Buffa Rant Topics-8/27/12
Set yourself right, and get ready for another surge of material from my mind. It’s been three weeks since my last post, and these days that’s the norm. With Film-Addict, daddy duty and job searching going on, I am only able to pound the WordPress blog every once in a while. That’s not a bad thing. Taking time between unfiltered hits is good for a mad hand like myself. My pace of 3 per week is far gone, but I can still strap in once or twice a month to exhale. Twitter and Facebook are my outlets most of the time, but now I get back to topic firing assembly. The Rogues in Red are first.
The Cardinals Position or in other words, a vicious rant
Momentum is in their hands after a sweep of Houston, series win in Cincinnati, beating Pittsburgh tonight and holding a Wild Card Spot on this new day. The Cardinals finally showed what they have the ability to do when they rebounded from an agonizing 19 inning defeat against Pittsburgh a week ago by winning 5 of the next 6 games. This is a lot different situation than the 2011 team position but still a tough predicament. The Cardinals suck at one run games. Their offense goes on hiatus for 20-25 innings at a time. Their one run losses have come against bad teams. They rank atop the league in most offensive categories but that is a deceptive position because of their incredibly streaky lineup. Injuries have struck this team as much as any team in baseball but one feels they can be a highly dangerous team to deal with in the playoffs. Minor league seasons have ended so the call up’s will begin. Shelby Miller deserves a look and can bolster a strikeout loaded bullpen. Matt Adams can help a weak bench. Lance Lynn isn’t useless to this team even though he lost his spot in the rotation this weekend after a disastrous start in Cincinnati. He will move to the bullpen and relocate his pitches. He is a young kid who only landed in the big leagues a year ago. Joe Kelly only got stronger when he went to the pen, so his electric stuff heads back to the rotation. At this point, a manager can’t choose favorites or insert April’s heroes into pivotal spots in the stretch run. Mike Matheny has to make the tough choices and his decision to switch Kelly for Lynn was his first positive move as a manager. The lineup is capable of hurting teams. Matt Holliday leads the NL in RBI and simply hurts baseballs. Allen Craig has 20 home runs and 70 RBI while missing 20 games. Carlos Beltran is putting together a comeback season. Yadi Molina leads the team with a .327 batting average with bigger power stats. David Freese is a force when he is in the lineup. Our bench needs help but the bullpen and rotation have become a true force. Edward Mujica has 12 scoreless innings since his arrival. Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte are the door slammers the team has searched for during the past 5 years. The Cards can’t take a break. The Pirates wait in Pittsburgh this week and the schedule doesn’t relent with big series in Washington and LA ahead. I won’t expect a surge like last season, but with the added playoff spot and the better positioning, I want to see playoff baseball in St Louis this year.
Sports Topical Sniper Duty/Quick Hits on Popular Trends
*My two cents on the big trade. The deal benefits both parties but the Dodgers took on a ton of money to get Gonzo. Beckett is throwing bp and Crawford is out for awhile. Punto is a band aide and 260 million just slid off the Sox shoulders. Right now this benefits the Dodgers because of the billion dollar TV deal and the second wild card spot but it doesn’t mean they catch the Giants. The Sox, without Theo’s aggressive touch, can finally rebuild. That doesn’t mean they won’t make a play for Josh Hamilton this offseason. All in all a radical call of duty by the Dodgers who are banking on a dead arm coming alive, an ex fish playing in a larger sea and a huge gamble a mere year after having their books seized by MLB. The LAD did this to chase that gold ring but my feeling is they won’t get there. The Red Sox won’t either but they got two in the past ten years to rest on. All I know is their books are a lot lighter today than they were yesterday. If I’m a baseball fan, this is a juicy chapter in waging war. If I’m an accountant I’m catching a flight to Boston. They just lost 71 million dollars from next years payroll.
*Why are the Pirates falling so hard? Andrew McCutchen’s production has slipped big time. The MVP candidate three weeks ago is running into a slumping gauntlet these days and his body is slowly falling apart. Tonight, he looked slow on the bases after sliding on the outfield dirt. Time will tell if the Pirates can rebound and get back into the wildcard race, but without McCut raking the ball around the park, their chances are dismal of recovering. He is their Pujols.
