Red Sox World Series Game 6: More Than A Game

A top 10 moment at Fenway with my best friend.

Erik Heels and Jody Wright

How excited am I that the Red Sox won the World Series last night? And that I got to attend Game 6 with my best friend, Joe? So excited that I slept in my (long-sleeve) Yaz t-shirt last night – and am wearing my (short-sleeve) Yaz t-shirt today! Yes, that’s right, I have two, (count ’em, two) Carl Yastrzemski t-shirts, which are normally reserved for gameday only. Who me, superstitions? Actually no. The truth is that after 2004, I don’t worry about anything anymore. But last night was a top 10 life moment, to be sure!

Many have wondered about my baseball obsession. Let me try to explain. I grew up (relatively) poor in Maine and my parents did not have the money to buy baseball equipment for Little League. I got my first baseball glove from a yard sale. In fact, I never played organized sports at all, except for intramural hockey at MIT (and for that, I use the word “organized” loosely). But growing up, I always played pickup sports: basketball, football, snow soccer, hockey (yes, pickup hockey), but mostly baseball. Two-on-two baseball, two-on-one baseball, three-on-three, whatever group we could gather. And if there were just two of us, we’d play catch or make up other baseball-related games.

From 1st to 8th grade, my partner in baseball crime was Joe (aka Jody) Wright, who lived a block away from me in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and became my best friend at age 6. He’s been my best friend ever since, even though we attended separate high schools, colleges, and graduate schools. Joe was born about a year before me, married about a year before me, and divorced about a year before me. So I often tell him, “Man, don’t die!” I attended my only college football game (football is not huge, let’s say, at MIT) with Joe. And took a KC-135 flight with him while we were both AFROTC cadets, a flight for which his dad was the pilot!

Baseball was the perfect sport for me. Part physical, part mental, part drama. I was never particularly physically gifted as a child (struggling with childhood asthma) but always enjoyed all aspects of baseball. It started with playing catch with my dad in the street. Dad also took me to many Red Sox games, starting in 1975. Mom (the exact same age as Yaz) made me a Yaz costume for Halloween one year – and got me Yaz’s autograph! I would pour over the stats in the paper each day – and especially on Sunday. I collected baseball cards – and still have complete sets of Topps cards from 1976 and 1977.

So when 1975 happened, of course I expected the Red Sox to win, but win they did not. Then the best Red Sox team of my lifetime, the 1978 team, failed to make the playoffs. Then 1986, when I had a bottle of champagne ready to go during Game 6.

So when the Red Sox finally won the World Series in 2004, it was as if a lifetime’s worth of pressure had been released. My first call after the final out was to my dad. My second was to Jody. 2007 was icing on the cake.

Post-2007, I started going to games more regularly, thanks to the generosity of my MIT buddy John Reardon, whose family has had season tickets for some time. John and I attended ALCS Game 5 in 2008, which, in my opinion, was the greatest comeback in Red Sox postseason history!

Each year, I’d buy a few more games from John’s season ticket package. I bought a bunch in the 100th anniversary season of 2013, which, as you know, saw the Red Sox amass a 69-93 record.

And each year, the drama pulls me in. Ever since Seinfeld went off the air, I stopped watching episodic television. (Of course, that event also coincided with another top 10 life movement: the birth of my daughter!) But I love baseball for the drama. It’s not just a game, a series, or a homestand. It’s a story. I like the stories – and many of the storytellers (with the notable exception of CHB).

So when the 2013 story started to unfold, I was all in (as I am every year). About halfway through the year, I remember asking, “What’s the deal with the beards?” And that’s why I was unshaven for Game 6. For years, I’ve been trying to attend the game where the Red Sox clinch, and I finally managed to pull that one off this year, attending Game 79 with Rebecca, then my fiance, now my wife. (Did I mention I got married earlier this month? Another top 10 moment! Yes, it’s been a damn good October!)

The ALCS coincided with my honeymoon, so when John asked me about the World Series draw, I told him I wanted Game 6. I was calling Sox in 6, even after Game 3. And that’s how it played out!

The beauty of all of this is that it does not end here. For Game 5, my stepson Nino wanted to watch the first pitch. He is 9, the same age I was in 1975. For Game 6, he wanted to watch the first score, and he got to see the winning hit before bedtime! He was alive in 2004 and 2007, but he’ll remember 2013. As will I. Especially the 27th out.

