Right as rain and clear as a bullet’s path, I have arrived again, ready to unplug the noise in my head onto this page via the written word. Let’s get right into it, in a style I like to define as erractically confident. Random and brutal.
- Steve Spagnuolo’s fate and the Rams Final Game. The Rams are a trainwreck, but I would be interested in seeing what the offseason brings them. Spags is toast for the simple reason that the man is akin to a quarterback who is gun shy and shell shocked in the pocket. He doesn’t want to take one risk on a football field because he is afraid of the opposition blowing it up in his face. Spags is gone, and so is McDaniels and GM Devaney. The Rams need a GM like Mo and Doug Armstrong, who know how to build a roster and put together a winning team. Devaney’s moves brought us to the top 2 spots in 3 of the last 4 seasons, so he is finished. Spags can’t get anything going. He is 10-37 in his tenure here which won’t convince Kroneke a fourth year is needed. Start fresh. Blow the ship up and buy a new boat. Gruden is a stretch and his exit from the ESPN booth will take certain chess pieces to take a different location. Chargers GM Aj Smith is being rumored to be dangling from his position by the owner, so if he leaves, the belief is that Gruden follows him. Kroneke has been known to be in connection with Smith, so that’s the small tie there. Its all talk, and we know where that usually leads. A pile of bullshit. I love Gruden as a coach for this team, whether its fiction or not. Gruden is the opposite of Spags. Determined, in your face, no bullshit, no excuses and hard nosed football. He won a Super Bowl with Shaun King in Tampa. He nearly won another with Oakland with Rich Gannon behind center. Gruden is the real deal. I love the guy and recall the pre draft one on one with Bradford where Gruden told him point blank, “look man, you hold onto the ball way too long and in the NFL it will get you killed”. Bradford looked at him with that nerdy Keanu Reeves smirk and seemed to forget who he was dealing with. During the Seahawks-Rams Monday night game, Gruden took a run at Bradford, saying the Rams need to take a long hard look. The comment threw him into a verbal war with ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski(who I think is a fucking moron). Gruden knows this team has pieces and players to build a playoff team with. Jeff Fisher is a solid coach with a decent background and true character. If it wasn’t for Mike Jones, Fisher owns a Super Bowl today and Dick Vermeil and the Rams do not. Fisher wouldn’t be too afraid to come here, especially after the way he left Tennessee, where he encountered a childish QB in Vince Young. Fisher would embrace the opportunity to work with Bradford, who has a level head on his shoulders and little ego and only a burning desire to be perfect. While the job isn’t attractive for logical reasons, the Rams job isn’t a dead end. Look at the division. San Francisco is tough, but not unbreakable. Seattle and Arizona are having comeback seasons but can be beat. The Rams need far more than a coach and new GM calling the shots, but its a start. The defense has a solid foundation in Chris Long, James Lauranitis, Quentin Mikkel, Ron Bartell(injured) and rookie Robert Quinn. Losing Oshie Atogwe hurt badly. The offense has Bradford and Steven Jackson along with Danny Amendola. If the Hawiiaan kid Mike Houmanohouii can stay healthy, the Rams have a decent tight end core in him and Lance Kendricks. The wide receivers need a big name and a offseason catching the football program. Too many drops this year and the loss of third down specialist Amendola hurt. There are pieces to build with here and coaches know Kroneke doesn’t want to fuck around and watch this team lose any more value. The Rams would do the local fans a favor by letting it all go on Sunday against the 49ers. Spags and McDaniels need to fire up every wild play call in the book, go no huddle all 4 quarters, blitz on every down and simply wish to spoil and hurt San Francisco’s chances for a smooth playoff entrance. The game is meaningless except for the respect and gratitude that Rams fans deserve. The city has shown up for years while getting nothing solid since 2004 in return. Pathetic. Unless Kroneke improves this team or sees a profit post 2014, I wouldn’t be surprised if he moved the team.
- Albert Pujols’ Favor to the Angels-News reports that Pujols agreed to backload a heavy portion of his contract so the team could sign free agent pitcher CJ Wilson aren’t surprising. Pujols has always wanted to clear a path for winning and backloaded his Cards long term contract to give the team a chance to strengthen the team. However, this puts the Angels in a deadly and illogical position. Pujols will make 12 and 16 million in 2012 and 2013, and towards the end of his playing contract the annual fee turns into 30 million. As Pujols approaches 40, he will be making 30 million to probably DH 130 games a season. It’s criminal to doubt the machine known as Alberto Pujols but its pretty evident that the Angels were plucking AP5 out of the Cardinals gambling league and placing him in an entirely new territory known only to the Yankees and Red Sox, each of whom are acquiring smarter ways of player additions. Simple thought. The Cardinals had zero chance to match the Angels offer and instead stood tall at 10 yrs at 210. I disagreed with Albert’s choice(judging by his post conference comments, he does a little as well) and I didn’t care for his finger pointing but the final chip fell today and its really time to move on. The Angels are in win now mode and are playing the scary futures brew master game.
