Have a Very Belichick Halloween

From our Why the Wall Street Journal Is a Great Newspaper desk

Yesterday’s edition of the Journal included this Geoff Foster piece.

Scary Sports Costumes

Trick or Treat: Turning This Year’s Low Moments Into Halloween Highlights

Any kid can dress up as Captain America or Elsa the Snow Queen. In a year filled with some low moments in sports, here are suggestions on how to dress as your favorite sports antihero.

Among those suggestions was this classic:

Bill Belichick

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 1.20.53 AM

Dr. Frankenstein was a sinister genius who created an unstoppable monster that was universally abhorred. So basically Bill Belichick. The New England Patriots coach is notoriously moody. In fact, the Journal conducted a study last season and counted only seven times where he was seen smiling in a news conference. [That's actually true.] The best part is that Belichick is a way more cost-effective costume for your youngster than Frankenstein. All you really need to do is find an old gray hoodie and cut off the sleeves—and maybe add a headset for good measure. It’s a good idea to target the houses giving away raisins to make sure the smile-count doesn’t get above seven.

As SCTV’s Count Floyd used to say, Oooo . . . that’s scary, kids.

Special Bay State bonus: Tip O’Neill’s 3-D House of Representatives.

 

 

Oooo . . . that’s funny, kids. (At least we think so.)

And Count Floyd makes a great Halloween costume.

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All Hail Madison Bumgarner, the 21st Century Cy Young

From our One for the Ages desk

You have to go back over a century to match what San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner did last night: Win two World Series games and pitch more than three innings in a third.

Damn.

 

 

Damn.

That’s all.

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Coakley Took More of a Beating Than the Giants Last Night

The hardworking staff is guessing that most of you splendid readers didn’t spend much time watching the Kansas City Royals pummel the San Francisco Giants last night, as the Jints pounded the ball into the ground(out) for seven innings against the untouchable  Yordano Ventura (“seven innings, three hits, zero runs, five walks and four Ks. He threw 64 of his 100 pitches more than 95 mph. Not bad for a 23-year-old rookie – ABC News).

Representative sample:

 

 

We, on the other hand, watched the whole thing.

Hey – it’s the World’s Serious.

(And while we’re at it, let’s insert a prayer here for Buster Posey.)

Anyway, the only one who took a worse drubbing than the Giants last night was Massachusetts gubernatorial hopeful Martha Coakley.

The hardwatching staff saw this Charlie Baker spot three times during the game broadcast (it might have run more often – we checked out during several commercial breaks).

Oddly, in this everything-is-available age, the only place we could find the Baker ad is at the boston.com link above. But here’s the spot’s bottom line: Baker says he won’t raise taxes. Coakley says she will. (The headscratching staff suspects that Coakley was specifically referring to gas tax hikes, but we could be wrong.)

The spot did to Coakley what Baker was too busy turning on the waterworks in last night’s debate to do: Stuck the knife in and left it there.

The Giants get a shot at redemption tonight. Martha Coakley might not get the same chance between now and next Tuesday.

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Encore: My Mazeroski Moment (Or, How the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates Helped Make Me Grow Up)

The Pop History Dig is a terrific website that chronicles signature events and figures of 20th century popular culture. And the latest submission by encyclopedic author Jack Doyle is one close to the hardworking staff’s heart.

“The Mazeroski Moment”

1960 World Series

It was the ultimate in baseball – the final, showdown Game 7 of a World Series. The place was Forbes Field, a classic baseball park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was October 13th, 1960, Aerial-2-Forbes-Field-320that time of year when the last warm Aerial-2-Forbes-Field-320days of summer begin to meet crisper fall afternoons. Excitement was already in the air generally, both in Pittsburgh and throughout the nation, as a presidential election race was underway and a young man named John F. Kennedy was offering the country something new. Later that evening, in fact, Kennedy and his Republican opponent, vice president Richard Nixon, would debate on national television for the third time. But the business at hand in Pittsburgh that afternoon wasn’t politics; it was baseball.

Yes it was.

The hardrooting staff, which has been a Made Yankee Fan in Boston for 40 years, remembers that day like it was yesterday. But Doyle renders it like it’s today.

Cut to the chase:

Now it was the bottom of the ninth inning, with home team Pittsburgh coming to bat. One run, scored at any time that inning, was all the Pirates needed to win the World Series. Yankee pitcher, Ralph Terry, who had made the final Pirate out in the eighth inning, returned to the mound for the bottom of the ninth . . . The first man he faced was Pirate second baseman, Bill Mazeroski. Maz was having a pretty decent Series (in fact, he would go 8-for-25 over the seven games and bat .320 for the Series ), and although he had hit one home run earlier in the Series, in Game 1, he was still not regarded as a home run threat. During the 1960 season Maz had hit 11 home runs.

