June 2017

Lunch Recap

Cosgriff Does That Thing He Does

Ceremonies open with opening remarks

In his opening remarks, BLOHARD VP Buildings and Grounds Joe Cosgriff (shown at left) considered the perplexing decline in patronage at Yankee Stadium (a decline which made possible the attendance at that night's game of a 100-strong cohort of BLOHARDS who sat in half-priced seats). To great comic effect, Joe described Yanks Prexy Randy Levine's frustrated attempts to understand the mindset of millennials who "are actively choosing not to attend baseball games at Yankee Stadium in their intentionally-ripped skinny jeans …. and doing so in record numbers."

Channeling Levine's fury, Joe described said millennials as "a non-voting, selfie and self-obsessed, device-distracted, YELP-weaponized, Uber-summoning, artisanal vermouth-sipping, parents'-basement-living collection of narcissists who say 'Like' all the time."

In an earlier part of his remarks, alluding to the BLOHARDS own problems with demographics, Joe also thanked "all those who made it possible" (presumably by shuffling off this mortal coil) for the median age of paid-up BLOHARD members to decline 1.3 years to a "sprightly" 79.4 in 2017. According to Joe, Levine evidently spent his most-recent offseason in consultation with relevant experts attempting to figure out how to appeal to the younger generation. Consider this a call for a public-spirited leaker to share any insights thereby gained with the BLOHARD recruitment team.

Musical Interlude Features Music

Official BLOHARD Troubadour John Pizzarelli and Emcee Joe Cosgriff had to sing and preside respectively for suppers which, in keeping with tradition, they didn't actually receive. This seemed to affect neither Pizzarelli's mood, which was excellent, nor his singing which was virtuosic. Pizz introduced two new offerings, both of which immediately became part of the Great American Songbook. A couple of verses from the first, "Love Chris Sale" to melody of Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" follow:

Love Chris Sale.
You just can't help but love Chris Sale.
Make sure all those whiffs are marked,
He pitches like he's double-parked.
Love Chris Sale…

So far there's a lot to love.
Sale's a guy you've got to love.
Got some tips for Rick Porcello?...

Love Chris Sale.
I really, really love Chris Sale.
With some help from David Price,
We ride this guy to paradise
Love Chris Sale.

"Mookie Betts" to the tune, of course, of "Meet the Mets" is shown in its entirety below:

Mookie Betts, Mookie Betts.
Makes me want to call my bookie
And make kooky bets.

Love my kiddies, love my wife.
But Mookie is the reason
I go on with my life.

Cause Mookie Betts is really
Rocking the Wall.
And if it's south of the Mass Pike,
He catches the ball.

So North End, Southie,
Grab a ticket, c'mon down.
To see B-E-T-T-T-S, Betts. In our hometown

Randall Changes the Subject
Ed Randall, amazingly, did not talk about prostates. Instead he interviewed one of the most entertaining guests to attend a BLOHARD lunch in years. Umpire Tom Hallion (who had showed admirable forbearance the previous evening in not running Brett Gardner despite Gardner's histrionics in the wake of a called strike three) handled everything Ed and an inquisitive audience could throw at him. Among the topics of discussion:

Tom's near loss of his career following the Umpires' mass resignation in 1999. Only years later was he offered reemployment and then only in the NY-Penn League. Inclined to refuse the offer, he was instead persuaded to accept it by the unanimous vote of his family.

Hallion's trademarked strike three punchout which he demonstrated (picture at left) and which is the subject of an MLB video.

What it takes to get tossed out of a game (the employment of any of a certain set of words in combination with the word "you"), and why Gardner had been spared that fate ("He didn't use the word 'you'").

In what seemed like an oversight at the time, the membership neglected to attempt to corruptly influence Hallion for some favorable calls in the remaining two games of the series in New York. Inasmuch as Nigerian levels of corruption would have been unavailing in altering the outcome of those games, with hindsight "neglect" has become "perspicacity".

Old Timer Talks of Old Times
Barring an as-yet undiscovered pretender to the title, James ("Jimmy Two Canes") Thomson, whose lifetime membership in the BLOHARDS dates to the 1960s, reigns as Longest-Tenured Living BLOHARD. Jim came to both our September Papi sendoff, and to our recent lunch. Before the latter, we had a chance to catch up with him in a "videotaped" conversation.

