Shooters Bullets Part 4

Disclaimer: The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in this and any other work I present to the group is made purely for entertainment purposes only. They are not intended to offend, hurt, or anger anyone. If you don’t like adult humor, vulgar verbiage, drug and sex references, the occasional light taunt, or the musing from the life of a filmmaking bum… please stop before crossing into the world of Suplex City. Also, I don’t know shit about fantasy advice, so if you’re here for that, you better walk your ass over to Chris Clegg or someone who gets paid for putting out trash content. Whatever you prefer. 

 

Today, I have a COP .357 Derringer and I’m listening to Run Through the Jungle by Creedence Clearwater Revival with a Pimm’s Cup:

 

  • Cord Cutting

So: This week, the Anaheim Angels came to town and I thought it was going to be the perfect time to get into the 2002 World Series. I was going to get into Trout vs. Salmon, Anaheim’s proximity to LA, why Disneyland is better than Walt Disney World, Orange Groves. All sorts of shit. But then something happened on Friday that changed the entire tenor of my weekend. I woke up from a weed nap, ready to watch Anaheim continue to get their comeuppance from 2002 – I will never forgive you, John. NEVER– and much to my chagrin, the game wasn’t available. Now, I don’t have the MLB Extra Innings, so maybe this means nothing to someone who does. But after looking through the guide on Hulu, I find Yankees/Red Sox on MLB Network and a Dodgers/Royals game on one of the other networks. NBC Sports California was showing the second game of the Twins/Oakland A’s double-header, but nothing for the Giants/Angels game. Then, after looking through, I found the game was being broadcast on Apple and was not available for me to watch. This is now the third time this season where I have gotten blacked-out of getting to see my team despite being in the market my team plays in. No local TV – this feels like some Spectrum LA shit. This isn’t supposed to happen here. But then again, first they came for the Dodger children, and I did not speak out – because I am not a Dodger child. In a world where we are constrained by price and choices made by the elite class over the rest of us, I feel like the least we should get is our teams’ games broadcast on local TV in said market. And look, I went to sport marketing school, I get why this is happening: Apple paid the fee, they get the games, shut the fuck up and take the money. Except, it’s not even about money, it’s about making the game more unreachable for some people (whether they are tech-savvy and can get on Apple or not). It’s akin to the MLS making that megadeal with Apple to have the exclusive rights for the league over the next decade. The issue with that is: while it allows for Apple to reap the rewards of hardcore MLS fans flocking to buy it, the deal also makes the MLS much less approachable to those who don’t value it or Apple enough to pay for the service. And, thus, the alternative (the USL) is starting to make a name for itself. This is kind of what things like the Apple game of the week or the Amazon games or some of the other weirdo scheduling things (putting the MLB Game of the Week on FS2 rather than on Fox proper, or FS1 during the late season run last year in favor of more niche sports) really are getting to be more problematic than an opportunity to grow a game that feels like it’s just one or two executive firings away from being on par with the other major sports in North America. People are watching hockey now, and women’s hoops has been growing and may be at an apex. Meanwhile, we have EDLC, Ohtani, Bobby Baseball, and a myriad of other talents that could be taking the sporting world by storm, but they’re busy playing behind a paywall while Hunter Pence horribly commentates. Great. 

I know! I know! Writing about soccer (or futbol) when this is a baseball thing is unbecoming. But after missing Heliot Ramos’ big Friday Night, I need a break. I need something fun, and there’s nothing more fun than a bunch of Europeans fighting each other to the death for sport. The 2024 European Football Championship (better known as Euro) began this past Thursday. We already had a fantastic Netherlands/Poland game and an upset of massive proportions (LUKAKU!). I love futbol, not to be confused with football. Futbol is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans, football is gladiators going for the kill. Love them both, but they definitely are different tastes. What I love about soccer/futbol is the continual action that leads to little more than the sporting equivalent of blue balls, until it doesn’t. The global feel, the different fan bases and pockets, the identities and characteristics of the different locations, fans, players, stadiums and leagues all make it something much different than anything else going on in any other entertainment sphere around the world. And when Futbol is right, it’s in a different stratosphere. This summer is one where that can happen, in large part because of three major tournaments going on. The first – and most prominent – to non-soccer die-hards is the Olympics. However, the biggest tournament of the summer is the aforementioned Euro 2024. The tournament, which is the second most important competition in international soccer behind only the World Cup, is played every four years (though, due to the pandemic, the Euro 2020 was played in 2021). Qualification parameters change, but ultimately the 24 best teams in Europe compete across 6 groups of 4. The top two in each group in addition to the best four 3rd placed teams filter into a 16-team bracket. From there we get into a single elimination tournament, one fall to a finish, sudden death rules, till we get the final on July 14th in Berlin. For me and my dad, outside of the World Cup and Copa America (more on that below), this is the biggest tournament to watch. And here’s the thing: we are coming off of a wild Euro 2020, which saw the pandemic issues, a surprise cup run for England (looking for their first major tournament win since 1966), and a shocking final (with full London hooliganism). It was great TV! Maybe not great in person. But great TV! When it comes to Europe, I typically root for England, Spain, Portugal and Belgium. But it’s usually going to come down to who plays the grounded, Ginga-style possession game. But at the end of the day, it’s all just a good time. So, Go Three Lions! It’s Coming Home

