Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Twins Remain Delusional, Make no Moves at Trade Deadline

Aargh this is frustrating.  Once again, the Twins made no moves at the trade deadline (outside of the Liriano deal) despite being irrefutably out of playoff contention and having players other teams covet but who don't or shouldn't figure in the team's future plans - you know, the perfect combination to make a whole bunch of trades (see:  Astros, Houston).  Last season the team had Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, and Joe Nathan (among others) who were all going to be free agents and all could have been traded away, yet none were.  I was frustrated but understood the thinking at least, given that the Twins would receive a draft pick for each once they signed somewhere else - that isn't the case this year.

There were reports of team's after Denard Span, Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham, Jared Burton, and Glen Perkins, and there was absolutely no reason to hold on to Morneau or Burton (and maybe not Perkins either, depending on your opinion of his future).  At this point the Twins need to realize they're at least two more years if not more away from contending and it's time to figure out who is going to be a part of this team when it comes back around, assuming it does, and then trade everybody else.  Span is still a pure leadoff hitter, and although he and Revere are somewhat redundant he's also signed to a very team friendly deal through 2015 so there's no reason to trade him unless a deal knocks you on your ass, which apparently the Reds didn't do today - although if you could get Homer Bailey and a couple good prospects I'd have pulled the trigger.  Willingham's kind of in the same boat, pretty much the team's only pure power hitter who is also signed to a great contract through 2014, so I get holding on to him too.  But the rest?

Morneau has a big contract, owed $14 million next year and a pro-rated $14 for the rest of this year so it might be a litter tougher to get full value back, but it was reported the Dodgers, Giants, and Blue Jays were all after him, but the Twins were asking for too much back, including a major leaguer in return and having the team that received Morneau pick up his entire contract.  Well guess what?  If you can't get that this year you sure as shit aren't going to get it next year when he's just going to be a two month rental for some team.  At least this year whatever team traded for him would get an entire year and change out of the deal.  Now?  They've basically gambled that he can get himself back to a $14 million a year player, at which point they won't be able to afford to resign him after his contract is up because they're hamstrung by the Mauer deal.  Best case scenario at this point is he plays out of his mind, walks, and they get a pick.  Well played, Terry Ryan.

And as for Burton and Perkins?  They're relievers.  Relievers pretty much grow on trees.  Reports are the Rangers were going after Burton and that "Perkins was in high demand today."  What?  For what reason would you possibly hold on to middle relievers when you aren't a contender?  Perkins, maybe, if you've decided he's your closer of the future (foolish, but it at least makes some sense) but Burton?  The average lifespan of a middle reliever on a team is 1.2 years, a figure I completely made up but it sounds right.  From year-to-year they're notoriously unreliable, and the odds Burton is on this team when they're back in contention are basically nil.  It just doesn't make a lick of sense.

Who on this team might possibly matter in the future?  Mauer, because they're stuck with him.  Span, Revere, Willingham, Dozier, Plouffe, and Parmelee?  I mean, I like Ryan Doumit quite a bit, but on a team like the Twins he's just a placeholder so if anybody comes sniffing around him (and it sounds like nobody did this year) he's another one who should be traded.  Diamond's pretty much the only starter worth penciling in your 2014 rotation, and between their lack of value and youth they'll obviously hold on to guys like DeVries, Deduno, Walters, and Hendriks, but pretty much everybody else needs to go and if they don't trade Carl Pavano at the waiver deadline I'm going to start making Molotov Cocktails.

There's no point to being shitty with old, crappy players who are going to be out of the league by the time you stop sucking.  The Astros have it figured out, trading Chris Johnson, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Brandon Lyon, J.A. Happ, and Carlos Lee in the last month.  Basically everybody they knew wasn't a key building block or had no chance of developing into one.  The Pirates used this basic strategy for years, and are now in line to make the playoffs for the first time since Barry Bonds couldn't throw out Sid Bream.  Their leadoff hitter for most of this season (Jose Tabata) and one of their starters (Jeff Karstens) were acquired for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady in 2008, their second guy off the bench and super utility man was acquired from the Cubs for two middle relievers in 2009, two other starters were acquired in the Nate McLouth trade (Charlie Morton) and Octavio Dotel trade (James McDonald), and they got their closer (Joel Hanrahan) for Lastings Milledge when they gave up on him.  They've also got great organizational depth thanks to the sheer volume of prospects and minor leaguers they've acquired.  Of course, it also helps that they've nailed the draft recently (Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Starling Marte) but the point stands.

And of course, what do Dick and Bert open up tonight's broadcast with?  How glad they are nobody other than Liriano was traded.  Honest to god I think I'd rather have Hawk Harrelson's over-the-top homer shtick than this aw shucks folksy we love these boys bullshit these two keep slingin'.  No wonder the Twins' brass can get away with this, the announcers are feeding the fans this crap and they're eating it up based on what I've heard on the radio and read on the internet.  It's like some sort of crazy collective delusion where everybody thinks this team is team is thisclose to being a contender again - like a cult like those Waco guys or the Mormons or Dyson Vacuum Cleaner Owners.  Guess what, idiots?  This is the worst version of the Twins we've seen in our lifetimes.  FACT.  The 1981 and 1982 editions were a worse combo than 2011 and 2012, but I was too young to care or even realize what was going on, and outside of then this is the worst two year stretch in team history.  There is no quick fix.  When you need to burn your house down for insurance money and then build a new, better house you don't run around swapping out a few chairs for equally shitty, but different chairs - you burn that mother down with gasoline and a bazooka.  Like Beavis would.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fare thee well, Francisco Liriano

Everybody knew Francisco Liriano was going to be traded, it was just a matter of where to and for what.  With the starting pitching market drying up after Cole Hamels resigned with the Phillies, Matt Garza got hurt, Ryan Dempster basically saying he'd only waive his no trade rights to go to the Dodgers to play with his BFF Ted Lilly, and Zack Greinke (Angels), Anibal Sanchez (Tigers), and Wandy Rodriguez (Pirates) already have been moved, the Twins looked to have some leverage to maximize their return.  The best pitchers still thought to be available were Josh Johnson, James Shields, and Liriano, but with the Marlins reportedly asking for the world for Johnson and the Rays on the fence about whether to move Shields, Liriano may have been the most attractive option for teams looking for pitching help - and plenty still were.  Texas, the Dodgers, Atlanta, and St. Louis were all rumored to have interest in him, so the hope was the Twins could play them off each other to get at least one good prospect in return.

Instead, they traded him to the White Sox for a couple middling prospects in IF Eduardo Escobar and SP Pedro Hernandez.

Escobar ranks right around the 10th best prospect in the Sox system (but keep in mind the White Sox have the worst system in the majors according to almost everyone) and a plus fielder at three positions, and in fact was ranked as the top fielder in Chicago's system for four consecutive years by Baseball America.  That's good.  What's not so good is his bat.  He's hit at a sub-Puntoian level in his 97 at-bats this year, putting up a slash line of .207/.281/.276, which is a stellar combination of not getting on base and having zero power.  And it isn't exactly like he's just struggling to adjust to major league pitching, because his career line in the minors is .266/.303/.354, an OPS on par with Drew Butera's major league numbers this year.  He did sign when he was 17 and is still just 23 so there's time to develop something, but it's likely not going to be power.   The Twins are starting him at Rochester which is a good move so he can work on his hitting, which is good because as it stands right now his upside is probably as a utility backup infielder.  If he can figure out a way to hit .280 or so with at least a little gap power, combined with his fielding, he could be a starter for the Twins along the lines of Alcides Escobar, but that's probably his absolute ceiling with a floor of Denny Hocking.

Hernandez, the pitcher the Twins got in the deal, generally ranks around 20th in the White Sox system, depending on what you read (and remember, again, the Sox have the worst system in baseball).  He was acquired by Chicago in the Carlos Quentin trade, and you know it's always a good sign when two different organizations are willing to trade a prospect.  He is a lefty, which is good, and his career minor league numbers are decent, which is also good.  He's spent time as both a starter and reliever in the minors, and has a career ERA of 3.42 and WHIP of 1.24 in six minor league seasons.  He had a shot at the Sox rotation back on July 18th, making his first career start against Boston, but gave up 12 hits and 8 runs in just four innings and was sent back to AAA.  He was striking out batters at a pretty respectable rate up until he hit AAA, but this year, after being re-promoted to AAA, registered 17 Ks in 17 innings.  It's pretty obvious why the Twins' were interested -  his fastball sits at 89 mph and he doesn't walk anybody, the Twins' wet dream.

