As I watch the end of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez’s battle in Vegas from last week, let me fire off some rounds of ammo here.
*A quick recap of this fight. Sergio worked hard, threw a ton, slipped and moved for 10 rounds before Chavez Jr. came alive in the 11th round, where he caught Martinez with a few good shots. In the 12th, right around the halfway mark of the round, Chavez Jr. put a hurt on Martinez with a series of left and right hooks. He knocked Martinez down and saw Martinez slip to the canvas again before time ran out on his chance to pull off a late upset. Ask his trainer Freddie Roach or anyone in that building, including Chavez Jr. himself, and he started FIGHTING way too late. I believe Julio can fight and possibly beat Sergio. What he lacks in speed he makes up for plenty with power, and Martinez knows that now. Coming into the fight, I didn’t expect Julio to win but he would leave with Martinez’s respect. As I predicted, that happened. It’s easy to not like or get pissed with Julio’s behavior. A few days ago, he was found to have marijuana in his system during the fight. It’s a stupid act by Julio and will warrant a suspension but it’s not as bad as performance enhancing drugs. What we know is that Martinez’s speed and quick feet to go with his stiff left jab can control Julio for many rounds. However, Sergio got too confident and when he tried to box Chavez Jr., he nearly got knocked out. Julio didn’t throw enough for the first 8-9 rounds and lost the fight due to inaction. Watching the end of the fight, we know Julio can hurt Sergio. Watching nearly the entire fight, we know Martinez can control Chavez Jr with his speed. It’s a great dynamic for which we only got a small sample of last Saturday. Each fighter knows what they have to do to win. For 11 rounds, we saw a school session. For one round, we saw dramatic power and a near comeback. Forget the positive test for marijuana, because it doesn’t make a difference in the result of the fight. It’s just a kid being young and dumb. Chavez Jr. needs time to watch the fight again, get his head right and train for the rematch. There will be a rematch. Martinez had surgery on his knee so he will be out for a few months.
*The Rams are in action as I type, and down 3-0 in the first quarter. A big factor in this game is the Rams defense forcing the mentally retarded QB Jay Cutler to make a lot of mistakes and create turnovers and the Bears defensive line ability to get in Sam Bradford’s face. While the offenses feature plenty of running and receiving power to go with two fine arms, the defenses will determine the outcome. The Rams nearly beat the Lions in the season opener on the road. They can play on the road. However, Soldier’s Field is grass and not turf, which Detroit carries, so that is a stiff test for this young Rams team.
*The Cardinals continue to frustrate the shit out of me, writers, fans and possibly animals in St. Louis. Watching this team collapse late, give up leads, and falter in crucial times requires medication or whiskey. Starting with the series in Los Angeles, The Cards could have put together a huge winning streak by now. Let’s go game by game while listing a few factors.
Thursday in LA-Complete team win.
Friday in LA-Cards have a 3-1 late lead, when Edward Mujica gives up a 3 run homer to Luis Cruz. Game gets out of hand and the Cards lose. The home run comes with two outs.
Saturday-Cards get solid road start from Jaime Garcia, get two RBI from Allen Craig and have a 3-2 lead in ninth inning. Jason Motte has two outs, but gives up 3 consecutive hits and blows the save and game. TOUGH loss. 2 out RBI hits allowed. Little offense and lots of runners left.
Sunday-Cards recover, come back, and win in extra innings on Jon Jay’s double in 11th inning.
A series where Cards could have swept or at least won 3 of 4 ends up a split but momentum stays with Cards.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday-Sweep of the Astros. Thursday involves a tight 5-4 win but nevertheless an easy series of a horribly inept team that unfortunately leaves for the AL after this week’s series in Houston.
Friday-Chris Carpenter fires 5 solid innings, and Cards have 4-2 lead heading into the 9th inning. Fernando Salas tries to close it down with Jason Motte having pitched 5 days in a row. I understand Motte getting a rest BUT I also go against it but will say this. The Cards had more options down there. Here is the reason Salas can’t pitch the 9th.
In September Salas’ arm gets worn down. He is inconsistent. On Thursday, he struck out two Astros and nailed down the 8th inning and stopped a rally against Houston. On Friday, he went back out there and threw a flat straight fastball to light hitting Darwin Barney and blew the save. Save me the Salas closed in 2011 talk. He closed well for a two months in 2011 before tiring out in August and September. He isn’t your man in the 9th in September. His fastball is flat and got the Cardinals killed on Friday. At that point, the game was all but lost. The Cards just found out in the 11th inning. 5-4 Cubs. Possibly life threatening loss. The 35th of its kind this season.
On Saturday, the Cards do the same to the Cubs. They blow a 3-1 lead in the 6th inning, but ride Carlos Beltran’s home run off Carlos Marmol(the Cubs real closer) in the 9th into the 11th, where Jon Jay wins it with a double, his second extra innings game winning hit of the week. Amazing turnaround and typical Cards before today’s rubber game.
*Read over it again and you have a team that has no idea who they are, and a fanbase driven mad by inconsistency. The Cards offense doesn’t hurt teams like they did in April and May. They don’t take advantage of opportunities. In close games with runners in scoring position, more often than not, the Cards bats don’t come through. The pitching’s problem is giving up 2 out RBI hits. Both are painful to watch. Through all this, the Cardinals maintain a 2.5 game lead on the Brewers. Milwaukee, L.A. and Philadelphia are giving the Cards ample space to falter. There are 10 games left. Please don’t hold your breath.
*As I finish that part, the Rams intercept Jay Cutler. Cortland Finnegan, proving to be a huge pickup in the offseason with a big money contract under his belt, picks up his 3rd INT of the season. The Rams, however, struggle on offense and waste the opportunity. The first quarter shows exactly what I thought would happen today. A defensive battle on a cool day on grass. Get the beer ready because this will be a low scoring bloody battle.
