The other night, I decided to go for a run at midnight. Granted, the idea didn’t completely drop into my lap with a spur of the moment tea party, but I did suddenly look at my Ipod, the television, a couple friends and thought to myself, “lets get something done tonight”. There I went, into my running gear(under armour shirt, shorts and blues cap), and out into the mildly warm night on a fresh Friday morning. I never know how long I am going to run or where I am going. I leave the house, run up the street and go from there. Sure, I follow certain patterns and streets when its dark and stay away from the crack houses, but I am free spirit with the feet on my jogs(silent j). Why am I running outside in the heat?For some reason, I hate running on the treadmill at the gym. It sucks in every way. There you are, trying to focus on a machine jammed into a line of 8 machines next to people flinging their sweat and attitudes your way as you try to do something that really isn’t fun at all. I avoid the treadmill like I avoid Chuck in an alley. I prefer to run outside because I feel like I am going somewhere and not confined to a workout space. For the people who have treads at home for their own personal use, I hate and envy you bastards. Back to my running story. I ended up running 6 miles that morning and when I was done, my body felt like it was ready to break down. There isn’t a more grueling workout on this planet than running. It engages the entire body, forces you to find any amount of energy stored in your system and challenges you to be stronger than you really are. Anybody can go out and run 3 miles. Get out there and run a little more. Take it further. Try to do a little more. That’s the key to staying in good shape. Pushing yourself past your own limit. Guess what? This isn’t a new theory. People know this. Everybody who is out of shape knows how to get into shape. It’s not a fucking complex idea. You cut down on your carbs, get on the cardio machines and alter your life a bit. Do more, eat less. I hate people who complain about their weight when the solution is so clear. Stop smoking, stop eating bad food, get out there and run until you drop. There is a clear reason why The United States’ current generation is one of the fattest, dumbest, naive packs of shitheads ever to walk on solid ground. Now, on with the rest of my blog.
Now that I have installed a message here, let’s get to more random fare. Sports, recreation, entertainment, personal thoughts and the usual suspects.
The 2012 Cardinals are a maddening pack of players. Right when they begin to turn things around, the team subjects their fans to ridiculously ugly baseball. Inconsistency mixed with inspired play making for a deadly concoction to swallow. After completing a 6-3 road trip that included a sweep in a revengeful KC sweep and a series win in Miami, the team comes home with a chance to gain ground on the division foes ahead of them with a three game set against Pittsburgh. They go down 2-0 early, and rally with 5 runs in the 3rd to make it 5-2 and Adam Wainwright is settling in. He has 5 strikeouts, is cruising through the Bucs lineup and the night seems to obtain a jazzy tune. Then, the fifth inning drops a grenade on the evening. With 2 outs, Waino loads the bases with Pirates. He gives up a 3 run double to tie the game. The Pirates add two more runs in the 6th and four more runs in the 8th inning. They end up winning 14-5 and the season long lesson comes to the forefront again. How long will the Cardinals pitching betray their bats? For the most part, 2012 has been a success at the plate for the Redbirds. They have remained in the top 5 in nearly every hitting category. They produce runs, get on base and give the starters and bullpen second and third lives on any given night. Against the Marlins on Wednesday, they gave the starter a 2-0 lead in the first. Joe Kelly blew it but rebounded to pitch 6 solid innings. The Cards gave the bullpen a 3-2 lead, which Fernando Salas, Eduardo Sanchez and Sam Freeman went on to give right back. Take out a series in New York against the Mets in early June and the offense on this team has done the work. The starters endured a great April, a bumpy May and rebounded in June. However, they are capable of giving up a lot of runs and their two best starters, Waino and Lynn, have collapsed this past week. The bullpen doesn’t have an innocent arm, with closer Jason Motte having blown 4 saves already. The bullpen is young and carries plenty of skill but doesn’t have an ounce of consistency. The lineup’s production is impressive, especially when considering the lack of everyday players. Lance Berkman has missed 6 weeks. Skip Schumaker and Jon Jay have missed a lot of games. Allen Craig, one of the most underrated young power hitters in baseball, has missed two separate chunks of time. They still manage to produce while the pitching gives leads back. So while it is easy to summarize that the Cards can’t put everything together at the same time, that doesn’t cover the entire playing field. I can tell you simply that the bullpen is the weakest link on this team and overall, the pitching on this 2012 team needs immediate help. Here’s some way to attack the area.
