Manny Still Being Manny

Say what you will about Manny Ramirez—the guy loves baseball. After his abrupt retirement from the MLB, the once-great slugger bopped around minor league clubs and played ball in the Dominican Republic and Taiwan. Now his career enters its next (and final?) chapter thanks to a new gig playing for Japan’s independent Kochi Island Fighting Dogs.

But true to form, Manny didn’t just sign a contract. He Mannified it. Witness the absurd perks of his current deal, as reported by The Boston Globe: full use of a Mercedes and driver, hotel suites for all away games, optional practices, and unlimited sushi. (He has also insisted—successfully—on his jersey saying “Manny” instead of “Ramirez.”)

Unlimited sushi? Really? Well, yeah. That’s just Manny being Manny. And despite our sour grapes with the dude, there was a time when Boston called that dreadlocked goofball our own. Think back to when we still loved Number 24 and you’ll find some other Manny-being-Manny moments worth remembering.

The Viagra

The fact that new Manny antics are still being unearthed makes you wonder just how much behind-the-scenes mischief we missed while he was active. When Pedro Martinez released his book Pedro in May 2015, it came with the revelation that Manny once spiked a pregame cocktail of gin, honey, and wine with 300 mg of Viagra. He and Pedro gave it to teammate Ellis Burks. Results inconclusive.

The Bathroom Break

There are several Manny Moments that’ll live on in baseball lore as surely as Yogi Berra’s aphorisms or Wade Boggs’s drinking. Chief among them is the time Manny had to tinkle. During a July 2005 game, pitching coach Dave Wallace visited the mound to speak with starter Wade Miller. Manny took this opportunity to disappear inside the Green Monster for a while, reappearing just as play resumed. Accounts differ about what went on inside—some say it was a coffee break, some say he was peeing. Either way, it was classic Manny.

The Grill

In 2007, Manny Ramirez was making $20 million a year playing left field for the Boston Red Sox. Puzzling, then, when the millionaire decided to recoup some minor home appliance costs by posting his grill on eBay. On March 20, he wrote, “Hi, I’m Manny Ramirez. I bought this AMAZING grill for about $4,000 and I used it once…But I never have the time to use it because I am always on the road. I would love to sell it and you will get an autographed ball signed by me :-]” When ESPN aired the news, the Red Sox clubhouse erupted in laughter. Manny’s retort? “I’m a businessman, I’ve got to make a little money.”

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The High Five

Never underestimate showmanship. Manny certainly made a case for functional flair in 2008 with an impressive over the shoulder catch of a sinking line drive at Camden Yards. His momentum carried him onto the warning track, where he ran up the wall, high-fived a fan, and promptly turned around to double up the runner on first. Very nice, high five.

The Cutoff

No Manny-being-Manny list would be complete without his inexplicable—and wholly unnecessary—cutoff of Johnny Damon’s throw in a 2004 game against the Orioles. Baltimore’s David Newhan hit a ball over Damon’s head in center field that caromed off the wall and skittered out into the grass. By the time Damon got to it, Manny was poised to disobey all cutoff decorum by diving between the center fielder and his intended cutoff man to intercept the throw. This misstep extended the relay from three men to four, giving Newhan enough time to round the bases for an unheard-of inside the park home run.

By the time he left Boston in 2008, Manny Ramirez was a petulant sourpuss who had turned Red Sox nation (and most of his teammates) against him. Now, nearly a decade after his departure, it’s a little easier to look back on his time as a Sox player with fondness. After all, it was just Manny being Manny.

Boston wishes you well, Manny Ramirez. Enjoy that sushi.

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Crazy Boston Sports Fan in Your Life

Are you ready for some all-star gift-giving? Skip the Brady jersey or Sox hat and think outside the batter’s box this year. Impress every Boston sports fan with one of these hilariously legendary gifts.

 

Bruins

Stanley Mug

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$16.75

Just explain to your Bruins fan that even if the B’s don’t snag the Stanley Cup this year, at least they have this Stanley Mug.

 

Bruins Bird House

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$38.63

The birds and the B’s. The perfect gift for those bird and Bruins-lovers.

 

Bobby Orr Flying Goal Poster

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$31.95

If there’s a Bruins fan out there somewhere that doesn’t have one, you must rectify the situation.

