Mad Man Ranter Diary

Here’s a dose of what I think.  When the work on my website,, is done and the time for me to expand my mind and fire off shots at the more general topics comes to mind, I come here.   If you care to read, scroll or scan, I appreciate the eyes.  A writer is only as good as his audience’s analysis.

The Rams Choose to Part Ways with Their Free Agents
There’s a good chance Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola won’t be Rams this year.   There’s an even greater chance Brandon Gibson won’t be a Ram.   Safety Quentin Mikkel was released today.   If you are wondering what is happening and why, let me give you an idea.   The Rams are shedding payroll and preparing to utilize their draft and free agent options.   Jackson is an underrated back who has put up good numbers amid conditions that mirror the fellow soldiers of General Custard’s clan.  Jackson has worked with 8 offensive coordinators and 6 head coaches.  He will move on to a contender and I am happy for him.   Amendola is highly effective in this offense but also has a hard time staying healthy.   He missed significant portions of the 2011 and 2012 seasons due to shoulder injuries.   He is like a miniature version of Matt Holliday.  He plays the game as hard as anyone and sometimes his body talks back.
Amendola wants a lot of money and the Rams apparently have told him no.  At first, I was mad and then I understood the position.   Gibson will never be a #2 receiver in the NFL.  He isn’t consistent enough and doesn’t have breakaway speed.   Mekkel was going to make 3 million and the Rams are going to draft a safety to start in his spot.  Jeff Fisher’s Rams are trying to stay young and that is fine because I trust him and GM Les Snead after seeing their dramatic change in personnel and performance this past season.   They are unloading a lot of talent and hoping to retain, regain or reacquire it in another form.   The Rams will make a run at Michael Turner in free agency, even though he is getting older like Jackson and is the same style of RB but could have more upside.  They can also draft a running back with one of their 4 picks in the first two rounds.  The same goes for the wide receiver area, a place where the Rams can always use a boost.  Greg Jennings and Victor Cruz are free agents, but it’s hard to think the Rams will make a serious play for their services with the price tag looking shiny and high.
The Rams don’t have as much cap space as they will going into the 2014 season, so they will have to be crafty.  They can’t afford to take a step back after engaging their fan base in a reinvention this past winter.   The Rams were a competitor in the playoff picture until late and can’t turn into an embarrassment.   As STL Post Dispatch writer Bernie Miklasz pointed out, the Rams can cut veterans as long as they replace the production.   Reallocation of funds is a part of the sports business but a drop in play can’t be tolerated.  Sure, the Seahawks acquired Percy Harvin today and the 49ers received Anjuan Boldin in trades, but the Rams just have to react, sign with intent and draft smart.  A team’s quality control depends on the men making the moves above the field.  Who comes in and replaces the departing talent.  The pillars are there.   Sam Bradford, Chris Long and James Lauranitis.  The WR corps has young guns like Brian Quick and Chris Givens.  The Running Back core can’t be led by Darryl Richardson but Isiah Pead may get a shot.   Possibilities are endless for the team and they have to keep moving forward.  They hung with their NFC championship game division contenders in 2012, but have to stay in route.  2013 summer session will be interesting.
The Cards Sign Allen Craig and Look to Lock Down Rotation
A few things about the Cards.   They signed first basemen slugger Allen Craig to a 5 year, 31 million dollar deal.  I really like the deal.  Craig gets his hurt more than any GM would like but swings a big stick and could put up All Star numbers for under 7 million a season.  The Cards weren’t going to let him explode with a monster season and pay him 10 million a season.  John Mozelaik didn’t waste any time locking up the cornerstone first basemen.  Craig made a serious adjustment at  the plate 2 years ago, shortening his swing and staying back longer in the box, and has turned into a beast.  Who puts up better numbers and plays more games in 2013 and 2014?  Craig or Albert Pujols?  Don’t answer too quick.
The fifth spot in the rotation was supposed to be shaping up by today but the Cards are giving Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly one more round of action on Thursday to see what is in store.   It’s coming up to the middle of March and the starter who gets the spot needs the innings going into the end of spring training so a decision has to be made.  It was my impression that Miller won it with a better outing last Thursday, but Kelly gets one more chance to make a run for a piece of the starters pie.   Personally, while its fitting for a young starter to go through a year in the bullpen, Miller has always been groomed to be a starter and looks better there instead of coming out of the pen.  Kelly proved to be a reliable piece in both areas in 2012.  I see Miller winning the spot.
