After a week away dealing with elevated work hours and quick nights, I am back and ready to bring the noise once again. The Buffa Machine has been turned on. A few things to talk about before the night dies and the new morning begins. A stream of consciousness begins now.
The Jeff Fisher hiring in Rams Land
I like this hire for a number of reasons. Fisher was the best candidate on the market and brings instant credibility to the franchise. His name will have an effect on free agents decisions, opposition game plan and the overall urge from the fanbase. Its something to be excited about because for the first time since Dick Vermeil walked into St. Louis in 1997, the Rams have a head coach with legitimate head coaching experience. Fisher has been around for awhile and coached for 16 seasons before taking a breather in 2011 after dealing with the childish Vince Young in Tennessee. Fisher’s Titans came within 1 yard of sending the Super Bowl in 1999 to overtime, something Rams fans will never forget. Steve McNair eluding Kevin Carter and D’Marco Farr as he threw the fateful pass to Kevin Dyson who ran into a brick wall in Mike Jones in front of the promise land. One word associated with Fisher is grit. The man is a hard nosed enforcer who doesn’t take no for an answer and will transform this team into a physically threatening team. He is a demanding coach and not a young mind learning on the job like previous coordinators turned coaches in St. Louis. If anybody wants to gripe about Rams job, tell me how much reason there was to hire another coordinator? The franchise had been through Mike Martz, Scott Linehan, Jim Haslett and Steve Spagnuolo before finally deciding to throw their hat into the big boy’s ring and nab a real deal leader like Jeff Fisher. I know this doesn’t translate into instant on field performance, but I am more excited about the draft, the new season and the future. I will talk later about the future of the Rams in St. Louis, but for the next 3 seasons, Rams football will be different. Fisher will bring in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from New Orleans, a man known for his hard blitzing style and “go get the quarterback” history of schemes. The offensive coordinator spot looks to go to former Oakland coach Hue Jackson or former Jets OC Brian Schottenheimer, both of which I would be excited to see land in St. Louis. Schotty Jr. likes a ground and pound style with subjective QB play and Jackson is a split pass/rush kind of playcaller. The idea here is new and fresh. When Stan Kroneke pulled the trigger and went hard after Fisher, he was telling the Rams fanbase he was serious about turning this team around and pulling them out of the NFL gutter. With the hiring, there is instant buzz around the league. Take in consideration that the 2012 schedule can’t be as tough as last season’s schedule and I like the Rams chances of winning 5-7 games the coming year. If the right moves are made and the Rams draft smart and focus on players and not positions(key words here are Justin Blackmon at wide receiver), the Rams can turn it around. Recovery time is quick in football. A new coach, couple new players, new system and pow, you have liftoff. I am being optimistic. Its my decision to be optimistic. The hiring of Fisher has me invested deeper in this team. They are in it for the long haul. Any doubt left in the street after the Spags firing and immediate cloud of negativity of the 2-14 season is gone now. There is work to be done but the right men are moving in to get it done. A quick to do list.
-HAVE A GOOD DRAFT. A sour spot for the team in the past 5 years is having shitty drafts overall. Make some smarter player evaluations and take a chance on a kid. 4 of the 8 draft picks in 2011 are gone and that’s a bad sign for a rebuilding team. The Rams were too old in 2011 and need to get younger. That starts with a healthy draft. Look at Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State long and hard because the kid has freakish skills and could change the outlook of the offense right away. Blackmon is a big tall receiver with catching ability few prospects have so I want him to slide into the team’s plans with the # 2 pick. If trading the pick means getting Blackmon and other high picks, do it. Just don’t let the big pick go for a variety of lesser players.
(One four shot latte, homemade, brought my desk by my lovely wife Rachel. This is a gunpowder midday treat).
-Look at the free agent market. The linebacker crew and secondary can use some work as well as FA wide receivers like DeSean Jackson and Dwayne Bowe. Stan will put forth the money and invest in this new look Rams team, so the new GM(whenever he shows up) needs to be creative and proactive with the cash and power this team up quick. Stick in a tough outside linebacker and beef up the secondary. The return of Ron Bartell will help. Williams will utilize Chris Long, Robert Quinn and James Hall on the line but the secondary needs support. The Wide receiver is thin outside of the return of Danny Amendola, a third down specialist. Look for an impact move there if they go elsewhere in the draft. Fisher will formulate a plan here and get his team together.
