Me and What’s in My Head

Here are a few things that are rattling around my cage over the past couple of days.  

*The All Star game doesn’t suck.  It simply shouldn’t determine the home field advantage in the world series.  That’s the main gripe.  It makes the participants play hard and really compete, which can result in fine pitching duels like yesterday’s 3-0 AL domination, but still shouldn’t determine a huge advantage in the playoffs.  I don’t need to watch it either live.  ESPN adores and worships the event so they show every single part in its recap.  If you missed a glance from an old timer to a current player in the 4th inning, Sportscenter will have it.  Without the MLB ASG, ESPN would commit suicide.  Without the HR derby, they would leave town after they committed suicide.  
*ESPN shows all the highlights for the ASG because MLB is the only sport going on right now.  People fail to realize that during the good portion of the summer, baseball is all there is.  They don’t have to share the limelight with any other major sport.  NBA and NHL share a part of the year.  NFL comes in at the end of MLB and the dawn of hockey and basketball.  MLB is all by itself and when they take 3 days off, Sportscenter is as dry as the heat in STL in August.   Since I love baseball the most, I say this with pride.  It may not rule the world like the NFL, but it gets its own spotlight.  
*The HR Derby can go.  Seriously, fire a bullet into Berman and can the whole operation or make it faster paced or more entertaining.   Stop giving hitters 10 outs in each round.  Stop letting the HR totals add up throughout the rounds.  Each round HR count should stand on its own.  Make it interesting.   Pit Bryce Harper against Robinson Cano and have one of the hardest throwers in the game fire nothing yet fastballs down the middle of the plate.  Each gets THREE outs to hit as many home runs as they can.   Make it quicker.  It has to be faster and not become a long 2 hour event.  Berman can say BACK BACK BACK and its cool for about 3 minutes.  After, the derby becomes too much excess.  Like a lot of CGI in a movie.  Give me something dramatic, real and worth watching.  The HR derby sucks.  
*Carlos Beltran wants to play 3 more years and if I were him right now, why not?  He is running better, cranking power stats and holding up a 2 year deal in St. Louis.   If the Cards wish to keep him, it may take a 2 year deal at least and I wouldn’t be violently opposed to the deal.   If he wanted more money and 2 years and really wished to stay, I have started to switch my vote from one year only to maybe he can stay.  He has produced power numbers and held up in the health department.  We do have Oscar Taveras, but he is showing David Freese like ankles down at Memphis.   So if Beltran wants to stay here and doesn’t want too much of a raise, sign him up.  Worse comes to worse, he platoons with Oscar in Year #2.  I do like Matt Adams and this would keep him in a platoon spot, so if Beltran walks, I wouldn’t object either.  The Cards have options and good ones.  These are good problems to have.  Like standing at the car dealership and seeing three solid cars that just need some mileage.  If Beltran stays, you mix Matt Adams into the lineup or use him as a bench bat because he is still young.  If Beltran goes, you put Craig in right, mix Oscar in with Jay in center and put Adams at first.   The way Adams played full time at Wrigley last weekend, he makes that question even harder.  
Once again, good problems to have.  There is money coming off the books in 2014.   Jake Westbrook and his 9 million are gone.  You aren’t paying Furcal or Carpenter anymore.  You have payroll flexibility.  Think about it.  No answer is stupid.  Unless you say trade Matt Adams, which is stupid because he is young, productive, and electric with the bat AND cheap.   If you said let Beltran walk unless he wants 1 year and an option, I would consider that statement with merit.   
*The Way Way Back opens in theaters on Friday and is flat and disappointing.  Critics will gush over its wacky feel good charisma but this critic is telling you to stay away.   It’s got good writing in spots and a killer Sam Rockwell performance but runs dry in the third act.   Hardest part of writing a script?  Writing THREE good acts.  Trust me, I have three unfinished scripts.  
*White House Down is good entertainment but nothing golden sticks out after 3 weeks.  I gave it a 4/5 because I thought it was highly entertaining and special, but weeks later I can say its worth it but not worth seeing AGAIN.  There you have it, a film-addict revisit.  
*World War Z is a special film and a worthy 4/5.  I didn’t rate this film for the site but I would see it again.  It’s a fresh take on the zombie genre and Brad Pitt is good in it.  It relies on tension and not GORE.  
*I didn’t get a chance to see Now You See Me or This is The End.  I wish I had.  I will down the road.  You have to save some for Blu Ray, right???
