Venting and Informing

Straight and selfish, here I go.  I’m unplugging the soul and doing some writing or you could basically call this the latest case of venting and informing.

First up, the Cards, rogues in red who paint my nights dark crimson with their roller coaster style of competing.  Things on my mind about the Birds.
*Their rough 4-12 patch has a lot to do with a tough schedule.  We are getting beat by very good team, even giving the Cubs the limelight last night in a horrid 3-0 loss that barely registered a pulse. This isn’t weird science or a training session for your mind.  No inception here.  The Cards are way under .500 in play against teams with a better than .500 record.  The Braves, Pirates and Dodgers are strong balanced teams that can come back.  The Dodgers came back from a 6-0 deficit last night.  The Pirates came from behind to complete a sweep of the Marlins on Thursday.  The Cards rank second to last in comeback wins(18).  We don’t win close games, can’t beat tough competition and barely come back.  Against the Cubs bullpen last night, we went quietly into the night in our home stadium.  
*The losses in Atlanta and Pittsburgh were tough and LA taking 3 of 4 was hard but last night’s loss got me red hot angry inside.  Facing a dismal deprived team in our own yard and getting shut out. The Cards are becoming embarrassing.
*Why?  Pitching is buckling under the pressure of a very weak hitting team.  Gone is the efficient with RISP lineup who could score 7 runs in an inning or grind out a win with one big clutch hit.  In its place is a weakened bunch of professionals who can’t hit for power.  Take away the two bashings of the Reds in Cincy and this team hasn’t hit many home runs since the break.  We get a lot of singles but rarely a triple or a home run.  Matt Holliday, David Freese, Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran have warning track power right now.  With Yadi out, the bottom part of the lineup is weak so pitchers can expose that.  Moving Freese to the #2 hole may work but he still needs to hit for power to right field.
*The starters have been hit hard.  Adam Wainwright has lost three starts in a row while being outpitched.   Jake Westbrook erased enthusiasm in late July with 3 straight(one painfully awful rescue mission included) awful starts against the cream of the crop.  He looks lost.  Shelby Miller threw 2 pitches this week and got zinged by a liner.  Lance Lynn didn’t allow a lot of hits last night but walked 5 CUBS.  The Cards best starter right now is Joe Kelly.  Take that as you will.  Here’s the worst thing.  If the Cards make a move for a starter or bring somebody in permanently, Kelly will be the one thrown out.  Right now, Westbrook needs a mysterious elbow injury or straight up benching.  Baby Carlos didn’t provide a real spark on Thursday but who was shocked.  The Cards have brought up Martinez twice this season to sit in the pen for 2 weeks.  That’s not going to make him ready for August.  He’ll need more time.  Michael Wacha starts tonight and is used to no run support.  He has 39 K and 4 BB in 6 starts with 1 win.  He may pitch well but if he gets no support does it matter?  Pitchers do buckle under the pressure of throwing shutouts.
*Jon Jay is enjoying a resurgence now that he is back in the rightful spot of 6th or 7th in the lineup.  He has the best batting average on this homestand and is getting used to being stranded on base.  He may have a weak arm in center but he has great range for a Miami boy with a big ass.  He is heating it up but getting no attention because he isn’t scoring.  2 doubles last night and no runs scored.  That’s what will happen if Kozma or Descalso back him up.
*I am sure Daniel Descalso has been solid overall this season, but his defense has declined and there are times where he looks lost at the plate.  Last night, he was ejected in the 9th after arguing a called third strike.  Pitch was outside but close enough to where YOU HAVE to swing the bat.
*Pete Kozma hits like a girl.  There I said it.  Love his baby jesus smooth hands though.
Moving on for a moment-
*Interviewed director D.J. Caruso.   The filmmaker usually blows up stuff with Shia Laboeuf or hunts killers with Angelina Jolie but this film he made, Standing Up, is about teenage bullying and rising up against it.  He made it for his kids and its quite a sweet little movie.  Talking to him about the difference between big budget filmmaking and low budget shooting, he told its all about the craft and having the chance to make a movie period.  Having 600 extras or just 6 people on set.  These directors are regular people who get to play in the land of make believe.  What impressed me was Caruso praising my website.  He loves Film-Addict and especially liked the 100 films in a 100 Days weekly feature.  Hearing a guy like Caruso praising my site lights the fire in this addict and encourages me to push forward and knock down the walls of adversity that comes with a small business.  Caruso and others notice the old fashioned mom and pop setup on our site but are impressed with the design or upkeep.  Hearing that keeps me going.
*A gritty British indie, BLOOD, is available on demand and features a wicked cast including Paul Bettany and Mark Strong.
*Since Banshee was so much fun, I’m giving Strikeback a look.  In its third season now, I am going to catch up.  Hell on Wheels will have to wait.  Having an opening sequence like this wets the lips.
That song is “Short Change Hero” by a British band called The Heavy.  Great song. 
*Watched a part of my favorite film last night.  HEAT.  Pacino, DeNiro, cops, robbers, Kilmer, Mann, action packed and soulful.  18 years later that is my most treasured piece of filmmaking.  It’s not quite unpopular but it’s true.
