October 12, 2004

Apocalypse: Now. Tonight is game one in a best-of-seven set between the fiercest rivals in baseball, if not all of American sports: The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

For those of you just tuning in, in 1918 Boston won the World Series for the fifth time, thanks largely to the pitching of a young Babe Ruth. Two years later Boston sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Since that time the Yankees have won 26 World Series in 39 appearances. The Red Sox have won none, losing in the seventh game of the series in each of their four appearances, including in 1986 thanks partly to the most famous/infamous play in baseball history (a bookend in many ways to what I would call the SECOND most famous/infamous play in baseball; Carlton Fisk's game winning home-run in game 6 of the 1975 World Series (perhaps you remember this one from Good Will Hunting). A bookend because although both plays are memorable neither one, really, affected the outcome of the series. When Billy muffed the play in 1986 the game was TIED. He makes it and maybe the Red Sox come back to win, maybe not. At any rate it was GAME SIX. They flat out lost game 7 the next day. In 1975, sure, it was as dramatic a homerun as can be, what with Carlton waving it into fair territory but, again, that was game SIX, the Red Sox went on to lose game seven.)
In more modern history, let's say the past two years, the Yankees and the Red Sox have met 45 times, including the post-season, and the score is 22 - 23. There have been walk-off home-runs for both sides, fights between players and players, players and coaches, and the owners themselves. One thing is sure: this series will be another one to remember. Will the Red Sox finally get the upper hand? Will the Yankees continue their reign? Time will tell.
A quick baseball primer, for the monkeys who have not been exposed, or who have heretofore not paid attention.
Some free online baseball games for you to kill time with until first pitch.
Some interesting George W. Bush related basbeall stuff
There is much more to say about this series in specific, and baseball in general but this is already WAY too long. But, in the interest of full disclosure: I am a lifelong Red Sox fan, and I live in the heart of Yankee Territory (New York City). The collapse in 1986, when I was 13, was the first time I had my heart broken, Aaron Boone's home run to knock the Red Sox out of contention a year ago was the most recent time I had my heart broken. Let's go Sox, this is the year.

  • I'm really looking forward to this series...it should be a great one. I'm not a Boston fan, but I'm a true-blue Yankee Hater...so GO SOX!!!
  • it's going to be one heart of darkness...
  • Just for you, rocket88.
  • Great post. I'm a National League fan, but am very interested in the Red Sox/Yankees history here and will definitely be watching the series. Interesting what we remember, isn't it? For instance: specifically, I'm a Cubs fan, and everyone remembers the horrible thing that fan Steve Bartman did last year. Nobody really remembers that his action did not cause the Cubs to lose (the game or the series), and nobody seems to acknowledge that he wasn't the only person in the stands reaching for that ball. Further, nobody remembers that the same thing happened in a game earlier in the series, albeit behind home plate, and at a less interesting point during the game. Ahhh, to be a fan of a perennially losing team. The Cubs don't have a story as interesting as the Curse of the Bambino, though; we mainly have the goat. Looking forward to the Sox/Yankees games, but I'm not rooting for any team in particular. :)
  • Right now I don't think there is another rivalry in American sports that even comes close. While I am not big on the Yankees, I find it hard to root for the Red Sox. Sometimes I get the feeling that Sox fans think they deserve to win - that they are entitled to it because the Yankees are big bullies - but what about everybody else? I'm all for rooting with the hapless underdog, but the Red Sox are not the underdog, they are powerhouse #2. How many teams had the luxury of acquiring Curt Schilling in the offseason? I guess it's valid to be a Yankee Hater because they win so much, but I'd like to hate the Red Sox too. And you know - if the Red Sox do win it all, these games wouldn't be as much fun anymore!
  • The curse is over, all it took was a little blood. With any luck the sox kept those teeth and during the first brawl of the series pedro stuffs them up the nostrils of jeter.
  • "I can't think of anything better than making 55000 people from New York shut up." - Curt Schilling Best quote ever!
  • I want a Cards/Sox series, baby. We're due for a rematch.