 

$12 beer from The Garden

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Though outrageously expensive, this gift is priceless.

 

 

Red Sox

Bosox University Diploma

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$10.99

For the Sox fan who knows everything, give them the gift they’ve earned.

 

Custom Love Bird Cake Topper

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$129

Get two love birds with one gift. Here’s both a wedding and holiday present for your engaged Sox fans. Nothing will top their new wedding cake topper.

 

Hate Yankees Sign

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Here’s a sign you care. The ultimate Sox fans are also the ultimate Yankee haters.

 

Big Papi Puzzle

David Ortiz

$26.95

Personalize a puzzle with your Sox fan’s favorite Big Papi picture. If they’ve been struggling to put the pieces back together since his retirement, here’s a puzzle to help, literally.

 

 

Celtics

Celtics Storm Trooper

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$5.99

The answer to the age-old question: What do you get the Celtics fan who owns three lightsabers?

 

Celtics Fan

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$6

Every Celtics fan needs a Celtics fan.

 

Larry Bird Apron

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$18.00

The master on the court meets culinary master.

 

Dammit Doll

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$6.50

No love story is perfect, here’s a gift to get your Celtics fan through the rough times. They can punch it, pull it, curse at it—it’s the perfect target for any game day rage.

 

 

Patriots

Tom Brady Prayer Candle

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$13.99

Help your Pat’s fan worship on a whole new level.

 

DIY Belichick-book

Step 1: Buy Checkbook

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Step 2: Print favorite Belichick picture with the same dimensions as checkbook

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Step 3: Glue photo to checkbook

Step 4: Bam, Bellichick-book. You’re welcome.

 

DIY Elfelman Bobblehead

Give the gift of Patriots Christmas spirit.

Step 1: Buy Edelman bobblehead

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$24.95

Step 2: Buy tiny elf hat

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$2.99

Step 3: Glue elf hat on top of the Edelman bobblehead’s head

Step 4: We give you, Elfelman, bringing good cheer to Pat’s fans everywhere.

 

DIY Deflated Ball

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For those on your naughty list, give the Pat’s fan-equivalent to coal.

Step 1: Deflate a football

Step 2: That’s it

 

 

All Sports Fans

Fours Gift Card

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But if you really want to win the holidays, get in the game with a Fours gift card. When you purchase $100 in gift cards you’ll receive a complimentary $20 gift card—so the more you give, the more you get!

Click to Purchase

Happy Holidays from The Fours!

Mourning the Loss of Big Papi

Saying goodbye to Big Papi is like saying goodbye to a vital piece of what makes Boston, Boston—you might as well punch a big gaping hole into our beloved green monster. Big Papi is a staple, a tradition, and a way of life—Boston wouldn’t be the same without him.

Ortiz’s resume speaks for itself: a ten-time All-Star, a three-time World Series champion, holder of the Red Sox single-season record for home runs, 541 career home runs, and he’s the all-time leader in MLB history for home runs, RBIs, and hits by a DH. You know…no big deal.

Say goodbye to Big Papi? We might as well say goodbye to Dunkin Donuts. No one runs on Dunkin’s like Boston does, relying on them to be at every corner, just like we rely on Big Papi to hit a home run when we need it. How the heck would we give directions without a Dunkies to reference at every turn? We wouldn’t, we’d be lost.

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Big Papi led us out of the darkness, ended the 86-year curse, and made the Red Sox what they are today. But he’s more than just talent, the Sox without Big Papi is like Boston without the accent—one of the most celebrated parts of our identity. While no one actually pahks their cah in Havahd Yahd, “R” definitely has a lesser place in the Bostonian alphabet. In fact, if we could rearrange the alphabet we’d put “A” and “H” together, and put them in the place of “R”. Can you imagine walking the streets of Boston and hearing everyone pronouncing their “R’s?” It would just be…wrong. You’d be confused, and you’d be angry, which is exactly what the Ortiz-less next season is going to feel like with a 34-shaped part of our identity missing.

