The Weekly Shot Glass

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place… and I don´t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently, if you let it. You, me or nobody, is gonna hit as hard as life. But ain’t about how hard you hit… It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward… how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That´s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you worth, go out and get what you worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying: You ain´t what you wanna be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain´t you! You´re better than that!” -Rocky Balboa

Good evening ladies and gents,

A stream of conciousness if you will on a cold week night with the first hint of winter falling to the ground in the form of snow flakes.   There are two signs winter is on the doorstep.   Decent cold air and snow falling.   If you are an athlete and participate in fitness opportunities, the cold air can cut you in half, because you take deep breaths outside and have to survive the cold air if you are to maintain a routine.  One that includes right now a boring snoozy opening monologue like this.   All of a sudden, this is Rosie O’Donnell’s fat ass yelling about adoption, lesbian love affairs and her need to be the white Oprah.   In my opinion, day time talk shows suck big time.  Moving on.  This rant was written over the course of three days, so respect the storytelling process.

The topic of the day is Albert Pujols and the Winter Meetings.(12-5-2011, 2pm)   The Cardinals GM John Mozelaik landed in Washington today for the meetings and will be there until the end of the week, where he hopes to find out where Pujols and his people stand and what are the chances of him returning.   This will be the topic of the hour until he signs a contract.    What has to happen here is a compromise of sorts.  The Cards need to figure out what their future shows and design an offer from that model and Pujols has to accept or reject their idea.   If Pujols wants years, the Cards will come down in yearly wages.  If the years are less, the annual dollar will rise.   Somewhere along this line, the two sides have to meet.   As DeWitt and a million other people will say, The Cards are a lot better team WITH Albert Pujols than without.   That can hold true for the next 4-5 years and maybe even a 6th.   Its hard to bet against Albert’s production.   People consider last season an off year and forget Albert’s amazing second half and the fact he compiled those stats while missing 16 games.   Rearrange your thoughts there until you look at the stats.   Bernie Miklasz wrote a fine column in Sunday’s Post about the ideal ending for both parties and I happen to agree.  I will post the link after the section but here are a few random excerpts from the column followed by my position.

Miklasz-“What could possibly get in the way?(of a deal getting made) One word:ego”

My take-I agree here.  The ego’s of Mozelaik, DeWitt, Pujols and Lozano’s clash here and there is no way around it.  If they can be maintained, a result can take shape.

Miklasz-“If the Cardinals are entrenched and resistant to being flexible on a Pujols Contract, then they’ll increase the risk of losing him.”

My Take-Basically, if the Cards fail to improve their January offer whether in yearly salary or an adjustment of the years, they run the risk of losing Pujols.   I agree and disagree with this.  9 years is a more than sufficient amount but 21 million is low for an annual salary.  However, if Pujols wants a long term deal, he has to take a lower annual average to loosen the liability or pay more money up front and slowly come down as the years reach 8 and 9.

Miklasz-“Pujols has frequently said he wants to be like Stan Musial, who spent his entire Hall of Fame career here.   By staking out that admirable position, Pujols risks being exposed as a fraud if he bolts town for the highest offer.”

My Take-Absolutely agree here.  Albert is a man who has constantly preached the need to be like Stan, put winning first, and finish in one uniform.  If he runs off to the Rangers for more million rather than stay here, where’s the promise exist then?   Words are only words, but with Albert you get the feeling they were more.

Miklasz-This is what it comes down to.  The length of contract.”

My Take-I agree here.   The Cards would be more than willing to pay Albert 28 million for lesser years.   However, if he wants a career sealing deal, my feeling is the Cards want him to meet them in the middle on years.   The Cards want protection and so does Albert.

Miklasz-The Cards obviously don’t want to get stuck paying an aging broken down player 25 million a year when he is 38,39, and 40.   If a long term deal goes sour, it limits their ability to put a good product on the field. But isn’t Pujols the same guy who tells us winning is everything.   If that’s the case, surely Pujols can grasp the potential consequences of clogging the payroll with an enormous salary.”

My Take-This is a popular take and its understandable.  This is the bread and butter of the dispute.  Albert wants to win and has said so 3500 times in his 11 years here.  He MUST know if the Cards have a chance to field a playoff team, he can’t make 30 million for 8-10 years.   The answer is clearly no.   Why would Albert consider signing with Miami, who have signed Heath Bell and Jose Reyes but lack the starting pitching to challenge the Braves and Phillies.   Why would  he consider going to Chicago, where depression takes over?  If winning is the optimal goal, why jet from a franchise where you have the best chance to win?

Miklasz-The Cardinals are subject to the same scrutiny.  If they are sincere in their desire to maintain a winning tradition after the retirement of La Russa, they’ll need Pujols in the lineup.”

My Take-If Mike Matheny is going to have a chance, Pujols will need to stick around and guide the ship.   Take Pujols out of the clubhouse and lineup and away from first base and this team is weaker defensively, weaker in clutch moments and their personality takes a huge hit.   People say they are okay with Pujols walking away and they forget about his yearly average of 38 HR, 110 RBI, .310 batting average to go along with gold glove defense and a strong baserunning aggression.   Do you really want to deprieve Matheny of the greatness of Pujols?

Miklasz-This isn’t easy, trying to determine whats fair.   The Cards have received 11 years of excellence from Pujols at a bargain rate.   He’s average about 10 million in salary over his career. 

My Take- He makes as much as Lohse to be great.   The Cardinals hesitant approach to Albert through his career has paid off HANDSOMELY for this franchise.  Is a long term deal for the king so absurd?  I think not.

Miklasz’s compromise is the same as mine.   The Cards raise the annual salary and Albert agrees to less years to limit the liability.  The Cards aren’t the Yankees and can’t give Albert the A-Rod treatment(10 yrs, 275 million), which is an incredible amount of bullshit.   Pujols understands that right.   The Cards understand the caliber of player Pujols is, so they know they have to improve on their January offer.  Trim it down to 6-7 years and average 24 million a season.  My proposed deal has always been 5-6 years at 26-28 million per season.  Albert gets to be paid as the elite athlete in baseball(a label he deserves whether he wants it or not), and the Cards don’t hand him 3-4 extra years of unknown production.   If Albert is a beast at 36, the end of a 5 year contract, sign him for 3 more seasons.   Compromise takes shape here.   Two sides come together as one on a hot topic.  Pujols wouldn’t get the years he wanted but the Cardinals would pay a higher salary than they wanted to.   In the end, Pujols gets to stay comfy and The Cards retain their franchise player.  Everybody wins.

If Albert keeps his word when he says winning is everything, a good product around him is vital and doing it just like Stan are true, he would take this deal.   The Cards, though, have to offer him something this week at the Winter Meetings.  How much time can they waste allowing other teams to sway their slugger?   Offer him something and make sure it respects his status as the best.  Everybody can worry about his production in 2016-2018 but the fact of the matter is every team overspends in a long term deal.   Your idea does make each side happy because in the end Albert makes this team 35-45 million per season in revenue and merchandise.   However, if this deal doesn’t work, go for a shorter deal that makes him the highest paid player but limits the long term liability.  Give him 5-6 years at 28 million the first 3 years, where the Cards don’t need much reinforcements around him.   The final 3 he gets 20 million.   Albert gets paid and the Cards don’t overextend themselves.   In the end, it will come down to both sides finding a compromise and putting their egos aside.   I’d fire Lozano if he pulls a Boras and tries to be bigger than his client.  A-Rod fired Boras and worked out his own extension with New York.  Albert can do the same thing.  Tell Lozano to sit a few plays out and go suck a dick.  Pujols doesn’t need an agent because his performance names the price and sets the deal.  He can go up to Mo and tell him to wrap this up.  No suits required.   I question if Lozano is looking out more for himself than Albert.  That’s not an agent’s job.   If Lozano doesn’t cut it, Albert needs to hire this guy……click on link to find out…
http://youtu.be/7LNITt85-Rc’
In the end, both sides would be stupid to break up this marriage that’s included 110 million over 8 years and 2 World Series to go with 3 MVPs and possibly the greatest player in Cardinal history.   Pujols can taste Florida all he wants but in the end the BEST spot for him financially and competitively is St. Louis.  Hire Gold.  Get it done.

Albert Pujols to Miami???(12-6-2011, 11am)

Do I really think Albert is going to Florida?  Last month, no way.  Last night, the chances grew.   Miami will contend in 2012.   Ryan Howard is missing half the season and Jimmy Rollins and Roy Oswalt are bolting to free agency, so the Marlins will compete.  The acquisitions of Jose Reyes and Heath Bell increase the competitive drive.  Owner Jeffrey Loria has a new stadium and a bank of cash.  It worries me slightly that Albert is getting repeated intention from an owner trying to rebuild a fan base,  and I can see it happening.

However, the Cards have to make an offer.  QUICK.   Why wait for the whole market to take shape?  Present a new offer and get the ball rolling so Albert knows whats waiting for him.  You can see the angle from both sides and understand each position.  The Cards have to respect their future, Pujols’ future and the pursuit of the Marlins.   I have never been a fan of the 10 year deal, but that may be the need.  Reports from Buster Olney have the issue in January between STL and Albert being annual salary and not years.   This is the problem with watching these negotiations.  You are stuck listening to others and various sources leak out information that may or may not be true.   This is the life of a fan.   Follow, wait and prepare.   I wouldn’t be surprised if the Marlins were able to snag Pujols, but I obviously don’t want that to happen.

If the Marlins sign Albert Pujols for 10 years at 22-25 million per season, I wouldn’t be surprised but I would be shocked Pujols is willing to leave St. Louis for a little more money at this point in his career.  The BEST fit for him, personally, competitively and career wise is to stay with the Cardinals.  If he moves to Florida and he suffers through a bad season or the Marlins struggle, the backlash will fall on him and not Reyes/Bell.   Albert is the star of the group and will receive the most pressure.  If he wants that kind of pressure, so be it.  THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT BUT WATCH AND CRITIQUE.

Moving onto other topics before I return to The Pujols talks later.

The Blues Slow Down over the Weekend/Regroup on Tuesday

The Blues Rant….starts now-

After going 8-1-2 under Ken Hitchcock, the Blues lost two over the weekend and slowed the gravy train down a little.   The main things haunting this team throughout their improved style of play is a horrible record on the power play.  The Blues rank last in power play efficiency and they are supremely struggling with clearing their own zone when the other team sets up shop.   It doesn’t matter which goalie is back there.  If the shots keep coming and there is no clearing, the puck will eventually go in.    Simple science.   On Friday and Saturday, several Colarado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks shot flurries lasted longer than required and goals found the net.   The Avalanche had 5 men cycling the puck and put repeated shots on net until Halak missed a screen shot.   It’s easy to blame Halak(I did), but watching Elliot struggle with the same issues on Saturday, one noticed the Blues unhealthy trends are still alive.   Saturday’s loss was the first legit(loss by more a goal) beating of Hitchcock’s tenure here.   The Blues are now 8-2-3 under him, which looks great on paper but when figured up in reality mode, its 8-5.   The wheels aren’t off the track here but the Blues have to improve in areas or they will fall into the usual New Year regression.   Something has changed under Hitch, but old styles of play aren’t easy to kill.    Hitch said himself that they are facing opponents for the second time now and next up is Detroit.  The one bright shining light on Saturday was the return of David Perron from a 97 game absence due to post concussion syndrome.   Perron wasted little time getting back into the swing of things, scoring his first goal and logging 19 minutes.    Perron is a stylistic forward with uncanning speed and ability to create plays and he will help a sour power play and also breathe life into a dead zone on this team called the shootout.   The Blues have lost 3 games on shootouts in the past three weeks and they come on lousy shots with no creativity.  It doesn’t take a master to present the idea of getting the puck up towards a top slot than try to put it between the goalie’s legs.   Improve in power play, shootout and zone defense and the Blues will ride high for a while.   Brian Elliot was eventually going to stumble and allow some goals.  His career numbers don’t back up a 10-2 record with a 1.80 GAA.  He is playing above his ceiling this season and it won’t stick.   If the Blues are smart, they would still look to shop Berglund/Oshie while they carry value, wait for Andy McDonald to return and ship his 5 million out of town and also consider moving Barrett Jackman since there is a surplus of defensemen in the system.   Also, don’t rule out Brian Elliot because while it would be hated by fans, Elliot holds a high value at the moment with his play in net.   His career swing stats suggest a far worse stopper.  This news shouldn’t sour Halak’s hard on fans.   If they love him so much, would it be painful to see our 4 million dollar netminder become the vocal point again?  I think not.   The Blues are an entertaining group as always.   They play energetic physical hockey and are finishing games.   How high does their talent ceiling reach?   If they don’t correct a critical area like power play goals, they can’t expect to compete in April.   Their power play is wretched but they manage to pull off wins lately with solid goaltending.  If that falters, watch out.  That’s why you look for a trade, untie some young mixed up talent, make a deal for a true scorer like Bobby Ryan or Jarome Iginla and get this team some offense.    You can’t keep winning 2-1 games.  The Blues are almost there.

Update-The Blues beat Detroit 3-2 at Scottrade to improve to 9-2-3 under Hitchcock and stay right behind the Red Wings in the Central.   The zig zag nature continues.

The Rams Suck.  Plain and simple.   Any explanation for their 26-0 thumping at the hands of the NFC West Division Champs  San Francisco 49ers is futile.   They aren’t worth a conversation.   The news here is still the same.  Spags needs to be fired.   The Rams need to start the rebuilding process in the coaching department and front office as soon as they can.   I’ve said it for weeks.  When does enough become enough on the sidelines?  How many more Spags crouches with his head in his hands displays do we need?  The man is out of clues, ideas and lost with this bunch of floaters.   It isn’t all his fault but he is the first one that has to fall.   Get it done.  I don’t care how mad owner Stan Kroneke got about the shutout loss(unheard of in football but not in St. Louis).  It doesn’t matter unless he does something about it.  I can sit here and get mad about it.  Then I get on with my night.   Stan has a huge investment here that will start going south unless he cuts the head off the snake, cuts players, brings in talent and fuels the car here.   Put Steven Jackson on the trade block because while he is playing well in a bad offense, the team isn’t winning with him at running back.   Move him for a package.   If Jackson leaves, the HEAT goes way up on Sam Bradford, which is appropriate.   Offensive line help or not, Bradford needs to return and play better to restore faith in the fan base that he is the man for the job.  Kurt Warner he is not.   The man isn’t even close to Marc Bulger as far as efficiency in his first 2 seasons.   It was different back then with Martz/Bruce/Holt, but Bradford couldn’t hit them with a beach ball right now.   This offense is horrible.   They accumulated 9 yards on 4 series yesterday in the second half.  By the way, AJ Feeley stepped behind center yesterday and failed miserably.  He threw an interception, fumbled and didn’t make anything happen.   Feeley is a horrible QB and doesn’t deserve his 3.5 million.  The Rams would be fit to let a bartender go behind center next week in Seattle.  At least he would be able to make a drink for the coaching staff after the game.   At this point, sitting at 2-10, it’s only a matter of time before Stan Kroneke blows up the front office.  When will it happen?

