Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Exploiting Puppies?

If you haven't seen the Sales Genie commercial, it's pretty sick. I am not sure they should be allowed to do this.

The product is a way to manage sales leads for people in sales, the advertising is borderline exploitation of children and puppies. I also think it's insulting to our collective intelligence. Take a look for yourself.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wiffle Ball Kuckle Ball

Dale - you are in trouble the next time we play wiffle ball. I am going to learn to throw this knuckle ball. 2-3 of these pitches go right, then left, then right! Most are only so-so but watch for the nasty ones!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Red Sox WS Game 1

Who's hot? Everyone in a Red Sox uniform

By Jayson Stark

BOSTON -- Are they still up there, working those counts? Drawing their 78th bases-loaded walk of the night? Cranking those doubles up the gaps, down the lines, off the Monster?

Has Manny Ramirez made an out yet? Did Kevin Youkilis ever get rescued from the basepaths -- or is he still out there?

Have the Boston Red Sox stopped scoring yet? Or is Game 1 of the World Series still going on?

Sorry. We should know this stuff. But watching the Red Sox orbit those bases Wednesday night gave us a serious case of vertigo.

And if they made us dizzy, you can only imagine all the afflictions they must have laid on those poor Colorado Rockies.

Ya think the Rockies were getting nostalgic for that Arizona Diamondbacks lineup Wednesday as Game 1 of this World Series unraveled on them? The Rockies gave up eight runs to Arizona in the entire NLCS. They gave up nine runs just in a span of (gulp) 14 hitters Wednesday, on the way to a 13-1 mashing by the Red Sox.

You can mark down that 13-1 score as the most lopsided Game 1 blowout in World Series history. And if you want to chalk that up to rust, eight-day layoffs, jet lag or sea-level readjustment issues on the part of the Rockies, go right ahead.

But it sure seemed as if it had a lot more to do with (A) the Christy Mathewson of his generation (aka Josh Beckett) and (B) the hottest lineup ever to march to home plate in the annals of 103 Octobers.

Wait. Did we just say "the hottest lineup ever to march to home plate in the annals of 103 Octobers?"

Yep. We sure did. Which means ... hotter than the '27 Yankees. Hotter than the '36 Yankees. Hotter than "The Big Red Machine." Hotter even than the 2004 Red Sox.

Seriously. We can say that because this makes three straight postseason games now that these Red Sox have scored in double figures: 12 runs in Game 6 against Cleveland, 11 more runs in Game 7 against Cleveland, and another 13 runs in Game 1 of the World Series.

So let's see now. How many other teams have ever rolled up more than 10 runs in three consecutive postseason games? That would be ... exactly ... zero.

"It's fun to watch," said hitting coach Dave Magadan, after his team had made him look like the Albert Einstein of hitting coaches. "When we get like this, I just try to stay out of their way. They're in a zone right now where all I've got to do is let them know what the pitcher's got and what approach we need to have against him. And they're so good at following through on that ... it's just fun to watch."

Yeah, well, that's easy for him to say. For the Rockies, on the other hand, the scenery apparently wasn't quite as much fun to behold as, say, a fall foliage tour.

Asked to describe what it's like to see those Red Sox hitters stomping into the batter's box, Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca put it this way: "[They're] big hairy-chested guys, one after another, who work the count and pounce on your mistakes."

We can't personally vouch for the veracity of that chest-hair scouting report. But the part about working the count and pouncing on mistakes, one after another? It's safe to say he nailed that part.

"It's just havoc, man," said Red Sox infielder Royce Clayton, "up and down the lineup."

What we saw Wednesday -- what we've seen from this lineup over the last few games -- shouldn't be possible, or even legal, this time of year. Not in October. Not against the best pitchers alive (Non-Josh Beckett Division).

But over the last four games -- games started by C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona, Jake Westbrook and Wednesday's innocent victim, Jeff Francis -- the Red Sox have outscored the Indians and Rockies by the narrow margin of (yikes) 43-6.

That's 43 runs in 33 innings. Not to mention the second-largest run differential any team has piled up over a four-game span in postseason history (behind only the '96 Braves).

And what those Red Sox thumpers did Wednesday -- against a team that was 21-1 over the last five weeks, and against a pitching staff that came into this World Series with a 2.08 postseason ERA -- was flat-out ridiculous. For instance:

• The all-time World Series record for extra-base hits in a game was nine -- set 82 years ago by the 1925 Pirates (in a game started by Walter Johnson). The Red Sox not only tied that record. They'd tied it with two outs in the fifth inning.

