Archive for October, 2011

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Why I Couldn’t Care Less About Theo Epstein Leaving

October 26, 2011

Boy Wonder. The Man Who Broke the Curse. The Mastermind. Inventor of the “Scouting and Player Development Machine.” Genius.

However you liked to refer to Theo Epstein over the past ten years, his era in Boston has ended in a shitstorm that I think gives the best nickname of them all: Houdini. Did this guy who just oversaw the biggest collapse in regular season baseball history really just sign a five year, 18.5 million dollar contract to run the Cubs? The man who signed John Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million contract, only to see Lackey post the worst season of any starter in baseball history (literally) two season later, not only didn’t get fired, but he also got a promotion?! The genius who signed Carl Crawford, to patrol the smallest left field in baseball… then have him bat 7th because we already had our top six hitters in the lineup, to a seven-year $142 million contract not only watched Crawford put up a sub-.300 on-base percentage, but also got a promotion in job title? Am I the only one who feels like this…

If you agree this makes less sense than Helen Keller riding a bicycle in Times Square, keep reading. Otherwise, you’re probably a delusional Cubs fan, and I’d recommend you continue this blissful fit of ignorance and stop reading. But before you go, here’s this peace offering…

Melanie Iglesias does Youtube flipbook videos. I don't know what that means either, but you should watch them.

Somehow, Theo Epstein is made of teflon in the baseball world. He quit on the Red Sox in 2005 citing his “heart and soul” wasn’t into the job when he got offered a three year $4.5 million deal. This guy who supposedly lived and died with the Red Sox growing up in Brookline, Mass. didn’t have his heart and soul in running the team?! I don’t even need to explain how absurd this is. Then, for whatever reason, ownership didn’t get pissed and move on from the spoiled brat who ditched town in a Gorilla suit: THEY BEGGED HIM TO RETURN.

In the mean time, Theo’s replacement at the time (and replacement now) Ben Cherington, swung the deal that won the Red Sox the 2007 World Series when he traded top prospects Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Lowell won the MVP of that World Series, and Beckett was the team’s best pitcher. Epstein is on record as saying he wouldn’t have made that deal, which is fine. We wouldn’t have won that World Series, either, though.

Now, after the epic collapse, a manager who lost control of his team, and a team that committed mutiny worse than Jack Sparrow’s crew, Epstein moves to a team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1908. We are all about to find out if the boy really is a genius. The Cubs are an absolute mess right now. They just won 71 games, they have no star players, a bunch of bad contracts and a weak minor league system. When Theo took over in 2002, the Red Sox had a nucleus of players left behind that carried the team within an inning of the 2003 World Series. With some minor tweaks, a lucky free agent signing (David Ortiz) and a Curt Schilling falling in his lap, the Red Sox finally broke the Babe’s curse the following season. If the Cubs can play .500 ball this year, it’s an enormous success.

What everybody was thinking...

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41 Men More Influential than Tom Brady: Impossible

October 19, 2011

When Gisele picks you, it's tough to top.

This week, AskMen.com unveiled their latest list of the “50 Most Influential Men of 2011,” and the publication basically blasphemed all over the place.  All the usual suspects are there: Jobs, Obama, Zuckerberg, Clooney et al. Obviously, Tom Brady is on the list because he’s in a rarified air reserved for the likes of DaVinci, Galileo, Franklin, Einstein and Moses. The real indignation isn’t that Brady is somehow 41 spots below #1, because it’s possible 41 saints and Greek gods are ahead of him. Where AskMen.com loses all its credibility is when you dissect some of the men ranked ahead of Brady. The top four are: Steve Jobs, Seal Team Six, Larry Page of Google, and Warren Buffett. I guess some arguments could be made for these computer geeks, economic genius’ and skilled assassins, but Tom still easily defeats them.  Here are just ten of the men ranked ahead of Tom that make less sense than Helen Keller playing Scrabble.