Mike Matheny is having back surgery this week and talks about it like it’s a dentist appointment.  Will they even knock him out?  The man is tough as nails.
Anybody who thought I was giving Mo and his team too much credit after my blogs last week about Furcal were mistaken.  I am mad at this team for not recommending surgery for a partially torn ligament in August when it occurred.   Reporters and team reps tell us it wasn’t an option then or in November and I regress with my deep knowledge of human anatomy and physiology.  A ligament rarely repairs itself with rest, especially given an advanced age.  He rested it, tested it and tore it.  Now in order to save his career, Furcal wants to have surgery. I think this was an unfortunate miss by the Cards and resulted in a tough situation for the suits who gambled and lost.   Maybe I juggled my words a little but here I won’t.  The Cards let Furcal have a say in his future and didn’t press for surgery at a time when a return to action was possible and a partially torn ligament could have been fixed before hurt any further.  I said it was unfortunate because then Mo’s hands were tied in finding a more suitable replacement for Furcal.   He also didn’t want to give up prospects in a trade.  He messed up and he knows it when he looks at the average Ronny Cedeno turning double plays.   Hopefully, Pete Kozma slugs enough to get us to the trading deadline.
Real baseball is rushing upon our shores fans.  I am telling you.   April will be here before we know it and the obsession will begin.   I am still not sure I am ready.
One thing is locked and loaded with this team.  The bullpen’s right side.   Trevor Rosenthal returned to the pen and continued throwing white hot 100 mph moving heat over the weekend.   He has to anchor the 7th inning this season when the team has a lead.  He is also your strikeout pitcher in a close game.  Reliable weapon to have.
The Blues Come Home
They made a push on the road and came up with an acceptable 2-3 result.  They had an impressive 6-3 win over Phoenix on Thursday, came back and beat the Sharks in Saturday and blew a late lead in Anaheim to a high scoring team last night and lost.   This team is looking better with Jake Allen and Jaroslav Halak in net and the offense scoring plenty of goals but the defense continues to break down and they seem to take stretches of play off.   There are too many times when the defense can’t clear the puck and the team gets too many shots at our net.  Wide open looks and shots through traffic.   I will stand here and say Jake Allen needs to start the majority of the games because he is the hot hand.  At this point, with 23 games left, it doesn’t matter who makes more money or holds the experience.   Whoever is stopping shots and inspiring the right play in front of him needs to be in net.  Which means there are few to none for Brian Elliot, who carries the confidence of a recovering alcoholic locked in the cold section of Friar Tuck’s right now.  Elliot can’t take too many starts to find himself. I believe, as he did last year, Hitch will give Halak a good chance to win the spot but in my mind Allen is the white hot rookie who the team is ready to get behind.  Make your excuses.  Those are my thoughts.  The team comes home for three games and can’t afford to lose either of them.  They have 28 points and there is a log jam at the 7-8-9 ranking area in the conference standings.   Which means 5 teams have 28 points and a loss or two could sink one of those teams.  Put up or shut up time is here so it would be nice if the Not Fucking Around Crew would show up tomorrow night.
Blunt Rants Of The Week
I hate being asked why I am tired.   It’s a silly fucking question for any person.   It seems older people think that younger people should never be tired.  This is why they are called senile and useless.   Older people are just jealous they can’t do the things the younger bodies still can.   I get told this every day when I yawn or simply look tired.   Here is what I do every day.   I go to work at 545 in the morning, sometimes without coffee if I don’t get up soon enough.   I work in a dock area, doing physical labor and am required to assist many areas with my skills.  This means providing production with skids and boxes.  Unloading and loading trucks.  Driving the company truck across the street.   Wrapping skids for outbound orders.   Putting away stock.  It’s a body buster.  I then go to the gym after work at least 3 times a week.  I work out and don’t TALK.   I then go from there to get my kid at daycare.  I get him home, feed him, play with him, bathe him, and get him into bed.  It’s nearly 8pm.  Then, I may do some writing or film-addict work.   Wife gets home.   Chat, dinner and a TV show or two.  I may not go to bed until midnight because I also need to take some solo time for myself and re calibrate.   The thing starts over the next day.  Granted, I am starting a new job next week and this changes but its still a full time job and other things.  I work full time, have an 18 month old, seek a life, try to be a good husband, do web work and write for my site, write more on the side, work out and watch some quality TV while secretly learning how to cook and doing house chores.   THERE IS NO BREAK for a dad and active participant of life.  I yawn because I am fucking tired and human.  I really hate this question.