On the other hand…how about Tim Tebow ladies and gents?   When your home team is in the dumps, you turn to a player you admire, an underdog, a player who has only stepped in for a 1-4 team and picked them up and turned their season around into a 7-5 dream.   Tebow did it again on Sunday, coming from behind to beat the Minnesota Vikings on the road, 35-32.   On a day when the defense was without star linebacker Von Miller and they were getting shredded by Christian Ponder and not Adrian Petersen, Tebow stepped up and matched the Vikings offense bang for bang in the second half.  He threw for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns.   He set up the game tying field goal drive to knot it at 32 before Ponder threw a INT that led to the Broncos’ game winning field goal as time expired.   Tebow is a 4th quarter warrior and I am not surprised.   I knew this kid was good back in college.   He was different.   Ambitious.   Crazy.   Most of all, Tebow is unbreakable.  The man’s own head coach and President didn’t want him to succeed and couldn’t call him the answer.  Now Elway and coach John Fox are saying all the right things.  They are the benefactors of Tebow’s sudden greatness.    He has never stopped making plays.  He is the most exciting player in football right now because he has the unique ability to make his best play at the most crucial hour.   Anybody miss Kyle Orton right now in Denver or crying for Brady Quinn?  The answer is no.  Tim Tebow is the answer and the supporters/detractors will take the predictable steps.  Supporters will preach their initial opinion now that its valid(my work) and detractors will keep throwing punches at his image or attack his faith.   I don’t believe in GOD, but I do believe in Tim Tebow.   The kid is defying all odds and is leading the Broncos towards the playoffs.

Updated Thought on Pujols/Cards/Marlins-As the Marlins brass goes into the war room and the Cards set up to counter, here is a fresh take.  

(12-6-11, 2pm)If Pujols takes the 10 year 220 million dollar deal, how is he seen as demonic if he turned down a 9 year 200 million dollar deal in January?  Very similiar offers and he takes the Miami one.  That would be unfortunate but I can’t get too mad at either side.   Both sides are obligated here.   They dont have to keep a marriage going.  The Cardinals have the right to not tie up 22 million on one player for the next 10 years.  Pujols has the right to choose where he plays.  I can say he wants to be Stan and win, but that all goes out the window because this is a business and not a charity foundation cover.   It comes down to choice….on both sides.  Pujols picking a deal and The Cards choosing to match or stay away.   I can’t tell you how this will end.  The Marlins have definitely made things very interesting with their 5 day rennassiance mission.    Bell, Reyes and now maybe Pujols. Watch out NL East.  Pujols will have a chance to win there so don’t discount his statement.   The Marlins have a history of doing this.   They have won 2 world series in their 18 year existence.  The Cardinals have won 2 in their past 29 years of play.    With Howard down/Rollins and Oswalt out and the Braves the only threat,watch out for Miami if they get ALbert.

Of course I want it to fall the Cards way, no matter the price but that’s my stance the entire time.   I have said since last November it comes down to Albert making a call.  That holds true today and for the short term future.  I think Albert is more likely to regret a long term cash/challenge chase down to Miami and less likely to regret staying here to cement his legendary status here.  What does he want?   Iconic status here or a renegade expert there.     The Lebron comparisons lack weight because Pujols brought STL 2 rings, unlike the newly crowned Choker.   It comes down to what comfort level Albert wants.   Staying here allows him to decline on his own terms.   If he goes to Miami and flunks, he is in for a rude awakening because Loria can place the blame on him and not Reyes and Bell.  Albert is a savior and he knows it if he goes down there that the results fall on his shoulders.

J.Edgar Review

A bland dissatisfying Clint Eastwood epic about J. Edgar Hoover, the mysterious lawman who brought the FBI together and became the biggest anti-hero in the world for his risky decision making, political power play and ruthless attitude.  Leo DiCaprio gives a by the books performance, looking like an actor playing a part for the first time in years instead of an actor disappearing into a role.  J.Edgar had talent attached but felt distant with its main character, underwhelmed overall and 72 hours later, I’m finding it quite forgettable. It didn’t tell us anything that we didn’t already know about Hoover.  Dustin Lance Black’s script hints at his sexuality but never does it confirm it.   The movie moves around in the timeline of events, going from his early days to his final days in office.   The result is a film with the pace of a snail and the moral code of a boring historian.  There is little to like here and more to admire but in the end, J.Edgar isn’t a good time at the movies.

Miguel Cotto Gets his Revenge and Destroys Antonio Margarito

On Saturday night, Cotto got valid retribution and delivered cold hard sweet revenge to Antonio Margarito, pounding him for 9 rounds before the ref, ring doctors and eye specialists ended the fight due to Margarito’s right eye swelling up completely.   Cotto won a lopsided fight that most likely ended Margarito’s career and brought clarity to any boxing fan needing to know if he is dirty or not.  Since he was caught with illegal hand wraps in 2009 against Shane Mosley, Margarito hasn’t been the same fighter.  Cotto pounded him into submission and left little to wonder about.  Cotto controlled the pace, stepped in and fired wicked combination’s, spinning away and coming in to land 3-4 more punches.  He landed 83 punches to Margarito’s restructured right eye.  By outboxing Margarito, Cotto pummeled him.  Now that he has taken care of Margarito, Cotto can move on and seek other challenges and leave the river of doubt by itself.  In the end, Margarito was a cheat and Cotto was the proper champion.  Each man is going down an opposite path now.  Margarito had every opportunity to earn the respect and prove to people he is a rightful victor, but Cotto refused him the opportunity by battering his right eye and swelling up his face.   Poetic Justice carries a sweet/bitter taste.  Cotto reached both ends and came out a proud champion.

Pujols Saga Continued-

*In a day of deals and talks that have felt like a marathon through Europe, Albert Pujols has a decision to make.   According to sources local and in Miami(all speculation at this point), Albert has a pair of 10 year 200 million dollar plus offers on the table.   The Miami Marlins offered Albert 10 years between 200-220 million, and Albert pays less taxes in Miami but doesn’t get a no trade clause.   This is something Albert has with the Cardinals, since he has 10/5 status(1o yrs in MLB, 5 with one team).  The Cardinals have put forth an offer of 10 years in the same price range.   There are tons of factors folks but in the end its a decision.   I firmly believe the Cardinals did everything they could here to sway Pujols back home.   They gave him money, years and security after he is retired.  If he chooses to go to Miami, he is giving up a lot in St. Louis that has nothing to do with money.  Albert has built a life here in 11 years and for a minute lets think outside of speculation.   Lets ask ourselves a question but first place markers down.  Pujols has every right to choose where his next 10 years take him but how much money and security does it take to have him leave the Cards.  There are ideas that the Cards refusal to deal with a new contract until Miami came along would frustrate Albert and those are true.   Does Albert want a challenge?  That being said, doesn’t he have a big enough challenge in St. Louis?  What is Albert chasing down to Miami?  The media game is a theater show few like to play(a good friend of mine is staying out), but in the end it comes down to business making and personal choice.  Albert needs to talk to his family, turn off his cell phone and think about this.  Does he want to break up a marriage that has produced 11 seasons, 3 MVPs, 2 World Series and tons of money in order to start fresh in Miami at the age of 31?   My feelings are still strong that Albert faces less pressure in St. Louis than Miami.   If he does decline somewhat, the noise will be louder in South Beach.

*(12-7-2011, 10am)Is it smart to give any player a 10 year deal?  NO.  However, if any player deserves it, Albert Pujols does.   He has proven to be remarkably healthy and consistent over 11 years.  His 2011 season minus 19 games supplies the notion he hasn’t slowed down much.   The Cards have every right to say they aren’t handing a player 10 years at 30 years of age or more.  Each side has an obligation to not step outside their moral and financial boundaries.   Many STL fans are mad at giving him 10 years.   My question is folks…do you want to pull the 10 year offer and let him walk to Miami?  That’s the Cardinals dilemma.  I am sure they are lining up the future right now.    If Albert leaves, who plays first base after 2012?   If Berkman plays first base, who moves into right field?  Allen Craig just had knee surgery, so he may not start the season.   Can Craig produce the same numbers with 550 at bats?   If Craig plays right, who warms up the bench for late innings?  Can the Cardinals trade/sign a shortstop?   Which one?  If Albert leaves, Matt Holliday is the guy and can he stay healthy or was 2011 a sign of things to come?  Is this team better without Albert for the next 10 years or worse?  Answer that and you have reached peace.

*Let’s play in an imaginary world where the Cards and Marlins both offered 10 yrs at around 22 million per season?  If you are Albert Pujols, where do you go?  Consider all the factors.   Loyalty, home base, single team career icon status and plenty of cash to justify your professional drive in St. Louis.  A new opportunity, potential dream team, and a challenge in Miami.   Everyone knows the Cards will compete in 2012 and beyond.  How sure are they on Miami?  See my point.  Albert Pujols would be stupid or a little crazy to leave St. Louis for a few more million and without a no trade clause in Miami.   That’s my opinion.   Albert would have to look me in the eye and tell me why he is leaving.   Sad over St. Louis contract talks….get over it because you’re a big boy.   One hopes his wife tells him to cut the bullshit and sign in St. Louis.    Somebody needs to step in here.  More to come.  I imagine this will be finished in the next 8-10 hours.

Margin Call Revisited

A Below the Radar Oscar candidate.  One of the best of the year.  Margin Call was a painfully disturbing film that hung around inside your head for days.   The cast was uniformly excellent, especially Stanley Tucci, who only had 3 scenes but nailed each one.   His rant about the number of years he saved in peoples lives by building a large bridge was legendary and must of flattened the crew on set that day.   Spacey, Irons, Bettany, Quinto and Baker are all very good.  This film doesn’t pick a side on the financial crisis.  It just paints the walls with the blood shed that day mentally and physically.   This script and direction plays like a David Mamet play, Glengarry Glen Ross 2 for example.   Powerful piece of movie magic that expertly combines star power and gritty storytelling.   There was no one party to blame that day, so why point a finger.   Irons chief of the firm coming in and telling Spacey’s soldier on the front line, “This has been happening since the beginning of civilization.  We overextend ourselves, regroup and keep on spending.   Its the way of the land.”   I am definitely watching this again and a third time just to soak in the magic.   This is a film that reminds you how important original ideas are in Hollywood.  Fuck 3D and a remake.  Give me a story with blood hanging from the page.

NFC Feelings

If there is any quarterback that can take down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, its Drew Brees and his mighty Saints.   The first game of the season featured a 42-34 Packers-Saints pointfest where each quarterback threw 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and over 300 yards.   The defenses battled during that game.  Next time around, the game will most certainly take place in Green Bay in the cold tundra of Lambeau Field.   Brees has the weapons, talent and consistency to take down Green Bay and is the only team that can possibly knock off the Unbeaten Rodgers train.   This would make for an explosive game and a worthy rematch.

The Black Keys New Album, El Camino

The great blues rock band The Black Keys, comprised of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, return this week with a new collection of charging garage rock tunes that also qualify as old school funky cool music.   These two guys are as simple as musicians can get and frame their music and world in the same format.   Two men, a drum set and a guitar, hitting the road.  The album cover features a broken down old Chrysler van, which they went on their first tour inside.  The title refers not to a car but to a Spanish phrase known as “the road”.   The Black Keys enjoyed a blast to stardom similiar to the Kings of Leon with their last release, Brothers, in 2009.   That was one of the best albums I have ever listened to.  Full, tight, zero skipping, and full of wonders every time you took a trip through the playlist.   This release promises to be more of the same yet carry a hard rock feel.  To me, the Black Keys are walking the contrary route as musicians.  Instead of releasing a radio friendly safe album, they are going with their original arsenal and tool kit.   Stick with what you do best gents.   Look forward to a album review of this in the coming weeks.  It will get repeated turns at home, in the car and in any location with a CD player.

Rocky 6 Speech-Link of the Week(spoiler alert)

First thing, Rocky 6 ended the series perfectly.  After a punch drunk 5th film in the series with Tommy Morrison as his nemesis, Rocky 6 started clean back in a cemetery in Philly with Rocky next to Adrian’s grave.   With the death of Adrian, Sly Stallone reset the series and breathed fresh air into it.  He faced a real life boxer in an exhibition bout in the final installment, but it was more about Rocky reconnecting with his son and getting past the death of his wife.   Here is a great scene between Rocky and his kid, where he has to teach the younger man how success is found in life and where you get the inner strength to do the little things.   Its a hall of fame scene that gets lost because critics forget about these scenes in decent series ending films.   To me, this is an inspiration and can lift anyone up on any given day.

Sons of Anarchy Finale Hype

“It’s like war, isn’t it?  Easy to get into.  Hell to get out of.”-The Wire

If this FX gem promises anything in this week’s Season 4 finale, its that the ride to the top of a criminal biker club involves blood, death and consequences and that the escape from such power isn’t easy to untangle yourself from.   Here is a show that carries more balls than most cable programming.   The story of the Sons of Anarchy, a biker club in California going through power issues this season, coming to a head in the finale with the young Jax facing off against the leader, Clay.   Jax has the opportunity to take his family and leave town and the nasty business of gun running behind, but he is tied to the club through his mother Gemma and late father John.   The ties that bind don’t loosen too often.  Season 5 promises a game changing setup that won’t leave everyone breathing.  I like a show that takes chances.  Sons of Anarchy combines the criminal cool of Sopranos with the tragedy of a Greek Tragedy.

The Random Topics

  • As the days pass by, I get the impression Steve Spagnuolo will never be fired.   When your team loses 26-0 and you survive 48 hours, the idea is that the rest of the season is yours to keep.  A football team can’t lose much worse than 26-0, so my idea is the changes in the Rams come after the season.
  • Prince Fielder’s field of play will erupt once Pujols signs.  Fielder is a slugger 4 years younger than Pujols, so if Pujols gets a 10 year deal, Scott Boras will demand a 10 year stable for his client.  However, most teams are hesitant to give Fielder 10 years because of his father’s history hinting at Prince’s inevitable decline.   AL teams are more likely to give Prince a long term deal so when his first base days are over, he can transition right into the DH role.   My clear bet and quiet favorite for Prince is either the Cubs(Theo will go nuts until he spends his cash on a long term splash) or Texas, where a first basemen is needed and the will to compete is there.  If Prince goes to Seattle or Baltimore, he is stupid.
  • All signs point to me finally sitting down and viewing The Descendants tonight with my wife and grandmother.  The Clooney Oscar hopeful has been circling my radar for weeks, but as any new parent will tell you, it takes time and not money to get out of the house.  The story of a father learning that his wife, recently bound to a coma induced state, cheated on him and now he must deal with the fallout while raising two girls.  Juicy story dripping all over this one.
  • There’s no better Christmas gift than a homemade DVD.  Enough said.
  • The Debt on DVD is a solid rental.  Combine an action thriller, WWII, Hitler’s doctor, 3 agents and a job gone horribly wrong and this is the result.  Hard boiled drama with bullets.   A film about decision making costing you a life.  Review to come.
  • People forget Albert was just a 13th round pick in the 1999 draft.  An overweight slugger with a little upside that the Cards took a chance on.   A KC product with origins in the Dominican Republic who took the league by storm in 2001.  Amazing how beginnings are forgotten.
  • While I dip into the speculation and rumors of Pujols Mania, I will acknowledge most of the phrases that begin with either “Sources say” or “This isn’t confirmed yet…” end up being bullshit.  I am a kid who touches a hot stove even though history tells me I only get burned as a result.
  • Justified returns to FX in January.  The travels of Raylan Givens come full circle again as Timothy Olyphants renegade Marshall full of piss, vinegar and cool tries to keep Harlan, Kentucky safe.   A highly enjoyable television series that is only 2 seasons old.

