Friday, October 26, 2007

A Roamin' Holliday

There wasn't much cheering last night at Thom's until the fourth inning when Jacoby Ellsbury gave America a free taco by stealing second. The crowd was warmed up and jumped into to full fan mode. When Schilling left the game he got a standing ovation in the bar. Horton lead each and everyone in "Take Me Out To The Ball Game". And then Okajeemer got a riot out of us for every big K. It was the perfect set up for the biggest roar of the night.

Papelbon entered the game with 2 outs in the eighth to face the leading contender for NL MVP, Matt Holliday. A line drive up the middle nearly put a hole through Paps and was gloved by Pedroia who rolled over his wrist without making a throw. The trainers came out to check both players and they both stayed in the game. But, now one of the best hitters of the last decade, Todd Helton, was at the plate down one and a man on first. Paps stared into the plate puckered his lips and lowered his head. He set his glove and suddenly twirled to first ending the Rockies' roamin' Holliday who probably had it in mind to steal second but, instead, ended the inning.

Papelbon went on to close out the closest game the Sox have had this whole postseason. It's on to Coloroado.

A Thommy Abroad
Check out the blog of Thom's regular Ken Eng as he films in China.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thom's Sox Song List

Many of the people at Thom's have asked about the music we play during the game and between innings. Below is a list of some of the songs:

Before the game starts we always play a clip of Sherm Feller saying "Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Welcome to Fenway Park". If you grew up in Boston going to Sox games chances are that you heard this a million times without even thinking about it. Well, Sherm is gone now and his memory lives on at Thom's. Most of the time that is followed by another Sherm Feller clip introducing former Red Sox organist John Kiley playing the "The National Anthem". Immediately following "The National Anthem" is the band Boston with "Rock and Roll Band" and, if it's a Fox broadcast there's usually enough room for the first few bars of the "Cheers Theme".

During the seventh inning stretch you hear John Kiley again playing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" followed by "I Do" by the J. Geills Band. When the 8th inning stretch comes the whole bar sings along with Neil Diamond and "Sweet Caroline". If the Sox happen to win then of course we hear "Dirty Water" by the Standells.

In no particular order here are some other songs you hear:
Most of the above are Boston bands except for Mad Larry whose song appears in "Fever Pitch"
A lot of these are songs I've been playing during Sox games for years, but this year Sarah Logan of the Red Sox gave me a list of the songs she plays at Fenway between innings. They include:
I also play the soundtrack to "Outside Providence" because that's the best movie ever.
I'm sure that I left a bunch off or that there are still a bunch I should include. So, drop me an email or leave a comment with your opinion, please.

One Down!

Game 1 of the World Series went off without a hitch. It's strange to say, but there are fewer and fewer new faces at the bar these days. A regular crowd of rooters has settled in to the point where they even try to sit in the same seats every game and drink the same drinks. It makes my job a lot easier. I just pour a bunch of beers, put them on the bar and wait for the right person to pick them up. I know where my high fives are coming from and I know who's going to be yelling on "I'm Shipping off to Boston".

From the start there was plenty to celebrate. Three lucky fans answered Red Sox World Series trivia correctly and won a copy of "Feeding the Monster", an autographed Doug Mirabelli photo, and a case of Harpoon IPA. Then Beckett struck out the side and Dusty got us on the board with a blast that should have been grabbed by the front of the monster. From then on it was chants and sing-alongs. We even woke up the Big Giant Pez for his usual role of Mitch Miller leading us in "Take Me out to the Ballgame".

Truth be told the crowd was a bit sparse by "Dirty Water" but the energy was still very high. I think everyone knows that despite the fireworks it was one game. We started out the Indians series with a blowout too. Now, Schilling and Dice-K have to step up.

I don't know how we're going to top last night, but we can try. Schilling's going to need a lot more help from us than Beckett did. So, look for the "bloody sock" behind the bar and even ask to touch it. Then go and worship a the World Series bunting in the back of the bar that borrowed from Game 4 of the 2004 World Series. Get the mojo moving. and get there early for more trivia tonight with prizes that include a case of Harpoon UFO, and an autographed photo of Manny Delcarmen.

Also, many of you have been asking for the playlist of songs during the Sox games, so I'll put that up on the blog today.

The Celts
Looking ahead to next week, the much vaunted big three of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett make their debut against Washington on Friday, November 2. There should be a great crowd for what people are anticipating as the first serious contender the Celtics have had in almost 20 years.

I'm a sailor peg
And I lost my leg
I climbed up the topsails
I lost my leg
I'm shipping up to boston
(whoa oh oh) x3


Monday, October 22, 2007

A Big Day at Thom's!

Thanks to everyone that got to Thom's early for the Pats and kept me company on the first leg of my Sunday marathon. I got there at 11:45 am and left at 3:45 am. It was worth it.

The box score showed that Tom Brady had a record breaking day, but, as Brady said, the receivers starred. Stallworth put my fantasy team on his back and spin through the Miami secondary turning a small gain into a touchdown. And Moss stole two under thrown balls from Brady from no less than two defenders for touchdowns. I still haven't seen a replay that actually shows how he caught the second one with one arm, but there he was, cradling the ball with the competition at his feet. And, Welker just kept catching the ball and refusing to go down. There seems to be nothing this new corps of receivers can't do.

The crowd for Game 7 began trickling in around 5:30. For Game 6 we had to stop the door around 7:30 and turn away a ton of fans, so it was wise to arrive early on Sunday.