What are we supposed to do without his famous spirit? That lovable, melt-your-soul laugh, that exuberant, fun-loving personality. Trying to imagine the Sox without Ortiz is like trying to imagine driving in Boston without massholes—it just wouldn’t be the same. Try and picture not getting the middle finger, or getting cut off like it’s an art form, or hearing shouts of “what the fahk!” (even when it’s their fault). That rage is just who we are, and in those rare moments Ortiz isn’t smiling, he fits right in:

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A Sox game without his passion is like an empty green line T after a home game—depressing. Unfortunately for commuters, this never ever happens, just like it never happens that a player has their number retired a year after they’ve retired, or a bridge AND a street renamed after them. But that’s just how special Big Papi is to us; a thank you just doesn’t cut it.

Boston, MA - 10/2/2016 - Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz reacts to a presentation from Massachusetts Governor Charlier Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Wash during the pre-game ceremony for his last regular season game in Boston, MA, October 2, 2016. Ortiz will retire at the end of the season. (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)

Oh Big Papi, you may be outta the pahk like so many of the balls pitched your way, but you’ll never be outta our hahts. Thank you for everything—we’ll let you know when we stop sobbing.

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Beantown Bromances

A solid Beantown bromance might just be the only thing Boston fans love as much as winning (and New York losing). Seeing two of your sports idols as real life BFFs is about as satisfying as this picture of Roger Goodell sporting a Pinocchio nose.

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But what makes these companionships better than your average bromance? Because the love, support and dedication in their off-field friendship translates right into game time. It’s just another reason why Boston teams do what they do best—win.

Check out our top 3 favorite Beantown bromances–that we’re only slightly bitter we’re not a part of.

 

1. Marchand and Bergeron
Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are a match made by the hockey gods themselves. They are two power forwards who know the game like the back of their stick, and although they play the same position and perform just fine on their own, many have come to notice the pair’s skills become noticeably better when they’re on the ice at the same time. The dynamic duo has spent a total of 2,768 minutes dominating the ice together, and according to Thescore.com, they’ve “outscored opponents by a better than two-to-one margin and have controlled 60.3 percent of all shot attempts.” In other words, they’re each other’s better halves, and that’s what makes their bromance so special.

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However, the two certainly know how to show affection for each other even when they’re not slapshotting it full force into the net. Their chemistry is on a whole new level off the ice, going as far as spending holidays together. Since Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to tell the ones you love just how much they mean to you (bro’s especially), Marchand took full advantage by hand-delivering a card to his “special someone” this past V-day. Nothing seals the bromance deal quite like a perfectly crafted Valentine’s Day card. Just look at the smile on Bergeron’s face! If that doesn’t say love, then we don’t know what does.

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2. Koji Uehara and David Ortiz

The most affectionate of the Boston bromances goes to none other than Sox studs Koji Uehara and David Ortiz. This relationship is unique in the sense that they make up for what the other lacks (the perfect combination for a healthy bromance). Uehara is an unhittable pitcher, whereas Ortiz is known for consistently knocking it out of the park. The two define the term, “opposites attract.”

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These guys have without a doubt taken their bromance public. They have mastered PDA better than any bromance we’ve seen before, notoriously known for their one-of-a-kind bro hugs (otherwise known as Papi picking Uehara up and throwing him over his shoulder like a rag doll.) And as evidence shows, they’ve absolutely perfected the post-win locker room celebration in every way, shape and form. #BromanceGoals.

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3. Tom Brady and Julian Edelman

Probably the most notable Boston sports’ bromance of all time is that of Tom Brady and Julian Edelman. What makes this friendship so popular? Maybe the fact that Julian Edelman is living out the modern day bro fantasy. In other words, every Boston man wishes he were Edelman, because every Boston man dreams of being best friends with Tom Brady. But it was Edelman’s devotion that sparked a love story for the ages. During the first year of their friendship, Edelman served as almost a personal assistant to Tom: “I did anything for him, if he needed anything I’d go get it for him,” Edelman said.  But don’t worry, it’s not just a one-way street when it comes to “Bradelman.” Brady shows his gratitude by professing his love for his favorite wide receiver, “I love that guy. He’s just a special person, player, friend. We’ve had a lot of time together over the years, so we’ve got a real special bond.”

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Between messing with each other on social media, posing for killer pics with their champion rings, and hugging it out after a win, the gridiron gurus’ bromance is definitely one for the history books.

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Whether it be winning or “bromancing,” one thing holds true: Boston players always set the bar for how things are supposed to be done.

