francona Book

Literary Overdose? Red Sox Dominance on my Bookshelves.

Literary Overdose:  Sox Dominance on my Bookshelves.

Based on my stockpile of baseball books, my home could be turned into the Red Sox Library of Congress. A quick snapshot of the Boston volumes on my shelves:

* Idiot by Johnny Damon.
* Deep Drive by Mike Lowell with Rob Bradford.
* Big Papi by David Ortiz with Tony Massarotti.
* Now I Can Die in Peace by Bill Simmons.
* Why Not Us? by Leigh Montville.
* Ted Williams by Leigh Montville.
* Watching Baseball by Jerry Remy.
* Have Globe, Will Travel by Bill Lee and Richard Lally.
* Red Sox Where Have You Gone?  by Steve Buckley.

That doesn’t even count all my other baseball books like Designated Hebrew by Ron Blomberg and Dan Schlossberg, and Big Hair & Plastic Grass by Dan Epstein. If unauthorized autobiographies for Orlando Cabrera, Randy Kutcher and Jack Brohammer ever come out, you can be sure I will be first at the book signings.

How many books about the Terry Francona Red Sox can one guy really read? I leaped on the ex-manager’s memoir as soon as it came out because I felt he was unceremoniously treated like crap and scapegoated on his way out of Boston. I was thrilled when I saw this billboard in Kenmore Square, only a few steps away from the Popeye’s Chicken restaurant favored by Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey:

Ballsy Billboard for Francona's Revenge

Ballsy Billboard for Francona’s Revenge

Yet, although I’ve always respected Terry Francona, he’s always bored me. Over the years, his press conference answers were straight out of the Bull Durham Cliche School and he cared more about keeping peace in the clubhouse than speaking his mind.  It’s definitely worth the $17 — less than a Fenway bleacher seat — to “listen” to him let loose on his unappreciative bosses and the occasional player (read: MANNY) who treated him like crap.

As is often the case, the big revelations in the book were leaked before the publicity tour, but I found the minutia fascinating. A few favorite snippets:

1. At the 2007 World Series, security at the Colorado Rockies park refused to believe that diminutive Dustin Pedroia was a Major League ballplayer:

Page 193 (Click to enlarge)

Page 193 (Click to enlarge)

2. Pete Rose was a Mean Boss:

Page 243 (Click to enlarge)

Page 243 (Click to enlarge)

3. A Burned Down Bridge Can’t Be Burned Any Further:

Page 342 (Click to enlarge)

Page 342 (Click to enlarge)

4. You Never Know What You’ll Overhear in the Verizon Wireless Store: 

Page 333 (Click to enlarge)

Page 333 (Click to enlarge)

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Is Being a Red Sox Fan a Religious Experience?

My first cover story for New Hampshire Magazine explores the die-hard subculture of Red Sox fans in the Granite State -- and their state of mind after one of the worst seasons in Sox history. (Cover design by J Porter)

My first cover story for New Hampshire Magazine explores the die-hard subculture of Red Sox fans in the Granite State — and their state of mind after one of the worst seasons in Sox history. (Cover design by J Porter)

I’m absolutely thrilled with how this story came out and can’t wait for it to hit the newsstands on April 1.

From the inner thoughts of former Red Sox catcher Gary Allenson, now the manager of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, to snapshots from Carlton Fisk’s high school yearbook, you won’t want to miss this comprehensive analysis of the Granite State’s contributions to Red Sox culture.

And if you care about doctors, medicine and that kind of stuff, there’s some additional non-baseball information, too.

Props to New Hampshire Magazine‘s new art director, J Porter, for this phenomenal cover.

(The research for this story was even more fun than my research on the Red Sox – Yankees T-Shirt Wars).

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Take a Bite Out of Hunger: Boston Urban Iditarod 2013

Boston Urban Iditarod Ghosts of Red Sox Past Trophies

Better Than the World Series Trophies — Youk and Manny, aka Darren Garnick and Chris Hegarty, fantasize about winning the coveted Golden Shopping Cart at the Boston Urban Iditarod. (Full Disclosure: They did not win).

This was the first race EVER in which I stopped in the middle for a beer, burger and fries (at Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar).

But that was a mandatory component of the Boston Urban Iditarod, a 5K charity “dogsled” race in which a shopping cart is the city sled and people are the dogs. The wacky event last weekend was also part pub crawl, part talent show and part parade float/ costume contest. There were 102 teams and 600 runners — only one of whom was wearing a Manny Ramirez wig (my childhood friend Chris Hegarty). More than 6,000 pounds of canned goods were collected for the Boston Medical Center Food Pantry.

