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 23 2012

Recommended Reading: Texas Rangers

Series Preview: Boston Red Sox @ Texas Rangers

Yu Darvish’s Two Curves – An Analysis

Baseball’s MVPs

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.

Jun 29 2012

This Weekend: Off To Arlington!

Last night my mighty Rangers earned a nail-biting win against the A’s, where both teams went through their pitching staff pretty heavily and threw a combined 300 pitches. It was Joe Nathan who saved a pretty hectic 9th inning. Thank God Feldman’s done for a while, because I don’t want to see him throw. No, instead I’ve got my eyes set on our stars (the remaining ones not on the DL, anyway), Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish. Justin Grimm will make his third start on Saturday, and hopefully I’ll see him throw like he did the first time around. Texas has been a little snake-bitten as of late, with Lewis, Uehara, Ogando, and Moreland all on the DL and Holland working through rehab starts. And yet they keep coming up with wins and remain the team with the best record in MLB. Hopefully they can keep up the good work in the Texas heat this weekend, because I’m watching them play Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Let’s go Rangers!

May 14 2012

Highlights From My Weekend

May 11 2012

Travel Day! Off To See the Rangers Again

Today I embark to Arlington for a couple of days to catch the American Idiot musical and watch my mighty Rangers, who just clinched another series handily, this time against the Baltimore Orioles. In case you missed it, Josh Hamilton made history a few games ago, knocking out four home runs, a double, and 8 RBIs. I look forward to seeing him destroy the red hot Angels, as former Ranger CJ Wilson makes his first trip back to Texas to combat our star rookie pitcher Yu Darvish. It’s gonna be a wonderful evening.

Watch Hamilton’s amazing night here.

Feb 3 2012

Super Bowl XLVI Prediction

Two weeks ago, I was a perfect 2-0 for my divisional championship picks, and, as I predicted, this year’s Super Bowl is a repeat of 2007. That makes my record 6-4, and even if I screw this one up, I go out a winner. Having said that, I’m pretty stumped as to who’s gonna win this one. The media likes to pretend the Giants are underdogs again, yet every time I turn on Sportscenter, they’re talking aout Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning. The past few weeks I’ve gone with stats and whathaveyou, but this time around I’m going with my gut, simply because I feel these are two pretty evenly matched teams all around. The Giants have improved, but so has the Patriots defense, and Tom Brady is still sensational. Eli’s been playing better, but I just don’t think a repeat comeback is in order this time around.

So yeah, I’m going with the Patriots. The NFL is an offensive league, and Tom Brady’s the best QB left standing. And I still don’t think the Giants deserve to be in the Super Bowl. Call it wishful thinking the 49ers would do better. or leftover sore feelings from the Packers stomping, but New York is not the best NFC team by far. And I’m a Cowboys fan, so going for the boys in blue just rubs me wrong. So yeah, nothing revelatory here, I’m jut betting the Patriots offense can outlast the Giants. Even though everyone at ESPN wants the opposite to happen.

Jan 20 2012

NFL Divisional Championship Picks

Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots

I’m an even 4-4 for my playoff picks, but that hardly matters now that my precious Packers are out. Having said that, I think I’ve got the right picks this time around for sure. This one’s in Mass, and Tom Brady has been playing better than he has in his entire career. So that’s pretty damn good to say the least. The Ravens have a pretty explosive defense, however, and the Patriots…well….don’t. Still, Flacco is a hot-cold QB, and New England will ultimately win this one.

New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers

This one should be fun to watch, and currently it’s impossible to predict. Eli Manning has been going strong, and the Giants defense is on a roll after stomping my Packers at home. The 49ers are formidable on both sides of the ball, especially their D, and they have home-field advantage, which is a big deal to me….but I’m gonna go with the Giants this time, strictly because they handily beat a better team last week, whereas San Francisco barely pulled it off against the excellent Saints.

Jan 13 2012

NFL Divisional Playoffs Picks

Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots

So I’m 2-2 so far in the postseason picks, but I have a feeling after this weekend I’ll be in the win column, especially if Tebow plays like Tebow and not like the superhuman, make-me-look-like-an-idiot passing machine that he was last week against the Steelers. There’s no way a guy who has completed for less than half during the regular season has any chance of keeping up with Tom Brady and the best offense in the AFC. No matter what the TeBros tell you this week, New England will win this one handily.

New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers

This one’s another slam-dunk offensive show; Drew Brees is unstoppable right now, even though the 49ers defense is well rested. Brees threw for 466 yards last week against the Lions, and San Fran has done pretty average against the passing game. Stopping Frank Gore and the rushing offense will be a challenge, but nothing the Saints aren’t capable of handling. This one goes to New Orleans in a game that should be pretty much done by the time the fourth quarter comes around.

Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens

Yates and Flacco aren’t the story here. This one’s all about running backs; whichever defense stops the leading rusher is the winner. So whether the Texans can kill Ray Rice, or the Ravens can crush Arian Foster, that’s what the scoreboard will show. So it should be a pretty close game, but I think Baltimore has the edge on this one – home-field advantage, more experience in the quarterback position, and a well-rested D-line.

New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers

This one’s the nail biter, and speaking as a Packers fan, I’m pretty damn scared of Eli Manning and the Giants defense. Green Bay’s well rested and playing in cold-as-hell Wisconsin, but New York is pretty hot right now. This one will be a blow-for-blow offensive shootout, and it will be incredibly fun to watch. In the end, my money’s on Green Bay, but expect a last minute finish similar to when these two teams met in Week 13.

Jan 6 2012

NFL Wild Card Weekend Picks

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans

This one should be sloppy. Frankly, the Bengals lucked their way into the postseason, and the Texans haven’t looked like a playoff team in a while, thanks to a slew of key injuries. So it’s the battle of the rookie quarterbacks, and someone’s gotta win, so my money’s on the Bengals, if only because Dalton has played more consistently overall than Yates, who, along with his team, lost three straight heading into this game, including one to the abysmal Colts.

Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints

This one’s going to be a shootout for sure. The NFC games are just going to be more exciting, period. Great offenses will battle. But ultimately New Orleans will win, thanks to MVP contender Drew Brees and Detroit’s lack of discipline when things get heated. Expect Stafford to throw more than Brees, but penalties will hurt the Lions overall.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos

The Steelers are banged up bad. Big Ben will struggle. But he won’t struggle as bad as the overrated Tim Tebow, who hasn’t decidedly won against a challenging team all season. And, dare I say, he hasn’t experienced a defense like Pittsburgh. Expect a low-scoring game that Tebow won’t be able to fourth-quarter-miracle his way out of. Pardon the irony, but the Broncos haven’t got a prayer.

Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants

The Falcons’ defense is sharp, and the Giants’ is not. Having said that, New York has the momentum after embarrassing Romo in Jerryville, and they have Eli Manning, who is throwing like a veteran. This will be another red zone game, but ultimately I expect the boys in blue to wrap this one up early in the fourth quarter.