*Also, I like the idea that the Rams are getting a reputation for being a tough group of bastards. It’s better to be inglorious in football than to be sweet. Robert Griffin III, fresh off his sixth commercial shot, wants to whine about the Rams being dirty. Bullshit, Bobby. You got beat and it was firm and fair, in a little tribute to recently retired boxing referee Joe Cortez. The Rams, with new corners Janoris Jenkins and Finnegan, are going to get in the opposition’s face, hit them in the mouth, trash talk them a little and reach the inside of their heads. It’s called sports, football, and its never clean. I like this team. They are old school, gridiron bad and a true Jeff Fisher team. Let the Rams roam free on Sundays.
*Looking forward to Taken 2 for one reason. Bad Ass Liam Neeson. There are few actors over the age of 50 who decide to throw their bodies around, get into fights, do their own stunts, and do aggressive action roles. No one is as convincing at it than Neeson. He returns as former CIA merc Bryan Mills, who kicked, killed, punched and destroyed everything in his path in Paris in the first installment in saving his daughter. This time, the men that he killed have a father who wants revenge and goes after Mills and his family, consisting of Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace. The setup is Istanbul, and the action will be just as thrilling as the first time, if not more so. I expect bone crunching authentic revenge action and only have to hear Neeson tell one thug. “If I kill you, will your other sons come after me?” The bad guy says yes so Mills answers, “Then I will kill them too.” Love a great action ride in October, when the shinier heavyweight productions begging for an Oscar come around. Somehow, Neeson needs to be in the next Expendables movie.
*End of Watch, released on Friday, is one of the best, if not the best, movies of the year in my opinion. A brutally authentic L.A. cops saga from David Ayer, who delivered Training Day. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are cops, partners, best friends and amigos on the streets of L.A. in the highly dangerous South Central precinct. When they bit the end of the snake that happens to be a powerful drug cartel working in the city with a few busts and seizures, they become targets. This is a true blue dedication to police officers and their everyday battle. Ayer wrote and directed this piece and its equally moving, intense and realistic. A powerful tale of brotherhood that won’t leave your gut for a few hours. I watched this movie with my dad Friday morning and it didn’t leave my head until….yeah it’s still there. This year has produced a few 5/5 efforts in my regard. French indie The Intouchables, Dark Knight Rises and Killer Joe. End Of Watch can be added to that list. It’s an excellent film and watching it, you forget that actors are the people you are watching. Read my full review here right here on my website. At the bottom you can also watch the trailer.
Last week I watched The Master, Trouble With The Curve and an art house film named Chicken With Plums. I paid to see End Of Watch. I would not only pay to see it again, but join the advertising campaign for it. Great work.
*The Replacement ref’s in the NFL are horrible. They miss calls, fuck up, look lost but there are two things that drive me nuts. They take so much time to come to a decision. They also talk to coaches before making their calls. During the Redskins-Rams game last Sunday, the referees’ ran over to Redskins coach Mike Shanahan before throwing the flag at least twice. That’s elementary ref work. Unfortunate and unacceptable in big games. There are 16 games for the teams to establish their marks. The Ref’s are wasting many calls and needing help with others. Imagine if Mike Matheny could talk to the home plate umpire about that play at the plate and actually twist the men in blue enough to get his call. Pathetic.
*What am I listening to right now? New Bob Dylan, old Johnny Cash and some Rodriguez. What will I be listening to this week? Mumford and Sons’ new album, Babel. Their first effort was brilliant and still gets listened to in its entirety. When you can listen to an entire album and not skip past tunes a full 2 years after its release, special things are happening. Their folk rock harmonies are hard to deny and the work of frontman Marcus Mumford, writing the songs and playing the guitar and lead singer as well, is impressive. I will be immersed in everything Mumford for a couple weeks. DMB was my most recent crush but Britain is taking over fast.
What else? A few random bullets.
-Love the weather. Makes a lot of possibilities happen. Taking the kid for a walk in the vast and beautiful Francis Park next to my house is a relaxing time. He watches everything and I get fresh air. Being a Mr. Mom and stay at home dad is all about helping the kid AND YOURSELF. Neglect yourself and the kid comes next. Write that down.
-Filling out applications everywhere, but asking for help is something I am not doing. I hate asking for money, help or an easy route. I will keep filling out apps but I won’t beg and plead for a job from any of my friends. I don’t do that. I survive on my own until all else fails.
-With money dwindling, I find myself clinging to my Starbucks addiction. 20 ounce coffees are becoming 12 ounce coffees and making it at home will be present in my future. My little addiction will hit the slow lane soon enough. Everyone has it their needs, and Starbucks is mine. What can a man do? Drink more red wine.
-Cabin in The Woods is a very inventive and highly enjoyable horror film. Look, I am not a huge fan of the genre because it churns out the same old bullshit week after week. This movie is something totally different and wicked fun. A group of 5 young friends go to a cabin secluded in the woods, and find out they are battling forces bigger than mere creatures or people. If I said more I would spoil it completely. During the first scene you find out what they are up against. Watching the movie, you forget you are watching a horror film and it carries a dash of comedy to it. The victims go through the proper motions and attempt to make the classic horror film mistakes and that in turn gets them killed. When they fall for traps, they end up in trouble. The worst thing they can do is think their every action doesn’t have consequence or that their fight is fair. An original take on a dead genre. The movie stars a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth and is up to the task of premium home entertainment. One of those “I would have paid to see it but didn’t mind getting freaked out in my own home” experiences.
-My kid just woke up. Laundry needs to be done. Lunch needs to be made. My time here is done.
Thanks for reading,
Dan L. Buffa