With Liriano hitting free agency after this season, as well as his erratic pitching since his surgery, nobody was going to pay a monster bonanza to get him but he flashed enough success that several teams were at least interested, and the best Terry Ryan could do was two 23-year old barely prospects from the team with the worst farm system in the league?  Still, there are a couple of positives:

1.  Although their upside isn't all that high, both Hernandez and Escobar are 23 and in AAA, and as such both will likely hit the majors with the Twins this year so we'll see what the Twins have quickly.  Both are likely to contribute at the big league level in some capacity, with Hernandez downside a bullpen arm/spot starter and Escobar a utility man, with Escobar having a chance to slot in to 2b (assuming Plouffe/Dozier are the left side of the infield for a few years at least) and Hernandez could end up in the rotation.  If Ryan couldn't get high upside guys, he at least was able to get players that will at least do something at the MLB level, and I guess that's a good second option.

2.  It was time for Liriano to go.  I heard a couple idiot callers on the radio complaining about the Twins' giving up on him and seriously dudes, he sucks.  How many years can you get sucked in by his potential?  This is the guy who has lost his spot in the rotation multiple times and has had an ERA over 5.00 in three of the last four years, including this season.  Suddenly you think he's put it all together because he struck out 15 batters one game?  He has a few starts like that every season, and every season it's the same story as he bombs out his next start.  Trust me, he hasn't suddenly figured it out.  You know who else once struck out 15 guys in one game?  Ron Villone.  Yeah, exactly.  And the no-hitter?  According to game score Liriano's was the worst no-hitter in history.  I'm not impressed by a no-hitter for the sake of a no-hitter either, because Phil Humber has one too.  It was time to move on.  You can only get fooled by potential for so long before you're no longer and optimist, you're an idiot.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wolves Retool, Emphasis on the Tool

It's been a wild and wacky off-season for the Wolves.  The one thing you can say about Kahn is he doesn't stand pat.  I appreciate the fact that he's wheeling and dealing and scraping for some players instead of signing the basketball equivalent of Jamey Carroll and quitting. (Yes, I know about Willingham, but stay with me.)  If you're a big dork like me an follow twitter and websites for every off-season hoops rumor you know the Wolves are involved in about half of them.  They didn't always hit on their efforts to land players, but boy are they trying.  In addition, the drafting of Rubio and the play of Kevin Love actually makes players want to come here now!  Can you believe that?  Brandon Roy talked about a white Christmas with his family moving to Minnesota.  That's freaking incredible.

By the way, the basketball equivalent of Jamey Carroll is Toronto Raptor Jose Calderon.

I can do a few things, but I am overpaid and deserve your hatred.

The Wolves moved some malcontents and underachievers for some new white guys and an embattled former star.  Beasley was allowed to walk instead of picking up his $9MM-ish qualifying offer.  He went to Phoenix where he'll likely be allowed to chuck it 20 times a game in order to get them a high lottery pick.  Martell Webster was also jettisoned; and he could be considered the first salvo in what has become a Portland/Minnesota hoops feud.  Minnesota claims that Portland knew that Martell's back was beyond jacked and did not trade in good faith.  They are actually pursuing this with the NBA and asking for a pick (assume 2nd round) for compensation.  I doubt anything comes of it other than some people laugh at Kahn.

The Wolves then made a play for Nic Batum in the hopes of getting a wing that could actually defend someone one-on-one.  They made an pretty massive offer for a player that has a lot of skill and upside, but isn't an all-star type...at least not yet.  The Blazers waited until the zero hour and then matched.  At the same time they also helped facilitate a trade for another potential Wolves target by being the 3rd party in the Courtney Lee sign and trade to the Celtics.  This isn't over, Blazers! *shakesfist*

The Wolves also got Brandon Roy, who apparently has regenerated some knee parts by visiting the Island of Dr. Moreau and getting some injections.  In cripple mode he was near worthless, but he claims he feels better than he's felt in years after the procedure, so we'll see.  If the Wovles get 25 mins a game of  not quite as good as ol' Roy, that's a steal.  Remember Ol' Roy dog food from Christmas Vacation?

So who else is gone?  Anthony Randolph, Brad Miller (retired), probably Anthony Tolliver (as they're out of spots unless they cut some dudes) and former #4 pick Wes Johnson.  Watching Wes Johnson go dunk-a-tron on everyone at Syracuse made me think this was a good pick at the time.  Turns out Wes didn't have any fire in his belly and just kind of coasted through most of his games with the Wolves.  I'm pretty sure Wes is constantly on shrooms; do they test for that? Wes goes to Phoenix (Beasley AND Wes, what could go wrong?) and will try for new life on a career that's been disapointingly poop-stained.  Oh yeah, they traded Wayne Ellington for Dante Cunningham too.

In exchange for these guys, the Wolves brought in a veritable blizzard of white guys. You already know about Chase Budinger coming aboard for the 18th overall pick. In addition the Wolves add a pair of Russians in Aleksey Shved (23) and  Andrei Kirilenko (31).  The Wes trade was to free up cap to get Kirilenko, who Kahn signed toa  2 year $20MM deal. That is a LOT of cash for a guy on the back nine of his career, but there are no other FAs left that can bring what he can and I've been given to understand the second year is a player option in case Andrei wants to go back to Mother Russia and drink wodka.  Plus, Kirlenko has a sweet nick-name (AK47) and a hot wife that lets him go off the farm on his b-day.  Shved is an upside play and I've watched enough youtube to see that he's as slippery as an eel and has good ball-handling and an OK jumper. I've seen clips where he alternates between delivering and receiving alley-oops.  He signed a 3 year deal for about $10MM and I like the play for some sneaky upside.  If he were a draft pick I'd consider him the type of guy that goes in the 15-25 range.  Could be solid; could make you punch your cat in frustration.  Lastly, the Wolves signed backup center Greg Stiemsma to fill their backup stiff position.  Stiemsa has a couple things going for him:  1) he's white and we're apparently trying to set some kind of record with that and 2) he can defend inside a bit.  I think he was a good signing.

The lack of shoulder blades allows Shved to more easily windmill dunk.

So the roster as of now is something like this:

PG:  Rubio (out w/knee), Ridnour, Barea, Jerome Dyson?
SG:  Ol' Roy, Budinger (SF), Shved, Malcom Lee?
SF:  Andrei Kirilenko, Dante Cunningham, Robbie Hummel Figurine
PF:  Love, D. Williams
C:   Pekovic, Greg Stiemsma, Paulo Prestes?

That's an incredible 11 white-ish players.  Although I'm not certain about the guys with questions marks making the team at this point.  That list has 16 and the Wolves need to get down to 15.  In addition, the Wolves had been in talks with Carl Landry to bolster their big man ranks.  I did think Prestes looked decent in summer league play, but no one tries there.  Jerome Dyson sucks (get it?) and I haven't seen much of Lee but the reason he was drafted in the 2nd in 2011 was he can defend, so it might be a good idea to hang on to him.  Dante Cunningham is kind of Jack of all trades type that should be able to provides some defense. 

This season likely hinges on Brandon Roy and Ricky Rubio's health.  As mentioned, if Roy can be 90% of his old self and play around 25 minutes, he's a weapon.  Rubio's recovery from knee surgery appears to be going great and I've heard anything from late September to December for the date of his return.  If he can come back and play like he was playing before injury, this is a team that can get in the playoffs.  There.  I said it.

Roy may not start in the beginning and I could see lineups were Budinger starts at the 2 or at the 3, pushing Kirilenko to the bench.  I also suspect AK47 and D. Williams will share a lot of time on the floor with Williams defending the lesser offensive weapon at either the 3 or 4.  There are lineup configurations here that present post options with Pek, pick an roll options with a number of players as well as some players that love to run.  Budinger, Ak47, Williams, Shved and even Stiemsma can run the floor and will get some alley-oops.  Should be fun to watch. 

Defensively, there are a few players that I consider good passing lane defenders, like Rubio and Budinger.  Pek is good on the blocks just because he's very physical.  Steimsma is a plus defender, as are Kirilenko and Cunningham.  Love is still a turnstyle but he and Pek rebound like the dickens.

Early homer projection based on a healthy Rubio return by late November is a .500 record and the 8 seed.

In closing...

Makes you want to troll the Russian Brides websites...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Super Shark is Super Puke

Well I have nothing better to do with my time and the Tivo is busy Tivo-ing so I can't watch the Twins, so might as well dip once again into the well and see what all I have as far as giant aquatic creature movies.  Yes that's right, I'm once again going for the Live Movie Blog.  As I look, I have Super Shark and Sharktopus on this TV, and I don't feel like going downstairs or walking all the way to the DVD cabinet so it's going to be one of these two.  Super Shark is about a giant, prehistoric shark terrorizing a seaside town and stars the blonde Duke from Dukes of Hazzard who I think was Bo.  Sharktopus is about exactly what you think it is and stars Julia Roberts brother.  Both are off SyFy so possibility of nudity is nil in both cases.  I'm going with Super Shark, it at least sounds like it has a chance to not suck, right? right?

-  On IMDB this has a rating of 2.5/10.  For reference, Piranhaconda was a 2.9.  I'm fucked.

