Category: Buffa’s Bullets

The salt, pepper, and oregano of my mind. The Emilio lunch bag from Breakfast Club version of a blog.

The Buffa Blast

Cardinals notes, movie bits, random shit, facts of fatherhood and the daily ritual of mental cleansing by way of the moving hands and a keyboard.  Ladies and gents, the Buffa Blast begins now.


*Cardinals notch back to back wins at home and push Giants to the brink of elimination.  We are a long way from slide gate, aren’t we?  After the Giants stormed back in Game 2 via a Vogelsong clinic and a controversial slide by Matt Holliday into Marco Scutaro ignited the offense, the Cardinals were at a crossroads.  Start hitting and pitching like champs or check out with good behavior.  The Cards came home and got ace work from starters Kyle Lohse(grinding through 5.2 IP with 5 walks) and Adam Wainwright, who avenged his Game 5 letdown against the Nationals.  After three Cards starters combined for 10 innings pitched in 3 games, Lohse and Wainwright balanced out the ship and thus ignited the Cardinals offense.  Stepping in for an injured sore knee afflicted Carlos Beltran, Matt Carpenter, nicknamed the Super Sub, clubbed a 2 run homer off Matt Cain that held up for a 3-1 win.  Last night, the Cardinals offense got equal shares from each of the lineup holders.   8 different players had hits, 7 different players scored and 5 different Redbirds had RBI.  A 8-1 ass kicking that seemed to send the relentless Giants into a tail spin.  The Cardinals are beating them by shutting down their biggest bat, Buster Posey, and keeping his backup bashers, Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval, in check.  The bullpen in STL is doing a courageous job once again.  Remember a year ago, The Cardinals starters didn’t fare well and had to be bailed out in relief.  This year, different arms like Trevor Rosenthal(firing 100mph steam with a back breaking 82 mph changeup) are contributing, as well as Joe Kelly(the everyman), Mitchell Boggs, Edward Mujica, and Jason Motte.  They are a shutdown crew that allows Mike Matheny to only ask 5-6 innings of his starters.   Think of a firing squad waiting down the road for the rest of its team to push the enemy into their territory.  Rosenthal, Boggs, Kelly and Motte all throw 98-100 mph and their heat rides up in the zone and makes it tough for hitters to center.  If they have any kind of offspeed pitch, forget about it.  The silent MVP of this series through 4 games is the bullpen.  Here are a few other notes going in Game 5.

*Good to get Matt Holliday going last night.  The big deal over one hard slide(late for sure but talked about too much) and a struggle at the plate kept Holliday in check.  He’s a good guy who plays the game 100 percent every night and might have let the Scutaro train wreck get into his head.  Last night, he collected two hits and drove in a pair of runs.   With his mother recently diagnosed with colon cancer, Holliday is playing with a heavy heart and grinding through.  The man’s a warrior.  Yadi Molina is a warrior who also broke free last night for a pair of RBI hits.  If Molina and Holliday start to hit, the loss of Beltran may be bearable for a week.   Allen Craig got a hit last night as well to slightly break himself free from a cold streak.  The best thing about the Cardinals lineup is its depth and relentless approach.   When two guys are down, two more wake up and ride.  When Beltran’s bat was in a two month coma, Allen Craig picked him up.  When Craig went into a slump in the postseason, Beltran picked this entire team up.  Same for Holliday, Molina, Carpenter, and Freese.   Look at lower order guys like Daniel Descalso(huge in Game 5 against Nats) and Pete Kozma(19 RBI since September 22 lead the team) moving their weight.  The Cardinals are unpredictable yet packed with talent and threat after threat.  One can’t help but feel good about the future of this team while they strive for another pennant and title.

*They are one game away from a World Series berth.  12 in 12 is alive and well.  The Detroit Tigers demolished the Yankees, who dug their own hole by hitting .188 in the postseason.  The Oakland A’s gave the Tigers all they could handle so don’t think they are invincible.  The leaking hazard of the Tigers is their horrible bullpen, outside of a couple arms.  Verlander, Cabrera, Fielder and others won’t be easy to deal with, but don’t underestimate the Cardinals.  In October, they are a wrecking ball.   First, we need to take care of the Giants.  Don’t think for a second that they are done and packing their offseason bags.   They send greaseball Barry Zito to the mound tonight to help them survive another day and get the series back to San Francisco.   Zito had a respectable 2012 season yet got banged around in Cincinnati and hasn’t pitched well against the Cards in his career.  Look for his curve to be established early.  That’s all he’s got.  A 68 mph curve ball.  Smash that and Zito is toast.  The Cards counter with “Big Country” Lance Lynn.  That is my X-factor for tonight’s game for St. Louis.  Lynn and his durability issues.

*Lynn has had trouble getting through the order the 3rd time through since June.  In Game 2, he struggled against the Giants the second time through their lineup.   Lynn falls in love with his 4 seam fastball and after 45-50 pitches, the bats start to connect and launch it out of the park.  Against the Nationals at the end of the season and in his start in the NLDS, Lynn struggled with his command in the middle innings and didn’t establish his offspeed pitches.  Tonight, in order to survive 5 innings, Lynn has to establish his changeup and cutter.   We know his 4 seam heater is good and effective only when his other pitches are working.  The Giants will tee off on him in the 3rd and 4th innings if he doesn’t work his full arsenal.  This is fact.  Look at his starts since the end of June.  He either gets hurt early or when the order starts to time his fastball.  With this in mind, Mike Matheny must have Kelly ready in the 3rd or 4th inning.  Stretch him out and get him loose, especially if the score is tied or the Cards are down.  The leash on Lynn tonight has to be as short as it ever was.  Feelings have to be deleted from the equation this time of year.  If a starter doesn’t have it, he has to go.  Matheny let Lynn get beat up for too long in Game 1.  Struggling to spot any of his offspeed pitches and leaving his fastball up, Lynn almost blew a 6-0 lead before Kelly and the bullpen rescued him.  Get Kelly and Shelby Miller ready to throw.  Don’t be scared by Miller’s first postseason outing.  The defense behind him betrayed him and allowed the Giants to score two runs in the 7th inning in Game 2.  I’d like to see Miller get a shot.

*We are one win away from the World Series.  Don’t hold your breath and tune in tonight.  The Cards need to take care of business tonight.  Don’t let it get back to the West Coast where Vogelsong and Cain can get a chance to wreck our boat.  The Cards have their foot on the throat of the Giants and their gun pointed at their heart.  Push down and pull the trigger.  Do it tonight at home in front of your sea of red.  The Giants are struggling to find air at the moment.  Don’t give them a life line.


*Argo is your best bet right now.  Ben Affleck’s nail biting thriller with a fair dose of comedy will keep you glued to the screen and laughing at the same time.  It’s great theater.  Drama followed by injections of well timed comedy.   Affleck’s career is a true redemption story.  For my new column his fall and rise, go to to check it out or click the link below.  The story is similar to a punch drunk boxer finding his mouth piece, getting up off the canvas and swinging back.  Give it a read.

*Film-Addict’s mobile app is live and working very well.  Our web designer, Samantha Smith, did a fabulous job of putting this mobile version together.  All the pages look sharp and it’s easy to navigate.  The desktop version can be provided via the app or you can get your dose with one click.   It’s the next frontier.

*This next week, we have three screenings that we have free passes to.  St. Louis Film-Addicts are inclined to check out our daily dose section on the home page for more details.


*Vincent has taken 2-4 steps during the past couple days in his journey towards walking, otherwise known as the death of his parents patience and nerve endings.   This kid of mine is stronger than any 13 month I have known, big, ambitious, smart and does something new and crazy every day.  He can also take a fall and punch pretty well.  He’s tough.  After getting through heart and stomach medical issues early on, Vinny is thriving.  No, he won’t run for President if I have anything to say about it.


The debate is a joke. Lets ask some real questions. Like when will jobs be returned to the country. Jobs for well qualified guys like me. Or better health care, for kids with health issues like my 13 month old son has had. These two robots aren’t the answer. They are liars. Spenders. They won’t change a thing. Politics is a useless game for people who don’t want to get real jobs. Nothing changes with either candidate in office. These debates are useless.  Obama and Romney are both educated liars playing us for fools.  I won’t be voting this year.  Or casting my unofficial vote for the non-running yet ready Henry Rollins.  Go ahead and laugh.  He would get more done in a week than these suits could do in a year.  Politics is a rigged game. It’s all about making money and not about the people anymore.


*Peyton Manning Madness. Never say die with Peyton Manning. Down 24-0 at half against the Chargers on Monday night, and Manning and the Denver defense leads a comeback that ends with a 35-24 Denver win.  Manning magic.   Let’s ask the Colts about their decision to trade Manning one more time.  Andrew Luck has big shoes to fill and while I am sure he will one day do just that, trading Manning wasn’t the right plan.  Find this guy a defense and he could easily win another Super Bowl.  Still hoping for a Manning Super Bowl with Eli’s Giants and Manning’s Broncos.