#7 Prince William: Actually one of the least influential on this list. Dude doesn’t have a discernible skill aside from losing his hair at an oddly early age. Rumors persist that this is why Tom Brady grew his hair long, to get some plugs. Whether that’s true or not, it’s just another example of why he’s more influential than Prince William. Dude dissected the problem and solved it.  Seriously though, does it get more uninfluential than being the “guy in line to be the guy in line to be the king of a country that no longer is ruled by a monarchy?”

#8 Anonymous, hacking group that promotes “civil disobedience”  on the web: I don’t even know what this one means. Like, is “Anonymous” the groups name? Or are they so sneaky and covert that they don’t even have a name, just an unwritten hacking stroke deep in a systems mainframe. Aside from being nameless and faceless, and thus, not Tom Brady, I haven’t heard one thing these guys have done besides give my PC from ’98 the Trojan Horse virus. That shit was pretty fucked up though. Fried a motherboard like Colonel Sanders.

#9 Ryan Gosling: Canadian Actor- Homie trails Brady in so many regards it’s not even funny, the least of which is Americanness. This Candian born actor is best known for his role in “The Notebook.” Sure, that movie might have revolutionized the dating game, and made it cool for bros all over to include it in their favorite movies section on facebook (this bro, included), but ultimately, it’s a crappy chick flick. To further weaken his cause, I just googled “Ryan Gosling girlfriend” and the top story is from 2010 about  how he is finally ready to move on from his ex, Rachel McAdams.  If you’re an influential man, I should be able to google your girlfriend and be wading through an internet cesspool of chicks linked to you. Google “Tom Brady girlfriend” and you get a story about him marrying Gisele. Boom. Dripping in influence.

#12 Jon Stewart- Daily Show Host/Comedian: Let me get this straight. The guy who isn’t even the most influential fake-news studio host on Comedy Central is supposedly more influential than Tom Brady. This scenario highlights the lack credibility in this list. Stewart has long been the least funny of of the nightly news duo, as Colbert consistently kills it while Stewart fishes for laughs with his annoying shrieks. Put it this way, would the jester ever be considered more influential than the King? Then how can a comedian be more influential than a quarterback? Varsity quarterbacks got girls in high school, class clowns played Dungeons and Dragons.

#13 Andrew Mason: CEO of Groupon– AskMen definitely didn’t do their research on this one. First off, Groupon doesn’t even work for businesses. People get your shit for cheap, once, then move on to the next place that will give them shit for cheap. So on and so forth. No buyer resiliency is seen. This business model is failing faster than an Obama stimulus package, and Andrew Mason should have gotten out while he could make billions and buy sports teams. Anyone remember how Mark Cuban made his money? Me either, but Yahoo gave him a couple billion for it at the time. Maybe if this dude owned the team Tom Brady played quarterback for, he’d be more influential.

 #21 Barack Obama- President, United States of America: Didn’t the country get downgraded? Doesn’t that mean the President of America is like, the same as Cuba or something? I know Tom Brady is more influential than Fidel Castro, so without getting too political, let’s just say this is obvious.

#24 Anderson Cooper- Journalist/TV Host: If this were a list of most influential gay men, Anderson Cooper would be way high up, and definitely higher than Tom Brady. I feel like Anderson Cooper and Neil Patrick Harris are in the same boat. Like, out of nowhere, everyone found out they were gay, and suddenly things made sense. In both cases, you have to believe these guys hooked up with tons of chicks while they lied to themselves about it feeling right.  Unfortunately, this isn’t just a list for “men” and in that regard, the host of any poorly rated CNN show can’t possibly outrank Tom Brady. I mean, have you seen the ratings for an NFL Game that Brady plays in? Blows AC-360 out of the water.