*Speaking of the former Cardinal legend, Mr. Pujols is hurt and out of the Angels lineup. Tomorrow, he will make an attempt to return from right calf inflammation or as I like to call it, the Annual Pujols Injury stop. Once a year, the big guy goes down with an oblique, hamstring, elbow or knee issue. This time it’s the calf. Signs of getting old. Pujols has 28 home runs and 86 RBI to go with a .283 batting average. With an entire month left, he can easily get close to his 2011 totals of .299-37-99 for the 2012 season. His tendency to be overly aggressive in the box continues to show, as he only has 43 walks in 477 at bats. In 2010, he walked 103 times. In 2011, he only walked 61 times to go with 58 strikeouts. This year, he has 60 strikeouts to go with the 43 walks. He is doing a lot more swinging and that will only continue to rise throughout the rest(9 years left on contract) of his career. I watch the big guy from afar and root for him, but something tells me he will be a sad shade of his former self in 2018-2020. He will only continue to get hurt more and a move to DH will happen sooner than later.
*Hard Knocks/HBO Films-Feeding an addiction with the Miami Dolphins training camp. Something about the sports series on HBO are just irresistible and produced so well any sports fan needs to take a look. Going behind the scenes with the players and coaches, through training camp, is riveting theater that happens to be real. Seeing head coaches cut ambitious young talent or seeing a high draft pick quarterback get handed the keys to the city(Ryan Tannenhill with the Dolphins in 2012) is cool to watch and never gets old. The smooth and wise narration by Liev Schreiber doesn’t hurt at all.
*Rams preseason activity leaves little to gather on the prognosis behind the upcoming season. Fake games don’t give you much but to watch young players fight for roster spots. No gauge for first team expectations. Wait for September. I do like the trade of lineman Jason Smith to the Jets for another equally talented yet mentally needing lineman. Smith wasn’t going to work here and while the receiving talent is very similar, I will take the risk in Wayne Hunter.
*The Blues wait in limbo while NHL commissioner Gary Bettman attempts to pour gasoline on the upcoming NHL season. There very well could be a strike between the owners and players this year and that would eliminate or shorten the season for hockey fans. Each side is greedy here so don’t try to tip the scale. Owners want more money and the players don’t want to give any of their share away. Mediators and lawyers only bring more explosives to the proceedings. As a fan, you never expect a strike to play out fully because we all know at the heart of this are human beings like the rest of us. Unfortunately, we are taught otherwise. It happened in 2005-2006. It can happen again.
*Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel deserves a look this week for the Jon Gruden segment alone. Love or hate Gumbel. Respect his reporters. The Gruden segment is money because we all know he needs to go back to coaching because few football minds are as strong as his. The man has his own football shack on his home grounds. A flat screen, drawing board, tons of tape and lots of coffee. Gruden has football in his blood and it will never leave. I begged for him to chose the Rams this past offseason and while I like Fisher, I still have a craving for Gruden’s intensity.
*24/7 returns along with good boxing matchups in September. Chad Dawson and Andre Ward, a pair of middleweights, will meet in the ring on September 8th for a belt and this one looks to be a dynamic fight between two respectable fighters. There will be no trash talking in this series. Just pure head to head combat training. On September 15th, the stakes go very high for a matchup between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez in another middleweight bout, with this one figuring to be a slugfest. There is spicy blood in this engagement, with Sergio calling Chavez Jr. an entitled kid who hasn’t fought anybody to the younger fighter claiming Sergio hasn’t seen this kind of power yet. I expect the elder Martinez to pull off the win, but not before the young Chavez delivers a heavy handed blow to his body and mind, setting up a rematch where the kid will prevail. All a fighter needs is a little seasoning to reach his full potential. Martinez is the kid’s mentor and he doesn’t even know it. Also on the 15th, atom bomb equipped Mexican fighter Canelo Alvarez takes on rising star Josesito Lopez, who knocked off Victor Ortiz in commanding fashion to score this fight. When Alvarez’s opponents either were left paralyzed(Paul Williams), withdrawing(James Kirkland) or left with a broken jaw(Ortiz, at the hands of Lopez), Canelo settles for the overachiever. My bet is Canelo blasts him and takes on Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden in December, with a fight against Chavez Jr. happening in 2013. Boxing is only warming up.
*Read Bernie Miklasz’s piece on Rick Majerus that posted on Sunday. It’s a powerful piece of writing that deserves an audience. Bernie talks about his friendship with Majerus, their collective fears of health issues and the idea that we may have heard the final bell on the SLU basketball coach’s life.