A Tribute: Big Papi’s Legacy in Boston

One of Boston’s most beloved players is in the midst of his farewell season and Red Sox fans everywhere are fighting to hold back tears. As the dreadful day approaches, let us not sulk in sorrow, but celebrate the legacy that this gentle giant will leave behind. It’s important to take in as much of him as we can before he puts the bat down for good, because who knows if we’ll ever have a designated hitter like him again (crossing all 10 fingers we do).

They say you don’t know a good thing till it’s gone, but that’s far from true when it comes to David Ortiz. More famously known as “Big Papi,” the home-run king from the Dominican Republic has already secured his place in Boston Sports’ history as well as the hearts of its fans.

Big Papi hitting

Though it’s hard to imagine him anywhere else, Ortiz started his career with the Minnesota Twins in 1997. In 2003, he made the best decision of his life (and ours), and signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox. This decision was so vital to Boston Sports’ history that we encourage you to stop reading and take a moment of silence in his honor.

It wasn’t long after he signed his contract that the powerhouse became the leading force behind the Red Sox’s offense. He not only has one of the most memorable Boston Red Sox careers of all time, but he makes it look easy. Just ask him, and he’ll tell you: “I swing hard all the time. That’s what I’ve done my whole life- hit.” We would say it’s been working for him. He’s a three-time World Series champion, a nine-time All-Star and the Red Sox’s single-season record holder for home runs. But most importantly, he’s the heart and soul of the Boston Red Sox and has been for years.

Aside from his impressive career, Ortiz has established himself as a true fan favorite off the field as well. Why does Big Papi have such a special bond with Red Sox fans? He’s a big guy with a bigger personality (this guy is just huge overall). Saturday Night Live has even taken to impersonating him on their Weekend Update, showing just how notorious he is for his character. He is loved for his charismatic, friendly, outgoing nature just as much as his countless homers. With such a contagious positive attitude, it makes rooting for him even easier. As if it was hard in the first place.

Big Papi SNL

And since we don’t love him enough already, we’ll point out he’s an avid philanthropist and supporter of children’s health care. After visiting CEDIMAT Hospital in the Dominican Republic and seeing the life threatening conditions that many children face, he promised to do all he could to help out. In 2007, he established the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which gives children in the Dominican Republic and New England access to necessary health treatments. Much like on the field, his efforts did not go unrecognized as he was then awarded with UNICEF’s “Children’s Champion Award” in 2008. Also, let’s not forget about the time he literally held a fan’s baby during the National Anthem. This guy has a heart of gold.

Big Papi with baby

In good times and bad, Big Papi has served as a true symbol of strength for our city, especially during a time of tragedy. In his inspiring speech following the Boston bombings, Ortiz exclaimed, “This is our f****** city”, and with that one sentence, not only showed us he knows how to swear like a true Bostonian, but he united the city and reminded us that Boston Sports is much more than what happens on the field, ice or court.

Let’s just say it will be an emotional night at Fenway when he points to the sky one last time after hitting his final “outta the pahk” home-run. We’ll be crying.

ST PETERSBURG, FL- OCTOBER 8: Jake Peavy #44 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of Game Four of the American League Division Series on October 8, 2013 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jake Peavy

Legend has it…

We’re all familiar with the Curse of the Bambino, but what about the Curse of the Colonel? The urban legends surrounding Boston’s sports are as infamous as the city itself. For decades, Bean Town’s sportslore has been passed down through generations of sports fans. In many cases, these tall tales have stuck around longer than the legends they’re based on. The fables are intertwined with Boston’s culture; soaked into the soil of Fenway’s field and twisted among the rafters of The Garden. 


Bill Russell was traded for the Ice Capades. 

7Bill Russell is considered to be one of the greatest players of the NBA, leading the Celtics to 11 championships in his 13-season career. So, why did the Rochester Royals (now known as the Sacramento Kings) trade him up for the Ice Capades? After all, Les Harrison, the owner in Rochester, had the first pick in the 1956 draft and made a pass on the most promising rookie. In John Feinstein’s 2004 collection of stories, Let Me Tell You a Story: A Lifetime in the Game, based off of Red Auerbach, the then-coach of the Celtics, Auerbach explains the 1956 draft rundown:

‘So how’d you get them to not take Russell?’

Red smiled. I had set him up perfectly.