-Fisher’s 6 year deal worth 6.5 million per year is the going rate for veteran proven head coaches in 2012. It sounds high but it is actually not.
-Steven Jackson won’t pound and grind out 1,000 yard seasons forever. The Rams must think about drafting a running back or trading for one. The failure to secure Darren Sproles when he was available last offseason really came back to haunt the Rams and they have to pull the trigger this time on someone not named Cadillac Williams and Jerius Norwood, who brought in plenty of hype and either weren’t used or didn’t perform well up to their needs. Jackson is going to wear down and holds trade value. This is the creative divisions deal but if the right deal came forth, trading Jackson while his value is high would be a steal for this team if the receiving package was juicy enough. Think of it as a reward for each side. Jackson going to a winning team and the Rams getting a brighter future.
That’s enough Rams talk. The hiring of Fisher changes things and along with guys like Gregg Williams, he will cut his own squad of killers. Rams football after 2014 in St. Louis carries more hope now than it did a week ago. That is for sure.
What is going to happen to this team after 2014? The hell if I know my friends. I will tell you this. Don’t doubt Stan Kroneke too much. The guy has invested more money than you think in the Rams and this city. Back in 1993, after the Rams failed to get an expansion bid, Stan bought 40 percent of the team and that fired up the move to St. Louis in 1994. Without Stan’s investment, The Rams aren’t playing football here today and there was no Super Bowl won in this town. Stan made a risky bold bid to finally buy the team outright two years ago and I don’t think he is going to move it out of town so quickly. The city council and committee is going to present a bid and plan to Kroneke and the Rams by February 1st to fix the Dome and put it back in the top 25 percentile of stadiums in the NFL. That is where it has to be in order to renew its lease here past 2014. That is the end game. Will Stan keep the team here or take it back to LA or in a crazy turn of events, across the ocean to London. Stan is a smart businessman and that comes from knowing how to approach the future waves coming into the present setup. Part of being a crafty moneymaker is taking the hits and learning from the incoming signs. Kroneke isn’t going to set out to move this team out of town, and will only do it if the positive dollar forces his hand. Love or hate the guy but its all business and not personal. Fans start hating owners for the wrong reasons and this is a center point example of the rage. Fans calling into radio stations complaining about Stan not giving them anything as far as a clue about the future. Let me ask that person this. What does he have to gain by presenting a false euphoria? He would shoot himself in the foot by saying the wrong thing right now. He is playing it close to the chest and that can be taken as a sign that he is taking this very seriously and doing what is best for the city and himself. He gave up a franchise in Colorado to be able to buy the Rams, and he isn’t going to move out of a town he has worked in for nearly 20 years. Stay calm and wait for real news.
How about those Blues? You know, the hockey team that plays on 14th and Clark?
Part of the Blues recovery in the past 4 seasons has been off the ice as well as on it. Gaining back the trust and approval of their wickedly passionate fanbase. The transition from the Old Barn Arena to Kiel/Scottrade had its bumps and bruises, and then the team and league went dark in 2005. Since the return, the Blues have struggled to maintain a sense of real belonging and fallen second to the Cardinals and at times third behind the Rams. When a franchise hasn’t won a Stanley Cup and teeters on the edge of oblivion for a few years, this is the product. However, this season the Blues are doing things they haven’t done in years. Winning with command and consistency in December and January. Under Ken Hitchcock, the Blues are 20-5-6 and are a point out of the top spot in the NHL. That’s right, the Blues are 1 point behind the New York Rangers for the top spot and involved in a four team dogfight in the Central Division with Detroit, Chicago and Nashville. The results aren’t simply in the record and conference standings. Watching this team play is an invigorating experience. They play 60 minutes and go north to south on the ice in a way I haven’t seen in a long time. Every player is making something happen and going after it. 4th line grinders are scoring goals and delivering at each end of the ice. The Blues have a captain in David Backes that completely fits the role. The young gun line(Perron, Oshie, Berglund, Petrangelo) are finally coming into their own as hockey players. The defense is holding the opposition to few shots on goal. The two goalie tandem of Brian Elliot and Jaro Halak is stronger than ever. Hitchcock’s methods are still working and producing results. Everything is falling into place for this team and at the right time. For weeks, I have questioned their ability to keep the tempo and for good reason. The Blues routinely fall apart in the new year. Last January, the season was sealed with a 2-8 record. This month, the team is 6-0-1 and surging to the top of the division. This Blues team isn’t letting the Red Wings and Hawks run away with it. They are sticking their skate into their backs and applying pressure and I like it. I don’t think this team is going to die off. Wait until Alex Steen and Andy Mcdonald return from concussion related injuries. The firepower and skill level of this team can only get higher. The amazing thing is, with the exception of Elliot, this is the same team from last season doing these incredible things. The Blues are still averaging only around 2.5 goals per game, but they aren’t allowing any goals in the 3rd period. When they lead after 2 periods, they seem to lock down the game right there instead of give it away. Here are some other Blues clues.