*Find out what is going on with Chris Carpenter. He has a thoratic nerve disorder, which means he will need surgery at some point and the only question is when. He threw a couple bullpen sessions this past week, shut it down for a few days, threw again yesterday and has announced he will try to pitch through the issue. I just don’t see this happening. How can he attempt to pitch through pain that has caused him to shut down 3 times this season? He throws 35 bullpen pressure free tosses and can’t recover the next day and we expect him to throw 3 times that amount. No way. Look, I love Carpenter and what he brings to the table. The man is an animal on the mound and a true ace. We saw what he could still do with his arm in September and October of 2011. However, his body is breaking down. Is it really smart to push him so hard halfway into this season and risk losing him for a chunk of 2013, the final year of his contract? I hate to hand him 10 million dollars to be a cheerleader this year, but I don’t want to give him two years in a row off. He missed 2007 and 2008 after a spectacular 2004-2006 run. I want Carp to pitch again, in some capacity for this team. If John Mozelaik finds out what is going on with him, he can attack the other areas of this team. There are starters out there, like Matt Garza of the Cubs, who can help this team. Roy Oswalt was available way back when, and the Cards opted to avoid him while he practically begged to pitch for St. Louis. Mozelaik didn’t know Jaime Garcia was going down as well, but grabbing Oswalt(who made his first start last week) would have been wise. If we know Carpenter is out, the Cards can go after a starter at the deadline because the only way a bullpen can recover is if the rotation continues to give innings. The 2012 Cards bullpen can’t be asked to get 12 outs in a game more than once a week. That was the request made on Friday night and the result was a 9 run finishing deficit.
*Get bullpen help. My, oh, my, this team needs bullpen help. Sam Freeman is a talented young lefthander, but he is being overexposed and needs help. Marc Rzepcynski has been horrible all season and may need a demotion or release. Eduardo Sanchez can’t pitch with runners on base or in any pressure situations unless you care to see walks. Fernando Salas’ pitches have flattened out. Every time I want to heap praise on Mitchell Boggs, he relapses into a funk. Jason Motte has 16 saves, yet is too scared of his second pitch in order to reach the next level and makes saves too interesting. In the heat of 2011, Mozelaik reached into his farm system and made upgrades. This time, he may have to go to the market because I am sure Makael Cleto and Charlie Fricke aren’t the solutions to our problems. Antonio Bastardo is an effective lefty with the Phillies who need a new home in a few weeks. The Cards need to get fresh talented arms into the bullpen and stop hoping all the young kids will play out. A team can’t afford to lose so many one or two run games once you enter July and August.
*Play well against your division foes. The race in the NL Central will be tight to the end, so the Cards need to nail down wins against the Pirates and Reds. That includes playing better at home. The Cardinals have a bad trend going at home, a place they have dominated over the past 5 seasons. Playoff teams play great baseball at home. Winning on the road and outside your division is one thing, but home dominance is key in any sport. If teams upset you and embarrass you in your house, your life is ending. If the Cards can’t get important games this weekend against the Pirates, what chance do they have in the latter parts of the season? There’s no definite notion that the Pirates will stay in contention, but they are a tenacious bunch who didn’t die in 2011 until September. The division won’t close up a gap until the final day folks. The Cards need to get the division under their grasp because it’s their own to take. All this time while we have struggled, the division has stayed in reach.
*As always, stay healthy. Getting healthy is a pale wish, but maintaining health is more important while the injured heal. Allen Craig and David Freese can play big roles if they stay on the field. When Lance Berkman returns, Craig moves into a platoon there and forces Jay to maintain his stats. Skip Schumaker keeps Daniel Descalso on his toes. Healthy rosters only fuel the teams versatility. It has been the goal since the start. The 2012 Cardinals must stay healthy to win this division, but they need better pitching from their bullpen in order to stay in the race.
That’s all on the Birds. Now a few words on the Blues and Rams.
The Blues are setting up for the free agent storm that will touch down on Sunday. GM Doug Armstrong knows what he needs to do in order to make this team stronger. Find a left handed defenseman to play with Alex Pietrangelo. Find another legit goal scorer to roam the wings. Keep Jason Arnott over Jamie Langenbrunner because of the production. Decide if TJ Oshie or David Perron stay on your team, or keep both. They are both young and relatively inexpensive, but does somebody need a real push? The goaltending was the core of the teams strength in their amazing December-February run, so that doesn’t need any tampering. We all know David Backes, Andy McDonald and Alex Steen are here. Vladamir Tarasenko is on his way from Russia. Patrik Berglund came alive and showed us more than ever in the playoffs. He is ready to make a huge impact. The Blues need to cut off the loose parts of their roster. Get rid of the players who don’t belong, like Carlo Colaiacovo. You can’t keep Barrett Jackman and Carlo. Give Ian Cole a bigger role on defense if the free agent market brings no matches. All I know is the Blues are 28 million dollars under the cap and have money to spend. With new ownership in place and a foundation settling in, this team needs to upgrade. Another good question. Is John Davidson coming back?
