Friday, October 17, 2008

They just never give up

If there is one thing to be said about the Red Sox, it is this: they never give up. Yesterday's game 5 of the ALCS vs. Tampa Bay was the most amazing baseball game I ever saw. We were fortunate enough to have seats right along the first base line - between first base and the Pesky pole - and experienced the greatest postseason comeback since 1929 first-hand.

The mood before the start of the game was great, with the crowds cheering for 松坂 大輔 (Daisuke Matsuzaka, or "Dice-K" as he is known to Boston Red Sox fans) as he came onto the field to start his warm-up exercises:

Daisuke Matsuzaka warming up

Understandably, the mood turned a bit more somber as the Sox fell behind 5-0 over the first couple of innings and finally were down 7-0 at the top of the 7th inning.

That was the point in time when about 20-25% of the people left Fenway Park, and when the Tampa Bay Rays started cracking open the champagne in their locker room.

But then the Red Sox did the impossible and turned things around. Starting with Dustin Pedroia's line-drive to shallow right field, which got Jed Lowrie home for the first run, the mood in Fenway Park changed. And then David Ortiz made a true comeback possible with his 3-run home run deep into right-field:

DSC00346

From that moment on, nobody sat down in Fenway Park until the single by J.D. Drew at the bottom of the 9th that allowed Kevin Youkilis to score, giving the Sox their 8-7 win and a ticket back to Florida for game 6.

This game will be an instant classic in baseball history, no doubt!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jason Varitek prevents complete shutout in ALCS game 3

Tonight's game was not exactly the stellar performance we are used to see from Jon Lester. Quite the contrary, actually.

Jason Varitek walking across the field

Jason Varitek, shown here as he walks across the field from the bullpen to the dugout, brought home the only run for the Red Sox in game 3 of the ALCS on Jacoby Ellsbury's sacrificial flyout, avoiding a complete shutout game.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Altova Online Training is back, improved, and still free

I am delighted to report that we have relaunched our Altova Online Training program today. We've used this hiatus of a few months to completely redesign our training program and incorporate all the feedback that we had received in the past.

One of the key requests heard over and over again was that you wanted to be able to consume the training on your schedule and time, rather than having to sign up for a particular class and deal with available seats, time-zone issues, and fitting a 2-3h class into your busy workday.

The new training format solves all these problem, by letting you take the class in a self-service, on-demand, mode whenever you want it. And you can pause and resume the class, if your schedule requires that you break it up into smaller portions.

Best of all, Altova Online Training is still free!

The first class available in the new format is Introduction to MapForce, which is currently available in public BETA. Please take a look at the new class, and let me know what you think about it. Post your comments on this blog, or respond directly to our trainer by using the "Ask Altova" button inside the class software.

See also our announcement on the Altova Blog: Free Altova Online Training is Back!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The longest baseball game I ever sat through

It took me a few days to post this, because I'm still "recovering". This past Sunday I was lucky enough to get a few seats for the ALDS game 3 at Fenway Park. It turned out to be the longest baseball game I ever sat through - and I did, of course, stay until the very end.

Here is a picture of the fog rolling in way past midnight - at the top of the 11th inning:

Top of the 11th inning

When the game finally ended after the 12th inning, it was with the disappointment of a Red Sox loss, but that pain didn't last long, since we won the ALDS series 3-1 the next evening.

And even though the game lasted so long, we all had a great time - and the kids got to school just a ""little bit" too late the next day...