The Idea of Open Minded Speaking

When it comes to ranting like a maniac, there is no real end in sight.  You go on and on, and only stop when you sleep, but in all actuality, stats are being counted, ideas are being born and the world keeps moving as you sleep.  That’s the way my mind works.  When something happens that gets my attention, there’s a need inside me to speak my point of view on it.  Call it crazy, purposeful but please respect a man with a keyboard with guns in his hands.  Here we go. 

It’s been 4 hours since my last post.   Since then….

Jason Isringhausen saved a game for the Mets against my team and his former team, The St. Louis Cardinals.   Ironic and fitting to see an old hand deal the Cards a slap on the second leg of this road trip.  Izzy takes over the role for the Mets after the team traded Francisco Rodriguez(23 saves) to Milwaukee to set up for John Axford.   Izzy has 294 saves, and rather or not some think its credible, that is the benchmark for closers to reach and feel satisfied.   After three years toying with retirement, getting healthy and slowly making his way back to respectability, Izzy gets his first save in 3 years.  The last year he closed games for St. Louis, 2008, Izzy collected 12 saves in a doom filled season that saw him and Ryan Franklin share duties in an off year for the team.  Remember?  Izzy starting the season by blowing 3 saves in the first week of the season, sounds familiar to actions seen in 2011.   With K-Rod gone, Izzy is inserted into the pressure cooker known as Citi Field in Mets land.   Tonight, he looked sharper than ever, the best since 2007, and made the middle of our order look like a Double A grunge band.  Matt Holliday reached for a curve and grounded out.  Lance Berkman reached for curve and grounded out.   David Freese struck out on a checked swing and before 15 pitches were thrown, Izzy had his first save of the season.  Let me tell you why this means something to me.  Izzy was my favorite Cardinal for 4 seasons.   As I have marched through my years as a Cardinal die hard follower, I’ve taken plenty of shots to the chest for Isringhausen.   When his hip blew up, his saves disappeared and my need for a bullet proof vest at my old job, on the Manual Scoreboard at old Busch Stadium, became increasingly apparent and required practice.   When Izzy fell, my job started as non profit counsel for Izzy’s former estate as a better than average closer.  Izzy was a thrilling guy to watch in the 9th inning because he made things interesting, hung every pitch on our shoulders and took every beating like a pro.  That’s why its good to see Izzy back in the saddle again.  He has earned it.  When he crashed, Izzy burned.   No one in the major leagues has worked harder, acted so selfless, taken the abuse on the chin, kept his head high and been as patient for his last chance than Isringhausen.  When I see him climb the hill like a former gunslinger who retrieved his lost gun(the deadly curve) and shut down my team, the death didn’t hurt as bad as when Francisco Cordero closes the door two nights before.  In short, for one night, it was alright to see Jason Isringhausen find his closing touch, gain save #294, and find a piece of his dignity lost three years ago at Busch Stadium.   A guy whose wife had to take their daughter out of Busch Stadium because the “best fans in baseball” screamed every possible negative one liner at Izzy as he walked off the field after a blown save.   A guy who has gone through 2 shoulder surgeries, one elbow surgery, 2 hip surgeries and various other injuries in his career to remain throwing 93 mph tonight.   If anyone has earned a second chance, its Jason Isringhausen.  Move over John Franco.  There’s a new aging closer in Queens. 

The Cards lose to the Mets because they couldn’t score more than 2 runs off a rookie pitcher, David Gee, that they never faced before or saw pitch at all.   A common trend for this team is to lose to rookie pitchers, so tonight wasn’t a surprise.  One must crawl over this dead body, sign off on the autopsy(no hitting, average performance from Kyle Lohse, efficient pitching and timely hitting NYM) and prepare for Game 2.   There’s bad news in this series.  Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia will not pitch.  There’s good news in this series.  David Wright isn’t playing but David Murphy can hit cleanup and bash deep fly balls over our drawn in outfield’s head.  The story of tonight’s game was Murphy crushing a 0-2 pitch from Raul Valdes with 2 outs over Jon Jay’s head in center.  If Jay is playing at normal depth, the deep fly ball is caught and the inning is over, leaving the score at 2-1 Mets.   Why is an outfielder playing so shallow with 2 outs and the cleanup hitter at the plate?  A horrible decision by Tony La Russa(probable cause) or a rare mistake from Jay(least likely).   Either way, the 2 run double makes the score 4-1 and the game is sealed. 