Thanks, Rebecca! Thanks, John! Thanks, Jody! And thanks, Mom and Dad!

Erik J. Heels is a trademark and patent lawyer, Boston Red Sox fan, MIT engineer, and musician. He blogs about technology, law, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll at

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Drawings, Charts, And Videos That Explain The Recession

9/11 Wars + Tax Cuts + Bailouts = Recession.

This article analyzes, chronologically, how the US got itself – and the world – into the current recession. I wrote this post primarily for me, because I don’t want to forget how we got into this mess. But if others like it, that’s gravy.

For the record, I have never belonged to any political party. As it says under “political views” on my Facebook profile, “I vote for the smartest candidate. It doesn’t always work out.”

1946-2001: Back Story

  1. Book Review: Economics In One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt (1946, Yes, 1946)
    The current recession began in 1946 when zero politicians bought this book. You don’t need to study economics in school. You need to read this book. Hazlitt explains, in simple terms, how classic economic mistakes are made by pursuing short-term policies that benefit only a select few at the expense of a long-term policies that could benefit many.
  2. Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’ (2001-01-17)
    Under President Bill Clinton, the US enjoyed peace and prosperity. With this story, [satirical publication] The Onion joked about what would happen after George W. Bush was inaugurated. Now who’s laughing?

2001-2008: The Big Four Expenses

President George W. Bush started two wars and created two windfalls (Bush tax cuts for the rich and TARP bailouts for Wall Street banks). These are the Big Four expenses that started the current economic downturn.

  1. Afghanistan War (2001-10-07)
  2. Iraq War (2003-03-20)
  3. Bush Tax Cuts (2003-05-23)
  4. TARP Bailouts (2008-10-03)

2008-2010: Recession (Part 1)

President Barack Obama promised to end the two wars and the two windfalls (Bush tax cuts and TARP bailouts). To date, he has done none of this. In late 2010, Obama extended the Bush-era tax cuts. So they are Obama’s tax cuts now.

  1. The Sub-Prime Primer (2008-05-07)
    The housing market started to collapse in 2008. This presentation explains how and why the housing market failed.
  2. The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment (2008-10)
    First a video series, then a book, Crash Course will teach you why we’re all screwed – unless we change now. If you dare watch/read it. For example, you’ll learn why ordinary Americans are forced to invest their retirement savings in risky stocks just to keep up with inflation.
  3. Chart: Debt With And Without Bush Tax Cuts (2008-12-02)
    Nearly four years ago, The New York Times warned about the impact of the Bush tax cuts.
  4. Infographic of the Day: Our Lost Decade (2010-01-06)
    Zero percent job growth over the last decade.
  5. Infographic of the Day: Just How Big Is the Deficit? (2010-02-03)
    Worst deficit since World War II (WWII, WW2).
  6. Chart: VC-Backed IPOs and M&A Deals 1992-2009 (2010-05-31)
  7. Infographic of the Day: The Entire History of the American Presidency (2010-06-10)
    This great poster gives context to politics and the economy from 1776 to 2010.
  8. The Student Loan Scheme (2010-09-16)
    Amendments to the Bankruptcy Code in 2005 prevent student loan debt from being discharged in bankruptcy.
  9. Comic: Puzzled by the Downturn (2010-11-05)
  10. Chart: Economic DownTurn, Financial Rescues, And Legacy of Bush Policies Drive Record Deficits (2010-12-03)
  11. Obama extends Bush-era tax cuts (2010-12-17)

2011-Present: Recession (Part 2)

Some economists have declared that the late 2000s recession is over. But with US unemployment at 9%, it’s safe to say that the 2008-present recession is alive and well.