The throng was a cautious one. While Saturday night almost the whole bar sang along to the "National Anthem", on Sunday the faithful were quiet.

That all changed with the Sox' first at-bat. When Pedroia singled to start the bottom half of the first you felt good vibes from Saturday return to the room. Then Youk followed with a base hit, then Manny drove Dusty home for the first run of the game. Suddenly everyone was on board for the chorus of "I'm shipping off to Boston" and the sing-alongs didn't stop. With "Glory Days", and "New England", and "Tessie", and "Take me out to the Ballgame", and "Sweet Caroline", and finally "Dirty Water"every hand clapped and the words echoed far onto 2nd ave. And between songs you could even hear "Rog-ah" chants every time Clemens appeared in a commercial and "Steroids" chants for Betancourt when he entered the game.
The DOT workers outside repaving the street stood at the door and stared. They thought they were in New York, but the crowd told them otherwise. There's a little pocket of Fenway Park in the East Village. The beer is better and it won't cost you $7.75.

Of course they were in New York and of course these were all New Yorkers they were watching, but that doesn't mean they can't root for anyone they want. Sox fans get a lot of grief in New York for just being here. But, to me New York City has always been sold as a place where anyone could go and do whatever they want. That's how I got here. That's how so many generations of New Yorkers got here.
I never liked the "melting pot" metaphor for this city. Why should people just be assimilated into the mass. Why can't it be a stew with some clearly recognizable ingredients and a bunch of vegetables. Or a Vegas buffet with so many choices like prime rib or melon. Or a quilt with patches that are made by kids trying to raise money for- Ok, I'll stop now. (I really haven't slept much these past two weeks.) But, why can't people come here and be themselves without being harassed. They can. At Professor Thom's they did last night.

While the Sox were adding a run an inning through the first three, Dice-K did just what I asked of him. He pitched five innings that kept the Sox in the game. The Japanese news crew that showed up was very happy that this game turned out better than last week's. Dice-K left the game before the sixth with a 3-2 lead and our fate was now in the hands of the bullpen who pitched terrifically.
Then came more runs.

In a long standing Red Sox tradition (Bobby Doerr, Marty Barrett, Todd Walker, Mark Belhorn, et al.) it was the 2nd baseman that came through big in the playoffs. Dustin Pedroia hit a two run bomb to left that put the Sox up by 3 in the seventh then doubled to clear the bases in the eighth.
Papelbon was still on the mound in the bottom of the 9th with his team up 11-2. His job was now to throw strikes. That he did. Of the 16 pitches Papelbon threw in relief 15 of them were strikes. And that included the blast Blake drove to center with two outs and one on. In retrospect, Francona made a great move putting Crisp in the game for the last inning. Not only did Crisp make the game ending catch to save a run and Papelbon any more pitches. But, he likely had a great amount of confidence restored that he'd lost since being benched for Ellsbury.

The hero of two games Josh Beckett was awarded the MVP trophy. He pitched great, but I don't think he pitched as well as Youkilis hit. According to
"Youkilis hit an even (14-for-28) during the series, besting Bob Boone's seven-game ALCS record of .455 in 1986. He scored 10 runs, breaking a three-year-old ALCS record held by the Yankees' Hideki Matsui. With 14 hits, including at least one in each game, Youkilis tied the LCS record jointly held by Matsui and Albert Pujols since '04. And each seemed bigger than the last."
Youkilis now holds a least three hitting records for the ALCS. His OBA was .576! His 26 total bases were 10 more than the next closest Red Sock and 11 more than the closest Indian, Peralta.

Stat maniac David Tice agrees (bold added):

"In terms of runs created (without getting into batting the runner at first over to third to score on a later sac fly etc.), Youk matched or exceeded the Cleveland 0ffense in Games 1, 5, 6 and 7. In other words, the ones that the Red Sox won.

Beckett's pitching performances can't be overlooked, and Beckett and Schilling in games 5 and 6 just did everything you can do to keep your team in the game long enough to win, in games that they absolutely had to win, so I can see the ace getting the MVP. But it is rather suspicious that in a series marked by hugely unbalanced offensive swings, the Boston offense got superhot when Youkilis was hitting and did close to nothing (save Game 2) when he wasn't."

Even Youk himself commented on his blog today about one of the best hitting performances in playoff history and the lack of attention it received, "I had a good series swinging the bat, but I don't mind flying under the radar."

That's all behind us now. It was a great comeback. It was a great night. But it means little if we lose this week. The World Series begins Wednesday and I won't be surprised to see so many of the same faces at Thom's that have been there throughout the playoffs.

Red Sox Take Pennant

Here are some links and photos from the American League Championship:

We stuck together Yooooouuuuukkkkk


What Might Have Been.

It seems that MLB once again jumped the gun at the expense of the Red Sox by running this ad for Indians' World Series swag. It's not the first time. I just thought that they only did it for another team.

If you're from New England you know full well that is the ultimate no-no. The baseball gods are real and have punished hubristic Sox fans for generations. So the Sox turn around was no surprise given Ryan Garko's words and the unbelievable antics of Cleveland area stores.

The Fates were on our side and the Sox' bats were so many gadflies to Chief Wahoo Bellerophon's flight up Olympus. The smitten Clevelanders only have themselves to blame.

"What fates impose, that men must needs abide; It boots not to resist both wind and tide”-Billy Shakespeare

...If You Ain't Got That Ring.