Anticipating 2017

I am not much for New Year Resolutions.  But, here’s a few things that I am going to attempt to curve or change for the upcoming year.

Limit my social media.  You would think that with the amount of things that are posted that you would actually learn something new or at least be able to have a chuckle at some thing.  This is not the case.  One thing is clear.  We find one topic and tear it apart until every single blade of the topic has been picked, and all that’s remaining is a wasteland of memes and wasted time.

Read more books.  There is so much good literature out there that nobody has ever heard of.  There isn’t a much more satisfying moment of setting that completed book down.  Hopefully this will equate to less of the above point.  This will require me to pay off my library fine unfortunately.  I feel that the library should send you a hand written letter when your book is super-overdue.  Also, if you are trying to right a wrong in retail; write a letter with pencil.  You will never see a company jump as quick as when head-office receives something written in pencil.

Look for more music.  There is quality music out there even if you don’t want to believe it.  Using Spotify and Apple Music has allowed me to find bands and solo artists that I never knew existed.  I am currently listening to Solange on Spotify, and it’s absolutely fantastic.  I know it’s extremely easy to get into that routine of only listening to what you know.  There are 75 radio stations that agree with you.  30 day challenge.  Find a solid album every 30 days, and post a review online about it.

See more live things.  Plays, music, stand up.  Need to support these artists.  There is so much talent out there, and they continue to struggle while fu**ing Chewbacca Mom becomes insta-famous.

Then there’s the obvious.  Eat healthier, hit the gym, less take out food.  This should always be a New Year goal for each and every person.

Stop eating those memberberries.  Reminiscing and focusing on when times were a certain way.  Brexit and Trump are both causes of memberberries.  People need to adjust to what the world creates.

Spend more face to face time with people.  Internet friends are cool, but nothing can replace the in person pint discussing what the Jays should do next with their ball club.

Try to only post original thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.  Need to keep this brain moving and shaking.  Can’t fall into the trap of complaining and trying to change every single thing that’s wrong with this world.

Farmers Market vegetables yo.  This is such an easy change.  There is a market that’s a 15 min walk from my place every Saturday morning.

Have a Happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

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ALCS Preview

ALCS Preview

If you are wondering exactly who the Cleveland Indians are I will explain.  They are a well-managed scrappy bunch of hitters that have a fantastic bullpen, and suspect starting pitching.  Sounds oddly familiar to the team that the Jays lost to last year.  What seems to be different about this Jays team is that they are able to answer when the opposition puts up some runs.  Even though I was secretly rooting to play the Indians instead of the Red Sox; this will be no cake-walk to the World Series.

Let’s start with where the Jays have the biggest advantage – starting pitching.  The Jays have 4 starters that they could throw out there for game 1 without any question.  Estrada, Happ, Sanchez, and Stroman.  If I were in Gibby’s shoes I would throw out the exact same rotation to the Indians that they threw at the Rangers.  The Indians have Cory Kluber.  He’s a former Cy Young winner that has had a very good season, but the Jays have some decent numbers against him.  They have two very good pitchers that are both injured currently in Salazar and Carrasco.  The Jays are definitely dodging a bullet with this.  Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer are the other two starters that the Jays will most certainly see.  This is a heavy edge for the Jays and they will need to jump out to leads early in games to capitalize on this.  Salazar has a chance to be back for this series, but this is still a big question mark for the Indians.

Bullpen – The difference in the bullpen will be Andrew Miller.  He’s an absolute nightmare for lefties and righties.  The lumbering lefty came to the Indians in a deadline deal with the Yanks, and has been lights out since his arrival.  Cody Allen is a solid closer and Bryan Shaw is a very good 7th inning arm.  The Jays will need to play ahead to stay away from the back end of the Indians bullpen.  Roberto Osuna is the key for the Jays.  He has been dynamite.  Gibby has relied quite heavily on his 21 year old closer, and will probably continue to do so at least until Benoit is back from injury.  The one area that the Jays are really hurting is situational lefty spots.  Cecil has been inconsistent, Liriano is a starter by nature and might still not be ready to go, and Loup – well is Loup.  This is the one area that the Indians can expose the Jays.