A Final Thought on Albert Pujols

In the end, its about money, desire and comfort.   Albert Pujols finds all three of those things here in St. Louis before he finds it anywhere else.   He started here and should finish here.  If he runs off to Miami for more millions, he is entitled to do so but he will suffer a backlash here and it will be righteous.  Words don’t mean much in sports, but Pujols has said for years he wanted to retire here, winning was top priority and he didn’t need to make the most money.  If the Cards, and that’s a huge IF, offered Albert a 10 year contract worth 200-220 million and he turned it down, we will know all we need to know about Pujols and his real moral code.    I like to think the guy calls his own shots and will tell his agent Dan Lozano any minute now that the time to cut the Marlins off and head home is now.   Get it done and out of the head.  There’s no need to drag this out.   Make a choice, Albert.   An old saying is that the only way to find out what a person is truly all about is to offer them a boatload of cash in order to change their life and see if they do it and leave it all behind.  Money answers every question, folks.   Miami will contend for a playoff spot, but Albert Pujols belongs in St. Louis.   If reports by Bernie Miklasz are true, The Cards came to Lozano 2 years ago for an extension and he told them the starting point was 10 years and 275 million.   Now, 2 years later, the Cardinals are still willing to pay Pujols’ way home from his career.  From this point of view, Albert’s decision looks easy.   Stay comfortable, get paid and keep gunning for World Series rings.  If Pujols heads to Miami, we will all know money had something to do with it.  The real question will be….how far was St. Louis behind?

Tonight or early tomorrow, we get an answer.

Until then, I am done.  My fingers are bleeding and my mind needs to be freed for the moment.  Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more.  Hopefully, you enjoyed the storytelling here.

Goodnight,

DLB

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A Hail of Bullets

Hello everyone,

A few rounds of ammo being loaded into the hands here to fire out at the masses.   Enjoy the final indulgence of the week here at Buffa Cyber Space Headquarters, where the truth runs wild and the limits are endless when it comes to topical discussion.   Get comfortable, settle in and prep your eyes please.  This won’t be kind but it will be fair.   The order will be random so excuse my wild firing tendencies.

  • Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito Fight Hype Final Clip.  A great read on ESPN’s Grantland by Eric Raskin about the brutal love/hate relationship between boxing and its fans got the fluids rolling.   Raskin writes for The Ring magazine and unfolds a perspective on boxing that is true to my own.   Margarito is the perfect way to define our love for boxing.   Our hate for him fuels our energy to see him take a beating yet also illustrates our blood thirsty revenge for the sport while in the end we all wish the guy would have stood down against Manny Pacquiao in November, 2010.   Margarito’s name is soiled in bad blood because of three incidents that cloud his entire career.   The hand wrapping case before the Mosley fight that put his win over Cotto in question.   The brutal beating he took from Pacquaio, which led to eye surgery and repeated delays on his second Cotto fight.    Third, the prefight bullshit where Margarito and his crew mocked Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach’s Parkinson’s Disease right before the fight.   This guy loves to be a bad guy and fuels the reputation.   On Saturday night, I can only hope Cotto delivers a beating that puts Antonio out of business once and for all for his sake and the sake of boxing, but a part of me wants to see him stick around to play the villain.   Boxing is only as good as the animosity between two fighters entering the ring to resolve unfinished business.   Cotto is out to prove a failure wasn’t done with ordinary fists.  Margarito is out to prove he isn’t a cheating boxing criminal.   Raskin is so good in devouring the connection boxing has with its fans through animal instincts and a need to see violence.  Ask anybody what their favorite fight is and it will be a vicious beatdown fight.    That’s what we want and that’s why we watch.   Nobody watched boxing to see a pair of guys dance around a ring and bump gloves.   We watch in detail and curious vigorous enjoyment to potentially see a split open nose, a bloodied eye or a ruthless destruction of a human face.   We wince at times, but its the addictive drug of seeing a beatdown that we keep coming back to boxing.    UFC can take the top spot in the rankings.  Boxing keeps bringing me back because there is a sweet science here, a pre-fight river of animosity running through the fighters veins and the fights can be exciting.  Cotto-Margarito II easily defines the addiction of boxing.   Two men with a reason to step back into the ring.  A promise of violence.   That is the hook that keeps us there.  I will be watching, as Raskin will, on December 3rd, rooting in Cotto’s corner to deliver a brutal beating to Margarito because he is justified and because it’s the perfect foil of good and bad.   However, when the worry for a boxer’s health enter our blood stream that is thirsty for violence.   Boxing defines us as a species.  The perfect irony in life.  We don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but we also like “a good fight”.   Boxing will always be a part of my life because I respect the profession, the risk and the reward to go along with the stories that unfold in the ring.   No fighter is promised a victory.   Saturday night, a fan has been promised a violent battle.   Here’s to the reality that I hope the promise is kept.  Does that say more about me or about people as a whole?  Interesting.  Here’s Raskin’s article on the fight and his life of writing for the sport.  A very in depth passionate column on Bill Simmons’ wonderfully juicy commentary site, Grantland.

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7299977/how-much-punishment-enough

  • Margin Call is one of the best movies of 2011.  Easily a modern classic that sticks to your gut and lies on your bones far after the end credits roll out.  Margin Call is a disturbingly great movie.  A calculating, tough love packaged slow pot boiling look at the wreckage of the economic collapse in 2008.   “Remember this day, gentlemen.  Remember this day,” Kevin Spacey’s risk management firm manager pleads to his staff.   A film about an epic economic oversight at one firm that led to a fire sale that led to a worldwide economic collapse  that happened in 2008 but as stated by Jeremy Irons’ chief near the end, “This happens all the time and we never learn from it.  1901, 1974, 1939, 2001 and so on.  Money is just paper that keeps us from killing each other for a meal.”  The  tight 110 minute film here examines the events that took place the night before, where everything changed. The main problem here is greed, and as stated, we have done this to ourselves several times over the years. Leveraged too much, spent too much and got greedy and had to start over.  Margin Call gets under your skin in a painful way.   You see the building of economic wealth slowly collapse in this story because facts were avoided.  How often do we hurt ourselves by denying the facts and taking a risk?  A great cast including Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Simon Baker, Zachary Quinto and Irons works this very provocative and deeply personal script like pros.   Every actor is suited to the role.  A script is Mamet like and flies smooth without pulling a punch.  There’s a calm pace to this movie.  Watch it.  Don’t ask questions.  Just watch.  The beginning of the financial crisis started right here, in a lions den full of people trying to maintain control over the world.
  • “You’re selling something that you know has no value.”-Sam(Spacey)
  • “We’re selling it to survive.”-Irons
  • “There are three ways to make a living in this business.   Be first, be smarter or cheat.”-Irons
  • Scene of the Film-Stanley Tucci’s character, Eric Dale,  is fired in the beginning of the movie, an event that triggers the rest of the plot and sets the film in motion.   Tucci’s character is a risk analyst working on a program that he gets fired before he can finish, so he hands the flash drive to a younger analyst Peter(Zachary Quinto) to finish.   Peter punches in the numbers and finds out that the company is way in over its head and the finances are slipping.  The irony of the film is Dale is fired on the day where his actions come into play in a big way.  The entire film sees all the key players trying to track down Dale, who hasn’t come home and has run off to a corner of the city to soak in his dismissal.  He is one of those hard workers who unfortunately got cut by circumstance and not performance.   When Will Emerson(Bettany) finally catches up to Dale, the two men sit on a poach and Dale tells him he once designed and built a bridge that saved people over 150,000 miles of driving and kept them out of a car for a combined total of 1,051 years when all the traffic and miles were combined.  It’s a wonderful rant that doesn’t define the film yet shows a shade of the effort of the people who lost their job.
  • Great movies do that to you.  They connect a real life truth inside a fictional world with our brains and engage our mind.   Margin Call achieved that and will make me go back and watch it again just to appreciate the smaller moments.   Imagine if I tried to sell you a phone that I knew didn’t work but I needed to get rid of in order to survive.  That’s what these firms did in 2008.  They sold everything and lost every ounce of trust their buyers had in them.   I’ll go back for that.   The acting.  The message.  The moral.  The real deal.
  • Lets talk Rams football.   Here is something interesting I heard this morning on the radio listening to Bernie Miklasz.   The Seahawks beat the Eagles last night with ease, 31-14, and more importantly, QB Tavaris Jackson passed for 190 yards and complete 13 of 16 passes for a touchdown.   The same Tavaris Jackson picked to fail in Minnesota and to have zero chance in Seattle.   Jackson beat the Rams 2 weeks ago.   He is a well known bad quarterback.   How are the Seahawks getting it done with a bad quarterback, power running back and a lack of good receivers?   Look at The Arizona Cardinals, who have won more games than the Rams with John Skelton at quarterback.   How are they doing it with a bad offensive line and one good receiver?  Alex Smith, a first round pick left for dead several times by different coaches, is making things work and doing his part in San Francisco.   How are Skelton, Smith, and Jackson performing well and Bradford is supposed to be the answer here?  It comes down to coaching here.  The Rams coaches have similar tools and aren’t producing results.   Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Brandon Lloyd, and a sound defense creating turnovers should produce a decent offense, but its not and looking at other teams in the division getting results with lesser talent is truly discomforting.   Seattle has a good offensive line and San Francisco has a great defense, but seeing the Rams standing at 2-9 and 0-3 in the division stands to raise several questions about their coaching staff and the ability to  pull results from a product on the field.  Results drive this league and the Rams inability to score points with decent talent at certain areas while other teams can means something isn’t working.
  • As I noted, it’s time to blow up the front office and coaching staff.    Spags and his coaches aren’t doing the right things if this offense is this horrible and being the main problem on a 2-9 team.
  • It’s proper to take shots at Sam Bradford because he is a first round pick, highly touted, referred to as an elite quarterback and hasn’t looked elite since last season in Week 15.  He has looked like a bum broke arm with no future.  Went from hero in 2010 to goat in 2011.    Bradford has been bad in 2011 and he needs to improve his play.   He has to be feeling pretty miserable watching lesser talents prosper elsewhere.   Finding him an offensive line would help immensely.  Everybody in St. Louis knows the most money in this town has been wasted on the offensive line.   Jason Brown and Jason Smith are injury plagued mistakes.   Roger Saffold was a disappointment.  Jacob Bell is average.   The biggest defense of Bradford is that he has a horrible offensive line that gives him zero time to throw.   True and understandable.   However, the Rams QB and future of the franchise should be able to produce more.   The other teams in the division aren’t working with premiere talent in the offensive line but the QB gets the job done.   Where’s the problem?   I will tell you this.  Once the Rams finish 2-14, fire the head coach, get rid of the general manager, bring in new coaches and a new system and reset the competitive buttons, all eyes will be on Bradford.   If he gets a couple decent protectors and a new lease here, the onus is on him to succeed.  If not, he will be sitting.   That’s the NFL.   Get it done or get out.   Right now, Bradford has excuses for his bad play.   What happens when those go away?  Accountability takes shape.
  • How much will the 49ers beat the Rams by this weekend?   20 or 30 points.   Tough to see a chance with the SF 49ers playing so well and the Rams having an inability to score points off Arizona and Seattle’s defense.   The Rams can’t score touchdowns against Cleveland, Arizona and Seattle.   How can they put up points on the best defense in the NFC?  Bradford will be on his back and I envision another low scoring total for the Rams.
  • The Blues land in Colorado tonight with one of the best records in the NHL and a chance to pick up a road win before 5 wins at home.  The Blues are playing great hockey and tonight features another matchup with Erik Johnson, Peter Statsny and the Avalanche, who are slumming through another season in the lower end of the West.   The Blues made a trade on February 19th that sent Johnson and Jay McClement to Colorado for Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk and its easy to see who came out the winner on that end.   The Blues have gotten big performances from Stewie last year and Shatty overall enough to see this as a positive deal for the Blues.   Johnson is the Blues version of Colby Rasmus, a player who has all the talent in the world yet can’t transmit talent into performance.   Johnson regressed here, was traded and made immature comments about his time here.  Along with strengthening the winning ways and climbing the conference wall, the Blues can deliver a blow tonight and put Johnson and the Avs down.   These are two teams headed in opposite directions and this game is a matchup for the Blues to take advantage of or fall prey to on the road.   Road games are always a test.
  • The Cardinals would be smart to pursue Alex Gonzalez at shortstop if Rafael Furcal wants to ask for 3 years to go with his old age.   Gonzo has more pop in his bat, is younger and can play sound defense and will come at less than half the price.   Anything that keeps Tyler Greene, a minor league talent, away from the starting lineup.   Gonzo is a smart move by the Cards if they pursue it further.  There’s money in the payroll while waiting for Albert to make a move.
  • I expect tons of action at next week’s Winter Meetings.
  • Solid read in the post today about Mike Matheny and his determined work to come into the 2012 season fully prepared and ready to tackle managing.   The guy was a bold pick for the Cardinals after La Russa departed, and the expectations are high for a man with no experience in the coaching department.   Mozelaik didn’t hire his friend here or some outside source.   He hired an Ex Cardinal known for hard work and due diligence.    Matheny is taking notes from fellow managers, creating binders of spring training schedules, watching every game from last season, and doing everything a first time skipper can do to get ready.   Can Matheny pull results from this team?   Experience is a question but the fact that every Cardinal on the roster would go to war for Matheny says more in my opinion.   If he falters, he’ll take the heat and have to deal with it.  If the team does well, he’ll get the credit he deserves and his hard work will pay off.  If not, everyone lands on the hot seat because unlike the Rams and Blues, the Cards don’t get a pass for not making the playoffs.
  • Albert Pujols is a hot topic these days and yesterday my roundtable of Cardinals Nerve Center associates fired over 12 emails at each other debating my Pujols Contract/Cubs Talk blog section.  Here are some excepts of mine in the exchange.

Here’s a summary of the Pujols Talk From Thursday-

*Until his age can be proven otherwise, he is 31.  As my friend noted, he immigrated to America with his family for the purpose of living here and not just baseball, and has been here for quite some time.   Prove it or leave it alone.

*Albert Pujols isn’t going to the Cubs.  No way.

*The Cards will offer him a contract next week after the meetings.

*The hiring of Mike Matheny is a factor but Pujols likes and respects him so there should be no negative factor there.

*The market determines the deal unless the player is a saint.  Season ticket prices will go up but a good product on the field can justify that rise in money.   Pujols earns the Cards over double his salary in yearly revenue and deserves a great contract.   He is a big benefit to the Cards and will continue to make them money, which works from a owners standpoint.   A fan’s standpoint is seeing a winning team on the field.   Albert has been here 11 years, won 2 World series, went to 3 World series, won 3 MVP awards, over 3 gold gloves and completed the greatest 11 years in league history.   There’s no data to suggest he will continue that but there also is no factor telling us he will slow down.   In the end, deal with it, Cards fans.  He is the best player in baseball, will be overpaid in any deal and will remain a Cardinal.   You won’t be complaining when he is winning games in 2012 and beyond.

*I wish Pujols would fire Lozano and make the deal himself.   My head, heart and pocket book support the pledge to give Pujols a healthy new contract that keeps him a Cardinal for life.  This team is worse without him until at least 2016.  I won’t bet against him.  I can’t do it.  I’m not a season ticket holder but I know what this team needs and I have seen worse risks than Pujols getting 25 million a season.

The Pujols topic does produce plenty of banter, opinions and hot blooded conversation.  When he signs, it won’t end.   This is a “what have you done for me lately” world and Pujols will have to back up the big contract.   I just can’t wait to see how hardnosed smart baseball fans turn on him fast when he falters again and be quiet when he rounds into shape and does amazing things every day.

The Double Plays for Albert do need to come down.   That is opinion proof.

A Small Defense of Matt Holliday-It’s popular now to bash him for missing 38 games, failing at times in the playoffs, and falling to numerous injuries.   MH had played 155 games or more in his career the first 7 years of his career.   The predictable crowds came out and attacked him, calling him a wimp.   Other players have missed time due to an appendectomy, hamstring injuries, hand injuries and avoided criticism.   He makes a lot of money, but also plays very hard, leaves himself open to injury, couldn’t stay healthy yet produced solid numbers based on his at bats.  Going bold(disregard if you are Carlin or The Mang).

