Here are a few things on my mind. Opinions, random thoughts, and perforated ideas. Let the games begin.
*The Cardinals season ending dunking at the hands of the Giants still won’t leave my head. I can write all I want about how great the ride was but the sting of the end still leaves a wound in my head. It hits me at random. Every time I hear about the Giants story of 2012 I think of our thudding exit. The 3-1 choke job reminds me of 1996 in horribly vivid detail. The Cards led the Braves 3-1 in the NLCS. Then Todd Stottlemeyer perspired profusely and got beat 14-0 at home. We went to Atlanta and lost two, a close battle where Greg Maddux outdueled Alan Benes and a complete killing by the Braves over Donovan Osborne to finish it off. So similar to 2012. Fail to clinch at home and lose two on the road. Long flight home that involves zero happiness. I am sure there are thoughts running through the players heads right now that speak of venom and remorse, but fans aren’t too far behind. It also doesn’t help that St. Louis Blues hockey can’t catch us in our fall right now. Since the players and owners are feuding over money, the fans smack the pavement after the Cards end choke job. I already analyzed the Cards end and their future so I will wait for news to hit the fan before I revisit the Redbirds. However, I will say a few things.
-The Cardinals need to lock up Adam Wainwright long term. His 2012 was rough but that’s to be expected coming back from Tommy John. Sure, it would have been nice to see Waino rebound like Carpenter did in 2009 after Tommy John(17-4, 2.24 ERA) but Adam will be a great pitcher for a long time. Let’s not let him reach the front door. It will be nice to have Carpenter and Wainwright anchor the rotation again. With or without Garcia and with respect to Lohse, we look good in that area for 2013.
-Yadi Molina winning gold gloves is like me finding a cup of coffee daily. It’s a no brainer and bound to happen. Molina is the best in the league at his position and is feared. I love the poor distinction sports writers have with the gold glove award. Far too many times they hand it to a player for his offense. Thank goodness Molina survived that crime. He now owns 5. I can’t believe Johnny Bench won 10 in a row. Wow.
-Allen Craig and Matt Adams will make a fine platoon at first base. Matt Carpenter will push for starts around the field. Oscar Taveras and Kolten Wong will be around soon. All this spells young talent/easy money.
-Sign Jason Motte to a multi-year deal. Don’t let it go to arbitration. The man is a legit closer. After saving season in 2011, he tied for league lead in saves in 2012. Hand him a modest 2-3 year deal. He’s still young, relatively cheap and durable.
-Figure out what is wrong with Matt Holliday’s back. Bernie Miklasz is right here in his blog today. Figure out this guy’s back because he makes 17 million a year and is a key piece of our attack. Holliday produced a solid season yet weakened down the stretch and a bad back does that to a power hitter who generates so much torque from the middle part of his body. If he needs surgery, now is the time. This can’t rear its ugly head in April or May. Get an X-ray or MRI. Look at the discs and the spinal cord and make sure nothing is about to snap. Back issues can go away with rest but if this is something else figure it out now. Also, get an outside opinion on this one. Let’s not lay all that money in the Cards shaky medical staff.
That’s it on The Cards. Five points and done.
*The Rams got spanked by the Patriots and Tom Brady in London. After striking first with a 50 yard pass, Sam Bradford and company got schooled and that’s fine. They join a long list of teams beaten up by Brady and Belichick. Here is how it went down. The Rams have bad safeties. When the corners get overloaded with coverage responsibilities, the safeties come in and have to help. Well, the Rams safeties have issues and get burned. Tom Brady tears teams with these issues to pieces. Stomps on their throats. Also, the Rams didn’t get pressure on Brady with their front four. Long and Quinn were blocked easily all day. If you watch the two Super Bowls between the Giants and Pats, you will know Brady gets stopped when you put hands and bodies in his face and make him move. The Giants did that both times. Other teams have done that as well, which is a big reason New England has 3 losses. The Rams got zero pressure. So, when the safeties got burned and the pressure never showed up, Brady went to work on the Rams. When that happens, the other team’s QB has to respond. Bradford and company couldn’t respond and were left in the dust. The running game was lost and Bradford isn’t built to win games with his arm just yet. This Rams offense is a bit anemic and needs work. Calling Brian Schottenheimer. Get to work son. It is nice to see us 3-5 at the halfway mark but unless we score more touchdowns, the Rams won’t win many more. Just saying.