#30 Peter Dinklage- Midget Actor: One issue I have consistently felt has plagued the little people community is their lack of focus in declaring what they want to be known as. For a while, midget was bad, and might still be for all I know. Then they wanted to be dwarves, but everyone found that a bit too Tolkien. Nowadays, I have no clue what they want to be called, I just know that this Peter Dinklage bit off more than he could chew or reach. Tom Brady is 6’4” and runs the 2-minute drill in his sleep. Dinklage was the angry midget in “ELF” who is now on “Game of Thrones” and for some reason, ranks ahead of Brady. Something is disproportionate here, and it’s not the limb-torso ratio of Dinklage.

#35 Jimmy Fallon- Full-sized Actor: Now I know AskMen is just  with all of us. Like, really? Jimmy Fallon influences more people than Tom Brady? Dude hosts a talk show at like 1am. If you’re awake at 1am on a weeknight and you’re watching Jimmy Fallon, you probably don’t have a job to wake up for the next morning. If you do, you probably suck at that job, and at life. Sure, Fallon has played a lovable loser just fine in some movies, and he has even made me laugh twice, but to say he’s more influential than Tom is heretical.

#41 Julian Assange- Wikileaks Founder: Remember when Wikileaks leaked all that censored top secret stuff and shit was about to hit the fan? Me neither. One of the biggest teases of the internet age had to be Wikileaks, right? This dude was like sexually assaulting chicks, fleeing to Sweden and lawyering up because the whole world was trying to sue his ass for leaking secrets that put security at stake. Since then?  No idea. If anything, this just shows how weak Wikileaks was, and how Assange has no influence. When Tom Brady was spying on people, he won Super Bowls. Assange did it and got nothing.

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No Occupation? Occupy Wall Street!

October 12, 2011

Some time last week, a bunch of hippies decided to storm Wall Street like it was the Bastille during the French Revolution. If you don’t know what the Bastille is, you’re probably one of those hippies occupying Wall Street. Really, this whole fiasco of the uncoordinated, unintelligible mass of dirty people rallying together around the concept of: “rich people suck,” should surprise no one. The hippies of the 60s and 70s were bound to produce offspring that held similar ideals such as peace, love, poverty and pot to such a high degree. The only thing I don’t get is why it happened now. Like, some time last week, Bank of America realized they were going out of business and stuff, so they announced they were charging everyone $5 a month to have a checking account.

Next, a series of events happened that left America’s collective head spinning and  searching for answers. Picketers were stifling our clean-cut businessmen who smell of dry cleaned designer suits and cologne with the rancid stink of white-people-dreadlocks, hemp necklaces, unwashed cargo shorts, Birkenstocks and beards. Suddenly, Steve Jobs was dead, and the 99% were being spoken for by less than .0000000000001 percent (math on this could be highly inaccurate). I don’t know about you, but after all that, I could use some 22 year-old model… Caitlin O’Connor!

Pretty sure Capitalism yields pictures like this. I think I read it in an Econ textbook somewhere.

Suddenly, I find myself on a bus home from New York City, where I thought the only occupying was taking place. Little did I know I would be greeted by Boston hippies of a similar ilk making sure they can catch the subway home after rallying. Now, it didn’t surprise me that these people had no car to drive themselves into the city with. I overheard them talking and was able to draw a few concrete conclusions. They are as follows.

1- These people don’t have jobs. Obviously.

2- These people don’t know how to create jobs, they just want to get angry at a global collapse and expect the educated people who work hard, to figure out how to save them. It reminds me of last week’s episode of The Office when Ryan complains to Pam how everybody wants to be rich, but nobody wants to work for it. Pam replies, “Didn’t you come in at 10:15 today?!” To which Ryan simply smiles and shrugs: content with that trade off.

3- These people are confused, even within their protest. Not that you can blame them. Like I said, they decided to rally over a $60 annual fee from a big bank, months after a double dip recession, and years after the initial crash.

4- These people are misguided, to say the least. Their best friend, a gargantuan government, is smart enough to know you can’t just let the financial sector that runs a capitalist economy fail. Unfortunately, the government has been paid back almost all the money they lent out to the banks in their bailouts, only there still aren’t any jobs. Shouldn’t the protesters be outside Washington after multiple failed stimulus bills, TARP funds, and job packages that did nothing but add some seasonal Census workers.