- The Blues lost a tough one in Detroit last night for two reasons. They could have overtaken the Wings with a win and they failed to do so and also blew a 2 goal lead. Allowing the goal at the end of the second period was a bad blow and gave a great Detroit team renewed life. The main problem isn’t the goaltending but the way the Blues defense allows about 5 players to get in the way of the goalie and the shooter. Brian Elliot had zero chance to stop 2 of the 3 goals because he didn’t even fucking see it until it slammed into the back of the net. Tough to blame a goaltender when he is blinded out there. This affects Elliot and Halak, even though a big reason why Halak isn’t as effective is because he can’t seem to pounce on rebounds as quickly as Elliot. The Slovakian midget is a bit slow in the net. With the loss, the Blues are still only 4 points out of the top spot in the Western Conference and seem to hold their own with any team in the league. They easily beat both 24/7 Eastern Conference power house teams in the Rangers and Flyers, and also beat Pittsburgh(with Crosby and Malkin). We are 15-3-4 under Hitchcock, a great record and are the best team in the NHL at home. We play 10 of our next 13 games at home in January. The next month will define how long we stay behind Detroit and Chicago or how far we launch ahead. With the loss last night, I still love the way this team is playing. They play Nashville at home tonight before engaging in a Joe Louis rematch with Detroit on Saturday. The return of Vladamir Sobotka and Bj Crombeen should give this team a fresh burst of energy.
- When the Rams do get their pick of the top two draft slots after Sunday, it would be nice to take an unconventional approach. If we get the top pick with a loss/Colts win this weekend, I say take a long hard look at the top 10 players in the draft. Trading down and accumulating picks is smart, but only if there isn’t one great player. Don’t draft by need. Draft for the best. If there is a potential all star wide receiver at the top spot or 2nd spot, go for it. If not, trade down and accumulate 2-3 first round picks and 2-3 second rounders. I can go either way as long as this team knows what the fuck they are doing. Kroneke needs to blow up the ship and completely destroy the drafting department. The Rams main issues are being draft casualties and investing far too much money in an offensive line that isn’t doing much protecting. Get those areas right and reinforce the lagging spots.
- Drunk Drivers/Sleepy Drivers need to be taken off the road. Immediately. Dumb shits who drink too much or get behind the wheel tired or sleepy are asking for trouble. Years ago, when Rae and I were living on McCutcheon behind the Galleria, a drunk driver plowed into and totaled our car. Last year, as you know, we were hit from behind by a drunk moronic driver and had our car totaled. We have lost two fucking cars to drunk/sleepy/stupid drivers. I simply have no tolerance or excuses for retarded souls who like to drive at less than 100 percent. The kid fucked up your sister’s newly paid off car and needs to be bull whipped and stripped of his license for it. Let a class of 5 year olds sit in on that jury. Its an easy case. When we were hit last year, the car that was totalted was a 2003 Chrysler Concorde and was paid off. Along with my Malibu, we had no car payment. The resulting accident forced us to buy a new car and pay 230 a month. Then, my car’s transmission went to shit and I got another car from my parents, which exist as a used car lot for Rachel and I thankfully. In the end, because of the drunk driver, Rae and I have a car payment again. While the Buick SUV is luxury class and nice, I’d rather have no payment. That’s what stupid people do to this country. Fuck up people’s lives and cause additional stress and hardship. Once again, execute the fuckers.
- It is still unreal to see “2011 Cardinals” and “World Series Champs” in the same sentence. The magical run they went on in September and October is something that won’t dim for quite some time in my head. So much that every other sports story and need shrunk that evening we won. Overcoming the loss of Waino, the early slump of Albert, the erratic rotation, the malfunction of Franklin, and the deep hole in August was legendary on all counts. I am very excited for 2012 because of the new look club that takes the field in February. Spring training is a month and a half away. Cue the boner.
