5 Denis Leary Rants(otherwise known as dessert)

As I send out a new blog, here are some recent excerpts audio rants from his book, which I own, called Why We Suck.   Click and listen if you want an original point of view and want to make an attempt to laugh.  He is an irish heritage no bullshit storyteller. 
Call this the dessert session from my blog this evening.

Leary is a ranting maniac, going at it on all topics at any time.  If you would like to know what he thinks, listen on.  If not, scratch this email. 
“The one thing you can’t buy in America is a sense of humor.”-Leary

A Britney Spears rant(who doesn’t start a tribute out without a Spears roast)

“It’s not only the Muslims who look at this stuff and start building bombs”(referring to Britney madness)

http://youtu.be/uTOVSgmrv0c

While these aren’t stand up comedy acts, they are Denis Leary written rants.  

Here are more excerpts and rants from the book.  Random topics.

http://youtu.be/1pD32kTcKMI

http://youtu.be/RYPCCktNj_I

http://youtu.be/c6s_kMU4zoM
(why other countries hate us)

“Latrell Sprewell once told his agent that 9.5 million dollars wasn’t enough to feed his family.   Like…I don’t know what to say to a guy like that.  What are you eating?  Fucking Mercedes!”

Here’s why Denis Leary wrote the book and his general point of view on things.

http://youtu.be/e–DxLx51h8

The thing about Leary is he is honest about topics.  You ask him and he gives you a non partial take on the matter.   If he is bias, he tells you up front.   This is why I admire him. 

Listen or not, I am done and so is Denis….for now. 

-DLB

 

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Peace of Mind

Folks,

Today I am going to deliver the news and thoughts from my head in a quick, brutal unfiltered fashion.   Or, as they say, the usual route required to properly clear out the head of any debris.

First, I am going to talk to you about 9/11 and some findings I have come upon this week.   Believe me, this isn’t a redundant section.   Watching Inside 9/11 on The National Geographic Channel, a viewer was given the chance to see the entire timeline of events that led up to the attacks.   From 1997 when Osama publicly made the promise to September 11th’s tragedies.  9/11 comes full circle here and allows you to see the game as a whole.   Follow me as I fire off notes.  I won’t reveal where the planes hit or exact locations.   Just information I picked up from the 3 hours of documentary footage.

*Disturbing revelations leading up to the event don’t leave the mind for awhile.  They stick with you.   The main idea being that the attacks could of been prevented if intel had been accepted and not denied.  Conspiracy nuts revel over these details, but I’m strictly going with the notion that our government was TOO NAIVE to think we could be attacked.  They thought there was no way and got burned.  The USA government is classically guilty of thinking they are untouchable.  Osama Bin Laden changed that in one day.

*After an American journalist interviewed Osama Bin Laden in 1997 and Osama told the world he was going to attack the US, there were three times the US had a chance to kill or capture him.  At this time, he was already a known terrorist and capable of an attack.  The first chance came when US intel had tracked Osama to a reservation in Pakistan and had a chance to kill him but Bill Clinton said no because there were women and children around.  That’s right, let’s not harm a few innocent relatives of a terrorist.  That’s wrong.  That came in 1998.   In 1999, there was another shot when Osama met with a Prince in Afghanistan.  US forces backed off again because they feared killing an Arab prince would sour relations.  Wrong. The Prince knew who Osama was and knew of his plans so he took a risk by meeting with him.   Second chance under Bill Clinton failed.   This happened right around the Monica Lewinsky controversy.  Bill was busy.  The third time came in 2000, right after Bush took office.  Immediately, he was notified that Bin Laden was a threat and needed to be captured.  Bush and company resisted the urge.   In 2001, months before the attack, the CIA once again notified Bush of an imminent attack on US soil.  Bush, once again, said no.  That’s right.  We had 4 times to capture or kill Osama and failed to act. The leaders of our country failed to act.  Please withhold any statements suggesting this happens all the time with the Jihad.  Wrong.  Osama was a real threat and bombed the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia right after his threat on TV.   This particular threat was serious and we did nothing.  The next time someone tells you the US didn’t know where Osama was, please correct them.   We had his location, but did nothing about it.  2 Presidents bypassed the chance to take him out and not until Obama finally gave the word this past Summer did Osama finally go down.  There were many chances to stop a huge attack.  That’s the sickening feeling.  The idea that the worst attack in US history could of been prevented.  Its a truly terrible idea.  For the 5 yr olds reading this, imagine telling dad there was a monster in the closet repeatedly and he didn’t even check it once.   The USA let the

*National Geographic isn’t lying here. 10 yrs later, the facts are in and the jury is out.   Certain conspirators will claim these facts are fabricated in order to fit their unbreakable point of view. I am different.  When it comes to politics, nothing is out of bounds.  Every bit of into qualifies.

*Why take Osama seriously in 1997?  Why not?  Its foolish to doubt a man who either isn’t afraid to die or has people in his command who aren’t afraid to die.   Failing to take Osama Bin Laden seriously ended up costing our country nearly 3,000 lives.

*For the people thinking bombs went off at base of towers, that’s inaccurate. The 20,000 gallons of jet fuel that crashed into towers on 93rd floor exploded down elevator shaft and into the lobby.  Once the jet fuel gets into the interior part of the building and down the elevator shafts, it’s like melting butter on a hot pan.  Only a matter of time before collapse. When the planes hit the towers, they blasted through the protective layer in between the floors that made the metal exposed to the 2,000 degree flames. The impact of the aircraft and jet fuel created collapse.

*When people attempt to involve conspiracy theories, it comes from a lifelong discomfort with the US Government.  That is warranted, but the conspiracy nuts of 9/11 are trying to create a facade that breaks down the intelligience of the hijackers.   It doesn’t work when examined.   The hijackers(including pilots and muscle) prepared for these attacks for 4 years.  They lived in various homes throughout the United States while attending flight schools in Phoenix and Houston.   Terrorists aren’t stupid people and they perform their missions with intense detail.  This is what people forget.  They chose Trans-Atlantic planes because they carried the most fuel, the most people and were capable of the most damage.  In 1993, Jihad terrorists set off a bomb at the base of the Towers that killed some yet didn’t do the job.  The second time, they used the jetliners like missiles and attacked the top of the buildings, where the stability is more vulnerable.   They were tacticians.  That is the hardest part for civilians to understand.

*United 93 slammed 590 mph into a cornfield in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.   Yes, it happened and there was a crash site.   After hearing tape from the cockpit and from phone calls from loved ones, a few of the victims got together and made an attempt to take back the plane from the terrorists.  This is a common conspiracy theroist’s dream because they feel there never was a United 93 and if they took control why didn’t it hit a location.   Well, since some people did fight back, the plane slammed into an empty cornfield and not a key location in Washington DC, where air traffic controllers had the plane heading before it derailed straight down.  Unless Osama hated farmers, this plane didn’t hit its target and 44 people died with a portion of them putting up a fight.

*Just for kicks, I will tell you I would of done something I heard about the other planes crashing into the towers and I knew our plane was headed for a similiar fate.  Buffa wouldn’t of went quietly.  That’s easier said than done, but if you have something to live for and have some balls, it works.

*For the people who jumped from the towers, it was a do or die slower decision.   They had two choices.  Burn alive or jump and make it quick.  The first responders hauled 100 pounds of equipment up the stairs, and they weren’t going to make it to floors 85 or above, where the impact zones were located.   A truly chilling sight to see people jump was the only option for those people trapped by fire and smoke.  Wonder what helpless is?  Swallowing tons of smoke and trying to breathe.  I bet the people who jumped had zero idea when they woke up that morning that they would fall to their deaths less than 4 hours later.  That’s the horrifying part.

*Watching the towers collapse is like watching a movie.   Buildings falling into heaps of metal and smoke chasing people through the streets.  The island of New York was literally covered in black smoke, and watching the video of people running for their lives is unsettling.

*The documentary includes interviews with 60 CIA operatives, journalists, victims widows and survivors.   There is sound from the cockpit of each plane, coming from the terrorists themselves or the flight attendants.  This documentary pulls zero punches in it’s recounting of a tragedy.

*The meat and potatoes of this series is seeing how the USA was caught off guard and basically beaten by an evil opponent here.  It’s simple.  Our country was beaten in a chess match of life or death.   What I will take away from this day isn’t the conspiracy theories.   I will spend my time thinking of the chances we had to take out Osama Bin Laden.  The chance we had to stop this attack with all the intel that was received and put off or frankly avoided.  That is what I will remember here.   Obama got Bin Laden, but to me his death came too late.  He hasn’t done much since 9/11, and why should he have to.  Bush’s engagement in two wars threw him into hiding.  His death was welcome but came way too late.  As Denis Leary and a million other people will tell you, I’d rather have the 2896 people who died back instead.

Now that I’ve worked Ground Zero and its vast history like a renegade rescuing the truth, I’m moving onto more well known sections.

The Cards Terminally Ill Ward

A Reason To Watch Cards Battle Milwaukee this week-Spoiler alert. Plain and simple.  Throw this team off course.  While highly unlikely, Cards can’t go down without a fight and it starts tomorrow in Milwaukee.  The Cards can’t catch the Brewers unless a miracle happens.  The Brewers would have to finish the season on a 13-14 run while the Cards finished 24-4 in order to force a one game playoff, according to FSN.com writer Bj Rains pointed out this morning.   That isn’t happening folks, but tune in to see if the Cards can salvage a little dignity.

Jason Motte finally returns to the closer role and impresses. It’s been a long time since Jason Motte fumbled the closer role in April of 2009.   On Sunday, Motte went 1-2-3 to nail down his first save in 2.5 years.  He belongs there for the rest of the season.  Once again, the Cards have nothing to lose by installing Motte there.  Everyone else has gotten a halfway fair chance to close games after the implosion of Ryan Franklin, so let Motte take his reps.  Motte is on an historic run for a reliever.  (Tapping wood as I write), Motte hasn’t allowed an earned run to score since June 23rd.  Repeat that to yourself.  Motte hasn’t pulled a Mitchell Boggs, come into a game and widened a deficit or closed a gap before securing 1-3 outs.  Since the same date, Motte has only allowed 1 unearned run to cross and only 1 inherited runner.  That’s freakishly good and while its only a stat, Motte deserves the benefit of the doubt and be given the ball in the 9th inning.  If it works out, next season’s bullpen starts to take shape.   If not, add him to the list of 9th inning casualties and start searching.  If Motte takes over in the 9th, Fernando Salas returns to his “jack of all trades” job, Lance Lynn comes back as your fire fighter in tight spots and Eduardo Sanchez sets up.   Everything starts with Motte getting a fair shot.

The Lance Berkman situation.   The next week will determine if Berkman stays a Cardinal or gets traded to another team contending for a playoff spot.  The Texas Rangers may come calling this week and while there are reasons to keep Berk around, trading him may bring the team a huge gift.   This is a tricky situation.  The Cards can trade Berk and receive a pretty good prospect in return from a team like the Rangers.   Or they could hold onto him, try to work out a deal, get no picks and may be headed to arbitration if a deal can’t be reached.   The third option is Berkman walks after the season.   Berkman has said he truly wants to be a Cardinal next season.  The Cards could use a decent prospect with their farm system getting depleted throughout this season.   When the Cards traded for Mark DeRosa in 2009, the Indians ended up getting current closer Chris Perez.  With the Rangers desperate to return to the World Series and needing to replace the injured Nelson Cruz, Nolan Ryan and company may reach deep for Berkman’s rejuevenated services.  If the Cards feel they can let Berkman go and pull him back in free agency, make the deal.   Cards GM John Mozelaik can pull Berk aside and tell him this is a win/win situation.  The Cards win by getting a decent draft pick, and Berkman gets a shot to win a World Series.   If Berkman really wants to come back, he can weigh that decision after the season.   However, Berkman may want to resist a trade and stay.   It’s in the Cardinals hands to decide.   Knowing the draft savvy smart minds of Mozelaik and scouting expert Jeff Luhnow, they will examine the potential prospect to come over to St. Louis.   They will know if it’s worth the deal or not.   This isn’t about this season.  The deal here is wondering about the next 1-2 seasons.   The Cards gave Berk a chance to restart his career, and he did.   Now that the Cards are hanging out of the race, the decision is to trade or keep.  If Berkman wants to return next season, consider the prospect and think about making the trade.  Imagine if the prospect is a shortstop, second basemen, or closer close to major league ready action?  There is a lot of consider here, but the Cards must examine these steps closely.

5 Reasons to Watch Rescue Me on WednesdayThis gritty drama is coming to a blazing end and only has two hours left to finish it’s round of firefighter torture, but tomorrow’s episode is going to be packed with explosive dialogue, storylines and a collision of attitudes.   Here’s reasons to watch if are curious.

1.)A Gavin Wedding is happening.  Tommy’s daughter, Colleen, is getting hitched to  Shawn and the ingredients here are that Shawn’s black and proud family will be mixed with the raging alcoholic pack of animals known as the Gavins.   Aggressive dancing, racial slurs, drinking, fire and drama will fill the room but this just makes for great dialogue from female stars Andrea Roth and Callie Thorne.  They are the two headed monster in Tommy Gavin’s side.

2.)The crew engages with a 5 alarm fire downtown.   This will put every guy on the crew to the test and cause certain uneasy relationships, such as between Tommy and his best friend/lieutanant Lou, to come full circle.   Denis Leary and John Scurti are great together because they are brutally honest in their interactions.  Lou thinks Tommy is a hero but also a doomed dead soul who never left 9/11 mentally intact.  Tommy wants Lou to be a godfather to his new kid but knows he is out of shape and needs to diet.  These two are like equally matched animals in a cage.  The fact that neither own an Emmy for their work here is wrong and shows a decent prejudice against the real hardcore dramas on FX.   Trust me folks, Justfied and Rescue Me have ten times more story than any drama on network television homes like NBC, FOX or CBS.

3.)Two hours left on this series and things will only get hotter.  Unlike HBO’s Entourage, Rescue Me will go out with a bang and be as unpredictable as television can get.   Peter Tolan and Leary are expert storytellers and are running this train for all it’s worth instead of slowing down for tissue tears and melodramatic moments.   Rescue Me is great because it takes a tough and touchy subject matter(9/11 survivors guilt) and never creeps into sentimental ground or becomes manipulative in its stories.  Everything is simply dealt with and built up realistically.