The Newsroom Finale/Season 1
This show is the reason I watch television shows. A writer dealing without hesitation about his current view of the state of our nation, creating a fictional retelling/history lesson using real events is fascinatingly addictive television. A show about a greater fool(news anchor Will McAvoy), choosing to handle real news instead of the mundane dead weight rundown every night on cable news. Jeff Daniels and Sam Waterson deserve Emmy awards but the show itself is a renegade train in the middle of a pack of guideless animals on television. Daniels flawless work as McAvoy needs to be recognized as a crowning feat in a long career. Waterson, fresh off Law and Order’s long tenure, gets to cut his teeth again in the juicy role of Charles Skinner, network boss. Thomas Sadroski, Olivia Munn, John Gallagher Jr. and Daz Patel offer fine support but this show belongs to Daniels and Waterson. In Sorkin’s own words, McAvoy is a guy who wants to inform people about the hard issues no one wants to touch. He is the greater fool because he wants to do something no one else can risk their reputation to touch. He is the fearless warrior in the thunderstorm who won’t go back inside. Don Quixote is his model the entire season and this show never lets up. The series starts in one spot and comes back to this question in the finale, “What makes the United States of America the greatest country in the world?” Leave your political views aside and just enjoy Sorkin’s strong armed acid trip. Its fiction, injected with a dose of tough reality, but it’s worth a look. 10 hours of newsroom boxing. As long as there are thoughtful, energetic young people who want to be the greater fool, there is reason to be optimistic. That gets Will going and quite frankly, it should get you going as well. Sometimes a show can matter.
Jeff Daniels’ tweet about the finale-
“Tonight’s NEWSROOM Finale is why I got into acting. May it matter. “
*Lance Armstrong-a quick dose about the lack of evidence and the general fear the media has of regular men doing extraordinary things. This is the same situation with baseball media attacking Albert Pujols for steroid use. The difference is Armstrong decided to not play the blood hound’s game and chose silence. If there is evidence Armstrong did performance enhancing drugs, then please show it to me. If not, walk to the other side of the room. I’m not a fan of bike racing, but Armstrong’s accomplishments with his life struggles can be an inspiration to anyone who gets the kind of life altering news from their doctor. My best friend had cancer, survived it and will live his life long and well. My other good friend passed away to throat cancer. Maybe this has nothing to do with Lance Armstrong. Maybe it does. In the end, if there is no evidence, why are Armstrong’s Tour De France titles being stripped from him and his reputation permanently shattered. The Agency that supposedly pulled together the evidence announced it will eventually release it to the public, which I will await until I make my decision. If he did cheat, I want the evidence. Now, other cyclists who more likely than not cheated will get the titles being stripped from Armstrong, so what right is being done here. This brings me back to my original take on cheating in sports. If you want to accuse a star of cheating, show me evidence and exact substances found in his system. Give me proof. If not, throw out all the suspicion on the athletes. It’s a fools game that concludes nothing. If he was doping, that’s a blow to his fans and reputation. I will welcome that if it’s true. Until it is true, drop the grudge.
Neil Armstrong-A life lived complete without regrets. Sitting on his deathbed, I am sure Neil muttered to himself, “I walked on the moon. Yeah, I’m good to go.” RIP white knight who dared to step on the kind of ground felt by few others before him. It wasn’t just his actions back in 1969 that changed the space program forever. Armstrong stayed in the NASA program for the better part of his life, training, assisting and regulating space missions and programs. The man is a self made legend. No fiction needed.
*Movie Critic news
*What to see and what to avoid. Please, if you must watch one thing, go watch Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar worthy performance in William Friedkin’s red hot thriller, Killer Joe. Do not go see Lawless, because Shia Labeouf’s lightweight acting bring the entire ship, including Tom Hardy’s gritty work, down to the bottom of the sea. A free taste from the Film-Addict.
*Going on the radio to talk film-addict with FM news talk movie guy Max Foizey was a fine experience. On Saturday, I talked about my website with 97.1’s MaxOnMovies host and this was the first form of marketing for the site. With it, I have a few realizations. Hearing yourself on the radio never stops being weird. This is a great way to market your site because his listeners will trust his judgement in putting me on the show. Also, with the right questions, the perfect answers about a movie site can form. It’s our website against thousands of other sites, so every helping hand is needed.
Vincent turns 1
My little man is acquiring a number on his resume and the small things day by day. Being a dad is playing constant defense in fear of damage to your son. An overwhelming job for any man. On September 14th, Vincent is one year’s old. I can’t believe a year has gone by but my nerve endings could tell me otherwise. He fought a lot early in his life but stomach ache and fevers aside, has grown into a healthy, cute, active and downright ambitious little man. There are times when people call a baby cute because it’s politically correct. Then there are times when it’s an accurate and common statement. Vincent is a good looking kid. The future scares the shit out of me but I’m not going anywhere. To all the dads who abandoned their children at a young age, I have zero sympathy for you. There’s no greater duty in life than overseeing the fragile life of the future.
