Sep 25 2012

Quick Rants and Raves 9/25/12

Rant: The Fail Mary

Oh man, guys. What a colossal screwup. I mean, wow. We knew this day would come, though, didn’t we? I mean, come on. Replacement officials were getting calls wrong all weekend, so of course the final play of the final game of the weekend would come down to a historically botched, game-changing false victory and loss. In my mind, this was inevitable. We’ve continued to see the progression of regression from these unqualified officials, how the owners and the league allow these people to decide games, defend them for what can be clearly seen to the naked eye as incorrect and what the public as a vast majority disagrees with. The aftermath from players, coaches, the media, the public is to be expected, as is the predictable “the call stands” nonsense the NFL came out with today. Props to Aaron Rodgers, always the better man in a situation like this, for apologizing to the fans in his radio interview this morning. Shame on Pete Carroll for being a generally terrible person. Shame on Goodell and the league for allowing this to continue; hopefully last night was the final straw, but I really doubt it. An outright boycott isn’t happening, and in the end, this is about business. As an MBA student, I get it, but as a Packers fan, man I’m pissed. Why did it have to happen to MY team? Mark my words, we haven’t seen the last of this, especially if this one game (that needs an asterisk forever by its final score) determines the postseason fate for Green Bay. It’s nice, though, that, at least for today, almost everyone in the USA was a Cheesehead, standing up for the integrity of the game and declaring my boys got robbed and tweeting “The NFL is a joke” and comparing the current state to Vince McMahon proportions of ridiculousness. Everyone in the USA except, of course, Seahawks fans. But how many of those are there anyway?

Rave: Beltre FTW

In much better sports news, Adrian Beltre added another walk-off RBI to his career stats as the Rangers beat the A’s at home 5-4 last night. Why is this victory important? This reduces the magic number for Texas to 5, and Oakland continues to nip at our heels, threatening to relinquish our AL West lead, as we still have six more games to play with them, and nine more games left in the regular season. And with Darvish benched tonight after complaints of a stiff neck, it looks like tonight may be as crucial and nail-biting as last night was. But you know what? I’m not worried, at least not as much as I was before last night’s game, or when Holland was benched for Oswalt (who admittedly saved us, even though his season-long habit has been to sink us), or when we were down 4-2. We’ve still got a long way to go, but with Hamilton returning after being diagnosed with some sort of vision disorder only to…well, be Josh Hamilton and slam it into the stands, and with Beltre coming through in the clutch in the bottom of the 9th, and with Nathan saving like he’s saved all season, you can bet this team looks pumped for the postseason. Now let’s get it done.

Rant/Rave Hybrid: The Green Day/Billie Joe Debacle

Today’s Green Day post has taken on a whole new life since the events of this weekend. Today, of course, marks the release of Uno!, the first of the new trilogy I’ve talked so much about, but instead of appearances on television and record release parties in San Francisco, Billie Joe is in rehab, and promotional appearances have been canceled. I’m sure by now you’ve seen the “meltdown” or “tantrum” or whatever you want to call it that transpired Friday night, and of course I have many thoughts about it, as the biggest Green Day fan you will ever know.

First of all, “meltdown?” Anyone remember when the Who and the Rolling Stones smashed their guitars and we called it “rock and roll?” Now it’s a meltdown? The fact of the matter is, if the organizers at the iHeartRadio Fest had ever even seen a Green Day show, even a recent one, they would know the band, particularly Billie Joe, HATES getting cut off or telling him he has a few minutes left. (Of course, it could be debated very few people in that venue had any idea who Green Day are, if you watch the videos and look at the various bored crowd members, that seems apparent. I feel sorry for the Green Day fans that attended this awful, awful festival.) Organizers at Reading tried to unplug his guitar this summer, and he chased them off the stage. The band loves to play for hours; they’re used to it, they love it, their fans love it. They’re one of the hardest working bands out there, no doubt about it, and anyone who’s seen them play knows it. So, yeah, don’t tell Billie Joe he has one minute left.