He has only had one injury plagued season and it was 2011.   He will bounce back.   At 17 million, he is a bargain.   He also produced a solid season in 2011 while playing in only 124 games.   Give him those 38 games back and does he have more than a .294 BA, 24 HR, 75 RBI?   He played a decent left field in 2010 and regressed in 2011.   Was there a connection there?  You can tie it to health issues.   Holliday was playing hurt and conceded the position, rightfully to Craig.  Its easy to shit on Holliday and praise Craig and his 200 at bats.   Holliday is the one playing with the big contract, but one thing you can’t say about Holliday is that he doesn’t hustle.  The guy plays the sport like football out there and made a difference in the NLCS and World Series.  If he doesn’t hustle in Game 6, we lose.  If he doesn’t stop the rally in Game 3 in Texas, we may not win that game.    He dominated the Brewers in a 6 game set and came up with big hits against the Phillies.   I hear from you in Philly when he had some hitless nights and didn’t hear from you when he collected 9 hits in 3 games against the Brewers.    

He still hit 24 HR, 75 RBI and hit .294.   People forget his crucial two plays in the World Series where he broke up a double play and beat out a grounder to give the Cards 2 runs that helped them win Game 6.   He also threw out a runner at home plate in Game 3.  He was playing on bad legs and had an injury plagued season.    Carlin, I didn’t hear a peep from you when he hit .400 in the NLCS and dominated Milwaukee.   Holliday is a cornerstone player and worth the cash.   His first season was a solid performance and he will have something to prove in 2012.   With Werth making 22 million in Wash and your boy Crawford tanking like a 1.5 tool player in Boston(look at the greatest hits), Holliday is a bargain here.   I’ll take him.   He is a player that plays the game hard, has troubles in left but runs out grounders(big in your book) and finishes plays.  

What else do I have for you today?  Follow along because I am almost done.  

  • The Eagles lost again last night, Vince Young threw 4 interceptions, Marshawn Lynch shredded the highly touted Eagles defense and everything is going downhill for the Super Bowl hopeful Philly team.  They only have 2 more wins than the Rams, and one of those includes a win over us at home.
  • The NBA is back.   Comments from here……no.   I am not affected by this news.
  • According to a good friend, the Premier Soccer League is the place to be on Saturday morning.
  • Comparing Pujols to Lebron is plain dead wrong.   Pujols, unlike Lebron, didn’t bolt after failing to win a World series from 2001-2005.   He signed a new deal, won a ring in 2006 and another in 2011 while matching Lebron’s MVP total with 3.   Pujols didn’t run away to the Yankees or Red Sox.   He stayed in St. Louis.  The man is loyal folks.
  • Only the Boston Bruins have a higher winning percentages since November 8th than the Blues and they happen to be the defending Stanley Cup Champions.   Watch your back, Zdeno Chara.  This turnaround by the Blues is much better than the Blues reacted to Davis Payne or Andy Murray.   Hitchcock is installing something here.  Impressions have come and gone.
  • With Vinny its all about speed.   Get him the bottle as fast as he can.   Get him to the crib as fast as you can.  Hold him right and don’t let his head roll.   Taking care of  a kid is all about attention.   They want to be held, fed, and tended to whenever they please because they are the cutest things in the world and we have no say.
  • Song of the Day-My Morning Jacket-“Slow Slow Tune”

That’s all.   Enjoy the weekend.  Thanks for reading.  If I faltered, the intent wasn’t there.  I only come here to unload the noise in my head and hope it lands in coherent fashion.   It’s an ongoing game.  That’s free lance writing for you.

Goodnight and Good Luck,

D.L.B.

Remember, go see Margin Call.   Don’t worry about Albert’s contract because it will sort itself out and all we can do is watch.    Appreciate the Blues run because it’s not fake.    Don’t cut the Rams any slack because they didn’t return the favor.   Whatever you do, make sure its enjoyable.  Life’s too short to worry all the time.   Get out there.

 

 

Daily Notes From The Dream

Hello ladies and gents,

Here’s is what has been rolling around the head the past week.   A series of thoughts, opinions, and notes about the usual suspects section of material.   Things you may have heard about but haven’t gotten the opportunity to receive from this direction.   Without further delay, the latest Buffa Blast begins.

Spagnuolo and the Rams-The beginning of an explosion

Sooner or later, Spags has to be fired.  As a head coach, he hasn’t done the job necessary to retain it going into the following season or in my opinion, the following week.   The last nerve was touched this past weekend when Spags failed to go for it on 4th and 1 late in the game with the Rams near midfield.   These moments, where Spags doesn’t have the guts or grit to take a risk, define his time here as the head coach.   Why not go for it and work towards a win?  Your team is 2-8 and is out of the race, so why not have some fun, take a risk and install confidence in your players.   When coaches don’t take risks, they are either not built for coaching or think their team will fail.   Spags isn’t equipped with the greatest roster money can buy but he has better players than other coaches who have lost their job.   Let me explain it again.  A record of 10-33 doesn’t get you very far in any sport and the results need to render a change in the master seat.  The tipping point for me came in 2 doses on Sunday.  First, why punt it to Patrick Petersen when he singlehandedly defeated you 2 weeks ago in Arizona?  That’s a coaching misfire.  Spags should have kicked that ball himself out of bounds.  You don’t hand a killer like Petersen a loaded gun.   The second string came when he failed to make a run on 4th down.   Head coaches must gamble with the odds and take an unconventional approach if they are to feel good on cutting day.  Spags is too restrained, scared or has misplaced his balls since he took the job here.  He never simply goes for it.  Leading a 2-8 dead squad means mix in some creative playcalling.  Spags dug his own grave yesterday and there’s no way he survives the season.  How can he make it three years at 15-33(at best) and not feel the heat in his seat?  Stan Kroneke needs to take a look uptown and see what the Blues are doing under new veteran leadership in Ken Hitchcock.  Hitch didn’t come in and wipe the kid’s asses.   He told us that there would be a new style of hockey.  He isn’t a liar and doesn’t make excuses.   He installed a strict new order of play that has stuck for 10 games.    Spagnuolo’s main problem is treating his players like his sons and not like paid professionals.    The blowup in Rams Park needs to start at some point and Spags is the first to go.   While his contract is up at the end of the year, Kroneke needs to go unconventional here, make a statement and fire Spags and get some new blood in here to find out who belongs on this team and who needs to go.  You can’t find that out in offseason stat sheets.  You need to see it in games.  Bring in a roving coach and let him slap some sense into these guys.  Or bring in “motivational speaker” Bruce Boudreau to rile up this bunch.   Boudreau, fired by the Washington Capitals today, broke the HBO 24/7 record for “fucks” inside a 5 minute segment.  He is a no bullshit go for broke “eat my shit or your own” head coach.   Bring him in for a week and see what happens.   This is a joke but what isn’t excusable is allowing a failing coach to work 5 more weeks when those weeks can be spent seeing what a team has left under a new coach.   Look at the Blues.  They have RESPONDED to a coaching change and turned their entire season around.  The Rams can’t rescue their season but they can find a bit of dignity in the end.  Every team shuffle begins with the head coach going down. I didn’t write it that way but that’s the method that works.  When a coach hits the dirt, players all of a sudden are accountable for their actions.   While he is a good guy and someone who will work in the NFL elsewhere, Spags isn’t pulling results from this team and hasn’t been for 3 seasons on a consistent basis.  Kroneke needs to fire Spags and GM Billy Devaney.

Side Notes On The Rams

Coaching changes aside, the Rams have to go out and find some talent in the offseason.   Sign a talented legitimate wide receiver, refuel the secondary and linebacker positions,and take a good long hard look at your offensive line, which can’t keep Sam Bradford on his feet.   Switching out the coach is the first move, but the roster comes next.   Get new receivers in here and strengthen up the defense in the secondary.   Coaches are only as good as their talent.

Coaching Options.   There are names out there.   Bill Cowher is the golden goose who is probably headed for New York after Tom Coughlin is fired.   Cowher is a great coach who crafted a legendary career with the Steelers and is waiting to get back into coaching.  Kroneke needs to prop up Bradford and beg Cowher to come here.  Jon Gruden is one of my favorite ex-coaches but he has a 4 year deal at ESPN he will not break.   There are others out there.   Brian Billick won a Super Bowl with the Ravens and could shake things up.  Jeff Fisher, former Titans head coach, is on the market.  Fisher is a hardcore football mind who nearly won a Super Bowl and coached well in Tennessee and got fired after the Vince Young fallout.  I like Fisher and think he would be good for this team.   He won’t rock the boat or flip the car 360 degrees, but he will demand a performance and expect results and install a sense of urgency here.   The wild candidate is Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the long haired loud mouthed buffoon who could bring some much needed color and charisma to the Ed Dome.   Imagine his post game pressers and thrills are there to be had.   Walking to the podium with a pabst blue ribbon freshly popped, waving his hair back as he sticks chew into his mouth while answering questions regarding his decision to call 45 blitz packages against a team with a great reactive QB.   Ryan pressers would make Tony TV seem like national geographic.  Cowher and Gruden are the golden gooses, but Fisher and Ryan share their own appeal.  Don’t be scared off by a little attitude.

The Blues Hot Streak Continues in Washington

Facing a team reeling from the firing of their coach Bruce Boudreau and a Capitals team mentioned in the same sentence as “Stanley Cup Contender”, the Blues dominated Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps in Washington last night.  Ladies and gents, its safe to say that the Ken Hitchcock style of hockey is working in St. Louis.   Joining the team 4 weeks ago and getting only a practice and an optional skate to work with before a matchup with Chicago, Hitchcock has found the winning desire on this young team of hockey soldiers and created a winning hockey team.  As he said at the press conference introducing him as head coach, we are watching the Blues play and seeing a hockey team that plays the game right.   What more are you going to do when your team is winning?   Search for the dirty areas?  Enjoy the ride?   Challenge the schedule to a duel of prediction?   All of the above.  Lets look at the little things.

*The goaltending is strong as ever and carrying the team.  The stoppers have held several 1-2 goal leads.  The best thing Hitch did when he came to this team was tell the city that Jaro Halak was going to remain the starting goalie and stay in the rotation.   He knew that a young goaltender struggling in the first month of the season needs the time and minutes to find his game and round it into shape.  It was a gutsy move because it seems like backup bargain bin grab Brian Elliot hasn’t allowed a goal all season and was playing great when Hitch came in.  If there was one great thing in October, it was Elliot’s play behind Halak.   However, Hitch did the right thing in sticking with Halak.  The Slovak has lowered his goals against average from 3.53 to 2.44 in the time period and produced a shutout.   Elliot has maintained his level of excellence, reaching 10-1 and leading the NHL with a 1.44 GAA and .950 save percentage.  95 percent of the time, Elliot stops the shot.  Amazing.  Halak is keeping up the pace and these two have formed the most unlikely goaltending duo in the league.  Betting on these two being the dynamic combo in October is like calling the Cards a playoff contender in September.  Crazy and requiring a heavy dose of whiskey.

*Hitchcock’s style is sticking.  The most consistent play this team has seen in 6 years. 8-1-2 since his arrival and risen to 3rd in the conference and 4th in the entire league.   The change in this team’s game to game play looks like night and day on the tape.

*Power play and stupid penalties are still problems but fixable.  The Blues do understand that only 5 guys can play on the ice at once? 3 penalties for 2manymen on ice the past month.  A coach’s worst nightmare is the failure to keep only 5 on the ice at once. Now isn’t the time to resemble  The Rams.

*David Backes is coming into his own while Chris Stewart regresses.  Two big men going in opposite directions.  Backes has 9 goals and 5 in his last 8 games and is knocking bodies down and keeping the order on the ice while killing penalties, working the top line and power play.   Backes is everywhere and Stewart has taken a step back since his 3 game suspension.   Stewie stormed into St. Louis last March and took the franchise by storm, scoring 13 goals in less than 2 months of play.    This season, he is stale, easy to tromp and tentative after an early league slap from Safety honcho Brendan Shanahan.   When Backes and Stewart run at the same high speed, this team will only get better.  Yes, Blues fans, this team can get better.

*Something to Note.  The Blues are winning like this without Andy McDonald, David Perron, a hot playing Patrik Berglund and with a rotating goalie situation.

*With the same players Davis Payne had to work with, Hitchcock is getting results.  It starts and ends with the 0 to 60 style of play and the strong goaltending from Jaro Halak and Brian Elliot.   The Blues passed their test when they survived their first road test, winning 2 and losing 1 in regulation and 1 in a shootout but after a Friday duel in Colorado, they come home for 5 straight beginning with a date with Jonathon Toews and the Blackhawks, a team Elliot shut out to start the wild ride of Hitchcock weeks ago.   The Blues manage to get 2 points tomorrow night and they can come home within a point of the NHL lead by the time their plane lands at Lambert airport Friday morning.   There’s a lot to be excited about in Blues land right now.   The Blues are playing the most consistent hockey their city has seen in 6 years, when they last resembled a legitimate playoff team.    What is the cause for that with the same players running around the rinks?   A new infusion of energy from the coaching department, a veteran like Hitchcock breaking the chain on the talents of Oshie and Daggs and allowing their talent to roam free.    While Payne stressed structure and patience, Hitch is letting the Blues do their own thing on the ice and see where the minutes take them.   Free will is being injected into the cold blue veins of the Blues and its working.   I’ll let you know when it stops.  Hopefully it doesn’t until the end of May.

The Alberto Pujols Epic Contract Bit of the Week-Cubs Getting in the Mix

I won’t sit here and tell you that there is absolutely no chance Albert plays for the Cubs in 2012.  I am telling you that there is a very little chance Pujols takes his talents up north to the windy side of depressive baseball for a few more million dollars per year.   GM Theo Epstein has a new boss in Chicago and he knows about the John Lackey, Carl Crawford and JD Drew deals that Theo authorized.   The Cubs need more than just one marquee player to become a winner again.   Please don’t tell me they need to resell Cubs baseball back to that town. Bullshit.  Wrigley will be filled to the brim no matter what, the same way Kansas City Chiefs games at Arrowhead sell out no matter the record.   Theo needs to spread the wealth or dive after a younger player in Prince Fielder, who has ties to the new manager Dale Sweuvm, who was the hitting coach in Milwaukee.   Looking at this from an un-bias standpoint, I just don’t see it coming.  Buster Olney of ESPN and Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated both shot it down on Twitter and they have no secret agenda.   Heyman said there is no way the Cubs want to battle for Pujols with the Cubs.  They would only lose AGAIN!  Olney said its a smoke screen to raise the price tag for the Cards.  No way.   This comes down to Albert.   The Cards need to make him another offer first, but in the end Albert makes a choice.   Simple as that.   I don’t think Albert is a big enough bastard to leave his kingdom and join the rivals.

