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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Summertime Smattering..


Boston Red Sox
Overall: 35-42 (7 games out of AL Playoffs)
Last Week: 3-5

Meh, there's nothing to see here. Which is to say, there's nothing really for which I wish to wax. At least when it comes to the Red Sox and their quest for mediocrity. Which is why I've decided to shelve whatever analysis I was going to attempt to provide in favor of some random video clips and hot takes. So, yeah. Enjoy...

"Damn, this is good! Who is this?!"



Always loved this video. Especially the "energetic" performance by the African American gentleman that decides "I'll take 2!". Besides, it's got a Summer feel to it. And it being Summer and all, I felt it would be appropriate. So, yeah. Cake. They're musically delicious...and that black guy is hilarious...

Speaking of hilarious. This guy used to be occasionally hilarious, until he killed himself with H. And here's a trailer for what should be his last new film to hit the big screen not to involve him as a hologram (unless you dig The Hunger Games, which I don't). Because we all know that's going to happen, eventually. The hologram stuff, that is. Thankfully, most of us should be dead by then. And preferably not because of H. Hopefully it will be some new super drug of the future that you just put in your coffee. OR maybe we'll just OD on caffeine. Meh, either way I'm pretty sure coffee is involved. Just the mental projection I'm feeling. OR maybe that feeling is just that I want some coffee? Yeah, I've derailed. Here's the trailer...



Looks dark and slow, like The Master, which I still haven't seen. But PSH often thrived in those roles (See: Capote). So there's that. And it hits theaters in about a month. Definitely not what I would have chosen as Hoffman's final work, but probably worth a watch nonetheless. Though for me that "watch" is most likely to come on HBO in about 18 months, not in the theater in about 18 days...


As for sports. Tiger is back (kinda), the World Cup bites (literally), and we're on the eve of the NBA Draft (also literally). Hot takes ahead...


Tiger: It's great that he's back, and I'll be eager to see if he ever comes close to regaining the form that made him far and away the best in the world. But between his escalating age, deteriorating health, and the fact (mentioned here many times) that he's left a dearth of talent in his wake. It should prove nearly impossible for him to do so (of note: as I'm writing this it's coming across Twitter that he dumped his first drive of today's Pro-Am portion of the event into the drink). However, watching him try, especially if he does come close to returning to his full glory, should make for some of the best televised golf since the heydays of Palmer and Nicklaus...

Now, do I think he'll get the 5 more Major Championship victories that he needs to pass the aforementioned Mr. Nicklaus? No, I don't. Not anymore. He's finally fallen behind Jack's pace (due to age), and like I said, he'll be dealing with the a peer group that I think even Jack would have to admit is more talented than his own. So, no. I don't think he's going to get there. But man, it should be a lot of fun to watch him try...


The World Cup: One of the highest paid players in the sport of soccer just bit someone on international TV (again). Oh, and someone from my hometown is being blamed for the US only being able to manage a tie against Portugal. So, yeah! Soccer! Am I right? Freakin' Eurotrash. Or in this case "Urotrash". Because Uruguay, right?! Yeah, whatever. Racist chants, flopping, and biting. If that's your thing, then continue to enjoy yourself the World Cup. And yes, soccer snobs. I realize I'm making generalizations. But dude bit a guy on TV...for at least the second time! Defend that, and the culture that caters to it, if you must. But don't expect to get any sympathy or understanding. At least not outside of the next few weeks. And that's only in the US can stay in it. Otherwise, they'll ALL be branded dirty, racist biters within a 15 minute news cycle. And what a glorious few minutes on Twitter that will be. Should make that Boston/Montreal interaction look and NAACP meeting...


NBA Draft: I'm great at remembering where guys went to school, but not often great at projecting them into the pros. For instance, in 2008 I predicted that Russell Westbrook (UCLA) and Kevin Love (UCLA) would be the 2nd and 3rd best players to come out of that draft class. A class that featured Derrick Rose (Memphis) and Michael Beasley (Kansas St.). Not bad, right? Yeah, not bad. Except for the fact that I thought the best player to come out of that draft class would be...drum roll please!...Jerryd Bayless (Arizona). Yeah...

So, who do I think will be the best players from the class of 2014? Well, I'm glad that, through me, you decided to ask. And here they are:

1) Andrew Wiggins
2) Shabazz Napier
3) Doug McDermott

Honorable mention: Cleanthony Early, TJ Warren, Jerami Grant

Probably not the list you thought you'd see, but I'm not usually in the business of judging guys I've barely seen play (Exum). I'm also not in the business of casting my lot with guys that can't shoot, or big guys with back problems (Embiid). And I won't bore you with analysis. Just suffice it to say that I think those 3 are going to have better careers than their peers. And that rhymes, friends. So you know it's going to be true...

