Before the work week begins, allow me to throw some sticks on the fire here as St. Louis temperatures drop and the wet cold rain falls on our homes. I can only call it like I see it, so tonight I am going to keep things short, blunt and to the point. The ordinary people have gone to sleep, and now all we have are the minds who contain their own little world. I come here and open up a cathedral of thought that runs an epic mile, so this time I am going to trim it up and send it out with a little more tone and figure. Aiming the gun at the news reel and we are off! I object! Sorry, but I’ve always wanted to say that and I really can’t get the great new comedy The Changeup out of my head.
*My Take on Manny Pacquiao- Juan Marquez, Part 3
Its hard to throw an easy explanation on such a close fight. Boxing has a way of yielding fights that test the mind and train us to think about what really determines a decision. These two guys have met in the ring three times over 7 years and each time the result was controversial. My take is that Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought to a draw on November 12th. I scored it round by round and this was as hard as sizing up Donald Trump’s toupee. There were no knockdowns, no 4 or 5 punch flurries and whenever one fighter landed a shot, the other came right back and landed one of their own. Pacquiao was the aggressive attacker throughout the night and landed more punches. Marquez landed more accurate punches but fought the entire match moving backwards. Every Marquez shot didn’t seem to stop Manny for long. At the end of the night, Marquez’s face was bruised and beaten while Manny was setting up for a concert with a cut above his eye from a head clash. My decision here is that nobody got robbed. Marquez didn’t win easily and the cards across the judge table and ringside show it. I scored it 6 to 6 in rounds for each. It wasn’t easy. There were at least 3 rounds where the decision could have went either way because neither fighter did enough to claim it. Should there be ties in the rounds for fighters? Probably not, but there were cases here where neither fighter “won” the round. Did the judges hand the night to the champ to be safe? Sure. Did Marquez get robbed by the judges? NO WAY. Take away all the Marquez underdog faithful and you have two men fighting neck and neck for 12 rounds. Pacquiao was never stunned by a shot and Marquez countered all night. The result is that Marquez didn’t do enough damage to unseat a champion. Call it wrong or foul but you must thoroughly defeat a champ in a high prize fight. If Manny loses, the Floyd fight still lands on the table. Now that he has won, Manny and Floyd must fight. This isn’t a bias view. While I clearly have liked Manny since he floored Ricky Hatton in the 2nd round, I also admire Marquez in the same fashion. This was simply a hard fight to judge. If people want to be mad at a person, get enraged at Nacho Beristain, Marquez’s trainer. Nacho told Marquez he was up on all the cards after the 8th round and from there on out Marquez slowed down his attack and Manny won rounds. After 8 rounds, 2 of the 3 judges had it tied at 76 apiece. The one thing a trainer never tells his fighter in a close fight is that they are up and its okay to relax. Nacho was a moron and trust me, he knows it. Get mad at him and leave the judges alone. Watch the fight and tell me different.
Once again, its time for Floyd and Manny to fight. Clear out the bullshit, sit down at a table and sign up for the biggest fight of all time gentlemen. This is the fight that the world wants to see. It’s stupid to think that Floyd isn’t a clear favorite now that we have seen Manny be matched by a counter puncher. Floyd is the master counter puncher and unless Manny learns how to deflect incoming damage, Floyd will win the fight. However, boxing fans want to see it. Make it happen.