‘The Ice Capades,’ he said.

‘The Ice Capades?’

‘Sure. Walter Brown [the owner of the Celtics] was president of the Ice-Capades. I had him call Les Harrison, the owner in Rochester, and tell them he’d send the Ice Capades up there for a week if they didn’t draft Russell.’

‘So you got Bill Russell for the Ice-Capades?’

‘You got it.’

Auerbach held onto this story for his entire life, keeping it with him until he passed away ten years ago. If this story is true, then that means Harrison bartered 11 championships for one week of twirling and whirling figure-skaters.

In an in-depth look into the trade-tale by Bill Cronin, he writes,

… it should be noted that Walter Brown never spoke about the incident before he passed away in 1964. Lester Harrison, for his part, vehemently denied the story before he passed away in 1997. And Auerbach told the story a number of times before he passed away in 2006.

It seems like from here on out, this is a dead-tale of “he-said/Les-said” with none of the direct parties alive to ask about it. Although, in Bill Russell’s Red and Me: My Couch, My Lifelong Friend, Bill sticks to the same story. Nevertheless, true or false, it’s a funny thought to imagine Russell in the shadow of Dorothy Hamill. 


Wade Boggs downed 64 beers on a cross-country flight while drafted by the Red Sox.


9First and foremost, it should be immediately stated that this sportslore is atrociously untrue. Wade Boggs did not drink 64 beers on a cross-country flight from Boston to LA. That would be ridiculous. He drank 107. Boggs recently denied the “64 beer myth” in an interview with ESPN, but former relief pitcher Jeff Nelson said that Boggs “absolutely would drink ’50 or 60’ beers” in a day. Furthermore, Charlie Day of Fox series, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, based an episode off of the legend. While on The Tonight Show, Day claims that when Boggs met the cast of It’s Always Sunny, he confessed the true number of beers he drank on that flight: 107. 


Curse of the Colonel 

1Although not directly involving Boston, Japan’s baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers, have a history that is all too familiar to a favorite Fenway fable: The Curse of the Bambino. In 1985, the Hanshin Tigers, considered the “Boston Red Sox of the Nippon league”, made their first and only victory in the Japan Series. Needless to say, Hanshin fans went absolutely 2004-ALC-crazy. In celebratory fashion, fans who happened to strike a slight resemblance to any of the Hanshin Tigers would leap from the Ebisu Bridge in Osaka and into the canal below. Unfortunately, without a person to emulate American-player Randy Bass, a rabid crowd seized a plastic statue of Colonel Sanders from a nearby KFC and tossed it off the bridge in effigy. This began the Curse of the Colonel, which states that the Tigers will not win the championship again until the statue is wholly recovered. In 2009, withered and fractured pieces of the Colonel were found by divers in the Dotonbori River. Until this day, Sanders’ left hand and glasses sit at the murky bottom of the river and the Hanshin Tigers have yet to make their comeback. 32 years without a championship title? That’s nothing. Try 86.  


Left-Handed Larry Bird Game.

10To beat the boredom and blues of being an NBA prodigy, it is rumored that Larry Bird played an entire game left-handed. This rumor is only partly true however, as Larry Bird played half the game against the Portland Trailblazers with his dominant hand. Still, it’s more than impressive that Bird shot left-handed for 22 points out of his overall 47 points for that game.


Coach of Harvard Football strangled a bulldog to boost team morale. 

 5Out of the 28 games that took place in the 1908 College Football season, Yale had won 21 of them. Harvard Crimson’s Percy Haughton, being one of the first professional head coaches, had a strong desire to defeat the Yale Bulldogs. The legend has it that, before the game, Haughton strangled a live bulldog in front of his players to motivate them to victory. Alas, this story has been determined untrue (although the killing has come into question). However, it is suggested amongst Harvardians that the true story goes a bit like this: Haughton had emblematically strangled a papier-mâché bulldog; he then strapped the faux-pup to the back of his car and proceeded to drive around Harvard Square with it dragging behind him. If legend is true, this was a break-through motivational tactic because Harvard Crimson did, in fact, win the game 4-0. Percy wasn’t playin’. 