• The most runs ever scored in Game 1 of any of the previous 102 World Series was 12. The Red Sox racked up 13 before they'd even made their 15th out.

• And no team had ever staged a two-out rally in which it went an entire turn through its lineup -- all nine hitters -- with every one of them reaching base in any inning of the previous 597 World Series games ever played. But the Red Sox did that in the fifth inning of this game (on five hits and four walks).

[The Red Sox hitters] are going to make the pitcher throw three tough pitches to get them out. ... Every guy is seeing five, six, seven, eight pitches. And then boom ... one swing of the bat. It makes it tough.
--Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan

"You know," said Lowell, when informed of some of those feats, "when you hear that stuff after the fact, you say, 'Wow. We did that.' But while you're doing it, you're so focused, on every pitch, every inning, every at-bat, you don't even think about it."

Neverthless, it's the sheer accumulation of what they do every pitch, every inning, every at-bat, that makes all this possible -- and makes this lineup what it is -- an official pitcher's nightmare.

The leadoff man, that pesky 4-foot-6 (or whatever he is) Dustin Pedroia, is now 8-for-18 over his last four games, with two homers, three doubles, seven runs scored, six RBIs and three walks. And all he did to kick off this game was crunch the second World Series pitch ever tossed in his direction over the Monster for a historic leadoff home run.

That bomb made Pedroia just the second player in history to lead off the first inning of any World Series opener with a homer. And he and the other guy to do it -- the Orioles' Don Buford (who homered off Tom Seaver in the 1969 opener) -- are also the only two leadoff men ever to do that in the first World Series at-bats of their careers.

Asked if he'd gone up there trying to hit a home run, Pedroia laughed.

"I think I hit, like, 10 all year," he retorted. "So ... no."

But he admitted that he did head up there thinking about setting a tone. And he sure accomplished that.

"Yeah, it was great," Lowell deadpanned, "because it meant he could come back to the dugout and tell us how hard he hit that ball."

It also meant, however, that the volcanic Red Sox offense was right back in full-throttle lava flow. So by the time the first inning was over, they'd mugged Francis for five hits and three runs -- making this just the ninth time in World Series history that a team had scored that many runs in the first inning of Game 1.

It took Francis 30 pitches to survive that inning. And there was more where that came from. By the end of the second, he was already up to 57 pitches. And he was gone after four innings -- forced to hurl 103 pitches just to get 12 outs. "That," said Clayton, "is unbelievable."

But after Francis departed, down 6-1, this mess just got messier. Franklin Morales succeeded him -- and became the first pitcher in any postseason game in history to give up seven runs or more without even making it through an inning. Oof.

Then Ryan Speier stalked in and became the first reliever in World Series history to face three hitters and walk all of them.

So by the time the sixth inning was through, 24 Red Sox had already reached base via a hit or a walk, there were 13 runs on the board, and four Rockies pitchers had combined to throw (ready?) 180 pitches -- to get 18 outs.

"One-hundred eighty?" Clayton gulped. "I've never heard of that."

"All that means," Lowell quipped, "is that [catcher] Yorvit Torrealba had to squat a lot more."

Except, of course, that's not all it means. It means the Rockies had just gotten manhandled by one of the most patient, relentless lineups ever to show up in any World Series. And if the NL champs don't throw more strikes, they're going to meet the same fate as the Indians and Angels did in this postseason. Which ain't good, by the way.

"For me, patience is not necessarily walking," said Magadan. "Patience at the plate is waiting for your pitch to hit. And the byproduct of that can be a walk. But a lot of times, you're going to hit in a lot of hitters' counts. These guys have a real good idea of what they're looking for, and they will be stubborn and wait till they get that pitch.

"They're going to make the pitcher throw three tough pitches to get them out. And when you've got to make three quality pitchers to get hitters out, it's tough to grind and get through the lineup. Every guy is seeing five, six, seven, eight pitches. And then boom ... one swing of the bat. It makes it tough."

Yeah, the booms keep on coming, all right. And in the middle of it all, you find two mashers having just about unprecedented Octobers out of the 3-4 holes -- David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Do they ever make an out?

Ortiz bopped two doubles and a single Wednesday. So he has now reached base in 28 of his 51 trips to the plate in this postseason -- a .549 on-base percentage.

And Manny ground out two more singles, a double and a walk in Game 1. So he has now been on base in 30 of 50 plate appearances this October -- a .600 on-base percentage.

"I'm sure the Rockies are over there saying, 'We can't let these two guys beat us,'" Magadan said of that deadly duo. "So they're very careful the way they pitch to them. But the mentality both of those guys have is, 'If they don't give me what I'm looking for, something I can drive, we'll take our walk. We'll let Mike Lowell get the job done. We'll let J.D. [Drew] get the job done. We'll let [Jason] Varitek get it done.' They're not afraid to let the next guy get it done. And that's been kind of the mantra with this team."