In the conversation, Jim recalls his first Red Sox game in 1946 which entailed flying with his brother as a twelve year old from Newark to Boston at a cost of $12.50 (he still has the receipt) and watching Ted Williams and Mel Parnel in what was, right until it wasn't, a magical season for the Sox. He also recounts the fun had by himself and clients at early BLOHARD lunches, his friendship with Harry Frazee's widow, and his attendance at the Bucky Dent game.

Jim's interview, digitally preserved for all time, is available for viewing on our website. He is pictured above with John Pizzarelli.

The Pizz Watch

New Album Drops July 28

BLOHARDS' official crooner John Pizzarelli is releasing a new album on July 28th - Sinatra & Jobim @ 50 (Concord Jazz). The record which was made in collaboration with Daniel Jobim, the grandson of famed bossa nova composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim, an effort which lost the 1967 Grammy for Album of the Year to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

John and Daniel's tribute has garnered attention on Billboard, among other places, and is available in hard and downloaded form on Amazon. The two will be appearing with a full band at Birdland in New York City during the week of August 8 to support the new record.

At lunch John encouraged attendees to "buy in bulk", noting that the recent matriculation of his daughter to college has given him "sixty-eight thousand reasons to hope this record sells big."

Slide Show Features Slides, Show
The Henry Berry Slide Show was replete with hilarity, only some of which derived from narrator Ray Duffy's pronunciations. Amongst the highlights:

Notwithstanding some recent chilly-and-precipitate weather, Ray had Grounds Crew Chief Dave Mellor sanguine about the playability of Fenway by the time of the Sox's return;

A defense of Mr. Met predicated on the absence of a middle finger on hands with an even number of digits;

A recap of the opening day trip which chronicled the misadventures of Bus #2; deciphered its indecipherable glyph; and noted that while we all heard the pregame stealth bomber flyover, we didn't actually see it, owing to the awning and, well… because those planes are stealthy.

Observations on players included note of Chris Sale's impeccable control, "at least when Manny Machado isn't batting", the irony of Pablo Sandoval's puny offensive contribution being, in Ray's words "plenty offensive" and the observation that Sale's exemplary work pace had inspired even Eduardo Rodriguez to pitch "like he had somewhere to be tomorrow".

The show wrapped up with Senator's pitcher Don Lee asking why he was included in a BLOHARD slide show. The answer, it turns out, is that in giving up Ted Williams' 517th home run in September of 1960, Lee became the only son to allow a homer to a player who also homered off his father, in this case Thornton "Thorny" Lee, who was touched up by the Splinter in September 1939. Now you know.

Other Stuff Happens...

BLOHARD Historian David Margolick interviewed award-winning filmmaker Aviva Kempner about her in-progress work on polymath and light-hitting catcher Mo Berg. Having previously produced documentaries about Hank Greenberg, and the actress who played the matriarch in the radio and television comedy The Goldbergs, Aviva, pictured at right with David, said she decided to dispense with prefixes in this project and focus directly on a "Berg". If you have anecdotes, memories or insights on Berg's life, there might be a place for them in the movies. You can contact Aviva here.

Dick Flavin recited a couple of poems, one of which, on the subject of umpires was particularly pertinent given Tom Hallion's presence at lunch. It ended:

"He's an object of scorn, someone we all shun,
But the poor devil is some mother's son.
So remember before he screws up the next pitch
That every umpire's a son of a -person who probably isn't too crazy about him herself."

Quinn did his trivia thing. Q: What Sox player tied an MLB record with six runs scored in a game? A: Spike Owen. Now you know. Collery spoke unmemorably. Now you know that too.

See You in September?
The schedule maker having done us no favors, with a pair of August weekend series vs. the Yanks, the latter on Labor Day weekend, we're thinking of doing a Sox-less September lunch instead. More on this as we pull the details together.

Field Trip Not Unfun
While the "game" part of the game left something to be desired, a near-century of BLOHARDS still had some fun post-lunch at Yankee Stadium on the night of June 7. The evening was beautiful, and, in the interests of not peaking too early the Sox made a strategic decision not to tie for first place at that time. There are much better brains than ours in charge of all this.

Baseball in the Hamptons
If you're going to be in the Hamptons this summer, our old buddy (and paid-up lifetime member) Art Nagle has just the thing for a rainy day. The Bridgehampton Museum is doing an exhibit on baseball in Bridgehampton which features both "Father of Baseball" George Chadwick, and some fella named from Bridgehampton itself named Yastrzemski.