As for the Bieber thing, why even bother? It obviously wasn’t a jab at the kid, even though I wish it was, he was not-so-eloquently stating the disrespect he felt for being a tenured rock star to be given such a short set for younger acts. Honestly, the fact that Green Day even signed up for this abomination of a fest blows my mind. And the apology? I guarantee you Billie had nothing to do with that. Check his Instagram photo the next day….he regrets nothing. So yeah, the apology? Damage control. After all, Clear Channel is a huge radio conglomerate who own more radio stations than any other company in the nation, and Green Day is one of the twenty rock bands left who actually get played on the radio, so yeah. PR move. I hate it, but bidness is bidness.

As for the speculation that this whole thing is fake, you better believe it’s not. This is the old Green Day, the crew that would jabber like juveniles in between songs coked out of their minds, who would wreck entire stages of monitors and amps and drum sets that didn’t belong to them….on national television, no less. Who would drop kick unruly fans in the pit at their own shows. And look at it from a business perspective….sure, the video’s gone viral and that might be seen as a way to boost album sales, but you can bet major appearances on Ellen, KROQ, and Jimmy Kimmel Live, which have all been postponed, as well as a show in San Fran, and possibly more appearances later, don’t cost money? Exposure? If Warner Bros. planned this whole thing, only to burn bridges at reputable radio and TV outlets, that would be pretty stupid, right?

And Billie getting treatment….well, that puts a very dark spin on everything. On the acts of Friday night. Of all previous interviews and performances. Of the album and its lyrical content, which you can read about here. And apparently this is long overdue, which leads me as a fan to question: how long exactly? That’s a scary thought, that Billie’s been fighting through this for a long time.

Bottom line after everything: get well, Billie Joe. Cancel all the appearances, the concerts, the interviews, your health is what matters more than anything. More than corporation musical snooze fests (doesn’t the name “iHeartRadio” just say it all?), more than performances on TV, hell, more than legit Green Day secret shows or a worldwide tour. More than all this dumb media speculation and nonsense from non-fans weighing in because they liked Dookie in junior high. And when you’re ready, we’ll be waiting. And you can bet I’ll be there, throwing all my money at you. I just bought the new album on pink vinyl!

And the new album’s fantastic. Go listen to it. Now.

Jul 17 2012

Quick Rant: The MLB All-Star Game

I know what I’m typing here isn’t revolutionary, and since the All-Star Game was last week, it’s more than a little past due in Internet terms. But it’s on my mind and I’ve got nothing better to blog about today, unless you guys want to hear the new Green Day song. Here you go. It’s awesome. Listen while you read. It’ll be all over the radio in 24 hours, if it isn’t already.

So anyway, we all know the Pro Bowl sucks. We hate it. It’s pointless, nobody’s playing hard, nobody cares, it means nothing, it’s a dumb exhibition game.

Well, the MLB All-Star Game is dumber. A lot dumber.

Why? Because ten years ago, MLB decided to incentivize the game. You know, to make the ratings go up, to make the players play harder, etc. To make it more than just a dumb game. “It’s not a break!” went the commercials I kept seeing everyday leading up to it this year.

And it’s been working on the ratings front. This year’s ASG was the most watched program of the week, with over 10 million viewers.

So what’s the incentive? Money? Some sponsored gift, akin to the Super Bowl MVP getting a car, but maybe not as nice? Maybe something dealing with the draft? Nope. It’s HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE for the World Series.

That’s right. A game with several players, voted in by the fans (perhaps undeservingly), who the vast majority won’t be in the World Series, some not even close to the postseason, decide the fate of the two final teams standing in October. In the past 9 years, the league that’s won the All-Star game and earned home field advantage has won the big game 6 times.

So that means my beloved Rangers, who have a pretty great shot at going to the World Series for the third straight year, also have a great shot at losing it for the third straight year and essentially becoming the modern-day Buffalo Bills of baseball. Every team is represented at the ASG, not the best of the best, and you can’t tell me these guys are actually out there, playing with good acquaintances and former teammates, and taking the game seriously. It likely never crosses their mind that potential Game 7 doom rests on the outcome of what they perceive as a more casual affair than the game-every-day grind they’re used to. “Not a break”? Give ME a break.