Forbes-setting-NEW-A-610

Terry’s first pitch to Mazeroski was a fast ball down the middle but high, for a ball. Next came a pitch lower in the hitting zone which Mazeroski unloaded on with a good swing. The ball popped off the bat and soared high into the afternoon sky heading toward and then over the left field wall. Bill Mazeroski had just made his Pittsburgh Pirates the 1960 champions of baseball.

The great Mel Allen’s call:

…There’s a drive into deep left field, look out now… that ball is going, going, gone! And the World Series is over! Mazeroski… hits it over the left field fence, and the Pirates win it 10–9 and win the World Series!

The-whole-thing-was-nuts graf:

Years later, Mickey Mantle was quoted as saying that losing the 1960 World Series was the biggest disappointment of his career, the only loss, amateur or professional, over which he cried actual tears.

Hey, if The Mick could cry, why not me too?

Some years later I wrote this commentary for WGBH radio.

ANCHOR: Last week, the New York Yankees played the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Steel City for the first time since their 1960 World Series seven-game classic. Here’s John Carroll’s Take.

It was the damnedest thing I’d ever seen, and I was 11 years old by that time. The 1960 World Series was entirely bipolar: The New York Yankees won 3 laughers by a combined 35 runs, while the Pittsburgh Pirates won 3 squeakers by a combined 6 runs. Everyone knew which team was superior.

Even so, there was still Game Seven to play at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Because Yankee manager Casey Stengel had completely botched his pitching rotation, it was journeyman Bob Turley – not money-in-the-bank Whitey Ford – who took the mound for the decisive game.

Bullet Bob lasted all of one inning – giving up three runs on two hits and a walk. But the Yankees clawed back –largely through the efforts of left fielder Yogi Berra, who drove in four runs on one hit and a walk.

SFX: 1960 WORLD SERIES 0036

YOGI HAS PRODUCED MORE HITS AND DRIVEN IN

MORE RUNS THAN ANY OTHER SERIES STAR IN HISTORY.

NEW YORK HAS A BRACE OF RUNS TO TAKE A

7-4 LEAD, AND THE PIRATES’ HOPES FADE

But in the fateful bottom of the eighth, Yankee shortstop Tony Kubek was hit in the throat by a bad-hop grounder that should’ve been a double-play ball. Instead, the Bucs went on to score five runs and take a 9-7 lead into the ninth.

The Yankees once again clawed back to tie the game. But leading off the bottom of the ninth, light-hitting second baseman Bill Mazeroski did this:

SFX: 1960 MAZ HOME RUN 0008

BACK TO THE WALL GOES BERRA

IT’S OVER THE FENCE – HOME RUN -

THE PIRATES WIN

Mazeroski’s clout went down as one of the most dramatic moments in sports history, not to mention my young life.

Years later, the Missus asked me in an offhand way what my all-time favorite team was. She had come across a mail-order company that sold reproductions of the hometown paper’s front page the day after a World Series win, and she wanted to get me one for my birthday.

I told her the 1960 New York Yankees.

Shortly thereafter, the Missus received the October 14, 1960 UnknownPittsburgh Post-Gazette front page with the headline Unknown“BUCS ARE CHAMPS” in umpteen-point all-caps boldface. The Missus was, understandably, somewhat confused. She called the mail-order company and said, “No, I wanted the 1960 World Series front page.”

The mail-order gal replied, “Honey, you got the 1960 World Series front page.”

The Missus continued to be somewhat confused, so she asked me how I could be that attached to a losing team.

Because of the way they lost, I said. The 1960 Yankees were the team that taught me exactly how heart-stopping baseball could be. And in the end, that was even better than winning.

But man, it hurt. (Luckily, the next year worked out better.)

Subsequently, the Missus bought me this Official Souvenir Program, with the Game 7 box score filled in.

 

1960-Program-320-1

 

And this Game 7 ticket.

 

Unknown-1

 

God love her.

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WBUR Dope Slaps WGBH

As the hardworking staff drove through Allston yesterday, we noticed this billboard over the Mass Pike (sorry, no picture – I was driving, yeah?).

No Rant. No Slant.

WBUR 90.9 FM

Boston’s NPR News Station

You know that’s not aimed at Howie Carr, right? It’s a direct shot at WGBH, specifically Boston Public Radio with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan.

Huh.

Let the wild Boston NPR rumpus begin!