-They have shut out the opposing team 3 out of the past 5 games. Halak has two shutouts in his last 3 starts. The entire team is pitching into the shutout efforts. The defense is controlling the middle of the ice and making players take shots from outside the box. Halak and Elliot aren’t being screened or covered up. They are seeing shots and making key saves.
-The Blues finally won a shootout this past week against the Minnesota Wild on a goal from Shattenkirk. This was the only sour point of the Hitch Era and was their first shootout win of the season.
-Halak’s play has powered the recent surge of the Blues winning 5 of their past 6 games, the only loss being a close hard fought overtime loss to top Western conference seed Vancouver. Jaro Halak has turned his season around and responded well to the change behind bench. He got pressure from Elliot and confidence from Hitchcock and has resurrected his career here in St. Louis. The Slovakian stopper struggled last season in his first full season of duty but is taking 2011-2012 in stride and only getting better with each start. He returned to Montreal last week and shut out the Habs in front of his old fanbase and garnered a very classy standing ovation after the game in which he skated around twice after the game because the cheers wouldn’t stop. Since then, he has been lights out in the net. Halak’s main problem was reaction speed in net and he is doing so well on rebounds lately. He is stopping tough shots and giving his team confidence and a fighting chance. I said it in September. The Blues long term success rate depended on Halak’s play. Early on, it was tough because Elliot was outplaying Halak and that isn’t the right order of things. Every Stanley Cup Champion has that one solid leader in net and Halak is turning into that guy here with strong support from Elliot.
-David “Freight Train” Backes is a force to be reckoned with. The man has 14 goals and plays every minute harder than anyone and delivers the most excruciating hits in each zone. He is underrated on defense and powers to the net better than most on the offensive end. After a down year, it is great to see the new captain take a hold of the leader role and deliver on the ice as well.
-T.J. Oshie’s game has taken the most effect from the Hitchcock Trails. When he is working well, Oshie’s game is outside the box and takes over the entire ice space. A north to south missile attack that doesn’t let up. Did you see blues winner on Monday night? Phenomenal. I’ll spin it for you quick. Petro feeds Oshie an outlet pass, Oshie takes cross blue line, drops it for Perron, heads to the net while DP heads down right wing and Perron feeds him a floater right on net. Oshie takes the pass on backhand, switches to forehand, dekes Lehtonen, slams it home while getting clobbered. Oshie being Oshie. Beautiiiifuuullll! That’s a one goal shutout closer to remember. The score was highlight reel good and reminds everyone just how special and talented Oshie can be. He is a man on a mission in 2012 because he is playing for a new contract after a one year deal from the Blues served as a needed push to his skill set. Oshie is a plus 14 since Hitch’s arrival and has been on fire for weeks. I only expect it to get better.
Moving on to the NFL playoff action from last weekend. After a rousing first weekend of football that saw comebacks and unexpected developments hit, the harsh reality of NFL playoff action hit during the second round and brought its own surprise.
Baltimore beat Houston straight up with defense. After scoring 20 points in the first quarter, the Ravens defense shut down Tyler Yates, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson for the next 3 quarters and held on 20-17 to advance. In the “boring” game of the weekend, the Balty crew stonewalled any opportunity given to Houston. Joe Flacco didn’t beat the Texans. Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and Terrell Suggs beat the Texans. Shutdown defense helped Baltimore win a trophy in 2002 so I wasn’t surprised.