  1. Average Sole Proprietor’s Net Income 1980-2007 (2011-01-10)
  2. Scary Unemployment Chart (2011-02-07)
  3. Rising Inequality Since 1970s: A Sharp Break From Shared Prosperity Of Earlier Era (2011-04-08)
  4. Chart: Startups As A Percentage Of All Businesses 1977-2009 (2011-06-06)
  5. US Budget: 20% Defense, 20% Social Security, 15% Medicare (Elderly), 8% Medicaid (Poor), 37% Other * (2011-06-10)
  6. Too Big to Fail: Inside America’s Economic Downfall [Infographic] (2011-06-30)
  7. The Truth About Who’s Responsible For The Explosion In Government Spending (2011-07-11)
  8. The Truth About Who’s Responsible For Our Massive Budget Deficit (2011-07-11)
  9. USA Inc. – Where We Are, How We Got Here, What May Be Next (2011-07-20)
    USA Inc. is a nonpartisan group that looks at the US federal government as if it were a business.
  10. Chart: Policy Changes Under Two Presidents (2011-07-26)
  11. Chart: Where Does U.S. National Debt Come From? [Infographic] (2011-07-27)
  12. The Original ‘Scariest Jobs Chart Ever’ Is Still Plenty Scary (2011-08-05)
  13. A timeline of events (2011-08-06)
  14. US Debt Crisis Explained (2011-08-10)
  15. The Onion predicts the future (2011-08-11)
    Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’
  16. Remove Eight Zeros (2011-08-14)
    The best way for most Americans to understand the big numbers in the US budget is to remove eight zeros and pretend its a family budget.
  17. The Limping Middle Class (2011-09-04)
  18. The Great Prosperity 1947-1979 vs. The Great Regression 1980-2011 (2011-09-04)
  19. WARREN BUFFETT CALLS BS ON TAX BS: Taxing Billionaires More Won’t Hurt The Economy (2011-09-10)
    Buffet talks a good talk, but he rarely acts on his political ideas.
  20. 9/11 anniversary: National Memorial in New York opens (2011-09-12)
  21. The Middle Class Is Dead (2011-09-12)
  22. US poverty rate hits record high (2011-09-14)
  23. The lost decade for the middle class (2011-09-16)

2011-Present: #Occupy

The #Occupy Movement: The Frogs Figured Out That The Water Was Boiling. To late? Or just in time. (That first sentence is in init caps because it was going to be the title of this post.) I recall what one Occupy Boston protester said about why he was protesting: “The Bush Administration may have caused the recession, but the Obama Administration didn’t do what it said it was going to do to end the recession (namely ending the wars, the Bush tax cuts, and the bailouts), and so we the Occupiers feel disenfranchised, with nowhere to turn but the streets.” Then, rather than arresting the politicians and bankers that caused the economic mess, the police started arresting the 99%! Crazy. Perhaps 10 years after 9/11, the terrorists have won.

  1. Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Starts (2011-09-17)
  2. 14 Reasons People Are Occupying Wall Street (2011-09-28)
  3. 11 Ways America is Keeping Poor People Poor (2011-09-30)
  4. One Third Of Veterans Don’t Back Wars (2011-10-06)
  5. Watch Protesters Take Wall Street as Fancy Bankers Look On [Video] (2011-10-06)
  6. Finally, A Clear Explanation Of What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About (2011-10-09)
  7. Here’s The Chart That Will Get Obama Fired (2011-10-09)
  8. 72 Cities That Have Joined The Occupied Movement (2011-10-09)
  9. Chart: Growth Of Family Income 1947-2007: We Grew Apart (2011-10-11)
  10. What Would George Carlin Say About #OccupyWallStreet? (2011-10-12)
    NSFW but worth the read.
  11. Here’s What The 99% Are Angry About (2011-10-13)
  12. The Protesters Are Getting Their Act Together! (2011-10-13)
  13. Violence Erupts in Rome as Occupy Wall Street Goes Global (2011-10-15)
  14. Four Charts That Explain What The Protesters Are Angry About (2011-10-15)
  15. Amazing Charts Show How 90% Of The Country Has Gotten Shafted Over The Past 30 Years (2011-10-15)
  16. NYPD Arrests Citibank Customer For Taking Money Out Of Own Account (2011-10-15)
  17. Chart: US Debt Accumulation by President (2011-10-16)
  18. Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance (2011-10-17)
    This is a great read. Example:
    “11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.”