Lineup – This will be more evenly matched then people assume.  The Indians are excellent at getting on base.  They walk a pile, and don’t strike out nearly as much as the Jays do.  Where the Jays can excel is once again by hitting with power.  Other than Napoli the Indians don’t have a true power hitter.  They will walk, single, and double you to death.  This lineup is good from top to bottom.  Not an easy out in there. On the other side we have seen murderer’s row heat up (minus Bautista’s game 3).  If we continue to see Donaldson, Encarnacion, Bautista, and Tulo hitting the way that they currently are the Indians will have a tough time dealing with this Jays lineup.  This is the Jays that I was expecting from opening day.  A quick strike offence that could erase 2 and 3 run leads with one swing of a bat.  The Indians current set of starters other than Kluber are not strike out heavy pitchers.  They are finesse pitchers that will try to pick corners constantly, and make you get yourselves out.

In the end I don’t think the Indians have the depth at starting pitching to make it out of this series.  With a healthy Salazar and Corrasco I think they would have the edge against the Jays.  The Jays will continue to hit the ball well, and the Indians will have a tough time keeping up against the best staff in the AL.

Jays in 6

John Gibbons: The Encino Man

I am not really sure when I got off of the South Park train, but I am sure glad that I am back on.  Weekly story lines that portray to the exact things that are going on in the world at that exact time. Using characters from the show to portray the stupidity of the human race.  It doesn’t get any more genius than that.

Are the Hydro one people still calling people to give them job interviews without knowing anything about the person – then not telling the person what they are applying for or if they applied at all?

“We would like to bring you in for an interview.”

“Who is this?”

“Doesn’t matter.  We would like to hire you.”

Businesses that use sign twirlers must have zero respect for the dignity of a human being.  We would like you to stand at this corner with a sign and twirl.”  You are one step above a hydro pole and one step below the flailing arms man.

There is an exception to the rule though.  I did see a dance off once between the Little Caesars man and a dude in a pita suit.  That made my day.  I sat across the road on a patio with wings sauce all over my face laughing hysterically for 37 minutes.  Polishing off pitcher after pitcher of Bud Lite and elbowing guys next to me to ask if they are seeing this.  It was a great day.

While at Playdium last week I pondered why I didn’t enjoy myself quite as much as in the past while shooting baskets into a net that was 3 feet away.  It wasn’t the fact that my arm could almost touch the rim, and it seemed to a bit too easy.  It was the fact that they don’t give out paper tickets anymore, and put the tickets on the card instead.  There was nothing better than seeing that machine spit out 50 tickets.  You would stomp up to that desk, and demand the pencil with Snoopy on it like a mutha-fu**in’ boss.  Then go back and waste another $20.00 trying to get the Charlie Brown pencil sharpener; because by golly you haven’t owned a pencil sharpener in 16 years.

To work at a record shop you need to have an attitude.  That’s one of the requirements.  If somebody comes in asking for a particular record that you don’t carry; they must feel shame for even liking that band.

I wouldn’t even hire John Gibbons to run my slo-pitch team.  I would rather have a blind dog that barks only because he can’t see what’s going on making the decisions.  I would hold up signs and ask the dog to bark at which lineup card that he would prefer to go with.  Sorry Johnny boy, unless you make it past the first round this year you will no longer be there to eat your hay and have naps in the dugout.

The Hunt for the Wilder People – 9.6/10

Oktoberfest – the only part that is good is that you are celebrating drinking.  Food’s terrible, polka’s terrible, and they are serving the extremely authentic German classics Budweiser and Coors Lite.

The lowest form of human interaction is the ‘share if you remember this pictures’ that are circulating Facebook.  Yes, I remember 8 track players.  Why do you want me to share this?  You want me to share this for no other reason than they existed at some point and I listened to music on them?   This goes to the same part of the brain that secretly enjoyed Encino Man.

For those that don’t remember Encino Man.  It was a film that starred Pauly Shore and Brendan Fraser.  They were put to the test of their acting ability in this absolute gem.  Finger waving jocks and car driving Neanderthals.  It doesn’t get any better.

Spirit of the West Bobbleheads Available Out-West

Went to something extremely unique last night.  The National, Hayden, Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), and members from the Arkells played in a local church in Hamilton.  All proceeds went to helping Syrian refugees.  Not only was it one of the most intimate shows, but extremely emotional.  Hayden playing an acoustic version of Ahead by a Century almost brought the house down.  Seeing a big band in a small venue is the reason that you see live music.