New England clobbered Tim Tebow and the Broncos by 4 touchdowns. Look, I never said the kid was going to walk into Foxboro and take down the Brady Machine. It was right next to impossible. Tebow never got loose, played with a rib and lung injury and was shut down by a surprisingly effective Pats defense. They played with a 2 touchdown lead for nearly the entire game, so stopping Tebow was rather easy. He didn’t throw well, saw his running lanes shut down and only had one decent drive the entire game. However, remember folks, Tebow doesn’t play defense my friends. SO MANY PEOPLE jumped on Tebow after the game, mocking his kneel and throwing him into the grinder. The Broncos defense gave up 45 points. Not Tim Tebow. He didn’t play well but when Tom Brady is carving your defense up like turkey dinner, its easy to look rattled. Tom Brady and company rolled easily through the Broncos and will look for revenge from 2009 when they face the Ravens this week.
Tim Tebow side section-I don’t understand the hatred towards this young man. I am a fan, but I don’t get the hate part of the equation here. I am the farthest thing from religious and don’t love his GOD outpouring of love, but respect him for being a great guy and a man who gives back plenty to his community. The man builds hospitals, helps out under privileged kids and does a lot of good off the field but he is hated for a reason that stems deeper than religion. His future in the NFL is debatable and he still needs to prove he can be a legitimate NFL quarterback in 2012. His talent level is negotiable but his drive, effort and good nature isn’t up for discussion. He is good for football. He is something different. You can’t deny the effect he had in Denver. He took a 1-4 team and took them to the playoffs and won a game, knocking out the reigning AFC champs in Pittsburgh. He has a lot to improve but the job is his in 2012 to lose. I just don’t like the straight up hatred towards him. Its a telling trait of our society to rise against Tebow. Hate his football all you want. Just stop hating the man. More than anything, I think people are afraid of his potential in the NFL. What if he becomes a better passer? Oh shit…
The 49ers shocked the world first and beat the Saints in an outcome I wasn’t too surprised with even though I loved Drew Brees’ dominance the past month of the season. Everything changes in the playoffs and anything can happen. The 49ers got home field advantage and defeated the Saints by limiting their weapons. There is NO way to shut down the New Orleans 6 WR/3 RB attack but you can limit it with good linebacker work and a decent pass rush. The grass field slowed down the Brees passing attack and the emergence of Alex Smith from the land of “dumb and plain bad first round draft picks” continued as he threw the game winning touchdown with under a minute left. Smith had been the Trent Dilfer of QB’s all season. Complete passing plays of 15 yards or less, don’t make mistakes and give way to the Frank Gore running machine. On Saturday, Smith stepped up and made believers of everyone. He is a dangerous man and along with Vernon Davis, took down the New Orleans Saints.
My pick of the week was the New York Giants taking down the Packers. NO ONE BOUGHT MY PREDICTION. Truck drivers, gym rats, random folks, and not even the Pope himself. Mother Teresa gave me points but that doesn’t count. The supposedly unbeatable Packers(except for that Chiefs debacle) had a big weakness in bringing the worst defense in the NFL into a game with the hottest team in football. The Giants are doing exactly what they did in 2007. Get hot late and sustain it through the playoffs. Eli Manning played a near flawless game and outplayed the beloved Aaron Rodgers. Manning took down the redemption seeking Brett Favre in Lambeau in 2007 in an overtime shootout that I remember well. Manning walked back into Cheesehead Nation and took down their new king. The Packers will not repeat as champs and the Giants look more dangerous than ever. That just happened, Green Bay. The beast is gone. What lies in return is a potential rematch of the 2007 upset game between New York and the Patriots. The day Spagnuolo broke the vault and got to the Brady Machine. The Day Eli made his name and put Tom on hold. The Day something new happened. The day the dynasty died in Bean town. The Giants took down the Packers and set the stage for a big time matchup this weekend with the 49ers and possibly, a return to the field against New England.
My heart to heart picks right now are the Patriots piling enough offense on Baltimore to earn a trip to the Super Bowl and the Giants barely getting by the 49ers in overtime on a field goal to reach the final match and set up the rematch of 2007’s back and forth battle.
-Congress wants to limit our internet reach and continue to invade our privacy. There’s something not right there. What is so wrong with people researching things on the internet? Its not our fault the random kid tries to find out how to make a bomb, buy a gun or do harm to others through internet exposure and pressure. We shouldn’t lose our rights of freedom on the net for that.
-The weather needs to make up its mind quick. Low 20s and chilly or upper 50s and cool? The human body can only take so many weather changes.