*Don’t count out the Rams against the Packers this Sunday.  Aaron Rodgers and his elite receivers and solid defense won’t be easy to bring down but The Rams are at home(where they are 3-0) and the Packers are vulnerable against a good pass rush.  If the Rams get pressure on Rodgers and give Sam Bradford a shot, expect this game to be close.  The Rams are no longer pushovers.  It makes the winter tolerable.


The NHL Owners offered a 50/50 split this week to the players association.  This is a fair deal. The way it always should have been. Even split. If players turn down this deal they don’t really want to play and they can keep the “we love the fans” bullshit. These are guys making a lot of money to play a sport. I have this issue with every lockout/strike. MLB. NFL. NHL.  No sympathy for the rich here. This has been going on forever. Ever since countries fought over land. Kings scrambling for every dollar while the regular people like us fall by the wayside. The owners could be playing mind games and the players responded this week with an offer that the Owners refused, so there is a strong possibility that more regular season games are getting cancelled as a result of these groups of millionaires failing to come to a decision.

One can pick either side and be covered in black.  The NHL players contend they are losing money and the owners say the players response this week was a shady 50/50 split meaning that deep down it wasn’t an even split after all.  Each side is playing the other side, gathering leverage and losing focus of the big picture.  Games aren’t being paid.  Blue collar people are out of jobs while rich people divide up cash.  If a 50/50 split can’t be agreed upon, something is wrong.  For better coverage, here is a good ESPN article on the reaction from the players.


*What happened to Alex Rodriguez?  The most overpaid man in baseball had a horrible postseason that saw him collect one hit and strike out a ton.  Is it injury, slow bat speed or just older age.  The 37 year old is guaranteed 118 million over 5 more years.   Get your forks out Yankees management and be prepared to eat all of it.

*Jose Valverde and all his closer antics don’t scare me one bit.  The Detroit bullpen can be scored upon.

*If there is no hockey, there will be more random fights in public.   If we can’t see guys be allowed to fight in a regulated game, the street battles will go up.

*Fall is coming in quite nicely here in South St. Louis city.  The only bad part is my son’s nose won’t stop running.  He doesn’t particularly like having his nose cleaned.  He’d rather eat peas and carrots than be given the ability to breathe freely.

*Thanksgiving is a month away.   Halloween is close and for a new parent that means the little man is dressing up as a cop and hitting the streets for sugar.  I will wear a simple outfit that consists of a black hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans and a Jason mask along with my fake cleaver.

*When the Cardinals came back and upset the Nationals, I thought of my good late friend, Troy Siade.  He was a die hard Cards fan, brilliant lawyer and all around great presence in my life from 2002-2004 on the scoreboard and he passed away at the age of 36 due to throat cancer.  Every time the Cardinals do something great, I think about him.

*Never underestimate a great wife my male friends.  Right now, my wife Rachel is busting her ass in a sales position.  A job that has no base pay and only produces a paycheck off commission from sales.   She is doing something new and challenging and doing a great job.  I don’t tell her enough.  I spent so many years working my ass off and us both having jobs, that watching her provide for the family is a new thing.  When she was done one day, I told her to think about her job as being a hitter in baseball.  You collect a hit per day, keep your head up, maintain a .300 batting average and wait for that one big swing/sale.   It’s nice having a wife who comes home to you with the sole idea of seeing you and her kid.   If you are married for the right reasons my friends, tell your wives that you love them.  Women need the reassurance every day.  Men get up, put themselves together and stumble out into the world.  Women think the world is holding a microscope over their shoulders, observing their every move and they struggle with the expectation.  I don’t tell my wife how lucky I am.  Go ahead and tell her right now.  DO IT!  And mean it.

That’s it. My hands are tired and my mind is spent.  This is all for today my friends.  Thanks for reading and goodnight.

Take care,

Dan L. Buffa

2,636 words and counting…





Mr. Buffa’s Blog

As I watch the end of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez’s battle in Vegas from last week, let me fire off some rounds of ammo here.

*A quick recap of this fight.  Sergio worked hard, threw a ton, slipped and moved for 10 rounds before Chavez Jr. came alive in the 11th round, where he caught Martinez with a few good shots.  In the 12th, right around the halfway mark of the round, Chavez Jr. put a hurt on Martinez with a series of left and right hooks.  He knocked Martinez down and saw Martinez slip to the canvas again before time ran out on his chance to pull off a late upset.  Ask his trainer Freddie Roach or anyone in that building, including Chavez Jr. himself, and he started FIGHTING way too late.  I believe Julio can fight and possibly beat Sergio.  What he lacks in speed he makes up for plenty with power, and Martinez knows that now.  Coming into the fight, I didn’t expect Julio to win but he would leave with Martinez’s respect.  As I predicted, that happened.  It’s easy to not like or get pissed with Julio’s behavior.  A few days ago, he was found to have marijuana in his system during the fight.  It’s a stupid act by Julio and will warrant a suspension but it’s not as bad as performance enhancing drugs.  What we know is that Martinez’s speed and quick feet to go with his stiff left jab can control Julio for many rounds.  However, Sergio got too confident and when he tried to box Chavez Jr., he nearly got knocked out.   Julio didn’t throw enough for the first 8-9 rounds and lost the fight due to inaction.  Watching the end of the fight, we know Julio can hurt Sergio.  Watching nearly the entire fight, we know Martinez can control Chavez Jr with his speed.  It’s a great dynamic for which we only got a small sample of last Saturday.  Each fighter knows what they have to do to win.  For 11 rounds, we saw a school session.  For one round, we saw dramatic power and a near comeback.   Forget the positive test for marijuana, because it doesn’t make a difference in the result of the fight.  It’s just a kid being young and dumb.  Chavez Jr. needs time to watch the fight again, get his head right and train for the rematch.  There will be a rematch.  Martinez had surgery on his knee so he will be out for a few months.

*The Rams are in action as I type, and down 3-0 in the first quarter.  A big factor in this game is the Rams defense forcing the mentally retarded QB Jay Cutler to make a lot of mistakes and create turnovers and the Bears defensive line ability to get in Sam Bradford’s face.  While the offenses feature plenty of running and receiving power to go with two fine arms, the defenses will determine the outcome. The Rams nearly beat the Lions in the season opener on the road.   They can play on the road.  However, Soldier’s Field is grass and not turf, which Detroit carries, so that is a stiff test for this young Rams team.

*The Cardinals continue to frustrate the shit out of me, writers, fans and possibly animals in St. Louis.  Watching this team collapse late, give up leads, and falter in crucial times requires medication or whiskey.  Starting with the series in Los Angeles, The Cards could have put together a huge winning streak by now.  Let’s go game by game while listing a few factors.

Thursday in LA-Complete team win.

Friday in LA-Cards have a 3-1 late lead, when Edward Mujica gives up a 3 run homer to Luis Cruz.  Game gets out of hand and the Cards lose.  The home run comes with two outs.

Saturday-Cards get solid road start from Jaime Garcia, get two RBI from Allen Craig and have a 3-2 lead in ninth inning.  Jason Motte has two outs, but gives up 3 consecutive hits and blows the save and game.  TOUGH loss.  2 out RBI hits allowed.  Little offense and lots of runners left.

Sunday-Cards recover, come back, and win in extra innings on Jon Jay’s double in 11th inning.

A series where Cards could have swept or at least won 3 of 4 ends up a split but momentum stays with Cards.


Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday-Sweep of the Astros.  Thursday involves a tight 5-4 win but nevertheless an easy series of a horribly inept team that unfortunately leaves for the AL after this week’s series in Houston.

Friday-Chris Carpenter fires 5 solid innings, and Cards have 4-2 lead heading into the 9th inning.  Fernando Salas tries to close it down with Jason Motte having pitched 5 days in a row.  I understand Motte getting a rest BUT I also go against it but will say this.  The Cards had more options down there.  Here is the reason Salas can’t pitch the 9th.

In September Salas’ arm gets worn down.  He is inconsistent.   On Thursday, he struck out two Astros and nailed down the 8th inning and stopped a rally against Houston.  On Friday, he went back out there and threw a flat straight fastball to light hitting Darwin Barney and blew the save.   Save me the Salas closed in 2011 talk.  He closed well for a two months in 2011 before tiring out in August and September.  He isn’t your man in the 9th in September.  His fastball is flat and got the Cardinals killed on Friday.  At that point, the game was all but lost.  The Cards just found out in the 11th inning.  5-4 Cubs.  Possibly life threatening loss.  The 35th of its kind this season.

On Saturday, the Cards do the same to the Cubs.  They blow a 3-1 lead in the 6th inning, but ride Carlos Beltran’s home run off Carlos Marmol(the Cubs real closer) in the 9th into the 11th, where Jon Jay wins it with a double, his second extra innings game winning hit of the week.  Amazing turnaround and typical Cards before today’s rubber game.