  19. U.S. Marine Demolishes NYPD, Defends #OccupyWallStreet (2011-10-17)
  20. The Greatest #OccupyWallStreet Sign Ever (2011-10-17)
  21. Occupy George, Occupy Wall Street Infographics Printed On Dollar Bills (2011-10-18)
  22. 15 Great #OccupyWallStreet Political Cartoons (2011-10-18)
  23. Libya’s interim leader confirms Gadhafi killed (2011-10-20)
  24. Chart: How Many Millionaires In Congress? (2011-10-20)
  25. Chart: Self-Employment Income 2006-2011 (2011-10-24)
  26. Top Earners Doubled Share of Nation’s Income, CBO Says (2011-10-26)
  27. Why Obama should call for a breakup of big banks (2011-10-26)
  28. Before & After: Occupy Oakland (2011-10-26)
  29. Jon Stewart: ‘What the F*ck Happened in Oakland?’ [Video] (2011-10-27)
  30. Why the current revenue model of higher education is in trouble (2011-10-27)
  31. If US Land Were Divided Like US Wealth (2011-10-28)
  32. The Washington Post: What caused the financial crisis? The Big Lie goes viral (2011-10-31)
  33. Congress’ Net Worth Up 25% Since 2008 [The Rich] (2011-11-01)
  34. College has been oversold (2011-11-02)
  35. Super committee: Let Bush tax cuts expire and your work will be done (2011-11-02)
  36. Why College? A Comic Strip People Should See In High School (2011-11-04)
  37. Chart: Italy GDP Growth (2011-11-08)
  38. Why American Roads Are So Bad (2011-11-08)
  39. NEW POLL: Americans Want Everything [Video] (2011-11-08)
  40. US poverty: Blame the government (2011-11-09)
  41. Please Help Us Figure Out How To Solve The Inequality Problem (2011-11-13)
  42. Police Destroy 5,000 Books In Their Eviction Of #OccupyWallStreet (2011-11-15)
  43. How the rich stay rich (2011-11-15)
  44. Occupiers occupied: The hijacking of the First Amendment (2011-11-16)
  45. OUTRAGE OF THE MONTH: Insider Trading In Congress (2011-11-16)
  46. Chart: The Popularity Of Congress Compared With Other Unpopular Things (2011-11-17)
  47. Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent, Vermont), Senate Budget Committee (2011-11-18)
  48. Lobbyists and Politicians Beware: First Street Reveals Your Hidden Connections (2011-11-18)
  49. The real problem with Occupy Wall Street? This Google search: (2011-11-19)
  50. Venn Diagram: Federal Government vs. Goldman Sachs (2011-11-20)
  51. Egyptian State TV Uses The Police Response To #Occupy To Justify Their Own Brutality (2011-11-21)
  52. CNN’s David Gergen: Have they gone nuts in Washington? (2011-11-21)
  53. Five reasons why the congressional supercommittee failed (2011-11-21)
  54. Occupy Wall Street Moves Into New Phase With Student Debt Refusal Campaign (2011-11-21)


There are many problems with the world, its economy, and its denizens.

People have a short attention span. Most have forgotten the Big Four and what preceded it (9/11).

People make decisions based on emotion, not on logic.

People don’t understand large numbers like billions and trillions (hint: try removing eight zeros).

People take facts out of context.

News is entertainment.

Politicians know people.

So what happens? Politicians prey on emotions to get people to vote in certain ways.

It’s takes money to make money.

Power corrupts.

Lobbyists lobby, laws change.

Follow the money.

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

And instead of a government of the people, by the people, for the people, we have a government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.

It is sad, but it is true. Copyright law was long ago hijacked by Hollywood. In 2011, patent law was hijacked by big business.

50% of those in Congress are millionaires. Whose interests do you think they have in mind?

I don’t know who the next US president will be. But the formula for breaking the economy is well known:

9/11 Wars + Tax Cuts + Bailouts = Recession

Here’s how to fix the economy:

End The 9/11 Wars + End The Bush Tax Cuts + End The Bailouts = End The Recession

There has been a failure of leadership in Washington, DC. There been a failure of followership. And there has been a failure of get-out-of-the-way-ship. The 112th Congress will go down in history as one of the most political, least effective, and most corrupt ever. Unless things change soon, this independent voter may end up casting protest votes in all contests for himself. Again.

I’m pretty good at spotting trends. Do you see the trend here? The natives are getting restless. The US government must reform now.

Said the king to his protesting subjects, “You have to do what I say or I can’t be king anymore!”


Erik J. Heels is an MIT engineer; trademark, domain name, and patent lawyer; Red Sox fan; and music lover. He blogs about technology, law, baseball, and rock ‘n’ roll at