  • Number 16

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the debut of Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Carlos Rodrguez, better known around Suplex City as “The Nicaraguan Nightmare”. I don’t bring him up because he blew the doors off with his pitching (3.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 4 K, 1 BB, 71 Pitches), though he flashed some fantastic stuff. The same fantastic stuff he flashed in that World Baseball Classic game a few years back against that tough Puerto Rico team. I don’t bring him up because he’s a member of my team. Nor do I bring him up because he’s a Milwaukee Brewer, a team some of you guys in the league follow closely. I bring Carlitos up because he is the 16th major leaguer from the pearl of Central America – Nicaragua. I am Nicaraguan-American and, as such, it’s always a big deal to see someone representing the birthplace of my father and my mother’s parents. The homeland, if you will. My father, who pitched in school before having to leave for the US due to the Nicaraguan Revolution, talks about how nasty some of the stuff he saw (and threw) down there and how El Presidente was the blueprint. When I was coming, Marvin Bernard and Vicente Padilla (I LOVE MY PEOPLE) both flashed. And while they were both productive players with long careers, neither really became a superstar that followed in Dennis Martinez’s footsteps. There was a lot of hype for Everth Cabrera, Cheslor Cuthbert, and Erasmo Ramirez over the past 15 years – some deserved, some not. When Jonathan Loaisiga signed with the Giants in 2012, I know I thought he might end up being a future ace. Of course, that didn’t happen (but the Yankees did get a hell of a set-up man). Now comes the newest hope for a Nicaraguense superstar. Good luck, young man. Not just because I have you on my team and I need some help, but because… all of our hopes. Also: if we ever do have a real World Series with representation of places outside of the Lower 48 and Canada, Central America’s greatest baseball franchise, Indios del Boer, needs to be included. And not just because they’re the Yankees of Central America or because they’re older than most Major League franchises. No no no. Part of it has to do with the nice ballpark (content in Spanish) they get to play in. 

  • Two Soccer Bullets? This is a baseball article, FFS.

I’ll make this short… Copa America is starting this week! Mexico is probably going to be ass, but that’s my team. With no Ochoa, Lozano or Jimenez, it’s going to be a tough road. At least Edison Alvarez is still going out there. And, while my Chivas fandom shouldn’t allow this, Quinonez looks good. My dad is a Brazil fan, and they probably will find a way to lose, despite having the best team on the field. They just haven’t been the same since Ronaldinho was out here, but how can you replace a talent like that (or like Ronaldo…or my favorite Brazilians, Hulk and Maicon!) I don’t know if I prefer to lose in the group stages, or to pretend like this is the World Cup, squeak by the group stages (looking like shit most of the way) only to lose to Argentina in the round of 16again and again only to CRY in my beer? It all sounds pretty terrible. Either way, watch some soccer this summer, guys. It’s a good time. Unless you’re a Mexico fan like me, then it’s torture. And not the good kind either. I wanted to get tickets to that July 2nd Brazil/Colombia game at Levi’s Stadium to go with my dad, but boy is shit expensive

 