  • R-E-D-S-O-X We runnin' this baseball shit Duh nuh nuh Dah dah duh
  • few things: 1) I didn't mention in the main post that this series is the playoffs, the American League Championship Series, and that the winner goes on to the World Series and the loser goes home. 1b) In the American League Eastern Division the Yankees and the Red Sox have come in first and second, respectively, for the past 7 years. 2) I am both a Red Sox fan AND a hater of the Yankees. I would still hate the Yankees if I wasn't a Red Sox fan. I hate pinstripes in general, I hate Yankee Stadium, I hate hate HATE that goddamned Derek Jeter, I hate A-rod, I hate Steinbrenner and I hate Stottlemyer (I do, however, like Hideki Matsui quite a bit, and I have to admit that Joe Torre seems like a good guy). Anyway, I cannot speak for other Red Sox fans but I don't feel entitled to win, and certainly not because the Yankees are big bullies. I want the Yankees to lose because they are big bullies. I want the Red Sox to win because I am a Red Sox fan. That these two distinct desires can mutually exist and both be fulfilled in one series is part of why, for me, this is all so exciting. 3) Bartman. The world is indeed a fickle place. People are more interested, seemingly, in a good quick impressive sound or video bite than they are in subtilty. Which is fine, I guess, but baseball is truly a game of subtilties.
  • The horror. The horror.
  • Wait. Now that I think about it... Weren't the political conventions held in Boston and NYC as well? That's interestingly synchronistic.
  • I've been waiting for this since last year. I was actually hoping the yanks would win against the Twins so the Red Sox could beat them on the way to the world series. The Sox made the ALDS look really easy this year.
  • Oh and the only thing that would be better about going through the yankees to win the World Series would be to beat the Mets in the Worlds Series. That would be a great... Beating two NY teams. /still sore from '86
  • The Tigers didn't set any records this year /Detroit sports fan whine. I want the Sox to take it. I've liked them for a while, as sort of the Tigers that I can see in the post-season. Perrenial underdogs. But really, I'd like to see any one of the teams with a historic losing streak break it... The Cubs, the Sox...
  • "Wah wah wah! The Yankees are too good! Wah wah wah!" :D And how could you HATE Jeter? He's one of the last good guys left in all of sports.
  • Daniel's right. The Yankees own the postseason. They ought to. They paid good money for it. ;)
  • "He's one of the last good guys left in all of sports." Spare me. There are plllllenty of players who are "good guys", in terms of giving back to the community and being a positive role-model. Franco, Hudson, Wakefield, Young, Sanders, Hoffman, Schmidt, etc etc etc. Derek Jeter may rank among them (I don't know his charitable leanings but he has certainly never shamed himself or his team) but the fact that he is among the most popular players in baseball but is not even the best shortstop ON HIS TEAM annoys me. Combine that with his propensity to just look like a smug jerk ALL the time, and to lean in over the plate ALL the time, and to showboat ALL the time makes me, yes, in the context of baseball fandom, hate him.
  • RED TO THE IZZO SOX TO THE IZIE Fo' shizzle my nizzle used to dribble between Buckner's legs. RED TO THE IZZO SOX TO THE IZIE That's the anthem, get your damn hands up.
  • the fiercest rivals in baseball I doubt it. The Hanshin Tigers/Yomiuri Giants rivalry is at least on the same level, if not fiercer.
  • Jeter is the captain of his team in a way that no one else in baseball is. He is out there busting his ass trying to make plays (which I guess is what you'd calling showboating) that other guys who get paid much less than him wouldn't even think about trying to do, because they're afraid of getting hurt. He throws himself, literally, into the game. He leads by example. I'm certain that if it weren't for him, the Yankees would actually be a bunch of hot shot pricks who couldn't play together as a team. It's kind of sad that role models in sports are now defined by who hasn't shamed their team publically, rather than who embodies the idea of "sportsmanship" the best. TANGENT: Because that's what team sports is supposed to be about right? I mean, what kind of lesson is "when you make it big, give a fraction of what you make to charity, for the write-off" ?
  • re: Tigers/Giants. Could be, I don't know much about it. re: "It's kind of sad that role models in sports are now defined by who hasn't shamed their team publically, rather than who embodies the idea of "sportsmanship" the best" I agree, very well put. I also agree that Derek Jeter is the glue that holds the Yankees together in many ways and that he is, for lack of a better term, clutch. I think though, Daniel, we might not find much more common ground regarding Jeter. The play I imagine you are thinking of with him literally throwing himself into the game was, IMHO, showboating. I don't think that play and the ensuing dive into the stands was as great as the Fox broadcasters seem to. But I don't think he is a bad person, probably, in any way that matters.