*Read over it again and you have a team that has no idea who they are, and a fanbase driven mad by inconsistency.   The Cards offense doesn’t hurt teams like they did in April and May.  They don’t take advantage of opportunities.  In close games with runners in scoring position, more often than not, the Cards bats don’t come through.   The pitching’s problem is giving up 2 out RBI hits.  Both are painful to watch.   Through all this, the Cardinals maintain a 2.5 game lead on the Brewers.  Milwaukee, L.A. and Philadelphia are giving the Cards ample space to falter.  There are 10 games left.  Please don’t hold your breath.

*As I finish that part, the Rams intercept Jay Cutler.   Cortland Finnegan, proving to be a huge pickup in the offseason with a big money contract under his belt, picks up his 3rd INT of the season.   The Rams, however, struggle on offense and waste the opportunity.  The first quarter shows exactly what I thought would happen today.  A defensive battle on a cool day on grass.   Get the beer ready because this will be a low scoring bloody battle.

*Also, I like the idea that the Rams are getting a reputation for being a tough group of bastards.  It’s better to be inglorious in football than to be sweet.   Robert Griffin III, fresh off his sixth commercial shot, wants to whine about the Rams being dirty.   Bullshit, Bobby.  You got beat and it was firm and fair, in a little tribute to recently retired boxing referee Joe Cortez.  The Rams, with new corners Janoris Jenkins and Finnegan, are going to get in the opposition’s face, hit them in the mouth, trash talk them a little and reach the inside of their heads.  It’s called sports, football, and its never clean.  I like this team.  They are old school, gridiron bad and a true Jeff Fisher team.  Let the Rams roam free on Sundays.

*Looking forward to Taken 2 for one reason.  Bad Ass Liam Neeson.  There are few actors over the age of 50 who decide to throw their bodies around, get into fights, do their own stunts, and do aggressive action roles.  No one is as convincing at it than Neeson.  He returns as former CIA merc Bryan Mills, who kicked, killed, punched and destroyed everything in his path in Paris in the first installment in saving his daughter.  This time, the men that he killed have a father who wants revenge and goes after Mills and his family, consisting of Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace.  The setup is Istanbul, and the action will be just as thrilling as the first time, if not more so.   I expect bone crunching authentic revenge action and only have to hear Neeson tell one thug.  “If I kill you, will your other sons come after me?”  The bad guy says yes so Mills answers, “Then I will kill them too.”  Love a great action ride in October, when the shinier heavyweight productions begging for an Oscar come around.   Somehow, Neeson needs to be in the next Expendables movie.

*End of Watch, released on Friday, is one of the best, if not the best, movies of the year in my opinion.  A brutally authentic L.A. cops saga from David Ayer, who delivered Training Day.  Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are cops,  partners, best friends and amigos on the streets of L.A. in the highly dangerous South Central precinct.  When they bit the end of the snake that happens to be a powerful drug cartel working in the city with a few busts and seizures, they become targets.   This is a true blue dedication to police officers and their everyday battle.  Ayer wrote and directed this piece and its equally moving, intense and realistic.  A powerful tale of brotherhood that won’t leave your gut for a few hours.  I watched this movie with my dad Friday morning and it didn’t leave my head until….yeah it’s still there.  This year has produced a few 5/5 efforts in my regard.   French indie The Intouchables, Dark Knight Rises and Killer Joe.  End Of Watch can be added to that list.  It’s an excellent film and watching it, you forget that actors are the people you are watching.  Read my full review here right here on my website.  At the bottom you can also watch the trailer.

Last week I watched The Master, Trouble With The Curve and an art house film named Chicken With Plums.  I paid to see End Of Watch.  I would not only pay to see it again, but join the advertising campaign for it.  Great work.

*The Replacement ref’s in the NFL are horrible.  They miss calls, fuck up, look lost but there are two things that drive me nuts.  They take so much time to come to a decision. They also talk to coaches before making their calls.   During the Redskins-Rams game last Sunday, the referees’ ran over to Redskins coach Mike Shanahan before throwing the flag at least twice.   That’s elementary ref work.   Unfortunate and unacceptable in big games.  There are 16 games for the teams to establish their marks.   The Ref’s are wasting many calls and needing help with others.   Imagine if Mike Matheny could talk to the home plate umpire about that play at the plate and actually twist the men in blue enough to get his call.  Pathetic.

*What am I listening to right now?  New Bob Dylan, old Johnny Cash and some Rodriguez.  What will I be listening to this week?  Mumford and Sons’ new album, Babel.  Their first effort was brilliant and still gets listened to in its entirety.  When you can listen to an entire album and not skip past tunes a full 2 years after its release, special things are happening.  Their folk rock harmonies are hard to deny and the work of frontman Marcus Mumford, writing the songs and playing the guitar and lead singer as well, is impressive.  I will be immersed in everything Mumford for a couple weeks.  DMB was my most recent crush but Britain is taking over fast.

What else?  A few random bullets.

-Love the weather.  Makes a lot of possibilities happen.  Taking the kid for a walk in the vast and beautiful Francis Park next to my house is a relaxing time.  He watches everything and I get fresh air.  Being a Mr. Mom and stay at home dad is all about helping the kid AND YOURSELF.  Neglect yourself and the kid comes next.  Write that down.

-Filling out applications everywhere, but asking for help is something I am not doing.  I hate asking for money, help or an easy route.  I will keep filling out apps but I won’t beg and plead for a job from any of my friends.  I don’t do that.  I survive on my own until all else fails.

-With money dwindling, I find myself clinging to my Starbucks addiction.   20 ounce coffees are becoming 12 ounce coffees and making it at home will be present in my future.  My little addiction will hit the slow lane soon enough.  Everyone has it their needs, and Starbucks is mine.  What can a man do?  Drink more red wine.

-Cabin in The Woods is a very inventive and highly enjoyable horror film.  Look, I am not a huge fan of the genre because it churns out the same old bullshit week after week. This movie is something totally different and wicked fun.   A group of 5 young friends go to a cabin secluded in the woods, and find out they are battling forces bigger than mere creatures or people.   If I said more I would spoil it completely.   During the first scene you find out what they are up against.  Watching the movie, you forget you are watching a horror film and it carries a dash of comedy to it.  The victims go through the proper motions and attempt to make the classic horror film mistakes and that in turn gets them killed.  When they fall for traps, they end up in trouble.  The worst thing they can do is think their every action doesn’t have consequence or that their fight is fair.  An original take on a dead genre.  The movie stars a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth and is up to the task of premium home entertainment.  One of those “I would have paid to see it but didn’t mind getting freaked out in my own home” experiences.

-My kid just woke up.  Laundry needs to be done.  Lunch needs to be made.  My time here is done.

Thanks for reading,

Dan L. Buffa



A Stream of Consciousness

Thinking out loud here and putting the hands to work, with a glass of Cabernet and hot chai tea awaiting my hands as the rest of the head goes to work.  This has to be done.  The wife and kid are asleep.  The house is quiet except for the faint soundtrack of souls under hypnosis, laundry running below and a television in my left ear.  My kind of time to vent.  Here we go.  You know how this game plays.  I write, you read, and in the end I go to reload and you decide whether to digest or simply click delete.

*The Cardinals are atrocious.  It’s not visible in their record or their current standing in the wild card.   Just look at their disgustingly inconsistent offense, leaking oil veteran players or the pitching that can’t buy a 1-2-3 inning.  After coughing up a weekend series to the Nationals and taking a series at home from the Mets(who were hot coming in), the Cards were primed to push the Milwaukee Brewers back out of the race.  I can stomach losing to R.A. Dickey, who has beaten us twice this year and is on his way to a Cy Young award with Steven Strasburg bowing out early.  Flash forward to tonight and we have lost the series, let the pesky Brewers, once left for dead on the side of the road next to a dusty can of Milwaukee’s Best, back into the wild card race.  If you happen to watch this team closely over the past month, you will be shocked that they are 9 games over .500 and currently hold a wild card entry spot.  They played bad baseball in August and haven’t started September off too hot.  What is wrong with this team?  Everything.  Almost.  The lineup is horribly inconsistent, collecting a few runs and shutting down for games at a time.  The starting pitching is getting shell shocked more often than not.  The bullpen, equipped with more arms(in good ways and bad ways) is pulling its weight but starting to buckle.  At the most important time of the season, the Cardinals are playing bad baseball and trending downward.  The opposite of their play in 2011.  I’m not saying this team can’t flip a switch and start killing teams again.  I am saying it will only last 2-3 games before shutting down again.  The Cardinals are doing everything possible to hand the second wild card spot away. The LA Dodgers aren’t going away and we head there for a more than crucial 4 game set in a week.  Let’s go over some details.