4.)Spoiler Alert.   Major character will be biting the big one Wednesday night.  A great way to get someone to watch is to tell them a major character is dying.  It sparks the curiousity.   RM has a ingenius way of killing off characters when we least expect it so I am waiting to see how it’s worked in without being overly sentimental.  A loop that’s always easily leaped through on this show.

5.)The Chance for a Denis Leary/Tommy Gavin rant.   If you don’t like his comedy or his everyday bits on Twitter, watch this show for the Gavin rants.  They are original and carry plenty of juice.  Where Tommy spins knowledge and wisdom on a fortunate receipient.  The episode where he drank a pint of Irish Whiskey and told people in a bar who loved American Idol to name at least 5 people who died in 9/11.(They couldn’t, neither can I).   An episode where he tells a grief counselor about the reason he is pissed off about 9/11.   Another scene where he cures his daughter of alcoholism by pouring 6 bottles of liqueor into a baptism well at a church and dunking her in it.   He takes a fellow firefighter up on a roof who wants to commit suicide and tells them a story of his cousin’s mother, who was as tough as nails until her son died on 9/11.   Denis Leary writes half of the scripts and I guarantee he writes his monologues.   Straight from the Leary gut of frustration. That’s Leary’s biggest tool.  He is frustrated and wants to cleanse himself by spreading the dreary news.  I compare his rants to Ari Gold’s legendary rants on Entourage.   Here are two to get a taste of in case you are thinking about diving into this first rate series.

http://youtu.be/gpXw6ZbkZP0

http://youtu.be/gH7Fl47wHVI

Soft punching Final Season of Entourage-The short season lacks sizzle of previous campaigns and will attempt to pack a lot of resolutions into 26 minutes of TV time in Sunday’s series finale.   The writing, stories, and acting are all dull and recycled this season.   Jeremy Piven hasn’t had a golden moment in 7 episodes so far even though his Ari Gold faces a possible divorce, is sleeping with someone else, and is running into walls at work.  Johnny Drama is worried about a cartoon.   Adrian Grenier is still worrying about his image.  Turtle still wants to be on his own making his own money.   Eric is chasing his ex-wife around town.   All the characters are going through the motions and showing us nothing new.  Last season’s need to carry a bang, like the final hours of Rescue Me are.   Show us some fire.  Spirit.  A reason to feel bad you are leaving.  So far, Entourage is only showing us it’s age and the reason it’s taking a leave of absence before a full screen feature arrives in 1-3 years.  Doug Ellin has crafted a bromance to die for and follow along with for 7 seasons.   The reason I kept coming back was to see what the crew was up to and how many times Gold would pop.   This season, in its final hour, Entourage is coming up limp.

A Request for The Blues-From my co-worker Chris Carrara(a hybrid of Gordon Gekko, Al Maclinnis and Clint Eastwood) to the Blues front office and team.   Win before I die!  Carrera is 55 years old and a diehard Blues fan only wanting to see some real playoff action for the first time in….a long time.   It’s been a long time since the Blues won a playoff game and were serious Cup contenders, and it’d be a thrill to see them return as the Cards crash and burn and the Rams attempt to claim their own crown.   How long will we wait before the Blues raise Lord Stanley’s Cup?  Will it come before Chris dies or after I turn 55 years old?  This is only a question.   The Cards fan base is upset over a disappointing season.  My best guess is the Blues crowd would love the thought of a playoff series right now.

Blitz Review-A Statham fanbase film.  Clear cut and dry.  If you like Jason Statham’s british action hero bad guy asskicking ways, this direct to DVD thriller is for you.   If not, keep looking.   The latest Statham action film centers around reckless detective Tom Brant(Statham), an alcoholic loose cannon looking for a cop killer in London.   He gets a new partner Porter(Paddy Considine) and helps a young cop stay sober, but in one line of dialogue Brant makes his presence known.  In the opening scene, after breaking up some thugs attempt to steal a car, Brant kicks their ass and reminds them, “If you are going to pick the wrong fight, at least bring the right weapon.”   This is classic Jason Statham territory.  Action heroes parading the streets looking for evil and finding a sizeable measure in himself and taking care of the lethal variety.   It’s a solid film if you know what you’re getting into.   This film won’t break records or win awards.  It also isn’t a paycheck film for Statham.   I say that because I really believe he likes making these movies, has never raised his asking price for work and does all of his own stunts every time.  After his last adventure, The Mechanic, did well in theaters, Statham signed up for this movie adapted from a crime novel.   Aiden Gillen makes a solid bad guy, playing a psycho with revenge on his mind and Luke Evans has a small part as a sympathetic cop.  However, Statham is the show here.   While not groundbreaking or fresh, Blitz gets the job done for a moviegoer seeking an action fix.

Attention readers.   A small side bit here about what I do with this forum and how it needs to be digested.  Call this the reminder.  From time to time, readers and random souls will tell me some of my words are too rough for them or my opinions rub them wrong.  Well, guess what.  I’m not changing.  There’s nothing I can do about the way a certain subject matter hits me.  I call it like I see it.  If I don’t believe in god and he happens to enrage me, that is the way I feel and it isn’t intended to hit you personally.  If I say 9/11 was caused by a retarded government and lazy president work, that is my opinion based off facts and video I have seen.  It’s my take.  My opinions on religion, politics, sports, film, and life are as good and honest because I don’t filter them for the sensitive crowd.   What I say here shouldn’t be taken personally by anyone.   Please, read it if you can but if it makes you get very hot and think personally about its connection to you, I will tell you its not my intention to make you mad.  My intention is to make you think a different way for a few seconds.   My intention is to get into your head a little and spin it but not inject personal smacks at anyone.   Ladies and gents, if every writer who wrote a brutally honest piece was taken seriously, there would be a ton of dead writers and very dead readers.   My intention here is to enlighten you.  Tell you what I think and see it how it lands.  If I tone myself down or hide a thought, I am not being a good writer.   I am only as good as my material.  Let’s get on with this and start to call the wrapup crew in.

Music to Track Down-

22-20-“Devil In Me”

A fast moving rock tune that accompanies the trailer for Johnny Depp’s thriller, The Rum Diary.   22-20 carries a sound that merges The Doors with The Stooges.   Dirty bluesy rock fun.  Listen and enjoy.  Just a song.  The opening of this song is about as strong of a “get in your seat and strap in” feel as any song I have listened in recent memory.   This song doesn’t waste one of it’s 4 minutes and 19 seconds.  A fitting tune to go with Depp’s Rum Diary, a song about a writer slowly losing his mind in Puerto Rico.  This is something you hear from atop a building after midnight.   Wait for the dirty guitar solo at the halfway mark.

http://youtu.be/FQdARi946TI

Vincent Buffa News-After seeing the ultrasound specialist this afternoon, the resolution is that my boy will be a small baby.  That’s all.  The scare of fetal growth syndrome is small at best and the signs are looking good.   The heat and abdomen are measuring good but the legs and arms are coming in shorter than expected.   In a nutshell, I won’t be the father of a 7 foot giant.   Vinny may be shorter than some but I guarantee you the kid will be as tough as nails and love to tell you how he feels.   If it’s the Buffa’s, nothing comes easy.   For now, I am at ease and a little more relaxed than I was yesterday.

That is all for now.   Time to unwind and relax a little.   Take the edge off a long hard fought day of answers, some small and others big.   I can tell you I have more answers and a bigger peace of mind than I did around midnight.   With the days passing comes clarity in certain corners and new ideas in others.   People ask me what’s wrong on certain mornings and I tell them quickly and with blunt power….life is happening and I am still adjusting.

Until next time,

Thanks for reading and goodnight.

-DLB

P.S.-Remember, this isn’t personal.  Just an opinion.  Take it as advised.

 

Here..We…Go

On my mark ladies and gents,

I am going back into the abyss and seeking some truth.   In all actuality, I am here to spin the news again.   I told you I would be back and I am a man of my word.  Follow if you can.

The Cards plain suck.   After coming from behind twice in a row to register a couple wins against the Pirates at home and inject some spice into the final days of this club, they get shut out today with their best arm, Chris Carpenter on the mound.  Any time a team loses 7-0 at home with their best out there, it’s bad news.   This team continues to frustrate and the worst thing is there is still 28 games to go before they stop.  For a Cards fan who continues to bleed with them, it’s the opposite of paradise.  It’s absolutely horrific to watch this team crash and burn.   The full on quick Cards rant begins now.

Good teams don’t lose to broken down shit teams like the Pirates 7-0 with a pitching matchup of Chris Carpenter and Blake Carroll(that’s not even his real name).

Good teams don’t hit into 142 double plays. 

Good teams don’t get shut out three times in two weeks.

Good teams don’t feature 3-4-5 hitters that collect 2 hits in 12 at bats.

Good teams don’t feature a bullpen with 23 blown saves.

Good teams don’t have a losing record at home in the second half of a season during a division race.

Good teams don’t lose 3 games started by their best starters(Carp, Garcia) inside a week.

Good teams don’t make so many errors on easy routine plays.

Good teams don’t play their best baseball in May.

The St. Louis Cardinals aren’t good enough for the playoffs.  The real question is…are they good at all?  My answer is no.  They aren’t good this year.  Blame it on injuries and you have a fair case in front of you.  However, watching this team all year, I can tell you their problems go deeper than injuries.  It’s lack of consistent performance.

What else?

The Beaver is a solid film to watch on DVD for a few reasons.   A film about a man suffering through severe mid life depression who heals himself by putting a stuffed animal on his right hand and talking with it using an Australian accent isn’t going to sell tickets in a cinema.  This family drama is meant for the couches at home.   Mel Gibson turns in his best performance in years as Walter, the CEO of a toy company who has hit a brick wall of depression and finds solace in a stuffed beaver who attempts to pull him out of his doldrums.  His wife Meredith, played by director Jodie Foster, is a woman who has signed too many checks Walter can’t cash emotionally.   His son Porter lists 49 reasons on a wall in his room why he is painfully similiar to his dad.  He wants nothing to do with Walter.  His younger son Henry adores him no matter what happens.   Porter has a crush on Norah(Jennifer Lawrence), an ace student who needs help writing her valadictorian speech but only wants to get to know Porter.  She is one of those A students who is tragically empty inside.  This is a bizarre film, but it succeeds because it’s about real people and centers itself around a real disease, depression.   There are no easy gimmicks or humor copouts here.  Foster throws the camera at Gibson and reveals a broken soul and a wonderfully gifted actor sitting behind it.   Throughout his legal and personal troubles, Gibson’s true talent has been forgotten.  This is a mistake.  The man can act and has plenty of ammo left.  He brings you into Walter’s dilemma, which starts out as an omen yet turns into a curse that forces him to make a horrible decision.   It’s a film about family and the slow healing of a broken home.  A powerful tale if you get past the talking beaver sitting on a man’s hand throughout the movie.  See it as a metaphor and all is well.  The Beaver is worth getting lost in it’s wild structure because at the heart is a real life story. 

Justin Verlander has 20 wins before September 1st and is a strong candidate for MVP of the American League.   Aside from owning 1 no hitter and 2 near no hitters(8th inning breakups), Verlander is 20-5 with a 2.61 ERA, striking out 218 against 48 walks in 215 innings.   Folks, it is August 28th and this man has stats good enough for a Cy Young award winning season.   He has 5 more starts to go.  In his last 10 starts, Verlander is 9-1 with a 2.67 ERA.   His pitching is ridiculous and this comes with his Detroit Tigers in the middle of a playoff hunt.  Impressive doesn’t begin to describe this man’s naughty pitching.   Serious MVP caliber work.

While earthquakes and hurricanes are bad for any city, remember folks the entire town of Joplin, Missouri was taken out by a tornado in less than 20 minutes.   A reminder to people crying horror over the devastation on the East Coast.   Tragic but nothing compared to Joplin.   A weak hurricane and earthquake don’t measure up to a powerful tornado.  

George W. Bush wants to talk about 9/11.  Get real George.   There was a translator involved to properly allow Bush’s mangled english to come through with clarity but it doesn’t matter.  Look, I don’t like the guy because he was an unfortunate soul who never should of graduated college, didn’t deserve to Governor or President and rode the coattails of his daddy to everything he received and broke important things.  After seeing 4,000 people die in 9/11, he sent into various wars that saw 4,000 more US soldiers die.   That came before Obama got into office ladies and gents.  George W. Bush did little for this country but drown it in debt that our current President has only added to.   If you think Obama is a joke, Bush ranks much lower.  Sum up his presidency and all you have to do is see the look on his face when the secret service agent leaned down to tell him his country was under attack. Please save your praise for him opening Guantamamo Bay.  It’s good our crooked President opened a place for the terrorists he shared secret relations with.  The Bush Family’s connection with the Bin Laden’s never dies folks if you read between the lines.  Bush supporters don’t get one step in my book.  I didn’t mention his 9/11 special was originally supposed to air on Comedy Central.

One of my hopes.  Jason Statham running into the Situation of Jersey Shore on an airplane and creating a situation on board by kicking the shit out of him and mangling his face.   I’d read that story.

Matt Damon’s main goal in charity work is to get countries without water a clean supply of it.   What’s wrong with that?  Many people attack celebrities for using their massive wealth for the right reasons.  Why?  Damon flies around the country delivering water and creating pipelines for water into countries with his free time between making good movies.  He’s a renegade.  Like them or not, celebs get things done faster than regular politicians.

-In the future, the most expensive natural resource will be clean water. 

Johnny Depp’s second trip into the mind of mad hatter Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary, hits screens this October and promises to be another gonzo crazy experience.  Depp plays a journalist encountering booze, drugs and nasty people in Puerto Rico, trying to deliver a story about a corrupt politician before he loses his head and mind.  Depp is a gifted actor because he tackles ANY role head on and immerses himself in the life of his character without changing his look.  He is one of the few actors who can play a character looking as clean cut as in real life and still deliver a performance.  Hunter S. Thompson, the famous writer and Depp were friends in real life and Depp played him in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, an acquired taste of a film that featured some of Depp’s wildest work.   Here, he dives into Hunter’s mind again.   Bizarre doesn’t begin to explain the events in this film but the trailer promises raw fun all based off the sole power of Depp’s infinite ability to get into character so easily.  Depp has called the film “a special little film” and wanted to go around to different colleges talking about Thompson’s writing.  It’s a testament to his reach as an actor.  Here is the trailer.  This film looks like a good time and a fine way to spend 2 hours.

http://youtu.be/0YUx36yLLug

Watch The Town on HBO if you have the chance.   Ben Affleck’s ode to bank robbers in Charlestown, Ma goes deep into the rich history of cop/robbers classics.   If you compare Ben to a baseball player, he is 2-2 in the director’s chair.   His followup to the wonderful mystery Gone, Baby, Gone centers on Doug MacRay and his gang of bank robbers being chased by FBI agents in Boston that’s triggered when the group takes a female hostage in a heist.  MacRay follows and starts to fall for the woman and it unravels a course of events that thrills and creates tense drama at the same time.   Affleck thrives in the lead role and Jeremy Renner excels as the hot headed partner in crime.   The real treat of the film is seeing Mad Man Jon Hamm go against type as a raging FBI crime fighter who will do anything to nail this group of lawbreakers.   An epic heartfelt action drama.   The greatness of the film is the way Affleck refused to stamp characters with good or bad guy labels.   Everybody did what they had to for a reason.   MacRay was born into robbing banks and wanted out.   Renner’s character was a loose cannon but his loyalty to Affleck and saving his life made him a regular guy doing the only thing he knew how to do.   Hamm was a crime fighter, but a conflicted rule bending badass who wasn’t the good shiny hero in the end.    There are no good and bad guys in life.  Just people making choices.  I loved that about the film.  Watch it on cable or rent it.  This is Heat(The Younger Years).