*I can watch Hard Knocks all day.  Any HBO sports show brings the goods but watching football players rise up in the late summer ashes and fight for 52 spots on a roster in the heat is good times.  Being featured for the second time are Marvin Lewis’ Bengals.  The favorite part of the episode for me wasn’t the old fashioned brutally effective Oklahoma drill(one tackler, one blocker, one winner) but the James Harrison segment.  Coined the baddest man in football because he is the most fined and deadliest tackler around.  Harrison is mean and he knows it.  A short stocky little beast, whenever he is on camera, Harrison is an island unto himself.  I would rather get hit by a sledgehammer than get hit by Harrison.  I still remember the lame sad cry from a QB two years after Harrison sacked him.  It was pitiful and real.  A lot of players hit hard in the NFL but Harrison is vicious and out to hurt people.  He’s from a different school of players, one owned by Dick Butkiss and Mike Singletary.  He is also amazingly entertaining television.   Straight out of a comic book.  The crisp well balanced narration from Liev “Ray Donovan” Schreiber always helps.  He’s a play by play guy to the behind the scenes madness.  I am glad Showtime didn’t have a problem with him keeping his HBO voiceover gig.
Finishing up with a couple pointers.
*Albert Pujols deserves the right to sue the shit out of Jack Clark for Clark calling out AP on steroid use on the radio.  Told 13 years ago by Pujols’ trainer, allegedly, Clark suspected Albert of using, telling co-host Kevin Slaten that he had known for years that Pujols used.  Slaten should know better what to say and what not to on the air.  In 2009, Slaten didn’t tell Dave Duncan he was on the air and got fired as a result.  A loud mouthed buffoon who rules the day to slam callers and anyone who opposes him, Slaten didn’t do anything yet play ball with Clark on Albert and both were fired last night.  Moronic behavior that is the basis of Clark’s financial troubles and short stays on radio stations.  It’s okay to have a strong opinion and let it rip on the radio.  It’s not okay to attack someone without evidence.  It’s bush league and it’s bad for business.  Clark didn’t have enough evidence to openly suspect Pujols of PED usage, especially on the radio.   Pujols rightfully came out last night with a statement bashing Clark and anyone who questions his word.  Hate Albert for leaving STL but never hate his willingness to put his money where his mouth is on hot topics.  He has passed test after test for years and been clean.  He gets attacked for PED usage and his age, and something all the haters and attackers lack is REAL CRISP HARD EVIDENCE.  That makes them look very stupid.  At least most talk about it in a bar setting.  Clark did it on the airwaves and paid the price.  So Clark suddenly comes out this week with information based 13 years ago.  It’s not just irresponsible. It’s foolish, and worse, it’s irresponsible(pulled an Aaron Sorkin tactic there).   Clark has no right to do what he did and I hope Albert sues him for everything he is worth and the station too for giving a radio slot to a couple old time hippie degenerates like Clark and Slaten.  Think before you speak next time Jack.   Albert Pujols isn’t just tough on the field.  He’s no holds barred off it as well.
*Hey Cards fans, don’t jump off the ledge yet.  There’s no reason to panic.  It’s August 10th and the majority of the reminder of the schedule is dedicated to weak opposition.  We took our licks against the big teams and now need to pound on the weak.  Get back on the horse.  Right the ship.  Bring a little diversity into this wood cabin clubhouse.  Scotch and ribs all around.   We have two series left against the Pirates(maybe more), which leaves plenty of time to make up 4 games.  They got pounded by the Rockies last night and we didn’t take advantage.  So what?  The last 19 games on our schedule come against inferior opponents.  They will be gunning for our head but the advantage is ours.  So calm down.  Have a drink.  Don’t call it yet.  What kind of fans are you to call this team out in early August?  Have you not paid attention to the 2011 and 2012 teams? We rallied from 10.5 games back in 2011 on August 25th.  We came back last year after hanging in the doldrums for a couple months.  Nothing is decided until you are truly against the wall.  Cards are getting beat up right now and exposed.  That can change with a couple series wins.  It’s okay to be worried.  Just don’t count this team out.  That isn’t just stupid.  It’s downright insane based on recent history.  
Baseball is great because you can turn things around less than a day after a loss.  It’s a daily exercise of the mind and body.  You just never know what’s going to happen in the game of baseball.
One more thing.  Anchorman 2 comes out in December.  The most quoted comedy of the past decade gets a worthy second round of action.  It won’t be as good as the first but it will be quality comedy. Why?  The original cast is all back and so is the director.  Will Ferrell is co-writing the script with Adam McKay, who helmed the first one.  They waited 9 years to make this one.  The cast also includes Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Kristen Wiig, Sacha Baron Cohen, John C. Reilly, James Marsden, Liam Neeson and Nicole Kidman.  They aren’t messing around.  Watch the trailer.  See for yourself.  Oh you don’t want to open another tab?  Let me get it for you.
“I’m going to do what god put Ron Burgundy on this earth to do.  Have Salon quality hair and read the news.”
Good to go.  Nice.  I am done here.  Thanks for stopping by.  
Dan Buffa

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