Oh, and I'm not interesTed in talking about LeBron opting out of his deal with the Heat. The draft is as far as I go...unless I'm going out of my way to rip Reverend Dr. Glenn Luther Rivers Jr. Which I guess could happen soon, seeing as allegedly LeBron is really fond of the good doctor's coaching techniques. With the "technique" Doc uses to win when he has the best players probably right at the top of the list...


And that's all I've got. I'm sure I forgot something, amidst this nonsensical smattering (literally learning as I type that Daryl Strawberry is now a...pastor? Because of course he is.). But that's why Al Gore created Twitter. So, my friends. Until next time. Now get out there and enjoy the Summer...


#BAGSMUNMAN

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tony Gwynn: 1960-2014


Outside of maybe Manny Ramirez and Robinson Cano, I'm thinking that Tony Gwynn was the best hitter I ever saw. And even more, the dude was just a class act. A very likable man, that never seemed to forget that he was not only there for the fans, but also there because of the fans. A gratitude he never failed to let shine through, either via his mile wide smile and signature chuckle, OR the dedication to and passion for his craft that made him a no brain selection for the Hall of Fame. Not to mention that he was wildly popular, well liked, and respected amongst his peers, and a tremendous asset to the community of San Diego. A place he played for for all TWENTY of his professional seasons. A fact that, on it's own, would probably have made him a legendary figure. That he hit .338 during that time span, was basically a bonus. That's how well liked this guy was. Though hitting that .338, along with a myriad of other impressive numbers, are what make cement his status as one of the game's all time greats...

I could bore you with more of his his mind boggling stats, too. But I won't (OK. Dude had a .415 BA in 107 career ABs against Greg Maddux (with ZERO strike outs!) & he finished his career with 319 steals. His high of 56 coming in 1987). They're all over all the Interweb right now, anyway. So if you want more they're out there for the taking (including great write ups here, here, here, here, here, AND here). But I just wanted to pay my respects to a great man, who at age 54, left us far too early...

Tony Gwynn was a great baseball player, and from all counts, an even better person. We could use a lot more like him, and he will be dearly missed. Rest in peace, friend. And thanks for the memories...


Got some more NBA thoughts, too. Actually, it's just one thought, and it's more of a statement. And it's for all of you out there telling me that the Spurs actually play the type of team basketball that I like, and that I missed out by not watching them play. That statement is this:

If the Spurs were the rule, and not the exception to it. I'd start watching again in a heartbeat. But, alas. The only reason this team is a "story", is because they are the exception in a league filled with teams that rarely play anything resembling "team" offense OR defense on a regular basis.

Oh, and for everyone surprised at how great Kawhi Leonard? Just a heads up. The Spurs are probably gonna grab Cleanthony Early, or somethin'. And he (Early, or whichever more polished player they grab) is gonna make the rest of the GMs look the fool just like Leonard (the 15th pick in 2011, behind the likes of...Jimmer Fredette) has already done. There are just so few competent GMs in the NBA. And maybe even fewer competent coaches. The Spurs have both, and should continue turning chess into checkers for some time to come. At least until their front office core calls it quits. And even then, they seem like the type of organization that will have a decent plan in place to help ensure their future success...

Though I do appreciate all of you that are concerned about what I may be missing. You're good eggs. But I still won't be watching. So there's that...

And speaking of apathy...

The Red Sox play this season has left many a fan stroking their beards in an
attempt to figure out if this year's team will ever find some consistency...
Boston Red Sox
Overall: 32-38 (5 1/2 games out of AL Playoffs)
Last Week: 3-3

I'd love to be the bearer of good news, but another week of mediocre play has led to another mediocre won/loss week for the Boston Red Sox. Which is bound to happen more often than not when statistically, you have baseball's 22nd best offense & 14th best pitching staff. Oh, and Don Orsillio and Jerry Remy spent the better part of  last night's 2nd inning taking selfies. If that's not an indicator of how the average fan feels about this team, then I don't know what is. And I can't say I blame them. For their general apathy, that is. Not their penchant for selfies. Selfies are STRICTLY for Teds. You get 1 or 2, maybe. As long as you're using it as a contact icon or avatar. Otherwise? Ted central. And you already knew this...MAN!*

*This obviously doesn't apply if you're an attractive female, and you manage to get enough of your cleavage in the pic. However, having a dog in said cleave-filled selfie also renders the selfie pointless and annoying.