Radiohead – Moon Shaped Pool – 8.9/10

Any music lover knows that Radiohead is adored by the masses in the indie rock world.  But, I put it similarly to Wes Anderson.  When you knock every single God damn thing that you do out of the park you should be worshipped by everybody that’s cool.

There is only one job that I am capable of handling while wearing a construction outfit – sign twirler.  Unless you count that summer that I want on tour with a YMCA tribute band.  That was rough times.  Playing retirement homes for Swedish mints, and candy that is all stuck together.

Blue Jays are playing some great baseball right now.  Anybody want to still sign Price instead of Happ and Estrada for 5 million dollars more a season, and for 4 more years?  Bueller, Bueller, White, Antholopous.

Bobblehead day at the Jays game was nearly disastrous.  Showed up at around the 10am time frame.  Waited in line for about an hour to receive the bobblehead.  Take it out of the packaging to take a picture with it (just want to make sure that everybody knows all of the awesome things that I am doing 24/7.  Even sleeping soundly I set up my phone to take a picture when I am in my deepest of sleep.  Look how awesome I am sleeping is the hashtag) Bautista and company fall to the floor and smash in 4 separate pieces.  I react very slowly.  Then Sara comes up with a brilliant plan.  It came out of the packaging like that.  As I tell the staff person my story, she gives me the “I know what you did” look and hands me another bobblehead.

Pet peeve #29.  Going through the drive-thru with somebody to grab breakfast, and they don’t know what they want to drink by the time the microphone person speaks up.  Drive-thru isn’t the himming and hawing area.  Go stand with Gord and Rose to talk about the shrubs inside of the restaurant if you are going to pull this nonsense.

The Path is a decent show.  It stars Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad and is about a cult.  Starts great, then lulls, but then hits hard near the end again.

I know that British Columbia is a beautiful place, but I find it funny that Canadians are so in love with the idea of “out-west”.  It’s the California of Canada.  Everything is just going to come together out-west.  Sitting on the edge of those Rockies – I will understand the meaning of life, but only out-west.  What should really be said? Everything is going to come together up-north.  You realize who you are when it’s been dark outside for 20 consecutive hours.

Top 3 things that happen at buck and doe’s (also known as stag and doe’s to people in the city) that people don’t know about

3 – Spirit of the West is only appreciated at exactly 12:59am.  If you play any-time before this you will be mocked.

2 – Flirting with the DJ while attempting to get your song played will not work.  You have “woooooood” 3 times, accidentally spit while you were talking twice, and nearly tripped on cables once.  Also, you requested a song that you don’t know the name to, and only know that the person’s name starts with “T”.

1 – Bringing the DJ drinks works every single fu**ing time

The No Hitter

Looking out the window after a long hard day of his one and only class of Children’s Literature.  Smith thought to himself there is no way that they are going to be playing ball tonight.  Looks like rain, and that’s a mighty drive to Kincardine.  Just thinking about that beautiful cold case of Budweiser in the Admiral fridge from 1955 that was in the basement was almost enough for him to say forget it.

Then a small break in the clouds became a bit larger.  Hopping in the Eighty-Eight Oldsmobile. *before we move on here I would like to state that this is a stupid name for a car.  Especially if it’s not made in 1988.  It is very confusing.* Smith didn’t know what was about to be bestowed upon him.   On the way to the game you could feel something magical in the air, and it wasn’t passing by the KFC in Wingham.

Arriving at the game you saw the usual suspects hanging around their cars having beers and smokes.  None of them were fans, these were players.  After exchanging our usual high-fives and jokes about other team-mates mothers, we decided to get to work.  Even during the warm up I could feel the lucid delivery of a sharp lefthander.  Like a young David Wells getting to work.  Our catcher came up to me after the warm up and stated the following.  “Fuck Hencey, your breaking ball is fucking sharp.”  *Hencey was a former nickname of mine.  It basically means slow because of alcohol or drug use*

During the first couple of innings of this game, everything was moving fairly normal.  Smith was chuckin’ at a smooth 58mph.  Curve ball was looping, legs were flailing, and everything was working.  The third inning came around, and Smith was losing his control a little bit.  That’s when he noticed something.  The umpire was drunk.  He was calling strikes that were 3 to 4 inches inside or outside.  That’s when a lean lefty capitalized.  Two-two was locked in.  He pounded that zone for two straight innings.  Kincardine hitters had nothing to hit, and could do absolutely zero about it.