Boston Urban Iditarod Ghosts of Red Sox Past 1

Ghosts of Red Sox Past: Dice-K, Manny, Nomar and Youk Together Again!

Our team theme was “Ghosts of Red Sox Past,” which involved a tribute to Red Sox players who were once heroes but later kicked out of town on their asses. A shopping bag ghost — looking like the Unknown Comic from The Gong Show — was our cart figurehead. Decorations also included Whiffle Bats, Whiffle Balls and a T-Ball glove zip-tied to the cart.

In the creativity department, we fell smack in the middle of the pack. Beneath us on the costume food chain were people who just slapped on Scooby Doo costumes from the party store and lots of generic pirates. More dedicated efforts included a UFO Roswell Alien gang, a Swan Lake ballet cart made from toilet paper, a group of exhibitionist gladiators wearing suits of armor made from newspaper (in 40 degree weather), and a funky papier mache dragon.

The Sox thing was an achievable theme at the last minute — and I thought, extremely relevant since the race began at Fenway Park. It was fun to yell “NO-MAH!” at my friend George’s Nomar Garciaparra jersey and to hear random motorists shout “YOOOUUUKKKKK!” at my Kevin Youkilis jersey, purchased at the last minute for a New Hampshire Magazine story about Red Sox fans.

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All Five Sox “Ghosts” — Marty Karlon, Kevin Garnick, Chris Hegarty, Darren Garnick and George Austin.

My friend George had TWO Garciaparra jerseys lying around at home so he lent one to my brother Kevin and we had Nomar 1 and Nomar 2 battling it out for Iditarod glory.

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Sox Ghosts in Action on the Streets of Boston.

Special thanks to the Whole Foods Market in Bedford, Mass., for lending our team a coveted shopping cart (race organizers don’t provide them) and donating a case of organic canned beans, bringing our team total to 70 pounds for the food bank. Also special thanks to the Lowell Spinners baseball team for loaning us their old Canaligator mascot head for the event.

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Cereal Mascots — Reminiscent of the time that Warner Brothers and Disney Cartoons Co-Starred in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger Teams Up with the Trix Rabbit and Lucky Charms Leprechaun from General Mills.

I didn’t go crazy on the pub crawl component of the race, limiting myself to two beers. Much tougher to run on a beer-saturated stomach, although the younger guys in the race seemed to be unaffected.

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Spy vs Spy — The Iditarod Organizers Channeling the Mad Magazine of my Youth!

For more colorful scenes from the Boston Urban Iditarod, check out this WBUR story on the race and my full photo gallery of the Sox Ghosts (with our competition) in action!

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Filed under Adventure Races, Boston Urban Iditarod

Fashion Flashback: Carlton Fisk Apparently Didn’t Want to Pose in This Denim Suit

Jordan Marsh, now part of Macy's, had no idea the 1975 Red Sox would become American League Champions when they signed backup catcher Bob Montgomery as a spokesmodel. (Click to enlarge).

Jordan Marsh, now part of Macy’s, had no idea the 1975 Red Sox would become American League Champions when they signed backup catcher Bob Montgomery as a spokesmodel. (Click to enlarge).

This was almost three decades before Johnny Damon, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield went on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to makeover their wardrobes.

I love the 1970s — people took you seriously when you wore clothes like this.

Bob Montgomery is a classy guy, but I can’t imagine that the backup catcher was the first choice of Jordan Marsh or Haggar to walk the runway.

Carlton Fisk must have said “No way!”

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Filed under Fashion, Red Sox, Red Sox Schlock, Sports

Who Sucks Now? An Inside Peek at the Red Sox-Yankees T-Shirt Wars

CLASSY AND CONFIDENT: Yankees Captain Derek Jeter humors Red Sox fans at Fenway Park. (Photo courtesy of Sully’s Brand)

I grew up with a homemade “Official Yankees Hater” poster in my childhood bedroom.

But I never understood Red Sox fans who hate Derek Jeter, who probably has taken the brunt of the mockery on Boston’s raunchy souvenir t-shirts over the years.

Turns out that these kind of crass souvenirs don’t sell well in Boston anymore, but they are selling like hotcakes in the Bronx.

I explore the fascinating reasons why in The Atlantic:

Bronx t-shirt vendor “Bald” Vinny Milano shows off his wares after a Yankees-A’s game. (Double click to read the story)

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Filed under Red Sox, Red Sox Schlock, Sports Psychology, Yankee Stadium