People can’t walk properly.  The best way to deal with it is to adopt the path of a running back and quickly move through this packs of jackoffs.   They will never speed up and if it comes to it, engage them in a fight or war of words on walking properly.   I bet money that these people walk the same way they drive. 

-A friend recently said this year for the Cards was the most he has been down on this team in a while.  I disagree.   Last year was a bigtime downer, because we swept Cincy in August and seemed poised to run awaywith the division and all of a sudden collapsed.   Following a season where we didn’t notch aplayoff win against the same Dodgers team, that was painful.  The fateful road trip through Pittsburgh,Washington and Chicago that sealed our fate. After beating the Cubs at home after the huge Reds sweep(a Westbrook guided 6-3 win), we were 16 games over .500 and ready to take off.  Instead, we crashed and didn’t wake up until after the magic numbers was 0 for Walt’s Reds. That was painful.   This season was hard but a struggle from the outset.
This team was picked to finish 4th and may finish 2nd.   They were who we thought they were and we let them off the hook until they broke our hearts.  However, after the brutal loss of Waino, the
chances of winning the division were reduced drastically.  This year was tough but doesn’t rank as the lowest I have been on this team.

Another point made recently that can stand up in logic court yet I disagree with.  The idea that if Tony La Russa goes after the season, Albert Pujols follows.  Look, it all comes down to Albert wanting to stay or not.   He wanted to be a Card for life and wanted to end his career here.  He wants a competitive team around him.   If the Cards make him a great offer and he
turns it down, he can walk too.  The one thing Albert says about the contract situation being out of his hands is pure bullshit.  He has COMPLETE control over it.  Dan Loranzo is there to figure out
the numbers and years.  He is the suit.  Albert makes the choice where he plays baseball.   See an offer and take it.  Do you have to make the most fuckingmoney in the league?  Really!!!!  Fuck it.
Be a man and get what you need and set your life up here.
  End of Pujols/Cards rant.

While the Cards find themselves out of the race, I find myself rooting for the San Francisco Giants.  This could be for a number of reasons.   Their lack of hitting makes them close game nail biters.   A roster of self less role players like Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff, Aaron Rowand and Andre Torres.  The charismatic closer Brian Wilson and his stories.  Bruce Bochy’s steady management.   Their pitching powered success.  When they won it last year, it came out of nowhere and reminded me of the Cards winning it in 2006 when NO ONE thought they could beat the Mets.   The Giants upset the Phillies and ran over the Rangers.   The Giants are full of good stories.  I’m rooting for them to win it all again.

Good thing the Colts signed Kerry Collins to a 2 year deal.  If Peyton Manning can’t play in Week 1 and/or 2, I need someone reliable throwing passes to three guys on my fantasy team.  Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Dallas Clark.   Yahoo Fantasy Football is one league I do participate in annually.  Collins isn’t as efficient as Manning, but he gets the job done and moves the football.  In 10 games last year filling in for Vince Young in Tennessee, Collins threw for 1823 yards, 14 touchdowns with only 8 interceptions.   Good enough to get me points until Peyton returns firing bullets.

NFL Football starts its season on September 11th, 2011.   A perfect day for America’s sport to kickoff a season.  On America’s tragic yet heroic day, our passion begins.  Lazy football Sunday’s are almost back.

A sad little fact found on The Discovery Channel’s documentary series, Rise Of Tower One.   A retired firefighter who lost his son in the attacks, talking about what happened that day.  He opened a small memorial across the street for people who died on 9/11.   A story he heard about that day was when the firefighters were going up the stairwell looking for rescue, the civilians going down were crying as they watched the firefighters pass them, and some even urged them to stop and turn around.   The firefighters, including the man’s son, resisted the advice and kept going up looking for human life.  That’s firefighters in a nutshell for you.  When urged to turn back, they keep going.  A lot of men and women knew they were going to die that day.   That can’t be forgotten.  NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg needs to remember that for the 10 year memorial service at Ground Zero.

That’s all I have tonight folks.   The morning has begun and I am ready to lay down and call it a day.  From 9am to 2am the following morning, I got things done.   Breakfast with the family, errands, coffee, house cleaning, relaxing, a night with friends, shaving the head and writing two blogs.  Honest fact.  After I send out a blog and shave my head, I’m in a much better mood.  It’s an act where I literally clear my head, mentally and physically. 

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

DLB

Also..my son may be born at any moment from now on.   Be ready for that blog post.  This process will be documented.  That’s all for now.  I’ll be back.

 


 

Go F__k Yourself, San Diego!

A fresh round of unfiltered material from the news room here at Buffa Headquarters, otherwise known as a man sitting at desk pounding away at a keyboard hoping to unclog his head.   Here we go.  In no particular order, here is a stream of thought.

What sucks right now?  Having no control over what is happening to your baby before they are born?  The past week I have dealt with doctors telling my wife and I extra ultrasounds are required in order to properly find out what position the kid is in and now to see how big his lungs and kidneys are.   Everything is done as precaution for sure, but in the middle of the moment, its an emotionally draining experience.  For a few reasons.

1.)The wife is in a constant glass case of emotion.   It doesn’t matter what the news is or how it is delivered, the lady isn’t happy being restricted to a sideline spectator when it comes to her kid.  Her stress puts stress on me to try and do something to improve the situation, which usually ends in failure because I am no magic man.   A lot of stressed out people in a house.

2.)Doctors ask for a number of tests and don’t provide real answers.  I would pay cold hard cash to see what a doctor is thinking when they are talking to you.   If I could be Sookie Stackhouse from True Blood and read my doctors thoughts, get the real scoop on the situation, minds will be at ease sooner rather than later.   The White Coat Masters are a quiet pack of secret keepers, so the patients all play a game of worse possible outcome.  You wonder why they go to school for 8 years and come away with a right to teach medicine or deliver it at their own digression.  The reason is they learn so much information at school that they keep their own ideas from you because the outcomes range from a pool of 6 different outcomes.   The human body is the biggest joker of all.   It’s deeper than a God Complex.  Doctors play a game of precaution mixed with supreme knowledge in order to properly inform us but its a painful way to play.   Think of a quarterback leading his team down a field yet being hesitant to throw it deep.
3.)Now we wait until Tuesday to get the real news.   A specialist is doing an ultrasound and then we may get answers.   That’s the problem with hospitals, doctors and the medical system.    They save lives but they also keep thousands waiting in vain for an answer they may not want.   While they have us returning to the hospital for multiple checkups, they are draining our bank account with the visits at the same time.   Hospitals are places of recovery and saving, but also a place of bad news and death.   I’ll never be comfortable in a hospital.   The worst thing when dealing with the end of pregnancy for a dad is you are defenseless and can’t control or help anything.   You cant really help the wife feel better.  You can’t control the fate of your kid.  All you can do is wait and wait more.  Hanging on the suggestions and words of a person wearing a white coat that could pull a black cloud over your day.

Here’s to a healthy kid in September.  On Monday, we get answers from the doctor having to do with the reasons she is requesting the multiple ultra sounds and the reason for a specialist being brought in.   In the end, a precautionary measure, but the unknown factors of childbirth duress work on our nerves all day long.   On Tuesday, the specialist comes in and the ultrasound happens.   Look for new news on this situation on Tuesday afternoon.  Until then, resist saying prayers and asking the imaginary puppet master for help, and simply keep my wife and I in a thought or two.  This can only have one happy ending.

Let’s hit some more topics after my opening baby doctor frustration rant-

9/11 Bullshit-

I thought you would like this story from TheBlaze.com
Quite frankly, my friends, this is absolutely horrible.  How can you not find space for heroes who literally battled the beast that day?
Also-
*Get these people medicare and insurance help from diseases developed after 9/11.  First responders suffering from lung disease, post traumatic stress and various injuries.  What kind of country are we if we don’t help the wounded?  Sure, some cases are false, but a lot of these “walking dead” deserve help for their efforts and what they saw and did that day?  Come on.

*Like I said, set Mike Bloomberg’s house on fire and see who he calls for then.  It’s a testament to bad management that they can’t find room for the real heroes on that important day.

*Watching a documentary about the rise of The New Tower at Ground Zero last night is inspiring and good for the city, but in the back of my mind all I can think about is the lack of an invitation for the true heroes.   What did these people go through, folks?  Let me tell you.  While looking for a pulse that day, first responders stepped on dead bodies, saw people leap to their death, sucked in black smoke and had horrible images stamped into their mind forever.  10 years later, many first responders deal with PSTD, diseases and conditions due to 9/11.   Bloomberg is making a horrible mistake here.  Once again, set his house on fire and see what happens then.  He might have to invite the firefighters over to his home for the night.

Having said that, the documentary on the Discovery Channel is a very good reveal of the slow building of Tower One down at Ground Zero.   There are 1200 workers putting together the main tower to take over the space and slowly retake the New York skyline.   By 9/11/11, the structure will become the largest building in New York.   By 2013, the building will be finished and it is going to be beautiful and a powerful symbol of the strength of this country beneath the bullshit of the pop culture, news alerts, fake political leaders and the lack of a direction.   There are real blue collar workers taking their 24/7 energy and applying it to the building of this Tower.   In the place of the old twin towers are small waterfall structures, which carry every name of the nearly 4,000 people lost on that day.   343 firefighters, 24 policemen, and over 3,000 civilians and other first responders.   Watching this 6 part miniseries, seeing ironworkers like Mike O’Reily and Tommy Hager go 700 feet in the air and drop the metal support beams in to finish the middle structure of the building is quite powerful.   Every day, a little more gets done.  These people are trying to replace what terrorists took away that day.   Terrorists blew a hole in the most powerful city in this country, the heartbeat of America.   Looking at the end result, the true memorial will shine tall and will be something I’ll take my son to see.

Until then, soak up the Bloomberg bullshit and read this article from the Blaze.
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/first-responders-not-allowed-to-attend-911-memorial-service

CARDS NEWS-They suck indeed, but I will still cover their ground as they slowly bleed out towards an early October finish.   There’s a saying in sports that goes like this.  Follow until you are unable to follow any longer, until you hit a brick wall of reality that clarifies the end of the road for the team you follow with such dignity and passion.   Until I reach the wall, I fire off rounds on this team.  Read or not, I continue here. Yes, I made up that saying in sports as I wrote it. (Good job, Dan)

-Does Tony La Russa have to go?  To me, it’s time for him to move on.   Whether the Cardinals finish over .500 or not, La Russa’s patience is gone and he looks more fried every day.   With the look of this team changing in 2012, it may be the best thing for the team and La Russa to part ways.   The team may look younger next season and the roster might not include power hitter after power hitter.   How many more nights do we need to see over calculated moves and too many genius stretches by La Russa?  His patience is waning with the media and the scrutiny won’t let up.  How many “win it all runs” can La Russa stick around for here?  Whether or not his team plays a hard nine, La Russa can’t pull wins out of his roster by changing the lineup every single day?  After missing the playoffs 4 out of the past 5 seasons, is it time for a fresh start?  Once again, if La Russa stays, it isn’t the end of the world for Cardinals fans. He pulls wins from a team when they are packed with injuries and down on the ropes.  He knows how to use his roster.   However, his reliance on old ineffective veterans over younger talent is too hard to avoid.   How many times will Arthur Rhodes get the ball over the better Mark Rzepcynski?  How long did it take before Franklin got pulled from the closer spot?  La Russa has a problem with using younger players and mixing them into a roster of crafty veterans.   This has become a problem and won’t improve.   With new faces and a roster coming into play in 2012, Tony La Russa may need to move on but it will be his choice in the end.   DeWitt and Mozelaik give him firm control of his future but my guess is the clash of heads between the GM and Manager will happen soon when La Russa wants to play vets over younger guys like Tyler Greene and Tony Cruz.  Mozelaik and Head Scout Jeff Ludnow pushed Walt Jocketty out the door four years ago when their new way of incorporating and grading talent butted heads with the older vet loving Walt.   The time will come for La Russa soon as well and my guess is he won’t want to participate in another unknown roller coaster ride.

What is wrong with Jaime Garcia?

Garcia has obviously bit the wrong pepper since the All Star Break and has sucked it up.   After being a home monster and failing on the road, he has lost his last 3 home starts and isn’t pitching deep into ballgames.   This is a big time question of his durability.  I also hear he is very fragile when it comes to pitching day routines.  If something goes wrong, his entire setup is blown and he fades.   Also, keep this in mind.   Since Garcia signed the 4 year, 28 million dollar extension, he is 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA.   Shitty.   Garcia is wearing down as usual but may be relaxing a little.   His stuff is sharp but he has an ability to implode, Lohse like, in any given inning.   Garcia is a great young talent, but how far does the talent go before a natural grown ability to pitch has to step in.   The next month of starts are important for Jaime to reestablish a consistency of quality starts.  