Fifth inning rolls around.  The umpire sadly has sobered up.  Hencey had to start pitching again.  Locking back in, he started to feel a bit of an uneasiness.  The curveball wasn’t quite as sharp, and he was going deeper into counts.  This is when the perfect game was lost.  Walking a batter with two out, and then having a screamer caught by the short-stop was the way that this inning ended.  Needing to relax, Smith goes up into the stands.  He pulls out an Export “A” ultra-lite to relieve the stress.  The Legionnaires put up a four spot that inning.  They developed a big lead.  All that needed to be done was to pitch another two innings.  At this point Kincardine realized that they were being no-hit.  It was time to bear down.

Sixth inning is where the magic started.  One out walk, and then a 3-2 count against their cleanup hitter.  He steps into a full-count offering.  Drills one right at the shins, Smith contorts his body in a way that has never been seen before and manages to catch the line drive between his legs on the back hand.  Falling down he noticed that the runner is well off the bag at first base.  Attempting to pick him off while doing an army roll….. The ball goes into the first base foul area about 10 feet away from the first baseman.  But what an effort.  Smith gets out of the inning unscathed.

7th inning.  The fog had rolled in from the lake.  Smith strikes out the first two batters on greasy curveballs.  Kincardine is down to their final out.  You can barely see in the sky anymore, the fog is unbearable.  This last batter needs to be k’d or it could be trouble.  54mph fastball is popped up on the infield.  Nobody can see it.  There’s chaos, then all of a sudden the first-baseman is screaming “GOT IT, GOT IT!” The ball lands safely in his glove.  Pandemonium breaks loose on the field.  After the hand-shakes at the conclusion of the game, venturing back to the parking lot, and lighting a few smokes; everybody knew that this day was going to go down in history as the greatest day in Legionnaire history.

The catcher walks up to Smith and asks. “Hencey what the fuck are we doing now?” Smith smirks and says “Let’s have 3 cheeseburgers from mickey d’s, and fuck off back to MoDean’s.”

Eating Dirt in Ireland with Fred Durst

There is a job for people to eat dog food to see how much they like it.  I am not sure if we as humans are a good judge for dog food taste.  I think you find the 5 most sophisticated dogs in the world and fly them all over the world for taste testing.  These dogs would be known as the Persian Pups.

Well that day has come.  I have actually uttered the words that I am watching my carbs.  In unison, my last Korn CD fell from the shelf of my hometown’s residence and smashed into 3 pieces that looked oddly similar to potato chips.

Is Fred Durst still doing it all for the Nookie?

To say that I am concerned about the Jays would be an understatement.  The starters have been great.  Donaldson and Bautista do what they do, but they are striking out a bunch, and are not taking a thinking approach to any at bats.

There should be more lemonade stands.  Those days of walking past a .25 cent stand are long gone.  Those were the days that you learnt about capitalism, and a Nintendo game was your 3 story house.  Now people just think that there will be a roofie pill in a lemonade given out on Victoria St in Kitchener.  Well, this might be a bad example, but you know what I mean.

I was never a child that ate dirt.  It didn’t smell, taste, or look appetizing.  I never judged Steven for it, but I always thought it was the incorrect move to eat it.

Sara, Sarah, and I leave for Ireland in June.  Sarah is a friend that Sara met on the AT.  We are hiking a couple of trails.  Should I say Sara 1 or just say Wife when attempting to get my significant others attention?  I find that most women don’t like to be called Wife.  They always believe that we are going to say something extremely sexist right after.

I have found a new massage therapist.  I knew that she was the one when she spoke of wanting to have a jackhammer to loosen up my shoulder, and then made the noises of a jackhammer.

Everybody Wants Some – 9.0/10

The Invitation – 8.7/10

It’s very strange when people just seem to fall off the face of the earth.  Then you think about them years later, and say.  “I forgot that they even existed.”  Then I go back to enjoying my drinking box and apple slices.

