This is the only way I know how to bring it folks. Direct and deep to the bone. Writers tend to stay away from ideals that strike too close because they fear it will impact their overall writing ability. I tend to stay close to what lies in my chest. What else is a man to do when he needs to unwind? I talk and I write. I collect information and I distribute the thoughts like a Tommy gun messenger with a business plan. It’s one mans thoughts. Just one. People take my thoughts too personally at times, like I am launching a grenade on their standards and that is the wrong thing. I take shots at a wide range of people and stick to names here. Examples, stories and theories rock the boat of truth and I keep my words to the task a sword would take. Straight and meant to penetrate a valve few like to touch. I don’t have a lot of time so lets get moving while another morning begins.
The St. Louis Blues Return the Favor
For the first time in 10 years, the Blues are advancing in a playoff series. This is a shot to the heart for Blues fans who have stuck with this team for the last decade. I count myself as one of those fans. While they aren’t my blood pressure team(the Redbirds own that label), I have watched this team for years and seen them through the bad times. It takes the most loyal fan to dish out harsh truths about a team when they are struggling and be able to recycle the sentiment when they prosper. You earn the right through minutes given to their play. On Saturday night, the Blues finished off the San Jose Sharks in 5 games and sealed their first series in a long time. Count that as something achieved in a land of short term memory. By getting rid of the Sharks, the Blues erased demons from their past. Th 2000 ghost where they won the President’s Trophy and lost in the first round to a more experienced Sharks team. David Perron delivered the game winning goal in the clincher, returning the favor to Sharks captain Joe Thornton, whose mid ice hit left Perron off the ice for 90 games. A decade of futility got wiped off the books in Game 5. Brian Elliot stepped up in Game 2 in the same manner he rescued the team in October. When Halak went down, the leader in goals against average and save percentage picked up the stick and delivered 4 wins for the home team. No small feat when you consider the Sharks tried to play hardball and resorted to dirty play. In Game 2, the Blues took control of the series and stamped the approval of a city when Roman Polak and Vladamir Sobotka destroyed two Sharks players after regulation ended. A matchup with the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Quick looms for this team on Saturday. A week after advancing, the Blues entertain one of the best goalies in the NHL. Quick didn’t treat the Blues kindly in the regular season, and after he outgunned Roberto Luongo in round 1, the task is steep. Quick and the Kings are a pesky, quick team with an excellent penalty kill, and this series will go at least 6 games and challenge both sides. The Blues are up for the challenge. This series will be legendary. 7 games bitten down to the bone. The talent of Patrik Berglund, TJ Oshie and David Perron will be tested over and over again. They are the young core, the proposed difference makers within a versatile group of leaders that includes team Captain David Backes, top rank defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, and Andy McDonald. David Perron shined the brightest in the Sharks series. This whole team has been beating the odds since November when they were left for dead following a coaching change. Since Ken Hitchcock took over, the Blues have been the best team in the NHL. Will that continue? I’d pay to find out.
The Rogues In Red
The Cardinals lineup begins to slow down and the crew accumulates only one win in Wrigley while only allowing 6 runs in the entire series. That’s right, the mighty bats are slowing down after a quick 8 game start. This isn’t something alarming because teams go through streaks. However, trends can be spotted and when you allow two walkoff wins against the Cubs, fingers are pointed. The band aides are falling off, as part time talent is starting to show their true colors. Matt Carpenter is a fine young hitter, but he has only 1 RBI in the last 6 games. Tyler Greene, Daniel Descalso and Shane Robinson all contribute little and the veterans health will soon come into play. This team can’t rely on the Memphis crew for 30 more games. Tyler Greene isn’t a major league baseball. We covered this before but allow me to state it again. He has come up to the Major Leagues 4 times, taken 398 at bats and hit .217. He makes bad errors, as seen in Tuesday’s game when he failed to knock down a 10th inning ground ball that allowed the winning run to cross home plate. The whisper in the room is Greene doesn’t have the confidence to play this game and that is evident every time he crosses the chalk. He is hesitant, takes bad at bats and looks average. He hits the occasional home run but in the end, will be nothing more than a pinch runner. Kolton Wong needs to keep hitting down in Springfield because the Cardinals need a legitimate everyday second baseman. The work of Lance Lynn so far requires a reluctant praise. The starter-reliever is 4-0 with a 1.33 ERA. He is making Chris Carpenter’s injury a non-factor for the time being. Lynn could falter at any moment. He has good stuff, a decent arsenal of pitches and plenty of poise. Just don’t be surprised if he falters. This is a devoted fan telling you of a pothole awaiting ahead for a guy whose innings load could come into play in a couple weeks. It’s not a given Lynn will misstep and lose. Just a historical poke at a young pitcher. The real question is how many starts the Cards will waste in 2012? They wasted two solid starts from Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright in a week. Garcia was the victim of many late breakdowns in 2011 and has been on the receiving end twice already this season. Closing is a problem already. Jason Motte and Marc Rzepcynski blew games in Wrigley in back to back walkoff wins for the Cubs, once at the hands of Joe Mather. When you blow a save, the closer is the number one source for blame. Motte walked 2 batters en route to a 2 run single given up to Mather on a bad slider. Rzepcynski gave up a first pitch home run to Tyler LeHair(a young first baseman the Cards are busy turning into Babe Ruth the same way they transformed the average Bud Norris into Nolan Ryan the past 2 years) on Tuesday. Closing games has been a problem for year since Jason Isringhausen saved 47 games in 2005. The team blew over 20 games in 2011 after the collapse of Ryan Franklin and that can’t continue this season unless you want to see a timebomb. Lynn and David Freese rescued the team with a 5-1 win on Wednesday before they return to Busch Stadium for a three game set against Milwaukee this weekend. Trouble lies ahead for this team if the blown saves continue and the bats remain in neutral.
