5 Takes From Buffa

The kid is asleep so I am firing out a dose today that entails everything but the Cards.  I promised more single subject rants/blogs but today is a few different things.   5 takes from me starting with…

1. Blues and Free Agency
There’s part of me that wants to be naive and think owner Tom Stillman has a load of cash stuffed in his backyard like Tony Soprano and he can fund a big move or acquisition but in the end reality shows us that the Blues don’t have the revenue.   As Bernie Miklasz writes in his daily bytes, “They need an infusion of corporate dollars on luxury suites and sponsorships.  Stillman knew what he was getting into.  Buying into a franchise with short money concession and TV deals negotiated by prior ownership.”   In basic terms, the Blues don’t have the hidden Swiss vault full of TV money and the team doesn’t make enough annually to be consistent in adding pieces.  They have built up a youthful bunch of players that have underachieved and have to boost their attack with a forward.   
As much as I cried out yesterday for the team to look at Jarome Iginla on a short term deal, they would have had to pay him a high ceiling salary of 6 million on 1 year.  Unless they move Halak and/or Perron/Oshie, they simply don’t have the money to match an offer from the Bruins or Red Wings.  The Blues not only have to reacquire the influx of local dollars and fan support but they also have to convince top tier players to come here over more competitive franchises.  We are a midwest low market team with little lottery cash.   Sure, we have a great record the past two seasons but still exist as a risk for any veteran scoring talent.  Iginla, simply put, would have been the difference making winger who can deposit 30-40 goals when healthy.   He did it with Calgary, a horrible team, so having him here would have benefited both sides.  However, The Bruins have held the cup in recent years and were in the finals last year, so the 36 year old star went there.  
Here’s the thing.  The Blues didn’t even get involved, instead vying for the services of Stephen Weiss(Detroit) and Vilpi Filppula(Tampa Bay).  They lost out there, unable to match the money or be the lucrative city for a star player to want.  There are other fish out there, but the scoring talent is lean and mean.  
In a nut shell folks, the Blues could be screwed unless they find a buyer for Halak and can get some talent in return.  We could see the same bunch, with a few low hanging fruit acquisitions(2 guys yesterday I can’t even name) being our main catch.  It is early and I trust GM Doug Armstrong almost as much as I trust the Cards GM Mozelaik.  These are the times I wish Armie had Mo’s money to play with.
2. Rams and their future
The Rams proposal to renovate the Ed Dome was rejected by the Convention Center committee so both sides go back to the drawing table.  This match is in the early stages, so there won’t be much movement or a winner soon.  I’ve researched it and done my homework and can say the team isn’t going anywhere.  Some deal will be worked out and the lease will be renewed.  I do have some fresh thoughts and perspective.   Starting with, the proposal being a 700 million dollar fix.  For that much money, why not build a new stadium in St. Louis County all together.  It makes little sense to renovate a dead sack joint like the Dome if you ask for that dough.  The Rams were a little dumb there.  The CVC will agree to less money(prob 400-500 million) and the fixes will be done.  I maintain that the thought of a new stadium needs to be discussed at least.  An outdoor stadium would do wonders for the team and puncture a serious market of revenue in St. Charles or Earth City.  That’s a bit dreamy yet still my own.  
The team isn’t going anywhere and that’s a good thing.  LA wants an expansion team and has already owned the Rams once.  Jacksonville is going to London some day so the Rams are in STL.  My thing is Stan Kroenke showing more interest and involvement to get something done.  He waited 15 years to own the team himself and doesn’t seem to be getting involved.  The man has had a piece of 3 different sports franchises so he knows business and getting stuff done.  Stan is a quiet mild mannered poker faced suit so I don’t think he will roll up his sleeves.  I do expect him to  open his wallet and mind and show real interest in finding a way to fix the Dome or make a plan for a new home in the STL area.  Jay Nixon wants to help and if Stan and the Governor get together, a deal can be hashed out.  Don’t expect any of this to happen in the near future.  Just parlor room talk.  
3. My Desire for the Rams
I want the team to stay for obvious reasons.  Fisher Ball has injected a sense of optimism and pride into Rams football here in St. Louis.  Les Snead and Fisher have sharply redirected this franchise’s path and made them a possible contender inside a year.  Two years ago when we were in the hazardous area of Spag’s pillars and boring stigma, any Rams fan would have passed the bill to kick the team out of the city and invest the money in an NBA or more specifically a soccer team.   Now, with Jeff Fisher building this team from the inside out, I want them to stay put and become something.   They had a great draft in April.  Tavon Austin looks like moneyball magic.  Jake Long will be protecting Sam Bradford, who also has a new toy in TE Jared Bell and growing WR targets like Brian Quick and Chris Givens.  The defense is back and stronger than ever with a new strong safety to team up with corners Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins.  The running back group will be a battle between young hungry ballers.  Fisher has a chance to overthrow the rule of the 49ers and the Seahawks in the coming seasons if he maintains course.  The bottom line is this team needs to stay put.  
4. Banshee and Newsroom
If you want a new TV series to dive into that has a full season under its belt, choose between the greatness of Aaron Sorkin storytelling with HBO’s Newsroom(new season debuts this month) or Cinemax’s gritty pulpy dish called Banshee(new season comes out on DVD this month, 2nd season comes in January).   Both shows are juicy treats and offer different things.   Newsroom is the golden goose of Sorkin’s political rebel spirit, taking on real news stories from 2011 and giving his take on them.   Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterson and Emily Mortimer are terrific and the writing is superb.  Banshee is all action and hardcore dirty romance with a secret weapon lying in the middle and that’s a multi-layered plot involving two old thieves meeting up in a crazy town called Banshee and getting into serious trouble.  One of them takes over the identity of the sheriff while the other reforms herself with a new family.   The acting is great and the in your face brutality of the fight scenes are memorable.  Check them out while they are young and growing.  
5. Mark Strong Film-Addict Piece
I posted a character actor spotlight on http://www.film-addict.com about the great, versatile and underrated talent, Mark Strong.  He’s been in Sherlock Holmes, Body of Lies, Zero Dark Thirty, Rocknrolla, Robin Hood, Kickass, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Revolver.  He is the face you know but the name you don’t so allow me to connect the dots.  He steals scenes from the movie stars and is quite superb.  Read up at the link below.  
That’s all I got today.  Watching The Cards and Marlins do battle. You may see a blog on them later or it may come tomorrow or Monday.  I truly have no gauge these days.  Being out of work, I can barely keep track of what day it is.  
Have a good weekend,

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