*The Rams lose and are officially kicked out of the NFC West race
What a shame! After nearly making the playoffs earlier this season, the Rams fall to 2-8 after a pitiful 24-7 loss to the Seahawks at home today. They get eliminated with the help of Tavaris Jackson, one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. The 49ers win and improve to 9-1 and the Rams are out. Watching this offense, it’s hard to think a wizard like Josh McDaniels runs it. He had similiar talent in Denver and put more points on the board. What is going on here? The defense is the star of this team. Take away the Rams defense and the Rams are easily 0-10. In the first quarter, The Rams intercept 2 passes and Robert Quinn blocks a punt and the Rams get zero points off those turnovers. If they at least get a field goal each, its 24-16 or closer. That’s the difference between winning and losing. Taking advantage of mistakes and cashing in. Sam Bradford can’t throw a ball accurately over 20 yards and looks broken out there behind a patchwork offensive line that gives him less than 2 seconds to throw. Steven Jackson had been on fire recently but got plugged up today. There was an instant meeting between Bradford and Brandon Lloyd for a touchdown early, but that was it. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Rams had 8 first downs and 8 punts. Story of the season. Injuries, undisciplined play, a lack of offensive firepower, zero ability to come back and a tendency to give games away. If this doesn’t get Steve Spagnuolo fired, what does? He is 10-34 here as head coach. If Davis Payne gets fired after 2 years of failing to meet expectations, what will ambitious new owner Stan Kroneke do with Spags? If Stan isn’t making money folks, he will start firing at this roster and coaching staff. He didn’t come here to build a losing team and watch The Ed Dome resume the status of a ghost town. There is zero electricity in the dome and this team shows zero chance of finishing with more than 3 wins. Pathetic, pitiful and downright depressing for a team that looked like they hit the comeback trail less than a year ago. This team isn’t going anywhere. It’s time to start cutting heads and while he is an honest good hearted guy, Steve Spagnuolo goes first. The reshaping begins today.
The Cards Look to Sign Free Agents Sooner Rather than Later
Alberto Pujols is first on the agenda, but I’d like to see the team keep Rafael Furcal and Octavio Dotel. Skip Schumacher is also an option. The Cards are one team that doesn’t need to look for a new face. Retain the old ones and the race is on. I truly believe Albert Pujols will sign here because this is the perfect place for him. Rumors have the Marlins only offering him around the same amount of annual salary as St. Louis did last offseason. Albert isn’t going anywhere, folks. It’s simple economics and fortitude being used here. Common sense has St. Louis being the best option for Pujols. Why would he leave? He will get paid handsomely here, be able to compete and retire an icon in this city. He stays and he gets a statue next to Stan or bigger than Stan. He’s a fucking king here. The big markets in Boston and New York have first basemen making 6 million more than Pujols. Los Angeles just gave Matt Kemp the keys to the city in the form of 160 million dollars. The Angels and Rangers aren’t making waves and if they were, its for a younger commodity like Prince Fielder. Pujols’ options on the free agent market aren’t good and that only gives him and his agent Dan Lozano one more reason to sit back down with John Mozelaik and carve out a deal that suits both sides. How many more millions does he have to make? How important is he to St. Louis? Easy answers for logical minds. Furcal’s options are limited and my idea is he is waiting for Albert’s move. Same goes for Dotel. The Cards are acquiring the best starting pitcher on the market and that’s Adam Wainwright. Jason Motte is the closer. David Freese is the secret weapon. Jon Jay and Allen Craig are your center field combo, especially after Craig’s improved defense in the playoffs. Matt Holliday has something to prove. The Berk is back. Molina’s option will be picked up for 7 million and extended. A young core bullpen of Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas, Marc Rzepcynski and Eduardo Sanchez is back. The rotation is set. Mike Matheny’s troops are set and all we are waiting on is Albert, Lozano and Mozelaik to agree on a couple numbers. My honest opinion is Albert has earned the right to be overpaid and deserves a long term contract. Every team overpays in these deals. Just ask the Yankees(Jeter, A-Rod) or The Giants(Zito). Albert is as good or better than those players. Give him his contract and stop fucking around. The Cards need to make the first move. Albert is the commodity and The Cards require his services. Please don’t mention Berk to first/Craig to right because they can’t be backed up by facts or stats.
The Blues Lose on the Road Yet Maintain The Sense of Strong Play
Ken Hitchcock’s team lost in a shootout to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night 3-2 yet came away with a point for the 6th consecutive game, all under Hitch. The style of play and tempo were up, and in the end, the Blues were simply outlasted by the Wild, a tenacious bunch of hard players. The Blues led 2-1 until late in the 3rd when The Wild’s great gun, M. Koivu, scored for the 2nd time and roofed a shot over Jaroslav Halak. Koivu also scored in the shootout to officially finish off the Blues. Halak played well, stopping 26 shots of 28 shots and simply didn’t get enough support on the offensive end. The Blues struck early and were ahead on T.J. Oshie’s goal late, coughed up the lead yet played good enough to win on most nights and came away with a point. The Blues are right around the 8th place final playoff spot at the moment, and could ascend with a soft schedule into December. Time will tell but this team playing good hockey. 4-0-2 under Hitchcock shows this team has a lot of fight left in them and the inspired play is no fluke.