-What went wrong with this team?  Who gets the blame?  It has to be spread around to every corner of the club.   Tony La Russa makes maddening moves yet doesn’t play the games.  John Mozelaik made two quality deals to improve this roster and did his part to set this team up to win.   The rotation faltered after a strong start.  McClellan broke down after 90 innings while Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook fail to stay consistent.   Chris Carpenter became a horse after the All Star Break but endured a rough first half.   The bullpen blew 23 games, suffered from bad veteran work in Franklin, Miguel Batista and Arthur Rhodes but benefited from the emergency wonder of Jason Motte.   Fernando Salas sealed the wound in the closer role for 2 months but broke down in August.  The bats rank near the top in batting average and runs scored, but relied too much on home runs in the second half and hit into too many double plays.  Its hard to blame Pujols, Holliday or Berkman because they will finish with quality seasons.    Rafael Furcal came in and helped but isn’t his old self anymore.  Ryan Theriot performed exactly the way the Cards thought he would.   Skip Schumacher bounced back after a rough first half.   Jon Jay slumped after the disastrous departure of Colby Rasmus but picked it back up and is hitting .300 and playing solid defense.  The young players on the bench(Daniel Descalso, Allen Craig, Tony Cruz) filled in capably when needed.   David Freese missed two months but is a capable RBI machine when healthy.   The Cards suffered from injuries and a lack of consistency and strong clutch performances, but met expectations drawn up around the league.   In the words of Ex-NFL coach Dennis Green, the Cards were who we thought they were in April.   Starting pitching and bullpen work were going to make or break this team and unless the lineup outslugged teams for the entire season, this operation was going to fail.  Bottom line.  The Cards weren’t good enough to consistently win.  Leaks started in the bullpen, led to the rotation, back to the bullpen and into the lineups. 

-Downplaying the loss of Adam Wainwright is a mistake.  Most analysts wrote off the Cards after Waino went down in March.  Teams lose their ace and suffer.   This downfall wasn’t something a fan couldn’t see from a mile away.  We all believed in the resilient spirit of this team, their ability to come back and find a way to win all the way until all those tools disappeared.  The dream was gone quick with this team.

-Picking up the 2012-2013 options on Wainwright’s contract is smart.   Do it now and lock him in.   He is throwing from 120 feet and pitches in two weeks from a mound.   He will be ready in February and the Cards locking him up for the cheap price of two years at 22 million is smart.  With the pending status of Chris Carpenter, this move was a legit direction.

-Speaking of Carp, the Cards need to lock him up quick in the offseason.   Pull him aside now and get a 2 year extension in stone.  Carpenter is important to this team with the unknown factor in Garcia’s talent and the questionable finish of this rotation.   When he is on, Carpenter can carry a team.   When at his worst, Carpenter will still provide innings and quality starts.   While some see him as expendable, locking up Carpenter is more important than keeping Berkman.   Carpenter and the Cards are connected through a loyalty to each other and the marriage needs to continue.  You can find a right fielder capable of producing a great season, but finding reliable top of the rotation starting pitching is hard to find.

-Allen Craig is intriguing and keeps hitting while looking like an option for 2012 if Berkman chooses to leave.  He also makes a great bench righthanded bat at the very least.

-Lance Berkman has said he wants to stay a Cardinal in 2012 and I believe that with the right deal, he would.  Cards helped him revive career and he returned the favor.   The parties have to remain together.  On Friday night, Berkman hit his 30th home run of the season and it was a 2 run game winning shot in the 8th inning that gave the crowd at Busch Stadium a reason to smile.   Being in attendance, I felt the passion of the crowd last night and saw a team trying to compete.  Berkman signed with this team for 8 million, and has produced 30 home runs, 81 RBI and a .291 batting average and it’s August 27th.   There isn’t a soul who could of guessed that, but the fact is Berkman is healthy, playing a decent right field and hitting like his old self.  One of the smartest moves in baseball by any GM was Mo and the Cards taking a chance on The Puma.  He wants to stay here.  I can see the Cards getting Carp and Berkman dealt with while slowly unfolding the negotiations with Albert.  Watch and see.

-It’s imperative that the Cards front office resist the urge to let Dan Loranzo and Pujols drag out the talks into 2012.   The Matt Holliday/Scott Boras talks didn’t end until mid January and that can’t happen with Albert.  There are too many open doors on this team for a long negotiating process to take place.   The Cards agreed to stop the talks in February, but now the ball is in Loranzo and Pujols’ court to restart them and involve themselves in the process.   After 11 years of service, Albert Pujols deserves a golden goose ride towards the finish line.   He is the best player in baseball and is proving it this season after a horrible start that he can still compete at the highest level.  The Cards waited until last offseason to start serious talks and paid for it.  However, this time both sides have to engage equally.   Pujols has to truly make the call on what he wants to do.   He has COMPLETE CONTROL over this situation.  Does he really want to restart his legend in another city for another team?  Does he want that pressure to carry a franchise to the promise land at age 32?  He has built a legend here in St. Louis, is adored by the fan base, has firmly planted his roots in this city and built a name for himself.   The new Busch Stadium can arguably be called the house that Pujols built.   In 2006, he was king of the city.  In 2011, he is still king of the city and touched by no other city sports figure.  Does he really want to leave that for a few extra million and a couple more years?  Do this.   Work out a 5-7 year deal with additional options years attached to it.   Make the annual rate 26-28 million per season.  Annual rate wasn’t the problem in January between the Cards and the Pujols camp.  It was years.   If Albert and Loranzo want a 10 year deal, it’s not happening.   If they want years, start the beginning of the contract at a higher annual value and watch it decrease as the years go by so if his performance naturally tails off, so does his salary.  They could also go the traditional route and backload the contract onto his older years.   There are many directions this deal can take, but hopefully it leads to Pujols in Cardinal Red and a payroll with some flexibility.   One thing Pujols skeptics must remember is that the Cards did this to themselves and structured the talks for this time by resisting to get this done 2 years ago.   Most of the offseason money will be going to Albert’s new deal and the Cards must of known this and prepared for it.  Until then, take a glass of scotch and drain it quick in order to deal with the upcoming decision making for this ballclub.

-Until then, watch them play.   That’s right.   Settle in and watch this team for the love of the game.  Last night, I went to my second game in a week for the love of the game.   Due to accompanying a pregnant woman to the game, I left after 7 innings, but watched them bring home a winner.   Highlight of the night was seeing Willie McGee take the field with Ozzie Smith and Vince Coleman for a throwback night and dedication to McGee’s service on his bobblehead giveaway night.   A great moment was seeing McGee ask permission from the field security captain to go over into the Cards dugout and meet the players.  Willie asked the man like a kid and smiled wide as he ran over to meet the current players.  A truly first class individual.   One of a kind.  Willie McGee was a clutch talent but a better human being and representative of the game.

-Jake Westbrook isn’t a good pitcher, drags too many innings out, walks too many batters, allows a ton of baserunners, throws a lot of pitches, doesn’t deserve 10 wins but he does battle out there.   Most of the time, he keeps his team in the game when he doesn’t have his best stuff.  Last night, he battled to allow 4 runs in 6 innings of work, but kept his team close.   The same can’t be said for Kyle Lohse and Jaime Garcia this week, who respectively got blasted for 7 and 8 runs, all earned.   Westbrook isn’t fun to watch or pretty to read, but he is a fighter.  His 4.80 ERA rolls a black cloud over his 10-7 record, but his tenacity is full.   The man drains your patience but doesn’t knock his team out of the game.  I respect that and this is why I would keep Westbrook over Lohse next season.   He costs less, limits the damage and doesn’t frustrate me as much as Lohse.   In 39 starts spanning 225 plus innings, Westbrook is 14-11 with a 4.10 ERA, 138 K-85 BB and zero complete games.   He comes as advertised and has been a quiet plus.

-The return of Eduardo Sanchez reduces the pain of losing setup power arm Lance Lynn.  Sanchez went down in July with shoulder soreness and is slowly making a recovery.  He is throwing at 60-70 percent and is pitching from a mound.  In the next 2 weeks, he sees action.   While this means little for 2011, the idea of a healthy Sanchez in 2012 is vital for this bullpen. In 25 games. Sanchez carried a 1.88 ERA, 5 saves in 7 chances, struck out 33 against 16 walks.  His control was a problem, but when harnessed his stuff is deadly.  A power sinker and good fastball.   The loss of Sanchez started the spiral for Fernando Salas, because Salas was used more and logged more innings after the loss and Sanchez and Lynn.  The bridge was burnt between the two talented rookies and spelled disaster for the young Cards closer.

Moving onto other topics

Buffa’s Google Searches-The power of this search engine is strong and its reach is limitless.   Every time I need to find something or get an answer, I run to the google search engine, type it in, click enter and quietly say, “Run Googles, Run”.   The result is 98 percent effective and gives me what I was looking for, whether it’s an image or story.   Shedding a light on one’s recent searches gives you clues to what makes them tick, so here are my last 7 Google searches, with or without a small story attached to it.

1.)Mike Bloomberg Not Inviting Firefighters to 9/11-This started with Denis Leary’s tweet and ended with me finding the story on the blaze.  Proof to my words.

2.)Aaron Miles/gun point-A story that I have read a little on over the years and heard about but never seeked out in full detail.   Aaron Miles and 4 other Astros minor leaguers were held at gunpoint in 2000 by 2 men at a hotel in Kissimmee, FL.  In the end, Miles took matters into his own hands, bit the captor, and freed himself before SWAT took the gunman down.   For the real story, type in the words and get a take on it.

3.)Rescue me columns-Being a media maniac, I love reading columns on my favorite show, so I seek these out during the season to get a different take.   Whether its harsh or positive, I go for it.

4.)Peyton Manning SNL clips-Look, whether you like the guy on a football field or not, his comic ability can’t be overshadowed.   His work on SNL is legendary and hilarious every time.  Dancing with the basketball coach or teaching kids how to break into a car, Manning’s timing is perfect and both these clips are good.  Here are a couple.

http://youtu.be/b_3pPAuE0jw

http://youtu.be/BauShmV05AA

Here is one where Manning goes ballistic on his teammates in a game against St. Louis.  Also a Google search.(Where also Manning unleashes the greatest line by an athlete, a staple for the reason we never hear any turmoil around the Colts franchise.  “We deal with it on the field, not around the media.”)

http://youtu.be/NQtX6dm2KG8

5.)Denis Leary Los Angeles Times Article-Being a Leary nut, I saw this preview of a mag column on him while he was on Conan, and I immediately had to find it for the mere fact you can’t find the Los Angeles times magazine in St. Louis.  Good read.

6.)Steven Russell-The character played by Jim Carrey in I Love Phillip Morris, a legendary US conman and impostor who eluded authorities four times under different disguises and finally put in prison and kept there by George W. Bush himself for the embarrassment caused in Texas by Russell.

7.)Throat Cancer Lumps-A search for yours truly.  A month ago, I felt a strange lump on my neck right under my jaw line that spooked me a bit.  After a few looks and searches, it was only ingrown hair/bump that turned out to be nothing.   I lost a dear friend to throat cancer, so feeling the spot got me active really quick.

There are my 7 most recent searches.  Hopefully, you enjoyed the ride.

Parting Shots

Rescue Me Recap-After the power packed hour of television that based itself solely on the aftermath of 9/11, Tommy Gavin and company deal with more personal issues.   More importantly, reassuring young upstart firefighters who leap for power inside a firehouse and fail.   Also, the proper way to distribute letters to a fireman’s family after his death.   Tommy enlists his best friend Lou to give out letters to his family if he happens to perish and of course he deals them out immediately in order to raise the opinion of Tommy amongst his family and friends.  A good natured move that backfires on Lou when Tommy loses it the only way Tommy can, which is with emotional fireworks and a rant.  Lou’s testament to Tommy is telling his wife, ex-lover, co-workers that while the disaster of Tommy’s ruptured psyche after 9/11 is inrepairable, his good deeds are in stone.  Lou shows Tommy’s wife, Janet, a list of people Tommy has saved.  That’s the life of a firefighter.  Measuring the dangers of his professional life with the potential joys of personal strength.   I’ll alow Lou, played by the dark comic voice John Scurti, to tell you himself.

“The mind of Tommy Gavin is full of dark alleyways but it’s also the place where his greatest instinct’s reside.  Saving people, people that are still on earth with us today.”

Here’s the final season trailer again, in case you want a taste.

http://youtu.be/IeKZCal01b8

-Contract Talks in general.   Every long term deal is a huge risk my friends.   Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder enter a market full of possibilities and teams will put forth a long term that puts their team’s future in potential jeopardy or great reward.   Deals of 7 years or more involve crazy ideas and breakable fortune.  However, that’s the game that goes on today.  It’s wrong, crazy, ill placed but created by owners and agents who took this high stakes poker game to a whole new level.   Curt Flood gave players a right to negotiate their future, but opened up pandoras box for agents and owners to wage financial war over a single player.  25 million a year used to be a team’s payroll.  Now Ryan Howard makes it in a year’s work.  Call it inflation or the rise of sports in our country.   Stop complaining about it.   It’s getting old.  I wrote a 10 page paper on the idea of taking player salary away and putting it into the economy, but then again player contracts come from fan interaction, attendance and the purchasing of memorabilia of the same player.  Everything is relatable.

Florence and The Machine produce a new album this winter, and this is something to look forward to.  Florence Welch, with her strong voice, long slender red hair and gorgeous long legs, is a spitting image of female musical firepower.  Welch and her band produce sweeping pop vocals mixed with old school funk and modern electronic beats.  It’s a fresh blast and an experience.  In case you forgot what they sound like, here is my favorite track off their debut album, Lungs, which is called “Kiss with a fist”.

“A kick in the teeth is good for some, but a kiss with a fist is better than none.” Here’s an acoustic version.

http://youtu.be/gtw2jf9CgEU

Now tell me the woman can’t sing.  Florence has a vocal power few artists claim today.  Natural spunk.

Here’s their take on Robert Palmer’s classic, Addicted to Love

http://youtu.be/ycrhIpd4ZWU

-A good friend of mine and I developed a plan for action on the Travel Channel.   With all the food shows on their own network and the discovery of cooking and authentic meals, we wondered where the shows on beer and coffee are.   A show about two guys traveling the world, drinking different beers from different countries and revealing the secrets of beer and its origin.  Defining the difference between Guinness served in America and the kind made naturally in Ireland and also served in Germany. Also, a show about the different flavors and types of coffee.   Going to Italy to get a real italian roast and onto France for the same experience.  Seeking out Indonesia for the Sumatra blend and onto Chicago for the Gold Coast blend.  Going anywhere and everywhere for two things(beer, coffee) that is enjoyed as much as food.   Now, my friend and I need funding from the Travel Channel.  Suggested names.   Beer Run.   Coffee Fix.