5- One good thing came of these protests. Her name is Kat, from Bayside NYC.

Too bad she's probably a Vegan. Turnoff.

Maybe the best part about all this is that these protesters get arrested, and think they are martyrs on the level of suicide bombers in Jilalabad. High comedy all around. I directly heard one woman who was a part of the Boston occupation (ironic word when you think about it) say, “I just wish they wouldn’t get arrested tonight, there was hardly any news coverage!” This summed up the whole situation so fittingly I couldn’t help but smile and think of capitalism.

Stay tuned…

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Red Sox 2011 Post Mortem

October 5, 2011

Water is clean and pure and capable of washing away man’s sin. Last week, raindrops fell from the sky and struck my window sill with the cadence of a revolutionary enlisted regiment. I awoke in a foggy glaze of the night prior. The events transpiring in a dreamlike flash that could only be harbored in my narrowest subconsciousness. The better part of me forgetting what caused such a restless night’s sleep, I immediately snapped into an intense clarity from the slamming of metal whose rusted pistons signified refuse had been cleared from the street. Suddenly, water, with its solely unique volatility to sustain life and create decay,  became toxic when mixed with the human waste removed from the slick pavement. The Red Sox season ended earlier that morning. Moon light casted a midnight shadow over a vacant Fenway Park whose grass would go dormant and die before stitched rawhide rolled along it again.

Often, the feats of an athlete or team are romanticized in such a way to make Thoreau or Emerson himself wish they had crafted the words. I tried it for the previous paragraph, and found that aside from sounding like a douche, the 2011 Red Sox deserve no such pleasantries. The garbage removal description is a fitting coincidence to this Red Sox season. It’s a week later, and I feel no different than the minute after Evan Longoria did his best Dr. Kevorkian and used a walk-off home run to euthanize this Red Sox season. Sick, pitiful, and causing more pain with each passing day, it was the merciful thing to do.

Somewhere over the past seven years, the Red Sox shifted from an emotion-filled baseball team of self-proclaimed idiots and cowboys, to a faceless corporation of high paid suits working a 9-5. Maybe that’s what happens when you win the World Series for the first time in 86 years. Then do it again three years later. Gradually, the losses hurt less, the wins provided less joy, and I found myself  rooting for a team with about two likeable players. The Green Monster is littered with advertisements, center field tells me where to grocery shop, NESN is forcing Bill James “Temperature Gauge” down my throat like a Nathan’s Hot Dog contest, and Fenway Park is a summer social scene rivaling the swanky bars on the wharf. In 2003, I cried myself to sleep after Aaron (Uffin’) Boone ended the  Red Sox World Series hopes with a left field walk off homer. In 2011, I was numb to Longoria doing the same thing. If the guys on the field didn’t care, I couldn’t either. Quite frankly, I needed this loss. The Red Sox as an organization needed this loss.

Now, after the biggest collapse in regular season history, heads are starting to roll. Francona, the most successful manager in Red Sox history is the first to go. Citing a mutual decision, in which reports say Tito simply lost control of a clubhouse full of prima donnas. While many fans might wish it weren’t true, Tito became such a player’s manager, and kept things so “in house” that there was a mutiny. Unfortunately, captain’s go down with their ship.

The fact that fans and the media are so outraged by pitchers drinking beer in the clubhouse shouldn’t be such a “holy shit” moment. In the 60s, 70s, and 80s, guys were borderline stoned and cracked out on the field. Baseball and beer are practically synonymous. David Wells pitched his perfect game hungover on no sleep from the night before, and if you read any accounts from old-time baseball, most players were notorious drunks (Ruth, Foxx, Cobb, Mantle to name a few Hall of Famers). Blame this season on some Bud Light smoothies all you want, but it required much more for a collapse of this magnitude. True pros don’t let things like beer get in the way of their craft. I may or may not be shnockered right now, but it wouldn’t get in the way of amazing blogging.