The worst thing about a defeat is the aftermath and effect.  With the loss, the Cards drop to 2 games out of first place and fall into third place behind the Pirates and Brewers.   Guess what the Pirates did for the second night in a row?  The Bucs shut out the Reds, 1-0, marking 18 innings of scoreless Reds offense.   John Hanrahan locked down his 28th save, the Pirates needed only 1 run, and they won again. After breaking the Cards hearts and taking 2 of 3 from us over the weekend, the Reds can’t produce 1 single run in 18 innings against Pittsburgh.   Do I take back my theory that the Pirates won’t hold up?  I will not do such a thing. Does the awareness of this weekend’s three game set between the Cards and Pittsburgh up East gain significance?  Yes indeed.  I am no expert at all folks, but I don’t like the Pirates one bit right now. 

Small bits on the Cards.  

  • Albert Pujols grounded into his 20th and 21st double play tonight, and in a two run loss those failed opportunities are huge.  AP is slowly arriving but his average can’t get past .283 and his double play tendencies are alive and well.   If he is going to stay around slugger weight(.270 BA, 20 HR, 55 RBI) he has to run out those grounders harder, especially on double plays. 
  • Nick Punto took grounders from shortstop and third base to prove to the team that his unintentionally funny lolly pop throw in Cincy was a fluke and that his elbow isn’t in two pieces right now.   Punto is vital to the Cards defense and bench, so if he sticks around and avoids his third DL stay of the year, its a positive development for this team. 
  • Colby Rasmus sits down again, holding his bad batting average and low hanging power stats in check for one night.  Colby saw zero action tonight.  No pinch hitting or wakeup calls.   Message, farmboy.  Start hitting quick because Tony La Russa gets his way in this town and that means bad news for young hot shot talent trains that derail easily.  Colby’s laidback demeanor doesn’t bother me too much.  His lack of production is the thorn in the side of my dick every time he strikes out in a crucial moment and homers in a useless at bat.  4 of Colby’s last 5 hits have been home runs.   Too bad I am talking about a 3 week period.  Colby, get well or be gone.  You have two weeks to wake up. 
  • If the Cards deal Rasmus, I will be surprised.   That’s all.   This isn’t a supporting statement for Colby or a presser on the Cards front office, just a know well hunch.  This is me saying the ego of the Cardinals front office and suits section is as big as 5 football fields.  They want to be right.  These are high powered businessmen with law degrees and money.  Are you surprised?
  • Put a gun to a GM’s head and ask him how much he likes a certain player and how much he really likes a veteran manager.  Don’t cock the trigger.  Just hold it and ask him.  I am curious.
  • Lance Berkman homered again tonight, bringing his season total to 26, almost twice the amount Puma collected last season in two different uniforms.   There are three things to consider here.  First, Lance Berkman isn’t done putting up big seasons in the majors.   Second, the Cards would be wise to negotiate an extension for 2012 now rather than at the end of the year when he has 42 HR and 110 RBI.  Third, this is what healthy knees, a repaired psyche and new digs can do for a veteran slugger who hid under the radar for 8 seasons.
  • How much can a fan trust the Cardinals bullpen right now?  Allow me to compare the situation to a person leaving his stove on low heat while he or she ran to the grocery store for a missing ingredient.   That’s about right. 

That is enough for now about this team that constantly wishes to drive me insane.   How many things in your life do you passionate about that you can’t control?  Please don’t tell me it is just a sport or a game.  Those who think that never played it or really got into it.   What we take seriously in life has to do with a truth inside us that can’t be explained.  This is the same reason I don’t frown on people who care two shits about baseball yet live and die over who some ugly lady on The Bacholorette picks to be her 1 year husband in training on live television.  We all have our passions. This is mine.