Descendants in Kitchener finally opened up.  It’s been many months of this beautiful sign outside that on Victoria St that says coming soon.  Daryl and a few family members walked through the door with glee – trying one of everything, to our dismay it was the no name pizza pops of craft brewers in the area.

The movie Keanu looks like a great movie.  It’s done by Key and Peele.  Watch the trailer and if you are able to go through the whole trailer without saying “aaaahhhh” you are a terminator, and are probably sent here to kill 4 humans over the next 7 years.

Cheers to those awkward times where your foot slides on something, it sounds like you farted.  You look around nervously.  But nobody has seemed to notice.

My proudest moment as a human being is after driving 14 consecutive hours trying to get to Florida, a friend of mine asked me if I my ears just popped after going down a massive decline on a road.  I stated to him that I didn’t have any ears.  That was the point of my life where I knew that I was hilarious.

Joe Buck and his wonderful day in upstate New York with Alcides Escobar

The Jays are out. It was a heartbreaking defeat. They were beat by the better team. Unfortunately in playoff baseball you can’t live and die by the long ball. And that’s exactly what they tried to do. Situational hitting is a must at this level. Jose Bautista tried to will the team to victory with home run after home run in big spots. This team would be long gone if it wasn’t for his efforts.

Top 3 things Fox announcers are doing after the Royals put out the Jays.

1. Joe Buck is going for a nice evening with Alcides Escobar in the wine region of New York. They will reminisce on his brilliant over-reactions to seeing-eye singles while riding side by side on horseback. It will just be a superb day.
2. Harold Reynolds will go back to staring at the wall until the next game starts.
3. Fox has announced that each fan in the outfield must grow an Amish beard as a salute to a great American hero.

It’s amusing to look at all the Facebook posts after the election took place. Every PC backer talks about money, and, well, that’s it. Every NDP backer says, well at least it’s not Harper. And the rest of the world is talking about how gorgeous Justin is.

There was never really a time that I enjoyed going to gym class less then when we had to learn how to line dance. There were 2 – 1 hour sessions of my life that I will never get back. And that fact that I know how to line dance a bit is a feeling I will have to live with the rest of my life.

Pizza Pops did quite of damage to me as a child. There was nothing you could do once that pizza goo was in your mouth and it was 300 degrees Celsius. You were done. You tried to create saliva as fast as possible, but you ended up just getting burning hot pizza goo onto your chin. Thinking back now – why didn’t I use a knife and fork?

All the years of golf that I have played, and I have never bagged myself trying to hit a golf ball in between two trees.

I was a goaltender in hockey when I was growing up. That’s all, I thought I would just bring that up. Oh, and I was bagged a lot then.

Why weren’t clear braces made up until a decade ago? It was bad enough that I had to wear pieces of metal in my mouth, but did you have to make it look like my mouth was part of a Terminator movie?

When you looked in somebody’s fridge growing up there was always two jugs of things that looked like orange juice. One was Tang and one was actually orange juice. I never thought to open it up to smell it; so I always just picked the one that had the most unnatural orange colour. I think that I ran a 98% mark of getting Tang. After thinking about this now, that wasn’t all that impressive.

One of these days I would like to complain about the rain; because I just had the car washed.

Harold Reynolds and his mission to ruin Thanksgiving in Canada

Happy Thanksgiving – sometimes I wish I had one of those families that had that uncle that was going through a divorce, had a little too much to drink, and starts spilling all the beans on the family business.  Unfortunately, my family is pretty normal.

Top 3 creepy things you can do while at the Thanksgiving parade

  1.  Eat an ice cream cone by yourself, but eat it at a much slower pace than usual, and look around at the crowd while doing it.
  2. Cheer out of control for things.  Whether it be candy or just a float with advertising on it.  Uncontrollable cheering will always be appreciated.
  3. Take off your shirt and wrap it around your waist while sporting a decent pair of ’80s villain shades.  Then continue to weave in and out of the crowd, gently bumping into people.

When you wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time falling back asleep some of things that you think about are weird.  I was debating getting up and putting some potato chips in the freezer.  I remember them tasting much better after doing that.