Oh, and speaking of cleavage. Apparently this exists. I mean, not to go all random boob on ya. But, yeah. Boob deodorant. What a country. Not that it's manufactured here, but you know. We're probably the only people that can A) afford it AND B) are shallow enough to feel the need to use it. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those things. I mean, I am still an American. Are current fixation with soccer notwithstanding...



How Kate Upton doesn't have her own personalized line of this shit, I'll never know...

"Hi, I'm supermodel Kate Upton. And when my breasts get sweaty, I only un-lube my boob with 'Kate's Kup Kream'! So when you think sweaty boobs, think KKK!"

Oh, OK. Maybe that's why they aren't doing it. Touche, Upton and friends. Touche. Looks like you've won this round. Carry on...


And you can carry on as well, my friends. And I'll catch you next week. Dry breasts and all. Have a good one...


#BAGSMUNMAN

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Teach a Man to Fish...er?


Musings? Musings. Let's go!

Boston Red Sox
Overall: 29-35 (5 games out of AL Playoffs)
Last Week: 2-5

Last week, I said that the Red Sox would continue to streak in various directions, and fail to live up to expectations. And after a 2-5 week that featured a large chunk of a 5 game losing streak, I'm not about to change that opinion. Might not be the sexiest analysis, but there it is. And I've got nothing else to add. So, yeah. Streak on, my damies. Oh, and if you find it within yourselves to put a winning streak together that's long enough to convince the front office to make a big deadline deal. Well, then that wouldn't suck, either...

I've got some NBA-ish thoughts, though (I know, right?). Not that I'm watching the Finals, or anything crazy like that. But here you are:


Derek Fisher

I can't help but think that when arguably the greatest coach in the history of the league feels it's appropriate to seek out and hire a coach without a modicum of coaching experience, a rather clear message has been sent: Coaching in the NBA is no longer about "teaching and coaching", and all about merely having a head man that can coexist with your players and pout out any fires in terms of the locker room and chemistry. That's it. Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, Steve Kerr and now Derek Fisher. That's why they were brought in. Which is fine, I guess. To each their own. And just because a few owners/GMs made a few bizarre hirings doesn't exactly mean it's the start of a trend. But when someone like Phil Jackson does it. Well than that moves it from merely "acceptable", to downright intelligent and forward thinking...
Sooooo why are you here again?

My question is, where is the track record of success to back up this recent trend? These "championship teams" that were led by inexperienced coaches? OH, that's right. They don't exist. So, I have to wonder. Is this a trend towards a bold, new way of thinking that will prove more effective? Where the GM becomes the real coach and the coach on the sidelines is more like a friendly chaperone of sorts? OR is this just merely the latest way to appease players that seem to get more arrogant and self absorbed with every passing year? I mean, obviously you know I think it's the latter. Because I just don't see installing someone with NO real experience as a viable solution. But if you're an NBA fan, I'd be more than a little bit concerned that you're only a few years away from the inmates entirely running that asylum...

OR maybe this is all just part of a new "system", where the inexperienced guy brings them to the brink, but when the players get tired of him being a pushover, then the GM brings in hard nose to push them over the top. Yeah, that could be it. But probably not. I mean. I don't wanna go giving those Teds the benefit of the doubt now, do I? No, no Rooch. You certainly...

And that, my friends. Is what we call referring to yourself in the 4th person. I wouldn't try it at home. On the Interweb, maybe. But certainly not at home...


Donald Sterling

I hate to side with a racist d-bag, but I love how Sterling is refusing to go quietly into the night regarding the forced sale of the LA Clippers. And instead, is attempting to make it as sketchy and difficult as possible for the NBA to take his team away. Why, you ask? Well, it's simple. The NBA and it's owners have known for decades that Donald Sterling was a racist d-bag, and they allowed him to operate with impunity. But now that they've been publicly embarrassed due to his racist-ness and d-baged-ness, they want him out, so they abruptly alter their indifference in order to facilitate his ouster...

Again, the NBA is right in wanting him gone. He's a racist, he's a d-bag. Dude's just a freakin' liability. I just hate when a group turns on an individual merely because it's become popular or convenient. I mean, it's obvious they don't really care that he's racist, OR they would have ousted him years ago. So all this really is, is the NBA trying to save face. And, I'm sorry. But I don't want to see them do that. I'm a big fan of just desserts, consequences and whatnot. And I want to see the NBA struggle to get this thing done. It probably won't happen, just because so many people want Sterling out. But I'd love to see the NBA squirm. It's the least they should have to go through after carrying on with that chirad that helped line their pockets for the better part of the last quarter century...