-Read a Jim Norton piece on Richard Pryor, in a link sent by a friend. A piece where Norton investigates the reason while watching a Pryor documentary on his career that the word N-word is bleeped out of every Pryor comedy show and album cover usage.  Look, the word isn’t smart to use unless you had a right to use it, like Pryor did.  He used it as part of his language.  Norton’s blog was brilliant.   I agree with his basic message.  The word isn’t worse than a regular curse word, and it all depends on the CONTEXT(good word Dan).  Comedians have to be able to use these words if it warrants their way of communication.  Censorship ruins their message at times.   Richards shattered it when he ranted about it.   Pryor used it like it headlined his own bible.  I remember watching Pryor when I was 13 with my dad.   My dad, brother and I watched it and laughed our asses off.   I didn’t cringe when he said the word like I do when a white piece of trash uses it.  My grandma uses it in an angry rant and I feel like smacking her for the irreprehensible use of the word.   Its all about the context.  Pryor communicated with it all the time, the same way Eddie Murphy did.   They were legends for their brutal honesty.   Putting them on a white network is like putting Sopranos on TBS.  Bullshit.  Complete utter bullshit.  Norton is like Bill Simmons without the confidence and swagger but just as potent with his words. Here is the blog.

http://jimnorton.blogspot.com/2011/08/richard-pryor-that-niers-censored.html

-Hurricane Irene has taken 5 lives and counting in it’s torment of the East Coast.   Look, this is the exact reason why I don’t live on the coast.  What can you do to defense a hurricane or tsunami?  Run away.   No thanks.

-After redefining the direction of our technology with his Apple creations, Steve Jobs stepped down from being CEO of Apple to staying on the board and becoming the director.   An expected move after his run in with Pancreatic Cancer and his eventual descent.   This is a small blow to a growing company but one that only helps it rebuild with new energy.  Jobs can die today knowing he singlehandedly changed the way people could communicate throughout the world.

-After killing off Osama Bin Laden earlier this summer, The CIA killed off Al Gaeda’s #2 this month.   Atiyah Ah-Rahman was killed in a drone strike, meaning another piece of a powerful terrorist group is gone.   Taking care of terrorists is done in baby steps.

-The end of Buffa’s movie theater drought may end with either Paul Rudd’s “My Idiot Brother” or “Warrior”, a film about two brothers who meet in the ring at an MMA tournament.   The latter comes out on September 9th, and stars Tom Hardy as a brother who was abandoned by his brother and father at an early age, only to reunite with his dad as his trainer and his brother as his opponent in the ring.  Intriguing marks both these features, but the timing of this baby’s arrival and the durability of our bank account determines if I see them in the theater or at home.   Did you hear that?  This man’s moviegoing is about to run into a train known as a kid.

-Movies to see this fall.

-The Killer Elite

-Sherlock Holmes 2

-The Ides of March

-Warrior

-Edgar J. Hoover

-The Rams won their 3rd preseason game by scoring 2 early touchdowns thrown by Sam Bradford, who finished with 138 yards and an interception to go with 2 TD.   The defense improved on the run defense, allowing only 80 yards on 20 rushes while the secondary was burned for 282 and a touchdown.   The 3rd preseason game is the most important because the starters play a majority of the game.   Bradford looked good yet flawed, the Rams defense was active and Steven Jackson had a productive night.   The Rams are serious division contenders and judging from their preseason play, will be tough to deal with.

-The St. Louis Blues goal this next season or two.   Bring us something that repays our years, months and days as fans.    This team has been a beacon of disappointment it’s entire life.  From the inception in 1967 up until 2010, The Blues haven’t delivered one Stanley Cup championship and since the late 1960s, we haven’t seen Stanley Cup play.   Slap the Cards for failing to make it the past few years, but remember they have 10 titles and 3 titles since the Blues arrival in St. Louis and 7 appearances in the World Series.  The Rams arrived in 1995 and won a Super Bowl in 1999 after the Football Cardinals delivered nothing in the 1970s and 1980s.   The Blues need to give us something back, bring back the real excitement of playoff action.   That’s all I want.  I’ve followed this team as long as I have the Cards and I just want playoff action again.  A playoff win is this team’s goal.

That’s all there is to tell at the moment.   Thanks for reading and staying awhile if you did. Before you leave, know one thing.  I will return and more will be revealed.   There’s always a side to a story when I’m around.

Once again, the Cards do suck.  After 2 wins in a row, they are losing 5-0 in the 4th right now.  Hear that Rams and Blues, get it done.  We need sports relief in this city.

I’m done.

Goodnight and good luck,

Dan L. Buffa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramblings of Thought

Greetings,

Once again, it’s time to shed some light on a few things.   I’ll forgo the usual opening monologue and simply tell you there are certain events and ideas that need to be explained and visited.  A quick stream of conciousness on a rather lazy Tuesday.  The rambling begins.

Swingers gets released on Blu Ray today.  Ladies and gents, if you need a killer comedy that runs 90 minutes at the pace of a tommy gun clip and is rewatchable and inventively fresh, go buy this movie.   Jon Faveau wrote and starred in this bro pack guide to picking up chicks and looking cool doing it.  However, the steal of the movie of watching Vince Vaughn work at an early age.  In his first big role, Vaughn plays the proud shark Trent, who instructs Mike(Favs) on how to pick up women.  From LA to Vegas and back to LA, its the Vince Vaughn show.   Wonderfully vulgar and obscene, a born ranter, Trent tells Mike how “the beautiful babies” need to be caught.   It’s a comic masterpiece and worth adding to a collection.   If my words don’t convince, here is  EW critic Owen Gleiberman on Vince Vaughn in Swingers, released November 1st, 2006.

“If Swingers has a scene-stealer, though, it’s Vince Vaughn, who, I predict, is going to be a very big star. Spooky-cool sexy, like the young Christopher Walken, he makes Trent a rudely magnetic arrested-development case — the spirit of the peacock in all its fearless vanity. Trent likes to call everyone ”baby,” but in the marvelous final scene, we realize that the joke is on him, the biggest baby of all.”

Moving on.

Rams Middle Linebacker/Defensive Captain James Lauranitis is more than motivated.  According to a source, he keeps a picture of the Seattle Seahawks celebrating after last year’s tiebreaker win.   If the Rams had 53 Lauranitis beast attitudes on this team, we would reach the Super Bowl.

Barack Obama isn’t getting re-elected folks.  End of story.  There is zero credibility in the White House and not a trace of consistency to be seen.  We will see our third President in the past 10 years and it may be a lady.   Fear not, I am not talking about Sarah Palin, the retarded distant cousin of George W. Bush.   I am talking about some shedevil out there capable of running this show that so many men have struggled to do.  Yes, I just said that.  The White House needs a little diversity and I am not talking about an old wooden ship my friends.  First class lady power.

Here’s an idea for New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who supposedly isn’t inviting the firefighters who saved lives on 9/11, to the 10 year memorial.   Someone is needs to set Bloomberg’s mansion on fire, and lock the doors.   Every room is going to go up in flames.  As the air is sucked out of the house and Mike stumbles down the stairs, he will think about ending it all and jumping out the window, or he will run down his staircase as fast as he can.   A fear of dying will take over him.   Shock moves in.   What is needed there?  Firefighters.   Low paid go for broke heroes whose job it is to run into burning buildings and find human life and pull it out.  Right when he needs a group of heroes, Bloomberg will be lost.   Get on the phone Mike and save a seat for every firefighter, first responder and police officer who took the call and went to a war zone that day.  They didn’t have a choice.  It was their job to join the party.   If not Bloomy, find out who and get it done.  Failing to invite the firefighters who served that day would be like not inviting a player to his hall of fame induction.   343 firefighters died that day.   How many more came up with cancer or a disease related to the aftereffects of that day?   Cleaning up the rubble, looking for dead bodies, sucking in tons of black smoke into fragile lungs for months.  That wasn’t another day at the office.  How many firefighters are still breathing but slowly dying from 9/11 trauma?  Mike, mayor of the city, pull a Rudy and get this done.  Or else, the gasoline is being lit soon.   Don’t worry, they say when shock takes over, you can’t even smell the rotting flesh below.   Am I serious?  As serious as a five alarm fire.

The Kings of Leon Documentary on Showtime is intriguing because there is a juicy demon story going on here behind the scenes of success.   All great music is built around the a wall of inner turmoil.  Every great musician or group carries a story and this one is worth telling.  Long before they became rock gods, Caleb Followill and his brothers lived under a roof where rock music was considered “the devils music”.   Their parents were preachers and swore off the loud tunes that slowly creeped into their household.  Caleb and his clan chose a way of life their parents didn’t approve of and while it has brought them massive success in the past 3 years, turmoil and disruptions have taken place.   Last year in St. Louis, the band exited the stage at Verizon Wireless due to pigeon shit.   Last month, Caleb, the lead singer, had to leave the stage due to “dehydration” otherwise known among music circles as “drinking heavily before playing in 100 degree heat”.   After the incident, the band cancelled the rest of the summer tour dates and is on hiatus while bassist Jared Followill pleads to people, “this is much more than a person failing to drink enough Gatorade”.   Fame hits people in a variety of ways and the Kings of Leon are dealing with their fair share of inner demons.  All this makes for great television.   A story worth telling.   Growing up in a music be damned household, releasing 3 semi punk albums before exploding with your 4th album, the brilliant Only By The Night, which launches you into rock god status.   Last year’s album, Come Around Sundown, continued the dominance and killed off any doubt about this band’s staying power.  However, with popularity comes traps.   This Friday on Showtime, find out what the Kings of Leon are truly about.

Tony La Russa is eroding Cardinals fans.   He singlehandedly robbed the Cardinals of a win Monday night when he took Chris Carpenter away from a gem.   Carpenter mowed the Dodgers down for 8 innings, throwing 99 pitches(80 percent strikes), striking out 7, walking 1 and looking as electric as he has all season.  Carp looked like a mad general on the mound.   After hitting Juan Riveria to lead off the 9th, La Russa found it in his will to remove Carp and invite the enigmatic Cards bullpen to seal the deal.   Three pitchers later, the Cards lost their lead and the game.   The end is nearing for La Russa, whose moves are only getting worse with each game.  The problem is Carpenter seemed sharper than ever when pulled and deserved the chance to seal it.   Instead, La Russa installed his favorite tactic(bullpen tango) and lost the game.   Fernando Salas fell deeper into his thankless closer role, blowing his 5th game of the season and 2nd absolute heartbreaker in a week.   After Carp reaches 100 pitches in the past 3 months, he turns electric.    After 100 pitches, Carpenter only gets stronger.   He deserved the chance to finish the game and La Russa, in a move symbolic of the 2011 season, took it away from him and let the Cards drop the ball.

Fernando Salas isn’t a closer.  He never was a closer.   He doesn’t have the stuff to be a closer.   The electric pitch selection to overwhelm hitters.   He is a solid reliever in need of reassignment.  If he stays in the 9th inning, he will continue to struggle.  His pitches are becoming more hittable with each appearance.  Get him out of there.   Pull out the parachute and throw this guy of the plane.  Salas is paying the price of not only lacking the stuff to get hitters out in the ninth but an overloaded innings count for the season.   Salas didn’t start the season as the closer and is often used by La Russa in non save spots.  Thus, he is worn out and will only get worse as the season wears on.

Give Jason Motte another shot in the closer role.   Look, what do the Cards have to lose here? More games.  Motte has been the best reliever in 2011 and deserves a shot.  Unlike Salas, he has a legit out pitch.  A 98 mph flamer.   His improved location makes him deadly to hitters.   Salas isn’t the option, so why give Motte the ball and let him run with it.   He has the makeup, pitch selection and steel balls set to attack hitters.   Do it!  I’d rather die on Motte’s heater than Salas soft cutter or misplaced changeup.  Sure, Motte may implode in his second chance, but it will be nothing new for this miserable season.  There is a certain prototype required in a closer.  The man who comes out from behind the right field wall in the 9th inning has to be a mad man.  It’s almost like seeing an animal released from a cage and let loose on another team.  A brief look at a monster.   Looking at Jason Motte, I see that breed of animal.   To go along with his natural gas powered fastball, Motte looks unsettling on the mound.  He scares kids, causes parents to turn away and intrigues a pure baseball fan with his mound demeanor.  Along with being unable to stand still,  Motte rubs his beard, shakes his head and wiggles around like a man with an itch to scratch.  It’s only when the inning is over and the job is done that Motte’s high strung shoulders relax a little.  Until he gets out of a jam, he can’t stop.   That is a closer mold and a good reason Motte deserves a shot.   The inherited runner he allowed in last night’s game was the first in his last 10 appearances.  He hasn’t allowed an earned run since June 23rd.  He is a lights out gaser with control.  Give him a shot, Tony.  Let him loose!  This season can’t get any worse and you have already blown 23 games.   Jason Motte may not be your answer at the closer position, but he sure looks like the best candidate on this roster to get a shot at the 9th inning.  Make it work La Russa.  This move is genius proof!

A Moth attack can be added to Matt Holliday’s list of injuries in 2011.   An emergency appendectomy, quad strain, back strain, and now a moth attack.   During the 8th inning, a large moth got stuck in Holliday’s right ear and had to be extracted.  That’s just tough.  Listen, the minute I heard Holliday was coming out of the game, I wanted to call the guy a pussy.  However, I know better than that.  Holliday is a tough bastard, hates sitting and wouldn’t come out for nothing.   An ear injury didn’t sound threatening enough to me to put my tough guy love at ease.  Then I heard about moths.   Giant moths getting stuck inside ear drums, one of the most fragile places on a person’s body.   That is when I learned a whole new respect for Holliday and his tortureous season.  An extremely durable player his entire career, 2011 hasn’t been kind to Holliday.  According to Derrick Goold’s blog, with two outs in the 8th inning Monday night, Matt Holliday started to trot in from left field as Carpenter pitched to the plate.  Apparently, a giant moth flew into Holliday’s ear, flickered and wiggled around inside his ear canal and caused extreme discomfort.  Just the thought of something in my ear makes me thinking about breaking a table.  Imagine something stuck in your throat that you can’t get to.   When it was all said and done, a trainer used a pair of tweezers to pull out the moth, and Holliday kept it in a bag in his locker as a painful memory.  Now that’s a story to attach to a downer of a game.

Things don’t get any easier for the Cards tonight.   They face one of the best lefties in the game in Clayton Kershaw, who is 15-5 with a 2.60 ERA.   Kershaw is one of the 3 teams to beat the Brewers in the past month and is a shutdown arm.   After blowing a game last night in painful fashion, the Cards are set up to lose the series tonight against Kershaw.   Blown saves are always compounded into a losing streak.   Beware the southpaw tonight.  Expect a righthanded heavy lineup.   Theriot in for Skip.   Craig in for Jay.  Berkman switched around.   The works.