  • dirtdirt, that is probably the most informative and comprehensive post I have ever seen, here or on mefi. I salute you.
  • re: "It's kind of sad that role models in sports are now defined by who hasn't shamed their team publically, rather than who embodies the idea of "sportsmanship" the best" I agree, very well put. I'm not sad at all. They're human beings, some good, some bad just like the rest of us, let's grow up, we're not living in some Knute Rockne winning-for-the-gipper myth world (Rockne was a heavy gambler who lived off campus and rarely bothered to even enroll in classes)
  • Fantastic post. IMO, George Bush's only redeeming quality: hates the Yankees.
  • I just got off a subway full of fiesty Yankees fans on their way to the game. This time of year is so fatiguing for non baseball fans in NYC. (Yes, we exist.)
  • Go baseball! I'm a Rangers fan, so (as usual, yeah, yeah) I have to pick someone else to root for in the playoffs. I'm going for the Sox in the ALCS, and the Astros (it's a TX thing) in the NLCS. The *only* thing G.W. and I agree on is baseball. (Well, ok... maybe not the only thing. But one of the few important things.)
  • Jesus Christ, Schilling gave up two runs in the first and now he loads the bases and gives up a three-run double?! WTF? Goddammit, is this yet another Boston collapse? I hate the Yankees and I want satisfaction! Oh, and fuck Derek Jeter. /bitter Mets fan
  • I was just going to say the same thing! (About Schilling, not about being bitter ;)) Schilling, how could you?? Buck up, boy!
  • Funny, I'm a NL fan but I don't give a damn about the NL playoffs. Cards and Astros, who cares? I just want Yankee blood on the tracks. *retreats into fond memories of beating the Astros in the '86 playoffs*
  • I like how the announcers are doing their best to jinx Mussina's perfect game. While I would enjoy seeing a no-hitter or perfect game (jinx jinx jinx), I'll admit I'd rather see the Sox win. (still... no hitters rock...)
  • Good call, Tracicle. I was thinking exactly the same thing. Very well done post. I occasionally enjoy baseball (a football fan, myself). Unfortunately, I live in the land of the Mariner's who, apparently, will never do more than come close to the World Series. Also, I would love for the Yankees to not win. I love Joe Torre, think he is wonderful. Derek Jeter is cocky as all hell, but at least can back it up. Part of his problem, he too good-lookin and he has a seriously nice ass. So......go SOX!!!!
  • Can Boston at least get a hit, for pete's sake? Mussina is doing a great Koufax impersonation and carrying a no-hitter into the fifth. I can appreciate the great pitching -- he seems to be able to put the ball exactly where he wants it -- but damn.
  • They just mentioned the troubles of Mariano Rivera. I hadn't heard (living in a cave, this week), but here they are.
  • I second that, languagehat. It would be nice to at least see them get on base this game. Though I must admit (and this just might kill me) that Mussina is on fire tonite. And did anyone else hate the Fox pregame show with the Star Wars montage thing? I mean, I know we started it with the whole Evil Empire crap but that was just awful.
  • Yes, Mussina is looking pretty, um, good. But there is time. A hit, a hit. My kingdom for a hit.
  • Yesssss!!
  • Thanks, Bellhorn. I'm going to bed now.
  • There you go, dirtdirt! Just for you.
  • Yay! Sox have 5! I'm so happy.
  • Jesus, dirtdirt, would it have hurt you to provide a little background information? You're just not trying hard enough... ;-) [this is great] Oh, and, er... go "Sox"? Is that right?
  • Oh, languagehat went to bed too early. I don't like the Yankees, and I don't like the Red Sox, but that was a great game. I'm a Pirates fan. The Pirates are like the Red Sox, except they suck every year.
  • "I can't think of anything better than making 55000 people from New York shut up," - Curt Schilling "I can." - Daniel, City of New York Whahahaaa ha ha!
  • Well, at least someone gets to be happy ;)
  • Oh, and check out 18 years ago by js
  • Well, I never expected it to be easy.
  • Um that's 18 years ago by js
  • Pretty Good Baseball Preview is my friend.
  • Cards/Astros Game 1 tonight. Get your red on!
