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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Remembering Robin And Deconstructing Tony...


So, did you watch the PGA Championship? I certainly hope so. Not only was it one of the few times that one of my predictions of excellence actually came to fruition. But it was also just some outstanding televised sports entertainment. The players (Rory holding off Rickie and Phil), the venue (Valhalla cemented itself as one of golf's premier venues), the broadcast team (No Johnny Miller = good times), and the finish in the twilight (/straight up darkness). This year's PGA Championship really had it all. And if you missed it, you're a Ted. There, I said it. Thankfully, the ratings (up 56% from last year and the highest rated PGA Championship since '08) indicate that you probably were watching. So good on you...

But I'm still wary of all the Teds, out there. And don't think I haven't noticed how you've managed to somehow make the chain letter a new Facebook fad, either. I mean, I feel like someone just renamed the chain letter the "SNAPBACK!" and all of a sudden it's some sort of acceptable practice. But, yeah. I won't rant on that. You Teds wanna dump ice on your head, that's your business. Just please stop making it mine. Oh, and if you really feel the need to donate and help support a cause that's near and dear to your heart. Then try this...

OK, but that's all the time I've allotted to "charity" for the sake of popularity. So I'm movin' on. Unfortunately, not on to anything any more pleasant. But hopefully I can manage to make it interesting. We'll see...

Enjoy...

*Robin Williams is dead. It sucks, I know. I was a big fan of his work, and he'll be dearly missed. My go-to movie critic, Tim Grierson, has a great write up on Williams that I really don't feel I could match. One that discusses our "ownership" of celebrities, while also celebrating Robin's wide ranging career and admiring his impressive impact. It's incredibly well written, too. And Tim is just the man when it comes to movies. So I suggest you check that out...

My only other thoughts on that are that suicide and depression both suck. Just not as much as Robin's Boston accent in Good Will Hunting. OH!

No, but Robin was great. And I'm very thankful for the role his unique brand of comedy was able to play in my cinematic life. RIP Robin. It's a shame you couldn't stay, but thanks for the laughs...


*Equally as tragic is the death of Kevin Ward Jr, who was run over and killed this past weekend during a dirt track racing incident with NASCAR star, Tony Stewart. And while I'm never one to "get out in front" of an opinion on a story where there are still so many unknowns. The more I learn about what I saw, the more I'm inclined to think the same 2 things...

1) Kevin Ward should have NEVER gotten out of his car

AND

2) Tony Stewart's intent was to scare/intimidate Kevin Ward

Now, listen. I don't know dick about cars. So you can talk all day about how that particular style of car reacts OR it's lack of visibility. That's all well and good. But for me to believe that this was genuinely an "accident", then I have to assume that neither Ward or Stewart had any idea as to what they were doing. Essentially, I have to believe that they knew about as much as these cars they were driving as I do. Probably wouldn't hurt if I completely ignored Stewart's sordid on track history and reputation as a polarizing character, either...

I mean, did Ward not know the danger he was taking by walking towards the cars? Did Stewart not know how to properly avoid a foreign object on the track? OR, is there "relatively" little danger in walking towards the cars. Which is why Ward did it. AND Tony Stewart is world renowned as some ultimate gear head with ability and inclination to drive more or less anything with a few wheels and an engine (not to mention his history as a hot head). I'm obviously inclined to believe the final two statements, more so than the latter. Which is why I'm having trouble viewing this as anything other than a case of intimidation gone horrifically wrong...

I'm not removing Ware from his part in this. He should have never gotten out of his car. But even someone like me, who never watches racing, has seen plenty of guys on the track mid race. It's dumb as all Hell, and the governing bodies need to crack down on the practice. But this isn't the first time it's happened. Which is why I'm not really buying the fact that this was such an oddity that Stewart was caught completely off guard when he saw Ward approaching. Approaching in an aggressive and angry manner, I might add...

As for Stewart's punishment, I really have no idea. And we'll have to wait for all of the evidence to come out (apparently the authorities now have another video besides the one that made the rounds on Sunday). But it's going to be tough to convince me at this point that there wasn't a least a little bit of malicious intent on of the part of Tony Stewart. If that means jail, I'm not sure. But it certainly seems like there needs to be some sort of sever punishment headed his way...