Earthquakes strike the East Coast, dropping a 5.8 magnitude quake on Virginia and New York after hitting Indonesia yesterday.   While I laugh at green freaks and warn off global warming, earthquakes are a legitimate fear in this world.   Missouri has experienced a few in the past couple years, laying down the likely fact that worse quakes are coming.   In the same category as tornadoes and tsunami’s, earthquakes are quick killers and weapons of mass destruction.   Show me a natural disaster and I cry uncle.   There is nothing you can do to prepare for one of these earthquakes.  No warnings, watches or news updates.   Suddenly, the ground beneath you starts to give.   Think about the people in Japan who suddenly saw their world get shattered by a beast that couldn’t be taken down.  You are defenseless to a natural disaster with an agenda.  It is something that will truly be the end of this world.   Global warming…maybe.   Multiple earthquakes followed by tornadoes and a tsunami.  The end.

Parting Shots-

  • David Letterman laughs off a death threat from a terrorist.   Boy, do the kids like to run around and play inside NYC.  Luckily, Letterman crafted the incident into loads of jokes in last night’s show.   I am sure Jihad terrorists aren’t worried about a talk show host, and if they are, it’s definitely Jay Leno, as Dave pointed out.
  • Lady Gaga drops in on The Simpsons for voice work.   This is right up Gaga’s alley.   She is quite honestly the most fearless woman working in music right now and that’s why I like her. Trust me, her work on the Simpsons doesn’t garner much courage, but her overall choices do.  She is the kind of celeb who probably gets dared to do things by her staff and she does them just because she feels like being different.  You won’t find her albums in my house or hear me praising all of her music, but I admire a fresh burst of talent on the music scene.  In a struggling age of music sales, Gaga’s albums are holding up.   That’s worth a mention.  Here’s to Gaga killing on the Simpsons.
  • January Jones is called unapproachable by her adolescent co-star on Mad Men.   More funny news.   The fact that Jones is being called a frosty bitch isn’t surprising here.   Have you see her act?  It’s a completely icy situation.  She doesn’t take her craft seriously.  She is simply trying very hard to act and it’s not working out so well.  The only going for her is her looks, which are only good if you like dull looking blondes.   She is the supposedly catch on Mad Men, but to me she is miles apart from the wonderfully sexy and talented Christina Hendricks.   That redheaded goddess tromps Jones when it comes to overall beauty and sophistication.  Line them up and you tell me.
  • Finding the right woman can change a man’s life.  Especially, if you are a fading Hollywood star.   Since Ben Affleck finally asked Jennifer Garner out, the man has put out some of his best work, including two knockout directing efforts in Gone, Baby, Gone and The Town.   The Fleck has also put in good supporting roles in Hollywoodland(playing George Reeves), The Company Men, The Town, State of Play, and Smokin Aces.  After the turmoil that Jennifer Lopez brought him and when his career was hitting rock bottom, Affleck went away and adapted Gone, Baby, Gone and took a couple supporting turns.  Now he is back on top, taking multiple directing gigs, commanding 50 million budgets from Warner Bros. with his face on the poster as well.   Once he met Garner, things went up.  Another reason why Garner is a good fit for The Fleck.  You see that lady at Red Sox games?  She is a crazy baseball fan.  That’s good for the whole party.  Today, the couple announced they were having a third kid.  Since I am expecting soon, I like this news and the fact that a woman helped turned Ben Affleck’s career around.   Through shit and slime to shine my friend.
  • While TowerBrook Corporation, the investors behind Dave Checketts, ponder the multiple bids presented yesterday to buy the St. Louis Blues, you have to remember the biggest potential gain in a sale of the team.  Stability.  One of the bidders, minority owner Tom Stillman, supposedly made a second bid of 110 million, which is enough to buy out Towerbrook’s portion of the ownership while keeping Checketts in the fold.   However, that offer isn’t likely to be taken.  That’s the fight here.  Get Towerbrook out of the house and create a new system of hope and revenue that can fuel this team in the future.  With ownership in the air, stability is lost.  This is something you want to take care of before the season starts in October.
  • On Thursday, I get to see my kid again via the ultrasound.  For the first time in 4 months, I get a look at Vincent.  A reason for the ultrasound is to see what position he is in so a proposed date for the delivery can be assessed.  For now, I’m excited to see my kid one on one again.   The countdown is getting shorter and shorter.

With that final note, my work here is done.  There’s no more explaining to do and for the moment, my head is clear.  I probably forgot something but that will be saved for further examination and for a future blog.  For now, I am dropping the curtain here on this latest blast of opinion.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Buffa

Brian Wilson Revisited/A Reason Cards fall is good/Blues Sale/More

Now that the smoke has cleared from the first day of work for the week, allow me to add a few things to last night’s epic run.   Consider this the epilogue to the initial madness.

More Brian Wilson

It’s hard to stop talking about one of the most chrismatic pitchers in the game.   If you missed last night’s section about the reason behind the post save celebration, here it is.

“While he is a crackerjack comedian in the clubhouse and a man who fully indulges in his cult legend status, a personal story drew me in last week.   After every save, Wilson turns away from home plate and crosses his arms in the air and looks to the sky.   At first glance, it looks like a religious ploy or a wrestling dedication.   In reality, Wilson is saluting his dad every time he does it.   As a youngster, Wilson lived in a military family and learned the game of baseball from his dad.  It was a rough upbringing with strict guidelines, but through his dad, Wilson crafted his future and became the man he is today.   At the age of 12, his dad took him for a drive and mixing humor with a tragic situation, told his son he had kidney cancer.   From 12 to 17 years of age, Brian Wilson didn’t see his dad much because he was driving around the country for cures and test trials.   At the age of 17, his dad beat kidney cancer and things looked up.  However, his dad developed brain cancer from the treatment that cured his kidney cancer, and he died soon after.   Wilson dedicates every save to his dad by making that gesture.   Watching Wilson tell it with such conviction and stone cold sadness, you see a side of the guy that you previously only guessed at.   It’s a revealatory episode and worth checking out.  The best moment is hearing Wilson tell the story as you see Wilson close out Game 5 of the World Series last winter against the Rangers.  He said he could only imagine what his dad would think, seeing all that hard work at a young age pay off.   With Wilson on the DL with a sore pitching elbow(he had Tommy John surgery in 2003), I’ll be rooting for his recovery and hoping to see the arms crossed again soon.   Wilson owns the most saves of any closer in MLB over the past 4 seasons to go with the colorful attitude.”

Here is a look at Wilson losing his cool and talking about what closers go through after blown saves.  Interesting because he doesn’t hold a thing back and unloads here.  Video joy, so suck it up full.

http://youtu.be/9UlmwcEIWUw

“As a closer, it’s embarassing to be taken out of the ninth inning.  It’s your job.  Win, lose or draw.  Go out there and get the win.  You’re the last man standing.   Well, I wasn’t the last man standing, so I was a little pissed off about it.”-Brian Wilson

“It’s a cooler.  It’s made of plastic. It’s fine.   We get a double play.  Giants win.  I’m over it.”-Brian Wilson beating up a cooler post blown save

A Reason The Cards Falling out of the Race Works for Me

In less than a month, I will be a dad.  There it is in a nutshell.   There’s one good reason the Cards are falling out of it.   Call it sappy or sentimental but understand it’s a real fucking statement.   What kind of dad would I be to give a halfass effort to my son the moment he is born during a playoff race?  Vincent doesn’t need a dad confounded and perplexed by a sport.  He needs a dad.  100 percent.  Full time.  The Cards will miss the playoffs for the 4th time in 5 years, the only year they won a playoff game being their Game 5 triumpg over the Detroit Tigers for their 10th World Series.  Since then, one playoff berth, zero wins and a load of disappointment.  It is what it is but the facts are hard to avoid.  The Cards will miss the playoffs but my son gets my full attention.   As Albert swings towards a contract, I learn to take care of a human being.   Believe me I won’t repeat a yearly Cubs fan sentiment, but this team lives to play another season with a different makeup.   Interesting future lies ahead, for me and the Cardinals.   That went well, right?

Blues Sale Pending

If David Checketts is smart, when Tom Stillman presents his offer, he will consider it heavily.   If Stillman’s offer is anywhere near the required amount  Checketts needs to give his investors the right parachute to jump out of this Blues hockey plane, he needs to take the deal, move on and get on with his life in another sport.  He needs to finish the deal here and give this team a fresh start.   Do what’s right for the city and your investors.   If they want out of hockey, tell them this is the last possible deal and the best it gets.   Plead to them to accept Stillman’s offer.  Tom Stillman is a good local personality who will take care of this team.   He is getting assistance from Cards President Bill DeWitt III and has friends in the right places and will push this team forward.   Business logistics are involved here for sure, but we can all hope Stillman’s offer today fits the mold crafted by Checketts and his handlers.   Walk the ransom money back to the big fish and get out while the plane is still hanging low.  Checketts brought the Blues back from the bottom of the barrel, reenergized the fan base and set the future up to be bright.  Now it’s time for the final piece to drop.

Chris Carpenter pitches for #9 tonight

For the first time this season, Chris Carpenter can go over the .500 mark in his record.   Carpenter has been one of the bright spots in a second half swoon for the team.  He is 7-1 in 11 starts since June 23rd, turning his season completely around after a 1-6 start.   If Jason Motte is the bright light in the bullpen, Carp is the ace once again of the rotation.   A dominating presence the past 2 months while sucking up innings in every start, Carp has made another comeback.  His ERA has shrunk from 5.00+ to 3.68 entering tonight’s game against the Dodgers.  He has accumulated 178.1 innings pitched in 26 starts, going 8 innings or more in 5 of his last 10 starts.   Carpenter’s best season was 2005, where he went 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA, 7 CG, 4 shutouts, 213 strikeouts and 51 walks.   He is quietly racking up numbers this season with 2 complete games, 142 strikeouts to 44 walks.   Tonight, with win #9, Carpenter inches closer to another season of double digit wins.

Cards Mission for the Last 5 weeks

Figure out question marks for the offseason.   See what you have,  see what is expendable and what needs to stay next year.   Here is a quick checklist.

-Keep Albert.  Once again, you don’t let a piece of gold walk away.  His 2011 down year is still impressive for any other major league player.  He put on a hitting show last night, going 4-5 with a home run to close out a disappointing series in Wrigley.  He isn’t slowing down, but only pressing in a contract season.

-Examine Edwin Jackson this next month.  Is he worth a long term deal and do you want to keep him along with Carp and move Westbrook or Lohse?  Jackson is full of talent, only 28 years old, has a live arm and could fit comfortably into Busch Stadium pitching zones.   Will this kid put it all together?

-See how Rafael Furcal’s health holds up the rest of the season?  He is a vital defensive arm and quality leadoff guy, but be sure he is healthy for next season.

-Who stays and who goes at second base/utility position?  Can Daniel Descalso replace Skip Schumacher?  Ryan Theriot isn’t coming back.   Is Tony Cruz your new backup catcher in 2012?  Where does Allen Craig fit into the fold or is he trade bait?  Figure it out.

-What is Jason Motte’s role?  If a deal for Heath Bell falls through, do you give Motte another shot at the closer role?  Sure, he got a shot before Ryan Franklin took over in 2009 but he only got a brief look.   He blew 2 of 3 saves in the first part of April of 2009 and was hooked quickly.  Since then, he has refined a second pitch, is able to locate his 98 mph fastball and carries the look and mentality of a closer.  Motte can locate his propane heater and that is devastating for hitters to deal with in the 9th innings.   Consider it a laser with a target.  Motte is a strikeout pitcher who puts fires out right now, but can he be more?  I think so.

-See how greedy Lance Berkman gets.  Hopefully, Berk takes a 2 year deal here, gets a little security and allows Allen Craig to platoon with Jon Jay in center field.   Before this year, no team wanted any part of Berkman after he looked spent and finished in a horrible 2010 campaign that ended in pinstripe misery.   After the Astros rejected him, the Cards welcomed him and watched him put his career back together.  These two sides need to reward each other and get something done.  If not, don’t forget about Ryan Ludwick.

-Stop griping about Chris Perez’s amazing season in Cleveland.   There was no telling Perez would rise so quick as a shutdown closer in Cleveland and no telling he would of been great here.  Perez came up with plenty of pressure and faltered early in his Cardinals debut.  Going to Cleveland allowed the pressure to fall off and he excelled.  The Mark DeRosa trade bit the Cards hard but it’s time to move on.   Stop living in the past Cardinals fans.  The Cards will get a shutdown closer this offseason and put Fernando Salas back in a more versatile bullpen role.

That’s it on the Cards.

What’s on tap tonight?  Dinner with the wife, Cardinals baseball and a little Showtime series entertainment later on tonight.   Add in a shocktop or two and the night is set.  Today was a busy yet highly fulfilling day of work.   Worked out in the morning, worked a hard 8 at the warehouse today, ran at lunch and came right home after work.  Productivity deserves a rest at the end.   The curtain is falling on this message.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Dan L. Buffa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Buffa State of Mind

Ladies and gents,

I am here to point out a few things.   A power packed power point presentation with little leeway for negotiation.   This is the way I see things and while feedback is welcome, don’t forget this is an opinion or state of mind.  Read on my friends.

Why Watch the Cardinals Battle The Dodgers at Busch This Week-

 True fans watch until the last pitch is thrown.   People forget that the Cards finished hot last season and their record reached 10 games above .500 and they were only 5 games out after the last game.   This season could be a repeat.  This team could fall out of the race and put together a fine finish that means very little other than to slightly raise the morale of their fanbase.  I doubt La Russa will take Pujols, Molina, Holliday, Furcal or Freese out of the lineup.  However, he will implement AAA lineups more often.   You have to shoot Tony to prevent it from happening.  It’s his way of going with Mozelaik’s flow.  When Stavs, Tyler Greene and the rest of the average wild bunch show up, this lineup will get fucked straight up the asshole by La Russa and his genius scenarios.  Would you rather see him send this team into a tailspin with bad lineups and prompt his departure or see the team play very well just good enough to finish 2nd?  Interesting questions.  Those are the only kind of questions I like to ask here bitch.  As pointed out yesterday 34 times, this team needs to do the unthinkable to get into the playoffs.  Win 95 percent of their remaining games(30-32) and hope the Brewers or Braves lose.  The chances are as slim as one of Cooper’s neck hairs.  I do agree that salaries are being paid and players need to play.  I am just telling you what will happen.   Let’s try out something new.  Force players to earn their salaries with good performances.  If Pujols goes 0-4, pay him nothing and feed him dog food.  If  he blasts a pair of homers, give him his game check.  Just an idea to fire up these players.   The problem is I do think they are trying to win and giving effort, as most La Russa teams do.   Their talent level can’t reach their desire.   In the key areas(rotation, closer, shortstop, clutch production), this team failed.   The Cardinals will continue to put forth the effort to win games, just don’t plan on seeing too many wins because this team is bound to disappoint and frustrate every other game.   Alright, I’m at the point of strangling a small puppy, so I am stopping for now on “the team’s issues” department.