*How about those Blues? Yeah, that’s a shame. No hockey. Through November. NONE. The players and owners can’t decide on compensation so we get no action. The people that fuel the sport’s equity and financing get fucked here. Usually, when the Cards fly south for the winter and the Rams get beaten to death three weeks in a row, we have the Blues to fall back on and enjoy their competitive nature. These days, this city is quiet. There is no Cardinals baseball. The Rams are off. The Blues are practicing and not playing. I can blame both sides and anyone can pick a side but once again I will point out how childish this is on the part of both sides. Get something worked out. Give in, take less, come to terms and reignite the sport. On a small front of anger, there will be no winter classic this year so I will be deprived of my 24/7 series on HBO about the great rivalry between Detroit and Toronto. No Blues home games at the Scottrade. Darkness. Tell me all day how that place is fueled by non sporting events and I will tell you it runs A LOT better with Blues games selling out and the house shaking from David Backes freight train hits and Oshie energy. It’s a shame. No hockey because rich guys can’t figure out a number. The fans continue to suffer.
*The NHL must understand that fans will be lost again in this process. The hardcore ones will stick around through anything but the full houses at Scottrade will decrease if this lockout ends late into the season. It took 5 years for the Blues to fully pack their halls after the lockout in 2005 and the last thing a team losing money needs is an empty arena for a half or full season. It’s the domino effect that will take place if the lockout doesn’t cease to exist. Think of the national state of hockey. It’s behind the NFL and MLB in revenue and will fall below or bash heads with the NBA if this thing persists. Do you want to sink that low? The media will forget about you even more and this sport will sink in notoriety. Just an idea of what is at stake.
*Boardwalk Empire and Dexter are thriving off the work of guest stars Bobby Cannvale and Ray Stevenson. Cannavale is the problem child loose cannon Gyp Rossetti on Boardwalk, and he is a revelation to watch because we haven’t seen this side of Bobby in his career. Gyp is a dangerous, small time, bloody bastard who wants to make a name for himself. His scene in a church screaming at the place GOD put him in on this earth is great work because it’s Bobby and a camera going to work. Stevenson, famously known as Pullo on HBO’s Rome, is the thorn in Dexter Morgan’s side this season. Playing a gangster with a means for revenge, Stevenson is the perfect foil for our anti-hero. He is a big guy, dangerous, and a human killing machine. Nice to know Dexter has real problems besides his sister and weak bad guys like Colin Hanks. TV shows starve off extinction by pulling in great work from their guests.
*Homeland gets praise from me for simply exhilarating its story line this season. When season one ended at a crossroads between Carrie and Brody, the stakes were set for this season yet as viewers we wondered how long the writers would wait before a reveal was made. Well, it took 3 episodes and the boiling point on this series is only increasing with every hour. Taking advantage of a hot hand, Homeland is going full steam ahead. Season 2 isn’t letting up.
*Halloween was a success for Vin. He dressed as a cop and rode around in his little police car collecting candy while mom and dad pushed and lifted him to houses. After being out of the loop with the scary “holiday” for years, it was nice to throw the 13 month old into the fray. Sure, he had no idea why we were ushering him around town but when he saw the bucket of candy at the end, the man was all smiles. That’s Halloween for you. National Dentists Fund Day.
*A message for all the bugs in the area. JUST DIE ALREADY! Your duties are done, the temperature is decreasing so get it on already. I hate when I am seeing my own breath in the air and still see bugs escape into my house. One of my pet peeves are the flies that endlessly tour your house. I must have killed 6 of them last week.
*Movie to recommend this weekend. Flight with Denzel Washington is Oscar gold. The Man With the Iron Fists is gloriously bad. Argo still deserves to be watched. I saw a couple great films this week and one of them included James Bond.
*Sam Bradford is going to be a good quarterback and it would be nice to surround him with better talent and schemes on the offense, but the kid has to make more plays in the red zone. The ball is in his hands more often than not and so far his 2012 numbers don’t show a clutch arm in the scoring zone. Bradford has the tools and just needs to make better decisions in the red zone. His pass completion percentage is very effective until he reaches the red zone. He then gets very inaccurate and holds onto the ball way too long. The Rams can get into the red zone but not into the end zone. Great quarterbacks break through those walls. It would help if he didn’t taste the turf so much and had receivers who could catch, but Sam holds onto the ball far too long and overthrows receivers as well. Something needs to give down there.
*Anybody watching Hunted on Cinemax? I am and two episodes in this series starring Melissa George as a CIA agent with a target on her back is only okay. I could be shoving off soon because it is failing to pull me in. The good thing about watching the first two hours is I can slip in down the road and appreciate the end if it is worth watching.