He isn’t going anywhere.  Why?  St. Louis is the best possible situation for Albert.  I will say this all the way until New Year’s Day and wrap it into a song because it makes too much sense.  Dan Lozano can be the biggest Scott Boras impersonator and go head to head with The Mighty Shark but in the end this is Albert’s choice and if he is true to his word and gets a decent deal, he will stay here.  Out of Florida, Chicago and St. Louis, Pujols has the best chance to win….here.   The roster is built to contend in 2012, with or without Rafael Furcal back at shortstop.   People complain to this day that he is just one player, but remember he is the best player on this team and the best in baseball.   Why is it that I have to hear Cards fans who hailed him as the greatest on facebook, twitter and in the news now say he can go if he wants.   How do we know what he wants?  I go off what he has said in the past and the consistent dialogue rolling from his tongue.  He wants to retire here, like Stan, play for a contender and win more World Series rings.   This is a guy who would have at least 5 MVPs if it weren’t for a cheating Barry Bonds.   This is the best defensive first baseman in baseball.  The best pure hitter.  People who complain about his age have ZERO PROOF as always and I can tell them if he is hitting like this and might actually be 37 years old, its even more impressive.   If he is so old, why has he only missed scattered amounts of time?  Steroids, they say.  I respond with the missing proof.   FOX 2 once tried to tie Pujols to steroids and took a huge credibility hit.   I go on and on here because this is how you destroy the dim minds in St. Louis who think its okay for Pujols to walk because WE THINK he wants 30 million a year.  That is untrue, thank you Ken Rosenthal.  Albert turned down a reported 9 year, 198 million deal in January and I feel split on that move.  The years were solid yet too long but the salary was around 21-22 million per season.   Good raise but not reaching market value.  I think Lozano got the better of Albert and told him to wait.  Albert responded with a very strong if not typical Pujols campaign and probably dropped his value a bit.   In the end, the only team to offer him 200 million will be St. Louis and since they are best contender, they are the best spot.  When I say this is the best landing spot, I do that out of careful analysis and not blind optimism.  There’s a difference my friends.   Albert to the Cubs is media dog food, meant for short term enjoyment and bringing a bad taste to those looking for a real story.   Allow me to destroy that ridiculous notion.   Back to reality folks.

Next week, the winter meetings will solve a lot of problems and answer several questions.   Next Friday, December 9th, there could be big news coming out of St. Louis.  There’s my prediction, thought and final bit on Pujols Destination 2012 Mania.

Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito, Part 2

This weekend, in Madison Square Garden, two men do battle for a common attainable goal.  A reuniting of a rivalry, in and out of the ring.  The chance to acquire revenge and redemption all in one setting.   Cotto is the proud Puerto Rican champion looking to avenge his ugliest loss and his first loss.   A severe beating at the hands of Margarito, a joker of a talent whose career has been marred by the fact that a substance containing the ingredients to create plaster was found in his hand wraps before his Shane Mosley fight, the one right after the Cotto fight in 2008.   A cloud of ethical mystery surrounds the first Cotto-Margarito fight because of those hand wraps.   Yes, Margarito used illegal hand wraps against Cotto.  After reviewing the photos, evidence and reading articles, I can tell you, its clear as day.  Tony cheated here.   It will never be proved and Margarito can deny it until he dies but I will spit it on his grave.   He is a decent puncher but if they found plaster before his fight against an aging Mosley, why would he not have it in his wraps against a powerful hard punching undefeated champion like Cotto.  Put it together folks.   This is a battle between good and evil and it makes for an outstanding night of boxing.   Cotto has won his last two fights while Margarito nearly had his career ended by Manny Pacquiao.   He suffered a broken orbital bone in his right eye from 12 rounds of pounding from Pac Man last November.  Cotto took a similiar beating from Manny yet made it out clean.   Cotto lost his father in 2010 and is fighting for his honor as well, because when he woke up in the hospital after the fight in 2008, his father was waiting for him.  24/7 created the greatest episode of their series’ lifespan last week, when the two episodes covered the handwraps, Cotto’s dad and the buildup to this fight in one thrilling hour.   Ladies and gents, this is a juicy fight because there is legitimate animosity growing between these two men.  Cotto is highly motivated to pound the living crap out of Margarito’s criminally made face and Antonio wants to prove a trip to Home Depot isn’t required to win a big fight.   Saturday night, these two wage war in New York City’s roman palace, Madison Square Garden, the site of many legendary sporting events.   Puerto Rico against Mexico.   Good versus Evil.   Revenge in the air with redemption and falling into one single stove top lit to a high heat.   Boxing fans have to appreciate a matchup like this.   Cotto is a solid legit boxer, carrying a 36-2 record that’s included several battles.   Antonio has 7 losses but is known to be a force that can’t be stopped or knocked down.  Tony has said he will die in the ring.   Cotto will not because of his devotion to his family.   Can you feel that?  The tinkling sensation down below.  I can because this fight is going to be great.   Get a group together, purchase it on pay per view because unlike MMA, this fight will go 10-12 rounds and give you the satisfaction that’s sometimes lost in a 3 minute martial arts fight not involving Dan Henderson.  Book it.

DVD Reviews-

Beginners-An engaging drama/comedy about Oliver Fields(Ewan McGregor), who is given a double dose of life changing news when his father, Hal(an award deserving Christopher Plummer) tells him he has terminal cancer and that he is gay.   This film is injected with a script that creates smooth realistic dialogue and a wonderfully cool and calm pace for a story that starts small and ends up in grand stages.   Oliver is a middle aged man who is afraid of loving someone because he has never truly known his father and the two strike up a friendship 45 years after his dad marries his mom and they only grow closer when he tells Oliver at the age of 75 that he has a gay lover and has always been gay.   The main reason to see this film comes from the experiences and scenes between Oliver and Hal, two men who have collided at the end of the long game of life instead of at the beginning.   A tragically hip love story.   A man getting over the secrets of his father’s life by embracing his past, learning to see life at a difficult angle and opening himself up to loving someone.  Inventive film that takes you places where you carried little idea of before watching this movie.   Whether you are supportive of gays or against their free will(if its the latter, shame on you), this film will find a way to your heart.  Truly captivating and a film I didn’t stare at my watch once during its running time.   Oliver meets a lovely french woman(Melanie Laurent, sexy and free afer Inglorious Bastards breakthrough) and falls for and as the two travel through love’s tunnel together, Oliver takes a look back at his father’s life.  The Beginners is a film that takes you on a journey through a man’s life and doesn’t require any stunts, effects or previous novel to steal from in order to deliver a lovely experience.   Highly recommend Beginners.

The Devil’s Double-Flipping the switch from dramatic comically memory engagement to enraged and dangerous ground here.   Here is another inventive vivid dose of action thriller menace.  Dominic Cooper plays Latif, an ex-soldier living in Baghdad, who is kidnapped one day by Uday Hussein aka The Black Prince, the son of Saddam, and his men.   Uday is also played by Cooper in a brilliant portrayal of hot and cold, noble and evil, wild and tamed, normal and crazy.    Latif is handpicked by Uday to be his double, handling some of his affairs and put his life on the line to maintain Uday villainous rampage of rape, murder and drug using lifestyle afloat.   Cooper plays both and the entire movie rides on his ability to show you the creepiness of Uday and the goodness of Latif, as two souls battle inside one persona.    This is all based on a true story and the real Latif served as a consultant on the film.   The weight of the plot is these two men butting heads, Latif wanting out and Uday wanting him to keep his life in order.   The talent here is in the ability of the director to splice together Cooper as each man into the same shot and not make it look entirely fake.   Cooper owns the film and the brutality of Uday mixed with the soulfulness of Latif makes for a performance of depth. Uday is the enraged petulent child and Latif comes off as the normal person struggling to stay sane.  There isn’t much depth in the movie or obvious reach but Cooper makes it all watchable.

Warning-Flypaper, a bank robbery comedy caper starring Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd, is easily the worst movie of the year and in quite some time and will go down as 82 minutes I am never getting back.   Its a horribly written, badly acted, completely stupid and wasteful exercise in witty dark comedy.   A group of people get caught between two sets of bank robbers, and people mysteriously start dying.   The rest is entirely stupid and the only reason I made it to the end was to see the identity of the killer.   Look, its not worth it.  If someone saw this film and told me it was good, I couldn’t take their opinion on film seriously ever again.   DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE.  An ill-advised adventure gone very wrong.

Watching Never Let Me Go as we speak.  A film about three young friends who find out they are genetically enginneered to produce and donate vital organs.  Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan star as the three who start out their young lives at a makeshift boarding school, thinking this is an extended camp or rugged form of Harry Potter schooling.   What they find out is that they are created to extend life by providing their organs to others in need.   Imagine if you were given the opportunity to breathe ever so briefly only to provide a stranger with life while you slowly died and your life span would be complete by their middle age.  You are born and learn to find out you only get to run half the track of life.  This film follows them as they run away and attempt to live their lives as free as they can.   There’s a love triangle between the three that grows as they get older and move to different facilities.   Being a part of these donor packs is like being part of a traveling band.   From the first shot of Carey Mulligan looking down at a donor and telling us her side of the story, this film truly takes hold of you in a powerful manner.   Stay tuned.   Garfield(so good in Social Network and filling Spider Mans shoes soon), Knightley(Pirates, Domino) and Mulligan(The Education, Wall Street 2) are all highly talented young actors and are all very well suited for the roles of dreamers and wanderers through a brief stay on this strip.   That’s only a drip of the plot so wait out for more or seek it out.

The Random Shots-

*Bruce Boudreau was fired because he wasn’t able to pick a talented group of players in Washington and turn them into a top tier playoff team or produce a Stanley Cup.  THose were the expectations and he failed.  He won over 200 games and went 17-20 in the playoffs, including a first round exit two years ago after winning the Presidents Trophy.   Boudreau was a coach made famous for his 24/7 profanity laced rants, once throwing 16 fucks into a single post game speech.   The man wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind.  In the end, his players performance and his reliance on a team game produced zero results.

*NFL playoff teams are getting an unhealthy dose of bad luck.   The Texans lost Matt Schaub to a foot injury and backup Matt Leinart immediately hurt his shoulder and is out as well.   Tyler Yates starts for an 8-3 team and top seed in the AFC this weekend.   The Chiefs lost Matt Cassel and their replacement, Tyler Paiko, took a pounding from The Steelers and threw 3 interceptions with newly acquired Kyle Orton on the bench.   Orton was rumored to join the Bears, who lost Jay Cutler to a broken thumb, and Caleb Hanie couldn’t life his team above the Raiders, currently without starter Jason Campbell.   Quarterbacks get hurt but in a small 2 week time frame 3 different playoff hopeful teams lost their quarterbacks.   Bummer.

*Sam Bradford hooked up with Brandon Lloyd twice on Sunday on one drive in a glimpse of what the Rams offense could produce.  For once, I saw a Josh McDaniels style offense.   Push the ball downfield, line up 4 receiver sets and run and gun the other teams.   It was a pretty 2 play scoring drive that tied the game at 20 before The Cardinals utilized the Spags failure on 4th down and ended up kicking an easy field goal.

*Just for the record, Patrick Petersen beat the Rams twice this season, with game defining punt returns for touchdowns.   What’s the lesson, Rams fans?   Kick it out of bounds.  If it’s too hard, find a different punter.

*The Blues have only allowed 13 goals in 11 games since Hitchcock took over.  Stronger defense isn’t taking away the penalties but framing up the defensive core of this team.   The Capitals had 11 shots through 2 periods on Tuesday.  An impressive turnaround.

*Tim Tebow won again on Sunday, beating another playoff hopeful team in the Chargers.    He beat another critically loved quarterback in Philip Rivers, and led the Broncos on a game winning field goal drive in overtime to win 16-13.   Tebow wasn’t pretty all the time, but ran the ball 22 times for 65 yards and threw for 168 and a touchdown.  He made two key throws of 20 plus yards in overtime to help set up the drive.   This kid is for real folks.  5-1 as a starter and pulling this Denver team left for dead back to life along with a very strong defense.   Tebow gets most of the credit but Elvis Demervil and Von Miller are beasts on the defensive line and are truly disrupting offenses across the league.  There are equally loaded sides on the Denver team, and the defense has been just as clutch as Tebow.  However, the reason behind the attention on Tebow is that he wasn’t supposed to be this good.  Merril Hodge and Trent Dilfer and tons of other supposedly smart football minds had this kid pegged to fail.   He couldn’t throw like Joe Montana and was STEALING a job from Orton and Brady Quinn.   His own President, John Elway, didn’t want the kid to succeed and knew he couldn’t.   Head coach John Fox resisted the urge to give into Tebow mania.   That’s what people have wrong.   The defense was supposed to be this good.   Tebow wasn’t who they thought he was.  He is making clutch plays and delivering game winning drives.  The defense didn’t help him run 20 yards for a game winning score 2 weeks ago.  hat was an option play that Tebow expanded into a good run.  What started out as an ugly win over Miami has developed into an impressive win over the Chargers.   Results have to measured these days by expectations.  Tebow wasn’t supposed to be this good.   He happens to be pretty damn good.  Tell me he isn’t a quarterback all you want and I will hold those messages and thoughts with my secretary until the kid loses in decent fashion.    He is doing enough and the offense has reshaped itself around his wildcast fused talents.  A strong defense helps.  Tons of doubters help.   I’m not religious AT ALL but I wouldn’t make fun of the kid for his beliefs.  A very strong unbreakable will also helps.  Tim Tebow is for real folks.   He has 5 wins under his belt in 6 tries.  Sam Bradford has 8 wins in 24 attempts.   I’m just saying.   #1 pick against #24 pick.   Expectations are everything here.  The NFL is a results driven league and look at the stats becausey they don’t lie.  Defenses are starting to line up to stop Tebow and he has 8 touchdowns to go with 1 interception.   Add a few rushing scores to that and the manner and clutch time frame they fall in and you get the picture.   Love or hate the guy is a choice.   Respect the results.

*Rams are 0-3 against NFC West and they are facing the 49ers for the first time this weekend.  Preseason hype has officially crashed and burned.  I said this in August.  If this team can’t win in its own division, they stand no chance. A game that involed 2 turnovers, 2 red zone stalls, decent defense, 3 false starts, no clue of direction on offense and a slow decay at home.   The St. Louis Rams everyone.

*Another sign Steve Spagnuolo has to go.   If he manages to steal a win in his final 5 games, which would require some luck, Spags would finish 11-37.   Is that a record over 3 years that a owner will see as progress?  Hell no.   Spags has to go.   If he gets to finish the season after a 49ers pounding this weekend, I’d be surprised.

*Yes, what Ndamukong Suh did on Thanksgiving was wrong but the man is an unforgettable beast. He’s living in 1980 football and chose the wrong route when he denied stomping on a player’s arm after a play and then going back to apologize for doing it.   Suh is a dirty player but its his style of play and it will never change.  Stomping on an arm was uncalled for and prohibits Suh from chasing quarterbacks for 2 games.  The Lions aren’t as watchable.

*Brett Hull is showing interest in joining Tom Stillman’s group to purchase the Blues.   Yes, the proposed purchase by Hulszier still hasn’t been finalized yet, which leaves the Blues on the market.   Hull is serious about joining and it all comes down to the amount of money he throws in and how much it bumps Stillman’s offer up.   A local businessman, Stillman has made two unsuccessful offers to buy the team but maybe just maybe Hull can push him over the limit if Hulszier’s offer falls through.   Hull has a strong history here and a hockey sense that few possess.

*Saul Canelo Alvarez just pulverized Kermit Cintron with a barrage of straight right hands in a light middleweight bout.  Neck snapping power.  Alvarez is the real deal.  Watch out Chavez Jr.  Chavez Jr is a paper champ, and before he KO’d a spent Manfredo he lost a decision in his last fight in my opinion.  Alvarez is an entertaining boxer because he engages and fights straight forward and hits hard.  He reminds me of a smarter Tyson.  His defense needs to improve before he takes on Floyd.  However, if Cotto gets past Tony, id like to see Canelo and Miguel hook up. If Cotto loses, have Canelo destroy Tony.  That’s the fight though.   Chavez Jr and Alvarez are hot and are mexican young guns.   Good speed boost for Alvarez to hand Julio a beating.

*What’s the cost of a drunkened afternoon with your bosses?  A 6.5 mile run to work to pick up the car. Have too much fun partying with your work associates at a holiday function and the beauty lies in running to go pick up your car three days later. 60 degrees, little wind, rain in forecast, I am gone.

*I dropped my family Directly in the Black Friday Walmart mischief. This is where the real side of people arrive. Desperate, deadly and driven.   The Joker was right.  In the end, these civilized people, will eat each other.  Making it out of here alive and sane won’t be easy. Prozac given at door with Jack chaser.

