Tag Archives: Red Sox

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

Did God knock the Red Sox out of the playoffs?

All-Star Theologian Adrian Gonzalez

Although my athletic career has recently shown vibrant signs of promise with the Warrior Dash, I honestly never had much interest from the scouts in either Little League Baseball (singles hitter, no speed) or JV High School football (second-string offensive line).

But I do remember one thing.  When we were laughing on the bus after a horrible football loss, the coach went ballistic. How dare we not treat losing the game like we had lost our family dog?

I wonder what would have happened if any of us players pulled the Calvinism/predestination card. Our football coaches had very long memories that extended into gym class.

Enter Red Sox All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who lived up to his preseason hype by hitting .338 with 27 homers and 117 RBIs.  After the Sox elevated the art of choking to a new level this month by blowing a 9 game Wild Card lead in just 30 days — going a historically horrendous 7-20 for the month — Gonzalez just shrugged his shoulders and said “Amen.”

Here’s how he was quoted by the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham:

“It’s definitely something that didn’t plan for. We were wholly confident that we would make the playoffs but it didn’t happen,” he said. “We didn’t do a better job with the lead. I’m a firm believer that God has a plan and it wasn’t in his plan for us to move forward… God didn’t have it in the cards for us.”

And here’s what he said (perhaps in a different interview) according to the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy:

“God has a plan,’’ he said. “And it wasn’t God’s plan for us to be in the playoffs.’’

Either way, Gonzalez has given CCD teachers and rabbis preparing their Yom Kippur sermons plenty to talk about.

But my gym teachers would have killed him.

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Filed under God and the Red Sox, Red Sox, Red Sox Schlock, Sports Psychology

Opening Day Hooky

Instead of taking a vacation day or personal day, Fred Flintstone sneaked out of work incognito to go to a baseball game. Dishonesty is never a smart career move.

Sneaking out of work to go to the ballpark is a time-honored tradition that dates back to at least 1962, when “The Flintstones” first chronicled the practice. Fred plays hooky from his job at the quarry to go to the baseball game with Barney. To get in free on “Ladies’ Day,” he disguises himself in one of Wilma’s old dresses.

Much to Fred’s embarrassment, he runs into his boss, Mr. Slate, who is entertaining a client at the game. Spoiler alert: Fred miraculously gets away with the charade.

Not many fans go to such extremes. But at today’s Fenway Park home opener, there are bound to be a few who are watching the Sox-Yanks battle on company time. If you’re planning to be one of them, you need to take precautions.

Although I NEVER advocate lying to the boss for any reason, I’d hate to see a career senselessly ruined over a Sox addiction. In today’s Boston Herald, I share some exclusive tips to avoid being caught at the game.

As an aside, revisiting this Flintstones episode reminded me of my old age. I remember sitting in the Fenway bleachers when they were backless benches instead of seats. And things would get a little too cozy with the other fans, especially the tipsy ones who couldn’t hold on to their beer trays.

Fredericka Flintstone demonstrates the flaws of the old Fenway Park bleachers.

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Filed under Boston Herald Columns, Flintstones

Lady Gaga: “Classless Songbird?”

Going Gaga Over Baseball: The Fast Track to Getting Autographs? (Source: NY Daily News)

EXCLUSIVE: Get a sneak peek of what Lady Gaga will look like 50 years from now!

(For the record, Red Sox-crazy celebs like Jennifer Garner show up to Fenway Park in much classier outfits!)

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Baseball Hall of Fame’s loss is the Museum of Bad Art’s gain

baseball-hof

It’s official: My creepy, ghoulish $11 oil painting will NOT be joining Ty Cobb’s wooden dentures or Curt Schilling’s bloody sock in Cooperstown.

Here’s the letter I received from the curators at the National Baseball Hall of Fame:

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After purchasing this painting at an estate auction for Ted Williams’ third wife, I conducted an unscientific, nonbinding poll about which museum most deserved “Portrait of a Woman in Agony” as a donation. The Ted Williams Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida edged out the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) in Boston by a 36-33 percent margin.

Because the poll is nonbinding, and reliable reports that Ted Williams’ family is not fond of my writing, I have no guilt whatsoever going the MOBA route.

MOBA, which is devoted to preserving “Art Too Bad to Be Ignored,” secured the donation this week after extensive e-mail negotiations between me and curator-in-chief Michael Frank — who recently authored a spectacular coffee table book. There will be a formal acceptance ceremony at a major MOBA art show this spring (Details TBA).

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At left is the Claudia Williams painting, which will join artworks such as the “Mana Lisa,” a beardstubbled version of the original, at the cherished Boston institution.

I will also be donating the Baseball Hall of Fame rejection letter and the art auction’s certificate of authenticity, should any authenticity issues ever arise.

It should be noted that MOBA does NOT accept just any piece of horrific art. Just like the snobby art museums, they have standards and claim to reject more than 80 percent of the paintings offered to them.

“The pieces that we look for would never hang in a museum or commercial gallery, yet they have some quality that draws you to them — or perhaps grabs you by the throat and won’t let go.”

“As a rule we do not accept:

1. Works painted on velvet.

2. Paint-by-Number

3. Any of the well-known kitschy motifs (dogs playing cards, big-eyed kids and all that) unless they break new ground in a startling way.”

Keep your eye on this space for upcoming details about the gala affair celebrating “Portrait of a Woman in Agony.”

The Baseball Hall of Fame keeps rejecting Jim Rice, the most feared hitter of my generation. So I suppose, it’s not a shock that they turned down this precious slice of Americana. No hard feelings, though. I hope to revisit Ty Cobb’s dentures soon.

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