Allow me to roll a few topics over you as we pass over into another 24 hour set, what starts out as another weekend but may develop into something A LOT more interesting. As My Morning Jacket’s latest gem of an album, Circuital, plays in the background, I start the domino chain. One thing leads to another in this life, at least that’s the way it works in the mind.
Vinny Buffa Madness
For the last two weeks, the little guy has been throwing up, projectile style after every bottle and at any given time. Bad news for parents here who only want to find dry land with their new kid. Vincent battled SVT, got heart meds and is on the mend, but now runs into a potential GI tract problem that could result in surgery. A muscle isn’t allowing food to digest through his throat into his stomach completely and forcing a reappearance instead of a deposit below. It seems like every time my son knocks out a problem in the ring, some other thing steps into the ring to fight. He keeps throwing punches. Later this morning, we are taking him to Childrens for X rays and explanations. Whether or not we come home is entirely up to someone else and its a scary thought to have to see my kid in a hospital bed again so soon. The first 8 weeks have been grueling and all I can do is deal with the cards, take care of the wife and kid, and keep on breathing. Start out the madness here with a little sadness. Moving on.
Albert Pujols to Florida???
No way kids. That’s my thought. There are selling points for sure, but beyond a few more million, a new stadium, and a new start mid career what reasons are there for Albert to leave St. Louis for Florida. Any spot other than Chicago can be sold to Albert because of payroll, chance to win or a icon status waiting in the wings. Every one of those things can be found in St. Louis if Albert chooses to stay. When presented with a case for Albert in Florida, I listened, read the info and thought it through only to come back to the same conclusion. There’s no real reason for Albert Pujols to leave St. Louis if he keeps his word that has been spoken his entire career. That it’s not ALL about money. I’ll be straight with you. Since they waited until 2011 to present a viable offer, the Cards can’t match another team’s offer and will get outbid by at least 2 teams here. That’s why I said it comes down to Albert in the end making a decision. Get past the visits, offers, agent dealings and money, and it comes down to Albert asking himself does he want to be the iconic player who spends his entire career in one city, wins 2-4 World Series titles and retiring a king. Lets look at the prospects in Miami. Florida makes sense. They open a new stadium in 2012(home opener against Cards), need a face of the franchise and can restock their team around Albert. No pressure to win for a few yrs and more money. However, does Albert want to lose for a few yrs for more cash. Does he want to sacrifice what he loves most, winning, for a new start? Soon enough he may be the person of blame if they don’t win. As Jayson Stark said, if Albert goes somewhere and declines, the media pressure will be overwhelming. If he stays in his kingdom in St louis with a challenge to add rings, he can decline peacefully. Unless the Marlins add Pujols, Jose Reyes and a pitcher, its going to be hard to think of them challenging for the NL pennant in 2012. Does Albert want to take a backseat to mad man title chasing to be the older mentor to young guns and sit beside Ozzie Guillen, who makes the Don Tony ways seem like Mary Poppins routines? This extends beyond money folks. Pujols is the one athlete I believe because he is consistent with his words. He hates contract talks but loves St Louis and want to compete for a championship. His status in St. Louis(one man, one team, one career) and the fact the Cards will compete next year for a world series makes this possible situation in Florida not work. Look, I am not saying it can’t happen or won’t happen. I am telling you I doubt it. Call it denial or bias sitting and I will take your bet and double down. Albert Pujols will be a Cardinal in 2012. You heard it here first. I don’t need to think twice about it, but I will field opinions on it all night. I love hearing two sides battle in public about it. Tonight, searching for a movie at Blockbuster, I overheard two sides discussing it. Classic fight going on. One for a golden deal and one against it.
Side 1-“The best player in baseball deserves the best contract in baseball. That’s it.”
Side 2-“Come on. He is a great player but why do we have to pay him more money. Why do players need more than 5 million to play baseball?”
Side 2 was clearly lost and found there. I came to the register and set the record straight. I told them if the Cards were smart, they would have handed Pujols and Holliday 8 year contracts in 2010 but now have to pay more money. They chose the hard way and Albert didn’t make it easy. I easily shut the crowd down there. Too bad I walked out with the absolutely horrible Pirates of the Caribbean 4 blu ray disc. Cover tells all. We made it halfway through and started skipping scenes. Always a bad sign.
As is the case with anything in life, Albert’s destination comes down to choice. Pure and simple. Choice by team and player.
Cards Manager Search
The more I think about it, I really do see Terry Francona not landing in St. Louis and instead one of the other 5 candidates with zero managerial experience in the major leagues taking over the skipper role. I have no problem with this as long as Joe McEwing doesn’t make it into the dugout. While the popular vote is Jose Oquendo, I think it may come down to Ryne Sandberg or Mike Matheny. Matheny has the edge there. He played here with some of the current Cardinals from 2000-2004, was instrumental in leading the clubhouse, mentored Yadi Molina, gets along great with Dave Duncan and has worked as a special assistant to John Mozelaik for the past couple years. He has waited to get into coaching until the right time and this could be the time. It’s just the way I think this team is leaning. I like Francona and Oquendo, but the popular idea right now is going in a new direction. For me, this search boils down to one choice by Mo and DeWitt Jr.. Do they want to hire a replica of La Russa or go for the far riskier choice of a zero experience yet highly respected and tenured newcomer? Sign the older skipper with experience, wins under his belt and a reputation or leap for the rookie manager with balls of steel like Matheny, who is a so called “leader of men”? For me, thats the question. This is a defining moment for the franchise. The chance for Mozelaik and DeWitt Jr. to make their own splash and hire “their guy”. They have both worked with a manager who was here before them in La Russa for 16 seasons. Now is their chance to set the future in motion. The more I dissect the interview comments and search, the more I come to a realization that Mo will want to take a risk here, hire a rookie and set him in motion. Will Sandberg, Matheny or Oquendo be able to handle the everyday stress of a 162 season of ups and downs? If the team loses, the new guy gets blamed, as Bernie Miklasz wrote in his Thursday column. I’m up for the challenge if the Cards are. This team is built to win and won’t live or die on the experience of their manager.
Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez Final Thoughts
For me, it’s an easy choice here. Manny will clobber Marquez and finish off this trilogy the right way. Manny is a much better fighter than he was 3 years ago, has made a career of fighting bigger men and pounding them(Margarito, Cotto, Mosley) and will dispose of his old rival. Manny has proven to be able to take a punch and deliver 3 right back. A ferocious counter punching machine who doesn’t tire as the rounds roll by. You don’t win titles in 8 different weight classes by taking easy fights. Pacquiao is more determined to beat Marquez so he can shut the slower fighter up once and for all for 3 years of telling people he really beat Manny Pacquiao. Tonight, the record gets set straight. Consider this another warmup before Pac Man finally gets Floyd Mayweather Jr. into the ring. The brutal calm before the storm. Tonight, Manny Pacquaio doesn’t need to make history. He’ll just take care of business. Remember this as well. When Manny fought Juan in the past, all he had was a powerful left hook. Now, Manny has a well rounded arsenal of left and right bombs. More weapons to use.
“Prayer is how the mind communicates with the soul. Fighting is how their souls communicate with the world.”-HBO 24/7 Narrator Liev Schrieber
That’s right, folks. The name of the movie is 13, adapted from a European smash hit called 13 Tzameti, a story about underground russian roulette. The cast here is bare knuckle gritty, including Jason Statham, Ray Winestone, Alexander Saarsgard, Michael Shannon, Mickey Rourke, 50 Cent, and Sam Riley. All are either players in the game, gamblers or spectators. The heart of the story revolves around Vincent(Riley), a young man trying to make money for his dad, recovering from cancer in the hospital. When a client of his dies unexpectedly, he takes the man’s mysterious envelope of cash and directions and ends up in an underground kill to the death tournament in New York City. The players form a circle and point the barrel at each others heads and pull the trigger. Things start with one bullet in a 6 chamber gun and are increased up to 4 by the end. What happens to Riley’s well intentioned young man’s plot? The thrill is in the hunt here, and all the actors get a chance to shine, including Statham, playing second fiddle here to Riley and Winestone. The pace is decent, the direction is solid, and the end isn’t predictable. Watch and enjoy. A quiet good indie. Nobody flexes their acting chops here but the job gets done.
Jonathon Papelbon Goes to Philly
I saw this move coming 2 months ago when I watched Paps pitching in a game late for a save. Rumors were spreading about the Sox being unable to give him the money he desired and that the door was opening for their closer of 6 years. I really like Paps. He’s a very good closer and carries all the elements of a closer. He’s intense, focused, carries the blame if things go sour and always come back with a vengeance. Take out a subpar 2010 season and Paps put together 5 very good seasons in Boston. Is he worth 4 years and 50 million dollars? No. The annual value of 12.5 million is a little high for a 30 year old who has seen his best days and will have trouble in the homer friendly confines of Citizens Park. Paps is great and will do fine but any reliever 30 or over getting a 4 year deal with a vesting option for a 5th season is a reach. It’s going to be cool to see him against the Cards and have the chance to go against him in key spots, but the contract is high, especially for a team looking for an early replacement at first for the injured Ryan Howard and having to resign Jimmy Rollins. He has 219 saves in 6 seasons and pitched well in the fiery AL East firing line, but he will struggle at first in Philly. Personally, while I saw it coming, I found it to be surprising to not see Paps finish in Boston. He moves from one hot contending team with something to prove to another. Cue the K-Rod to Boston rumors right now.
The Most Retarded Riot Of All Time
Ladies and gentlemen, here is our generation. Wednesday night, after Joe Paterno was fired, Penn State football fans roamed the streets, jumped on top of cars, held signs and cheered for their Joe. Human beings with blood running through their veins were screaming at Penn State officials to reinstate Paterno and give him his job back. The only thing they forgot was Paterno was rightfully fired for overlooking, bypassing or failing to recognize a sexual offender on his coaching staff. Paterno probably didn’t take it serious and hoped it owuld end. Instead, the worst happened. Assistant coach Jerry Sandusky molested 15 young boys during the past 10 years and Paterno did nothing. So his faithful fans chose to take their fight to the streets, all the while forgetting about those 15 kids. This is where sports fans overlook human horrors for the love of their game. Its sickening and horribly out of place. What if one of the parents of the 15 children walked up this crowd and asked them what the fuck they were thinking? What happens next? That parent gets a bottle to the head or a Paterno standee up his or her ass? Look at what this world we live in has come to. Angry fans whining about their head coach getting canned for overlooking sexual molestation. Absolutely absurd and painful to watch.
That’s all for tonight. Sleep tight, dream something nice, and wake up ready to attack reality. My day starts early tomorrow so I am finally calling it a night as my second wind comes to an end here.
Thanks for reading,