Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's My Job, You Ted...

Sometimes, it takes a day on a boat to properly put things into perspective. You know, help bring you off of the ledge and calm you down with the ebb and the flow and the nature and the whatnot? Yeah, well this past weekend, in which I attended a charter fishing trip for some rat bastard I know's bachelor party, was not one of those times. The NHL still sucks, and I'm still bitter about how the PinkHub of hockey is RUININ MY SPORTS TAHHHK! Yep. Sometimes a fishing trip is just a bunch of dudes on a boat drinking beer and attempting not to cut themselves or drop their phones. And there's no that helps you see through the ether. This, my friends. Was one of those times. Still bitter, over here. And I think it's safe to say, at this point, that any rant against the NHL or the front running love for the black and gold will never be my last. No matter how many times I pretend to profess otherwise...

But, that's OK. Let those front running Teds have their Euro trash ice dancing convention. I've got me some quarterly baseball analysis to do. Besides, it's not the ocean's fault that the NHL didn't implode like a Vegas casino while I was out there enjoying myself on it's surface. I'm sure it did it's best. Probably tired of water always getting upstaged by ice, anyway. Stupid ice. Being celebrated when it was merely water that was just too slow to get away! OR maybe it's some sort of shady Darwinian punishment, where in the weak water is forced as punishment to serve as ice for the most inept sports league this side of the XFL? Yeah, either way. Even I don't have enough disposable time to ponder such things...

Nope, instead I'll just get to said "analysis", and mix in some commentary on Mad Men, Moonrise Kingdom, the massive job cuts at ESPN, and my new mainest mens 'n them,. Mr. Gary Clark Jr. I'll probably go a little overboard with the GIFs, too. Which is apparently pronounced "jif", according to the "creator"?(a man I'm assuming looks and acts just like Ed Harris in The Truman Show) Meaning we've all been saying it incorrectly since it's inception. Yeah, exactly. Ain't no peeps got time for that. They've barely got time for this! So let's use that time, and enjoy whatever it is those tiny moving pictures are. Because they're great. Especially when they involve the ample rump of a certain late 60's office manager. But, shhhh. I don't want to ruin anything. Mostly because 'ruin' reminds me too much of 'Bruin'. But mostly because I need to transition to the actual important topics at hand  before I completely ramble off into space...

So, there we go. And, now here we go. Time for me to do my job. Well, more or less. Enjoy...

Here, we have a very literal breakdown of the Red Sox season at what I'm naming the quarter poll. At least I was gonna name it that, but it turns out the gay bar next to the race track already took it. OH!

RECORD: 27-19 (2nd in AL East; 1st in AL Wild Card)
From swiping bags, to swiping

This means, if the season ended today, then the Red Sox would host that 1-game playoff where I think Bud Selig serves as automatic QB for both sides...

Thankfully, the season doesn't end today. Which means we can still hold out hope for the scenario in which the winner is determined by a softball HR Derby between Otis Nixon's prison wife and Lenny Dykstra's probation officer...

Ah, yes. America's past time. Not baseball, but the act of drug addicts pulling it together long enough to compete on National TV for enough money to get their fix. IT's like Flava Of Love, just without as many hookers. Well, at least as many female hookers that don't get paid in cigarettes and toilet wine...

TEAM ERA: 3.83 (6th in AL)

Clay Buchholz (6-0 1.78) and Jon Lester (6-1 3.15) have been great. Everyone else? They've been embodied by Ryan Dempster (2-4 4.27), who's been about as hit or miss as you can get. So, 3.84? Yeah, that sounds about right. Should be good enough to compete for a Wild Card, too. As long as outings like Jon's on Monday don't become too much of a regular occurrence...

OPS: .772 (4th in MLB)
RUNS: 222 (3rd in MLB)

No matter how you look at it, that's a lot of runs. And it's like not like those numbers are being weighed down by one 50 run game, either. Naturally I wouldn't mind a little more consistency from the offense. But that's just wishful thinking, and something that probably won't happen until Ellsbury solidifies the top of the lineup. Something I'll talk about a bit more in just a few short seconds...

