The Post

It’s not rocket science to express your opinions.   You find a trigger, get to a keyboard, and pour out your thoughts for others to digest, analyze and craft a response immediately in their heads whether they reply or not.   I know my words leave a dent, but I keep coming back to refill the rage tank.   Let’s get moving here because it’s nearly 90 degrees at 10am and this warehouse is hotter than a chinese sweatshop. 

Rescue Me Recap

With an hour left to sum up it’s tale, Rescue Me crafted a classic storyline last night to set up the finale next week.   Starting things off with a Gavin wedding set the stage for humor and thrills.   Think of a bunch of alcoholics thrown into a shiny ceremony with a proper and well mannered family and there will be fireworks.   A priest with drinking problems, a widow still mourning the loss of her husband to 9/11, three guys who have been in and out of AA meetings like a shooter returning to a gunshop to return ammo.   A festival of dark humor and outlandish behavior ensues.  When Rescue Me is at it’s best, comedy and drama are interwined and the show easily transitions from a cruel laugh to a dramatic situation.   After Tommy and Janet renew their vows and he is forced to quit his day job in order to stop his daughter from, “becoming a hooker and doing drugs”, Tommy and the crew are called to a 5 alarm fire downtown.  What starts as a routine search and rescue turns into a dangerous situation as the captain reminds them, “big fires have big problems”.   A 4 story warehouse with the fire raising up to the top of the building with explosives stuck inside has the guys looking for 2 men and putting their lives at risk.   The end left the entire crew in peril and the preview for next week’s episode wasn’t forthcoming.   Creators Peter Tolan and Denis Leary fought over the end of this series.    Who dies?  Who lives?  Why?  At the foundation of this series is a dedication not only to the firefighters who died on 9/11 but to firefighters everywhere.   The personal trauma their job creates in their life and the risks they carry every time they run into a burning building.  In a way, this was a perfect way to end the series.   A wild crazy wedding that pronounces a happy ending that doesn’t hold because these guys fight fires for a living and will eventually go down doing it.   Tommy Gavin told a fleet of young firefighters in the pilot that this isn’t a job, it’s a calling.   They aren’t heroes.   Once they were in the warehouse, putting out the fire became secondary to finding a sign of life and making an attempt to save those people even if it meant putting their own lives at risk.   Being a firefighter is like reliving “Saving Private Ryan” over and over again.  A group of guys trying to save 2 or 3 people in a dangerous situation where all of them aren’t coming home alive.  That’s the crown jewel of Rescue Me’s appeal.   Unpredictable developments.   Right when you think dark wild laughter is in store, the rug is pulled out and things get heavy quick.  Laughing one moment and crying the next.   That’s good television.   Next week’s finale is going to pack a punch no matter what happens and who dies, because Tolan and Leary have a message to get across and it’s this.  Fighting fires isn’t only dangerous to your life yet affects so many around you.  The people in the building you are trying to save and the people at home hoping you come home in one piece.  It’s about the sacrifices made on the job.  Sacrificing your sanity, safety and in some cases, your life.   Stay tuned folks.  Rescue Me is going out with a bang. 

The Cardinals-Last Stand?

After the Cardinals win their 3rd game in a row, 5th of their last 6 games and second in a row against the renegade Brewers, one must make certain observations.    While I still think there is little chance of a recovery in the division race for this team, it’s good to see them play well and win a few games.   Make things interesting is the goal here.   Go down with a fight.   Sweeping the Brewers today would cause all kinds of confusion for fans and distress for Milwaukee.   Let’s take a look.

*Tony La Russa must start Chris Carpenter today against The Brewers in a must win game.  Why sit him and send a rookie in Brandon Dickson to the mound on an important day?  A confounding move by the skipper that has plenty of people puzzled in St. Louis.   While it’s still foolish to think of the Cards as playoff contenders, a manager must send out his best group to the field against the team you are chasing and against any other team when I think about it.   Send out the guns.  Think of the Cards as a gambler at a poker table and right now you have to put all the chips in the middle on nearly every hand, especially against your top competitor.  The Cards can’t control what happens when Milwaukee plays Houston this weekend, but they can make a difference today.  La Russa is hurting his team.  Dickson hasn’t made a major league start and doesn’t deserve the opportunity to unseat Carpenter.   Ask Carpenter how he feels right now about being the ace of a staff and being pulled back a day.  That’s the worst part of the story.  Today is Carpenter’s day to pitch.   Brandon Dickson should go to the bullpen, where he helped out in May with a couple key appearances.  Whether he succeeds or fails today, this is a bad move on Tony’s part.  Sending the wrong message to your team and to your best pitcher.  When the chips are done, insert the rookie into a dangerous ballpark.   This is reminscent of La Russa putting in Rick Ankiel to start Game 1 of the 2000 NLCS against Atlanta instead of the late Darryl Kile.  I simply don’t understand it.  This is where I would love to be in the post game media chat with La Russa and ask him this question.  He would get sensitive and explain his genius, but I’d keep asking the same question.  Why pull this stunt at this time?  The two wins against Milwaukee this week changed the entire focus of this series.  You have to go all in. 