The Rams are in training camp prep mode, which means there isn’t much to say. Without further moves, the Rams will contend for a pulse in 2012. Their wide receiving core is still a mystery, the linebackers around Lauranitis are suspect, and the offensive line is a huge question mark. The Rams had a good draft, improved their secondary but other than that, didn’t do much to install a bigger sense of hope. There isn’t much news on this team except for the fate of their stay in St. Louis, which is an issue that is less than 2 years away.
Boxing remains exciting, even with the horrible Pacquaio-Bradley decision(which was reviewed by 5 different judges, who ruled in Pac Man’s favor) and the absence of Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the circuit. Victor Ortiz lost a chance for a shot at Canelo Alvarez in September when replacement fighter Josesito Lopez broke his jaw. Cornelius Bundrage fights Cory Spinks tonight and will probably destroy him in the same manner he did in 2010. Pacquiao has told his promoter Bob Arum that he wants to fight Mayweather Jr. soon and that fight will probably happen in early 2013 after Mayweather gets out of jail, gets a pickup fight in and Pacquiao either revisits Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez this November. Finally, Arum was told what needs to happen. That’s a good thing for boxing. Take into account their ages and situations, and the mega fight needs to happen soon. Boxing, along with the judging foolery, has taken a lot of shots this year. Two mainstream fighters, Lamont Petersen and Andre Berto, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, which resulted in two hyped rematches being cancelled. Seeing two young good fighters cheat and deprive the world of a couple good matches is downright wrong. Berto was set for a rematch with Ortiz after their thrilling 2011 fight, but that didn’t happen. Petersen was set to face Amir Khan for a second time after their first battle included 4 knockdowns and a stoppage, but that didn’t happen. This sport is already scraping its knees against the concrete in the pursuit of MMA events. While there is plenty of decent fights out there, boxing needs the Pacquiao-Mayweather Jr. clash to not only happen but deliver on the promise in order for the sport to stay strong. Until then, the fights to look forward to are Sergio Martinez taking on young Mexican champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Chad Dawson taking on middleweight Andre Ward in September.
*My website, film-addict.com, is moving along well and growing in interest. At least I hope it is. My staff and I continue to pound out work on it daily and in my eyes and people I know, is a quality site. Without giving too much away, here are some instant thoughts on a few films I have seen lately.
Magic Mike is entertaining at first, overly preachy and formulaic towards the end, and lacks a Soderbergh stamp. DVD.
Ted is very funny, worth seeing twice and can even reach the non Family Guy fans.
People Like Us-Tough family drama that requires coincidences and a few cliches to make an experience worthwhile. Pass.
The Amazing Spider Man(opening Tuesday) is a surprisingly solid summer action film that gives the best glimpse into the world of Peter Parker’s vigilante. The performance of Andrew Garfield is the difference maker.
That’s it. Visit the website, http://www.film-addict.com, for full reviews and stories. Consider that a tease.
I need to raise the temperature in this blog before I bring it to a completion. I won’t call this one of my best sources of outgoing mail, but it will exist as merely a “I’m still here” alert.
The Buffa Bullet Round begins-
- Glen Hansard’s new album is a must own. The Swell Season/Frames front man is a rarity. You see, there are certain musicians who sing because its a job and others who sing because THEY HAVE TO. Glen wears his heart on his sleeve. Hansard gets on that stage and belts tunes because it’s part of his DNA. His story, life and passion fuel his music in the same way as most singers but with him it just feels real. More depth and honesty. We all know him from the movie ONCE and his torrid love affair with his bandmate, Marketa Iglova. What is missing is the brilliance shown on stage and in the studio. His solo effort, Rhythm and Repose, is a set to seek out. He will visit the Pageant in September.