*Watching 2011 Cardinals WS DVD with the family on Thanksgiving. Getting chills reliving the glory road this team paved through Philly, Milwaukee and Texas. Jason Motte taking the mound in Game 1 and walking out of the bullpen in a slow motion shot in Game 7.  A thrilling production from MLB Films and solid narration from my boy Jon Hamm.   Getting emotional and pissed at  the same moments. Craigs two pinch hits, pulling Motte in G2, Pujols’ 3 homers, the bizarre Game 5, Freese in the later games and every moment. The moments still get under the skin. That’s a diehard for you.  Game 6 had a Pacquiao/Marquez like tenacity to it.   One team struck a blow and the other counter punched right back, producing a thriller at Busch that seemed to last for days and was given an ending by Mr. Freese.

Closing Thoughts-

*Urban Meyer goes home to Ohio State.  A proven winner, my future for Meyer would have been painted in NFL colors. Alas, a good decision.  Staying with something he knows.

*Mission Impossible Series-Consistent producers of solid action mayhem.  The Chief export of these films are Tom Cruise stunts.

*If I do one thing in my lifetime, it will be stopping every pedophile on this earth. Syracuse Coach Bernie Fine is the latest molester.

*The Eagles demise isn’t a surprise.  Preseason hype often ends in vicious turmoil.   Didn’t anyone learn from Lebron and Dwayne’s harsh predictions.   Reasons for it are as followed.

1.)Brittle inconsistent QB

2.)Soft defense

3.)Classless acts by star players

*Dexter on Showtime just pulled out a rug that redirects an otherwise dismal and troublingly ineffective season.   A plot twist that redefines the chase of the season for our good guy serial killer.   A perfect place to challenge the downfall of a series that always survives on the thrill of watching Dexter Morgan going hunting.

*Boardwalk Empire simply keeps getting better and better.  Stephen Graham, who plays a young Al Capone, looks to play a heavy part in the Second Season finale.  Just a thought.   Man’s going to make a move.

*When did the line “there are no deferrals, Tommy.  There never have been any deferrals,” carry more weight.   This movie I am watching, Never Let Me Go, keeps adding on pounds of power with each closing scene.   I will leave you to find out the meaning in that line.   FUBAR is a clue.

*Tony Twist looks like a italian gangster coked up musclehead in the postgame here with his monsterous wedding ring, black suit, shirt and purple tie.   The true enforcer still looks like he could destroy a human on the ice.   I heard Twister on the radio recently and he can dish it pretty well.  Very honest.   His bit on “keeping the justice on the ice” was priceless.

*The Russian stout was as strong as Rasputin’s dick hair.   Seriously, I popped one open after a 2am breakfast cooking and it kicked my ass in a good way.   This stout reminds of a Arrogant bastard ale if Stout took shape.  You know what you are drinking, which is good.  I liked it and have drank another bottle since Saturday.   A preferred brew of beer I happen to like a lot in the winter.

*Someone please Tell Mozelaik Tyler Greene isn’t a MLB shortstop.

*My next movie to seek out.  Margin Call, a story about the 2008 economic collapse and the events at one firm the night before the country went boom.  Good cast, energy and script.

*Never Let Me Go is a tragically courageous film.   Three friends struggling in finding the ability to seek the ideal meaning in saving lives by giving your own.  This film will take a piece of you and keep it for a few days.  A piece of your mind runs away with it.

“I wonder if our lives will be any different than the people we saved.   Will we ever know what we lived through or if we had enough time?”-Carey Mulligan in Never Let Me Go

*While I waited on my car getting an oil change last night, I watched the Justified pilot on my Ipod.  That show is so good, so flavorful when it comes to character development, plot and direct blunt action that it makes you anxious for it to return.   Olyphant brings it all together, honing Raylan out of part anti-hero will, old school cool and an authority few actors have on television.   The moment at the end of the pilot episode between Raylan and Boyd before their guns are pulled is the best scene of the series.   This show returns for a third round in January.  Justified is a show to look forward to because it takes a familiar concept and spins a fresh story every week while holding the underlying tone of the show.

*Theo Epstein will overpay for Albert Pujols, but I doubt the Cards will fall for the desperate plea to contend. They have waited this long so they will wait a little more, not that I agree with their strategy.   I can fault the Cards all I want, but if Pujols goes to the Cubs, there is no excuse but to question his decision making.  I highly doubt he will end up in Wrigley.  This story gets little attention from me.

*Drew Brees is a pure weapon when playing against a soft defense in the Superdome.   The midget is unstoppable and is a fantasy dream.  5 touchdowns last night.  If The Pack face a challenge, its New Orleans because Brees can match Rodgers blow for blow.  He came at the Giants with his guns hot.

*Margarito won’t be able to contain the Puerto Rico bald headed monster because he wasn’t able to go to home depot before the fight for the plaster.   Cheating mexican will be fucked in the streets of NYC.   If he dies, he dies.  The poetic justice will be glorious.

*Don’t be afraid to leave the genius button on because you never know when you will be surrounded by a pack of lying, cheating stupid ass spitfucks.   That’s my motto.

*Truly, my motto is not giving up.  On anything in life, give it your best shot because success is ours but we have to fight to maintain and keep it along way.  Strive for greatness but prepare for a downfall.   With that, the musical selection of the week is…

*The Black Keys performing “These Days”, an ode to the never ending will to survive in a competitor’s world.   This band is easily one of the best bands I have discovered in the past 5 years and the genius goes back to their first 2 albums.  This is off their last, the all time great Brothers.  Their new album, El Camino, comes out Tuesday.  Enjoy it like you are supposed to.   Click and listen.

http://youtu.be/xBze4iwzhAY

That’s all I have tonight.  A 7,000 word blog/rant here that never seemed to stop because the material kept loading up and I had to bring it.   If you have read some of this material before in a previous email the past couple days, I apologize.  My blogs are collections of my thoughts since the last blog was sent out.  A one man scavanger hunt that accepts anything with substance.  Sometimes, the words come out in a different setting and are recycled here.   It’s what I know how to do.   Tell it like it is until a point gets across.  For now,  I am done.

Thanks for reading and goodnight,

Dan L. Buffa

 

It Was Just A Mission Statement

Good morning folks,

Allow me to begin this small dispatch by stating that I love the movie Jerry Maguire.  Tom Cruise’s Oscar nominated performance as a renegade agent dumped by his company and left for dead who picks up his one good client(Cuba Gooding Jr.) and makes a drastic attempt to stay in the game.  Jerry writes a mission statement, a memo informing the agency how they need to conduct business better and connect emotionally with clients more and make a personal effort.  A good hearted plea to be better.  The agency fires him.  He takes one of his guys and tries to stay afloat.   Along the way, he meets and falls in love with Renee Zellweger(when she was warm hearted, unknown and good looking to a degree) and also becomes a father figure to her son Ray(Jonathon Lipnicki). The classic comeback story. This made you feel good about agents.  What if they were all like Jerry?  As he reminded people throughout the movie,    Cruise reminded you how good he was when given the right role.  Maguire was an agent with a heart of gold and exposed it in every scene of the film.   It nearly makes him homeless, but when it comes to ethics and pride, Maguire leads the pack.   And then I read an article on Deadspin on Dan Lozano, Albert Pujols’ agent.   Interesting stuff to say the least.  A column that gets you thinking.

The oldest rule in the book is to think of agents as angels in suits.  The cutthroat sharks who attack the shores of teams for their players and don’t leave until they’ve eaten all the goods.  Lozano is a liar like the other 95 percent of agents in the sports world.  The article portrays Lozano as your typical agent.  A guy who never graduated from college, ordered escorts for his clients, and poses as the ideal man for each of his clients.   For Mike Piazza, it was a party man.   For Albert Pujols, Lozano was a man of faith.   The column includes the theory of Lozano being the main problem in Albert finding a landing spot this offseason.   Written that he messed up chance for Albert at the negotiating table once and may do so again.  The article goes on to tell us that Lozano owes several players money.   That’s where things get dicey.  Every sports fan has went to Shark Agents 101 school, but the intrigue here is what Lozano isn’t telling Albert.   The idea that Lozano is using Albert’s big contract to pay off his own personal debt.  Albert may not like that.  Look, Pujols can fire Lozano and still get a huge contract.  He doesn’t need a super agent.  He isn’t a hanging on the thread of his talent player.  Pujols can sell himself.  Is Lozano hurting Albert’s future here with his demands?  Personal debt is Lozano’s business, but Pujols is a true man of faith and may not like the acting from his agent.   If he smells dirt on Lozano, he may cut him loose.   This is what makes this a topical piece for Cards fans.  What if Lozano is pushing Albert Pujols away from the Cardinals?  This is where I get enraged.  Are his actions hurting Pujols?  Financially, there is no chance.  Albert will get a boatload of cash somewhere.  However, if Lozano is leveraging Albert elsewhere to make a few million on his own, I want his neck.  Most players love this kind of wild gun activity, but not Albert.   He’s Tebow deep on god and doesn’t like bullshit.  I only hate Lozano if he is holding up a deal with the Cards by being extra greedy for himself instead of serving his client.  This has nothing to do with working a room or being a good agent.  This is client-agent ethics.  Jerry Maguire territory.   All agents become chameleons for their clients.  They shape themselves for each player’s needs.   The question is Albert not liking that kind of role playing.  Albert wants to get a deal done and Lozano may be standing in the way.   Bad news.  It becomes a problem when agents start serving themselves more than their client.   Scott Boras did it with A-Rod and got fired.  Lozano may be doing it.  Albert Pujols may need to get new representation or pull a Matt Morris and work his own deal.  This redefines the idea “It’s not all about the money”.   Its about player-client relationships and keeping those healthy at all times by pumping honesty into them.  It was just a mission statement.  Good agents would sell their home to get a deal done.  Great agents would sell their home with the family inside to get it done  Where does Lozano fall in the end?  Honestly, I want Pujols a Cardinal and if Danny is in the way, that’s when I get mad here.  Otherwise, let it ride.  Will Albert step out and make his own choice?   How hard is it to walk up to the Cardinals and say, “I’m the best.  Pay me like it.”

Here’s the link.  Enjoy.
http://deadspin.com/5861982/dan-lozano-albert-pujolss-superagent-king-of-sleaze-mountain

Other Things Before I head to a Thanksgiving party-

  • Great NFL games tomorrow.   Three decent games are on the television tomorrow.   Dolphins and Cowboys, Ravens and 49ers and The Packers against the Lions.   The chance to see Romo shine during his best month.  Seeing two Harbaugh brothers go up against each other with bruising defense with Balty and San Francisco.   My game of the day will be Packers and Lions.  The undefeated Packers going against the suddenly powerful Detroit Lions.   Can Matthew Stafford pull off an upset and dismantle the Packers?  Will Aaron Rodgers pick apart the Lions secondary or be crushed like a turkey by Ndamukong Suh.   Every game involving two great offenses comes down to the defenses.   Game on.
  • The Blues lose a close game last night to the Kings 3-2 on a late goal again.  Barrett Jackman contributes to his most valuable player for the other team routine by coughing up the puck twice, leading to 2 Kings goals.   The main issue on this team is giving up the puck in their defensive zone.  Halak played well and the Blues pressured the Kings with great chances and scored a pair of slick goals but came up short.  This team is still headed in the right direction.  This was their first regulation loss with Hitchcock in 7 games.  Work to be done but I like the play out there.  Tonight, the Blues walk into Pittsburgh to face Sidney and company with Brian Elliot in goal.  This win would be huge and a loss would be a step back.
  • To the people who think we need to let Albert walk in order to plug other areas.  Let me ask you a question.  What other areas?  This team is nearly set to compete.   Bring back Furcal, Dotel, and Skip on 1-2 year deals and you can easily give Albert a healthy raise.  If the payroll gets raised, so be it.  This Cardinals franchise makes a ton of money and can afford to raise the payroll, and that doesn’t always mean season ticket prices will go up and the cost will go up.  Every ballpark in America raises their season ticket prices and its called a rise in consumerism.   Don’t blame Albert for it.  Man wants to get paid like the best and doesn’t need the most in the league but a healthy package.   Stop saying we don’t need Albert.  Look at what he has done for this team for 11 years.  What he means to the team.  The Cards made the mistake in waiting and they must pay up.  Last year, his stats were down slightly, but his production in August and September was huge and picked up this team.  He singlehandedly put Game 3 of the World Series out of reach and hit .330 in the playoffs.   What don’t you people understand?  Pujols deserves and needs to stay a Cardinal for life.
  • Staying home for Thanksgiving carries only one bit of grace.  We don’t get to drive 10 hours this weekend.   Road trips like that kind of suck, especially with a 2 month old who loves attention.
  • Movies to see this weekend.  Clooney’s The Descendants or Matt Damon in a special screening of “We Bought a Zoo”.   Clooney or Damon?  Tough choice.
  • Movie to rent.  The Devil’s Double.   Dominic Cooper stars as the man who doubled as Saddam Hussein’s sadistic son, Uday.   Cooper plays the man doubling as Uday and Uday himself in this explosive true story that feels like Scarface mixed with Traffic.    Imagine being someone wanted dead in several countries who was known as the Black Prince?  Dangerous.  Cooper is a firecracker of a young talent, so I am intrigued.

That’s all I have today, folks.  Have a good Thanksgiving and stay safe on Turkey Day.   All the best from this corner of cyber space.

So long until next time,

Dan Buffa

Tough Little Fella of Mine

Initial disclosure.   This is a poem I wrote about my son for a work contest.   I have written thousands of pages of material in my blog for the past 6 years and this marked the first poem off my fingertips in years.   It isn’t a perfect poem, and if it were held up to any height of poetic standard for colleges, it wouldn’t stand for long.  However, instead of writing a sports themed Buffa Sonnet, I went from the heart here and wrote about the experience of seeing your son in a hospital room under duress.  Think of it as a recipe.   A touch of bright optimism mixed with the ever lurking shade of gray.   Poem or blog, writing comes down to being able to attach words to emotions and allow a connection between the heart and head to take place.   Everyone can write.  All you have to do is sit down, take some time and give a little of yourself to the public.  Writing is difficult only for those who can’t completely open up.  Think of it as dancing with your hands.  A sense of freedom and fearlessness has to be included into the package or it won’t work.  There, enough of the monologue.  I am already losing your attention and I haven’t even given forth the main idea of this blog.   Like a politician picking the wrong speech.   Anyway…..Enjoy this.  A brief detour from the Usual Buffa Blast route of material disposal.   Experiences like the ones I have had in Vinny’s young life only produce these kinds of words.  

“Tough Little Fella of Mine” By Dan Buffa

The kid climbs into the ring one more time/determined to destroy whatever lies in his way

The heart rate rises/the saints come running into the room in all shapes and sizes

The tough little fella looks around/struggling to make a leap over this tall medical bound/

I look deep into his eyes like a broke angel/

I pledge/be calm my child and this too shall pass

What lies in his future/A father cannot know

The mother stands near/She shakes like a  deer

Tough little fella of mine goes to war/fighting for his future all over again

Fluids run through his body like security teams/putting out dangerous fires wherever they seem

All a father can do is sit there and wonder/Why is this happening to my child?

He pierces a glance through my eyes/Strong blues on scared brown skies

Two men staring at each other/generations connected through touch

His hands collapsed on mine/like pebbles on a rock

Experiences don’t yield words at first/but through emotions they grow at once

The Coats and Scrubs come to stay/tall angels keeping evil genes at bay/

Tough little fella of mine/The kid rises/he is safe once again

The End

The Daily Post

The random give and go from the Monday Exchange-

Talking to a close friend and frequent responder on the cyber waves today about soccer and here is what came away from my side.  My friend has recently dived headfirst into the Premier League, a Soccer league that features some of the best players in the world.   He laid it out note by note for me and all I could do was counter punch away. 