*Main Reason why The Changeup is so good. Jason Batemen. The classic everyman gets to cut loose here and show his wild side as a family man suddenly given the chance to relive his teenage kingdom. Thanks to a switch, Batemen’s stressed out family man lawyer gets to step into single shoes and enjoy life again. This formula works here in the same way it did in Faceoff with John Travolta and Nic Cage. Each actor, Batemen and Ryan Reynolds, get to play each character and its incredibly fun to watch. Batemen steals the show with his double edged sword of envy and frustration. Watch for the scene where he sets up to have sex with Leslie Mann, until seeing her hit the toilet. Another has Batemen comparing his testicles to a can of tennis balls. Mix in a sell to a foreign business company using a sexual encounter with a morman girl and the guy is incredible. If you like Batemen, you have to see The Changeup.
*Watching more soccer these days. You won’t see me in a Premier League jersey at work but I do enjoy the sheer excitement and energy of soccer. I catch the replays at 1pm on Sundays and usually get sucked in for at least an hour. A bunch of grown men storming up and down the field without bottles upon bottles of water and on sheer aggression. First, you admire the conditioning. After, you fall in love with the skill. A Liverpool player, Glen Johnson, taking in a pass, cutting across the middle of the field, outdueling an opponent and firing a kick past the goaltender to win the game against his old team. I credit the World Cup with getting me sucked in, but every now and then, a little soccer goes a long way.
*For the first time in 9 years, I will be spending Thanksgiving in St. Louis. Since Vinny had surgery last Sunday, we don’t feel like it’s safe to travel and will not be making the trip to Rachel’s moms in Kansas City. An unfortunate occurance because of the getaway joy and hangouts with her family producing every year at this time. Having the chance to get out of town and enjoy a mini vacation is precious and not getting it is quite shitty. I love getting the chance to see my family on Thanksgiving but hate not going to KC more. The perfect balance is being upended this year by a tiny kid’s predicament. Go figure.
*Feel like challenging yourself in the gym, friends, try out a different cardio or simply stop taking breaks. I find that the best workouts are the ones where you go from one workout to the next. Super sets and forward movement. Do not keep your phone on you and do not talk to people. This ain’t social hour. Talk’s cheap and a workout is serious business. Treat it like a mentality and you will get results. Its not supposed to be fun. If that were the case, the US wouldn’t lead the world in obesity.
*Remember, Cardinals fans. Tuesday, The World Series 2011 championship DVD comes out and its a must own. Relive the Cardinals thrilling season ending run through the last week of the season, and past the Phillies, Brewers and Rangers to win their 11th World Series. This is a celebration folks.
*Song of the Day-Mumford and Sons performing “Hold Onto What You Believe”, a new song from their second album making the rounds on their live tour. An uplifting rocker capable of boosting the mood and putting the rest of the day in a good frame of mind. These British rockers can do no wrong right now and simply put out great consistently enjoyable and powerful music. Give it a listen.
*I didn’t know a Yahoo Sports hitman was parked outside my house, setting up to take out ALL my fucking fantasy quarterbacks. One week Matt Schaub goes down with a season ending foot injury. Then, Jay Cutler, my backup, breaks his thumb today and he’s out. Back to the drawing board.
*Vincent is doing a lot better and regularly downing 4 ounce bottles every 2-3 hours. In short, he is gaining weight, not vomiting and looking healthier. A second trip to the hospital looks a little older each time we wake up and he is okay. Looking at his hand on mine is like seeing a pebble on a rock, but the sheer joy of being a parent can only shine when your kid is healthy and in a good mood for the most part. It doesn’t take more than a lock of the eyes or a grin on his face to make my day. It’s been a tough 10 weeks but my kid is doing better. I thank you all for the support in such a difficult time. It isn’t forgotten for a second.
That’s all I got this morning. It’s time to put the hands down and get some rest. Thanks for reading and goodnight.
-Dan L. Buffa