Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Crowning Achievement?

Mmmmm Christina Hendricks. Not sure what it is about her, but she just does it for me. OK, I'm 100% sure what it is about her, but there's no need to be obviously crude and superficial. Let's jugs say it's because she's an attractive star of what I consider the breast show on TV, and leave it at that...

But enough about my bosom buddy. I've got a list of topics to get to, and not much time in which to get them down on the 'ole virtual paper. So let's get to it...

I've been watching baseball and following it closely for as long as I can remember, and I don't think I've ever seen a less hyped and heralded achievement than Miguel Cabrera's pending Triple Crown. The first Triple Crown in 45 years, and the closest I can remember anyone coming since a Padres infielder named Gary Sheffield almost pulled the trick back in the mid 90's...

So, where is all the fanfare that usually accompanies such a feat? I'll tell you where it is. It's all focused on football. I mean, if you ever needed near concrete proof that football has taken over as this sport's most beloved country, there it is. Detroit's a big enough market, they're a playoff team. If baseball were really still "America's pastime", Miggy Stardust would have been plastered all over every publication, not just sports, for the last 2-3 weeks. But no. Instead all the talk has been about the replacement refs and how big a prick Roger Goodell has been...

The Boston sports market also shoulders a chunk of the blame. I the Red Sox were in it instead of wallowing in the basement, I'm sure all things baseball would be more at the forefront. And when Boston is talking baseball, all of baseball benefits. With the benefit in this case being increased coverage and praise heaped upon Miguel Cabrera. A man putting together a season that no one has seen since, oddly enough, the great Carl Yastzremski...

Football is king, friends. And while baseball may always serve as America's pastime, football is definitely it's present and and least it's immediate future. So props to you, Miggy. Even if you're 3 crowns won't come close to equally the one currently worn by the men who play on Sundays...

The NBA said this week that they plan to introduce a penalty system for "flopping". And while I like the thought, it comes across more to me as fining a guard dog for whenever it barks. The "Association" has long since established itself as a place for prima donna's both playing for the teams and officiating the games. To think a fine is going to stop any of that is not only wishful thinking, but seems to go against everything the league has come to embody in the last 10-15 years. A style that, from the outside, has kept the league a very popular entity...

I don't know. Maybe David Stern has taken a look at the books and realized he needs to clean his game up. To which I say, good for him. Might be for the wrong reasons (money), but good for him. I just think it's too little, too late. A change like this, a change away from the flopping that has become as synonymous with the league as Michael Jordan, is at least a generation away. And not only that, but a change that probably would have eventually made itself when league revenues became similar to those in the NHL. It is about money, after all. And that's why Stern has made this move. He sees the NFL strengthening it's hold, just like the good people at MLB. And he wants to try to stay one step ahead. Or one less step behind, as the case may be...

I don't care for Bill Simmons, and I've long since abandoned ESPN, but one thing I have appreciated over the last year or so has been their documentary series, 30 for 30. Probably because I love sports and am a sucker for a good documentary. But for whatever reason, I've found a bulk of the series highly enjoyable...

Then there was last night's episode, Broke, which detailed how famous athletes burned through all of their money. And while it wasn't a particularly "bad" installment in the series, I was surprised to hear the feedback across all of the social  media outlets. Mostly, because the main reaction was actually "surprise"...

Wait, you're surprised that Antoine Walker blew all his money? Surprised that athletes burn through their cash on relatives, mistresses, cars, houses and kids? Surprised that they weren't prepared for a financial life after their pro sports career was over? Ummmm OK. I mean, these are things I accepted as fact around the time I learned to read, but based on what I heard last night I'm apparently in the minority...

I liken it to the concussion debate in the NFL. Really? You didn't know football players were putting their heads at risk by using them as battering rams dozens of times a week year in and year out? You didn't know that a good portion of athletes had no idea how to manage their money, and lived lifestyles well beyond their means? OK. Like I said, this is something I've realized for going on 20 years now, or at least after my first appearance to a card show. But if this is news to the rest of the world, then so be it...

And I get that it makes for entertaining TV. Not faulting ESPN in the least for this one. It was a decent watch. I'm just surprised by the reaction of the masses. Perhaps even a little disappointed. Especially because of the age we live in, where stories of athletes going from the penthouse to the poorhouse seem to appear in one publication or another on a rather regular basis...

Keeping with a promise, here are a few brief movie reviews before I call it a day. Nothing new, as I've yet to find time to see The Master.

The Proposition (2005): I'm no casting director, but the major problem with this Australian western set in the late 1800's is he fact that the majority of the ensemble seems miscast. Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone and Danny Huston are all fine actors, but none of their roles seem to play to their acting strengths. It's a shame, too. Because the tale of a band of brothers torn apart by crime really is an interesting one. With the Australian outback serving as a very intriguing backdrop. IT's just that all of their performances seem flat. To the point where an amateur such as myself comes away knowing that I could have put together a cast more deserving of this interesting tale. Never a good sign if you're a filmmaker...

All the King's Men (2006): On the other end of the spectrum, we have what is arguably an "overcast" ensemble. Sean Penn, Jude Law, James Gandolfini, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, Mark Ruffalo. All fine actors in their own right, but truly a cast deserving of more than the only semi-interesting, semi-fictional tale of Depression Era politician, Willie Stark (Penn). It's a perfectly watchable film, but it almost seems like a waste of talent. An example of what I like to call "acting for acting's sake". A film that's sure to get noticed for all of it's superb performances, but one that's also not likely to find it's way into anyone's DVD collection. That is, if they still even make DVDs anymore...

Still trying to see The Master, like I said. And I've also got Cowboys & Aliens on the horizon. So keep an eye out for those reviews in the coming weeks...

Before I go, here's a look at how I made out this weekend. Not too bad. A tad weak on the NCAA front, but I'll do my best to remedy that situation before I get around to posting this week's selections. Maybe Christina Hendricks went to college and I can find a picture of her sporting her alma mater's colors to provide the necessary inspiration...  

NFL Picks

Last Week: 8-6-1

Overall: 38-30-3 (.556)

Twitter Picks: 7-2-0 (.778)

NCAA Picks

Last Week: 3-4-0

Overall: 21-19-0 (.525)

Have a good one, friends. Catch you on Friday...

Teddy Williams...



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