-Modot failing to clear the streets in time for the morning rush last week wasn’t a huge surprise. Weather crews in St. Louis are known for being slow to act. Snow and cold weather are a beast to defeat and Modot fucking up in their first dry run of the season is no surprise. The more threatening thing is watching people react by driving like absolute morons. The necessary reaction isn’t suspending all knowledge of road rules. Driving very slow and taking turns at 2 mph won’t increase your chances of making it to your destination. This is where people should have their license suspended during bad weather. Have an officer make their way to doors and collect their driving IDs for the day. Everything would be better. Remember, people cause accidents and not bad weather.
-I carry zero desire to get into the Presidential race this year as of this moment. I got into with Obama/McCain and looking at the result, I can tell you I only will dip my interest in when a candidate shows himself. Ron Paul is intriguing but…all politicians are full of wicked hot shit. It’s their job to play a joker and show a poker face but it doesn’t mean I like it. I’m doing the nod and whatever thing when politics come into my conversational grasp these days.
Back to Topics Breaking into My Brain
Justified Returns with a Vengeance on Tuesday
The FX Modern western gem with Timothy Olyphant’s renegade Marshall Raylan Givens returned to the airwaves with its third season this week and the first episode, titled “Gunfighter” centered our wounded hero in the middle of another storm. Starting the season at a deficit with a healing gunshot wound taken in at the end of Season 2, Raylan is struggling to sit at a desk when he is dragged into the appearance of a Detroit mobster(the always evil Neal McDourough) and old hounds in Boyd Crowder(the simply amazing Walter Goggins) and local mischief master Duffy. Raylan surrounds himself with every kind of scum on this earth and spends the next 12 hours whirling and twirling his way out of a mess. He finds his aim is off on his shooting and makes contact with a deadly man in an elevator that leads to a showdown at hour’s end that reminds me of how good this show is. The greatness comes in the patience it takes in potential explosive gun battles. Raylan, wounded, sitting at a motel table with his woman Fiona(Natalie Zea) at his side and facing down a killer set on taking Givens down is pure juice. The payoff comes as expected but the table is set for another great season. Justified has become the reliable hour of entertainment one searches for their whole life. Expected greatness. Throughout the whole series, the baddies have been memorable but Olyphant’s steady presence and cool headed appeal sets the tone here always. He is the rock.
Puncture Movie Review
The true story of two Houston lawyers going up against pharmaceutical companies in the use of dangerous contaminated needles in hospitals is center stage in this indie drama. Chris Evans is a standout as Mike Weiss, a drug addict/brilliant lawyer who takes the case of a nurse who stuck by a contaminated needle on the job who develops AIDS and wants hospitals to use a new safety needle that ejects the blade after every use. A one shot needle basically. Weiss and his partner, Paul Danzinger(co-director Mark Kassen) take the case and run head on with a company who wants to squash the safety needle product and keep their investors and primary profitable operation moving along without pause. This is a low flying powerful entertainment that rests entirely on Evans’ broad shoulders. After taking the country by storm portraying Captain America this summer, Evans blows me away here as Weiss, a tragic figure who is trying to keep his demons at bay and fight the good fight. Evans has put together a long career consisting mostly of action, comedy and thrillers. This is his first foray into lead power role. Weiss is the perfect match. A guy who was addicted to every horrible drug but was great at what he did. The two lawyers run into walls along their way but the tale here is spun with a few twists and ends on a solid note. Puncture is a successful true story telling vehicle in that it doesn’t strip any parts of the real tale away and only enhances it with great actors and a game plan that packs a punch in its understated approach.
Albert Pujols Declines the White House
This may be a feeble issue to some, but to me it is a big slap in the face of an organization. The St. Louis Cardinals visited the White House this week in the annual tour of Champions visiting the White House, and Pujols declined to visit. Why not? He isn’t doing anything extremely important in STL or LA right now and owed it to his teammates to show up and join them in their celebration of the 2011 miracle season. Pujols participated in the run to the World Series and should have showed up. This only deepens the new found awkward resentment towards the Pujols camp in St. Louis. A guy who once pledged to stay, decided to leave, stopped to make excuses and whine afterwards and now must find it too weird to share a room with a club he spent 11 seasons with. What happened to Albert Pujols? The man who I thought was honorable and worth defending and engaging upon has turned into a different person in the span of 3 months. I take it as an insult.
