Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bike Ride: Neponset River and Carson Beach

Another warm and dry day and this time I was prepared for a swim at Carson Beach, after checking out the Neponset River bike path along the southern edge of Boston, and the Harborwalk Path starting at Tenean Beach.

Distance: 16.5 miles. Interactive map:

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bike Ride: Boston Logistics and Industry

Started at South Boston's Carson Beach with airliners gliding into Logan over Dorchester Bay. Then around Pleasure Bay and past the Conley container terminal to the South Boston piers — a couple of Navy ships in port today, one in drydock undergoing repairs. Followed the still-discontiguous but improving "Harborwalk" to the North End and walked the bike over the Charles River Dam and Locks.

Followed the bike path along the Charles River, crossing here and there as needed, all the way out to Waltham and the site of the first power loom in America, the prototype for the giant Merrimack River textile mills of Lowell and Lawrence.

With time running out and quadriceps barking, hauled my way back home over the hills of Newton and Brookline.

Distance: 43 miles. Interactive map below:

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Bike Ride: Stony Brook Reservation

Milwaukee Who? In the years before Prohibition, Boston had more breweries per capita than any other American city. My neighborhood of Jamaica Plain hosted as many as 17 breweries at one time, all clustered along Stony Brook, known for its exceptionally clear water.

Prohibition killed off brewing in Boston. But in the 1980s, Jim Koch founded Boston Brewing Co., locating it in the old Haffenreffer Brewery on Germania Street in Jamaica Plain. Using an old family recipe, he created Sam Adams beer, launching an entirely new market segment in U.S. brewing: the craft beer. Nowadays, Sam Adams is brewed in industrial quantities in giant breweries in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, but there's still a small working brewery at the Haffenreffer site, where brewmasters test new formulations. Plus there are the inevitable brewery tours and tastings.

Stony Brook rises in the Stony Brook Reservation, which straddles Enneking Parkway on the Hyde Park - West Roxbury border. It then flows northward and empties into the Muddy River in the Back Bay Fens, and from there the short distance to the Charles River. Unfortunately, today Stony Brook is completely "culverted," routed through concrete pipes buried six feet under.

Distance: 10 miles. Fully interactive, zoomable map below:

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bike Ride: Blue Hills Reservation via Hyde Park Ave.

Living at the end of a subway line, I thought I resided on the fringes of Boston. But Boston extends miles and miles to the south along Hyde Park Ave, terminating in something called "Readville," which has been rumored not to even exist. To the south of Readville lies the Fowl Meadow wetland, part of the Neponset River Reservation. (Here in Massachusetts, "meadow" means "swamp" and "Reservation" means "Park.")The meadow was saved from certain destruction in 1967 when grassroots activists blocked plans to extend I-95 through the meadow and straight into the heart of downtown Boston.

Distance: 19 miles. Fully interactive, zoomable map below:

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Bike Ride: Houghton's Pond via Blue Hills Ave.

No time to go swimming at the pond — too bad because it was a very hot day. Returned via Truman Highway. 19 miles.

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Iowan Dance No. 5

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gagne with a Spoon

Eric Gagne blew it again. AP reports:
"Obtained from Texas on July 31 to fortify the back end of the bullpen, Gagne endured another damaging performance. Seeking to hold a 3-1 lead in the eighth, the right-hander entered with a runner on and promptly yielded a tying home run to Tejada on a 3-2 pitch.

"Gagne retired the next two batters, but he has allowed seven runs in four innings over five games. On Friday, Gagne got one out while blowing a four-run lead in a 6-5 defeat."
The Sons of Sam Horn heaped a lot of scorn on manager Terry Francona for insisting on replacing ace set-up man Hideki Okajima with the shaky Gagne in the 8th with the tying run coming to the plate. It was the sort of by-the-book "matchups" move that, when it blows up, is especially frustrating to the armchair managers at home.

The Sons were also frustrated with Francona's practice of refusing to use ace closer Jonathan Papelbon late in road games until after the Sox have the lead. They don't like the fifth or sixth best pitcher in the bullpen (in this case Kyle Snyder) on the mound with the game on the line while a better pitcher like Papelbon sits in the pen waiting for the Sox to take the lead. Especially after Snyder allowed the first two batters to reach with no outs, creating a situation where the Sox needed strikeouts. This wasn't second-guessing, either -- in the online game thread, the Sons were questioning Francona's moves as he made them, not afterwards.

I suspect that Francona, and managers in general, take an outsize share of the blame for controversial decisions that don't work out. When they do work out, the players generally get the credit. When they don't, it's the manager who is blamed.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

All Hail Hideki Okajima

Hideki Okajima (3-0) pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings for the victory. The rookie left-hander, who struck out Orlando Cabrera in the sixth with the potential go-ahead run at third, has stranded 18 of his 19 inherited runners.
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