RAMS Draft lightly on Opening Day
Look, all draft picks are a proven risk. No matter who you select, the player could be a dud. He could produce nothing and become a waste of money. However, the Rams actions on draft night produced a passive unspectacular result for a team in need of firepower and excitement. Let’s go outside the box here and remind people this team needs to reconnect with a scrambling fan base. This team is sinking and the fans aren’t staying on the ship for long. The Jeff Fisher regime is the last stand for Stan Kroneke in St. Louis. So, when they trade the #2 pick 2 months ago to Washington and accumulate picks in the next 3 drafts, I was fine. However, when they traded down from #6 to #14, I began to get weary. It is clear that the Rams decided to swap picks with Dallas(getting the 45th pick in the 2nd round for moving), it came after the Jacksonville Jaguars moved up to #5 and took the coveted wide receiver Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State. They didn’t trade down until after the Jags made that play. So, the board still read Michael Floyd from Notre Dame and Fletcher Cox, a defensive tackle from Mississippi State. The team had been coveting both players. Everybody knew it. The Rams made the wrong move to drop 8 extra spots for one second round pick. Why drop so low if you are in need of a game changer? They already had 2 picks in round two. Why move so far down and jeopardize losing all three of your targets? No offense to their pick at #14, Michael Brockers, a defensive tackle from LSU. He is a large man, capable of teaming up with Chris Long and Robert Quinn and stopping the run, but he isn’t a wide receiver who can score points. The Rams averaged 10.2 points a game in 2011, good for barely 2 wins. Sam Bradford, working behind an overrated offensive line, had no one to throw a football to and got crushed. The goal in this draft is find him quality friends who can catch. Blackmon fit the description. He fell off the board. Fine. Why drop so low and risk losing the chance to draft Floyd, a deep threat with speed down the middle? The Rams didn’t produce an exciting pick. This pick feels like Jason Smith, Adam Carriker or Tye Hill. A reach and a risk. When I look at first round picks, I look for exciting risks. This isn’t one. The Rams need a great second round to recover this draft. Fisher and his little kings to need to take advantage of three picks and get some offense. Alshon Jeffrey and Stephen Hill are quality receivers still on the board. A running back with speed to back up Steven Jackson would also help. The defense allowed a ton of rushing yards in 2011, but overall, it made a dent and held the game in check. The offense did absolutely nothing to help their cause and kept the defenders on the field. This won’t stop unless the Rams draft an impact wide receiver. On Day 1, the Rams came up with a limp choice. Prescription pad reading for Rams from doctor: NEED OFFENSE. Wide receivers who are big and fast help. Right? You can’t be patient in the NFL kids. These kids train for 4 yrs to start right out of the gate, unlike NHL and MLB. The Rams are in need of reinforcements on Friday. I am yet to be impressed. Just in case you forgot, the Rams draft woes have been the chief reason for the team’s futility since 2005.