I know what you all are thinking: “Dude, your team had 8 people on the ASG this year. The AL lost 8-0. It’s on you guys more than anybody.” Well, ok, no, it’s on Verlander, who is an amazing pitcher overall, primarily for that game-deciding 1st inning. Harrison played awful, too. And for the record, my opinion is that Napoli, who has been dismal this season, and Darvish, who was up against far better players in the final vote, shouldn’t have even been there, among many, many other players. Do I think all the Rangers are the best players in the MLB? Of course not. Am I loyal and proud of my team? Absolutely. So yeah, I did the whole #VoteYu thing; he didn’t even play, so whatever. I mean, they’re letting us vote, which is stupid, so why not, right? Vote for your team. Duh.

I’m digressing a bit because I’m in soapbox mode, but what I’m trying to say overall is: either make the game best of the best and have it mean something important, or let fans vote in whoever and bring in undeserving reps from every team and have it mean little to nothing. You can’t have it both ways, MLB. The Royals didn’t deserve to have a spot this year, and everyone knows it. Who cares if it’s in Kansas City? If the fans don’t like it, maybe they should blame management.

My vote? Make it a dumb exhibition game, with every team represented, give them a middling incentive, make it fun. Make it meaningless. Make it a break. Make it the Pro Bowl. The ratings battle has ruined this game, and ultimately it may have ruined my World Series. So, sure, let the fans vote in the highly-paid rookie who’s nailing the strike zone decidedly less than the vets, but crowds love him. Let some rep for a well-under-.500 team have his two or three at-bats and come up short in all of them. That way, when the game everyone cares about comes around in October, we won’t already have a pretty good idea of the outcome.  We can enjoy the second half without the beginning of July looming over us.  We can watch the team with the best record garner home field advantage.  And I would be cool with that.

Because that team would be the Rangers.

May 3 2011

Quick Rants and Raves 5/3/11

Anyone that knows me knows I am a man of impeccable taste and opinion. Also: humble. So when many things all at once are on my mind, and the 140-character beauty of Twitter just isn’t doing it for me, I will take to the blog to sing my praises and wag my finger.

Rant: Austin City Limits Music Festival

I have ranted about this fest before. Major fests just aren’t my bag for a number of reasons. However, correct me if I’m wrong, but does any other major fest sell out three-day passes (or for that matter, even have them on sale) before the official lineup is announced? Probably more than any other fest, ACL seems to have a loyal gathering of people who decide they’re going every year, even before they find out the horrible, dreadful, increasingly worse list of bands playing. Or maybe C3 just doesn’t have a clue what they’re doing in regards to scalpers. I mean, if I really wanted to go to ACL, I could find tickets in Austin pretty easily via Craigslist/word of mouth. But it’s a matter of principle, and convenience, to buy them directly from the festival itself.

Rant: Who Gets Credit for Killing Osama Bin Laden?

It didn’t even take 12 hours for the Beltway and nonstop news cycle to ask the question: who gets credit for the execution of Bin Laden? And now, two days after Obama’s prime time announcement Sunday, they won’t shut up about it. MSNBC’s drinking the Obama Kool-Aid, and Fox News makes sure to mention every five minutes they think the Bush administration deserves a lot of kudos for this (they actually do deserve credit for the initial launch of the intelligence mission, though it was Obama who made it his #1 national security priority, and, of course, he was the President to sign off on the raid and watch it via a live video feed). And then there’s CNN, who are amping up the “retaliation” speculation, as they are wont to do in order to boost their god-awful ratings. How about we just wave our flags and chant a little more? This is a win not for Obama, or Bush, but for our entire country. You know who deserves the MOST credit for killing Osama? The heroes that did it.

Rave: Z-Trip Beastie Boys Mega-Mix

A career spanning mix of new and old Beastie tracks, from one of the best mashup artists out there. Check it.