 On Lance Berkman’s Nickname, “Puma”

 According to a source this is a Berkman created nickname.  Lance made it up back in Houston.  Nicknames are a tricky business.  They are created and people accept them and run with them or call them stupid.  Popular opinion makes or breaks a nickname.  As dumb as they sound, the likeability determines the distance they travel and miles they reach.  I am not surprised Puma is a self made name.  Berkman is a character in that clubhouse, carries a decent sense of humor and keeps it loose in there with his hickory smart attitude.  Part of the signing had to do with returning a sense of ease to the clubhouse and this guy fit the bill.   The fact that he has pounded 28 HR and driven in 79 is a bonus.  I will call him whatever the moment selects.  At times I may call one of his home runs a “berk jerk” or I may just note that “Berkman got the job done”.   I like to keep you pale dudes on your heels.

Denis Leary’s Tweets

Leary’s tweets range from cynical bashing to borderline serious ideas.  You either find it funny or don’t.  I can’t SELL his humor to anybody, but I do think what the man has to say is worthy of a look if not an explanation.   Leary is topical and original and hits everything with his own irish spin.  I dig it.  Here’s his tweet today about 9/11.

 “NYC firefighters not invited to 10th anniv of 9/11 at Ground Zero.  They weren’t invited on that day in 2001 either.  They just showed up.” True of many souls, but topical since Leary carries a deep connection to the events and shares a family bond with firefighters in Boston and New York.   
 All his tweets don’t aim to engage  a laughing session.  He carries a Rollins disdain for authority and I’m a fan.  If someone said I tend to agree or like what Leary has to say, that wouldn’t be a false statement.    He is an irish soldier of cynical descent.  Take him or leave him.  As you know, I am taking him.
Soccer Passion
 No one is lame for liking soccer.  Men, relax and give the ladies their tampons back.  It’s all good.   While I don’t dip into soccer unless its World Cup action, I can admit the sport is fucking addicting.   The british announcer who called every World Cup game and does many of your league games is awesome.   And I actually loved the loud horn at the WC games, and almost implanted one in the house during the action.   A friend of mine likes the Arsenal team, which is owned by Rams Majority owner Stan Kroneke.  I’ll have to check out some of the Arsenal’s games as well.  Stan Kroneke put a ton of effort and manpower into acquiring that team and I appreciate the passion.  Both my good friends here in STL, Chris and RJ, are soccer nuts and I feel bad because while I understand and appreciate the game, I can’t really give any insight into their soccer rants.  However, there’s always tomorrow, so I might dive into some action this weekend.  When you are watching a game, text me and I will find it as well.   The world is full of surprises and those include engaging in new sports.  

 Helmets

Helmets are a safety weapon, but they do look very funny and only stand up in certain situations.  I respect the attitude and view here and will agree most of the time, helmets aren’t needed and don’t look good.   However, with the completely stupid drivers who roam the streets, sometimes a good helmet is needed.  The price you pay to be safe on the roads. 

 Bike Riding Maniacs
 Bike riders are a weird pack of self centered jackoffs. While I appreciate a good ride, I don’t take my ass through rush hour traffic. The thing I hate the most are the fuckers who ride down a skinny two lane(one in each direction) road and force me to move into the opposing side of traffic to get around him to avoid clipping his sorry ass. I also hate when they stick out their hands like human blinkers. If my name was Machete, I would carry a long knife and lean out and hack their arm off every time they did it.   Bike riders feel they are entitled to the road when they need to realize the Moving Mass of Metal OWNS THE ROAD.   Cars own the road.   When I run at lunch or in the morning, I stay away from cars and feel like tripping up bike riders.   The ones that wear all the Tour De France gear are comical loonies as well.  Hey, spaceman, since you have your suit on, why don’t you fondle my balls real quick before you ride down your path of righteous prickish activity.   Fuck bike riders who try to command a part of the road.   Run them off the road with any kind of automobile available.  Save the Dodge Challenger.  Use a mini van and take out 3 at a time.

The Green Movement

People, this is largely a pack of bullshit wrapped up into a phony batch of optimism. After a healthy chat with a close friend(whose name won’t be used but his input will), let me break it down for you.  Going green doesn’t help anything or won’t starve off global warming.   When you use electric cars, electricity is being used so natural energy is still being required.  Natural energy sources are still being depleted.  It’s a big joke to go hybrid unless you need a cheaper form of transportation.  You aren’t helping anyone.  Instead of proceeding with this phony element, lets look into creating alternate forms of energy.   There’s your ticket.  Instead of remaining in connection with and leaning on Iraq’s oil supply, lets create different sources of energy to power our cars that doesn’t included gas and doesn’t suck up electricity.  Create alternate types of useable energy and stop draining our original sources.   That’s the harder part no one wants to dip into.  It’s easier to pronounce green and run behind a fake brand.  Chris and I were giving Rachel, a recycling lady herself, a little hard time by examining the way water bottles are dispensed with. They are burned using Natural Heat, and that smoke goes into the air and pollutes the shit out of our living breathing area. There’s always a gain in revenue or commerce involved with the green movement. Corporations make tons of cash off of it. When Al Gore’s fat ass made the Inconvinent Truth(not the film about his three chins), he was looking out for himself as well. There’s no way to truly stop global warming.  The world is going to eventually come to an end and I will be there to take its biggest punch and won’t need a green environment to do so.   He made millions every time people bought phony carbon bonds.   Gore is a fraud who couldn’t beat a dumb hick for President, didn’t want to get a real job so he tackled global warming instead. Let me tell you something, Al Gore will be long gone from this world if it ever goes up in smoke. He doesn’t really care. Going green is a phony brand of optimism. The only reason I recycle is to keep Rae off my back. Its one of those things we disagree on yet I toss my beer bottle in the special can just to get her to shut the fuck up. Here’s my hope that The Sawtooth bottle survives extermination and becomes the leader of a small beer bottle pack. Id pay to see that.   Organic food is something I don’t get too excited about either.   Organic food tastes like shit and doesn’t give your body the nutrients it needs.  I can eat a lean steak, a piece of chicken or grilled fish and get plenty of protein and vitamins while sucking down a glass of regular 2 percent milk to get my calcium and eat real mac and cheese for the pure taste.   Organic, like going green, is just another phony brand of commercial power.   It reminds me of the early days where people made up the idea of GOD, and told the dumb people to live like this and only eat this.  It’s an attempt at getting more money and power.   A classic power play.   Whole Foods Market is the biggest rip off joint.  Charging 9 dollars for a piece of organic germ free chicken.   Selling specialized fruit drinks at ridiculous prices that doesn’t give you more than a simple glass of orange juice.  The place to go for food(healthy, good tasting natural joy) is Sam’s.   Best bang for buck, especially if you eat a ton.   You can go to Sams and buy a monster package of Bacon, pack of shredded cheddar cheese and a pack of water for under 15 dollars and be set for a month.    There is nothing fucking organic about it.
So, yes, the green movement sucks and I wouldn’t mind jamming a bottle down one of these supreme optimists throats.  The Organic food raid is also a load of bullshit.

 Dick Vermeil visited the Rams at practice today.  
He also did some crying, to no one’s surprise.  That man brought us a Super Bowl, knows football, but man he loves to include the waterworks.  I always imagined him at Subway or McDonalds trying to order and just breaking down in tears.  “What would you like, sir”.  Dick-“I….could…use..something(crying incessantly).  Afterwards, the kid walks out with Vermeil’s arm around his shoulders telling him to go back to school and get an education or something.   Vermeil mastered the tough guy cry.  The slow fade from a regular face to a cracked expression to a breakdown.  I love Vermeil and all his emotion.   I wished he would of stayed after winning the Super Bowl and kept Mad Mike in the offensive coordinator booth.  He is like Herman Edwards with tears and emotion.  A hardcore football guy who truly knows his shit.  He rescued two franchises(Philly, Rams) and took them to the promise land. 

 Power packed episode of Rescue Me last week.  With the final season marching towards a 9/11 memorial session, last week’s hour ran a truck into a brick wall when it came to the infamous day.   After a few hours of tiptoeing around a touchy subject, we got a dose of pain.   The hour started with Gavin and his crew staring straight into the Ground Zero hole, and after it led to a wide open discussion of the need or lack of a need for a monument.  I know most of you are starting from the beginning but if you want a reason to dive into this series, last week’s 9/11 centered episode has the reach to pull you in.   After the guys meet at Ground Zero and stare into the abyss, they go to a diner.   At breakfast, the chief tells Gavin and the guys why memorials are overrated. One of the guys talks about there being no 9/11 memorial(there is now, two waterfall fountains with the names aligning the barrier above).   The Chief reminds them about the real way to remember someone and talks about going to look at the Vietnam wall and saying it didn’t do much for him and that he didn’t want to see the men’s names that served under him and died under him there.  Instead, he pulls out pictures of them and tells stories.  He tells them that you have remember the people’s deeds, their faces and what they died for instead of a fucking memorial/monument.   It hit me so hard because that’s what I said about Troy and keeping him alive through memory.  If you want, check it out on FX’s web site or on FX all week.  Its a great hour of television and doesn’t spoil much for a future beginner.

 While the Cards do suck, they are still watchable.  If you can withstand the torture, there is a reason to watch the Cards. Entertaiment value.  Win as many games as you can and see where you end up.  Playoffs or not, this team has perks.   Watch Pujols’ race to 40 HR, 100 RBI and a .300 BA so he gets the contract he deserves.   Walks or not, the mang is putting together a pretty good season and deserves to be paid for being the centerpiece here.   If anyone in baseball deserves a golden goose ride home, it’s Albert.  While not worth a 10 year/300 million dollar deal(pure suicide for a player at 32 yrs), he is worth the money of a long range deal.  When lost without hope, Albert is always fun to watch. 

 A technical reason to watch.  See how Edwin Jackson finishes, which determines his value next season. Jackson is an intriguing case of talent and misdirection in his career.   Will he ever be able to put the finishing touches on his power pack arsenal of pitches.  Take out the rough start in Milwaukee and Jackson has pitched capably for this team.   His situation effects the rotation after the season.   He is put into a pool with Jake Westbrook and Kyle Lohse.   Seeing how Jackson finishes determines what the Cardinals try to do with Lohse and/or Westbrook.  Will he stay or go? 

 Other Reasons

 If Berkman gets too greedy, reach out to Ryan Ludwick.  Ludwick will never put together the 30 HR/100 RBI seasons he did early in his Cards career, but he is still capable of driving in 90 runs, hitting .270, bashing 15-20 HR and playing a strong right field.   Berkman returned the favor to the Cards in performing higher than expectations, which means he may reach for a 3 year deal worth more money than the Cards can give.  After seeking a multi year deal in 2010, Ludwick’s status has taken a hit and he will come cheaper.   Lud played well in St. Louis and left too soon, and with the loss of Rasmus and potential loss of Berkman, Lud is an option. 

 If second base needs true fixing, reach out to Aaron Miles. Cheap options will need to be desired if we keep Pujols, Carp and Berkman and attempt to sign a closer.    Think about it.  While finding a true second baseman to team with Furcal, the Cards may have to downsize if they don’t keep Skip Schumacher.  Miles was a hit machine in St. Louis and is hitting .300 for the Dodgers this season as an everyday player. 

 What separates Cards and Brewers in the past 2 months?  Starting pitching.   The Brewers have plenty of it and the Cards’ rotation went soft in the second half of the season.   Since mid June, Cardinals starters haven’t reached the 7th inning on a regular basis or strung together quality starts.  The Brewers have thrived off their starting pitching, led by Zach Greinke and Shaun Marcum.   Pitching has separated the top two teams in the NL Central.   This is an area where the Cards were handicapped early with the loss of Adam Wainwright, but struggled more with the demise of Kyle McClellan and Kyle Lohse to go with the mixed bag specials of Jake Westbrook and Edwin Jackson.   For the second season in a row, the Cards made an unsuccessful trade to patch up a bad injury.  In 2010, they traded for Westbrook, giving up Ludwick when Brad Penny went down in May.   This season, the Cards suffered the major loss of Waino and ended up trading Colby Rasmus for Jackson’s services, who has been decent yet unable to prop this team up and gas it up for a run. 

 Please don’t overlook the loss of Wainwright and the blown saves for the reason behind this team’s demise.   It’s hard for me to blame the offense too much with their rankings in runs scored and batting average.   While the lineup has been inconsistent, the real reason this team suffered in 2011 lies in the rotation and the bullpen being unable to finish games.  

 The Biggest Need(after signing AP)-A true closer.  Fernando Salas did a commendable job this season, and has closed 22 of 26 games and improved an early season rough spot.  However, this team needs a shutdown closer for 2012.  Since the malfunction of Isringhausen and Franklin’s ineffectiveness, the Cards have lacked a true closer and haven’t seen playoff success since the last time the ninth inning looked confident, which was back in 2006 with Adam Wainwright blazing a trail towards World Series glory.    Admit it or not, finding a closer is the biggest challenge this offseason if this team cares to contend.   Looking at a full season’s work, Salas would blow 6-8 games and that’s not going to work.   If it means handing serious cash to Heath Bell and going cheap in center, right and second base, do it.   Without a finishing touch, the starter and lineup mean little. 

More Offseason Ideas

 Carpenter is up for a 15 million dollar extension.   The Cards need to approach Carp and renegotiate a new 2 year extension, pulling the per year price tag down to 10 million per season and adding incentives.  Carpenter has proved he can still pitch at an elite level with his second half surge, but his extended rough patch drew up concern.   Look, Carpenter owes the Cards a couple years.  His arm blew out in 2007, and he was paid for 2007-2008 20 million dollars worth to make 5 starts as he healed from Tommy John surgery.   The Cards gave him a chance when no team wanted a look at him in 2004.   Business is business but he needs to remember the past here.  It does play a factor here.   Carp is an important piece of this team in the future, but he needs to rethink the dollars.