-  Interesting wrinkle in that we're starting the movie off with military guys guarding a beach with big-ass guns.  Usually that doesn't happen until later.  And there''s the shark.  Which just beached itself and isnot leaping about the sand like a god damn Super Mario Brother and roaring the entire time.  Yes, roaring the entire time while bouncing around the beach like the sand was a trampompolline.  And science-y looking chick says, "this isn't working" and then cut to credits.  So we've got:

1.  Shark roaring
2.  Shark on land and mobile
3.  A complete disregard for science
4.  Ignoring of the Jaws formula of "tease, hint, but don't reveal your monster until later in the movie"

And we're one minute in.  Great.

-  ....one week earlier.....there are some dudes on an oil derrick who broke through the earth's crust or something and caused an earthquake where the "Super Shark" came out of the ground and somehow caused an explosion and then leaped out the water and grabbed part of the thing and pulled it under water.  Yeah.  I'm going to go refreshen this rum and coke so it's way stronger.

-  Obligatory beach shot while credits run to music.  No gratuitous shots of female body parts.  This is rough.

-  There's your gratuitous bikini shot right there, and on a sluttier looking Ana Faris kind of chick too.  I dig.

-  Her dude or whatever is scuba diving and asked her to throw a net into the water for some reason so she did and it made the super shark roar and then turn around like it was all mad.  It's true, sharks hate nets that are thrown in the water for no reason.

-  This is the girl who has been walking around in a bikini for like, 7 minutes.  Well done SyFy, well done.
This is where 2.4 of that 2.5 rating come from
-  Suddenly the two-way radio between her and her dude goes nothing but static, so she unplugs it.  Brains are not her best feature.  I can't decide what is yet, but it's not brains.

-  And now she's dead because the shark jumped out of the air and landed on the boat.  Yep, I wish I was the kind of guy who could paint a picture with words because that was just shitty stupid.  And that's twice now this shark has jumped, and like 5-8 times if you include that opening scene.  I think the producer/director/writer of this watched Air Jaws a few too many times.

-  In this movie, Quint will be played by a hawaiian shirt wearing, cowboy hat wearing, swisher sweet smoking, fruity umbrella drink with a bendy straw drinking, sunglasses around the neck on a string having caricature of Jimmy Buffet.  Christ.

-  Science chick just told Buffet that he should take her to the site of the oil platform crash or whatever and gave him a bunch of money and he said it's off limits and she said "my badge says Oceanic Investigation Bureau, it'll get us past anyone."  That can't be a real thing, right?  Then on the boat ride out she takes off the fancy jacket and nice blouse so she can just sunbathe in a bikini.  Not that I'm arguing, but that can't be consider professional conduct by the Oceanic Investigation Bureau.  If she's not careful she's going to get a censure.

-  I'm 17 minutes into this movie.  17.  Shit.

-  FYI:  Josh Willingham is officially known as "Mrs. W's boyfriend" around our house.  Just thought ya'll should know.

-  Science chick is now telling Luke Duke that the area where that oil platform sank is loaded with chemicals.   Well no shit.  then she gets all hard-assy on him and he manages to somehow turn that into a dinner date.  Oh, I'm sure she doesn't think of it as a date, but once she has a couple glasses of wine and he turns on that duke boy charm her pants will be on the floor of the General Lee before she even realizes she's been roofied.

-  The shark roared again.

-  Ooh, there was a survivor of the oil rig accident.  Which honestly doesn't make a lick of sense because the whole thing blew up and was then pulled underwater by the most roaringest shark since Jaws 4.

-  Plus this guy (we'll call him Kobe because he looks like Kobe) actually saw the shark, which is also stupid because in that scene Kobe was down in bowels of station or whatever and then somehow apparently sprinted to the top where he saw the shark and then somehow survived when the whole top level exploded and also survived when it got pulled over.  He really is like Kobe, except he'd probably recognize the talent he has in the paint and work to get them involved in the offense.

-  Suddenly now there's a navy sub for some reason.  I know it's the Navy because the operators are all wearing the kind of NAVY hats you can buy at Walmart.

-  The shark is ramming the sub with it's head at it's side, kind of in a "I'd really like to get to know you biblically" kind of way.  Sexy.

-  Never mind it bit the sub in half instead.  Man, talk about a violent relationship.  This shark's got nothing on Dez Bryant, who, by the way, is a cornerstone in my rebuilding effort in our Fantasy Football keeper league. Ass.


-  This lady is a dummy.  She thinks this hyrdolizing thing caused the rocks around the base of the oil platform to crumble thus causing it to sink.  Stupid lady, we all know it was a shark.  Excuse me, a super shark.

-  Potassium Feldspar is used to make glass and ceramics.  Kaolinite is used in medicines and paper manufacturing.  Quartz is quartz.  Potassium Hydroxide is actually corrosive, but in a way where it's used in batteries and cuticle removers, but it's most common use is to make soap and biodiesel which I assume is some kind of fuel.  Hydrolysis is a real thing that means the breakdown of chemicals by the addition of water.  So in theory all of those words science lady used could happen, except for the part where it created something that basically melted rock.  Also known as, "the whole half-assed scientific theory this movie is based on."  Plus the shark roars.

-  By the way, congrats should go out to Snacks and Mrs. Snacks as they welcomed their first child, Baby Lukas, into the world late Monday evening.  Pretty cool stuff, though I would have gone with a "c".

-  Two life guard girls who have been in several scenes but have been too boring to mention are now at some karaoke bar with some dude that looks like that mean guy from the OC but isn't.  Also earlier that one lifeguard lady was like telling the other lifeguard lady how they'd have a big party for her birthday but now it's just the three of them and this is very sad.  But it turns out there's a bikini contest, so all is not lost.

-  This bikini contest is sad.  And a sad bikini contest is the saddest thing of all.

-  Oh snap!  The birthday girl life guard girl decided to join the contest and be brave and strip because of course she had her bikini on under her clothes and she was all happy until she turned and looked and saw OC guy and other lifeguard girl guy making out.  Sad.  Reminded me of when Screech saw Zack and Lisa making out before the fashion show at the Max.  Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.

-  I wasn't paying attention and there was an Advil commercial that I thought was part of the movie.  I'm not sure if that says more about this movie or me but I'm a stupid free blogger and this is a movie that presumably cost 10s of thousands of dollars I assume.  Right?  100s?  I don't know.  How much does something like this cost?  And what can the profit margin possibly be?  Like 8 bucks?  I hope.

-  These lifeguards broads are arguing over that OC dude and then the one who didn't get the guy said I wish I was dead and then the shark ate her by jumping on the beach which is genius.  Then it ate her traitorous friend by jumping again and eating her.  The shark bouncing through sand is actually starting to win me over.  It's the stupidest thing ever other than Sex and the City but god damn at least they're consistent.  Something to be said for that I assume but I'm drunk so shut your mother.

-  The shark just ate somebody.  I don't know.  What am I, Kreskin?

-  Man, the Oceanic Bureau of Investigation sure does have a lax dresscode, because she's just out there and loving any minute of it.  and it worked because her and Jimmy Buffet guy just found he shark, AND IT'S CIRCLING THE BOAT!  The wake trailing behind the dorsal fin also looks like a child drew it with crayon.

-  Huh.  It seems that if you turn off your radio a giant prehistoric shark that is circling your boat for no real reason will leave.  Actually, now Investigator Boobsy explains that the shark was giving off it's own radio waves that were interfering with the boat's radio.  Yep, that's their explanation.

-  Bikini photo shoot on the beach.  I fear for these ladies lives.  But of course, the killer animal in this is a shark and they aren't actually in the water, so clearly they're safe.  Of course they're not safe you fool!  Did you forget we aren't dealing with some kind of regular old Tom Gugliotta of sharks, this is like, the kind of sharks!  The Kevin Durant or Rico Tucker of sharks!  And right on cue sharky boy jumps onto the beach and eats the photographer and both girls, but not before the blond one tries to beat it up by using a beach umbrella as a javelin or a jousting stick thing.  It didn't work.

-  Science lady, who it turns out is not an actual investigator with the ocean CSI or whatever but is in reality a hippie who hates people who drill for sweet, sweet oil, is now hammered at the bar because apparently she hates sharks or something.  I don't know.  I'd post a picture of the young lass but sadly I can't find a good one.  Or I'm struggling to use google properly.

-  Here comes the army or whatever to try to kill the shark before the big 4th of July festivities.  I was going to make a joke here but I got nothin'.

-  Speaking of gotting nothing, we went to a meat raffle tonight - me, TRE, Dr. Acula, Theory, and Lunny and TRE won twice (two $20 giftcards to a meat store), Theory won once (one giftcard), I won once (Six burgundy pepper marinated strip steaks), and Dr. Acula and Lunny were shutout in your face.  I don't have any idea if those steaks are good but I won and wanted steak and it was either that or kabobs and the kabobs had vegetables on them and I didn't go to a vegetable raffle.