*Jaime Garcia needs to start.  Resting him or skipping a start and throwing him in the bullpen is another soft move by La Russa.   Garcia has struggled in the second half and since he signed his 4 year contract, but that doesn’t mean pull him back.   Garcia is a talented young pitcher and needs innings and wounds to grow.  Next year, he starts making 7 million a season, so he has to pitch every 5th day and throw more than 89 pitches per start.  Last year made sense to hold him back and restrict his pitch count  This season, 2 years removed from Tommy John, it makes zero sense.  Garcia needs to pitch and if it means sending young Dickson to the pen for September, so be it.  Unless the season completely falls apart(which was in danger of happening last week against the Dodgers), the A team must hit the field.  There’s no reason Garcia doesn’t start right now.  Rest him and get his mind right.  That’s foolish and sounds like an excuse.  Send this kid out in front of the firing line.   Facing the Brewers, Phillies and Braves will teach him lessons a bench in the pen just can’t.  Garcia isn’t a good candidate for the bullpen anyway.  He is cracking under pressure and if he arrives with 2 men on and a high stakes game going on, bad things will happen.  Garcia is a starter and needs to pitch.

*Edwin Jackson atoned for his rough start in Milwaukee last month and pitched 7 strong innings Tuesday.   Jackson added an RBI single and fooled the Brewers on all ends after allowing 10 runs on 14 hits in 7 innings of work a few weeks ago in a crucial series.   6 out of the 7 starts in his Cards debut, Jackson has pitched capably, finishing 6 or more innings and allowing 3 or less runs.  Jackson is giving the Cards what they asked for.  Stability in the back end of the rotation.  He is an intriguing pitcher who has an overpowering fastball and a nasty slider.  Being only 28 years old, Jackson is an option for next season. 

*Speaking of the July 27th trade, The Blue Jays released Brian Tallet and Trevor Miller this week and Colby Rasmus is on the DL.   The trade is looking pretty good for the Cards even though they are out of playoff reach at this point.   Colby Rasmus is looking like a kid who will get a center field job with the Blue Jays in 2012, but may have to earn it.    He hasn’t hit since he arrived in Canada and the AL doesn’t let up especially when it’s the AL East.   After saying he needed a fresh start, I doubt Raz will ever become the player scouts and team execs thought he would be in 2005.   He will be a cheap centerfielder and gets reps in Toronto but he lacks the fundamental growth and urge to become a great player.  His bat is slowing down and his defense is eroding.  Good luck Toronto.  Enjoy your gift. 

*It’s important that Cards fans remain reluctant to invest serious hope in this team at this point.   If we sweep the Brewers, the urge to remain calm and don’t dive into the boat is required.   The 2011 Cardinals are bound to disappoint at some point, and I have spent too many July and August days hoping for a 5 or 10 game winning streak to propel them to the top of the division.   It’s not worth the time and energy.  Watch the game, carry a silent hope and just go game by game.   Don’t look at the schedule because it’s rough.   Don’t expect them to win 4 or 5 more in a row because it probably won’t happen.   This weekend, the pesky Reds come into town to break shit and after that the Brewers arrive for the knockout punch.   All a fan can do at this point is watch and learn.   You never know what can happen but you know what to expect from this team based on 5 months of data so hold back.   Pass the kool aide on and stay grounded.   Every night, I watch them play and wait for the collapse.   It comes in smaller doses these past few games.  Double plays occur, defense lapses come and go, and the starting pitcher makes every inning a marathon.  This team isn’t built to make the playoffs, so don’t give them the satisfaction of the early push.  Just watch.  Go along for the ride but feel free to ask to be let out at the next corner.  When it comes to the 2011 Cards, safety is first.   I’ve seen miracles happen and dead men rise up from the ground, but I won’t count my wishes here. 