This wasn't "business as usual", as Stewart's crew chief so cavalierly said in the wake of Ward's death. And if it is, then someone needs to start taking a serious look at that business model. Whether that be Stewart and his team, or just the racing community as a whole. But "accidents" of this nature need to have a clear cut set of rules and consequences. Not just to provide transparency and accountability, but to prevent any more unnecessary risk in an already incredibly dangerous sport...


*You may have heard that the "O'Bannon decision" came down this past week. And maybe you're wondering what the ruling means for college athletics in terms of amateurism vs pay for play. Well, I'd like to think that this quote, from the article on the topic over at Deadspin, sums up the decision quite nicely...
This ruling, if it stands, says that "amateurism" as a philosophy is simply price fixing with better PR.
Yeah, so there you have it. The district court says the NCAA is full of shit. And has for years been trying to pass off their "cartel" as some sort of sacred institution that molds boys into men. THIS JUST IN! It also paves the way for some sort of compromise to come before the end of what could ultimately be a very lengthy appeals process. Something that's already been set into motion with the NCAA allowing for a few "new rules" to loosen restrictions for the teams and conferences that bring in all the money. Moves that are intended to benefit the student athlete, dontcha know. And if you believe that, then I've got a bucket of snakes challenge for you to accept that can summon the ghost of Lou Gehrig. Or something...

But, yeah. The NCAA as we've known it is all but dead. And it'll all be for the better. We're not there yet, but this is a step in the right direction. I mean, as long as you think the "right direction" involves actually paying your employees. Which I most definitely do...

Oh, and for anyone that wants to complain about the richer schools being able to buy their talent. THIS JUST IN! They've already been doing that. IT's why they've been beating your poor ass school into the ground for the past 50 years. So, yeah. Nothing should really change on that end. Though you can feel free to continue beating that drum if you so desire...


*Two entertainment type reviews, this week. The first being Steven Soderbergh and Clive Owen's turn of the century surgical drama, The Knick...

I liked the series premiere, but I didn't love it. It's dark, moody, extremely graphic. Kind of comes off as intense just for the sake of intensity (a common early knock on Mad Men, as well), and it is a little too reminiscent of the soon to be completed, Boardwalk Empire (stylistically, at the very least). But enough pieces are still there (namely Soderbergh + Owen) for The Knick to find it's stride and become yet another in what's become quite the long line of great shows over the past 10-15 years...


*I also took in a private screening (in my room) of Ron Howard's Rush. Which chronicles the mid 70s Formula One rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt. I didn't know anything about their story before filming, and I suggest you go into it the same way. Mostly because that makes the movie that much better, but also because my post movie research has determined that they more or less cover anything you really need to know...

The film is well done, though. Great story, good acting. But mostly it's just a great story. Which I don't want to ruin for you. So check it out. AND THEN TAG # OF YOUR FRIENDS THAT YOU THINK WOULD ALSO LIKE IT!!!


Red Sox Update
Overall: 53-65 (10 1/2 games out of AL Playoffs)
Last Week: 4-2

The only news of note surrounding the Red Team involves Tom Werner possibly becoming the next MLB Commissioner. Something I touched upon last week. If he does, that's great news for the Red Sox and bad news for baseball. Mostly because he'd be in favor of helping the rich get richer, and because he's more of an entertainment/media guy than he is a true "baseball guy". But he's probably not going to be elecTed. SO that's a bridge we'll burn when we actually get to it...

Otherwise, yeah. It's nice to see Cespedes finally get a few dingers under his belt. One way or another, he's going to be a key piece for this team during this rapid rebuild. So it's good to see him being able to settle in and rake. GET THAT VALUE UP, YO! GET IT UP!


And that's it for me, friends. Hope you enjoyed this latest smattering, and I'll catch you next week. OH, and it's almost time for my weekly NFL and college picks to start regularly making their way to this very space. Because that's what I do. Picks, college basketball rankings, and them I mumble through the summertime like a mental patient off his meds. And meds rhymes with Teds. So there we are...

Catch you next time, kids. Be good...


#BAGSMUNMAN

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