-  Fake Dr. boobsy is winning me over.  Mostly with the cleavage.  Also winning me over?  When I logged into an online sportsbook I hadn't used in about a year and saw over $300 in there.  Sweet.  Can't wait to blow it.

-  We're back at the part with the army on the beach from before.  I bet you guys like, $80 the shark jumps on the beach and eats that tank and all that shit.

-  Bullets seem to only make super shark mad.  Also this looks like something my son could creaate with his toy shark and army men, plus a little ketchup.  Shark is actually walking on the beach on it's fins right now.  I might be drunk enough for this to be sweet.  Also, and this is quite the run-on post already, sharks hate fire.  Apparently.

-  Shark dude just jumped way the eff up in the air and took down Maverick and Goose.  Probably a deleted scene from Top Gun.

-  Best British Open Bets (to win):  Sergio 30-1, Poulter 40-1, Furyk 40-1, Johnson 40-1, Stricker 60-1.

-  Everyone is now listening to crazy fake ocean cop lady.  She, with no examination mind you, says the shark has too tough of skin to shoot and is completely neutralized and/or driven crazy by radio waves because it omits waves, also claims it flies because it jumps, can walk on it's fins, and was trapped in rock, but was still alive, and escaped after the hydrolizing agent was used by the oil companies.   And she delivers it so earnestly it's like she forgot what movie she is in.

-  Mayor guy or whoever doesn't really care except to say "Those beaches must be open for the fourth of July."  Pretty sure Jaws guy did this better.

-  And she's sexing Jimmy Buffet guy who is once again wearing a Hawaiian shirt.  This movie makes me hurt.

-  The army dudes are going with some kind of walking tank, while Jimmy Buffet and his lady are rocking some pretty serious speakers.  I will bet you $40 right now they end up doing something like cranking up the radio and it makes the sharks head explode.  $40.

-  That stupid tank thing misses the shark by like 90 feet every time it tries to shoot.  Stupid tank.

-  This.  This is.....just indescribable.  there are no words.  It's just jumping around on the beach like Misti May (who married shitty baseball player Matt Traynor, by the way).
This is what you get when you're a failed baseball player.

-  Fake science lady blew up the shark by throwing a boombox in it's mouth.  I think there was something about explosives in there too but I wasn't really paying attention because I was busy looking for pictures and doesn't it just seem right that throwing a boombox in the sharks mouth and like, turning it on or something would fit this movie well.  I think so, and that's how I choose to believe this ended.  Makes it easier when i think about how I spent my time watching this instead of gambling.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

NBA Moves in Review

I'm changing up the Week in Review a bit here, and rather than looking sportswide at everything that's happened in the NBA so far with the crazy free agent period that's upon us and, as per usual, pointing out the five goods and the five bads.  Make sense?  I certainly hope so because it's pretty simple.  What are you, some kind of idiot?


1.  Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to the Miami Heat. The Heat won the championship in case you hadn't heard yet so there wasn't really a huge need to upgrade and with Lebron, Wade, and Bosh there they didn't have a whole lot of of flexibility, but they managed to upgrade in a big-time way and made the prohibitive favorite for next year even more prohibitiveable. Now instead of Shane Battier and Mike Miller taking all the open threes that are created by their offense, it's going to be Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. For reference, Battier was a career 38% shooter going into last season (and shot 38% this year) and Miller was at 40% and hit 45% this season. Allen is a career 40% who has been 44% or better the past two years, and Lewis is a career 39%. Looking strictly at those numbers it looks like a push, but Allen is peaking as a shooter as he ages, Miller can't stay healthy and hasn't played in more than 53 games the last three years, Battier is toast as a defender, and both Allen and Lewis are defensive upgrades - for a team that's biggest asset as an overall squad was defense. Make no mistake - barring injury or an ugly "disease of more" situation there's no way Miami doesn't win the title. None. I know, I hate it too.

2.  Jason Terry to the Boston Celtics.  The main reason the Celtics should stay competitive next season is KG suddenly showing some resurgence and Rajon Rondo remains the most confounding and interesting and one of the most unstoppable point guards in the league.  But grabbing Jason Terry to replace the newly departed Ray Allen is a pretty big reason as well.  Terry doesn't shoot as well as Allen but he's not far off, and he's a better defender, scorer, and passer and, assuming they keep him in that same sixth man role he played in Dallas he brings more energy to the game when he enters than the more subdued Allen, as well as more athleticism as well - something the super old Celtics can use.  The C's weren't without some questionable moves this offseason - the 3 years to KG and the holy shit huge contract they gave to Jeff Green for some reason - but Boston will be in the thick of the East when it all comes down to it.  I look forward to 20 annoyingly homerrific articles on them from Bill Simmons next year.

3.  Dallas Mavericks sign Elton Brand and Chris Kaman and trade for Darren Collison. The funny thing about Dallas is I'm pretty sure they didn't really expect to be rebuilt into a contender again unless they managed to sign Deron Williams, so after he re-signed with the Nets give Mark Cuban credit for making an effort rather than giving up, because it's working out. The trade for Collison might be the most important part after losing Jason Kidd to New York and not getting Williams, because although he's no great superstar Collison gives them an excellent starting point guard and they got him for basically nothing (see below). They then signed Chris Kaman to a super cheap 1-year/$8 million deal and won an amnesty bid on Elton Brand for just $2.1 million and suddenly they've remade the team without crippling themselves for the future. Given the strength of the league they aren't a serious contender most likely, but a lineup of Collison/Delonte West or Jones/Shawn Marion/Nowitzki/Kaman with Brand coming off the bench is absolutely a play-off team and probably a 4-5 seed, and then they'll have a whole mess of cap room next year to take a run at Howard or whoever. Bravo.

4.  Lakers trade draft picks for Steve Nash. Yes, the problems with a Nash/Kobe pairing are apparent, but if things work out and they figure out how to make it work the Lakers become instant contenders to win the West, even if they stand pat and don't end up with Dwight Howard. And I don't see how it's not worth the gamble considering all it cost them was a few pretty worthless draft picks. No matter what you think of Kobe, and I hate him, he is a pretty savvy basketball mind and he should be able to figure out how to play off Nash. As long as his ego will allow him to become a spot-up shooter more often and let Nash work the offense it will benefit him (he can be more fresh later in the season and/or for his when he inevitably breaks out hero ball in fourth quarters), as well as Gasol and Bynum working off pick-and-rolls and post-ups. Of course this all relies on one of the most selfish players I've even seen (I'd put as more selfish than Iverson based on Iverson needing to play that way to win where Kobe could easily let Gasol and Bynum get more involved and probably make the team significantly better) realizing he needs to change if the teams going to win so it's pretty much a toss-up if it'll work, but again, it pretty much cost the Lakers nothing to make this gamble and if they win they're a good bet to end up losing in the Finals to the Heat.

5.  Washington Wizards trade for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. It was a minor move in the big scheme of things, but picking up Okafor and Ariza for the bloated contract of Rashard Lewis (who was then bought out), along with last year's late trade where they picked up Nene for Javale McGee and the drafting of Bradly Beal gives them a starting five of John Wall/Beal/Ariza/Nene/Okafor, which is a definite playoff contender in the East and for a team that hasn't made the playoffs in five years and has only won a single playoff series since 1983 and hasn't won more than 26 games since 2007 it's a big step forward. Not to mention that Okafor, Ariza, and I think Nene will be dropping off the payroll in two years, which should be enough time to figure out exactly what they have in Beal and Wall and rebuild their team around those two. I don't know exactly how we ended up here, but the Wizards are doing a really great job all of a sudden. Now, they'll probably end up trading a couple of guys for Hedo Turkoglu or Spencer Hawes and then we'll be all like, "I knew it" but for now? Curiouser and curiouser.


1.   Charlotte Bobcats trade Corey Maggette to Detroit Pistons for Ben Gordon.  There are a million good reasons to trade Corey Maggette.  He really does nothing but score, he blocks Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's playing time, he makes too much money, and if you're trying to rebuild there's really zero reason to have him around because he's got a bit of a cancer to him as well.  Thing is though, I don't know that trading him for Gordon and his $25.6 million he's still got coming his way is what makes sense.  I guess he gives you shooting, which the Bobcats need and doesn't duplicate Gilchrist's skillset, and by all accounts is a good dude, and you're getting rid of Corey Maggette who is someone teams should always strive to get rid of, so maybe the Pistons made the bad end of the deal here.  Actually I think they both lost.