TD Garden Monkey

12For years, Celtics players and fans had sworn they had seen a leprechaun swing from the eaves during games at The Garden. In the late 90s, this was proven to be false. It wasn’t a leprechaun that they had been hallucinating, it was a monkey. During the 1998 demolition of The Garden, a mummified monkey corpse had fallen down from center court. 

When the Boston Globe got wind of this monkey business in ’98, there had been no physical evidence that the monkey ever existed at all, only the stories of demolition workers. Not until recently, in 2015, did photos surface giving proof to the monkey’s existence. 

Now, with the monkey-sightings actually confirmed, it’s on to the next question: how did it get there? It had been theorized that the little primate had broken loose during a traveling circus that rented out The Garden in the 1930s. An excerpt from a 1930s Globe article reads,

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Swinging high in the rafters of the vast auditorium, scampering over beams that a cat would have shied at, the monkeys, escaped from their cage, romped, leaped, hung, and frolicked with such agility that seven of the best trappers of the Animal Rescue League could only catch three.

Unfortunately, this can’t be the case. The monkey that was discovered during demolition was not old enough to have come from the ‘30s. Perhaps a fan snuck their monkey-companion into a game?  All we can say now is at least we’re certain that the monkey was real, but the mystery lies within the origin.

Fenway to Install Swear Jars for Opening Day

 

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Fenway officials have been reporting a steady rise in game-related quarrels at Fenway Park throughout the past few years. Understandably, this hostility has become a cause for concern among parents who intend for a wholesome day at the Park. The frequency at which the f-bombs fly endangers the wellbeing of the littlest Sox fans, as tensions easily escalate from an exchange of curse words to a beer-spilling, sticky-fisted brawl.

giphyGiven this growing concern over game-day safety, Fenway Park has initiated a strategy to make Red Sox games a more family-friendly experience. Just in time for Opening Day, Fenway will be installing Swear Jars designed with Smart Technology throughout the park. Designed by current MIT undergrads, the digitally-encrypted Swear Jar will emit a high-pitched squeal until the offender places a dollar bill inside.

Key figures of the community have begun to show their solidarity for the Park’s newest amendmentDunkin’ Donuts will be offering a tasty incentive for those who comply with the provision. After swear-free games, DD’s has pledged to give away free coffee to local Bostonians. Even Mayor Marty Walsh weighed in on the initiative, expressing his disgust for the current state of the park, and demanded the debauchery come to a screeching halt. “Boston is a world class city,” the Mayor said at a recent press conference, “it’s about time we started fakin’ acting like it.” Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 1.13.37 PM

Since the Red Sox riot in 2004, Fenway’s Board of Directors have been busy brainstorming ways to buckle down on game-day raucous. In early 2007, members of the committee attempted to enact a “dry-park” policy, but later realized that fans would sneak in a fresh brewski one way or another. Not until recent years did they agree that curtailing offensive language would be the most viable solution in reducing the risk of altercations amongst fans.

When we reached out to hear the fans’ opinions on the no-swearing policy, we ran into Sean Sullivan of Medford. Sullivan was seen protesting the new ordinance on Lansdowne Street, holding a sign reading “NERDS SUCK.” When we interviewed him, he had a lot to get off his chest. “Lemme tell yah somethin’ ‘bout these dorky li’l MIT kids,” Sullivan took a drag of his cigarette, “me n’ my cousin Donny’ve been comin’ to this fakin’ park since I was a freakin’ twinkle in my dad’s friggin’ eye and no Cambridge nerd’s gonna make a fakin’ stupid li’l beepin’ box tellin’ me I can’t enjoy myself.” Crushing his cigarette under his New Balances, Sullivan raised his head to look up at the back of the scoreboard, ”it’s just wicked fakin’ stupid.”

Although we can’t agree with Sean’s sentiments exactly, we believe that censoring the fans may censor the experience. Could Fenway be overstepping their boundaries this time? What are your thoughts?

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This is a fictional blogpost. Have a great fakin’ day.

Get Prouder of Your Chowder

February 25th is a day to commemorate. It’s National Clam Chowder Day, a joyous holiday where New Englanders celebrate and remember the trials and tribulations clam chowder has overcome throughout the ages. With endless battles waged over the evolution of its ingredients, like pork, tomatoes, and even the clams themselves, clam chowder hasn’t always been the culinary masterpiece we enjoy at The Fours today.

 

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Will the real clam chowder please stand up?