*Cory Monteith overdosed on heroin and mixed in alcohol to further the departure.  Believe me, that’s what happened.  He left rehab in April but didn’t kick the habit.   He was a popular guy in Hollywood, had a good role on GLEE(not that I would know) and a killer girlfriend in co-star Lea Michele.   Too bad he had a drug addiction since he was 19.   This wasn’t done by Hollywood folks.  The guy struggled with substance abuse since he was a teenager and simply couldn’t outrun it.  Some people change.  Most can’t change.  Monteith got mixed up with the wrong drug.  Heroin is truly deadly.  It can stop your heart in an instant.  Either Cory got a bad batch or just let too much in.   The human body is vulnerable and weak to these substances.  Imagine lighting your insides on fire.  That’s drug use.   Cory was the same age as me.  31 years old.  The only reason I’m alive and he isn’t.  I am not a drug addict.  Just say no friends.
*Steven C. Miller is a indie horror director and I had the chance to interview him yesterday for his new film Under The Bed.  The movie is DVD worthy but the director is a real good dude who could make a solid horror film if given a budget.  He drove straight from Florida to Hollywood right out of film school when he was in his 20’s did so on 100 dollars, along with a couple buddies and he was in his car for 6 months.  He has made 1 mainstream movie and 7 indies.  He makes movies with teens or children as the heroes and ends films with a bang.  All of his movies are 90 minutes or less.  Talking to him, you got the sense that he knew what he wanted to do at an early age and is making it happen(on his terms) in the show.  Read the piece when it posts on Friday.
*Mel Gibson is Expendable.  He is the bad guy in Expendables 3, the AARP action slug fest brought to you by Sly Stallone.   Call it humor but the movies are a whole lot of fun and easy on the eyes.  Sly calls up all his action buddies and they get paid to blow shit up.  It’s action porn dished out 1980’s style.  The last one had Chuck Norris telling his own Chuck Norris fact joke.  Dolph joking about his real life braininess on screen.  Statham being…Statham.  Gibson will only add to the fun in the same way Jean Claude Van Damme did in the second edition.  If you love and miss old school action, watch the first two and await the Crazy Mel VS. Roided Up Sly matchup next year.
*Fruitvale Station, the true story indie about Oscar Grant featuring a star making Michael B. Jordan performance, is still on my mind 9 days later.  Powerful movie.  Comes out July 26th.  
*The Wolverine has a chance to be something different in this film James Mangold and Hugh Jackman present the idea of the X-Men’s finest character becoming mortal.   An interesting predicament for the anti-hero.  If you don’t like this stuff, read on.  If you like it, consider that Hugh came out and said the last one was shit and he wanted to do better.  This is redemption.
*Chris Carpenter was good in his Springfield start.  His stats(5 IP, 5 K, 3 BB, 3 ER, 5H) were alright but he came out of it the next day feeling strong and ready to go.  The starts don’t count until he gets back to the show.  He will make at least 3-4 more starts.  He’ll probably be back in early August.  I don’t think he takes the whole 30 days.  
*David Freese better get his swing working or else he may not be a Cardinal in 2014.  Let me explain before the STL BFIB whiny bunch throw me off the ARCH.   Freese hasn’t consistently got his bat going this year.  He had a wretched April, an average May, a hot June, and an okay to average July so far.  Freese needs to bust out of this average overall streak.  Freese is hitting .271 with 5 HR and 30 RBI.  That isn’t terrible but he needs to do better than that.  He is making 3.15 million this year.  He wants a multi-year extension after this season.  If he wants stability, he needs to finish with a bang.  He has played 74 games and has an on base percentage of .342.  That’s decent.  His problems is Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter.   Carpenter is blowing minds(with justification if you ask me) and Wong is tearing up AAA pitching.  Carpenter has made 2B his home but can play 3B as well.  Wong is going to come up to the club in September at the latest.  He will be here in 2014.  He is the future and this team is relying more and more on younger talent.  Freese is getting old and needs to earn his keep.  He wants to start and probably not step down to a utility bat or platoon guy.  If he wants to do that in a Cards uniform, he has to hit better.  His defense is adequate at best.  He hit .293 with 20 HR and 79 RBI in 144 games last year.  His stats halfway through are trending down and not up.  If he wants to get paid and paid here, he has to be better.  Carpenter and Wong aren’t stepping down.  