2.   Houston Rockets go all in to try to get Dwight Howard.  I understand Houston trying to lure Howard there, even if its more for a rental, and then hoping he'd end up staying, but I kind of feel like once they started they didn't know how to just stop because although they've compiled a lot of assets they're all just kind of like, lame assets.  A bunch of middle first round picks and a bunch of guys who drafted in middle rounds I'm not so sure do them much good.  Their best asset, a Raptors first round pick, is probably going to be lottery but to get it they gave up Kyle Lowry, who might have been worth more.  They've traded off pretty much the entire roster and even amnestied Luis Scola, who is no great shakes but did average 16 & 7 last season.  And it looks like the upside is trading away all these assets for Howard and a whole bunch of crap like Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson and the way too much money they're owed. If this works and they get Howard and can somehow convince Chris Paul to sign then this has all been a genius move. Anything else and it's been just a cluster of WTF.

3.   Similarly, Orlando Magic have no clue what to do.  Is the big plan now to go through a second straight season of circus?  I get that it's tough to trade a guy of Howard's magnitude and that makes sense, but at some point you bite the bullet and figure it out - and don't think Howard doesn't deserve an equal portion of the blame for this crazytown as well, especially for signing his option for this year instead of just becoming a free agent.  Not to mention that the places Howard seems best suited for (Lakers, Hawks) he seems to have no interest in and the places he wants to go are Brooklyn (which can't make it work) and Cleveland (wait what?) while the place that is busting there ass for him (Houston) he doesn't really want to go nor can they figure out a way to put enough players around him to both trade for him and field a competitive team.  All that does is pretty much guarantee another year of same old-same old, because Brooklyn's signing of Brook Lopez kills that trade so it's either L.A., Houston, or it's another year of pussying around and figuring this shit out.  But hey, the Magic resigned Jameer Nelson while letting their second best player (Ryan Anderson) walk, so sounds like a huge ole win for Magic fans.  HAVE A GREAT SEASON!

4.   Indiana Pacers go kind of crazy for unathletic big men.  You'd think when Portland offered Roy Hibbert a max deal the Pacers would be all like, "Take 'em" and then giggle under their breath like when Dawger inevitably drafts someone like Roy Helu and then holds onto him for like six years in our keeper league just waiting for that breakout season.  But instead they matched so they can pay like $1 million per blocked shot this year.  Not only that, but they also drafted Miles or Mason Plumlee (I don't feel like looking it up) when Perry Jones and well, let's face it anybody other than a poor man's Cherokee Parks was available - and this is a team that already has Tyler Hansbrough.  Then they traded Collison so they could get Ian Mahinmi and paid him way too much money and, in case you haven't heard of him like me, he's another center.  Overall just a bizarre turn of events, especially for a team that has generally seemed to make pretty smart decisions. So maybe it'll turn out I'm wrong here, I suppose there's a first time for almost everything.

5.   Phoenix Suns assemble a 20-win team.  I can't figure out Phoneix's angle.  They traded Nash for very little, seemingly opening up playing time for their first round pick Kendall Marshall, but then went out and signed Goran Dragic for 4 years and $36 million, apparently blocking Marshall for the length of his rookie contract.  Not only will Dragic be a career back-up making starter money, but he's not a true distributor and the Suns traded him just a couple of seasons ago (along with a first round pick) for Aaron Brooks who they're now letting go in free agency.  So they paid a first round pick to accomplish nothing.  They then signed Michael Beasley for three years and won an amnesty bid on Luis Scola, then found out the Hornets matched their max offer to Eric Gordon and vowed to match any offer extended to Robin Lopez, he of the career averages of six points and three boards per game.  I'm not suggesting I could have done better, although it wouldn't have surprised me either, but all these moves just reek of a 16-year kid playing franchise mode on NBA Live with no real concise or clear plan for rebuilding post-Nash.  I suppose that shouldn't be surprising from a management group that gave huge money to both Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick and routinely sells it's first round picks for cash, but it seems like they're in on every player just because why not that's why.  Now they're the leaders for OJ Mayo as well.  This team makes zero sense the way it's constructed.

There's also plenty of Wolves' stuff to discuss as well, including this semi-bizarre Nic Batum showdown, but we'll get to that down the road when everything is finalized.  And probably TRE will do it not me because he's way more crazy about the T-Wolves than normal people.

Finally, for those of you who believe in prayer send them this way (and if you don't, send good thoughts), I will forward them on.  I don't want to say too much since it isn't my place, but someone who all regulars to the blog know well could use them right now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Baseball 1st Half in Review

In lieu of a week in review post, since baseball's first half officially has come to a close I figured I'd do a Baseball's First Half in Review sort of thing.  I'm going to avoid talking about some of the more obvious things like the breakout first halves of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, the success of the Nationals in general, R.A. Dickey's sudden change to one of the best pitchers in baseball, or Tim Lincecum's fall of a cliff.  I'm also going to avoid spotlighting obvious things anyone could have predicted coming into the season like Stephen Strasburg being unhittable, Joey Votto being a pimp daddy, or Nick Blackburn regularly getting lit up like a Christmas tree or a Portland hippie.  I'm also not writing any Twins stuff in this because I've covered them plenty, especially the Twins' two biggest success stories this year in Ben Revere and Trevor Plouffe, so if you don't care about the rest of the majors I feel your time would probably best be used doing something else.  Also Chris Sale is pretty awesome but I just wrote about him too so I'm not going to do it again.

So what did I find?  Stuff.  Will it be interesting?  READ ON.


1.  Gio Gonzalez.  Generally moving from the AL to the NL benefits pitchers quite a bit, and Gonzalez is the latest and perhaps greatest example of that after the A's traded him to Washington prior to this season.  He had always flashed significant potential, finishing in the top 10 in AL ERA twice, strikeouts twice, and HR/9 twice, but he also struggled with control, leading the league in walks in 2011 and finishing second in 2010.  He hasn't exactly stopped walking people, and still ranks 7th in the league, but he's cut down a bit and compliments that by striking out more people than ever (10.5 per nine ips).  He's giving up fewer homers and fewer hits, and has basically become an absolute monster and would be the ace of pretty much any staff that didn't also already have Stephen Strasburg on it.  So, nice trade Beane. 

HONORABLE MENTION (in this same type of category):  Brandon Morrow.

2.  Austin Jackson.  Jackson, who if you remember was the key component in the Curtis Granderson trade, had been heading towards a solid career as a less speedy Gary Pettis - decent defense, poor average, big strikeout totals, and very little power.  In fact, two years ago Jackson became the first player in MLB history to whiff 170+ times and hit less than 5 home runs, and the following season he because the first player with 180+ strikeouts and 10 or fewer home runs - not exactly a good trend.  Then there were reports over the offseason that Jackson was revamping his swing and unlike most of those kind of adjustments boy has this paid off with Jackson basically becoming a completely different player.   His K rate is down to a more manageable level (still high, but more like Josh Willingham than Adam Dunn), his walks are up to where he's actually a respectable leadoff hitter, and he's second in the AL in batting average at .332.  That's guaranteed to drop in the second half because his BABIP is a ridiculous .420, but his line drive rate is up and, after popping up 5% of the time last season he has yet to hit a single infield pop-up this year, one of just four players who hasn't this season - a key thing for a speedy player.  Simply put, he identified his weaknesses, worked to fix them, and it's worked.  It's actually really cool, and although it's not at the Jose Bautista revamped his swing and reinvented himself level, I still think he deserves a ton of credit.


3.  James McDonald.  McDonald has always been a nondescript pitcher.  He was drafted in the 11th round by the Dodgers in 2002 and then traded to Pittsburgh in 2010 in the Octavio Dotel deal.  Whether with LA or the Pirates he's basically been the definition of league average.  Now, suddenly, he like, gets it.  His strikeouts are up, homers and walks are down, and he's holding opponents to a batting average under .200.  Sure he's getting a bit lucky, but he's also got a wicked curveball that, according to fangraphs pitch values metrics, ranks alongside such noted curvesmiths as Justin Verlander, A.J. Burnett, and Stephen Strasburg . Not too shabby.  He probably can't keep up at quite this pace, but for now he's first in the league in fewest hits allowed per nine and 3rd in ERA, and a big reason why the Pirates are actually in first place.  Well I suppose Andrew McCutchen is really the biggest reason, but McDonald is on that list there somewhere.  Near the top, too.  Like, way ahead of that Garrett Jones.


4.  Carlos Ruiz.  If you're like me, you just assumed Carlos Ruiz was just some big dumb fat catcher who couldn't hit, and before this year you'd have been correct.  He always had a good batting eye, with more walks than strikeouts in his career and a career OBP nearly 100 points higher than his career batting average, but that batting average was just .265 coming into this season.  This year, however, he's been more aggressive at the plate and has stopped hitting so many flyballs and pop-ups, and it's resulted in a huge increase in average (hitting .350) and a monster increase in power (ISO of .237 over double last season's number),  and he's already surpassed last year's totals in HRs and RBI.  Like most jump-ups like this he's had quite a bit of luck on his side this year, but it doesn't look completely fluky, and Ruiz has taken himself from journeymen to all-star by being more aggressive.  Just think what that could do for Joe Mauer.  Just kidding, I think the real problem is the chicken arms.