It's a mantra that has already sent two tremendous teams home for the winter this month. And if the Rockies don't want to join that offseason baseball-player golf tour, they'd better adjust -- faster than you can say, "Oops, we're not 21-1 anymore."

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for

Monday, October 22, 2007

Red Sox Win!!

Can we all just appreciate where Coco Crisp caught that last out?

Way to go Pedroia and Youk! And Lugo for avoiding becoming the next Buckner!

People thought I was crazy when we were down 3-1 and I still thought we had a shot. I basically counted Beckett as a guaranteed win, Schilling as a strong win, and Dice-K as a toss up, but if the offense showed up we'd only need a "serviceable" start. We got more than that AND more offense than I thought!

What a series! By then end of it I was pretty annoyed by Lofton anyways, so I was glad to see him mess up on the bases twice this game. I didn't realize he was a punk, I also didn realize that he has missed the world series when his team was up in the ALCS series 3-2, 3-1, 3-0 (w/ Yankees in 2004) and now up 3-1 with the Indians and STILL not make the World Series. Talk aboout comebacks!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pumpkin Carving

Step 1 - Get Some Pumpkins

Step 2 - Copy a Stencil

Step 3 - Painstakingly Carve it out

Step 4 - Put a candle inside and Voila! (My Pumpkin)

Matt's Pumpkin

Another Matt Pumpkin

Nikki's Pumpkin

Another Nikki Pumpkin

Poor Meghan's Pumpkin :(

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ALCS Game 3 - Power Outage

Dave and I drove up to Cleveland Monday afternoon (1/2 day from work) only to get home at 3am to go to work the next day. We met a friend of ours from Cleveland (for those at my table at Dave and Rachel's wedding, it was our friend Tony - the fan of the Pittsburgh Indians and the Cleveland Steelers). Anyway all and all the Jake was a great place to see the game, we had a great time with Tony, and as you can see we had great tickets, 15 rows off the field. Unfortunately the sox decided to take the night off so we lost 4-2. Could have been worse.... we could have gone to game 4.

National Anthem

First Pitch

The Eff You TD

I just read one of the best articles of the season that not only captures the attitude of the Patriots, but of how I feel about them this season with the whole "spying" saga. I have a link but I also pasted the article here in hopes more people (the lazy) will still read it.

Kneel before the Pats -- 'cause the Pats ain't kneeling

By Bill Simmons
Page 2

Right after Junior Seau's interception clinched the Patriots' 48-27 victory in Dallas on Sunday, my BlackBerry vibrated with a six-word text from my friend Willy:

"Here comes the Eff You TD."

Three minutes later, it happened: Fourth-string running back Kyle Eckel rammed home a fourth-and-1 carry with 19 seconds remaining in a 14-point game. Normally, you take a knee there ... but not this year. Back in the mid-'80s, every time the Celtics walked off an opposing floor after a hard-fought road victory, a giddy Kevin McHale clenched his fists, raised his Frankenstein arms above his head and showed off his victorious armpits. This was the hairy victory cigar of the Bird era. Maybe the 2007 Patriots don't have anything as magical as McHale's pits, but they do have the "Eff You TD." It's their little way of telling the other 31 teams, "You took shots at us after the Jets game, you discredited our three Super Bowls, you pretended we were the only team stealing opposing signals when everyone does it, so you know what? Eff you."

You might remember me bringing this up in my Week 4 picks column: "Yeah, it's wrong to run up the score. I'd be the first one to admit it. But it's a natural reaction to the way they were vilified for two straight weeks. The rest of the nation turned them into a mutant cross between Cobra Kai and the Yankees, so screw it, they're acting like the Cobra Kai Yankees. Can you blame them? I can't answer that one objectively, so I won't try. But if you don't think they'll be running up the score in Cincinnati on Monday night, you're crazy."

What happened in that Bengals game? Leading by 14 points with nine minutes left, the Pats commenced a climactic 85-yard drive by putting Brady in the shotgun, then throwing five straight times before following it up with three Sammy Morris handoffs that brought them to Cincy's 14-yard line with 3:24 remaining. Teams always run out the clock, make the opposing team burn the rest of its timeouts and kick the game-clinching field goal here, right? Not the 2007 Cobra Kai Yankees. Coming off a Cincy timeout, Brady nailed Moss for a 14-yard touchdown. In other words, eff you.