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San Francisco Treat: Madison Bumgarner Spins a Classic

From our One for the Ages desk

Last night the hardwatching staff witnessed (with roughly 17 other baseball lovers) the masterly complete-game shutout San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner laid on the Kansas City Royals in Game 5 of the World’s Serious.

 

 

It was the very embodiment of the great Robert Francis poem, Pitcher.

His art is eccentricity, his aim
How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at,

His passion how to avoid the obvious,
His technique how to vary the avoidance.

The others throw to be comprehended. He
Throws to be a moment misunderstood.

Yet not too much. Not errant, arrant, wild,
But every seeming aberration willed.

Not to, yet still, still to communicate
Making the batter understand too late.

Man, did the Royals understand too late.

Bumgarner’s postseason numbers: 4-0, 0.44 ERA, and a knee-buckling 1.20 opposition batting average.

Wow.

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Zombie Apocalypse for Product Placement

From our Dead Brand Walking desk

The hardtracking staff doesn’t want to say we told you so, but . . . we told you so.

Product placement is starting to wear out its welcome.

From PRI’s Marketplace:

Product placement lessons from ‘The Walking Dead’

The long partnership between a band of survivors in the zombie apocalypse and their Hyundai SUV has ended.

The advertising deal between Hyundai and the AMC series The TWD product placementWalking Dead – which had 17 million people tune in for its season five premiere earlier this month – is over. That gleaming, never-out-of-gas, never-dented vehicle is no more.

Hyundai says it is very happy with its partnership, and it’s gotten a lot of attention on TV and online from Generation Y. But alas, the car maker had to end its product placement deal because the show went in another direction creatively, and the characters have been doing a lot more walking and a lot less driving.

So what drove Hyundai out? Maybe mocking YouTube videos like this one . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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My Mazeroski Moment (Or, How the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates Helped Make Me Grow Up)

The Pop History Dig is a terrific website that chronicles signature events and figures of 20th century popular culture. And the latest submission by encyclopedic author Jack Doyle  is one close to the hardworking staff’s heart.

“The Mazeroski Moment”

1960 World Series

It was the ultimate in baseball – the final, showdown Game 7 of a World Series. The place was Forbes Field, a classic baseball park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was October 13th, 1960, Aerial-2-Forbes-Field-320that time of year when the last warm days of summer begin to meet crisper fall afternoons. Excitement was already in the air generally, both in Pittsburgh and throughout the nation, as a presidential election race was underway and a young man named John F. Kennedy was offering the country something new. Later that evening, in fact, Kennedy and his Republican opponent, vice president Richard Nixon, would debate on national television for the third time. But the business at hand in Pittsburgh that afternoon wasn’t politics; it was baseball.

Yes it was.

The hardrooting staff, which has been a Made Yankee Fan in Boston for 40 years, remembers that day like it was yesterday. But Doyle renders it like it’s today.

Cut to the chase:

Now it was the bottom of the ninth inning, with home team Pittsburgh coming to bat. One run, scored at any time that inning, was all the Pirates needed to win the World Series. Yankee pitcher, Ralph Terry, who had made the final Pirate out in the eighth inning, returned to the mound for the bottom of the ninth . . . The first man he faced was Pirate second baseman, Bill Mazeroski. Maz was having a pretty decent Series (in fact, he would go 8-for-25 over the seven games and bat .320 for the Series ), and although he had hit one home run earlier in the Series, in Game 1, he was still not regarded as a home run threat. During the 1960 season Maz had hit 11 home runs.

Forbes-setting-NEW-A-610

Terry’s first pitch to Mazeroski was a fast ball down the middle but high, for a ball. Next came a pitch lower in the hitting zone which Mazeroski unloaded on with a good swing. The ball popped off the bat and soared high into the afternoon sky heading toward and then over the left field wall. Bill Mazeroski had just made his Pittsburgh Pirates the 1960 champions of baseball.

The great Mel Allen’s call:

…There’s a drive into deep left field, look out now… that ball is going, going, gone! And the World Series is over! Mazeroski… hits it over the left field fence, and the Pirates win it 10–9 and win the World Series!

The-whole-thing-was-nuts graf:

Years later, Mickey Mantle was quoted as saying that losing the 1960 World Series was the biggest disappointment of his career, the only loss, amateur or professional, over which he cried actual tears.

Hey, if The Mick could cry, why not me too?

Some years later I wrote this commentary for WGBH radio.

ANCHOR: Last week, the New York Yankees played the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Steel City for the first time since their 1960 World Series seven-game classic. Here’s John Carroll’s Take.