5.  Josh Reddick.  No matter what you think of Billy Beane, and there's no doubt he's a pretty divisive figure, one thing you have to give him credit for is realizing that saves are more a product of opportunity and environment than skill and constantly shipping out his closers for prospects.  He's traded Billy Koch, Billy Taylor, and Huston Street, and this offseason he traded Andrew Bailey to the Red Sox for a couple of minor league dorks and Reddick, who I'm guessing the Sox figured they didn't need with studs who never get hurt like Carl Crawford and Jacoby Welker running around in the outfield.  Well, Reddick has been absolutely mashing this year, to the tune of 20 homers (8th in the AL), 37 extra-base hits (10th), and an ISO that ranks 12th.  He'll never hit for a super high average, but he can probably be a Josh Willingham type for them, except he leads the team in average, homers, rbi, hits, OBP, doubles, runs, walks, slugging, and OPS and would lead most teams in triples with four but Jemile Weeks has five, and he's under team control until 2017.  So again, no matter what you think about Beane, this was a fucking slam dunk of a win on this trade, especially since Bailey hasn't pitched this year.  And if you're wondering how the A's can manage after shipping off their closer the guy currently manning the role, Ryan Cook, has a WHIP of 0.91, ERA of 1.46, and just made the all-star team.  In other words, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TRADE MATT ASSHOLE CAPPS.

HONORABLE MENTION:  Edwin Encarnacion.


1.  Ricky Romero.  Through the first 3 years of his career Romero looked like a future star for the Blue Jays.  His ERA got beater in each of his three seasons, with his strikeouts rising and WHIP falling, culminating in a 10th place finish in Cy Young voting last season after going 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA.  Everything looked like he was ready to become a true ace this year.  But yeah, that didn't even come close to happening.  Rather than taking the next step forward he's taken two giant leaps back, and goes into the break with an ERA of 5.22, which is nearly double his ERA from last season, and for those who are true nerds his FIP and xFIP are significantly higher than last year as well.  And this isn't someone who started poorly and is trying to claw his way back, he's been bad throughout the year.  His first start of the season ended with his ERA at 7.20 and in his last six starts his ERA is over 8.00.  His Ks are down, his walks are way up, and he's getting laced around the park with a Line Drive rate far higher than either last year or his career number.  The Blue Jays needed dudes to really step up if they were going to legitimately compete in the AL East - Brandon Morrow and Edwin Encarnacion did, but Ricky Romero and his family is a dick.


2.  Detroit Tigers.  I can't remember a team being so anointed as easy division champ getting off to such a horrible start, and seeing as we're halfway through the season this may be approaching trend rather than mirage territory.  And their studs are doing what they're supposed to; Cabrera and Fielder and hitting well, Austin Jackson (see above) is having a great season, and Justin Verlander has been just as good this year as last year when he won both the Cy Young and MVP awards.  It's just everyone else who has been horrible.  They actually rank middle of the pack in both Runs Scored and Runs Allowed in the AL, but mainly that's because of those good players doing good stuff.  The rest of the rotation has been terrible (although they'd all be aces on the Twins, fyi) with Scherzer unable to take the next step in his development and Fister unable to replicate his success at the end of last season, and they have the worst hitting 2b and RF stats in the league and are in the bottom five in LF and SS as well.  Plus, what everyone said would be their biggest issue - defense - has been.  They rank dead last in Ultimate Zone Rating in the majors.  All it really means is they're going to throw money and prospects around and pick up guys like Marco Scutaro and Shane Victorino and suddenly end up in great shape.  God I hate these guys.  But I'd still much rather see them win than the god damn White Sox.

DISHONORABLE MENTION:  Philadelphia Phillies.

3.  Justin Upton.  Upton is another guy who looked like he was about to become a super star after a monster 2011 for the D-Backs that landed him in 4th place in the MVP voting.  His average was up, his strikeouts were down, he was walking more, and his power had jumped through the roof.  After a 30/20 season, and based on his physical tools, it looked like Upton was going to fulfill the potential that his brother B.J. still hadn't.  Not so fast, because instead he completely lost all power and is once again striking out a ton.  He has just 7 home runs this year after 31 last season, and isn't hitting any doubles either.  His power numbers (specifically ISO), which was in Miguel Cabrera/Albert Pujols tier last season has dropped to where he's more in the Denard Span/Marco Scutaro grouping - gross.  He's gone from top 4 in the NL MVP to where he'd probably finish seventh or eighth on his own team.  Also I drafted him in the first round of our fantasy draft, and he's OPSing just slightly better than Drew Butera.  My bad, $nake.


4.  Dan Haren.  It always boggles my mind when an established "star" pitcher suddenly runs of the rails and just gets lit up night after night.  Obviously Lincecum is the biggest example of this, but Haren is right there and right now both his WHIP and ERA would be career worsts.  He has had a little bit of bad luck but mostly he's just getting raked, particularly in the home run category where his 16 allowed are the 8th worst in the AL and almost match his total from last season of 20.  The slightly high BABIP and giant jump in HR/FB rate say this is a fluke, but he's also lost more than a mile per hour off his fastball from last season and at the same time is relying on it more often, and batters are chasing less often as well.  All this tells me I'd be very, very nervous right now if I was hooked into him long-term, but luckily for the Angels they can buy him out next year for 3.5 million if he continues to suck.  At which point somebody is going to end up giving him something like 5 years & $50 million and then we'll all be like hey look it's Barry Zito.


5.  Kansas City Royals.  I'm going to shoot myself in the face for buying into this crap and betting Snacks $50 they'd win a division title by 2014, because once again, shocker, the Royals suck ass and literally the only positive thing you can say about their season is at least they aren't the Twins (or Mariners, Cubs, Phillies, Astros, Padres, or Rockies).  When does all this talent come together?  Eric Hosmer is hitting .231, somehow Eric Gordon and Jeff Francoeur are still prominently involved, and supposed future building blocks like Lorenzo Cain and Johnny Giavotella are struggling to hit around the mendoza line when they aren't down in AAA.  And Humberto Quintero has 144 plate appearances for them for christ's sake, so they might want to get that position figured out as well.  And don't even get me started on the pitching, because good god.  The two guys with the most innings pitched this year, Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen, are two of the most hittable pitchers in the history of baseball, and clown shoes like Luis Mendoza, Vin Mazzaro, and Everett Teaford have been fixtures in the rotation this year.  I almost feel stupid for buying that KC hat, because I hate feeling like I've been duped.  Prove me wrong, kids, prove me wrong.


I'm sure I missed a billion things.  Sue me.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Well I haven't done this in quite some time (nearly a year), but I think it's time for a new Live Movie Blog.  I mean, the wife is sleeping, the kids are sleeping, I'm downing some vodka/iced teas, and it just seems like the thing to do.  Plus, if I know my fellow americans, nobody's going to any work tomorrow anyway even if you're at work so you'll be looking for something good to read.  And then when you finish that something crappy like this blog will do.

Anyway, tonight we're going with a promising little flick called, "Piranhaconda" and I have to say I love the name.  I also will guarantee you there is going to be some spectacularly awful CGI and this is on SyFy so there will be zero nudity.  Can always hope for side boob, I guess.  Glass half full and all that.  Anyway, let's see what's crackin'. 

-  Holy crap, Mr. Blonde is in this movie.  Wow.  I mean, I know he's not exactly been ripping it up at the box office or winning box loads of awards.  But wow.  Kind of hurts my heart.  But I'm over it, because one of his co-"stars" is some dude named Chris DeChristopher.  That is an awful fucking name.

-  Mr. blonde, some asian scientist lady, and some dork who reminds me of a nerdier Ryder Strong are in a jungle somewhere with a waterfall.  They don't really specify where, but there is a definitely a tree frog there because they just had the camera linger on it for about five minutes like this was an episode of Planet Earth.

-  Mr. Blonde just found some eggs and he's stealing them by putting them in a Kool-Aid pitcher.  You know what always works well?  Stealing strange creatures eggs.  And suddenly what I can only presume is the Piranhaconda just ate the asian lady and the fake Shawn Hunter.  Then the Piranahaconda ate the helicopter they got there in.  So far the bad CGI just makes the stupid thing look like a giant snake with teeth.  That's less exciting than I'd pictured, and let me tell you I've spent a lot of my life trying to imagine what a hybrid piranha and anaconda would look like.

-  Hot chick in a bikini alert.  Probably means she's going to die, and I'm ok with that because her boobs are kind of misshapen.  Probably why she's stuck in this flick and not in something classy like Zombie Strippers from Mars.

-  Some dude pops out of the bushes wearing a weird mask and flailing about with a machete.  I'm guessing we're watching a movie within a movie here, people.  THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS.