Thanksgiving Tacos – is this a thing for anyone?  I understand that Turkey is the thing, but since most of us go to multiple Thanksgivings; we could maybe throw this into the mix.  Ground turkey, cilantro, onion, spinach, salsa, and sour cream.

The aging process will always hit you the same way when you are in your mid-30s.  You will begin to walk outside in the fall and just marvel at the beauty of the trees.  Any other time of your life, you either complain about Winter coming or that you have to clean up the leaves on the yard.

The Martian – 9.0/10

This is an extremely realistic look at a man being abandoned on Mars and having to try to survive.  It’s so realistic that many people took to the Twitter world and asked if this was based on a true story.  74% of these people are also voting PC this election.

I have faith in the Toronto Blue Jays and the Green Bay Packers.  I cannot say the same for the Philadelphia Flyers.  They stink!  They might struggle in a game against the Listowel Jr. “B” Cyclones.

Work sent me to Orlando recently.  Unlike Vegas, it is nearly impossible to get into trouble near Disney.  “Oh sir, the nightlife is everywhere here.  There is a great wings restaurant that is open till 10pm.  They have margarita’s and hot wings.  That is if you are really living on the edge.”

Everybody is upset with Harold Reynolds.  He stated during the Jays game last night the following.  “There’s not a lot of people playing baseball in Canada.  They’re not used to catching a lot of balls in the stands.”  Hopefully this goes to 5 games so we can say not very nice things to him and pelt him with Timbits.  Then apologize after.

The nectar of the Gods is available at Innocente Brewery.  It’s called their Charcoal Porter.

If you wear tighter shirts your muscles do look larger.  But you have to be careful.  Your beer gut also appears to be larger as well.  Maybe I will get a shirt that is tight up top, but loose on the bottom.  Wait, that’s a dress.

The board game Pandemic should state in the rules that if you have had 6 beers or more that your brain would be better suited to play Ticket to Ride.  After 12, it’s Snakes and Ladders.

If I ever received a phone call and somebody was using the voice box on the other line.  I would just hang up.  I can guarantee that whatever you say is not a good deal for me.

Train Rides after Witnessing a Unicorn wearing a Big Johnson Shirt.

I turned 37 yesterday. I still haven’t really figured anything out. I guess you just keep on doing things that you love to do, and hang out with the people that you enjoy hanging out with. Is it that simple?
Saturday was my birthday pub crawl in Downtown Kitchener. Had a grand old time with friends and family. My actual birthday was a day of re-hydration and Swiss Chalet.

The Jays have made massive moves to improve the team. I wasn’t completely sold on the Tulowitzki trade. That is until they pulled off the David Price trade. Dickey and Buerhle have been pitching lights out recently as well. I am not sure if they can catch the Yanks, but they should be in the one game playoff.

Super Meat Boy is a game. It’s a very popular game. You compete levels and blood puddles on the screen in areas that you are dragging your meat boy body around. This is the type of thing that needs to be created if you would like to become rich.

The local theatre is showing a Counter-strike tournament on the big screen. You don’t play. You watch people playing a video game. Are people going to illegally record this on a camera and put it on YouTube? I don’t know what’s cool anymore?

Top 3 most nervous times in the childhood of Daryl Smith.

1. Facing Mike Tyson in the final match in Punchout. My face was 2 feet from the TV screen, and my hands would shake with the fear of getting “knocked the fu** out.”
2. Having to go to the front of the class in Grade 2 and do a book report on James and the Giant Peach without actually reading the book.
3. Being extremely close to having to wear head gear at school. Who invented this? Did it have to be so gigantic?

After going to the dentist recently, I was told that I generated an awful lot of saliva. I was confused whether this was good or bad; so I just said thank-you.

Train Wreck – 8.9/10
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – 5.7/10

Train Wreck is excellent. Amy Schumur is fantastic, and extremely refreshing in this role. Just watching somebody putting together an actual realistic comedy with a few spurts of romance is a thing of beauty when done properly. Bill Hader is solid, and Lebron is actually very good as well. Great movie.

Stepping on Lego does suck. Why does it always have to happen at 6:25 am? I no longer have to worry about these things, but a simple reminder to have your children put their Lego away.

Zero interest in hot air balloons. A man with colitis and a fear of heights does not do well in these situations.