*I won’t rant on and on about the 13 inning 4.5 hour loss to the Brewers on Friday, but I will say we squandered several scoring opportunities.  After getting a 2-0 lead and Kyle Lohse going 6.2 inning, the offense didn’t score anything until the 8th inning and that was it.  4 runs in 13 innings and a 5-4 loss.  I will say this.   With runners at first and third and one out in the 11th inning of a tie game, Mike Matheny called for Bryan Anderson to pinch hit instead of Lance Berkman or Carlos Beltran.  I wanted Berkman(I will explain later), but Matheny sent Anderson to the plate.  The surfer dude who has 3 at bats all season, little MLB experience and zero chance of solving a crafty pitcher.   Anderson watched strike three go by and the Brewers escaped, scored in the 13th and won.  That was that.  Bad move by Matheny.  Very bad move.

*I would have liked to see Lance Berkman take his cuts there.  While he is  halfway useless in the field and lacks any true power, Berkman is still a smart hitter, can draw a walk or at least lift a fly ball to medium range in the outfield for a game winning sacrifice fly.  He may strike out or pop up, but his chances of succeeding are far greater than Anderson’s.   I don’t want to hear the La Russa 2007 All Star game excuse and have someone tell me Mike was saving Berk for later.  No way.  You have a chance to win a game and you go for it right there, when the clock is past 1am.  Bad move and it costed us the game.

*Carlos Beltran is absolutely useless.  The comeback player of the year candidate is playing on bum knees and has a bad wrist, which means he won’t be hitting for power until he gets rest.  A lot of it.  On Friday night he went 0-5 and didn’t hit a ball out of the infield.  Either he watches too much Pedro Cerrano tape or he can’t get his legs under his swing.  He will end the year hitting .250, cranking 28 homers and driving in close to 90 runs.  That is it.  He hasn’t had an extra base hit in 49 at bats.  He hasn’t hit a home run since early August.  Beltran can’t hit any better in the #2 hole than in the #3 or #4 hole.  He is useless.  A pinch hitter with a cannon in right for an arm but slow legs.   He cuts off a base hit in the corner like Pedro Guerrero.  It’s tough to watch a veteran fight it this late, but Beltran, barring a miraculous change of health, will be a third wheel for the remainder of the season.

*The unfortunate truth about Beltran brings a completion to the old man circle of Cardinal vets in 2012.  A warranted risk at the beginning of the season, the truth has been laid out carefully.   Bet on old bodies and you lose.  Berkman has missed nearly 3 months, hit 2 home runs, driven in 7 runs and been a non factor.   Beltran was productive until late August.  Rafael Furcal was white hot until the all star break and then tailed off before ripping up his elbow in mid August.  Chris Carpenter, to this point, hasn’t thrown a pitch in a regular season game yet in 2012.  Add up all that cash and 39 million dollars won’t pull a full season of work from either investment.  In 2013, only two bodies will remain.  Cards general manager John Mozelaik took a risk when he signed Furcal, Beltran, Berkman and Carpenter to fresh contracts but you can’t blame him for throwing the deep pass on proven talent.

*The biggest problem with the Cards is their inability to get a huge hit in a clutch spot during a close game.  Their record in one run baseball games and extra inning is truly horrendous and doesn’t signify a playoff team.   Why are the Baltimore Orioles knocking on the Yankees door in 2012?  They finish well, have a great closer and have the best record in baseball in 1 run games.  Every team enjoys a blowout, but the true winners are the groups that finish first in a close battle.  The 2012 Cards don’t do that at all.  It maybe their undoing.

*Chris Carpenter returning is pivotal to the last 10 days of the season.  If the Cards are still hanging onto the last Wildcard spot or in it, all hands are needed on deck.  Please don’t forget what Carpenter did at the end of 2011.  He was the difference making ace that catapulted the Cards into the World Series.  He can come back and earn some of that 10 million dollar salary.  Seeing him throw pain free for 2 weeks straight is a big deal.  It means he is ready, once again, to compete in 2013.  It also means he could return for a cameo appearance in 2012.  I will take it.  This is Chris Carpenter we are talking about.  The tall righthander with the sweeping curve, deadly cut fastball and the intensity this team has lacked all year.  Let the lion out of the cage if he has all four feet working.

*Matt Holliday is having a solid season and does more than most fans give him credit for.  For all the fans who hated the way Albert Pujols lagged down the line on grounders or on lasers off the outfield wall, look at the way Holliday plays the game.  Hard nosed and gritty.  He runs out every grounder and runs the bases like a fullback.  He has even improved his outfield work, which will never be remarkable but fits decently enough.    He guts out injuries and constantly produces.   Every bat in the lineup has endured an injury or slump but with the exception of a few games here or there Holliday has pushed through.   His numbers back up his contract and suggest consistency.   Who would you rather have, experts?  Holliday or Carl Crawford?  Let me hear your answers.  How about Jayson Werth?  Mo made the right choice and Holliday is worth the cash.  His numbers aren’t as gigantic as Albert, but one player is trending down and the other is heading up.   It’s a business.

*Allen Craig continues to produce and has to be the cleanup hitter the rest of the way.

*Yadi Molina is the true MVP.  He does everything on a baseball field and I can only laugh at the people who scuffed at his 5 year, 75 million dollar contract.   In addition to hitting .327 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI, Molina is the best catcher in baseball, throwing out 45 percent of would be base thieves.  On Saturday, Ryan Braun tried to steal second base and Yadi gunned him down by a mile.  He threw it so accurately that Skip Schumacher didn’t move his glove.  Braun is having another MVP season but the suspicion around him will never leave now that the doubt has been let in the door.  His attempt at second base completes the thought process that the substance he may have taken enhances the recovery but not the intelligence.  Fuck him eternally.   Yes, that was a Ryan Braun rant after a Molina praise.

*Tomorrow, we salvage a game against Milwaukee and go on the road against San Diego, a team playing great baseball since the All Star break.   Beware of the losers standing in your path in September.

*Vladamir Tarasenko arrived in St. Louis this week.  The new St. Louis Blue player is a Russian phenom and comes to the Midwest hoping to be the Blues equalizer on the ice. While their scoring improved last season, the Blues are in still need of a true goal scorer.  Can Tarasenko become that threat?  We will see.  The guy off the bench that everybody fears will change the course of the game.  His name carries weight coming into the NHL.  What will his game bring?  If you are lifelong Blues fan like me, watching the team since the early barn days on Oakland Avenue, you want to think Tarasenko is the answer to every sore knee prayer.  That’s what October stands for.  Blood soaked ice bravery.  However, unless the rich fucks decide on how they want to split their millions, there may be another lockout in the NHL(the second in the last 10 years).

*The Rams open action later this morning against the fiercely talented Detroit Lions.   The Lions are that team on the verge of deep playoff football action.   Loaded up offensively and defensively with young talent, they can’t be fooled around with.   This season opener won’t be easy to survive, much less win or barely compete in.   The Rams have to get to Matthew Stafford, shut down Calvin Johnson, and stop a man named Suh from destroying both of Bradford’s shoulders.   Game one will be a huge test of the Jeff Fisher era of Rams football.  He better stock up on pain meds, pepto bismo and other stomach helpers.  His post game press conference may feature a burning mustache.

*Andre Ward decimated Chad Dawson last night in a light middleweight  boxing event on HBO.  Ward is an undefeated fearless boxing specialist.  He won an Olympic medal.  He won a Super 6 Middleweight tournament that matched him with the best talent in boxing.  Ward faced Dawson, one of the best light middleweight fighters in the world and destroyed him, beating him to every corner for 10 rounds before a stoppage.  Ward is what boxing is all about.  The sweet science personified in one man.  He is easily in the top 3 boxers conversation, behind Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.   Ward is a great methodical boxer who reminds me of Joe Calzage, who retired undefeated.   You just can’t hurt him or barely touch him no matter how hard you try in a ring.  Dawson represented the best and Ward dominated him.  He is a genuine threat to Floyd and Manny’s reputation and doesn’t back down from anyone.  That can’t be completely said of Mayweather or Pacquiao.

*Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. takes on Sergio Martinez in a middleweight bout next Saturday.  Chavez Jr. is trying to carve a place for himself among the greats in boxing.  He is 41-0 but hasn’t fought a fierce opponent yet.  Martinez is the middleweight champ and is at the top of his game.   While it’s easy to respect Martinez(a fighter who picked up the sport at age 20, rarely done), I find myself rooting for the young buck in the Mexican champ Chavez Jr..   He is a good kid and the son of a legend.   What people don’t know is the young Julio took his dad, drug riddled and alcohol driven, into rehab and got him cleaned up.   He was told at an early age he would never be as good as his father and he busts his ass trying to prove them wrong.  He isn’t careless.  He is relentless.  His training is similar to Floyd.  Anytime and anywhere.  His work ethic is unmatched.  Why else would hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach work with him?  He may not leave that fight on Saturday with a win but he will leave with Martinez’s respect.  I have stepped into these fighters lives before they stepped into the ring by watching the truly mesmerizing show, 24/7 on HBO, narrated by Liev Schreiber.