Though chowder (a.k.a. “chowdah”) dates back to the sixteenth century, the addition of potatoes, clams, and maybe even tomatoes if you’re willing to pick a fight or two, has made it a modern staple of northeastern life. But how did it all begin?

If you’re asking yourself, which came first, the chicken or the egg–you’re probably thinking of egg drop soup. And besides, it was pork. The oldest chowder recipe in print, in fact, called for pork, a version we don’t see much anymore–but we’ll try anything once. By 1796 the cookbook “American Cookery” by Amelia Simmons listed bass and potatoes in its recipe, but by 1836 Lydia Maria Child finally tossed in clams and beer, officially making it our favorite.

Because clams were so easy to get on the shore, they caught on quick, and to this day remain the main ingredient in most variations of that thick, creamy goodness we can’t get enough of. But what are these “other” variations? (See also: imposters).

For starters, there’s Manhattan Clam Chowder, which has tomatoes, an ingredient we New Englanders would prefer stay in our tomato soup. Long Island chowder, however, combines both the cream and tomato-based broths into a concoction only Long Islanders could call clam chowder. At The Fours, like the true New Englanders we are, we always stick to a bowl of the classic creamy, tomato-less stuff.

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Manhattan Clam Chowder, (cough) you’re doing it wrong, (cough).

In fact, New Englanders take their classic recipe so seriously it was almost legislated. In 1939, Maine representative Cleveland Sleeper tried to legally ban tomatoes from all clam chowders in Maine, going so far as to draft bills around this grave chowder injustice. His proposed punishment for breaking the ban? Digging clams at high tide–a near impossible feat for even the most experienced of clammers.

And so the Maine Hotel Association did what any sane and chowder-pious New Englander would do in the situation: hosted a chowder contest. To no one’s surprise, Sleeper’s classic New England recipe beat its reddened rival from Manhattan, and all of Maine could rest easy.

With this rich history in mind, we celebrate the momentous day with a spoon in hand and pockets full of extra crackers, never prouder of our chowdah. May we never forget the ingredients our ancestors fought ladle and pot over and may we always consider New England Clam Chowder a regional treasure. Happy National Clam Chowder Day!

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How to Explain Your Love for Tom Brady to Someone Who Just Doesn’t Understand.

 

You know, mama always said green wasn’t a flattering color.

If we are being completely honest with ourselves, we all know the internet doesn’t need another blog post fawning over the cannon-armed deity. We get it, you get it. We all get it. He’s a two-time NFL MVP, a ten-time Pro Bowler, a (count ‘em) four-time Super Bowl champion (three of which he claims Super Bowl MVP). The jawline that has captured the hearts of countless Americans has also thrown over 30 miles worth throughout his career. Dare we mention that our sweet Tommy boy has more Super Bowl wins than the entire Manning family? Oh, we do. we do dare.
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Now, if you’re not already convinced, let’s throw some appreciation toward the man behind the mouth guard. 

First and foremost, he’s the classic underdog. After graduating from University of Michigan in 2000, with an appropriately fluffed résumé for the average post-grad, Brady was drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round at #199, a compensatory pick. If you remember, Brady was chosen after Giovanni Carmazzi. What ever happened to that guy, anyway? Oh right. He’s now a yogi, herding goats in the California countryside. A decision so regretful there’s even a documentary about it.

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When asked if he was discouraged by the low-ranking pick Brady replied, “I don’t think disappointment is the word. Whether it’s the second or sixth round, I think everyone starts on the same level.” What a classy son of a gun.

Outside of his legendary athletic career, Brady can be found at Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization that assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This past fall, when advocating for trainer Alex Guerrero’s controversial methods, Brady became impassioned about the state of children’s nutrition. In an interview with WEEI 93.7 Brady said,  “You’ll probably go out and drink Coca-Cola and think, ‘€˜Oh yeah, that’s no problem.’ Why? Because they pay lots of money for advertisements to think that you should drink Coca-Cola for a living? No, I totally disagree with that. And when people do that, I think that’s quackery. And the fact that they can sell that to kids? I mean, that’s poison for kids. But they keep doing it.”