 Rafael Furcal, sprained thumb or not, has changed the infield defense drastically.  Add in Furcal and take out Theriot and the errors have decreased.   He adds wins to the rotation with his defensive range and offers pop at the top of the lineup in true leadoff fashion.   He is up for a 12 million dollar option as well, but the Cards and Furcal will be wise to sit down and figure out an extension that offers Furcal security but pays him less annually.   Furcal can hit .350 the rest of the way in 2011, but his season will be a huge downer and he needs to recognize his age and injury factor.   He is an elite defensive shortstop and can still offer offensive support as well, so this is something both sides must work out. 

 I’d rather not see Lohse for another season.   He is 11-7 with a decent ERA in 2011, but he simply isn’t a commodity any longer.  He starts hot and fizzles quickly.   He is a guy who struggles to get through a lineup the third time and hits a wall in most starts.   He had 6 wins in early June and has went 5-6 since with horrible results.   Take away offensive support and you see 2-3 wins drop off Lohse’s plate of accomplishments.   It’s an ugly situation that started with an overblown contract given to Lohse after one solid season in 2008.   3 years into a bad 4 year contract, Lohse seems expendable.  Jackson has age and potential over Lohse.   If Jackson finishes well, the Cards must find a way to work Lohse out of the equation via a drop or trade. 

 After dropping 2 of 3 over the weekend to the redhot Chicago Cubs at Wrigley, thus dropping out of the race completely, it’s fitting to look at the actual reasons the Cards failed to contend in 2011.   As one friend said today, just say they suck and be finished with the rant.   That is something I can’t and won’t do.   As the great Bill Simmons said, everything must be explored because every questions deserves an answer.  I must find out every reason why we won’t contend in 2011 because it makes things easier for me.  Being a diehard fan of a team is like being strapped to a bomb that takes a long time to explode.  You know by the middle of the ride up into the sky if it was right or wrong to stay this long.   Here are a list of reasons why the Cards aren’t a playoff team in 2011(with an assist from Bernie Miklasz)-

-135 double plays
-22 blown saves
-29-28 against weak NL Central
-Not good at home, going 16-25 since June
-bad defense overall, with too many errors on the infield
-An overall weak rotation
-Inconsistent bullpen(lots of changes, little consistency outside of Jason Motte)
-A Down year from AP
-Milwaukee improvement

 The Cards aren’t good enough.   Look at the Cubs series.  If the Big 3 don’t hit, the team loses.   Pujols, Holliday and Berkman went a combined 1-14 in the two losses on Friday and Saturday.  They found ways to win without them in the first half of the season.   On Sunday, the Big 3 combined for 7 hits, 8 plate appearances in 15 at bats and the Cards won 6-2.   The home run is playing too much of a part in the Cardinals attack in the second half.  After the first half saw manufactured runs, the Cards hit for their wins or drown in defeat.   On Sunday, they hit 4 home runs and won.  On Saturday, they hit zero and got shut out.   The Cards blew two crucial games this week on Wednesday and Friday.   Blown saves, a reliance on the home run, and a lack of overpowering starting pitching make a recipe for unsuccessful baseball.   The Cardinals are 8.5 games out of first place in the Central and 9 games out of the wildcard race.    I won’t tell you to prepare for football and hockey just yet, but if you are wondering about Busch Stadium action in October, it better include a tour or grounds crew work.  

 Moving on to more positive ground-

 The Blues owner Dave Checketts set a deadline for today for prospective buyers to present an offer to buy the team.   That doesn’t mean he will see an offer he likes or will be accepting something soon.   An intriguing game I am playing is wondering which I will see first this year.  A new Blues owner or David Perron playing a shift in a real game for this team.   With Monday’s deadline set and 2-3 potential buyers stalking Scottrade, I will stick with my early guess and pick new owners before Perron action.   This team has plenty of young talent and a balanced roster and a future upside to go with sold out home games, so a money man has to come in sooner rather than later.  Right???

 The Rams looked impressive..and shaky on Saturday in their 17-16 win over the Titans.   Sam Bradford fired a 83 yard touchdown pass early and finished 7-15 for 40 yards the rest of the first quarter while Aj Feeley tossed a touchdown pass to Donnie Avery in the third quarter.  Steven Jackson only ran for 10 yards on 6 carries, showing zero signs of impersonating a semi truck.   The Rams run defense got shredded for 200 yards by a Tennessee running game that lacked Chris Johnson.   The Rams secondary looked shaky while recording their 3rd interception of the preseason.   However, Rams 3rd string QB Thaddeus Lewis enginneered an impressive 2 minute warning drive to set up Josh Brown for a 42 yard game winning field goal as time expired, giving the Rams another win.   Preseason games are meaningless in wins or losses, but more capable to set a winning mentality that is a good sign for this team.   If the games are meaningless, the forward progress of a young team working with new parts, a shortened schedule and a 2nd year savior quarterback is good to see. 

-Here are other thoughts on this team.

*Bradford is the man to lead this team to another Super Bowl.   Look into this kid’s eyes and you see intelligience, a will to win and a drive that few young quarterbacks can own up to in this league.   When we selected him, I was skeptical about his health and long term tolerability to the fast strict game of this profession, but he has impressed me in his 1 year plus time in a Rams uniform.  The playoff hopes fall directly on his shoulders and I think he is up to the challenge.  It isn’t about the money with this kid.   Ask him how he did Saturday and he will tell you he did pretty bad, because the kid demands excellence and that is a winning mentality this team is wisely building around.

*The Rams proved they could bounce back from a rough defensive night and an average night from their main man in order to steal a win.   Lewis intrigues at the 3rd QB spot. 

*Failing to keep WR Mark Clayton could come back to harm this team if Avery or Danario Alexander don’t hold up to a 16 game schedule or barely escape the first 6 games.   Clayton was a legit playmaker before hurting his knee last season, and letting him walk to New England wasn’t a smart move. 

*Josh Brown is living up to his potential as the “big clutch foot” in late spots.   Rams fans know this guy from his triumphs with the Seahawks earlier in his career, but he is settling in here in St. Louis as a reliable late game kicker.  He booted a 60 yarder last week against the Colts to go with 3 other field goals, and on Saturday kicked 2 game winning 42 yard bombs in the 4th quarter.  After Titans coach Mike Munchak chose to freeze Brown after his first kick, Brown fired a dead center winner.  On a team learning a new offense and carrying a suspect defense, there will be close games in 2011 and my money is on Brown winning a few games for this team with his right foot. 

*The Rams running game looks strong, albeit with Jackson’s light workload.   Cadillac Williams continues to impress and will form an unstoppable unit with Jackson and Norwood.   Will all 3 hold up?  The acquisitions of Williams and Norwood was a pure injury proof move.  

*There is so much to like about James Lauranitis that it’s hard to find a starting spot.   He commands the defense, looks to improve in his 3rd season and is only getting better.   Lauranitis is a leader and took control in his rookie season.  He works harder than anybody on this team and also carries a humble head on his shoulders.   The Rams defense requires a center piece and James has fallen right into that spot and will pay off hugely in incorporating Zach Diles into the unit.   Lauranitis is a surefire fan favorite and for good reason.  The kid is 100 percent blue collar hard work personified.

Preseason or not, the Rams look intriguing and easily the strongest team in the NFC West.  However, a potential tortureous first half of the season awaits and the second half doesn’t let up too much, so they must continue to improve and make themselves legit.  Progress doesn’t have strong legs. 

The Little League World Series probably doesn’t belong on national television but I will be honest and say I have watched a few innings this weekend.   Some of the kids have real talent and will be names that see big league action in the future.   It’s a change of pace to watch kids play the game for the pure joy of winning before the horror sets in the form of real potential. 

There are movies to see at the theater, but I haven’t made it to one in a couple weeks due to money cutbacks and a lack of a “must see” film.   Fright Night looks fun simply for the joy of watching talented actor Colin Farrell take another page from the unpredictable book in playing a blood thirsty comedy delivering vampire, but it isn’t worth 9 dollars.   One Day, starring Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway, is a thoughtful love story about two people who run into each other on July 15th every year no matter what, but it too isn’t worth 9 dollars.   What is worth 9 dollars?  Right now, nothing.   30 Minutes or Less carries a potentially funny scheme in seeing Jesse Eisenberg running around with a strapped bomb from the director of Zombieland, but it doesn’t look compact enough.  With age comes careful selections in theaters, and becoming a dad limits the cash flow.   I will be arriving in a theater some time soon and you will be the first to know, but lately I am content watching First Blood(the best Rambo film by far) on Cinemax HD and rewatching Ben Affleck’s heartfelt cops/robbers Boston tale The Town on HBO HD.   Until then, feel free to send me a movie review or reason to go to the movies.  The Changeup is the funniest film I have seen in 2011(with a small edge over Horrible Bosses and Hangover 2) and it was the last film I saw.   Help wanted but not needed here.

After watching another episode of the Franchise, A Season With the Giants, I have a newfound respect for Brian Wilson.  While he is a crackerjack comedian in the clubhouse and a man who fully indulges in his cult legend status, a personal story drew me in last week.   After every save, Wilson turns away from home plate and crosses his arms in the air and looks to the sky.   At first glance, it looks like a religious ploy or a wrestling dedication.   In reality, Wilson is saluting his dad every time he does it.   As a youngster, Wilson lived in a military family and learned the game of baseball from his dad.  It was a rough upbringing with strict guidelines, but through his dad, Wilson crafted his future and became the man he is today.   At the age of 12, his dad took him for a drive and mixing humor with a tragic situation, told his son he had kidney cancer.   From 12 to 17 years of age, Brian Wilson didn’t see his dad much because he was driving around the country for cures and test trials.   At the age of 17, his dad beat kidney cancer and things looked up.  However, his dad developed brain cancer from the treatment that cured his kidney cancer, and he died soon after.   Wilson dedicates every save to his dad by making that gesture.   Watching Wilson tell it with such conviction and stone cold sadness, you see a side of the guy that you previously only guessed at.   It’s a revealatory episode and worth checking out.  The best moment is hearing Wilson tell the story as you see Wilson close out Game 5 of the World Series last winter against the Rangers.  He said he could only imagine what his dad would think, seeing all that hard work at a young age pay off.   With Wilson on the DL with a sore pitching elbow(he had Tommy John surgery in 2003), I’ll be rooting for his recovery and hoping to see the arms crossed again soon.   Wilson owns the most saves of any closer in MLB over the past 4 seasons to go with the colorful attitude.

Music Choice of the Week-The Black Keys, rocking an old blues rock bleeder here on their older record, Rubber Factory, singing the tune “Keep Me”.   Starting off with wicked blues guitar followed by a creeping croon from lead singer Dan Auerbach, this song works on every note.  From the opening guitar riff to the last scream of desperate joy, its first class action here.   Enjoy.

http://youtu.be/z2S5xHMyvLo

What else is there?

  • Terrell Pryor will lose 4 games but will be selected by an NFL team in need of a new spark this season.   Count the Seahawks, 49ers and Colts as players. 
  • The Arsenal Soccer team is in the process of cutting and players, much to the disliking of the fan base.  Head coach Arsene Wenger maintains that he isn’t stubborn but simply wants to buy the right players for a playoff push in the Premier League.   The Gunners are trying to keep up with the so called Yankees of Soccer, Barcelona, and that is never easy.   After losing 2-0 to Liverpool on Saturday, patience is growing thinner with each game but from my point of view, Wenger is holding firm as he deals with player injuries and suspensions. 
  • Plaxico Burress caught a TD pass from Mark Sanchez for the Jets on Sunday.   Who cares?  Did people really think the guy lost all his skills in 2 years?  Burress biggest challenge will be to maintain a good player/teammate conduct after a career of trouble.   Before he shot himself in the leg, Burress struggled to make team practices and meet player conduct rules in New York.   Now that he has crossed into Brooklyn, he needs to turn his attitude around and keep his play up. 
  • Novak Djokovic exits a Cincinnati tournament with shoulder pain.  That is what happens after you win several majors and over 45 matches in 2011. 
  • Jared Weaver gets a new 5 year, 85 million dollar contract from The Los Angeles Angels.   At the age of 28, this is a strong move from LA, making a claim to keep their ace pitcher under wraps until he is into his early 30’s.   In 6 seasons with the Angels, Weaver is 78-45 with a 3.30 ERA, including a 14-6 record with a 2.10 ERA in 2011.  A solid move.   5 years is a long deal for a pitcher but with Weaver’s age and effectiveness, it works. 
  • Rick Rypien, a 27 year old NHL enforcer/grinder, died on Thursday.   He was found dead due to a “sudden and non suspicious” death that looked like suicide at first glance, due to Rypien’s life long struggle with depression.   Many dismiss the disease as an excuse, but having lived close to it with a loved one’s struggles with it, I understand its power fully.   Depression is a powerful disease that can only be limited and slightly controlled with medicine.  Rypien’s career was looking up, as he left Vancover for a 1 year deal with the Winnipeg Jets.   Teammates and friends thought the player had his disease in control and were shocked to hear of his death.  RR was a tough player, usually fighting bigger enforcers and coming out on the winning end.  He was a hard worker and worthy teammate and player.   We may never know what really happened but when the details do arrive, the loss will still sting.  After Derek Boogard died of a lethal drug overdose, the NHL loses another young hockey player with plenty of life left.   Life is a son of a bitch no matter how you slice it. 
  • Daddy Blog Entry-There is now 4 weeks or less until my son arrives at St. Johns Hospital.   There are no words for the prep and no rest for the weary.  All I can do is wait, learn, listen and get ready for the test of a lifetime.  While we all get up every time and hope to keep ourselves in one piece, my journey of responsibility starts this fall in keeping track of a human being.  If my son is anything like me, he is going to express his opinion, move endlessly and stop at nothing to get his way.   The challenge is teaching him good values, good morals and preparing him for his trek of meaning.   While I have found work and passion in life, my goal is to help him locate it as well.   A father always wants his son to do greater things than himself.   With each version we make in this life, improvement must be made.   If that means him rocking the banjo or swinging a baseball bat or wielding jurisdiction in a courtroom or firehouse, I will be happy.   The process begins in less than a month.   I am both scared shitless and excited at what the next year brings.  My life is getting ready to REALLY change.  You can’t write this shit.   What if my son is born on 9/11/11?  Theories. 

With that final burst of thought, this latest Buffa State of Mind session is coming to a close.  Pulling the curtain down and laying the hands to rest for a few.   Until next time, thanks for reading and goodnight.  I didn’t expect this message to blow your face off but I do expect this blog to hit you straight in the forehead and get you thinking. 

DLB