Wild Man’s Musings: The Logo passed last week. Rest in Power! Them punk-ass Lakers did him so dirty…. Bro, what?.. I dunno if this should make me confident in the Giants or not. Maybe everyone sucks?.. Bruh, I think these city connect shits get worse by the day… Not to dogpile on the Dodgers, but Ouch!.. Well, there’s also this. Sorry, Doyers… Still hype about the game at Rickwood Field, but this is kinda sadNINE TIMES!?!.. I dunno if this is the goal of the summer, but it’s in the running. Post-Script: This is the goal of the summer. The debate is finished. So good, my dad teared up. That’s a shoot.… If Cartman was a sportscaster… Are we really going to have nan a Sunday game during the NBA Finals? We already lost the video essays and the pre-game hype. This is just wack… Speaking off wack, the Chuckster is retiring? No one is going to be able to replace him, granted I dunno if that’s the whole story… We really need to bring this kind of excitement back to sports… I told you they’d Park the Car at Harvard Yard in 5… Happy Belated Father’s Day! These fathers day kicks go hard… Speaking of Father’s Day, what an awkward storyElly is a fucking freak!.. People need to stop doubting The Beast… I dunno if this was The Ump Show or The Manny Show, but I love it. Get his ass, Manny!… I miss Schwab…  Fire Farhan! Fire Manfried!

 

My Brother’s Awful Movie Recommendation of the Week: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) starring Sean Connery (Her Majesty’s loyal terrier, a certified freakScotland’s number top pimp  and the only real threat to Brickma’s claim of being the top dog)  and Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita). 

 

An Alternative Version of that Movie: Ocean’s Eleven (2001) starring George Clooney (imagine if he would have stayed in Lanford), Julia Roberts (Big Mistake! Big! Huge!), Bernie Mac (didn’t I tell your punk as boy he couldn’t have no goddamn cookies?), Brad Pitt (it’s a shame I got to take you back), and Andy Garcia (yo, didnt he fuck his cousin? Gabagool.). 

 

The Jon Dowd Memorial Power Rankings:

 

Top of the League

  1. Who’s Your Haddy (10-1, Won 4): While it was a bit of a low-end performance on the pitching side of things  for Haddy last week, his hitting was more than able to keep him atop the power rankings this week. A disappointing showing from JP Sears (-9 points across two starts this week) and a subpar week out of Zack Wheeler (-21 on Sunday, 29 points across two starts this week) is probably somewhat of an outlier. Offensively, Marcell Ozuna pretended he was in Sandy Springs and MASHED (64 points), Matt Olson rewound time (79 points), and Steven Kwan did some wild shit (63 points, 13-for-22). The 434-point offensive outburst carried the day, as Haddy won 600-550. Haddy travels to Neptune next. 

 

Contenders

  1. Marshall’s Law (9-2, Won 1): In the matchup of the week, Marshall outlasted Brickma 709-596. On the pitching side of things, both teams were deadlocked for most of the week. Brickma actually was able to beat Marshall on this side of things (318-308), with Aaron Nola’s awful outing against Boston (-9.5 points, 3.2 IP, 11 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) being the real differentiator here. However, Marshall’s offense did the damn thing. 400 points, with eight different players contributing at least 25 points during the week. Riley Greene was the big bat this week, nabbing 60 points across 28 appearances. Marshall takes on Trash Can this week. 
  2. Better Bombers (8-3, Won 7): Another week, another ho-hum Better Bombers performance. And by ho-hum, I mean an absolute whalloping. 282 offensive points, 337 pitching points, and a 138-point win. Included in that was 5 offensive players with at least 25 points each, and 5 pitchers with over 30 points (including Ronel Blanco, who got 102 points from 13 innings). Bombers takes on Orioles Magic this week.
  3. Flight Deck Yellow Shirts (8-3, Won 1): Before I begin, I have to quickly apologize for a typo that appeared in Elton’s blurb last week. I referred to him as Yellow Jacket Flight Deck rather than Flight Deck Yellow Shirt. It was an oversight made because I was asking to my brother about the Showtime series Yellowjackets while also typing up the blurbs. It was a mistake compounded by poor proofreading. Anyways, onto the blurb… The King of the Ocean was able to have some Shark Fin soup (don’t look it up, that shit is pure evil and whoever got it on their menu is on evil shit) this week. A 550-418 final over Neptune put Flight Deck back in the win column. A 78-point differential on the offensive side and a 54-point differential on the pitching side did enough to keep Neptune at bay. The biggest difference? A 74-point week from Eric Fedde that came across 13 innings and a 54-point outburst from Freddie Freeman.
  4. Brickma’s Revenge (7-4, Lost 1): The Big Dog didn’t get to eat this week. The reason? His offense decided to take the week off. Vladdy produced a poultry 9 points from 22 appearances, Pete Alonso was only able to get 13 points from 26 appearances, and Broce Turang cooled off, bringing only 10 points to the table despite 22 appearances. The kicker, Spencer Horwitz (34 points across 22 appearances) was the second-highest offensive producer (only bested by Willy Adames, 58 points across 26 appearances). This kind of thing can be hidden when you’re going up against a bad or middling team. When you have to take on a hot team in the top half of the table, this is going to hurt. Brickma and Flight Deck take each other on this week. 
  5. Beach Bum (7-4, Lost 1): Tough break for Beach Bum. Ultimately, while both the offense and pitching let him down this week, the pitching was much more devastating. Outside of Seth Lugo (who had 63 points across 13 innings) and two 30-point starts from Grayson Rodriguez and Jose Quintana, the pitching was missing some oomph. A matchup with Stros Bros this week and a matchup with Long Ball in two weeks are two must wins for Beach Bum to keep his tentative lead over the bottom-10 teams that are nipping on his heels. 