Here’s something else I hate.  People who complain about their jobs.  Every day I hear this bullshit from men and women alike.   Here’s a clue.  If you don’t like your job, QUIT.  If you can’t, find a way or stop whining.  It gets old to another person really quick.   Do it at home around your family who is required by law to listen to you complain.  Don’t do it around fellow hopeless workers.  The painful part of humanity is the freedom of speech.  Everyone shouldn’t get this right if they are going to abuse it.  Stop complaining.  Here’s an example.  I didn’t like the way my workplace is changing and the company is evolving.  I see a lot of distress and disorganization.  I see turmoil ahead.  I don’t like it here.  What I did was sought out another job, found one, accepted it and changed my life.  I am leaving one job for another this next week.  I didn’t like where I was at and instead of whining about it like a nerdy high school slab of neurotic meat spits shit about a C grade on a paper, I went out and changed things.   That is how real tough people get shit done.  End of story.
IF YOU DON”T LIKE YOUR LIFE THEN CHANGE IT.  End of session.  That will be no charge.  Just act on it.
If only politics today had Abe Lincoln.   When Lincoln comes out on DVD this month, watch it.  A great film with true power.   Steven Spielberg carved out a 4 month chunk of Lincoln’s life and put it inside a bullet casing and fired it at your head this past winter.  At the end of his life, Lincoln gave his soul to the future and knew full well he would die for it.   In order to abolish slavery with an amendment, he prolonged a war and that made certain people mad.  A book called Team of Rivals explains all this well.  The movie is more exciting and features another simply killer Daniel Day Lewis performance.  He gives about 7 speeches in the film but the one that resonates is the one where he is convincing his fellow members of Congress to understand his mission.   He urges them to believe in not just rectifying a present problem but fixing it for ALL TIME.  He united whites and blacks way before Martin Luther King Jr. did.  Things didn’t go as planned and took decades upon decades to settle down but like MLKJ, Lincoln died for this present we work with today.   He stood strong, made decisions and impacted this country with his wise knowledge and strength.  When will another politician ever do that again?  This is another reason I don’t do politics.  Give me a reason.
Random Bits
  • The IHOP Pancake house on Chippewa in St. Louis city is gone.  A childhood establishment was closed months ago but was finally demolished this past week.  It’s amazing when you literally see things change in your life.  A place I went to over 100 times is gone now.  Places like IHOP and Uncle Bill’s are old nostalgic treasures revered more for their personality than food.   That place will be missed.
  • It’s amazing the friendships one can create inside four months at one job.   While the job wasn’t great, I did meet some interesting and good people at my current job.  It’s crazy how many people we pass through in this life.
  • Banshee is concluding its first season this Friday and I am literally on the edge of my seat waiting.  It’s been a long time since I so anxiously waited for a season finale.   This cinemax pleasure pack with a secret depth is coming back next year but what the hell will I do until then?  Probably take up a retiring show like Southland.
  • Flowers for your wife aren’t a bad idea if you can surprise her with them.   Sure, they die, but they are damn pretty for two weeks with the right care and stand as a sign of appreciation.   Saying they are a waste is kind of stupid.   Buying a woman food can be called a waste because she eats it and releases it.  Flowers mean something.   I don’t get them for Rae every month but I do like to surprise her every once in a while.
  • There’s nothing wrong with proposing to a woman at a sporting event.  As long as she is not criminally shy or hates sports.   If not, do it.  Element of surprise is nice but not needed.
  • There’s nothing wrong with standing in front of a charging basketball player getting ready to dunk either, poor Brandon Knight.  At least you tried.
That’s it.  Time to go do more of those things that make people tired.  Thanks for reading if you stayed.
Weary yet blunt and able,
Dan L. Buffa

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