Good morning ladies and gents,
The latest round of fresh material hits now. With the archive footage of the 25 things back in 2010 when I wasn’t responsible for a 19 month old man beast landing last night, this fresh dose merges the two corners into a completely established centerpiece. Allow me to open fire here.
1.) Canelo Alvarez takes center stage and DELIVERS! On Saturday night in Texas, the fiery red headed Mexican champion stepped into the ring against seasoned veteran Austin Trout. Both fighters were undefeated and both wanted to put their fist through each other’s head. This is boxing at its finest and a reminder to the impatient bastards that call the sport dead that it is far from it. These two got into a ring and engaged each other with meaningful hand to hand combat for 12 rounds with the intent of inflicting pain. There’s something wonderfully old school about it. Clearly, in my mind, that Canelo easily won the fight. Several boxing pundits at ringside will tell you different but the match I saw from my couch saw a younger fighter taking apart an older won. Canelo landed the bigger punches, never appeared hurt or rattled, slipped many of Trout’s shots and controlled the fight. When Canelo lost a round, he was more than likely taking a breather and not getting beat up. His power is what made the difference in this match. Everybody heard about the power yet still doubted the kid coming in. I partially agreed. He hadn’t fought a big time contender and was still waiting for the moment. In Texas on April 20th, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez found the moment and seized it. He wanted the fight, took control and slowly yet surely beat up Trout. Austin never made Canelo look afraid or threw a shot that laid a dent. Canelo did and sealed the fight with a 7th round knockdown that was classic Alvarez. 13 seconds into the round, he walked in and fired a straight right hand that buckled Trout’s knees and sent him eating mat. The biggest reason people will say Trout could have won(once again, ludicrous) comes from the fact that he is a nice guy. Yes, he is gracious, cool, classy and genuine. He gets all of those trait confirms from me. However, Canelo beat him straight up, Teddy KGB style. Canelo looked improved, slipping Trout’s desperate punches, bobbing and weaving like Ali but hitting like Frazier. I felt the kid’s punches back here in the Midwest. He’s got atom bombs for fists and uses them well. He wasn’t getting tired either. Canelo takes his time, charges up the guns and fires, then lays back, waits, charges back up and fires. It’s his style and always has been. If he gets a shot against an aging Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo is going to find him and bruise him. If Floyd can get past the underrated Robert Guerrero, he will get a stiff test from Canelo. If you don’t think so, watch the fight tonight. Go ahead. Make a date. I had Canelo winning 116-111 because at no point in the fight did he seem hurt at all. Save me the talk about the busier fighter rule. Here is what I think wins a fight. Control. Power of the punches. Who was hurt? Who landed the thuds and made a dent? Anybody can throw a punch. Few can land cleanly with consistency. Quality over quantity folks. Read it up and ice your kidney later.
2.) The Cardinals bounce back from an ugly 8-2 defeat on Friday to beat Cliff Lee last night 5-0 behind one big inning and Lance Lynn’s strong outing. Every time Lee faces the Cardinals, he gets wild. After walking one guy during his first 23 innings of 2013, he walked 3 batters in 2 innings on Saturday night. Cliff Lee was 2-0 with a very good ERA and one of the bright spots for Philly but he can’t seem to put back to back solid starts against our Cards. They wait him out, let him throw outside the zone and take walks. If we could do this against the rest of the league’s slop. we would be in first place in baseball. Roy Halladay beat us on Friday handily. We beat Lee on Saturday. Jake Westbrook takes on Kyle Kendrick tomorrow night for the chance to take 3 of 4 from the Phillies. A few things about the Cards.
*Winning Thursday was crucial. Take the first game, find a temporary closer and regain a few testicle points when you start a long road trip. The Cards won a game in Pittsburgh, got beat easily, and were getting beat before a storm knocked out Wednesday’s action. You come into Philly, get the best of Cole Hamels and see your battered bullpen finish a 4-3 game. That’s setting the tone.