  • languagehat went to bed too early Nah, I would have stayed up late and gotten all excited and then been pissed at the result and had a hard time getting to sleep. Had I been a Red Sox fan, needless to say, I would have done all that. Thank god I'm not a Red Sox fan.
  • So... anybody watching tonight?
  • I am (of course). What is up with normally crappy Yankee pitchers pitching the games of their lives this week? but Petey is looking good, too.
  • Please tell me some of you have been watching this. What an excellent, nerve-wracking series! (A quick recap: the Yankees won the first three games (including an absolutely BRUTAL 19 - 8 record-shattering massacre in game 3) but the Red Sox have come back to win games 4 and 5. In both game 4 and game 5 the Red Sox scored the tying run off of Mariano Rivera, the best closer in baseball history, AND in both game 4 and game 5 the Red Sox eventually won on hits by David Ortiz. No baseball team has EVER come back from being down 3 games to none in a best of 7 playoff series. Could this be it? Also, Middleclasstool, you have got to be having fun too. That Cards/'Stros series is a nail-biter also. Yay basbeball!)
  • Holy crap. The ALCS went nearly SIX FREAKING HOURS last night, tied to the fourteenth, up to that unbelievable RBI hit by Ortiz. If you didn't see it, you missed one hell of a game. The crowd exploded. Fox didn't cut over to the NLCS, which started three hours later, until the top of the ninth, for cryin' out loud. So I missed seeing the best-pitched game of the series, just tuned in in time to see Lidge bend us over the pitcher's mound. I want his head on a pole. I also want to be really, really drunk for the next two games. I don't think my nerves can take any more of this.
  • I know what you mean about nerves. I think each one of these games has taken 6 months off of my life. I'm not that much of a drinker, normally, but I'll tell you: the Maker's Mark has been moving quickly at my house this week.
  • Well, now I REALLY hope that you have been watching. The Red Sox have clawed their way back from elimination, winning a terrifying game 6 in the Bronx, forcing a, yes, apocalyptic game 7. Whoever wins plays in the World Series, whoever loses plays golf until February. Game 6 was one for the ages. Marked by a gutsy 7 inning performance by Boston starting pitcher Curt Schilling, who has a torn tendon on his ankle that was *literally* being held in place by temporary sutures, and marred by an unusual play by Alex Rodriguez at first base: Score is 4-2 in the 8th, Red Sox. Runner on first (Derek Jeter), A-rod at the plate hits a slow little dribbler between the pitcher (Bronson (yes, named after Charles Bronson) Arroyo) and first base, Arroyo gets the ball and moves to tag A-rod out on the basepath, A-rod slaps the ball and mitt off of Arroyo, the ball squirts away into right field, Jeter scores, A-rod ends up at second, 4-3, runner on second, Yankee Stadium ROCKING. BUT Red Sox manager Terry Francona argues the play, the umpiring crew REVERSES the call, citing Offensive Interference*, A-rod is out, Jeter has to come all the way back to first base (ironically, if A-rod had just been tagged out instead of being called out on O.I., Jeter would at least be at second base AND there was a potential argument to be made for DEFENSIVE interference on the first baseman, Doug Mientkiewicz (a tenuous argument, but still an argument). But no.) The fans in Yankee Stadium get very mad and start throwing trash, baseballs and cellphones (?!?) onto the field. The riot police come out onto the field to attempt to maintain order, Arroyo gets the next batter out, inning over.) Here is an animation of the play in question. Please folks, if you can: do yourselves a favor. Watch game seven, tonight at 8. You won't be sorry. * From the MLB Umpire Manual, a casebook that guides their decisions: Section 6.1 (Offensive Interference): While contact may occur between a fielder and runner during a tag attempt, a runner is not allowed to use his hands or arms to commit an obviously malicious or unsportsmanlike act such as grabbing, tackling, intentionally slapping at the baseball, punching, kicking, flagrantly using his arms or forearms, etc. to commit an intentional act of interference unrelated to running the bases.
  • Yeah. Classy play on A-rod's part. I had a hell of a lot of respect for him before last night.
  • Hehe. Classy. My favorite part was when he was talking to the umpires about it and he mimiced a normal running motion. Um, Alex, you realise there are cameras here, and several million people can see that you not only play dirty (I won't say 'cheat' but some would) but you LIE about it?