*No Last Day hit bookshelves this past week and it is one Ex-Navy Seal’s account of taking down Osama Bin Laden.  Mark Bowen(not his real name but close enough) is writing the book, taking into full gritty bloody detail the stakeout, planning and takedown of Bin Laden in May of 2011, almost 10 years after the horrible tragedy.   I will be reading this book and do so proudly.  I don’t need to hear the military or government try to make a fake stand about the content revealed in the book.   The same crowd is also bitching and moaning about Kathryn Bigelow’s movie about the mission, Zero Dark Thirty.  Here is my take.  It’s bullshit.  No lives or identities are being put at risk here with a movie or book.   In real life, Navy Seals are ghosts and protected.   If there was a serious scare, Bowen’s book would have been squashed after page one.   This is fake “face saving” being done by the United States government.  Save it.  Let the world hear about one of the greatest missions in the history of our country.  The takedown of the ultimate boogeyman who rocked our livelihood and orchestrated an event that took nearly 3,000 lives in one morning.  If there was a huge risk, why would 7 real Navy Seals be authorized to put their tactics and skills on the big screen in last January’s potent film, Act of Valor?  In Act of Valor, 7 Seals were used in the film, without name of course, and their methods were on full display in a fictional tracking and capture of a terrorist cell.   You see, this noise about the book is all smoke and mirrors.  Enjoy the real life entertainment.

*What music am I listening to right now?  The Tallest Man On The Earth.  A folky Swedish singer-songwriter with the whiskey soaked voice of Dylan and the ability to conjure a mood with his hands on a guitar and his mouth in front of a microphone.   Kristian Mattsson is his name and he is only 29 years old, putting together 3 albums and is a voice that can simply sweep you off your feet on a late night drive and whisper stories into your ear.   Tales of love, loss, changes and soul searching.  As is the case with David Gray, all you see is a man and his guitar telling stories.  Stripped down musicians luckily aren’t a dying breed.

*September means the return of cable network giants like Boardwalk Empire, Dexter and Sons of Anarchy.   All three are gems but Boardwalk is one I am looking forward to the most.  Why?  The stakes got higher after the conclusion of Season two, where Nucky Thompson(Steve Buscemi, the anchor of a top notch cast) finally became a gangster by killing someone close to him.   This season, it’s 1923, the boom of opportunity and a new bad guy is in town.   Gyp Rossetti, played by the stellar character actor Bobby Cannavale.  Rossetti is a Sicilian from Italy who wants to take a piece of Nucky’s action, which only starts a war.    Plenty of blood will be spilled and Gyp will be at the center of it.  Watching the trailers, you get the feeling a memorable performance is taking shape.  The show is full of Emmy worthy acting, but Cannavale is the true villain this series has lacked up to this point.  The bad man amongst criminals.   It’s going to be great.   True villains are fun to watch and as worthwhile as good heroes.  Cannavale, walking around in the three piece suit, the long barreled handgun, the top hat, and olive oil stained skin of a killer, was born to play this role.

*The life of Mr. Mom is an endless cycle of duties centered around the house.  Being a worker for the majority of my last 10 years, I know this life on a part time basis but right now its full time and the change is visible.  You get woken up at 5am for a diaper change and a bottle.  Vincent rarely goes back to sleep.  You can risk letting him toy around your room while you nap, but he may drag a cable box off the dresser and have it land on his head.  That happened this morning.  He gets breakfast, which involves pancakes, fruit or cereal.  There is a reason my kid is a beast and that is he eats three good meals a day.  You take him to the gym where you get that hour of dirty noise free time to blast weights, sweat a little and get a workout in.  You scoop up the little brat and head to get coffee and home for a snack/bottle of milk and throw him down for a nap.  Being up since 5am, when you leave the gym at noon, he will be down for the count before you receive your cup of joe.  Look for the head slag to the left as you pull away from Starbucks.   He sleep for an hour or two, and gets up hungry.   He gets an assortment of meat, cheeses and veggies before a yogurt or pudding.  The next two hours he moves around the house like a drunk midget spy, going for anything and everything in his reach.  Dinner is fed, a bath is in order, some wrestling in the living room before a retirement to the bedroom for bedtime baby einstein.  Don’t ask me why he watches this or other retarded annoying kids shows.  They drain adult brain power but ignite the eyes of an infant.  Get over it.  He goes down around 730-8pm.  He may get up around 11pm for a whine, cuddle or bottle, but you don’t go in that damn door unless he is crying out loud in an insane manner.  A parent’s toughest test is resisting the urge to cave and let the true boss of the house, the little man himself, hold you in the palm of your hand.   Vinny loves bath time, except getting his hair washed out of shampoo.  Somehow getting water running down his face and halfway dunked for a rinse near the water doesn’t settle his needs.  What makes this a good day?  An insanely cute kid.  Vincent gets away with a lot because he is adorable and tough.  He’s endured a tough first year and it’s hard to come down on him.  Sure, I scream back at him, beat him up a little, try to be hard on him but the kid is resilient.  He turns one on Friday.

*Also, what is this notion that the American dad can’t or doesn’t want to change diapers.  I am diaper changing fucking ninja.  I don’t hesitate to handle the worse brownie mix overflow gaslight anthem barking turd that arrives out of my son’s anal region.  Every day I see a public men’s bathroom that doesn’t have a diaper changing table.  What the holy incessant fuck is going on?  What is so harmful about your own child’s shit or piss packed diaper?  Get over it.  Train.  Get your wipe patterns down.  Get confident.  Work your forearms out at the gym not to help you jerk off but to be able to hold both the child’s legs while you clean up a rash infused asshole.  It’s a skill and something lacking in this country.   Mom’s don’t own the home anymore.  Dads are right there or need to be.  If I have to start a revolution I will.  Tomorrow maybe?

Right now I am starting the end of this message.  Film-Addict is growing little by little.  The Google Analytic’s are looking up and advertising is next.  The mobile version is setting up to launch, where we will reach millions of movie lovers.  Our goal is to lure you in with original takes on movies, offer fan connection, engagement and build our site up to be a global giant.  I want the world’s attention.   A little advice.  See The Words but skip Cosmopolis but if you want a sure thing, go watch Killer Joe.  If that isn’t available, seek out The Bourne Legacy.

That’s all for now.  Thanks for reading and goodnight.

Your South St. Louis City cyber correspondent,

Dan L. Buffa

“The L is for Larry”

The Simple Dose

A stream of consciousness on an early Sunday morning starts now…

The Cardinals finally earned a run, delivered and took a win in Washington.  Following a baseball team includes plenty of gut punches and heartache, but the moment your team is able to put together a worthy needed comeback effort, it’s a fair time to smile, do a small fist pump and have a drink.   The win goes down in the books as a single victory, but in the hearts of many Cards fans across the country, the win meant much more.  After playing 40 innings without scoring an earned run, the Cardinals stormed back in Saturday’s contest with the feared and highly skilled Nationals, scored 10 runs and won in dramatic late inning style.  This is the kind of win that gets you out of a rut.  The problem is the Cards have done this many times this season.  Pulled off a huge comeback and then sank right back to the bottom of the good pile.  Can this team pick their shit off the ground and finally walk?  We shall see.  First, lets take a look back at Saturday’s slug fest.

*It wasn’t like pitching wasn’t allowed in the game or defense wasn’t required, but this was a game of the bats.  Head to head.  Bat to bat.  Power to power.  There were 4 home runs in this game, and two from each side.  The Nationals led 4-0 and 6-2 and then 8-7, but saw all three leads vanish.  The Cards, dead and cold for 4 games that need to be erased immediately, didn’t stay down after the initial punch.  We jumped on one of the best pitchers in the game.  Jordan Zimmerman, one of the cogs of the Nationals brilliantly diverse rotation whose name sounds like a fashion designer.  He allowed 8 earned runs for the first time in his young career.  Given two four run leads, he blew both and gave the Cards life.  Kyle Lohse received tough luck shitty defense behind him, but gave 4 earned runs on 9 hits in under 6 innings.  Each bullpen had rough patches.  This was an offensive game.

*The Cards didn’t look great today.  Matt Holliday contributed a 2 run bomb to centerfield but he also made a horrible drop on a deep fly ball to left in the first inning that led to two runs.  Daniel Descalso fumbled a ball at second base that led to a run.  Allen Craig threw the laziest throw to home plate, allowing the Nationals to engineer an extra run in the 6th inning to take the lead 9-8.   The defense was suspect and the pitching sucked until the 8th inning.