Movie Idea of The Week-In Time, starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfrield and directed by Andrew Niccol(Lord of War, Gattaca)

Imagine a world that took the phrase, “Time is money”, seriously?   In Niccol’s new film, societies aren’t cut up into separate pieces of geography yet decided by wealth and poverty.   The wealthy groups wear long button down shirts and waste time.  The poor wear zip up clothing(faster to assemble and wear) and must rush to work, through life and home in order to stay alive?  What if one day, you were told your time was up and you had to make it to work on time in order to “buy more time”.   That is Timberlake’s character’s predicament.   Please don’t knock JT.  The man is supremely talented and versatile.  He has taken several supporting roles in film and knocked all of them out(Alpha Dog, Social Network, Black Snake Mamba, Bad Teacher) while selling platinum records, killing on SNL and having sex with Jessica Biel.   Multi tasker who finally gets a movie of his own here.   This is a film that gets me excited because A)It isn’t an adaptation, sequel, or superhero CGI fest.  B)The script is fresh, the concept is smart and the cast is versatile and perfectly calibrated.  C)Andrew Niccol, director of visionary future world plots such as Gattaca and brilliant films lik Lord of War, is guiding the ship.  Imagine a world where you had to buy time.  A world where wasting time on a couch is seen as a crime and punishable by death.  Every moment is high stakes poker.   This is a film I am interested in.  Comes out in the fall, when the true heavy hitters start to arrive.

Secondary television isn’t advertised but it happens because unless you work 60 hours a week, drink like a fish, read a lot,  go to school and work full time or study plants or have a kid you have time on your hands at night.   When I watch MasterChef, Weeds, and Big C all in one night, I am in need of something to do with my time.   Secondary television can be seen as a guilty pleasure or as an ambitious kick in the head.   One of the good things with a kid arriving is time will have to be earned and not wasted on secondary television.  Here is an example.

First Rate Must Watch TV-Rescue Me, Dexter, Californication, Entourage, Wire, Sopranos, Sons of Anarchy

Secondary Television-Weeds, Big C, MasterChef, Royal Pains, Chopped

In the middle-Entourage, Man VS. Wild, Sons of Guns

Entourage is in there twice because depending on the season and the writing of Doug Ellin, Entourage can be a must watch or a show stuck in the middle of guilty pleasures and a waste of time.  

Speaking of the Boys from Queens attempt to make it big in Hollywood HBO series, the last season starts on Sunday.   An 8th and shortened final season and look at Vincent Chase and his band of theives from home.  The rock of the show still belongs to super agent Ari Gold, played like a bullet fired out of a glock by Jeremy Piven.  Piven gets the best lines, scenes, setup, leeway room in ad libbing and guides the best moments.   Aside from that, the appeal for this show for me is this.  The appealing nature of friendship.   The fun part is watching this group of friends take the hits and keep on coming.  Sure, they drive Aston Martin’s and live in Mansions, but they are regular guys at the core and in that divide lies bare boned appeal and intrigue.   Here’s to 4 more hours of Ari Gold zingers, good times with the boys and a halfway happy ending for the star crossed movie mini god Vinny Chase. 

Preview Ari Gold Zinger-“You don’t want Vinny mistaking your pale round head for a crack rock, Eric.”

If Doug Ellin(creator and head writer) did one thing well, it was expand Piven’s role on this show into a role that has earned Piven two Emmy awards and several nominations.  As Gold would advice, put on your armor, get your sunblock, because we’re going to hell and back. 

Song of the Day-Reaching into my U2 vault here and pulling out an old goodie, “Running to Stand Still”, from their finest achievement in making a complete album, the Joshua Tree.  This is a slow burner that needs to be listened to in the quiet of the morning or the deep hours of the night.  Either now or in 7 hours.

What else is there to talk about?  Follow me as I make my way down the rest of the list.

-If you want to know how older rock bands keep their mojo, listen to U2’s last two albums, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and No Line on the Horizon.

-After seeing the 90 second first preview in theaters and watching it three times in a row online,  Christopher Nolan’s epic conclusion to his Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, is the ultimate must see film of 2012.   That’s right.  One year before its release date(July 20th, 2012), a teaser is released.  Welcome to the 21st century ladies and gents.   Here’s why it is the most anticipated film with 365 days left to wait.  Nolan’s genius.  He picked up a dead franchise and inserted new life into it.  He did the unthinkable and combined a blockbuster superhero film with a hardcore drama and created a Best Picture nominee at the Oscars and provided Heath Ledger with the role of a lifetime(his swan song) and a supporting Oscar to share in his grave.  Look at the 90 second spot and its details.   The Liam Neeson voiceover from Batman Begins starts things off here.