The Soccer rant.    If this were Swingers, I’d be Mike and my friend would be Trent, showing me the sweet science of dating.    In general, I’m a new lover to soccer’s door.  Let’s roll through the basics and opinions.

*The knock on soccer is correct.  People hate this game because packs of men chase each other up and down a field for 2 hours and only score 1 to 3 goals.   I’ve always seen this game as a test of stamina.   Running, running and more running.  I have had problems following it not for the boring factor but for the idea of getting into it and passionate about it.  When people say something is boring, they can’t get into it or find a connection.   When I throw in an indie film that’s slow, Rachel struggles to follow it so she whips out the smart phone solitare.  This is a natural reaction for 80 percent of Americans.   Sports is a community thing.  The more people following it, the better.  Without my close knit group of sports friends, baseball wouldn’t be as much fun.  Sports are only as fun as the connection you hold with it and through others.

*Other sports seriously need to adopt relegation.  Relegation is a tactic in the Premier League where the worst team in each division is wheated out into a minor league like section.   Great tactic of trimming the fat off a sport and lining up the right teams in for a playoff run.  Goodbye Pirates and Royals.  Rebuilding years aren’t fun to watch.  Every true fan wants competitive activity.  90 percent of fans are bandwagon drivers or riders.

*The Champion system in this league puts a high emphasis on games played and ensures no team takes off a game.  The end is anti-climactic when the top team wins the tournament but there are no easy games in this league.  La Russa would hate this because he couldn’t have his throw it in Memphis Sunday game where he hands the game over.

*Soccer basically trims off the annoying weak parts about other sports.  Commercials, extra teams in divisions and throw away games.    I love the non stop action.   The nauseating part of any Cards/Blues game is seeing Ray Vinson 18 times a game.   Soccer eliminates that bc they give back to their sport and don’t need extra advertising.  Brilliant.

*The timing of the games does hurt the popularity in the states.  Imagine if the NFL had the Sunday games on at 7am?  This country would go nuts quickly. Everyone wants to see things live and soccer here is hurt because its origin lies in Europe. There are two barriers to overcome. Time of the match and the pace of it.   You either have a connection and need to watch or you don’t.   I am in the middle right now.  I am not a simple casual fan who watches for a few minutes to impress people.  I get sucked in for at least an hour.  I’m nowhere near the level of commitment of a diehard fan like my friend Pj, but if I showed up at his place and he told me it was soccer, a dark stout and nothing else all day long, I’d be fine with it.

More on The Pacquiao-Marquez Fight/Decision

Look, when sitting on the fence, judges will always play it safe and hand it to a champion.   When in doubt, think dollars and cents.   Pacquiao went 1-4 at the plate, had a rough night against a guy who has constantly given him trouble.  Both fighters did enough to earn a draw or escape with a decision but in no way was a man robbed.  Anybody who harbors feelings for Marquez had preset conditions.  Its not as if Pacquiao went out there and got schooled by Zab Judah.   Marquez is a legit threat to Pacquiao, which is why Manny takes the Floyd fight next.  Freddie Roach even seemed worried and offered after the decision that Marquez deserved a fourth fight.   If Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is smart, he leans towards Floyd first.  Manny must make adjustments or Floyd will pick him apart.   Manny can land combinations with the best, hound a fighter for 12 rounds but needs to learn a defense mechanism.  Punch, punch, block.  Something like that.   Roach and Pac will figure it out and the Mayweather Jr and Pacquiao fight will be glorious.    If people want to be mad at a particular person, be mad at Marquez’s trainer, Nacho.   He did tell Juan that he was ahead with 4 rounds to go.  Big mistake.  It’s a mistake to listen to anyone with the name “Nacho” but here it paid dearly.   Bad idea if you’re a trainer to discourage your fighter from pushing the initiative.   Trainers don’t control the fight but Marquez did slow up in the later rounds and it may of cost him the fight. End of story. Once again, the Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr.  parties must get this fight done or they will deprive us of a potentially legendary night.   Put all the emotions and get down to business.

The Pujols Equation

I’ll draw it up simple.   The Cards should have taken care of Albert with Matt Holliday.   7-8 year deals with Albert getting more money.  When they gave Holliday a long term deal and passed him up, a mistake was made. I’ve maintained through this process that the Cards are the ones who need to seek out Pujols and his people.  Gold doesn’t chase the prospecter.  Its simple business.  Taking care of Albert would have saved this team dollars because it came before Ryan Howards 5 yr, 125 million dollar deal.  Howard’s contract set the table for Alberts talks and this is where the Cards will play extra.   Since they waited and waited for Albert to hinder his value, they will pay more.  Thankfully, the talks come after a down year so a deal will get done.   If a deal doesn’t happen, I will point a finger at the Cards for making a bad bet.   However, Albert is fit to chase another ring this year and the next few years so I don’t see how he leaves.    Chances of Pujols staying are 70-30. While not a sure thing by any means, I simply can’t think outside the box and see him going anywhere else. Its just not logical for him to take a walk or for the Cards to let him go. I’ve said this since the beginning along with tons of other things. If Albert holds true to his word, he will stay here. Let me break it down. He has always said he wanted to retire a Cardinal and only wanted a competitive team around him. Next year, the Cards are ready to attack the World Series again with established pieces in place. The Cards wasted opportunities to sign him before but would be crazy to not offer him a fair deal that suits his needs professionally and personally. Also, Pujols would be making a bold move to take his show on the road 11 years into his career, especially after winning the World Series and equipped to attack next season and the years after that. The Cards aren’t a sinking ship or preparing to lose. Why would he leave this hard charging train now? This is why he may sign a shorter than expected deal. 5-6 years that takes him to when he is 37 or 38 years old. It’s simple. Pay him 28-30 the first 3 years and slowly back it down to 15-18 million at the end of the deal so he isn’t worried about his reputation or lasting image. Pump up those last 3 years with stat incentives. Get it done. Florida/Miami isn’t getting him. The Cubs want Fielder and Albert wouldn’t go there over his dead body. The Rangers and Angels will seek out Fielder and only toss a friendly offer at Albert. The market isn’t where Albert’s agent, Dan Lozano, wants it to be. In short, The Red Sox and Yankees aren’t buying. I sincerely hope this doesn’t end in a 1 year deal because that would be pathetic on the Cards part and disappointing on Albert’s end. Cardinals, it’s time to pay up. I would disappointed at the Cards like you stated because this is a business decision they put off for 3-4 years and wagered Alberts health against their payroll. Now, they have to pay the difference. Do it! Either the Cards are incredibly stupid or the Pujols camp gets very greedy. We will see. I expect a move around mid December after the Winter Meetings.

The Rams Misery

The Rams are disgusting.   Last year was a mere glimpse of an improvement but its gone.  The Rams offense hasn’t won a game this year or scored more than 2 touchdowns in a game.   Sam Bradford has talent but can he transfer talent into big game performances.  He hasn’t had one of those yet and while his receivers don’t own Pro Bowls, other quarterbacks have dealt with less.  I’m also tired of Fox commentators calling Bradford an elite quarterback.  He isn’t elite at all.  He’s sloppy, damaged, and can’t throw an accurate pass over 20 yards.   He is average.  He may imitate an elite quarterback at times but not right now.   Why isn’t Bradford getting the same scrutiny as Colt McCoy, Tebow, Sanchez or Alex Smith.   All, except for 1, are first round draft picks.   Bradford is a top pick so why is he not getting put on a hot seat. The kid’s getting a pass while playing shitty football.  Those other quarterbacks don’t have protection or a roster laced with Pro Bowlers either. It comes down to getting the job done.  Ben Roethlisberger got the job done in 2008 while leading the league in sacks taken.  He also won the Super Bowl.  He is the future and the job is his but the elite talk needs to stop.   Who do you want right now running a 2 minute warning comeback drive?  Bradford and Tebow.  Most NFL analysts and scouts would swallow a pigs tongue before admitting the truth to that question. Also, there’s no way Josh McDaniels runs this offense.   His Denver team put up points with similiar talent.   How can Spag’s keep his job another week with these results? Steven Jackson is doing all he can.  His stats and effort are top notch.   This team simply sucks.  They collected 3 turnovers in the first quarter yesterday and took zero points away from them against The Seahawks.  That’s pitiful.   Excuses can be made but this much we all know.  Steve Spagnuolo has to go.   How much more time can he get?

The Blues Ability To React

This team does react well to coaching changes and it will be interesting to see if we can win on the road and maintain this fresher, faster more complete style of play.   Hitchcock has definitely installed a sense of urgency here and the goal will now be to keep it going.   This team is always on the cusp of playing very special hockey.   I’m interested to see where Hitch takes them.  Unlike Murray and Payne, he won a Cup in Dallas.  How far can he push this team?  Their performance on the ice is still chasing their potential.  We play the Kings tonight at home, but the more interesting matchup comes Wednesday against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.   Sidney Crosby is back and tallied 4 points in his game in 10 months since a hit in the Winter Classic gave him a concussion that knocked him for the rest of the season and the first month and a half of this season.  The Penguins are offensive machines at home and the addition of Crosby makes them as deadly as it gets.   The first true test for Hitchcock’s boys comes tomorrow on the road against a very good team.  That’s the game that will tell us where this team is really at.  If they can beat the Penguins on the road, anything is possible.

Tim Tebow Talk

Tebow is a fabulous athlete, elite competitor and a guy who would throw himself into Ray Lewis for a score.   Besides his greatest asset which is his conditioning and quickness, I think what makes TT a good quarterback at this point is his ability to react and notice a defense.  On the game winning drive, he saw that a linebacker was left in 1 on 1 coverage and  he shredded him and won the game.  I agree that he will probably not turn into a prototypical elite throwing quarterback or adapt into an arm like Vick’s, but his entertaining style and record will keep him at QB.   All of your points are valid.  Defenses will adjust and play him differently, crowd the box and even leave a receiver wide open to rush him, but he will take the challenge.  The next 6 games are going to be thrilling football.   Who do you want to be right now, A Denver fan or Rams fan.    Given the lazy coverage, I doubt Bradford could have engineered that drive like Tebow did.  As I mentioned, who do you want more with the game on the line?  Sam or Tebow?  Answer is simple.  I want an athlete who can translate talent into performance.   Rip off Rivers arm and attach it to Tebow and Godboy is a legend.   With his own unique set of skills, Tebow is turning his talent into results, something Bradford can’t do.   While he may not be a long term QB, Tebow will be an exciting player to watch.  No one has worked harder to get where they are or sucked in so much crap from so called experts.   There will be downfalls(Detroit killing) and high moments(Jets game) but Tebow will entertain and win games on pure athleticism and the ability to win under any circumstances.  He’s always been a winner.  Clear and simple.   For now, he is a quarterback.   The man can flat out play.  I saw something special here.

More Tebow Hits

-Unlike most young quarterbacks, Tebow can make that big play when his team needs him most. He may play 50-55 minutes of bad football and be unable to hit his grandma on a post route, but when the chips are down and the clock yells GO, Tebow turns it on. That is the one thing that will keep him at quarterback this year and maybe most of next at the very least. Denver would be smart to either bring in a veteran quarterback or young college kid to push Tebow to keep things the way Tim likes them. He plays at his best when everyone expects him to fail. His ability to make the big play separates him from Sanchez, Rivers, and Bradford.
-He is so much fun to watch back there. He is the only quarterback in NFL history who can complete 2 passes and win a game on sheer aggression and inner strength. How many times can you be told that you were a Josh McDaniels mistake and not simply quit. The kid is strong inside and out. Impressive. A special on ESPN called “Everything in between” chronicled Tebows training through the draft process up until his selection by the Broncos. Great stuff if you haven’t checked it out yet.
-In addition to being a ridiculous athlete and physical specimen, Tebow is also a good guy. He won’t get into trouble, like sniff cocaine off a girls ass on a yaht or get caught with a gun in a nightclub. He’s a perfect symbol for the Broncos.
-He can’t throw well but that can improve. The last 6 games will tell us what kind of arm he has but what if he finds a way to win 4 of those 6 doing everything else well. Fullback or tight end would work but the kid won’t back down from being a quarterback after everything he has done to this point. His throwing will either improve or he will find himself in another spot but I don’t expect him to get shoved out easily. John Elway and John Fox both didn’t want this kid and he basically bull-rushed the team depth chart and tore his way onto the field. This is the same kid who ran up and down the sidelines in Florida in college, blood rolling down his shoulders and head, screaming at his teammates that they could win this game. The kid is a beast and against all popular and sane opinion, will remain at quarterback for at least the rest of the season. Shoot Brady Quinn and trade Kyle Orton because they both suck and will get you nowhere.

Stan The Man Musial turned 91 on Monday. Holy fuck knuckles, that’s old. If I make it to 90 with my genetic blood pressure and heart ailments and the beating I have put on my body and the stress induced from running through walls of disadvantage, I’ll be a happy whop bastard. Here’s to the true knight of The Cardinals organization, a man who spent his entire career in St. Louis, fought in the war and came back to kick ass before finishing with a .335 plus batting average and tons of records. The guy symbolized what an athlete should strive to be. A good man and player, all in one. Long live Stan.

Justin Verlander wins the MVP in the Amercian League. This is the easiest decision the league could ever make.  Verlander adds the MVP to his mantle to go along with the Cy Young Award this season.  He joins the short list of pitchers that have accomplished the feat of winning both in one season.   Verlander was the most valuable on any team in either league. Without him, the Tigers finish in 3rd place or worse in the Central division. He was dominant in the way Pedro Martinez annillated opponents in 1999. Remember when Pedro took the mound every 5th day and seemed to send a message to the other team that they were fucked. He blew smoke past a juiced up Sosa and Big Mac. Verlander is the same way. He attacks hitters in a way few pitchers do in the modern era. Fastball, fastball, curve! It’s unorthodox for a pitcher to win an award like this but he earned it. Look at his stats and they tell the story. He went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, .92 WHIP and 250 strikeouts. Rigodamndiculous!

Little Things-

Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout is delicious. Halfway through my 6 pack and counting the days until I go out and search for new beer again. I hold a six pack of Shocktop and 3 Landsharks in my fridge like a gunslinger keeps a rifle in the den. I seek out different types of beer because there’s too much taste out there. I could easily become an alcoholic in Friar Tucks.

Boardwalk Empire just keeps getting better and better. If you sincerely have no care to dip into FX entertainment, go for this two season slow boiling drama.   I can say a character was dispatched on Sunday in the most shocking and brutal fashions that I have ever seen on television.  The death wasn’t grotesque in any way.  Just sudden.  There are so many traces of Sopranos in here that it makes you feel like Tony will walk around a corner any minute breathing heavy.

Listen to the Black Keys or Mumford and Sons. You can’t go wrong there.  Yes I have mentioned this exact line before yet since I didn’t get any response, I give it out again.

This guy had to write a poem for work this week.   After years of blogging, essay writing and different formats of writing, I tackled poetry again tonight, writing a 191 word poem about my sons early struggles with his health.   Writing is the same practice in the end.  Find a subject, direct it, and let the hands go.

There is absolutely no reason for the Colts to trade Peyton Manning.   Have they seen the effect of his absence this season that they think selecting a wetback like Andrew Luck will fix everything?  Peyton makes a lot of money but he takes control of the team and if he is ready to roll, you go out and plug the holes around him and make the Colts a better team.  They will finish 0-16 in 2011 and for a reason.  Their head was cut off in training camp.   There is no reason to trade Peyton.   Don’t listen to Tony Dungy or Herm Edwards.  Keep Manning, draft a QB, and fill in the spaces around him.   The Colts relied on Manning for everything and now that he is back, they can rebuild those areas.   Trading him doesn’t solve a thing.  Who do you replace him with?