As you might have heard by now, the Patriots are 6-0, they've outscored opponents by a 230-92 margin, and Tom Brady might quintuple Gus Frerotte's QB rating before everything's said and done. In each of those six wins, they specifically went for a meaningless touchdown just to stick it to their opponents. Here's the complete list:

Week 1 at New York Jets (38-14): 1-yard TD by Heath Evans, 1:58 left.

Week 2 vs. San Diego (38-14): 3-yard TD by Sammy Morris, 3:18 left.

Week 3 vs. Buffalo (38-7): 45-yard TD catch by Randy Moss, 10:22 left.

Week 4 at Cincy (34-17): 14-yard TD catch by Randy Moss, 3:18 left.

Week 5 vs. Cleveland (34-17): 15-yard fumble return TD by Randall Gay, 0:42 left.

(Important note: This came one play after the Pats failed to convert the "Eff You TD" on fourth-and-goal from Cleveland's 4 when Brady just missed Kyle Brady in the end zone.)

Week 6 vs. Dallas (48-27): 1-yard TD run by Kyle Eckel, 0:19 left.

What does this all mean, other than we should start preparing ourselves for the first 100-point game in NFL history against the Jets in Week 15? We have our first potentially dominant team of the hard-cap era, but more importantly, we have our first true NFL villain since the Raiders in the late-'70s. People hate this team. They want them to lose. It's like having the '96 Bulls back, only if everyone despised them and MJ played garbage-time minutes just to make sure every opponent lost by 20-plus points.

Regardless of how you feel about the 2007 Patriots, at the very least, you have to admit the following three things:

1. You haven't seen football played this well in a long time. Three weeks ago, Malcolm Gladwell e-mailed me to say he was heading to Europe and wanted to know if there was a Web site that allowed him to buy a game tape of the Pats-Bengals game and have it Fed Ex'ed to him. When I asked why he didn't TiVo the game and just watch it when he came back, Gladwell explained he didn't want to wait that long -- the Pats were playing at such a high level, he was fascinated with them in a way that went beyond football. And it's true. We haven't seen anything like this with professional sports in a while. When Dallas took the lead in the third quarter Sunday, the thing that amazed me wasn't that it happened, but how assured I was the Patriots would immediately answer with a score. There was no doubt in my mind. Honestly, I haven't felt this way about a Boston team since the '86 Celtics.

2. Barring injuries, it's going to be an enormous, enormous deal if somebody beats New England this season. That's the sign of a truly great team, regardless of the sport. During my sophomore year in college, I remember watching the '89 Niners and thinking, "There's no way in hell they can be beaten. You'd need about 35 things to happen." As it turned out, they outscored their opponents by a 442-253 margin in the regular season, lost two games by a total of five points and rolled through their three playoff opponents by the unfathomable score of 126-26. Yeah, the '92 Cowboys were great; so were the '94 Niners and the '98 Broncos. But the '89 Niners were on a different level, and we haven't seen anything like it since. Now we're seeing it again.

3. It's fun to have a old-school villain in sports again, right? There's a reason every sports movie has a bad guy in it. There's a reason "USA 4, USSR 3" was the single greatest moment in American sports history. There's a reason people enjoy hating the Yankees and Duke as much as they do.

Over the past 25 years, we've found more and more ways to become attached to sporting events -- there are fantasy teams, office pools, gambling and everything else. On Sundays during the NFL season, I'm rooting for so many different things that I can't even keep track of everything. But here's a case in which sports has been reduced to the purest form: A great football team broke the rules and paid the price; media members and NFL folks had a field day excoriating the team for what happened; somewhere along the line, people decided the team's Super Bowls were tainted even though the NFL didn't send out its much-discussed memo about videotaping opposing signals until September 2006; and that's when the team made the collective decision, "You know what? Eff you!"

It's a two-word phrase that can't be printed on, but it's become the mantra of the 2007 Patriots season. Eff you. You can see it with every rubbing-it-in touchdown in the fourth quarter, as well as every "Get 'em a body bag ... YEAHHHHHHHHH!" reaction on the sidelines after it happens. You can see it with Brady's ticked-off game face that hasn't changed for five straight weeks. You can see it with Belichick's super-satisfied grin during the postgame handshake with the opposing coach -- especially with Wade Phillips, who made the fatal mistake of taking a shot at the Pats this week, when Belichick looked liked he was dying to tell him, "Man, imagine what the score could have been had if we were allowed to videotape your terrible coaching signals!"