“If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, than you become something else entirely, you became a legend, Mr. Wayne, a legend. “

That’s what I tell myself in the morning, but after that we see Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon staring down a person we know to see Batman while stricken with an unknown illness in a hospital bed.   Gordon is telling Batman that Gotham needs him back and that evil has rised up in his absence.  At the end of the last Nolan entry, The Dark Knight, The Joker had turned the city against Batman, leading to the dark hero taking the blame for Harvey Dent’s death and was casted out as a fugitive and rode off on his Batpod with Gordon smashing the bat signal.  This final film marks the return of the Caped Crusader to bring down justice on very bad guys like Bane(played by tough Brit/Nolan alum, Tom Hardy).  Look at the rest of the cast.  Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Oldman, Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon Levitt.   Stellar casting marks every Nolan production.  If you haven’t dipped into Nolan’s Batman universe, do so right now.  Put down the remote, go buy Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and get educated on film appreciation.  You have one year.  Here is the trailer.

To run or not run at this late hour in South St. Louis City?  I am not sure.

On Sunday, I took in the small film known to many as Harry Potter.   The final chapter came out on Friday and I took the wife(who read all seven books in stealth mode) to see it with friends.   My report.  The Potthead was who I thought he was.  It wasn’t bad or great, and exactly as I predicted.  A good time, full of adventure, little boys with little sticks, dealing with dark lords, angry witches, mysterious creatures and 2.25 hours of it.   Do I want to read all the books?  No.  Do I want to go back and watch every film?  No.  Will I admit the films are a tad bit enjoyable and slightly addictive to watch when in the seat?  Yes.   That is all.  There is no need for further review on Harry Potter.   He is good.  Another is bad.  Only one wins.  Go see for yourself.

Also in front of Harry Potter came the first trailer for Sherlock Holmes 2: Game of Shadows, the second Guy Ritchie-Robert Downey Jr.-Jude Law exercise in the famous detective story.   The first film, released on Christmas of 2009, was a highly enjoyable, rewatchable filmmaking treat that showed Downey at his peak and Law in fine form.   The key love fact on Ritchie’s take on Holmes is the way he turns him into a thinking man’s action hero with brains and wit to spare.  While the action is good and story is strong enough, the make or break factor is the chemistry between Downey’s Holmes and Law’s Watson.   Greatness.  Here is a clip.

One Reason to Want to see The Changeup, despite its body switching plot revisiting.  

1.)It stars a comedy dream team in Jason Batemen and Ryan Reynolds

2.)The director of Wedding Crashers is working here.

3.)The writers of the Hangover also work here.

Calling all comedy buffs.   Batemen’s family man speech on babies acting like “mini drug addicts” gets me in the door.

Hard Part for a Dad to be-Telling the wife that he doesn’t have the patience to wait for his future son to respond to a tap on the belly with a kick back.   I feel horrible pulling away from my wife, but its frustrating when you feel nothing. 

Tomorrow’s forecast-Hot as hell with a chance for more heat.  The heat index(what it feels like) is 115.   That’s it.  Do I really need to show a radar or chart?  Why is so much time wasted on the weather in prime time bland news segments?  Useless money wasting to watch a man with a clicker move around a green screen moving his hands up and down, making 150,000 dollars a year doing it and being wrong 50 percent of the time.

The NFL Lockout comes to an end, the NBA lockout only begins and free agency arrives all in one week in July.   The NFL lockout will end, hopefully, in less than 5 months. 

Appreciate a well made cup of coffee in the morning.   Tomorrow’s wakeup call.  Cafe Sumatra Blend from Starbucks.  Delicious.

Why did I start a blog?  The chance to speak to a room of millions of instead of the hundreds.   Simple as that. 

Until next time, you know the drill. 

All Politicians lie. 

Gas Prices go up and down like stocks.

Time keeps moving.

People live and die inside 24 hour periods.

There’s nothing we can do about it except for, maybe, talking about it afterwards.

That’s life, in my opinion, a series of conversations. 

Thanks for reading and goodnight.

-Dan Buffa



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