Saturday, June 30, 2012

Palm Trees in Boston

About a week ago a bunch of palm trees were planted in the public garden next to the Boston Common.  I noticed when the same thing happened last summer, but I never got around to writing about it.  I like them; but they're weird.  And it's got to be super confusing to the hoards of foreign tourists taking pictures of everything they come across (often squirrels and other seemingly boring stuff).  They're going to think the palm trees belong here, like they're in California or Florida or something.  It reminds me of that British guy in Love Actually who decides he needs to go to America, so he buys a ticket "to a fantastic place called Wisconsin" in the middle of winter time.

I couldn't find the exact clip from the movie where he says that quote on youtube, but this one works too.


Friday, June 29, 2012

My very unsophisticated Celtics draft analysis

Back in the spring when the NCAA tournament was happening in Boston I watched two teams practice, and coincidentally they were Ohio St. and Syracuse.  Here's my observations of Jared Sullinger from back then.  As far as the Celtics go, I love the pick.  Before the season started Sullinger was viewed as one of the top few players in the country, so any time you can get a guy like that with the 21st selection in the draft I think it's a worthwhile gamble.

That's Sullinger in the long sleeves. He looked smaller than I expected.

My buddy who I have Celtics tickets with is a Syracuse grad, so we've been discussing the possibility of them taking Fab Melo since about January.  My gut instinct is that maybe they chose him a little too high at #22, but they needed big so that's where they went.  Boston then took another 'Cuse product at #51, small forward Kris Joseph.  He's a guy who never quite filled his potential there, but for a late second round pick you don't really have any expectations.   As a whole I'm happy that it's all guys I know and have seen play.  Oddly enough for the second year in a row the C's drafted a pair of college teammates; last year they took JaJuan Johnson in Round 1 and E'Twaun Moore in Round 2, both out of Purdue.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

What would the soccer shootout be in other sports?

I'm surprised how many people around here are into this UEFA Euro 2012 soccer thing.  It keeps popping up in my twitter and facebook feeds.  Yesterday afternoon/ evening we had the Spain vs Portugal semi-final game on in my bar, and a lot of people were watching very intently (admittedly not till the shoot out happened though).  Now I'm not going to go the typical rout and say it's dumb for a 2 hour long 0-0 game to end with penalty kicks; it's exciting and decisive and clearly makes people watch.  Instead I'm just going to try to find the equivalent from other sports.

The NHL already does the same thing (although not in the playoffs).  Basketball is easy; a free throw shooting contest.  I have to admit it would be pretty incredible to watch Lebron step up to line and have to make one shot, knowing that if he missed Kevin Durant could make one and win the NBA Title.  In the NFL I think it would either be kicking 35-yard field goals, or a two-point conversion contest.  Most likely the second one because it involves more than just one player from each team.  But what about baseball?  I'm kind of stumped on this one. Here's my best guess: You put just a pitcher and a hitter out there, and remove everybody else from the field.  The hitter gets one pitch, and all he has to do is put it in play in fair territory (or take a ball).  If it's a strike or foul, it's like a miss.  If you've got any better ideas for baseball (or the other sports) I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Have you seen this movie?

The other day I saw a movie on HBO.  It was about some guys who all go out drinking before their buddy's wedding.  They bring along the bride's brother, even though they're not really friends with him.  One of them gives a very awkward speech, then later unintentionally drugs them all.  When they wake up in a hotel room in the morning, nobody remembers what happened the night before.

One guy's face is all messed up, and there's a strange animal in the room with them.  Then they realize one of their friends is missing. They spend all day looking for him.  At one point they think they find him, but it's the wrong guy.  Over the course of the day they come to realize all kinds of crazy things that they did the night before, but still can't find their friend.  The guy with the messed up face discovers he hooked up with an exotic dancer.  Among other things, a little Asian guy jumps out of the trunk of a car they had locked him in, and attacks them.  

Just as they are calling the bride to admit they screwed up and won't make it back in time for the wedding, "messed up face guy" puts the pieces together and figures out where their buddy is.  They find him and rush back, a little late, but just barely in time.  After the wedding they learn that they have pictures of the night before, which they all look at in order to find out exactly what happened. Oh, and Mike Tyson makes a cameo appearance.  The name of the movie is The Hangover.  

No wait, sorry, I got confused.  The little Asian guy was locked in an ice machine, not the trunk of a car.  And it's called The Hangover 2.    


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "To Be With You" by Mr. Big

Long before women everywhere simultaneuosly loved and hated Chris Noth's character, there was a different "Mr. Big" that was hugely popular back in 1991.  Watching the To Be With You video now, it's kind of hard to believe these guys took themselves seriously.

While researching this last night, I also searched for a clip of "Mr. Big" from the Wayne's World movies.  I wasn't able to come up with one, but I did discover that the actor who played that part was a guy named Frank DiLeo, who was better known for being Micheal Jackson's manager.  A strange series of events that coincidentally led me to find this picture on the 3 year anniversary of the King of Pop's death.


Monday, June 25, 2012

I'm not convinced the Youk trade was the right move

Yeah, I know he's getting old and hasn't been hitting.  And to be honest he was never really one of my favorite players anyway.  But consider these possibilities:

What if Will Middlebrooks isn't a superstar?  He's been spectacular so far, but he's got a grand total of 144 Major League at bats.  That is what you call a "small sample."  It's likely he won't continue this level of incredible production.

What if Youkilis tears it up in Chicago?  He'll be angry and motivated and eager to prove he's not done, and Boston just traded him to a team with an identical 38-34 record that's currently getting nothing from their 3rd base position.  Youk could easily help the White Sox win their division or a Wild Card, and come back to haunt the Red Sox come playoff time.

Now I'm not saying either of these things will happen; but they might?  Boston didn't get much in return that's going to help them anyway.  Youkilis could have been a bench guy.  Maybe not forever, but at least for now.  Wouldn't you rather have him there to pinch hit or fill in for an injury than Nick Punto?  I just don't understand the rush to get rid of him, especially to a fellow A.L. contender.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

I'm pretty skeptical of R.A. Dickey

On espn's Sunday Night Baseball tonight, the Mets R.A. Dickey will take the mound against the Yankees.  Dickey has thrown back to back one-hitters in his last two starts, and currently leads MLB in wins (11), ERA (2.00), and WHIP (0.89), and is 4th in strikeouts (103); amazing stats when you consider that he is a knucklerballer.  If you watch the game (or any of the network's constant self promoting) you'll hear a lot of "expert analysts" talk about how great he is.  How he's having such tremendous success because he throws harder than other knucklers have in the past, and is "hitting his spots" with pinpoint control.  You'll probably even hear somebody mention that he is "the best pitcher in the game right now."  Well guess what.  He's not.

Does it really make any sense that a 37 year old pitcher could reinvent himself and suddenly become virtually unhittable?  There is no precedent for that.  But you known what has happened before?  Knuckleball pitchers having ridiculous runs of short term dominance, because the pitch itself is inherently wild and crazy and unpredictable.

On August 13, 1995, a young Boston Red Sox hurler won his 10th consecutive start (not just ten wins in a row without a loss and some no decisions mixed in; he won every single time he took the mound), a pretty remarkable feat.  On that day his record stood at 14-1, his ERA was a minuscule 1.65, and his WHIP was an extremely impressive 1.03.  His name?  Tim Wakefield.  But, in his final ten starts that season Wakefield went 2-7 with a 5.60 ERA and WHIP of 1.49.  My point?  I think R.A. Dickey's five minutes are almost up.