*I don’t like Bryce Harper.  By that I mean he is a very good young ballplayer.  It isn’t fun facing him because he forces the issue and takes chances.   Sure, he is hitting .258 and strikes out a ton and carries a mouth of a 10 year vet, but the kid is a game changer.  He sits in the #2 hole, cranks home runs, hustles out of the box on everything, forces infielders and outfielders to respect his speed and can play a fine center field.  He doesn’t like to suck and doesn’t mind being a villain to other teams.   Today, he forced the issue by going from first to third on a base hit in the 6th inning and then coming home when the Cards tried to catch another runner trying to take second base.  Harper did what few players do in this modern game.   Force the player to throw him out.  There are few things Harper can’t do and if you are a Nationals fan, that’s fantastic.  If you are on any other team’s side, it’s a burden that will never go away.  The kid backs it up.

*Jason Motte doesn’t mind Harper.  In two faceoffs, Motte has struck out Harper swinging each time on a fastball riding high and away.  The first time, Harper glared back at Motte, wondering how he missed the pitch.  The second time, on Saturday, the kid just sat down and accepted his fate.  Being a rookie closer, getting saves on the road in tough environments is destructive territory.  Motte blew through the heart of the Nationals order for his 32nd save.

*Today, we face Steven Strasburg, the young legend.   As he tip toes down towards his innings limit coming off Tommy John Surgery, Strasburg is going to bring the heat and intensity in a way few young pitchers can.  Gio Gonzalez may be as good of a pitcher as Strasburg, but the persona and reputation brought by the right hander is unmatched in the National League.  I don’t think the ace of a rotation should be shut down for arm strength concerns, especially when that team is in first place, ready to make a deep playoff run and playing great baseball.   If they were so worried about his innings, why not start him up in mid May so he doesn’t miss playoff starts.  Washington didn’t play this situation right at all.   Nonetheless, the Cardinals go against Strasburg for a series split and I can tell you it won’t be easy.   Expecting Jake Westbrook to match him is like asking Damian Marley to produce a clean urine sample.  However, after Waino and Lohse got smoked, it would be nice to see Jake deliver the grit and give us a chance.  If the hapless Marlins can get to Straz, the Cards have a shot.

*It’s good to see Yadi Molina jump right back into the lineup and deliver big hits mere days after suffering the collision at home plate.  The man has brass balls.

*Let me make something clear.   Rafael Furcal going down is a blow because of his presence at shortstop, his defense and the way his bat can change the bottom of the lineup. Losing him isn’t a good thing, but knowing he could avoid surgery and be ready for 2013 sounds better than thinking about the empty area that could have arrived at a pivotal position in spring training.   I will tell you right now that Pete Kozma and Ryan Jackson aren’t the answers now or next year.  They are the same player.  Light hitting defensive minded shortstops.   If the Cards had any sense, seeing Furcal’s frailty, take the salary that arrives after the departure of Berk and Lohse and start thinking about a long term option at short.   With Furcal’s injury and the lack of depth in the organization, the Cards need to fill this area.  Daniel Descalso isn’t at his best defensively at shortstop and can’t hit enough to play every day.  He is a great bench bat/defensive substitute.  Mozelaik can’t continue to solve this internally.  This season he is out of choices, but next year he needs to find a true long term option even if Furcal does come back.

The Other News and Notes

*Here’s some artists on my latest mix of tunes.  XX, Sarah Jaffe, The Tallest Man on Earth, Melody Gardot, The Lumineers, Eric McCarley, The Black Keys, Rodriguez, The Gaslight Anthem, Ryan Bingham, The Who and a man named Johnny Cash.

*Mitch Romney’s campaign slogan is called “recover” in the same design used for Obama’s change.  Really, Mitt, copying off others instead of reinventing a new brand.  You aren’t changing anything yet.  Fucking Republicans.

*I like being in the middle of the political parties and races.   That way I am not bias towards one party’s candidate.  I don’t have to vote for the left or right.  I vote for the person.  This is the reason people can’t watch The Newsroom.  They are so hellbent on one side that a show covering past news events pisses them off.   Tying yourself to one boat limits your opportunities to learn more about the world of politics, the laws and way the world can turn.

*I am one of the people who believe an elite team of Navy Seals gained access to Osama Bin Laden’s home and murdered him on May 1st, 2011.  I just know it.  I don’t give all the credit to the President or the previous President.  I give direct praise to the brave men and women who went onto enemy turf, sniffed out a bad man and took him down.  I will be reading the eye witness account of  the Ex-Navy Seal’s book chronicling the mission,No Easy Day, when it arrives on September 11.  Call me a sucker, but I love true crime.  You either believe what happened that night or you go with an unsubstantial opinion that Bin Laden was killed several years ago.  I go where the evidence points me.  If that makes me a sucker, then so be it.  At least I will have good reading.  You think something else happened.  Write a book about it.

*I have been watching a lot of crap on DVD lately.   Get The Gringo with Mel Gibson, the pale shade of a talented crazy movie star gone straight to DVD.   Bernie with Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey could have been an enjoyable black comedy but instead it was porous and slow.  The Raid: Redemption was a straight up bone crunching action overkill Japanese martial arts showdown and while it was cool to watch, the lingering effect was the DVD rental was a correct viewing format.   Last night I watched a full blown chick flick called L!fe Happens.  Yes, that’s an exclamation point in the title.  I am a good husband.   If I rent a guy film one night, I try to get something for the wife and I the next night.  This movie turned out to be a little gem.  Krysten Ritter starred and co-wrote the screenplay, playing a single mom living with her two best friends while raising a kid that was an accident yet forced her to change.  The plot and script are by the books, but the performances of Ritter and Kate Bosworth raised the film to a slightly higher level.  They didn’t turn the brutally tough life of a single parent into a fake world of opportunity.  They kept it grounded in reality and Ritter was convincing as a young woman who lost a little of herself with one bad decision.  The movie charmed me a bit and it would have made a fair date night in theaters.

*There’s a lot of greed and disconnection in sports.  Dishonesty as well.   The NHL may have their second strike in ten years.  The NFL referees are on strike.  The NFL lost part of training camp to a strike last year.  Major League Baseball is finding cheaters every month.  Boxing is finding cheaters every other month.   A legendary cyclist was stripped of his titles for supposed doping.  When will it all stop?   Just pointing out what I see.

*Keep this name in mind when you think of new power punching boxers.  Middleweight Gennady Golivkin, a tank at 158 who fought his first fight in the USA on Friday night fights on HBO and beat a fighter in Grzegorz Proksa, who had beaten several good fighters, to a pulp in 4 rounds.  Golivkin is a dynamic puncher with a solid jab, a fierce hook to the body and a straight right that buckles necks.  Keep this guy’s name in your mind.

*Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez have a reason to hate each other and each side is justified in their thinking.  Martinez is a veteran middleweight southpaw who has crafted a career of beating big names in big ways.  Chavez Jr. is a famous boxer’s son who is unbeaten with a belt but hasn’t fought a big name.   The older fighter wants to see the young power puncher earn his spot by beating him, while the younger fighter wants to convince the older fighter and many around him that he is a true champion.   Great pre fight buildup that is legit.  Watch this on two episodes of HBO’s fascinating series, 24/7.

*I have watched the Newsroom finale 6 times.  That’s a confession.  Also a reminder of how great and meaningful Aaron Sorkin’s show is.  It’s a series that challenges the viewer to seek out their own take on a real news story.   Can people over the age of 95 acquire a photo ID to vote in all 50 states?  What are the roots of the Republican party and have they gone wrong?  Is America the greatest country in the world and if not, where did it go wrong?   Sorkin says all the little things we want to say but don’t have the platform to shout from.  Watch this show my friends.  It will get your mind working and your mouth moving.  A moving show.

*My next show to watch.  AMC’s Hell on Wheels.  After several false starts, I may give this series a couple hours to woo me.  Something about the building of a railroad, avenging gunslingers, the potential of Anson Mount and feedback I am getting makes this one a show to seek out.  It’s this series or HBO’s Game of Thrones or AMC’s Walking Dead.   Hell on Wheels gets my first look.

That’s all.  I mean it.  Over and done.

Oh, one more thing.  Is it normal for a nearly 1 year old kid to have the leg strength of a sumo wrestler?  Just wondering if my kid is a mutant or just damn strong.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Dan L. Buffa

“The L is For Larry”


The Buffa Blast

Buffa Rant Topics-8/27/12

Set yourself right, and get ready for another surge of material from my mind.  It’s been three weeks since my last post, and these days that’s the norm.  With Film-Addict, daddy duty and job searching going on, I am only able to pound the WordPress blog every once in a while.  That’s not a bad thing.  Taking time between unfiltered hits is good for a mad hand like myself.  My pace of 3 per week is far gone, but I can still strap in once or twice a month to exhale.  Twitter and Facebook are my outlets most of the time, but now I get back to topic firing assembly.  The Rogues in Red are first.