- The NBA is back and have I noticed? Let’s see. The Celtics are 0-3 and the Heat are 3-0 but that doesn’t mean shit. Everything is taking place as if 2 months of the season wasn’t missed due to a halfhearted lockout based on equal greed and stubbornness from each side. Kevin Durant is an amazing athlete but can he carry a good team to the playoffs? Lebron is hot to start but what happens in April with the game on the line? Will Kobe Bryant lead the league in ESPN injury updates or points per game? Man sprains his knee more than a 3 year old on a playground in cheap shoes. Duncan and the Spurs are always a threat but are they too old? Will Dirk and the Mavs repeat or go back to hiding behind Mark Cuban’s egotistical sideline nature? What happened to the Knicks? Is Dwight Howard playing for a trade? Is Derrick Rose the best player in the league? The season isn’t a week old but even a half full glass fan like myself has interesting inquiries.
- Random Gun Fire. Watched Sherlock Holmes last night on Blu ray. Director Guy Ritchie took me through the entire film, giving off technical details and bits about the film. As a film junkie, I completely suck all this shit in and respect the filmmaking process more today. Ritchie and Downey are highly intelligient movie makers. Part of the coolness factor of 24/7 is hearing the players mic’d up and cursing each other out before they drop the gloves and fight. Unplugged athleticism is fine but hot blooded hatred is delivered on this show. Looking forward to Peter Berg’s 6 part documentary on boxing training legend Freddie Roach. I respect Roach a lot and love Berg’s renegade style of story telling. I would be quite content listening to The Black Keys and Mumford Sons year round with occasional stops from Florence Welch and Adele. The Black Keys simply can’t do any wrong right now. Their latest, El Camino, is solid. Their previous release, Brothers, is one of the greatest albums of all time. I could listen to it every day like it was my personal anthem. The key to their success is the songwriting and blues rock blunt comraderie during the performance. Seriously looking forward to Ryan Gosling and an ensemble of character actors in DRIVE, a gritty noir action thriller about a stunt driver who gets in way over his head with drug dealers and a mysterious woman, forcing him to rely on his driving and survival skills to get by. This film hit critics on the side of the head unexpectedly in September and is being raved as the best kept secret of 2011. The film is a throwback to 1980s crime films that had a soul to go along with a plot and great characters. Gosling is the king of the land in 2011, scoring in Drive, Crazy Stupid Love and Ides of March. My verdict is still out because I have only seen one of the mentioned titles, but Drive looks like a ton of guiltless pleasure. Fastern your seatbelts kids.
- When the Cardinals signed Carlos Beltran last week, any animosity towards his agent, Dan Lozano, had to die down from St. Louis fans. Lozano, as we all know, represents Albert Pujols and the belief from some(including, momentarily, yours truly) was that Lozano was steering Pujols away from St. Louis. That turned out to not be true. Pujols called Lozano and chose Anaheim and that was the end. Lozano may be a capital A sleazeball but it comes with the territory of being a sports agent. Every agent carries a couple ounces of cutthroat swagger and sleazy indulgence. When you represent the spoiled rich kids, you slowly allow a piece of yourself to take their form. Getting mad at Lozano would mean throwing flame throwers at every agent of a high level athlete. Its not worth the words or the frustration. In the end, Lozano did his job with Albert and also fulfilled Beltran’s wishes by landing him with St. Louis. As Ari Gold once said, an agent goes where the work is. Brothels, whorehouses, slums or broken homes. If Lozano had something personal against St. Louis, he would have pulled Beltran away. The only person worth building a grudge towards on the Pujols exist is Alberto himself. He pulled the trigger.
- Yes, talking about Albert Pujols’ exit from St. Louis and subsequent awkward landing in Anaheim is still news here. Bypass it if you shall, I don’t blame you, but the man won’t leave my head no matter how many times I say its done and finished.
- I don’t blame local columnists Bryan Burwell and Howard Balzer for defending the idea for Spagnuolo to keep his job. They like the guy and have covered him for years and gotten to know him. I simply disagree with the notion that Spags deserves more time to make things right. Once again, he is fried and won’t be able to take any risks next season without the feeling of a machete hanging over his head. He is shell shocked and spent and doesn’t have any fire left. The logical and clear choice is to fire him and everyone else and bring in an entirely new staff to salvage the final 3 seasons before the lease at the Ed Dome runs out and the Rams are available. The Rams don’t have time to give Spags another chance. Going 10-37 with this hopeless squad costed Spags his job and that is the way things go in professional sports. Teams massively underperform and the coach gets hacked first.