 

Dark Horses

  1. Long Ball to LF (6-5, Won 1): Like Sukie Jones, Long Ball is back in the saddle (again). After a bad week, Long Ball decimated HTCP’s opportunity at a 7th win with a Friday and Saturday performance (126-62, 77-51) that really made Sunday moot. Long Ball is still inconsistent (as most of us are), but the highs are usually enough to keep Long Ball in the win column. Pitching was the big differentiator, as Long Ball finished with 305-points across 8 starts and 51.1 innings. Two 50-point pitchers, two 40-point pitchers and an additional 41 from Ranger Suarez was enough to run away with the game. Long Ball takes on the hot Sojo this week.
  2. H-Town Trash Can Punch (6-5, Lost 1): Hanging on to the side of the HIGHWAY OF CONTENTION, Kyle finds himself in peril. This week, even a late surge on Sunday (92-30) could not erase the deficit he came into the weekend with. Specifically, Long Ball’s 126-62 Friday really ended any hopes Kyle had of winning the week. The hits keep coming as Marshall rolls into town to try and keep the regular season title a two-horse race. 
  3. Pine Mountain Podstars (5-6, Won 1): I told you Pine Mountain was a threat. Well that 151-66 Thursday night showing points out what I’m talking about. I know most offenses in the league can have a night like that, but Podstars always seems to catch one of these nights at the most inopportune moment for his opponents. The pitching this week left something to be desired (aside from the Alex Marsh start this week), but 237 isn’t the worst pitching score one could get. The offense is, as advertised, a menace. 7 OFFENSIVE PLAYERS WITH OVER 30 POINTS! AND TATIS WASN’T ONE OF THEM. Podstars takes on Eastbound this week.
  4. Stros Bros (5-6, Lost 1): As mentioned, The Couch Man ran into a buzzsaw of an offense this week. That being said, it wasn’t as if the Stros’ problem this week was keeping up with the Podstar offense. Shit, 64% of Stros’ points came from the offense. The issue this week was that the pitching couldn’t muster enough. 175 points was just not the way. Beach Bum and Stros take each other on this week. 
  5. Neptune Sharks (5-6, Lost 1): Welp, that sucked. NINE GODDAMN PITCHERS ON THE IL. OOF. If Kyle is claiming the gold medal of the pain olympics, Cesar is owed at least a silver. Strider. Down. Schmidt. Down. And now Yamamoto is out till August. I dunno who’s had it worse, the Dodgers or Neptune this weekend. A matchup with league leader Haddy is sure to be another tough matchup for Neptune. Damn pitching clock.

 

Wha’happun?