*Edward Mujica isn’t the long term closer answer but he will due. Think of the question mark being taken away but the search will continue. The best thing about Mujica is his calm demeanor on the mound and his sinker. He had runners on the corners on Thursday and escaped with a save. Boggs is soul searching, Rosenthal is regaining confidence so for now its Mujica’s job. Kelly remains your long man. In my eyes, the job is Rosenthal’s by early June. His stuff is too good.
*Lance Lynn is an enigma. He struggles in Arizona, shuts down the Reds, gets roughed up by the Pirates and shuts down the Phillies. He is a puzzle even at 30 pounds less. Lynn’s best weapon is his moving fastball and it has garnered him a spot in the top 10 in strikeouts. He needs to harness his emotions and mix his pitches better. Hitter seems to tee off on him more in the earlier frames or his last inning. However, against two strong lineups, Lynn turned into Nolan Ryan. Against inferior teams, he struggled. No explanation. He does need to be in the rotation. Too much talent to mess with. Trade it or start it.
*Jaime Garcia had his first meltdown Friday. An error helped a quick 3 run rally but Garcia had two outs and let the inning slip away. He ended up getting pounded for 8 runs and reminded us all that a Jaime breakdown can happen anytime and most likely happens on the road. He deserves 2 more wins but frustrates enough to call it even. Will he ever shed this soft exterior or is it just him letting a couple plays change the whole game?
*Ty Wiggington is the worst free agent signing by Mozelaik since Khalil Greene. He hasn’t hit well in four years, got paid too much money, and generally strikes out a ton without adding much. Save me the clubhouse uplift he provides. Makes no sense. If you aren’t producing your worth diminishes a ton. Ty is giving nothing. He will be released when Oscar comes up or sooner.
*As I always advise, it’s a long season. April doesn’t determine division winners but defines the race in the end. The Cards just need to win as many series’ as they can and maintain momentum. Domination comes later when the bullpen is figured out. It is still in disarray. Wrongly shifting Boggs may create a 2 month ripple effect. Jason Motte has little chance of pitching in 2013. Ligaments don’t get better with rest. They require surgery.
*After Carlos Beltran cranked 3 home runs in 3 games in Philly, the haters will back off again. His detractors are as fool hardy as Matt Holliday’s naysayers. The ones that want Oscar Taveras up here now and don’t like Beltran jogging to first base. The ones who forget he was brought in to hit for average and power and not legging out infield hits. Beltran will only play around 130 games tops but will produce. He has done it his entire career. Get off his back and get realistic about our young phenom. Let Beltran earn that dough. Oscar’s time will come.
3.) The Blues are starting to really play well. After dropping the first game of the homestand against the Hawks on Sunday, the Note fired off 3 consecutive wins at home punctuated by 2 straight shootout wins. Last season, we couldn’t win a shootout for our necks. This season, the Blues are 5-1 in the final sudden death round. The team isn’t scoring enough but playing with a physical imposing grit that you can’t teach. David Backes and Ryan Reaves are hitting everything that moves, Brian Elliot is once again rejuvenating his career and the defense is mightily improved. With 5 games left, the Blues are itching closer into the top four playoff spots in the west as opposed to the bottom four. Is it just me or does the season feel 6 months old and not just three?