The Cardinals Position or in other words, a vicious rant

Momentum is in their hands after a sweep of Houston, series win in Cincinnati, beating Pittsburgh tonight and holding a Wild Card Spot on this new day.  The Cardinals finally showed what they have the ability to do when they rebounded from an agonizing 19 inning defeat against Pittsburgh a week ago by winning 5 of the next 6 games.  This is a lot different situation than the 2011 team position but still a tough predicament.  The Cardinals suck at one run games.  Their offense goes on hiatus for 20-25 innings at a time.  Their one run losses have come against bad teams.  They rank atop the league in most offensive categories but that is a deceptive position because of their incredibly streaky lineup.  Injuries have struck this team as much as any team in baseball but one feels they can be a highly dangerous team to deal with in the playoffs.  Minor league seasons have ended so the call up’s will begin.  Shelby Miller deserves a look and can bolster a strikeout loaded bullpen.  Matt Adams can help a weak bench.  Lance Lynn isn’t useless to this team even though he lost his spot in the rotation this weekend after a disastrous start in Cincinnati.  He will move to the bullpen and relocate his pitches.  He is a young kid who only landed in the big leagues a year ago.  Joe Kelly only got stronger when he went to the pen, so his electric stuff heads back to the rotation.  At this point, a manager can’t choose favorites or insert April’s heroes into pivotal spots in the stretch run.  Mike Matheny has to make the tough choices and his decision to switch Kelly for Lynn was his first positive move as a manager.  The lineup is capable of hurting teams.  Matt Holliday leads the NL in RBI and simply hurts baseballs.  Allen Craig has 20 home runs and 70 RBI while missing 20 games.  Carlos Beltran is putting together a comeback season.  Yadi Molina leads the team with a .327 batting average with bigger power stats.  David Freese is a force when he is in the lineup.  Our bench needs help but the bullpen and rotation have become a true force.  Edward Mujica has 12 scoreless innings since his arrival.  Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte are the door slammers the team has searched for during the past 5 years.   The Cards can’t take a break.  The Pirates wait in Pittsburgh this week and the schedule doesn’t relent with big series in Washington and LA ahead.  I won’t expect a surge like last season, but with the added playoff spot and the better positioning, I want to see playoff baseball in St Louis this year.

Sports Topical Sniper Duty/Quick Hits on Popular Trends

*My two cents on the big trade. The deal benefits both parties but the Dodgers took on a ton of money to get Gonzo. Beckett is throwing bp and Crawford is out for awhile. Punto is a band aide and 260 million just slid off the Sox shoulders. Right now this benefits the Dodgers because of the billion dollar TV deal and the second wild card spot but it doesn’t mean they catch the Giants. The Sox, without Theo’s aggressive touch, can finally rebuild. That doesn’t mean they won’t make a play for Josh Hamilton this offseason. All in all a radical call of duty by the Dodgers who are banking on a dead arm coming alive, an ex fish playing in a larger sea and a huge gamble a mere year after having their books seized by MLB. The LAD did this to chase that gold ring but my feeling is they won’t get there. The Red Sox won’t either but they got two in the past ten years to rest on. All I know is their books are a lot lighter today than they were yesterday. If I’m a baseball fan, this is a juicy chapter in waging war. If I’m an accountant I’m catching a flight to Boston. They just lost 71 million dollars from next years payroll.

*Why are the Pirates falling so hard?  Andrew McCutchen’s production has slipped big time.  The MVP candidate three weeks ago is running into a slumping gauntlet these days and his body is slowly falling apart.  Tonight, he looked slow on the bases after sliding on the outfield dirt.  Time will tell if the Pirates can rebound and get back into the wildcard race, but without McCut raking the ball around the park, their chances are dismal of recovering.  He is their Pujols.

*Speaking of the former Cardinal legend, Mr. Pujols is hurt and out of the Angels lineup.   Tomorrow, he will make an attempt to return from right calf inflammation or as I like to call it, the Annual Pujols Injury stop.  Once a year, the big guy goes down with an oblique, hamstring, elbow or knee issue.  This time it’s the calf.  Signs of getting old.  Pujols has 28 home runs and 86 RBI to go with a .283 batting average.  With an entire month left, he can easily get close to his 2011 totals of .299-37-99 for the 2012 season.  His tendency to be overly aggressive in the box continues to show, as he only has 43 walks in 477 at bats.  In 2010, he walked 103 times.  In 2011, he only walked 61 times to go with 58 strikeouts.  This year, he has 60 strikeouts to go with the 43 walks.  He is doing a lot more swinging and that will only continue to rise throughout the rest(9 years left on contract) of his career.  I watch the big guy from afar and root for him, but something tells me he will be a sad shade of his former self in 2018-2020.  He will only continue to get hurt more and a move to DH will happen sooner than later.

*Hard Knocks/HBO Films-Feeding an addiction with the Miami Dolphins training camp.  Something about the sports series on HBO are just irresistible and produced so well any sports fan needs to take a look.  Going behind the scenes with the players and coaches, through training camp, is riveting theater that happens to be real.  Seeing head coaches cut ambitious young talent or seeing a high draft pick quarterback get handed the keys to the city(Ryan Tannenhill with the Dolphins in 2012) is cool to watch and never gets old.  The smooth and wise narration by Liev Schreiber doesn’t hurt at all.

*Rams preseason activity leaves little to gather on the prognosis behind the upcoming season.  Fake games don’t give you much but to watch young players fight for roster spots.  No gauge for first team expectations.  Wait for September.  I do like the trade of lineman Jason Smith to the Jets for another equally talented yet mentally needing lineman.  Smith wasn’t going to work here and while the receiving talent is very similar, I will take the risk in Wayne Hunter.

*The Blues wait in limbo while NHL commissioner Gary Bettman attempts to pour gasoline on the upcoming NHL season.  There very well could be a strike between the owners and players this year and that would eliminate or shorten the season for hockey fans.   Each side is greedy here so don’t try to tip the scale.  Owners want more money and the players don’t want to give any of their share away.  Mediators and lawyers only bring more explosives to the proceedings.  As a fan, you never expect a strike to play out fully because we all know at the heart of this are human beings like the rest of us.  Unfortunately, we are taught otherwise.  It happened in 2005-2006.  It can happen again.

*Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel deserves a look this week for the Jon Gruden segment alone.  Love or hate Gumbel.  Respect his reporters. The Gruden segment is money because we all know he needs to go back to coaching because few football minds are as strong as his.  The man has his own football shack on his home grounds.  A flat screen, drawing board, tons of tape and lots of coffee.  Gruden has football in his blood and it will never leave.  I begged for him to chose the Rams this past offseason and while I like Fisher, I still have a craving for Gruden’s intensity.

*24/7 returns along with good boxing matchups in September.   Chad Dawson and Andre Ward, a pair of middleweights, will meet in the ring on September 8th for a belt and this one looks to be a dynamic fight between two respectable fighters.  There will be no trash talking in this series.  Just pure head to head combat training.   On September 15th, the stakes go very high for a matchup between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez in another middleweight bout, with this one figuring to be a slugfest.  There is spicy blood in this engagement, with Sergio calling Chavez Jr. an entitled kid who hasn’t fought anybody to the younger fighter claiming Sergio hasn’t seen this kind of power yet.  I expect the elder Martinez to pull off the win, but not before the young Chavez delivers a heavy handed blow to his body and mind, setting up a rematch where the kid will prevail.  All a fighter needs is a little seasoning to reach his full potential.   Martinez is the kid’s mentor and he doesn’t even know it.  Also on the 15th, atom bomb equipped Mexican fighter Canelo Alvarez takes on rising star Josesito Lopez, who knocked off Victor Ortiz in commanding fashion to score this fight.  When Alvarez’s opponents either were left paralyzed(Paul Williams), withdrawing(James Kirkland) or left with a broken jaw(Ortiz, at the hands of Lopez), Canelo settles for the overachiever.  My bet is Canelo blasts him and takes on Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden in December, with a fight against Chavez Jr. happening in 2013.  Boxing is only warming up.

*Read Bernie Miklasz’s piece on Rick Majerus that posted on Sunday.  It’s a powerful piece of writing that deserves an audience.  Bernie talks about his friendship with Majerus, their collective fears of health issues and the idea that we may have heard the final bell on the SLU basketball coach’s life.