  1. Sojo Good it’s Scary (2-9, Won 1): AY! BRING THE BUBBLY IN HERE, WE CELEBRATING! FO FO FO. On the real, Sam notched his second win of the year by beating Eastbound and Dowd. The matchup, 536-493, was really tuned in on Saturday night, when Shota Imanaga  (51 points, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 6 K) and Charlie Morton (41 points, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) buoyed a 117-36 night. Next week, Long Ball and Sojo do battle.
  2. Orioles Magic (2-9, Won 1): Russell finally popped off for a win. I kept thinking one was coming, but didn’t know when it’d happen. This week, powered by Carlos Correa (102 points in 33 appearances) and Andrew Vaughn (54 points in 22 appearances), the Orioles Magic offense went off for 414 points. 414 POINTS! Additionally, a rebound week for Jordan Montgomery (58 points across 10.2 innings) and Marcus Stroman (39 points across 10.2 innings) was enough to keep Wallbangers at bay. Better Bombers awaits.
  3. Wallbangers (2-9, Lost 6): One thing is to lose because you have an off week, it’s another thing to lose when you have a monster offensive week. 335 points from the Wallbanger offense was not enough to keep the Bangers on the winning side of things. Royce Lewis did Royce Lewis things (83 points in 27 appearances, including this monster shot), JJ Bleday (59 points in 32 appearances) and Corbin Carroll (47 points in 27 appearances) both made up for lackluster weeks over the past month. However, between the 335 points falling 79-points shy of Orioles Magic’s offense and the near 100-point deficit on the pitching side of things (248-161), Josh just got plain unlucky. Next week, Wallbangers comes to Suplex City. In the great words of a former mayor of ours, “Hey, Baby!
  4. Eastbound and Dowd (1-10, Lost 9): Eastbound had a tough beat this past week. The aforementioned Saturday where Imanga and Morton went unconscious totally blacked out the fantastic Sunday E&D had (96-29). On the whole, the 42-point loss was mostly off of the backs of a 46-point differential between Sojo’s pitching (290) and Eastbound’s pitching (244). Next week, Eastbound tries to get back in the win column against Podstars.

 

Should I stay, or should I go?

  1. Suplex City Shooters (5-6, Lost 1): What’s so frustrating about this week was that the game was winnable. Haddy had a down week (by his standards) and I decided to play too cautiously on Monday – deciding to not play Harrison or Arrighetti because they were going against each other and had theoretical better matchups on Sunday. The problem was, neither Harrison (ankle sprain) or Arrighetti (idiocy to move him up a day) pitched on Sunday. Bad management by me, in addition to two really bad trades this year, probably has me eliminated from the playoffs. Even still, this was only a 50 point loss, and this was also the third or forth loss this year that was within 50 points. Admittedly, this is in part due to a bad run of decision making on my part. Maybe contention is still there for me. But, there are only 9 weeks left, I count 4 games left I should be able to win and you need 13 to 14 to get in. I don’t know if I can find another 4-5 wins in that group. 

 

Clip of the Week: O-H-I-O! People in the great state of Ohio were on one this week. Peep what this numb-nuts did with his (or her, the video is grainy) opportunity to run on the field. 

 

The Top-10 List of the Week: This week’s top-10 list is centered on Arguments Captured on Film. This is mostly a film-centric list, but some things may seep in. This is inspired by the huge argument my neighbors are currently having on the other side of my bedroom wall. Onto the list:

 

  1. Lily Tomlin vs. David O’Russell, I Heart Huckabees (2007)
  2. Patrick Swayze vs. Marshall Teague, Roadhouse (1989)
  3. “The Real McCoy” LisaRaye vs. Chrystale Wilson, The Players Club (1998)
  4. Pam Grier vs. Linda Haynes, Coffy (1973)
  5. Sigourney Weaver vs. Stan Winston, Aliens (1986)
  6. Michelle Pfeiffer vs. Michael Keaton, Batman Returns (1992)
  7. Hugh Grant vs. Colin Firth, Bridget Jones Diary (2001)
  8. Channel 4 vs. The Evening Team, Anchorman (2004)
  9. Zhang Ziyi vs. Warriors at the Inn, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001)
  10. Arnold Schwartzenegger vs. Robert Patrick, Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1992)

Honorable Mentions: Roddy Piper vs. Keith David, They Live (1988), Jack Nicholson vs. Lorna Thayer, Five Easy Pieces (1970), Gina Carano vs. Michael Fassbender, Haywire (2011), Uma Thurman vs. Lucy Liu, Kill Bill (2004)

 

Dynasty Grinders ® Match-Up of the Week: The Big Dog is, once again, part of the match-up of the week. This time, the grudge match between Roman Reigns and The King of the Ocean is center stage. This could be a playoff preview, but it could just as easily be the turning point for the winner of this matchup. Two teams that need a win to keep up, both with some offensive issues. I’m taking the under.

 

And, gentlemen, always remember that angels fly high because they take themselves lightly

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