Biggest Surprises: Daniel Nava (.870 OPS, 6 HR, 27 RBI); Koji Uehara (2.04 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 13.25 k/9)

Not the best sign in the world that a middle reliever and a 4th outfielder are the roster's biggest surprises, but it's not exactly a bad thing, either. What makes their emergence even better, is that it's allowed Jerry Remy to really show his versatility. Not only is he able to use his wicked awesome VERN-ACK-U-LAH to add an R to the end of Nava, to make it "Nah-Vur". But he's somehow also able to refrain from adding the R to the Asian reliever. Instead pronouncing his last name as if he's trying to say all of the vowels in the alphabet in a shorter time span than he can huff down a Marlboro Red...

Never change, Rem Dog. Never change. Not even if Wally threatens to leave you...

Biggest Disappointments: Jacoby Ellsbury (.639 OPS, 12 total extra base hits); Will Middlebrooks (.681 OPS, 30% strike out rate)

Middlebrooks gets somewhat of a pass, but striking out 30% of the time is never good. And if you are going to strike out that frequently, you're going to have to hit more HRs and put together longer stretches where you look like a legitimate middle of the order hitter...

As for Ellsbury, you have to think he's feeling the pressure of being in that all important "walk year" before his maiden voyage into free agency. Either that, or something is desperately wrong with him physically and/or mechanically. If it's the former, someone needs to get that boy talking to a shrink. And if it's the latter? Well, that'll just make it all the more hilarious when the Dodgers end up backing a dump truck's worth of money into his driveway come Winter...

Whatever ails Ellsbury, his figuring it out and returning to form should prove to be a major boon for a team that's currently getting more than it's fair share of production from bit players like Nava and Carp...

On the entertainment front. just a few thoughts on the latest episode of Mad Men, and my long awaited review of Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom. I say 'long awaited' because it took me so long to actually see it. Though I know you've been eagerly awaiting my opinion, as well. You crafty Teds. I'm on to your games...

Starting with Mad Men. If there had ever been any doubt regarding Matt Weiner's influence on The Sopranos, I think that all went went out the window with Don Draper going all "Tony gets food poisoning and see's dead Pussy as a talking fish" (a fact jealously pointed out first here by Esquire). Tony had some bad Indian food, Don apparently had one of those B-12 shots that Miguel Tejada was taking. Whatever the cause, Don's wild ride was very reminiscent of the one that caused Tony to reevaluate his situation. And ultimately come to one of the most important decisions of his life...

In the case of the depressed New Jersey don, it was the realization that he needed to kill one of his best friends because he'd become a government informant. With Don? Well, I'm not sure we know, quite yet. Seeing as his "experience" didn't end with nearly as much finality as Tony's did with Puss. My best guess, though says it will probably involve Don's moving on from Megan and into the arms of his version of a one legged Russian couch fling. From there, who knows where he'll go. But a confused and introspective Don can only be a good thing. If not for the character, at least for the audience...

Oh, and because it can't possibly go unmentioned. Ken Cosgrove's drug induced jig was the jump off. Not only that, but it should serve as a good litmus test to use on alleged "fans" of the show going forward. Example:

"Hey, what did you think of Ken Cosgrove's drug induced jig?"

If they don't answer with "Oh, it's the jump off" or immediately break into their own rendition, then you've got a Mad Ted. And just like the Ted currently killing vibe at Sterling, Cooper, Cheatum & Howe LLC, they'll need to be dealt with...

"Watch and learn, flat ass..."
And let's not forget to celebrate the fact that we have a guy named Ted on a fantastic TV show, actually acting like a huge Ted! Ah, yes. The world works in great and mysterious ways. Even when Teds are involved. Scratch that. Especially when Teds are involved. And I, for one. Take a shady comfort in that fact. Almost as much shady comfort as I take in Rizzo finally scoring some psychic gypsy box and telling Peggy that she has a nice ass. Which she doesn't. But seeing as I've said far nicer things to far less attractive girls when "under the influence", I'll let that one slide. That, and because I think we all know I'd do Peggy in a heart beat. It just wouldn't be because of her ass. I'm not sure what it is, to be honest. Probably has a lot to do with the fact that when I picture her, I also happen to be picturing Joan. And that can't be hurting her cause. Now there's an ass that could use some additional complimenting...

You hear that, Weiner? Feel free to work in an episode where Joan's ass is discussed. Huh? Yeah, I don't care if you've already finished writing the series. Make it happen...