*Jon Jay has a similar dilemma.  He is having a rough season.  Hitting .250 with better power numbers than Freese(bad for David there).   Jay played in 100 or more games and hit .297 or better in the last three years.  He made getting rid of Colby Rasmus tolerable in 2011.  Jay has been a cheap producer the past three years.  His OBP percentage this year is a paltry .331 and for him that’s bad.  In 2012, his OBP was .373.  He is having a bad year and with the idea of Carlos returning, Oscar coming up soon and other options coming to light, Jon Jay is starting hear breathing over his shoulders.  I never saw him as a long term big time talent.  He was going to run out sooner or later.  He isn’t hitting leadoff anymore and is best in the #7 hole.  He will make a fine 4th OF if he wants to accept that role.  Rather or not Beltran stays or goes in 2014, he may be sharing time with Oscar, ride the bench or be elsewhere in 2014.  Jay’s defense has also become average to decent instead of gold glove worthy in 2013.  If he loses that, his bat gets more attention and that’s not good right now.   Reality hits hard for guys like Freese and Jon Jay.  
*People are throwing a large fit over Rolling Stone magazine posting a cover story of the Boston Bomber on their latest issue.  Listen people this is a magazine that branched out from music and movies a long time ago.   Get over it.  It is a story that I would love to read because I am a true crime nut and want the story behind the monster who threw a backpacked bomb into a well known epic race.  I want that story.  Instead of seeing Kanye or Beyonce on the cover, we get an old pic of the young man who became a terrorist with one move.  It’s called journalism.  Rolling Stone has been doing it for years.  They have put their foot in politics and war related topics for decades and having read several of their pieces, I approve of their work.  It’s detailed, full of quotes and source checked like a champ.  They can do more than talk about song and fiction over there.   It’s been done for a long time.  People are so sensitive since 9/11 about magazine covers exploiting terrorists.  When did we scare so easy?  What happened?  Why are we weak in 2013 about a man who blew up a part of Boston getting a story on the front page.  Evil lives right beside us friends.  Jacob Riis, a famous Philadelphia photographer of the slums, once said, “Where God builds a church, the devil lives next door.”  It’s part of us.  A human did this.  He committed these crimes.  I want to know why so maybe next time we can stop it or at least understand it.  I’ll buy the issue and read it and discuss it in a blog and put it all over the internet until I get chased by little people with torches.
I’m not lying about Charles Manson.  See my attached image.
*DVD Must Watch(Or Find). 42, the story of Jackie Robinson, came out on DVD today.   My critic colleague said it was decent yet wrapped in shiny foam.   Kind of goody goody.  It didn’t tell us anything new.  If you want a really good pull back the covers look at a famous baseball play, watch Billy Crystal’s HBO classic, 61, that chronicles the chase of Babe Ruth’s record by Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Back then, people wanted to create their own heroes.  So when the quiet church going outcast Maris got close to it and not the alcoholic rebellious Mantle fell off, outrage followed.  Barry Pepper and Thomas Jane have never been better than they are here. 
 Go find it.
*DVD Must Not Watch.  Dead Man Down.  Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace and Terrence Howard fill up this glossy dull crime thriller that carried distant characters and had the pace of a snail.   I had high hopes and it let me down.  Avoid it.  
*Film-Addict posts screening alerts every other day on our site.  Passes to advanced screenings.  If you live in STL and love movies, go there, sign up, and start commenting and getting free movies.
*Dan Brown novels are getting made again.  Ron Howard and Tom Hanks are coming together on his latest novel, Inferno.  It’s got a fairly fresh take on the Robert Langdon chronicles and should make for a good movie.  I read Da Vinci and Angels and Demons and thought the movies were crap.  Hopefully, this one is better.  It will be a billion dollars but I just hope its entertaining and a little smart.
*TV Alert.  Newsroom is back and stronger than ever. Dexter is holding up well and starting to wrap up its season and True Blood is near moronic.  
*Closing Statement on Cards.  They don’t HAVE to make a trade.  They can live with their internal options and system.  We have a guy named Brock Petersen cranking bombs at Memphis that can help our bench.  We have Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, John Gast and Chris Carpenter as rotation helpers.  We have plenty of offense.  Our bullpen is stocked worth of young power arms.  The second half features more PITT and CIN but also games against lesser competition.  Mozelaik doesn’t have to make a move.  That’s why he is a dangerous man.  
That’s all.  Thanks for reading.  Appreciate it as always.
Buffa right off the Hill in South City St. Louis

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