It was the damnedest thing I’d ever seen, and I was 11 years old by that time. The 1960 World Series was entirely bipolar: The New York Yankees won 3 laughers by a combined 35 runs, while the Pittsburgh Pirates won 3 squeakers by a combined 6 runs. Everyone knew which team was superior.

Even so, there was still Game Seven to play at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Because Yankee manager Casey Stengel had completely botched his pitching rotation, it was journeyman Bob Turley – not money-in-the-bank Whitey Ford – who took the mound for the decisive game.

Bullet Bob lasted all of one inning – giving up three runs on two hits and a walk. But the Yankees clawed back –largely through the efforts of left fielder Yogi Berra, who drove in four runs on one hit and a walk.

SFX: 1960 WORLD SERIES 0036

YOGI HAS PRODUCED MORE HITS AND DRIVEN IN

MORE RUNS THAN ANY OTHER SERIES STAR IN HISTORY.

NEW YORK HAS A BRACE OF RUNS TO TAKE A

7-4 LEAD, AND THE PIRATES’ HOPES FADE

But in the fateful bottom of the eighth, Yankee shortstop Tony Kubek was hit in the throat by a bad-hop grounder that should’ve been a double-play ball. Instead, the Bucs went on to score five runs and take a 9-7 lead into the ninth.

The Yankees once again clawed back to tie the game. But leading off the bottom of the ninth, light-hitting second baseman Bill Mazeroski did this:

SFX: 1960 MAZ HOME RUN 0008

BACK TO THE WALL GOES BERRA

IT’S OVER THE FENCE – HOME RUN -

THE PIRATES WIN

Mazeroski’s clout went down as one of the most dramatic moments in sports history, not to mention my young life.

Years later, the Missus asked me in an offhand way what my all-time favorite team was. She had come across a mail-order company that sold reproductions of the hometown paper’s front page the day after a World Series win, and she wanted to get me one for my birthday.

I told her the 1960 New York Yankees.

Shortly thereafter, the Missus received the October 14, 1960 UnknownPittsburgh Post-Gazette front page with the headline “BUCS ARE CHAMPS” in umpteen-point all-caps boldface. The Missus was, understandably, somewhat confused. She called the mail-order company and said, “No, I wanted the 1960 World Series front page.”

The mail-order gal replied, “Honey, you got the 1960 World Series front page.”

The Missus continued to be somewhat confused, so she asked me how I could be that attached to a losing team.

Because of the way they lost, I said. The 1960 Yankees were the team that taught me exactly how heart-stopping baseball could be. And in the end, that was even better than winning.

But man, it hurt. (Luckily, the next year worked out better.)

Subsequently, the Missus bought me this Official Souvenir Program, with the Game 7 box score filled in.

 

1960-Program-320-1

 

And this Game 7 ticket.

 

Unknown-1

 

God love her.

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Let Timmy Pitch (Again)!

The Tim Lincecum Freeze Out finally ended last night (with the Royals leading the Giants 7-2 in Game 2 of the World’s Serious) and Timmy was looking sharp. He breezed through a one-two-three 7th inning and set down the first two Royals batters in the 8th.

Then this, via cbsSports.com:

Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum leaves due to lower back issue

Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum left Wednesday’s game against the Royals due to a lower back injury.

Lincecum tossed 1 2/3 innings before leaving the contest. After going 2-2 against Salvador Perez, Lincecum called the trainer out to the mound. He appeared to slip on the mound during the pitch. After some discussion, Lincecum was removed from the game. Following the game, the team announced Lincecum is dealing with a lower back injury.

That ungainly exit occurred right after the Fox broadcast blabbers talked about Lincecum elbowing his way back into the mix of Giants relievers.

Kinehora!

It’s no secret the hardlysmoking staff has a soft spot for Lincecum. Here’s hoping we haven’t seen the last of Timmy this postseason.

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Let Timmy Pitch!

The Tim Lincecum Freeze-Out is getting a bit tiresome, yeah?

First, some statistics (via the San Jose Mercury News):

24

of

25

Players on the [San Francisco] Giants’ Division Series and NLCS rosters who appeared in a game in those series. The sole exception in both cases was two-time Cy Young-winning pitcher Tim Lincecum.

Along the way, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said this to the Associated Press:

‘‘I’ve been thinking about Timmy, trust me . . . Timmy’s done a lot for us, and we know that.’’

So last night the Giants blew out the Kansas City Royals 7-1 in Game 1 of the World’s Serious and here’s the boxscore (via ESPN).

Pitchers’ stats:

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 2.02.15 AM

Seriously, Bruce? You’re “thinking about Timmy” but he doesn’t get into a 7-1 blowout?

Blowout this, eh?

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