His philanthropy doesn’t stop there! To raise money for AIDs research, Brady donated a ‘slap on the butt’. After throwin’ around the ol’ pigskin with Mr. California Cool, Brady would “slap [the winner] on the butt and tell them they did a good job, whether they did or not.” He adds, “and, yes, your wife can watch.”

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Don’t leave him hangin’.

This Brady rant wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the epic friendship trio of our generation. Brady, Gronk, and Edelman. A bromance for the ages. They’re like if some of the kids from The Sandlot grew up to be multi-millionaires with supermodel wives. The rag-tag triangle of football royalty have a history of teasing one another through their social media pages, leaving readers with a tear in their eye.

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However, this teasing does not go without some well-earned affection from Big T. In an interview with ESPN, an anonymous teammate said, “He always kind of calls guys ‘Babe’. I was confused [at first]. I was like, ‘Did he just call me babe?’ But he kind of talks to guys like that, like, ‘Hey, babe.’ It’s the California boy in him, I guess.” Even Edelman admitted that he can’t resist loving Tom Brady.

 

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Finally, how can we go on without mentioning Brady’s modesty? Where many doe-eyed football youngsters yearn for the big bucks; after a grueling day of kicking up turf, Brady just wanted to go home to a clean pair of socks. His good friend Aaron Shea recollected, “I’m like, ‘That’s all you want?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, that’s what I want. I love new socks.'”

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Yet, we must admit, all this admiration doesn’t compare to the superfans who stole $2,200 worth of Brady jerseys from a Natick store. Or that one guy who got Tom Brady’s name inscribed into his lip. …Or the couple that postponed their honeymoon until Brady was allowed to take the field. But most importantly, how could we forget that guy who has Tom Brady’s helmet tattooed onto his head? It’s a good look.  

There really is no better place for a helmet tattoo.

There really is no better place for a helmet tattoo.

 

Although our golden guy won’t be in Santa Clara this Super Bowl 50, Brady walked away from this Sunday’s game stating, “I’m proud of all the guys for what they tried to accomplish. We just came up one play short to a very good football team.” Tom truly puts the “gentle” in gentleman. Love you, man.

It's all about the eye-contact.

It’s all about the eye-contact.

Sip on This: The History of Guinness

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What does a glass of Guinness mean to you? Most of us see the beer as a symbol of Ireland and – naturally – a St. Patty’s Day staple. What we may forget is that this dark, characteristic brew comes with a rich, lengthy history. Let’s take a look at where it all began.

 

A Brief History

It all started with Arthur Guinness– a man who would later become a legend. At the age of 27, he set up shop in Dublin and took a shot at the brewing industry. In 1759, he signed a 9000-year lease on a run-down brewery at a wicked good rate of £45 a year.

At the time, a dark beer called porter was all the rage in England and Ireland. This prompted Guinness’s decision to say goodbye to ales and focus on producing a dark brew.

By the early 1900’s the brewery became a beer-making machine. Many nicknamed it a “city within in a city”, with good reason too. The company had a medical department, a fire brigade, restaurants and everything in between.

Guinness Brewery at St. James’s Gate.

Guinness Brewery at St. James’s Gate.

Finally in 1959, Guinness Draught – the beer we all know – was born. The company continues to grow, prosper, and innovate with no signs of slowing down.

 

Why We Love It 

1. It’s Good For You

At least we’d like to think so. A 20-ounce pint of the dark brew is only 210 calories. That’s not bad when you realize a glass of milk has 150. Plus, it’s rich in iron and antioxidants.

2. Attention to Detail

Pouring a Guinness isn’t like pouring any other beer – it’s a process that requires skill. Bartenders need to know what they’re doing. The beer is poured through a five-hole disk restrictor plate for extra nitrogen, and needs to be shifted twice. The perfect pint takes 119.5 seconds to pour, and it’s like a mini-ritual each time.

3. It Created a Great Book

The Guinness Book of World Records was created as a promotional tool in 1954. It was meant to be a marketing giveaway that bartenders could use to settle bar disputes. It became a huge success and is one of the oldest publishing sensations. 

4. You Can Do More Than Just Drink It

Guinness works great in kitchen. There are tons of recipes that include the beer: stews, cakes, breads – you name it.

5. It’s a Celebration

Having a Guinness isn’t an excuse to celebrate. Instead, it’s a reminder that sometimes we don’t need one.

Now that’s something to drink to.