*Do yourself a favor and skip Cloud Atlas. The latest from the creators of the Matrix is three hours of boring blabber about destiny and far too many characters to connect with on any emotional level. Big ambitions and bad execution. See Argo or Flight instead.
*The Amazing Spider Man is out on DVD and worth watching because of the direction of Marc Webb and the deeper portrayal of Peter Parker/Spider Man by Andrew Garfield and the presence of Emma Stone. I am not a big fan of Spidey but this movie was a solid production. It helps clean up the mess that was Spider Man 3.
*Breaking news on the Cardinals front. Hitting coach and former player Mark McGwire is leaving St. Louis for the Dodgers in order to be closer to his family. Mac said years ago when he took the Cards job that eventually he would depart and go back home. I praise him for staying for Matheny’s first year and not running after La Russa departed. Mac came back, cleared his name, cleaned his conscience and do good here and takes home a ring as well. Good luck in LA, Big Mac.
*No matter how much I try, I can’t get into college sports. I can watch bowl games and the March Madness but without any real emotion. I just don’t have it or don’t have room for it in my system. I watch a lot of Tigers action but only if I am sitting still for a few minutes. It’s nothing against the intensity and fight in the young players. I just can’t get into it. Missing something for me.
*On Friday, I had my first round table interview with real actors. The latest perk being an official film critic. After interviewing TV Guide network star Katie Cazorla a month ago, I got to sit down with two actors from the Twilight Series on Friday on Blueberry Hill in an intimate 5 person round table interview. Daniel Cudmore and Charlie Bewley are just names to you right now, but look them up and keep an eye out for them. They are two great, appreciative and straight up cool guys. A lot of pain in the ass actors give the profession a bad name, but hard working hustlers like Cudmore and Bewley are the real deal. I respect them for their diligence. Here is the link to the interview, which includes a pic where I look very small.
*For the crowd that loves little French independent films, head over to the Tivoli and watch Step Up To The Plate, a film about a legendary French chef handing his three Michelin star restaurant down to his son. It really makes you appreciate the skill of a real chef. Cool time at the movies. Every time I watch a French film, I think of my sweet late grandmother Meme, aka Henrieta.
*The latest Bond film hits theaters this Friday, but I have already seen it and can tell you it is the best Bond I have seen in quite some time and cements Daniel Craig’s reputation as one of the best actors to ever fill that tuxedo. Skyfall is the most complete James Bond movie yet.
*Need something to listen to and wouldn’t mind having the tinkle of the blues guitar rub against your soul? Listen to Gary Clark Jr.. He has the voice of Marvin Gaye, the guitar ability of Jimi Hendrix and the sound of The Black Keys. Here is a tease.
*Film-Addict General Recommendation Section-
Our website is giving away Blu Ray, DVD and screening passes for certain areas. Check it out right here.
If you are curious what is coming to theaters in November, here is my preview for this month.
There’s my film-addict heavy blog section. Hyping my site as much as a I can every single day. That’s the hustle of creating something and being your own marketing rep.
*My son Vincent is becoming more mobile every day. He gets up, goes through his routine and then reaches the floor so he can explore. That includes an attempt at walking, reaching for cords, things he doesn’t need to touch, diving face first into the hardwood floor and generally becoming an attention hog. He is nearing 14 months old and is gaining an confidence and strength that I didn’t think kids his age were allowed to obtain.
* It’s unbelievable that Thanksgiving is approaching. Another year is about to go by and vanish into our past. A year ago my son was between hospital visits and my grandmother was still alive. My website was only a fickle idea in my head. I had a job. My wife was out of work. Life was different. Dangerous. A year later, a lot of things have changed, some for the good and others for worse. Vinny is healthy. My grandmother is gone. I am out of work but my wife Rachel Imperiale Buffa has a job. I have a website that I helped create. That’s life. You’re up and you’re down. Crashing into walls and in and out of painful waterfalls. Resistance happens every day and we just keep on pushing against the grinds of life and hold off our demise, mentally and physically. It’s an everyday battle. Believe me. I’ve been at the back of the line and at the forefront of disaster. I’ve seen bad things and done some good deeds. I am not perfect but I am alive. My only fear is being misunderstood. I just keep going and moving forward. Taking the punches and waking up to a beautiful wife and kid every single day. I may not have everything in life but I am happy. I’ll take that state of mind. They don’t sell it in stores but you can obtain it if you allow certain things to happen and don’t mind lending a piece of yourself to another soul. That’s life. The freedom to do what’s right and try to walk a straight line. It’s not all fun and games but there is a payoff.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.
Goodnight and good luck,
Dan L. Buffa
“For what it’s worth, I meant every word I said”