I am looking for Miguel Cotto to connect with Floyd Jr. on a few punches. Winning the fight is a distant possibility, but the Puerto Rican champion can make a dent. Making it a fight is within reach. When was the last time Floyd Mayweather Jr. faced a fighter of Cotto’s weight and power. Before you completely rule out Cotto, remember he is on top of the world at the moment after avenging his loss to Antonio Margarito with a satisfying 9th round TKO. Floyd will carry too much speed and get into Cotto’s defense after the 8th round, but until then, the fireworks can be on display. No fighter walks into the ring to lose, and I expect Cotto to put up a fight. Manny Pacquiao, on the other hand, needs to realign himself during the Bradley fight. The Marquez decision was controversial and left too many questions. Pac-Man needs to return to the ring and get his shit together, beat Bradley with conviction and get his top rank feel back. Until he regains his mojo, fight talks with Floyd surrounding a split of the purse means little at this point. I’m looking for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to put an end to Shane Mosley’s career and make a name for himself. Alvarez carries atom bombs for fists and will make short work of a former champion in Mosley who is reaching for one final payday and could get hurt. Exciting boxing in the next 2 months.
Mad Men is a quiet powerhouse that continues to add bullets in it’s fifth season, airing on AMC at the moment. Slow moving yet deliberate in its plotting. Matthew Weiner treats his episodes like Greg Maddux treated his pitch count. He doesn’t waste a minute. Jon Hamm is still the face of this show about isolated souls living in a man’s world. Game of Thrones will be the next show I challenge. The hangover effect from ROME has me craving a sword and sandals epic. George Martin’s book series is getting a fine adaptation from David Benioff, and the show simply looks interesting. It’s a man show. Violence, sex, power playing and desire floating around a pocket of erotic tension like a devil dancing around a tomb. The cast is hot, the stories are interesting and I am game. Please avoid reality television if you fear the idea of headaches.
Check out my new website, http://www.film-addict.com for my latest reviews and articles. The site goes live on May 4th and you will be able to check out my reviews of Hunger Games, Think Like A Man, The Avengers and Safe there. In my blogs, I will only direct you to Film Addict so my partners and I can accumulate viewers and members. I will only lay down a hint here and tell you Hunger Games justifies the #1 Box Office status and Think Like A Man’s quality does not. The Avengers exceeded my expectations and Safe will be seen tomorrow. It will accompany my article on Jason Statham, who promises a particular brand of justice. As he puts it in a Details magazine article, he just goes to work. The same goes for my partners and I on May 4th. Visit our site soon and often.
The Black Keys come to St. Louis tonight and I have tickets. The blues rock band will shake the dust from Chafeitz Arena and go down as a great show because I am confident in the musicians ability to produce on a big stage. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney played Madison Square Garden in March and came out alive. Once you play NYC, the stress levels decrease and you come into your own. For long time band mates Auerbach and Carney, the connection on stage is easily recognized and what you get is fluidity between two men that have been working together since high school. Auerbach on the guitar and Carney on the drums. The greatness factor lies in their ability to avoid the mainstream makeover. You won’t see these hawking their talents on American Idol or The Voice. No commercials. These boys are old school and they have been making glorious blues rock for a decade, all the way back to the Big Come Up in 2001. Their 2010, Brothers, smoked the music market and their latest, El Camino, continued the trend. A band that deserves the launch during the prime of their career. In other news, DMB is coming back to St. Louis in July. After taking 2011 off for the most part, the true boys of summer hit the road for a six month tour. Matthews and company will be showcasing a new album this summer, blasting crowds with versatile playlists, 3 hour shows and a willingness to go the extra mile for more excitement. John Mayer’s best CD is Continuum because it showcases his blues guitar ability. The Swell Season documentary is worth watching because there is a real heartbreaking story of love placed inside a musical collaboration. Once stars turned band mates Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglova met, made a movie about falling in love, joined as a band, won an Oscar, fell in love, toured for 2 long years, and slowly broke. The documentary tells their story. Seeing them twice in concert, I can tell you the fusion was worth the eventual sorrow.
The little guy took his first professional pictures this week and the kid is made for a camera. Taking over 100 shots in about 10 minutes and going through 3 wardrobe changes, the boy played along and produced some very great photos. Kids have to go through the movie star act all the time. Pose, smile, and do it 50 times in a row. You only stay adorable for so long and at 7 months old, the cheeks are popping and the idea is simple. Pucker up kid. Vinny doesn’t mind the camera, but did things on his own terms. He smiled when he wanted and took a few pictures off when he wanted, but for the most part, the kid drove the ladies wild. There are rare moments where people stop what they are doing and walk up to your kid to tell you how beautiful he is. I have a beautiful baby. And I know it well. You can brag about your kid all day and never feel bad about it.
Other than that, nothing has changed around here. Politics are the same old bribe. Gas prices are hanging around. People can’t drive. The goal is to keep breathing and do better. I love my wife and son, make a living, own a couple cars and a house, and strive to do better starting with this website. Plans are always in order around here. It’s part of living, right?
Thanks for reading and have a good day,
Team Film Addict