Unfortunate News 101
Snooki gives birth in the latest form of unfortunate developments in the land of talentless celebrities. Snooki has no talent, ambition or signature reason to be adored. She prays on the weak, the people who make it their goal in life to be sucked into the fake reality of stupid B-level celebs. A jersey shore alum that is as dumb as they come. The fact that she gave birth should be a tragic day because this insures that the circus will only go on.
The Last Remaining Unemployed Man of the House
I am the last out of work slum in the Buffa House. The wife and roommate Irish have gotten jobs and I am officially Mr. Mom. That’s not a bad thing but a new revelation. Vinny goes to daycare 2 days a week and I sit at home doing laundry, cleaning, applying for the same jobs every week. This is only half a complaint. It’s a quiet calm being at home, working on your passion project and keeping the house running. However, money needs to be made if you want to live healthy. Unemployment is never in someone’s future but it’s a possibility if you graduate college or not. I filled out three jobs for warehouse jobs today and I don’t want either of them. I would rather work on my site or write pieces for a living. Unfortunately, in this economy and in this life in general, that is not possible if you have a mortgage and family to support. So, my boring job search continues.
Closing Statements For the Reading Audience
*Listen to sexy French American jazz artist Melody Gardot. Her album, My One and Only Thrill is simply to die for jazzy blues music. Let her painfully sincere voice get under your skin.
*September is a good month for my approved musicians. Mumford and Sons, Band of Horses and The Dave Matthews Band come out with new albums. Glen Hansard, formerly apart of the group The Swell Season, visits the Pageant as well. I will be in attendance because during two previous visits, the man put on a hell of a show.
*I’d like the weather to make up its mind but I will take 90 degrees for a little while.
*Softball season is coming to a close, as least in the summer version. I played well, my team didn’t fare as well, but I will return for a fall session. In the end, softball is a game of individual achievement.
*Whenever I see a school shooting, I am not surprised. Teenagers are capable of doing anything because they are at a stage in their lives where they have zero clue who they are and what they want, leaving them to create chaos.
*The trailers for Killing Me Softly, Zero Dark Thirty, Flight, and Looper are the best I have seen all year.
*My Film-Addict colleague Chris McHugh’s verdict on the new documentary about Barack Obama is as fair a start any critic can provide. A highlight of his review.
“This movie puts the light on the man and it is beneficial for all to see, but if you go in there with your left or right wing flapping you will miss the point of what is being shared. I found out more about President Obama in 90 minutes watching this movie than I have in over the last five years of seeing him in the public eye. Sit back relax and take in the knowledge that is being offered and do with it what you will, for me I am digesting the information in whole and off to do my own fact finding mission. At least this time around, I will know the man not just by what has been told to me, but by what I have discovered.”
*An enraged worker shot and killed a co-worker before being gunned down by police in NYC outside the Empire State Building. Another case of understanding at the core of our existence, a capability for violence rests. We can all do it. Its the amount of control we have that stops some of us and can’t hold onto others. A chilling thing about life.
*2013 has a lot of work to do in order to be as memorable and bittersweet as 2011 and 2012 have been in my life.
*I take a lot of pride in my ability to call it straight. Whether its sports, film or life in general, I don’t pull a punch here. A few quick confessions. I am not a Democrat or Republican and I hate the idea the leaders of our world are put into “parties”. I am a big fan of Under Armour clothing even though its very expensive. It’s a good fitting clothing and worth the dollars spent because of the comfort it gives me. I love coffee because of how it makes me feel instantly. I like old fashion guilty pleasure action movies because they are easy on the eyes. This goes for Expendables 1 and 2. I like the Newsroom because it stirs something inside of me few forms of entertainment do. I love my life because every day I wake up with a chance to hang out with a little man, a lady and a home that I have grown to call not only a part of my life but a part of me. I also get to use my hands and voice as a means of expressing myself to the world, little by little. All we have in this life is what we are going after and our word. Keep both fresh at all times and you will be fine.
That’s all. This blog wasn’t perfect(a few punctuation errors aside), but it was a 100 percent me, heart and soul included in the package.
Dan L. Buffa
“The L is for Larry”