  • Yes, and the announcers were all like "Well, you have to try [to interfere], because if you don't, you're out and if you get caught, you're out, so you have nothing to lose." What?!? It's (mild) *cheating,* for goodness' sake! What a game. I'm so there tonight. Too bad I have to work through the Astros/Cards game :( Go Astros! Go Sox!
  • Yeah, the same *horrible* Fox announcers who said that a walk is as good as a home run for the Yankees in the ninth inning. ?! I guess the Yankees are immune to the double play, or for that matter the foul pop to catcher and strikeout. The Fox announcers are terrible, for the most part. But I like Al Leiter.
  • the commitment to actually getting calls right and not letting the Yankees cheat comes a bit late for Orioles fans still bitter about 1998 and that little Jeffrey Maier bastard.
  • I forgot about the walk=homerun comment! Bah! I wanted to holler at the screen but I had sleepy boyfriend and sleepy Steve the Dog on the couch with me. I also don't think the announcers were hard enough on the stupids who were throwing junk on the field. If it's bad enough to warrant *riot cops,* the fans need a talking to.
  • I can't say enough about Curt Schilling's performance in game 6. The guy was playing with a painful ankle injury that would have had any of us mere mortals laid up on a couch with a beer in our hand. You could see the blood seeping through the dressing on his sock! He deserves some kind of special award for this one...
  • I heard HBO is currently producing a documentary entitled "When the people of New York were all brave and wonderful and heroic but terrorists tried to give them a bad name by throwing baseballs on the field"
  • Re: Knucklehead fans throwing stuff. I can understand their frustration, seeing as how they never show controversial re-plays on the Jumbotron. For a casual observer I can imagine it looked like a double and, later on, a reasonably clean play. But I hope and believe that, having seen both replays, they are all ashamed now. And, of course, that doesn't excuse that kind of boneheadedness. AND it doesn't change the fact that back in '99 when the umpires got the call WRONG with Knoblauch and his "tag" (literally 2 feet from Jose Offerman at second. Chuck seemed as suprised as Jose), snuffing a rally with Manny Ramirez coming to bat, and the Fenway crowd reacted bascially like the Yankee crowd reacted last night, the crowd was EXCORIATED by the Fox broadcasters, and by Joe Torre as being shameful thugs! Argh!
  • rocket88 -- Schilling does! He's my hero. Damn, that's tough. dirtdirt -- I think the FOX announcers want to have the Yankees' babies. They love them sooo much. Speaking of which, they've had a pretty fun discussion of the announcers over at Tomato Nations "The Vine." The Vine is usually an advice column, but Sars (the writer) is letting people ask baseball questions now. See here and here and here. Click "tomorrow's Vine" after the last link to get another one, it doesn't have a permanent link yet.
  • I can guarantee you there's no Yankee bias on Joe Buck's part. He's just a generally effusive guy when it comes to atheletes (you should hear him go off on Albert Pujols). His dad, Jack Buck, was the voice of the Cardinals for nearly fifty years. Joe grew up in the Cards' clubhouse. If someone put a gun to his head and demanded that he pick a team, I'd sell my mother into white slavery if he picked the Yankees.
  • Holy shit - if you'd titled this one "ALCS series" or something I'd have been here sooner - HERE's where all of you lazy no-good baseball geniuses are hiding out! Okay! *cracks knuckles, scratches self, burps* WOW. Just fuckin WOW. GO YOU !#@$%* SOX!!! It was funny to read this whole thread where up there it's like "Schilling, what the fuck?" and last night it's all Schill = Superman. Normally I wouldn't rant about FOX, but . . (well yeah of course I would) Tim McCarver must die. Off with his head! Could one sports announcer be more boring and yet infuriating if they tried?? Just SHUT UP! Last night I pulled the old trick of listening to the game on radio, watching the TV with no sound. I HIGHLY recommend it. Joe Morgan is really annoying too, but I've yelled at the TV Tim McCarver, and Joe Morgan is no Tim McCarver senator. And so help me I'm going to get tapes of this series and give it the full treatment to expose the myriad ways they go out of their way to talk smack about the Sox and pump up the Yankees. It's truly ridiculous. *pees on FOX logo* Anyway - thanks, I obviously needed to get that out. ))) dirtdirt, beauty job.