The Newsroom Finale/Season 1

This show is the reason I watch television shows.  A writer dealing without hesitation about his current view of the state of our nation, creating a fictional retelling/history lesson using real events is fascinatingly addictive television.  A show about a greater fool(news anchor Will McAvoy), choosing to handle real news instead of the mundane dead weight rundown every night on cable news.    Jeff Daniels and Sam Waterson deserve Emmy awards but the show itself is a renegade train in the middle of a pack of guideless animals on television.  Daniels flawless work as McAvoy needs to be recognized as a crowning feat in a long career.  Waterson, fresh off Law and Order’s long tenure, gets to cut his teeth again in the juicy role of Charles Skinner, network boss.  Thomas Sadroski, Olivia Munn, John Gallagher Jr. and Daz Patel offer fine support but this show belongs to Daniels and Waterson.   In Sorkin’s own words, McAvoy is a guy who wants to inform people about the hard issues no one wants to touch.  He is the greater fool because he wants to do something no one else can risk their reputation to touch.  He is the fearless warrior in the thunderstorm who won’t go back inside.  Don Quixote is his model the entire season and this show never lets up.  The series starts in one spot and comes back to this question in the finale, “What makes the United States of America the greatest country in the world?”  Leave your political views aside and just enjoy Sorkin’s strong armed acid trip.  Its fiction, injected with a dose of tough reality, but it’s worth a look.  10 hours of newsroom boxing.  As long as there are thoughtful, energetic young people  who want to be the greater fool, there is reason to be optimistic.  That gets Will going and quite frankly, it should get you going as well.  Sometimes a show can matter.

Jeff Daniels’ tweet about the finale-

“Tonight’s NEWSROOM Finale is why I got into acting. May it matter. “

Armstrong Tragedy

*Lance Armstrong-a quick dose about the lack of evidence and the general fear the media has of regular men doing extraordinary things.  This is the same situation with baseball media attacking Albert Pujols for steroid use.  The difference is Armstrong decided to not play the blood hound’s game and chose silence.  If there is evidence Armstrong did performance enhancing drugs, then please show it to me.  If not, walk to the other side of the room.  I’m not a fan of bike racing, but Armstrong’s accomplishments with his life struggles can be an inspiration to anyone who gets the kind of life altering news from their doctor.  My best friend had cancer, survived it and will live his life long and well.  My other good friend passed away to throat cancer.  Maybe this has nothing to do with Lance Armstrong.  Maybe it does.  In the end, if there is no evidence, why are Armstrong’s Tour De France titles being stripped from him and his reputation permanently shattered.  The Agency that supposedly pulled together the evidence announced it will eventually release it to the public, which I will await until I make my decision.  If he did cheat, I want the evidence.   Now, other cyclists who more likely than not cheated will get the titles being stripped from Armstrong, so what right is being done here.  This brings me back to my original take on cheating in sports.  If you want to accuse a star of cheating, show me evidence and exact substances found in his system.  Give me proof.  If not, throw out all the suspicion on the athletes.  It’s a fools game that concludes nothing.  If he was doping, that’s a blow to his fans and reputation.  I will welcome that if it’s true.  Until it is true, drop the grudge.

Neil Armstrong-A life lived complete without regrets.  Sitting on his deathbed, I am sure Neil muttered to himself, “I walked on the moon.  Yeah, I’m good to go.”  RIP white knight who dared to step on the kind of ground felt by few others before him.   It wasn’t just his actions back in 1969 that changed the space program forever.  Armstrong stayed in the NASA program for the better part of his life, training, assisting and regulating space missions and programs.  The man is a self made legend.  No fiction needed.

*Movie Critic news

*What to see and what to avoid.   Please, if you must watch one thing, go watch Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar worthy performance in William Friedkin’s red hot thriller, Killer Joe.   Do not go see Lawless, because Shia Labeouf’s lightweight acting bring the entire ship, including Tom Hardy’s gritty work, down to the bottom of the sea.  A free taste from the Film-Addict.

*Going on the radio to talk film-addict with FM news talk movie guy Max Foizey was a fine experience.  On Saturday, I talked about my website with 97.1’s MaxOnMovies host and this was the first form of marketing for the site.  With it, I have a few realizations.  Hearing yourself on the radio never stops being weird.  This is a great way to market your site because his listeners will trust his judgement in putting me on the show.   Also, with the right questions, the perfect answers about a movie site can form.  It’s our website against thousands of other sites, so every helping hand is needed.

Vincent turns 1

My little man is acquiring a number on his resume and the small things day by day.  Being a dad is playing constant defense in fear of damage to your son.  An overwhelming job for any man.   On September 14th, Vincent is one year’s old.  I can’t believe a year has gone by but my nerve endings could tell me otherwise.  He fought a lot early in his life but stomach ache and fevers aside, has grown into a healthy, cute, active and downright ambitious little man.   There are times when people call a baby cute because it’s politically correct.  Then there are times when it’s an accurate and common statement.  Vincent is a good looking kid.  The future scares the shit out of me but I’m not going anywhere.  To all the dads who abandoned their children at a young age, I have zero sympathy for you.  There’s no greater duty in life than overseeing the fragile life of the future.

Unfortunate News 101

Snooki gives birth in the latest form of unfortunate developments in the land of talentless celebrities.  Snooki has no talent, ambition or signature reason to be adored.  She prays on the weak, the people who make it their goal in life to be sucked into the fake reality of stupid B-level celebs.  A jersey shore alum that is as dumb as they come.  The fact that she gave birth should be a tragic day because this insures that the circus will only go on.

The Last Remaining Unemployed Man of the House

I am the last out of work slum in the Buffa House.  The wife and roommate Irish have gotten jobs and I am officially Mr. Mom.  That’s not a bad thing but a new revelation.  Vinny goes to daycare 2 days a week and I sit at home doing laundry, cleaning, applying for the same jobs every week.  This is only half a complaint.  It’s a quiet calm being at home, working on your passion project and keeping the house running.  However, money needs to be made if you want to live healthy.  Unemployment is never in someone’s future but it’s a possibility if you graduate college or not.  I filled out three jobs for warehouse jobs today and I don’t want either of them.  I would rather work on my site or write pieces for a living.  Unfortunately, in this economy and in this life in general, that is not possible if you have a mortgage and family to support.  So, my boring  job search continues.

Closing Statements For the Reading Audience

*Listen to sexy French American jazz artist Melody Gardot.  Her album, My One and Only Thrill is simply to die for jazzy blues music.  Let her painfully sincere voice get under your skin.

*September is a good month for my approved musicians.  Mumford and Sons, Band of Horses and The Dave Matthews Band come out with new albums.  Glen Hansard, formerly apart of the group The Swell Season, visits the Pageant as well.  I will be in attendance because during two previous visits, the man put on a hell of a show.

*I’d like the weather to make up its mind but I will take 90 degrees for a little while.

*Softball season is coming to a close, as least in the summer version.  I played well, my team didn’t fare as well, but I will return for a fall session.  In the end, softball is a game of individual achievement.

*Whenever I see a school shooting, I am not surprised.  Teenagers are capable of doing anything because they are at a stage in their lives where they have zero clue who they are and what they want, leaving them to create chaos.

*The trailers for Killing Me Softly, Zero Dark Thirty, Flight, and Looper are the best I have seen all year.

*My Film-Addict colleague Chris McHugh’s verdict on the new documentary about Barack Obama is as fair a start any critic can provide.  A highlight of his review.

“This movie puts the light on the man and it is beneficial for all to see, but if you go in there with your left or right wing flapping you will miss the point of what is being shared. I found out more about President Obama in 90 minutes watching this movie than I have in over the last five years of seeing him in the public eye. Sit back relax and take in the knowledge that is being offered and do with it what you will, for me I am digesting the information in whole and off to do my own fact finding mission. At least this time around, I will know the man not just by what has been told to me, but by what I have discovered.”

*An enraged worker shot and killed a co-worker before being gunned down by police in NYC outside the Empire State Building.  Another case of understanding at the core of our existence, a capability for violence rests.  We can all do it.  Its the amount of control we have that stops some of us and can’t hold onto others.  A chilling thing about life.

*2013 has a lot of work to do in order to be as memorable and bittersweet as 2011 and 2012 have been in my life.

*I take a lot of pride in my ability to call it straight.  Whether its sports, film or life in general, I don’t pull a punch here.  A few quick confessions.  I am not a Democrat or Republican and I hate the idea the leaders of our world are put into “parties”.   I am a big fan of Under Armour clothing even though its very expensive.  It’s a good fitting clothing and worth the dollars spent because of the comfort it gives me.  I love coffee because of how it makes me feel instantly.  I like old fashion guilty pleasure action movies because they are easy on the eyes.   This goes for Expendables 1 and 2.   I like the Newsroom because it stirs something inside of me few forms of entertainment do.  I love my life because every day I wake up with a chance to hang out with a little man, a lady and a home that I have grown to call not only a part of my life but a part of me.  I also get to use my hands and voice as a means of expressing myself to the world, little by little.  All we have in this life is what we are going after and our word.  Keep both fresh at all times and you will be fine.

That’s all.  This blog wasn’t perfect(a few punctuation errors aside), but it was a 100 percent me, heart and soul included in the package.


Dan L. Buffa

“The L is for Larry”