4.) Oblivion is a letdown to say the least. Since my colleague Moore reviewed it for the site, I was able to catch it and just watch it like a normal movie lover. Going in I was hoping for a riveting science fiction blast of entertainment because I like Cruise and he doesn’t waste our time with his work. I left trying to understand what happened to a solid idea for a film? The biggest problem with the film is it carries ZERO payoff. Sure, we get an answer(somewhat) to Harper’s riddle and his struggle and find out what exactly happened to him before the earth was obliterated, but in the final moments a sweet little bowtie is placed on the film and it sinks the film deeper in muck. The climax is disappointing and the resolution is downright corny and second rate. When in doubt, Hollywood screenwriters resort to a failsafe tactic in their writing and here they did it again in a manner of speaking. Oblivion starts off hot, starts to die slowly and ends with a thud. Cruise is an underrated actor and usually nails his roles(you don’t have 12 straight 100 million dollar grossing films and 3 Oscar noms for no reason) but here he is miscast in the role and brings the movie down. Freeman just kind of shows up and spits out inspirational jargon. The women’s parts are very underwritten. Worst of all, the film has no soul. No emotional impact. If it had half the heart and soul of Derek Cianfrance’s A Place Beyond The Pines, the result may have been more worthy. As it is, Oblivion is a disappointing stinker which may deserve a look on DVD or a late night stop on cable. Next up….Pain and Gain.
5.) TV intrigue. I have finished the first two seasons of Game of Thrones. A riveting, bloody, brutal and truly fascinating medieval series with so many stories and angles to explore. Next up for visiting are Southland and Hell on Wheels. I don’t read many books these days. I love television too much and find more fun and insight there. I am dying to get into Ray Donovan with Liev Schrieber(a criminally underrated talent), which is about a Hollywood fixer with deadly family ties and an existence that lays its cement around the disposal of moral integrity and bodies at the top of Mulholland Falls. Schrieber is perfect for the role. Dexter rightfully needs to conclude this summer and will. 8 seasons is enough. After the plot reveal in Season 7, all signs pointed to closure. Great groundbreaking series that paved road for Showtime’s brave original programming. I miss Rescue me and Lights Out but understand their departures to an extent. Always something juicy around the corner on premium cable. Mad Men is back and after a bumpy two hour premiere righted itself in the second episode. Jon Hamm is better than ever and I will be contacting his publicist(got the number) for an interview this next week. Hoping my STL roots seal the deal there. Onward…
6.) Final Bits. A Place Beyond The Pines is the best movie I’ve seen in months and matters. Check it out. Latest musical crush in The Fossil Collective, a folk alternative rock band. I really like their easy going sound and lead vocals. Find The Intouchables at your local redbox. It’s funny and has decent drama that doesn’t manipulate at all. (Story time) I told my son before bed tonight that politics may be a better arena when he is older. I can’t lend my life to it now but I can imagine a BUFFA powered campaign. I told him to keep his soul behind his tie if he does indulge and to never let go of his intentions. If then, cut and run. He smiled briefly and then spit up. I wish The Crow wouldn’t be remade but like Tom Hiddleston for the lead role. I would be lying if I said the desire to be a cop has left my body for good. Something I find fascinating and noble about that profession. Go to bed knowing you are making a difference. If I didn’t have a family, I’d run back into it. That isn’t a “I wish I didn’t have what I have” by any means. I love my family. Just saying an open thought. I’d be a good cop and could stay clean and fight the noble fight. Watching the work of the Boston PD in Friday’s thrilling capture of the second bombing suspect set me in awe of their work. It’s not all showy, ego driven or full of hollow care. They had the weight of the city on their shoulders, followed leads, did the ground work, knocked on a thousand doors and made a clean arrest. I hate the conspiracy queens and the religious nuts trying to grab headlines from a horrible event. They always pop up here. Look, sometimes people just want to watch the world burn. It’s not complex or morally ambiguous. It’s just bad men doing bad things. It wasn’t a mass murder or suicide bomb related(takes away religious motive) and wasn’t far reaching enough to draw in corruption. Anybody can make a fucking bomb and leave it somewhere and set it to go off. The good guys still have the upper hand in this dirty war and you better be glad for that. My mind centers on the innocent 8 year old boy who just wanted to congratulate his dad on finishing a 26 mile race and got killed instead. For that, the bombing suspects deserve to be tortured like helpless mice. The Boston PD kept it clean and got the job done. That’s inspiring.
That’s all I got. Stay classy folks and thanks for reading.
Dan L. Buffa