Bud Light Girls. Because there haven't been any girls in this blog. I'm too focused.

More realistically, this season went to hell in a handbasket when the starting pitchers all dropped faster than acid in front of Jimi Hendrix. After Dice K’s elbow finally exploded from all those imaginary gyroballs he could throw, Clay Buchholz’ literal broken back was the straw that broke the idiomatic camel’s back. Suddenly, we were left with a rotation of:  

Jon Lester: Mediocre all season, with a few gems mixed in, until an embarrasing September in which he resembled a left-handed John Lackey.

Josh Beckett: Had a fine season, and I hate to come down hard on a guy with a sub-3 ERA, but this dude was straight up obese by the end of the year. In his final start, he was resting his glove on his pot belly while holding runners on like Homer Simpson rests a Duff on his gut.

Erik Bedard: What do you say about a guy who doesn’t just live on the DL, he buys up other property and becomes the landlord? Thanks for those 5 inning, 3 run efforts you served up.

Tim Wakefield: The quest for 200 wins took longer than Ulysses” god-forsaken Iliad and Odyssey combined. Night in and night out were were treated to Timmy lobbing watermelons up to the dish praying one night we’d score 12 and not give up 13.

John Lackey: Shellackey, Mouth Breather, Big Hoss, pick your name for him, but this guy just put up the worst statistical pitching season in Red Sox history. If you missed it, don’t worry, there’s 3 years at 17 million per remaining on his contract. The only thing that could make Lackey more unlikeable  is if I told you he is in the process of divorcing his cancer-stricken wife. Wait. Crap.

Basically, we were taking the field every night with a disadvantage in pitching matchups come September. On top of all that, the lineup somehow stopped producing.

Adrian Gonzalez – turned into a singles hitter, as reports came up that his surgically repaired shoulder limited his power. Not sure how everybody forgot he even had a surgically repaired shoulder when he decided to use his SURGICALLY REPAIRED SHOULDER  in the Home Run Derby.  There were times during the season Gonzalez looked like me roping opposite field home runs during wiffle ball. There were other times he put up consistently horrendous at bats against the Yankees and Rays in every big September game.

Kevin Youkilis– You can’t be that out of shape and constantly banged up for so long without it taking its toll. I can’t picture Youkilis making any movement without a grimace and wince. Dude probably rips a hemi just trying to wipe. Now let’s see what a full year flopping around at third base got him: a hip flexor and sports hernia that landed him on the bench during  the most important month. Perfect.

Varitekalamacchia– The catching platoon that actually produced some of the best power totals from that position was nonexistant in the final month. ‘Tek simply is too old to be squatting when the September chill hits his bones. Salty hits breaking pitches worse than Bobbi Brown hit Whitney, and the league figured that out.

Carl Crawford– somehow, went from being the best statistical player in the game last year, to an anemic liability this year. He actually had a few walk-off hits early in the season that everyone assumed would snap him out of his slump. But for whatever reason, once he signed a contract for triple the Rays payroll this year, he apparently thought he had to bat .700 with 113 home runs and 346 rbis. What I still can’t figure out is how he wasn’t even stealing bases. I know you need to get on base to steal, but he was a total non-factor in every aspect of the game. Fittingly, the Red Sox lost the final game on a ball that Crawford failed to make the play on. It summed up his entire suck season in Boston.

In the end, the real Red Sox fans have their team back: chokers who invented new ways to lose. It just took a few seasons of looking in the mirror and lying to ourselves to finally recognize how much has changed. We see all of these problems and finally realize we need help. Theo has been living off World Series titles that  have masked his inability to add any productive piece to the team via free agency.  When you’re a big market ballclub, Moneyball is fun, but it’s the actual money that puts you over the top.

Stay tuned…