There’s something about Steven Soderbergh’s new action thriller, Haywire, that has me hooked. Say hello to the female version of Jason Bourne. The tagline of the poster says it all. “They left her no choice.” Asskicking included here. It gives off the vibe of a carefree asskicking action thrill ride with little regret or worry for the safe appeal. Haywire centers on special ops soldier Mallory Kane,(real life MMA fighter Gina Carino) who is casted out by every known killer in the world and must fight/shoot/stab/kick her way to freedom. The film gathers all of Soderbergh’s film cronies, such as Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas along with newcomers Channing Tatum and one of the most promising breakout actors from 2011, Michael Fassbender. Carino and Fassbender’s hotel room fight in the trailer sells me right away. A calm meeting turns into a smashmouth realistic blood spurting display of physicality spun around a fight to the death. It hooks you right there. Carino is the perfect female action star. She is dark haired sexy, tough, built but not disgusting or overpoweringly imposing. She has a sweet smile and composure, but can turn on a dime and beat you to a pulp. Soderbergh has proclaimed he loves to kill off movie stars and right here, he won’t disappoint. Here is the trailer.
The Random Takes-
*The Texas Rangers made a bad sign today when they handed 60 guaranteed million to Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, a guy who hasn’t recorded one single out in the majors. It is absolutely absurd to hand this kind of money to a player with zero experience. The 6 year contract could net Darvish 111 million dollars. The Rangers will invest 100 plus in this kid but won’t hand 120 million plus to Prince Fielder. That’s crazy. Fielder is the perfect fit for Texas and can transition to a DH in 5-6 years. That won’t happen now.
*The Cardinals Winter Warmup is a great way to raise money for charity but I rarely take it in downtown. I have nothing against it but its one of those things that I just haven’t gotten into. The question and answer sessions are the best and yield surprisingly honest answers.
*The Blues giving Brian Elliot a 2 year extension is a rewarding sign for the player and organization. For the first time in years(familiar saying with Blues these days), the Blues have a solid starter and backup in place for the next 2-3 seasons. Elliot has been quietly dominating all season long when he gets the chance. With Halak playing better, he will only have to fight harder for a start. Allow me to roll down Elliot’s accomplishments in 2011-2012. He is 15-5-1 with a .938 save percentage and 1.68 goal against average. He owns 5 shutouts in 20 starts, which is a ridiculous statistic. A comparison. In 2009-2010 with the Ottawa Senators, Elliot had 5 shutouts as well….in 55 games, more than double his amount this season. Elliot’s season is a good story and reality that goalies can hit their stride at anytime in their career. The Blues investment is under 4 million for 2 seasons, an amount good for the player and team.
*I commend Bill DeWitt III and John Mozelaik’s straight forward questions to fans questions about Albert Pujols and the situation. Mo and DeWitt didn’t pull any punches or make any excuses. They basically said they stretched themselves for Albert and he declined to accept their invitation to ride off into the sunset together. A month after the decision, the Mozelaik/DeWitt III side is still the warmer end of the spectrum.
*Situations at my workplace may change but my commitment and effort won’t go down during the busiest time of the year. The passion and strive to do anything for the job will start to go down though. Immediate effect of a future with a possible unfortunate end.
*Song of the Day-The Lengths by The Black Keys. Laidback, groovy, easy listening blues rock delight from the masters of modern day tough rock. Today I received my tickets to the Keys concert at Chaifetz Arena on April 27th, so coupled with their everyday dominance in my music world, this was good enough reason to lay down this track. It is part of the 22 song mix I made that could sub as a playlist for this two man wrecking crew that has taken over the musical world long after it made its first great blues album. Similiar to the Kings of Leon, the Black Keys bloomed late but have risen quite high.