*It would be nice to see Albert Pujols stabilize his batting average at a point near .300 by the end of the season.   His power stats are there, but his average can’t creep near .295 right now.   Also, AP’s general krptonite this season is the Brewers pitching.   With his 1-5 performance on Wednesday, Pujols is still hitting a .189 against them all season.   Tough to swallow. 

*It’s September 1st, which means there are 24 games left to play and time for the Cards to make things a little interesting.  They have to keep winning.   Losing isn’t an option.   It’s happened before, but time and luck isn’t on the Cards side.   It’s amazing that they played so bad and got so far out at the end of August and with 24 games left, they are still 8.5 games out of first place.  Once again, the Brewers play can’t be forgotten.  Unlike in previous seasons where the deficit was only 3 or 5 games.  The Brewers stretch of play in August, going 21-4, broke the Cards backs.   The question now is….can the Cards put it all together and come back after being knocked out cold?  Since I am staying partial to reality, my answer will remain quiet.   However, you never know.  That’s the great thing about sports.  The Cards can’t hurt themselves by winning.   You improve your record, cut the margin down little by little and stay in the hunt waiting for another team to slip up. 

Other Topics that Require Spinning

*Someone finally told Chris Johnson to get into the Titans camp and fulfill your contract while your agent negotiates a new contract and extension.  How can Johnson walk into Bud Adams office in Tennessee and tell him 10 million dollars per year isn’t enough to play football.?  To quote Denis Leary, what do these guys eat for dinner?  One Mercedes Benz apiece.   I understand wanting market value for your position, but withholding yourself from the team and asking to be the highest paid player in the game is out of the question.   It comes down to the man and his personal greed.  The Titans want to pay Johnson well, but he had to get into uniform and fulfil the two years on his contract.  The same situation happened with Steven Jackson in 2008.  It’s ugly.   Today, the team and Johnson finally agreed on a 4 year, 53 million dollar contract.  Why was it so hard?  I blame both sides but push a little more in Johnson’s direction.

*Oscar Dela Hoya tells us a story about his real life.   Talk about revelation central for the Golden Boy of Boxing.   If the truth sets you free, please hand Oscar a get out of jail free card.  In an interview Tuesday, DeLa Hoya told the world that he has been drinking heavily, doing some cocaine, contemplated suicide(pussied out), and cheated on his wife.   All in one year.   That was a joke.   Oscar faded from boxing once Floyd Mayweather Jr. outboxed him and Manny Pacquiao pounded the shit out of him.   Now his personal identity is under attack.   The man quit boxing and went to Tiger Woods’ house.

*Jerry Jones has a big mouth and it got him in trouble this week.  Look it up yourself.  Jones has the cash, reputation and history to talk the game but to me, he talks too much.  Decide if you want to be an owner, agent or coach.  You can’t be all three at once.  Regarding a player contract, Jones talked trash about a player wanting more money and now he will pay up.  That’s comedy for any guy who doesn’t like the Cowboys at all.  Choke central in Texas.

*There still aren’t many movies for me to dive into this weekend.  The Debt looks interesting and carries a good cast, but Im not in the door yet.   Others carry some delight, but August turned out to be a shit can for movies and I didn’t find myself in the theater except for the hilariously go for broke The Changeup.   I am finding most of my satisfaction on DVD with Blitz, The Beaver and possibly this weekend with Win Win.  Yes, I did mention “beaver” and “satisfaction” in the same sentence.  I need to be impressed to reach the cinemas and right now I am not. 

*The Rams signing Mark Clayton is smart for the team and good for Sam Bradford.  Picked up from the Ravens trash dump before last season, Clayton thrived here and connected with Bradford on the field.   He went down with a knee injury but he is back and healthy.  I like our B cast of receivers, but Clayton is a possible Type A threat on this team and will stretch the field.   If the lineup holds up, the Rams offense is deadly. 

*One more thing.  I’ll be a dad any day now.  The fear and joy is settling in now.   Daddy clock is getting shorter and shorter.  Soon enough, I will be responsible for someone on this earth.  Warning has been given.  All I can do is wait. 

That’s it folks.  Thanks for reading and goodnight.

I will be back. 

-DLB

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Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

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