Parking continues to be a problem for humans.   Parking between the lines is a huge problem.  Saying you have no room to park between the lines means you are dumb or simply can’t operate a vehicle.   When you drive to Walmart, through a parking garage or in a large parking area, the slow boil inside of you burns because you find out how bad human drivers are.   All races, skin colors and tones.   It doesn’t matter.  I watch these fucksticks try to park and it’s like asking a 3 year old to spell his name with plato.   Once again, the aliens aren’t coming here anytime soon because they get enough of a comedy show from a distance that getting any closer would affect their intelligence.

Working out in the morning is so much better than going after work when you are tired, beaten down and simply want to find a soft spot and stop moving for a little while.  Working out early wakes you up, revitilizes the systems and sets you up for a decent day.    If you want to start a fitness program, go in the morning.   The rules are simple.   Have good form, log some cardio and don’t forget about the abs.   When you start dancing during a set, something is wrong.  Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.  An hour on the bike or 6-8 miles on the treadmill.  If it scares you, do it.  Thats been my motto for over 10 years.

Unfortunate news for the Seattle Mariners in the death of young player Greg Holland.  Holland was stabbed to death in his native Netherlands on Monday morning, and the kid was in his 20’s and only starting to realize his potential.   Anytime a sports athlete goes down, it reminds us that these athletic celebs are as fallible as we are.   Sad news.  Unless, we find out Holland was a secret ninja, and died in a knife fighting incident.   A little humor goes a long way.

ESPN Boxing Analyst Dan Rafael has a solid point in accusing the New York City Boxing Commission of causing a potential delay on the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito fight.  Why did they wait so long to make Margs go back to the eye doctor and get a followup exam.   There are 11 days until the fight at Madison Square Garden.   The eye condition comes from several Manny Pacquiao delivered punches from their fight last November.  Margarito suffered a broken orbital bone and hasn’t fought since.  The second condition is Margarito’s illegal hand wraps discovered before the Shane Mosley fight have him on a limited license in The States.  He got a license to fight in Dallas last year but New York is playing hardball and its too late in the game to cause a delay to a fight both fighters have trained hard to reach.   A lot of show and tell here. Here’s the story by Rafael.

http://espn.go.com/blog/dan-rafael/post/_/id/576/nysac-has-made-mess-of-margarito-license

Also, everything considered, I think Miguel Cotto is going to destroy Margarito.   This is putting my bias standing for Cotto aside.   Cotto has everything to prove here.  That he wasn’t beat by man alone and that Margarito was fighting with an aide last time.  He also lost his father last year, a close confidant in his training, and Cotto tells a story about waking up in the hospital after the Margarito fight only to see his father watching him.  The guy’s got a lot of built up anger and revenge tactics.  Angry blood flowing through the veins.

Don’t forget.   2011 St. Louis Cardinals World Series DVD arrives today with Jon Hamm narrating.   Live the moment one more time.

Now I am officially done. Fingers are bleeding, wife is hungry and Vin is telling me to schedule a meeting with a bottle.

Sincerely,

Buffa

The Wrap Up

Before the work week begins, allow me to throw some sticks on the fire here as St. Louis temperatures drop and the wet cold rain falls on our homes.   I can only call it like I see it, so tonight I am going to keep things short, blunt and to the point.   The ordinary people have gone to sleep, and now all we have are the minds who contain their own little world.  I come here and open up a cathedral of thought that runs an epic mile, so this time I am going to trim it up and send it out with a little more tone and figure.   Aiming the gun at the news reel and we are off!   I object!  Sorry, but I’ve always wanted to say that and I really can’t get the great new comedy The Changeup out of my head.  

Opening Arguments-

*My Take on Manny Pacquiao- Juan Marquez, Part 3

Its hard to throw an easy explanation on such a close fight.  Boxing has a way of yielding fights that test the mind and train us to think about what really determines a decision.  These two guys have met in the ring three times over 7 years and each time the result was controversial.   My take is that Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought to a draw on November 12th.  I scored it round by round and this was as hard as sizing up Donald Trump’s toupee.  There were no knockdowns, no 4 or 5 punch flurries and whenever one fighter landed a shot, the other came right back and landed one of their own.   Pacquiao was the aggressive attacker throughout the night and landed more punches.  Marquez landed more accurate punches but fought the entire match moving backwards.   Every Marquez shot didn’t seem to stop Manny for long.  At the end of the night, Marquez’s face was bruised and beaten while Manny was setting up for a concert with a cut above his eye from a head clash.   My decision here is that nobody got robbed.  Marquez didn’t win easily and the cards across the judge table and ringside show it.   I scored it 6 to 6 in rounds for each.   It wasn’t easy.  There were at least 3 rounds where the decision could have went either way because neither fighter did enough to claim it.   Should there be ties in the rounds for fighters?  Probably not, but there were cases here where neither fighter “won” the round.   Did the judges hand the night to the champ to be safe?  Sure.   Did Marquez get robbed by the judges?  NO WAY.  Take away all the Marquez underdog faithful and you have two men fighting neck and neck for 12 rounds.   Pacquiao was never stunned by a shot and Marquez countered all night.  The result is that Marquez didn’t do enough damage to unseat a champion.  Call it wrong or foul but you must thoroughly defeat a champ in a high prize fight.  If Manny loses, the Floyd fight still lands on the table.  Now that he has won, Manny and Floyd must fight.   This isn’t a bias view.  While I clearly have liked Manny since he floored Ricky Hatton in the 2nd round, I also admire Marquez in the same fashion.  This was simply a hard fight to judge.  If people want to be mad at a person, get enraged at Nacho Beristain, Marquez’s trainer.  Nacho told Marquez he was up on all the cards after the 8th round and from there on out Marquez slowed down his attack and Manny won rounds.  After 8 rounds, 2 of the 3 judges had it tied at 76 apiece.  The one thing a trainer never tells his fighter in a close fight is that they are up and its okay to relax.   Nacho was a moron and trust me, he knows it.   Get mad at him and leave the judges alone.  Watch the fight and tell me different.

Once again, its time for Floyd and Manny to fight.  Clear out the bullshit, sit down at a table and sign up for the biggest fight of all time gentlemen.  This is the fight that the world wants to see.   It’s stupid to think that Floyd isn’t a clear favorite now that we have seen Manny be matched by a counter puncher.   Floyd is the master counter puncher and unless Manny learns how to deflect incoming damage, Floyd will win the fight.  However, boxing fans want to see it.  Make it happen.

*The Rams lose and are officially kicked out of the NFC West race

What a shame!  After nearly making the playoffs earlier this season, the Rams fall to 2-8 after a pitiful 24-7 loss to the Seahawks at home today.  They get eliminated with the help of Tavaris Jackson, one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL.   The 49ers win and improve to 9-1 and the Rams are out.  Watching this offense, it’s hard to think a wizard like Josh McDaniels runs it.   He had similiar talent in Denver and put more points on the board.   What is going on here?  The defense is the star of this team.   Take away the Rams defense and the Rams are easily 0-10.   In the first quarter, The Rams intercept 2 passes and Robert Quinn blocks a punt and the Rams get zero points off those turnovers.  If they at least get a field goal each, its 24-16 or closer.   That’s the difference between winning and losing.  Taking advantage of mistakes and cashing in.  Sam Bradford can’t throw a ball accurately over 20 yards and looks broken out there behind a patchwork offensive line that gives him less than 2 seconds to throw.  Steven Jackson had been on fire recently but got plugged up today.  There was an instant meeting between Bradford and Brandon Lloyd for a touchdown early, but that was it.   At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Rams had 8 first downs and 8 punts.  Story of the season.  Injuries, undisciplined play, a lack of offensive firepower, zero ability to come back and a tendency to give games away.   If this doesn’t get Steve Spagnuolo fired, what does?  He is 10-34 here as head coach.  If Davis Payne gets fired after 2 years of failing to meet expectations, what will ambitious new owner Stan Kroneke do with Spags?   If Stan isn’t making money folks, he will start firing at this roster and coaching staff.   He didn’t come here to build a losing team and watch The Ed Dome resume the status of a ghost town.   There is zero electricity in the dome and this team shows zero chance of finishing with more than 3 wins.   Pathetic, pitiful and downright depressing for a team that looked like they hit the comeback trail less than a year ago.   This team isn’t going anywhere.  It’s time to start cutting heads and while he is an honest good hearted guy, Steve Spagnuolo goes first.   The reshaping begins today.

The Cards Look to Sign Free Agents Sooner Rather than Later

Alberto Pujols is first on the agenda, but I’d like to see the team keep Rafael Furcal and Octavio Dotel.   Skip Schumacher is also an option.  The Cards are one team that doesn’t need to look for a new face.   Retain the old ones and the race is on.   I truly believe Albert Pujols will sign here because this is the perfect place for him.   Rumors have the Marlins only offering him around the same amount of annual salary as St. Louis did last offseason.   Albert isn’t going anywhere, folks.  It’s simple economics and fortitude being used here.  Common sense has St. Louis being the best option for Pujols.  Why would he leave?  He will get paid handsomely here, be able to compete and retire an icon in this city.  He stays and he gets a statue next to Stan or bigger than Stan.   He’s a fucking king here.  The big markets in Boston and New York have first basemen making 6 million more than Pujols.   Los Angeles just gave Matt Kemp the keys to the city in the form of 160 million dollars.   The Angels and Rangers aren’t making waves and if they were, its for a younger commodity like Prince Fielder.   Pujols’ options on the free agent market aren’t good and that only gives him and his agent Dan Lozano one more reason to sit back down with John Mozelaik and carve out a deal that suits both sides.  How many more millions does he have to make?  How important is he to St. Louis?  Easy answers for logical minds.   Furcal’s options are limited and my idea is he is waiting for Albert’s move.  Same goes for Dotel.   The Cards are acquiring the best starting pitcher on the market and that’s Adam Wainwright.   Jason Motte is the closer.  David Freese is the secret weapon.  Jon Jay and Allen Craig are your center field combo, especially after Craig’s improved defense in the playoffs.  Matt Holliday has something to prove.  The Berk is back.  Molina’s option will be picked up for 7 million and extended.   A young core bullpen of Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas, Marc Rzepcynski and Eduardo Sanchez is back.  The rotation is set.  Mike Matheny’s troops are set and all we are waiting on is Albert, Lozano and Mozelaik to agree on a couple numbers.  My honest opinion is Albert has earned the right to be overpaid and deserves a long term contract.   Every team overpays in these deals.  Just ask the Yankees(Jeter, A-Rod) or The Giants(Zito).    Albert is as good or better than those players.  Give him his contract and stop fucking around.  The Cards need to make the first move.  Albert is the commodity and The Cards require his services.  Please don’t mention Berk to first/Craig to right because they can’t be backed up by facts or stats.

The Blues Lose on the Road Yet Maintain The Sense of Strong Play

Ken Hitchcock’s team lost in a shootout to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night 3-2 yet came away with a point for the 6th consecutive game, all under Hitch.   The style of play and tempo were up, and in the end, the Blues were simply outlasted by the Wild, a tenacious bunch of hard players.   The Blues led 2-1 until late in the 3rd when The Wild’s great gun, M. Koivu, scored for the 2nd time and roofed a shot over Jaroslav Halak.   Koivu also scored in the shootout to officially finish off the Blues.   Halak played well, stopping 26 shots of 28 shots and simply didn’t get enough support on the offensive end.   The Blues struck early and were ahead on T.J. Oshie’s goal late, coughed up the lead yet played good enough to win on most nights and came away with a point.  The Blues are right around the 8th place final playoff spot at the moment, and could ascend with a soft schedule into December.   Time will tell but this team playing good hockey.   4-0-2 under Hitchcock shows this team has a lot of fight left in them and the inspired play is no fluke.

Closing Arguments-

*Main Reason why The Changeup is so good.  Jason Batemen.   The classic everyman gets to cut loose here and show his wild side as a family man suddenly given the chance to relive his teenage kingdom.   Thanks to a switch, Batemen’s stressed out family man lawyer gets to step into single shoes and enjoy life again.   This formula works here in the same way it did in Faceoff with John Travolta and Nic Cage.   Each actor, Batemen and Ryan Reynolds, get to play each character and its incredibly fun to watch.  Batemen steals the show with his double edged sword of envy and frustration.   Watch for the scene where he sets up to have sex with Leslie Mann, until seeing her hit the toilet.  Another has Batemen comparing his testicles to a can of tennis balls.   Mix in a sell to a foreign business company using a sexual encounter with a morman girl and the guy is incredible.   If you like Batemen, you have to see The Changeup.

*Watching more soccer these days.   You won’t see me in a Premier League jersey at work but I do enjoy the sheer excitement and energy of soccer.   I catch the replays at 1pm on Sundays and usually get sucked in for at least an hour.   A bunch of grown men storming up and down the field without bottles upon bottles of water and on sheer aggression.  First, you admire the conditioning.  After, you fall in love with the skill.  A Liverpool player, Glen Johnson, taking in a pass, cutting across the middle of the field, outdueling an opponent and firing a kick past the goaltender to win the game against his old team.  I credit the World Cup with getting me sucked in, but every now and then, a little soccer goes a long way.

*For the first time in 9 years, I will be spending Thanksgiving in St. Louis.  Since Vinny had surgery last Sunday, we don’t feel like it’s safe to travel and will not be making the trip to Rachel’s moms in Kansas City.   An unfortunate occurance because of the getaway joy and hangouts with her family producing every year at this time.   Having the chance to get out of town and enjoy a mini vacation is precious and not getting it is quite shitty.   I love getting the chance to see my family on Thanksgiving but hate not going to KC more.  The perfect balance is being upended this year by a tiny kid’s predicament.  Go figure.

*Feel like challenging yourself in the gym, friends, try out a different cardio or simply stop taking breaks.   I find that the best workouts are the ones where you go from one workout to the next.  Super sets and forward movement.   Do not keep your phone on you and do not talk to people.   This ain’t social hour.   Talk’s cheap and a workout is serious business.  Treat it like a mentality and you will get results.  Its not supposed to be fun.  If that were the case, the US wouldn’t lead the world in obesity.

*Remember, Cardinals fans.   Tuesday, The World Series 2011 championship DVD comes out and its a must own.   Relive the Cardinals thrilling season ending run through the last week of the season, and past the Phillies, Brewers and Rangers to win their 11th World Series.  This is a celebration folks.

*Song of the Day-Mumford and Sons performing “Hold Onto What You Believe”, a new song from their second album making the rounds on their live tour.  An uplifting rocker capable of boosting the mood and putting the rest of the day in a good frame of mind.   These British rockers can do no wrong right now and simply put out great consistently enjoyable and powerful music.   Give it a listen.

*I didn’t know a Yahoo Sports hitman was parked outside my house, setting up to take out ALL my fucking fantasy quarterbacks.  One week Matt Schaub goes down with a season ending foot injury.  Then, Jay Cutler, my backup, breaks his thumb today and he’s out.  Back to the drawing board.

*Vincent is doing a lot better and regularly downing 4 ounce bottles every 2-3 hours.  In short, he is gaining weight, not vomiting and looking healthier.  A second trip to the hospital looks a little older each time we wake up and he is okay.   Looking at his hand on mine is like seeing a pebble on a rock, but the sheer joy of being a parent can only shine when your kid is healthy and in a good mood for the most part.  It doesn’t take more than a lock of the eyes or a grin on his face to make my day.    It’s been a tough 10 weeks but my kid is doing better.  I thank you all for the support in such a difficult time.  It isn’t forgotten for a second.

That’s all I got this morning.  It’s time to put the hands down and get some rest.  Thanks for reading and goodnight.

-Dan L. Buffa