It's a great football team with an even greater edge. If you're rooting against them, you hate them for it. If you're rooting for them, you love it and feel the same way. Best of all, there's no middle ground. Maybe the 2007 Pats were caught stealing signals, but only one signal matters anymore: two middle fingers turned toward the sky.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Doggy Surgery

Poor Shelby Dog. She had to have another tumor removed. Doggy-doo got another mast-cell tumor, but fortunately once again it was Stage 1 and removing it should do the job.

Shelby doesn't really understand what was going on, why she couldn't eat for a day (for surgery) and then why she had this stupid bandage around her. She has now had the bandage removed and has a lot of energy. Unfortunately she isn't supposed to run for 5-7 days, which will be impossible.

Instead of saying, "Shelby, don't go crazy" I have been telling her, "Shelby, don't have cancer!"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

... Awards there too!

To quote the most pompous speech I ever heard told at P&G:

"I went to Head & Shoulders. I won awards. I went to Pantene... awards there too."

On a more serious note, I am excited to say that I have finally received my 1st Patent. It takes forever. Though this one was fast, only 2 years. I have a few others out there pending and I think this one passed them. There are of course those great projects where you could have gotten a really cool patent and we abandon the work, but for now I will enjoy my milestone!

What's it for? - "Methods of Assessing Characteristics of Fibrous Substrates and Treating Fibrous Substrates"

Translation - Cool ways to measure and treat Hair.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Yankee Elimination Day

It happens once every year - the day I no longer have to watch the Yankees play a game until next year. I only wish the Yankees had lasted long enough for us to beat them.

Impossible Headline From ESPN

"Sizemore's leadoff HR leads to 2-0 Tribe lead"

(un)Luck of the Draw

A follow up to a weird incident. A few weeks ago we had our friends Jim and Karen over for dinner (we had a great time). However a bizarre thing happened when Jim opened a bottle of IBC to find it had only been filled with water. It must have been an issue at the plant because it smelled exactly like IBC root beer, only it was water. The weird thing is the other 5 out of 6 bottles in that case and the entire other case were fine. Was it just a once-in-a-lifetime luck of the draw?

APPARENTLY NOT! This week I opened up a 12 pack of coke only to discover a sealed can of coke that was completely empty. There wasn't a hole in it (it's not as if the coke leaked out). It was just empty. I haven't opened it, it's kind of a souvenir now.

I remarked "what are the chances of me finding a can like this" and appropriately enough Nikki commented "the chances of you finding that can are better than anyone else's because you drink so much coke!"

And she's right. I drink a lot of coke. And only in cans.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Baseball In Pictures

Dear Bartman - This is how you do it!
If you didn't see the Sox game tonight, you missed a hometown fan taking a foul ball away from the angels catcher Jeff Mathis - Bartman Style, only this time the fan was helping his team WIN.

I know it hurts but let's see that Bartman catch again!

Good thing Fenway Park is "Bartman-proof!"

ONE LAST THING! - Sorry Joba! (Joba the Butt)

Go Sox!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Congrats once again to the Pats. One year to the day after their 38-13 thrashing of the Bengals, they beat the who-deys again tonight 34-13. It is still fun to beat the Bengals because of all of the cocky Bengals fans (especially the drunk ones at the game - though I was home sick for this year's game). I think the Bengals have been so bad for so long that an 8-8 season looked good, and just being in the playoff picture the last year or so has gone to the Bengal fan's heads. I blame the Bengals players themselves for propagating this nonsense. After losing 51-45 to the Browns, Rudi Johnson said "to be an elite team you have to beat your division opponents, and we consider ourselves an elite team." In my book you are not an elite team until you consistently make some noise in the playoffs.

FACT: The Bengals have not won a playoff game in 13 years (or is it 14 now?).

FACT: I am tied with the Bengals for NFL playoff wins the past 13 years and I don't play football.

Props to Marvin Lewis for his reported "swearing rant" at his players after this game. It's time to be less cocky, less selfish, and go and play good football.

FACT: The Bengals have given up more points this year (129) than any other team.

OPINION: The Bengals are 1 offensive pass interference away from going 0-4 (Ravens Game). And how many times do you see an offensive pass interference?

GAME BALL: My game ball goes to Tom Brady, 52 straight weeks being listed as "probable" on the injury report since he got hurt in the 2003 game against the Redskins, but still 52 straight starts! And he will PROBABLY do it again next week.

I know some of my Bengal-fan friends will read this, it's really not aimed at you as much as Bengal nation. The reality is this team is in the middle of the pack in a league of parity, their "good" seasons so far have been a mere walk down a random number generator. Which is a shame since Carson Palmer is a good QB. Too bad Jon Kitna is on pace for 12 wins this year in Detroit, the same number of losses the Bengals are on pace for.