The NBA, man. It's a freakin' shit show. No wonder Dennis Rodman needed to go to North Korea for a break...


As for the rest of the landscape. I recommend you check out the US Open this weekend. No Tiger, but the talent he's left in his wake is something to see (most notably the 2 Masters champs up top). Basically all these guys for whom he set the bar are now thriving, while at the same time finding the fields much deeper than before Tiger's prime. Anyone can win, and it's great. And with the US Open's traditionally challenging layout, it should make for a weekend of good watchin'...

Otherwise, amuse yourselves as you will. And I'll catch you next week. You know, when hopefully the Red Sox will be on an uptick. OR maybe they'll have fired John Farrel and replaced him with Jason Varitek. You know, because apparently that's the smart thing to do these days...

Until then, friends. Be good...


#BAGSMUNMAN

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Holt and Catch Fire?

Brock Holt is batting .333 with an .869 OPS in 101 at bats.
Boston Red Sox
Overall: 27-30 (2.5 games out of AL Playoffs)
Last Week: 5-1

Have I seen the new AMC show that helped spawn the title of this week's post? No, I have not (and apparently neither has anyone else). But I love me some abstract word play, so here we are. And you deserve to have lengths gone to in your honor when you're a young utility player that's helped spark a record setting run. So, yeah. Here we are...

As for the Red Sox play of late. Notably, their being only the 3rd team in MLB history to back up a 10+ game losing streak with a winning streak of 7 or more. It would be more encouraging if it weren't so flukey (with key performances mostly coming from projected role players and prospects). On the one hand, it's great to see youngsters like Brock Holt and Ruby de la Rosa showing that they can help contribute to the big club (not to mention the current hot streak being enjoyed by Xander Bogaerts). But we all know that it's going to take consistent contributions from the big money players in order for this team to compete. And as encouraging as those young guys have been, they certainly seem like short term answers to long term problems. I mean, I'd love to be surprised. But there's a reason these guys started the season in the minors...
Rubby De La Rosa's full arsenal was on display in
his 1st start for the Sox. With some saying he has the
best changeup since...Clay Buchholz...

It's great to see them playing with the passion I knocked them for lacking last week, though. I'm thinking that scuffle with Tampa has been partly responsible for that, though. So we'll see how long that lasts...

Winning alone can bring that passion and excitement back, though. And with it, should come that fabled "accountability" I've been preaching about. But I'll look for a little more consistency before I start expecting that. Because, let's be honest. We're still talking about an under .500 team. And until that's no longer the case, there's really no reason to get too wrapped up into "why" they're 3 games under .500. They're there because they're consistently mediocre. And I don't think anything embodies that more than losing 10 and winning 7...

And, unfortunately. I think we're in for a lot of that for the rest of the summer. I'm not writing this team off, making any sweeping indictments, OR pretending to be encouraged because this stuff is "good for the future!". But inconsistency has been their calling car to this point, and barring something drastic, I fully expect that trend to continue. You know, for better or for worse...

In other news: Fargo is still the jump off, Louie is still (intentionally?) sketchy as all Hell, and this was probably the only performance you "missed" if you didn't catch the latest Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony...



Oh, and this was pretty awesome, too...



If there's any justice (spoiler alert: there isn't), Tom will get just as rousing and deserving a speech when he gets in. But, yeah. It's gonna be tough for anyone to do that one justice. Well done, Mr. Morello. Your speech was better than any song I ever heard KISS actually play. And I actually like "Lick It Up" quite a bit. DON'T WANNA WAIT TIL YOU KNOW ME BETTER! (RIFF RIFF RIFF, RIFF RIFF RIFF!)...

Otherwise, the induction ceremony was oddly underwhelming. Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel, and Cat Stevens were just OK. And in another stunner, the HBO production team really butchered the tribute to the E Street Band. It was just a mess, with music often playing over them as they spoke, and with photos and videos being choppily thrown in as if there had been some shortage of time. Something I don't find likely, seeing as the broadcast was more than 3 hours long...

But, yeah. You can't win 'em all, and this was a rare miss in my book for HBO and the Rock & Roll HOF. I mean, I guess Gary Clark Jr. was busy, or somethin'. Meh. Maybe next time...


And, speaking of next time. That's when I'll catch you Teds! Hopefully, we'll again be talking about how the Red Sox made me look the fool with their winning ways. But, either way. I'm sure I'll find some top on which to wax poetic. Or whichever way I happen to feel like waxing at the time. Maybe I'll be waxing about the first Triple Crown winner since 1978? But, yeah. Probably not. Wax off, my damies. Wax off...

Be good...

#BAGSMUNMAN