- Henry Rollins returns to the road for a particularly interesting tour this summer and fall. His tour is called Capitalism, and he will be doing shows in all 50 capitols of the United States. Which means he is hitting Jefferson City for a show in Missouri, one I will be attending this October. His final show will be in Washington DC on the eve of the election. Rollins doesn’t sit with either political party, but unleashes his ideals on his audiences with ease and assurance. He is the political animal who will give you his honest “take it or leave it” thought process on politics but won’t hamstring you with preachy knowledge. He wants you to vote but doesn’t slam you over the head with a candidate. He is a ranting maniac and to me that is fun to watch on stage every once in a while. When in doubt, ask Henry.
- It means little to his future potential as a St. Louis Cardinal, but it’s good to know we still have intelligent young ballplayers out there. Newly signed first round pick James Ramsey spoke to the media on Friday and hearing him talk, you felt good already about the deal. Ramsey is an outfielder who will make a trip to High A ball on Monday, but he knows what has to be done in order to make it to the big leagues. He hit very well in the Cape Cod league, prefers the wooden bat over the college issued aluminum and respects his elders. He took some BP with the big league team and told the media he is a “do whatever it takes” kind of player and I happen to believe him. In a few years, look for the name of James Ramsey to come into the news.
- While I can say I don’t know a lot about soccer or have a grasp over the teams and players, I can watch the Euro2012 tournament with ease. Soccer is a sport I don’t have to fall in love with in order to enjoy. I don’t stress over it, have a favorite team or go crazy about it. I can merely sit and admire it.
- My son, Vincent, is getting big. He weighed in at 23.6 pounds, and is 2.5 feet tall. Those are the stats. Here is the great part. The little monster continues to show more life and ambition than I have seen in a baby. He can almost stand up, crawls with ease, will be walking soon enough and also has curbed the gray area between knowing what pain feels like. He also has his parents in the palm of his fat little hands. The man doesn’t have to wear pants and and he is the king. Every morning at 545 am, he launches up and demands a bottle. He doesn’t like going back to sleep, wants to bounce and then demands a meal at 9am. Babies want attention and space to move. Vinny hates having his diaper changed, put into a small with no toys or left alone. The kid is an attention hogging little maniac. The more women, eyes, toys, food and things that weigh under 5 pounds in his grasp, the better. The kid continues to keep me on my toes.
- It’s 105 degrees outside, and its a dry heat. Deadly, but carrying little humidity. This is the kind of heat you have to get used to, stay away from or avoid all together. If you go outside, count on sweating. People who complain about the weather are dinosaurs. It’s going to get hot and stay hot. The winter was weak, so the summer will be brutal. This is dangerous heat and its bad because of the effect on the body. It kills your appetite and soaks your clothes. I can handle the winter because it simply requires an extra layer of clothing. The heat strips you to your bones and can kill you unless you pound water all day and night. Without complaining about it, I will say it is dangerous. Stay thirsty out there.
- What else? Reality television is retarded but apparently in my house, addicting. My DVR is full of Real Housewives of New Jersey, Bachelorette and other house hunting programs. The closest I get to reality TV is the food network and only because it showcases….wait for it…delicious looking food. Reality TV is a waste of time.
- Charlie Sheen’s new show, Anger Management, is appealing only to fans of Charlie. He is a funny guy, fun to watch, and can make even the most network gimmicks look good. The only bad part is, for a FX show, Anger Management’ didn’t take any chances in it’s first two episodes.
- The Newsroom is the new “must watch” show on television for one simple reason. It’s brilliantly done and gives a hopeful spin to the political nature of journalism. Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer and Sam Waterson will all deserve Emmy awards this fall and the show, written and created by Aaron Sorkin, deserves to be watched. A show about non-partisan cable news anchor Will McAvoy and his show’s drive to put real news on the viewers tables. The show starts out with the rant of all rants, as McAvoy is forced into a debate at a college, where he finally unleashes his true thoughts on America. The aftermath sends him on vacation and his staff out the door, but the show picks up when an old flame of his(Mortimer) is hired to be his producer and they attack the Oil spill in the Gulf. Sorkin is a brilliant writer but he scores high here by putting an emphasis on real events. McAvoy is the kind of news hungry grump who wants to say what he thinks but knows the ratings aren’t going to tag along. Its his word against everybody else’s in the building as we get to watch the way a newsroom unfolds during production. I have always been hungry for this kind of show. Watching the mighty heart of journalism be fought over in a newsroom where true journalism still lives. It’s invigorating. Sorkin is the man to write it and Daniels is at the top of his game here. The political parties will slice and dice the show up so it fits into their own agendas and ideals, but for an independent like me, it’s pure infatuation. Just watch the opening scene of the show where McAvoy loses it at the college. It’s one of those bravura moments that only come every so often on television.