Muchas grace...

4 great actors, in 4 more or less forgettable roles...

As for Moonrise Kingdom, the best way to sum it up is that it was just too "Wes Anderson-y" for my liking. Wes has a style that's as bold as it is subtle (a tough combination that he's usually able to pull off), and without the proper influx of humor that can begin to get to me. That's what happened here. It has all the standard quirkiness that typically make his films great, but despite the great cast, I feel the necessary laughs just aren't there to carry what's otherwise an interesting setting and plot line...

Meh, can't win 'em all. And while Wes has been missing more often than not of late, he gained enough good will with Royal Tenenbaums to keep me curious for at least another 2-3 films. Yeah, that's how good I think that movie was. You know, in case you had forgot...

Moving onto music, for the briefest of moments. I've been bitching for the better part of the last 15 years that there haven't been all that many great new musical acts to emerge. I ask people all the time to name the best new artist/band since 1997, and the problem is always trying to pick someone decent as opposed to having to pick through and narrow down all of the great options. I typically point to Audioslave (yes, I realize they're a 'super group'. But that's how shallow this field is) and the Black Keys. But other than that, there just isn't the dearth of new acts that we'd regularly seen decade in and out since more or less the creation of rock n roll...

Well, now I think my search for a new legitimate contender might be over. And his name is Gary Clark Jr. Wikipedia calls him the future of Texas Blues, many of the world's premier guitarists call him the next big thing (as witnessed by his invitation to perform at the latest Rock N Roll HOF induction), and I've taken to calling him Randy Hendrix. Because he looks like Randy, and can play like Jimi. Either way, no matter which questionably racist and stereotypical ways you go about describing him, there's no denying this man and his brand of music should serve as a breath of fresh air to a scene currently dominated by overproduced, American Idol sugar pop...

Don't get me wrong, I know Clark and his crunchy brand of blues rock will likely never rise to the level where his latest tracks will be eagerly anticipated by the Top 40 crowd. And while that's a damn shame, it's just nice to know that guys like him are out there. Playing good music, seemingly fighting the good fight, and leaving not a single face un-melted in his righteous path. Granted, I could find out tomorrow from all the "in the know hipsters", that he's really a fraud in terms of the indie music scene. But I'm choosing to live what might only be a dream for a little while longer. And starting with the video above, I suggest you do the same...

Besides, nobody likes an in the know hipster. Not even other in the know hipsters. Matter of fact, especially other in the know hipsters. So don't let them bother you. They're just haters. They hate so much they don't even eat meat, anymore! And what kind of sane person doesn't eat meat? Answer: Nobody smart enough to listen to Gary Clark Jr...unless he's somehow a Vegan. in which case I'd be more confused than when the city of Boston all of a sudden claimed to be mad about hockey...

Yeah, I'm just going to continue operating under the assumption that Gary is the man. Someone with that much talent has to like meat, right? Right. Stupid hipsters...

As for ESPN and their nearly 10% across the board cuts to meet profit margins. That's just business. And as is usually the case, it's bad business. I say that confidently, even with no real knowledge of their exact financial situation (though that link will tell you that Disney stock hit an all time high in May...and yes, this is still May). And I can do that because I know their ideal business model: One where their "talent" shows up, and has to interact with virtually no one while prepping for and putting on their show. And while I'd like to think that ESPN would noticeably miss all the people they've just let go. I know that won't be the case. Sure, their shows will suffer. But with virtually every other media outlet operating under the same business model, it's unlikely that anyone will notice. At least not to the point where it throws off the ratings and causes them to change strategies...

Broadcast media is in a bad way right now, friends. And that's not just me crying poor because I'm jealous or bitter. There are just too many suits out there that think it's a lot easier than it really is to put one of their show on the air. I attribute most of that thinking to their traditionally "hands off" approach, and obsession with the ratings. But whether their reasoning is well informed or not, it's ruining the industry. And anyone that can't see that? Well, if you can't see that, then I've got a B-12 vitamin shot I think you should take. You dancing Ted...

Hope you enjoyed, friends. And here's to hoping you all have a great Memorial Day to kick off your Summer. Catch you next week...

Teddy Williams...



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