- Life without Meme is hard for all the little things. For example, I haven’t gotten a nagging call from her in nearly 3 weeks. She usually calls every 3-4 days and unleashes a firing squad on me that included questions about me, my job, Rachel, Vinny, Vinny’s health and other things. She cared so much about me that I took it for granted. Now that she is gone and the calls don’t come in, things are different and its awkward and weird. I feel like going to her condo, sitting at the table and simply answering all the things that she wanted to know on a weekly basis. I would be talking to walls, but at this point, one can write it off as bereavement therapy. I called her voicemail a few times just to get a whiff of Meme mania. That’s what I miss right now. Meme Mania. She hit you like a hurricane. The calls, advice, questions and pressure that any great grandmother puts on the people they love. There will come a time when this will become too much and I will need to let it go and move on. My question is, where is the mania that tells us how to get there and how long it takes. All I know is that time won’t be coming any time soon. I miss Meme and her hurricane of questions and heavenly presence.
- Ben Breedlove’s videos before he died at Christmas from heart disease are haunting and inspiring all at the same time. A kid with a degenerative heart condition sending a form of love letters through a couple videos speaks volumes about the strength each human being needs to strive for in their hour of departure. The kid had balls of steel and simply wasn’t afraid to die. He had made his peace with his condition and treated the last few hours like a parade. Look up “Breedlove” and get a look at a fearless young man. Every time I wish to cry about a particularly bad day, I’ll remember this kid’s fight.
- The one comfortable divide between mourning and poise is my son Vincent. The kid has healing powers. Something as simple as smiling at me after he gets dressed or as he drifts to sleep can cure a bad day with ease. Children have a way of making us go insane but also bringing us back to reality. They teach us the most common survival traits without using words. Looking at him, I see a comfortable future. One with some hope. That doesn’t bring back the departed, but it makes the next day seem a lot better.
- It should be safe to assume that Adam Wainwright will be close to himself when he returns from Tommy John surgery. Over 80 percent of pitchers come back stronger than before from the procedure. Wainwright was a Cy Young caliber pitcher before he went under the knife. The returning soldier will more than fill the deep hole left in his absence in 2011.
- Alex Steen will miss tonight’s Blues game with Nashville due to concussion like symptoms. The latest hockey player to fall to the increasingly debillatating injury. David Perron missed 97 games due to post concussion symdrome. Andy Mcdonald has missed significant portions of the past 2 seasons due to concussions. Sidney Crosby’s career may be over. Eric Lindros retired due to concussions. Flyers young gun Claude Giroux missed 5 games with a concussion this month. The brutal truth is you can’t stop concussions from happening. Hockey, like football, is a tough deadly game of physical acceleration. Players come and go due to head to head contact and heavy hits. That’s the nature of the game. My issue is the detection of the concussions. Steen suffered the concussion on Monday against Dallas and played Wednesday against Detroit. Waiting for symptoms is one thing. Checking on players who make a living bashing each other’s skulls in is another. Postgame player checkups may be able to detect concussions and withhold players from hurting themselves further after a head injury. These injuries may be preventable through extra precaution. When it comes to injuries, anything below the neck is hard to stop or monitor. Head injuries are career enders. They need to be limited or decreased next year. It could be time for the football helmet in hockey.
- What’s good on television? At the moment, absolutely nothing. It’s break down amongst the power house television entertainment section and in a couple weeks things start to move. What needs to be watched? The desire exists where? Justified on FX kick starts a third season on January 19th. Shameless returns to Showtime in mid January. Californication comes back for round 5 this month also. Check out those three shows but if I had to place a MUST on one single program, it would be Justified. The modern western drama keeps getting better and better and the pilot is a direct hook.
- What else? 2012 is upon us. The meaning only comes in the appreciation that you made it through another year. New Year’s Day is a bloated celebration. In the end, it’s just another day and not a reason to get very drunk and make bad decisions. Celebrating is one thing. Poor judgement is quite another. Have fun with safety is my advice. I will be at home with friends and family on the eve of 2012.
- For all you hunters out there, don’t pull a Cheney and blow someone’s head off. Deer seem to laugh at that kind of stupidity. While I don’t openly hate hunters, I simply can’t put a bullet in an animals head for sport. It’s either me on the beast or me waving and moving on. I’ve always thought the animals should turn the tables on the hunters and attack instead of hide. Give the animals a rifle and see what happens.
- Fright Night and Columbiana are by the numbers thrillers with a little extra. Fright Night stars Colin Farrell as a vampire terrorizing a small town and the latter stars Zoe Saldana as a avenging Latino gunning for the killers of her parents. Standard fare that doesn’t spark the need to scream to the masses. Its ordinary entertainment.
- Song of the Day-“Start A War” by the National
- Clip of the Day-Taken from No Country for Old Men. Javier Bardem playing the mysterious killer who stops into a gas station and asks the clerk the ultimate question. Watch the entire clip and you will understand.
That’s all I have for today. It’s time to get out and do other things. Explore the land and see what happens.
Goodnight and good luck,