-  I was right.

-  I don't really care about hockey, like at all, but this signing of these two dudes (Parise and the other guy) is pretty bad-ass.  I might even watch a game.

-  Some other chick shows up and let me tell you what her boobs are not misshapen.  They are real and they are spectacular or at least appear to be from all the bending over this broad is doing.  Also piranhaconda is there (I still have no idea where "there" is) and bites off her leg.  She seems curiously unaffected by this, and continues bouncing around until the snake thing eats her in a cloud of blood.  I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty disappointed.  That was a nice shirt.  Anyway, here is what we're dealing with:
lol wat?

-  There is an ocean and palm trees.  Some waiter guy in a hawaiian shirt just brought drinks with umbrellas to some guy and girl who are flirting.  I'm going to guess they're in Hawaii.  Also that waiter in the hawaiian shirt was actually a chick.  Yeah, like that's my fault.

-  Some random chick was just walking in the Hawaiian (?) wilderness, saw a waterfall, and decided to strip down and go swimming.  While I would normally condone this behavior, all hit did was arouse the ire of the mean snake god piranha who then ate said chick.  And apparently this thing just eats everyone whole because they're there, then the thing moves in and there's a spray of red computer generation, and then they're gone.  No collateral body parts or anything.  Fascinating creature.  Or terrible writing/editing/cinematography/special effects.  One or the other.

-  I either missed it or it happened off camera, but Mr. Blonde was kidnapped by a bunch of probably terrorists who kind of look like Mexicans, except for their leader who is a bored looking former SI model Rachel Hunter.  I assume they are terrorists because they have lots of guns and stuff.  They also suck at being criminals because the plan is apparently to kidnap Mr. Blonde, who it turns out is a professor at the University of Hawaii (go Rainbow Warriors), and hold him for ransom.  Because doing that randomly is a really good way to make like $2,000.  Anyway, Miz Hunter still looks damn good for what must be a 50-60 year old at his point.
Stacy's mom is like whoa
-  Two college chicks are walking in the woods again and saying all kinds of nerdy things about science or whatever nerds talk about.  One is a straight up nerd with ugly glasses and super conservative clothes and the body of a young boy.  The other is pretty hot with a nice rack.  I was going to say guess which one lives but neither did because instead they just exploded in a cloud of CGI blood like everybody else.

-  Seriously, this movie is just introducing and killing random people without advancing the plot at all.  And they've already gone down the path of introducing the "bad guys" (booby mcbooberson and her gang) when the only bad guy you need should be the monster animal.  I hate this movie and we're only 29 minutes in.  Including commercials.

-  The hot, bitchy chick in this is a former Miss Missouri 2004.  This was her second movie.  Her second was Sharktopus.  Love it.  She must have some kind of giant hybrid animal fetish.  Hot.  This is her:
Remember Stuff?  That was a truly awful magazine.
-  In case you're curious, yes the Piranhaconda roars.  Interesting, since neither a piranha nor an anaconda does.  Perhaps it will fly as well like the Piranhas in Piranha 2: The Spawning.  Also guess what you guys?  Oh my god.  A second snake thing just showed up.  This is like, Piranhaconda vs. Piranhaconda.  How can one movie contain so much awesomeness?

-  The movie within the movie just ran out of money and had to shut down.  Unfortunately the same fate did not befall the actual movie.  I'm already regretting doing this.  Hopefully Mrs. W wakes up and makes me stop watching soon.

-  That same mexican Rachel Hunter gang just took the hot mean girl, the sexy main lead dude guy, his semi-aisan racked out girlfriend, some weird hippie, and the movie's director hostage.  Again, with the plan to hold them hostage.  What is this, Venezuela?

-  Sexy guy and hippie escaped because the hippy had some kind of gigantic bang popper thing.  Like you know, the thing you had when you were kids that you'd throw on the ground and it would make a small bang sound and you'd laugh and do it again and it was all fun and games until one of your friends decided he'd be a bad ass and snap one with his teeth and then he ended up in the hospital.  Like that.

-  Ugly racked out chick (not kidnapped, just galavanting about the woods with her pasty boyfriend) goes with "I am sweating like a pound puppy."  That's either a brilliant line or the dumbest thing ever uttered, and I can't decide which.

-  God this is horrible.

-  If you're wondering what the explanation for what this creature is and/or how a hybrid of an anaconda and piranha came to be in Hawaii with nobody knowing, well, I'm waiting too.  They haven't even attempted to give us anything (although smart money is always on a genetic experiment gone wrong).  Really though, at this point the creature could be a bear or a pteradactyl - there's nothing piranhaconda specific about it.

-  Mexican gang dude, "This isn't just a giant snake.  It's like an unholy combination of a piranha and an anaconda."  Rachel Hunter, "You mean a piranhaconda."  This is surreal.

-  This entire kidnapping subplot is one of the worst subplots in one of these shitty movies, and that's saying something.  And what happened to that handsome leading man guy and his buddy the hippie with the fireworks?  Come on, hurry up and end already.

-  Leading man guy's semi-hot semi-asian girlfriend just went with the "fake seduce the guard guy and then when he's all excited knee him in the balls and run away" gambit.  Brilliant.  That was like pearl harbor all over again, but now she's being chased down on some other gang dude who is wearing a skeletor mask for some reason.  I'm serious.

-  Semi-hot asian girlfriend stumbled into the anacondaronda's nest of eggs while running from skeletor.  Then she fell down.  Skeletor called her a bitch and said she's going to die as he raised his machete.  Then the snake ate him, but didn't bother to chase after the girl, who ran right back to the gang dudes.  Still no word from handsome guy.

-  Mr. Blonde says the piranhaconda is the most dangerous predator known to man, although it's clearly not known to man at all, despite the fact that Mr. Blonde has been hunting it for 20 years.  He's clearly a terrible hunter.

-  Oh, there's Mr. leading man guy, who just broke some dude's neck doing that Steven Seagal type of thing.  Only we didn't actually see it, just heard it, since dude apparently doesn't quite have the acting chops to pull off "killing someone."

-  Big ole firefight between the good guys and bad guys where nobody hits anybody else and the bad guys can't even be bothered to hit the van the good guys are hiding behind.  Everyone escapes except Rachel Hunter, who is eaten by the snake.  Shame.

-  I can't believe Michael Madsen is in this.  My god the shame he must feel.

-  The last remaining Mexican gang dude just shoot the snake with a rocket launcher.  It flinched slightly.

-  Good guys van just ran out of gas.  Naturally.

-  Hold on there's like 10 mexican gang guys left.  God damn this is going to go on forever.

-  I don't think I mentioned this but that ugly big-boobed chick and her pasty boyfriend found a cool beach to chill at but then he got eaten by the snake and she didn't know it and that was like 40 minutes ago and I forgot about her but there she is.  I completely forgot she existed.  Great job by this movie of developing characters I care about, which should be easy with the giant rack.

-  She just found the nest.  But in soviet russia, nest finds you.  BOOM, eaten.  But not before she smashing a bunch of eggs, apparently just because she was being bitchy.

-  The four still alive good guys - handsome guy, handsome's guy's semi-hot girlfriend, Mr. Blonde, and the hot and bitchy chick, just made their way to Mr. Blonde's fancy science guy boat, and the other three suddenly realized Mr. Blonde had a piranhaconda egg with him the whole time and that's why they were after him, just like what happened in Jurassic Park III.  Also Mr. Blonde just called the thing, "a species unknown to mankind" like 20 minutes after he said it was "one of the most dangerous species known to man kind."  Well which is it, dickfor?  Or is this like the whole flammable/inflammable thing?  Or regardless/irregardless?

-  FYI - guns do not appear to work on the piranhaconda.

-  And hottie mchotpants is no more.

-  Mr. Blonde somehow doubled back, with the egg what that handsome guy and his gal were going to return to the snake nest, and now he's booking it out of there and I'm not sure how this happened but that asian broad is with him and seems ok with the whole "let's get out of here with this egg" plan even though her boyfriend is still back there.  Given her past history of tricking that guy by making him horny and then kneeing him in the balls, I'd say she probably Effs over Mr. Blonde somewhere right around here.

-  Yep, she just ganked the egg out of his cute little satchel.  Then a lot of stuff happened and ened up with her pushing him into the river, him getting eaten, and her taking off with the egg.  I don't know why she has the egg when she could just dump it in the river and let the stupid snake have it.

-  That guy and that girl blew the snake's head off.  So the end.  That was truly awful.  I hate myself right now.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Musings

-  I was actually intending to make this a report on the Gopher hoops recruiting so far for 2013, but it turns out there's pretty much nothing to report.  There are still zero commitments, which I knew, but the list of names is really underwhelming, if you believe the recruiting services.  According to ESPN the Gophers have nine offers out, but the highest ranking ESPN gives any of the players who they say have received one is an 79.  To put that in perspective, 2012 signee Wally Ellenson is a 90, and Oto Osenieks was an 87 as was Justin Cobbs.  Which means that according to ESPN Tubby is currently looking to get guys who are at the same level of Dan Monson type recruits.  Now, these recruiting gurus aren't always right because they had both Al Nolen and Devoe Joseph ranked in the 70s and they turned into contributors at the very least, but still it's not exactly an exciting list.