  • I'm seriously going to have a frigging heart attack before this postseason is over. Both series are killing me. Right now St. Louis is up 2-1 in the second. Go Cards.
  • Oh oh oh - and another thing! ;) The way A-hole Rod gave that whole "What?? What'd I do?? Me?" bullshit face when they called him out after slapping the ball away so OBVIOUSLY. Now far be it for me to call the Yankees cheaters but . . uhh . . I remember when all the Yankees playoffs were officiated by umpires you hadn't seen all year with names like Lou "The Train" Cabrelli and Joey "The Cork" Pascucci. Nooooooo Yankees don't cheat . . .Yankees don't cheat . . . Like hell they don't! /set barfight on -punch
  • Anybody hear Schilling in the post-game interview last night? Said something like, "I've been a born-again Christian for 7 years, and I never felt the hand of God touch me like it did out there tonight." Now, don't get me wrong, Schilling is an artist, and possibly divinely inspired, but still...isn't the whole "saving you from hell" thing a little bit bigger than "helping me pitch circles around the Yanks", Curt? Also, the implication is that God is on their side seems to smack of hubris. Before the fall... Entertaining stuff though. I hope the Cards win today, just so I don't have to listen to mct bitch and moan. ;)
  • You could see the blood seeping through the dressing on his sock! Awesome. Now that's a Red Sock.
  • Athletes thanking God is hardly new, wasn't it one of the cliches he taught the young guy in "Bull Durham?" And of course we have to hear goddamn "God Bless America" every goddamn 7th inning. God.
  • re: God Bless America. I wholeheartedly agree. The national anthem at the beginning is fine with me, and I often genuinely enjoy it (particularly in Baltimore. OH!), but this toooo freaking much. Let's go back to just singing "Take me out to the ball game" and lighten the hell up.
  • re: re: God Bless America. I also agree... except it was so freakin' cool when Robert Earl Keen did it during the Astros/Cards game! -- Astros lost. Here comes game 7! (Go 'stros!) I have my pizza and *ahem* adult beverages ready for NY/BOS game 7. Go Sox!!
  • Or-frickin-Tiz!!!
  • Ooooortiizzle! and: b'bye Kevin! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!
  • JOHHNY DAMON!!!
  • Kevin Brown is fun because of the crazy. Johnny Damon, however, ROCKS (and is my secret boyfriend).
  • Okay which one of you was singing "Johnny Angel"?? Stop that! WhOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!11!1 It's 2nd inning . . .
  • You see? Damon reacts well to positive reinforcement.
  • There is a bunch of baseball left tonight but you will, I hope, excuse me for saying "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
  • I will see your "WOOOOOOOOOO" and raise you a "YAAAAAAAAAAAY!" (not jinxing things! not!)
  • Question to Joe: "Why not have an Instant Replay rule" in Baseball? Joe: "Baseball is a game of rhythm, and ahh . . we've seen that in Football . . . " and ah, it would ruin the timing of the game. Beautiful. +1 J.M.
  • I feel lowe.
  • Take Pedro Out? Y/N
  • WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
  • Radio volume up, tv volume down. Go Cards!
  • Thank God. I was beginning to think I was the only Cards fan on this site. *blows kisses to Darshon*
  • Oh, HAPPY DAY! ;))))
  • Good game Cards! That's a fan base there . . .
  • Red Sox Red Birds! I've got to admit: as a Red Sox fan the Cardinals scare me.
  • This will be one incredible series (with two very exhausted benches and bullpens before it's all over, I'm sure). A buddy of mine has tickets to Game 5 at Busch Stadium, the jerk -- this will likely be the last World Series played at Busch (and maybe Fenway too, aren't they talking about tearing down the Green Monster?). I'll just have to hope that I win the MLB sweepstakes.
  • No, there is absolutely no talk of tearing down the famous wall classtool, there is talk of a new stadium. What happens with fenway is up for debate. Some think that it should be a museum, kept as a national american land mark. The red sox organization HAS said that it will keep the same wall in a new stadium, meaning they'd transport it. That and the pesky pole, which is the right field foul pole. And the dirt would be the same.
  • *breathes sigh of relief*
  • Fenway has opened a new sports cafe, but there's a ruffle over the chairs.