*Cardinals Rant. With spring training a month away, here is a few things about the team developing in the past couple weeks. One long winded rant. The signing of Kyle McClellan isn’t one I felt was necessary to grow as a bullpen but its expected. An arm ruined by constant change from pen hand to starter comes back for 2.5 million to a group already stocked with righthanders like Jason Motte, Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas, and Eduardo Sanchez. McClellan looks like damaged goods and had a horrible end to his 2011 season and was left off the postseason roster. Daniel Descalso can easily fill Nick Punto’s infield versatility role for less than half the price. DD is as solid in the field and carries a quality bench bat as well. Skip Schumacher will have to fight off light hitting Tyler Greene at second base even though Rafael Furcal’s inability to stay healthy will provide playing time. David Freese staying humble is no surprise. The hometown kid knows where fortune has taken him. Lance Berkman needs to grow the March-April beard and get rid of the smooth faced criminal visual. Seeing Carpenter and Wainwright dance inside the same rotation will provide fireworks early and often. Matt Holliday is doing his part in coming on radio stations and getting into the public eye more. Today, he offered to find Freese a girlfriend on the radio. Holliday was uniquely hurt in 2011 but still provided when he played. People forget that when they see his stats even though it includes 38 missed starts. His season ended coldly in October but his small ball plays in the World Series were difference makers. Jon Jay is approaching a big season to solidify himself in the lineup and will battle Allen Craig for playing time in right field and back up the fragile Carlos Beltran in center field. If Beltran stays healthy, the Cards have 4 good outfielders. The Cards are ready for the injury bug to bite and most of the backup is Memphis based. Breakout player of the year in 2012 is Jason Motte. A full season in the closer role and picking up right where he left off in October, blowing away Phillies, Brewers and Rangers bats with a new found ease.
*Who has a better year? Albert Pujols in Los Angeles or Prince Fielder in Washington or Texas? I expect Pujols to have first year jitters and finish strong again to have a decent AP season. Watch out for a torrid 2013 season, where AP hits 50 homers and drives 120 plus runs. Once Pujols gets adjusted, he will still thrive. Fielder will put up great numbers wherever he goes but the smart and necessary play is lesser years and more money.
*God Rant. Today I engaged in another god/reality showdown with a co-worker and got the best of him as usual. It’s easy when logic rides with your words. My co-worker, an ex addict turned born again fellow who supposedly “walks with GOD” tried to convince me the lord was real and I quickly pounded him into submission with facts, jokes, one liners, six liners and all kinds of shut the fuck up juice. Listen, here is my take. For all the religion buffs out there, let me ask you a question. Where is your reference point? How do we know your guy is real? Why is he a guy in the first place? How do we know? That is my main beef. I believe in what I see and I can’t see GOD, therefore I don’t believe in him. If there is no proof, there is no existence my friends. Where is the reference point? The only way we know of GOD is by being told about him and/or reading about him in the best selling novel called the bible. Therefore, he isn’t real. There is ZERO PROOF. If so, tell me. If you walk with the lord, why can’t I see him? Its the religious buffs who pound it down our throats everyday(worse than Tebow) that cause me to fire back logical explanations here. I don’t have to say sorry for saying this either. Its my fucking blog!! Please don’t answer the question with “I just know”. That isn’t a good enough answer to base your argument off of with me in the heat of battle.
*I still think about Meme on occasion. At least once a week and for extended periods consisting of minutes. From time to time, I get hit with a wave of memory and think to myself, “is she really gone?” The uncomfortable realization that she is never coming back and will never ask me another question is still fresh and painful nearly a month later. When does it go away? Never. Meme will continue to pop up in my mind from time to time and that is a good thing. Some wounds never get stitched close. They lie open and fester on your brain. I am thinking of getting Meme’s name and date of birth and death tattooed on my upper arm because it is something worth looking at everyday and will never become a waste of space on my body. I will never forget that lady and everything in my life has a different feel and vibe without her in it.
This rant is finished. The unfolding seminar of material has ran its course and this freight train of information is coming to a halt. My hope is that this information stimulated you in a way few things do and that it will give you a slight and/or small lift on a regular Wednesday evening. My needs have been met and soon enough, I will come back again with more to spill and carry the desire to inform. For now, I am done.
Thanks for reading and goodnight,
Dan L. Buffa
PS.-Here’s another trailer. Don’t ask me why, but please watch it. Its got Robert DeNiro in a juicy well needed role as a famous writer who reconnects with his son in a shelter after 19 years apart. Paul Dano plays his son who is also a writer but is pushing his way through lies, deceit and massive deception. I love these kind of tales about father and son reluctantly being thrown together to see if there is a beating heart in their bloodline.
“Life is gathering material. Writers, typically poets, are particularly prone to madness. I don’t care how good of a writer you are, you can’t kill someone with words.”-Flynn(Robert DeNiro)