Rivals has it a bit different with the Gophers having extended 18 offers, and there are two players of interest who they give a rank of 4 stars who remained uncommitted:  G Juwan Parker (#94 overall) and G Xavier Rathan-Mayes (#66).  Of course, Parker has already narrowed his list to Memphis, Georgia, or Stanford and Mayes has teams like Kansas, Texas, Arizona, Memphis, and NC State after him so the odds on the Gophers are pretty negligible.  I'll stay more in the loop when things pick up, but man there's is just nothing to report right now.  A couple of names of interest are G Martez Walker and F Nick Fuller who are both lefties and shooters (Walker is a guard, Fuller a small foward) who ESPN lists as "considering" the Gophers, however neither site lists the Gophers as having made an offer to either of them so I don't know.  In short, there's nothing happening and that's super uplifting and makes me really, really happy for the future of the team.

-  So the NBA Draft happened without the Wolves involvement.  I actually watched the entire first round and was typing up a live blog type of deal but then I got behind and then I realized I was writing a paragraph for each pick and that was way too many words to read or type and also I got bored so I quit.  A few quick NBA thoughts, however:
  • Outside of the top 3 picks, who were the right guys and right situations I thought, the pick of the draft was pretty clearly Perry Jones to the Thunder at #28.  Once again, OKC proves their front office is better than most.  Let's see, Jones was a top-3 pick if he came out last year, had a so-so sophomore season at Baylor where he shrunk from the pressure in big games, but was still expected in the late lottery and then slides to the end of the first due to a knee injury?  When nobody really knows how serious it is?  I get that if you had a lottery pick you'd rather not roll the dice here, but Fab Melo?  John Jenkins?  Miles fucking Plumlee?  It's ludicrous to me that someone would rather have those guys with almost zero upside than a guy like Jones.  Plus, Jones probably needed one of two things out of the team drafting him to succeed - either an athletic team that likes to get up and down where he can use his athleticism to be a big-time asset in transition or a team with one or two established alpha stars so he wouldn't have to face the pressure of being a savior.  And guess what?  He got both.  And bless the Thunder for not being as dumb as everyone else and realizing it makes infinitely more sense to roll the dice that a big-time talent like Jones will be healthy than burning the pick on Festus Ezeli or Jae Crowder.  I mean seriously.
  • Speaking of Jones, even though the Wolves would have had their pick of him, Jared Sullinger, or Terrence Jones if they had kept #18 I still think the trade for Budinger was the right call.  First, you probably couldn't have guessing any of those three would have been there at 18.  Second, they all have serious question marks where you know you're getting a decent scorer who can shoot in Budinger, and thirdly, they all play PF and Kevin Love is probably going to be pretty good for the next 3.5 years before he demands a trade and says he'd never sign another contract with Minnesota after the slapped him in the face by offering him a 4-year deal instead of a five.  So yeah, I like the pick-up.
  • Hopefully the Wolves can get Batum as well.  He's a restricted free agent so Portland may match the 4 years and $50ish million the Wolves have offered, but the Blazers have also, ridiculously, offered a max contract to Roy Hibbert which I can't imagine the Pacers matching (especially since they just drafted his replacement in the awesome Miles Plumlee).  Batum, Love, and Rubio are a pretty solid foundation (Batum's only 23) for the next few years.  And Derrick Williams, if he ends up figuring it out.  And speaking of....
  • I'm really not sure what to think of this Pau Gasol heat we're hearing.  I can see why the Wolves might want him.  Skilled big man who can play next to Love, excellent high post passer whose unselfish game will translate well with the kind of culture Rubio breeds just by playing with him, him and Ricky can get tacos together or watch bullfighting on tv or whatever, which will only make Rubio more comfortable, which can only be a good thing.  I'm not really sure why they're so hot to move on from Derrick Williams already but if Rick Adelman is done with him that's good enough for me.  I have gotten a distinct whiff of "loses the necessary weight to play the 3 but turns himself into nothing but a 3-point specialist" at the same time.  It's either that or he figures out how to be an undersized 4, and I'm just not seeing it.  I guess I'm in favor of trading Williams and getting Gasol back.  I just think Gasol, Rubio, Batum, Love, Pekovic, Ridnour, Barea, and Budinger make this a really fun team, and now that I type that out I look like a racist.  Great.
  • So since I'm on board with getting Gasol and trading Williams, and Dwight Howard has managed to completely destroy his own image in Orlando, and the Nets just traded for Joe Johnson and his ridiculous contract, resigned Gerald Wallace, and want to resign Deron Williams so they're probably not in the Howard discussion anymore, tell me how much this makes sense:
    • Wolves trade Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour, Martell Webster, Brad Miller, and Wes Johnson and receive Pau Gasol and Jason Richardson
    • Lakers trade Gasol and Andrew Bynum and get Dwight Howard, Martell Webster, and Luke Ridnour
    • Magic trade Howard and Richardson and receive Derrick Williams, Wes Johnson, Brad Miller, and Andrew Bynum
  • It works under the salary rules, and everybody gets what they want.  The Wolves get Gasol and a veteran shooting guard they could certainly use in Richardson.  He isn't the athlete he once was but he still averaged 12 points per game and shot 37% from three last year and could take over for Wes Johnson's minutes, especially with Barea playing more point with Ridnour gone.  The Lakers get Howard, who they covet, but also pick up Ridnour to play the point - a major weakness for them this past season.  They also get Webster, who can give them some bench scoring which is another issue for them.  And the Magic get two great pieces to build around in Williams and Bynum, as well as a young guard in Johnson and cap relief in Miller.  It's not perfect - Richardson's contract sucks for the Wolves and the Lakers are maybe giving up a tad too much in both Bynum and Gasol, but I really think this trade makes good sense for all three parties (if you're on the Gasol train).  Really, it's pretty much a genius idea by me.  
  • Back to the draft quick, I thought their were two really poor moves - one in the lottery and one late.  The Meyers Leonard pick baffles me because I never thought he'd be a first round pick let alone a top 10 guy, or at least not after last season.  He's athletic for a 7-footer and can shoot free throws, but Tyler Zeller is a rich man's version of Leonard and John Henson is basically guaranteed to be a rotation player at worst because of his defense.  Both were available, and either would have been a better pick than Leonard.  The other move was the Heat trading Arnett Moultrie.  A defensive and rebounding specialist who led the SEC in rebounding last year and was 9th in the country, and despite averaging a double-double last year he wasn't remotely an offensive player.  He could patrol the paint for the Heat and grab rebounds and block a few shots and score off put-backs every once in a while.  He was perfect for that team, yet they traded him to Philly for Justin Hamilton, a poor man's Arnett Moultrie.  They got a future first as well, but dude was a perfect fit.  Reminds me a lot of when the Wolves traded Mario Chalmers even though they desperately needed a PG.  Buncha clown shoes running' teams these days.
  • I should also mention Tony Wroten to the Grizz is a really nice pick that late in the draft (at #25).  Odds are he flames out, as most late firsts do, but he has a whole lot of potential and is a sick athlete.  He had some troubling numbers in college, namely 58% free-throw shooting, 16% 3-point shooting, and 3.8 turnovers per game, but if you watched him play at all it was clear he had an NBA body with NBA athleticism and just couldn't harness himself within the college game (which is why Circus Ball U was a perfect fit for him).  That certainly doesn't guarantee NBA success as Corey Benjamin, DerMarr Johnson, and Jerome Moiso could tell you, but it's better than taking Miles fucking Plumlee.
  • Keep an eye on the Hawks right now.  They just dumped Joe Johnson's contract to the Nets and then followed that up by sending Marvin Williams and his awful contract to Utah for Devin Harris.  Johnson is owed something like $100 million over the next four years (I'm not exaggerating) while Marvin is owed $16 million over the next two.  Atlanta suddenly has a ton of cap space, is Dwight Howard's home town, still have Josh Smith (good friend of Howard's) and just acquired Anthony Morrow (another Howard buddy) in the Johnson deal.  So they'll have tons of cap space plus retained some tradeable assets (Al Horford, Jeff Teague), two interesting rookies (John Jenkins, Mike Scott), and picked up a future first rounder (protected) in the Johnson trade.  Suddenly a Howard and Chris Paul pairing is a realistic possibility.  If Howard can wait it out and he and Paul sign you're looking at Paul/Morrow/Smith/Horford/Howard.  That's pretty whoa.
- That was certainly a lot of words about NBA things.  I certainly didn't see that coming.