You need to have a certain look to be a local mechanic. Grizzled, straight talking, and in between the heights of 5’5” and 5’8”. Being able to smoke a pack a day is a bonus point.

I actually witnessed somebody wearing a Big Johnson shirt. It was a mint condition shirt, tucked into jean shorts. It was like watching a beautiful stallion within a herd of Holstein cattle.

big-jhonson

Tame Impala has a new album out. It is absolutely beautiful. It’s a danceable psychedelic medley. 9.4/10.

There are still people that are using the push/pull lawn mower. It feels like there should be more people using this. Especially with houses being built with exactly 7 square feet of lawn.

They are producing Chuck Taylor’s with better insoles. They are about 25% more expensive. One of the experiences about wearing Chuck Taylor’s is the feeling of just strapping cardboard to your foot.

Recently in the UK a man drugged his girlfriend so that he could continue to play video games. George and Jerry, action figures, anybody, Bueller, Bueller.

ceila

I am amazed by people with artistic skills. The humans that I draw always either have arms coming out of their neck or have weird rubber, circular arms.

It is very hipster, but I would like my next birthday to be a train ride to Stratford to visit the brewery, and to see a play. I know, better be careful, what an animal.

The Bullpen Organism

After watching the highly entertaining Jays/Orioles series we witnessed a battle of strengths.  We watched the Jays offense strike at a Orioles pitching staff.  We observed the Orioles relievers shutting down Toronto’s big bats.  What was the end result?  It doesn’t matter how many runs you score, when the pen can’t hold the lead.   Their bullpen is leaky.  Not one pitcher on the back end can get consistent outs.  Many of the best teams now want to be able to shorten the game.  One of the biggest reasons that the Royals made it as far as they did last year is because they were able to play a 6 inning game.  As soon as you hit the 7th teams know that they’re going to have to face Herrera, Davis, and Holland.   Game over!

What this causes is batters to really put pressure on themselves to put up some runs to prevent the bullpen from coming into the game.  Your mentality completely shifts.  You don’t have the first time through the order against the starter to feel him out.  You need to jump on him early and often.  What does this cause?  Lack of patience and overly-aggressive swings.  Why do you think Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Blanton ,and Chris Young can start for this team?  Starting pitchers for playoff teams are asked to do less and less.  Just give them a solid 5 or 6 innings, and they can turn it over to the bullpen.  Even the way that the relievers are constructed is important.  If you look at the Orioles they have a bunch of parts thrown together to make their bullpen.  Smart managing and scouting have been their key.  Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day, and Zach Britton are not household names.  But they have their purpose.  O’Day’s unorthodox delivery can lead directly into Britton’s sinker.  Changing eye levels and leaving the hitter adjusting constantly at the plate.  Even Chaz Roe has been a pleasant surprise.  His slider gives the players something else to think about.  The pen is nearly as important as the starters in today’s MLB.

The mentality of the bullpen is almost as important as the talent.  It is an organism.  You will see all pitchers do well or all pitchers struggle.  Pitchers feel comfortable in certain roles, but completely uncomfortable in others.  The most talented guy doesn’t necessarily need to be the closer.  It’s the player that has that closer mentality that is key.  Confidence and an intimidating presence are nearly as important as stuff.  Trevor Hoffman threw change-up after change-up, and he was the best in the business for a decade.  You do need an out-pitch as a closer though.  Something that the player can’t foul off constantly until he gets something to hit.   An arsenal that includes a weapon that has a 95 mark in a video game rating.

There are multiple closers on the market this year in baseball.  Chapman, Rodriguez, Papelbon, and Clippard are all available for the right price.  You now see many teams load up on closers for the post season.  Throwing them in the 7th and 8th innings.  Trying to emulate what the Royals did last year.  Sometimes they will be planted into the organism and be rejected.  You need the perfect fit for the rare species.  These are players that spend the majority of the game sitting together, doing very little for nearly the entire game.  They might only be called upon for one batter. You might need a side-armer that throws 86mph, with a devastating slider.  Or you might need a herky-jerky left handed specialist with a loopy curve-ball.  It’s not an exact science.  Not every team can afford 3 would-be closers like the Royals have.  Sometimes you just have to plug pitchers in to see what works.  The one thing that I can guarantee is that the two teams that will be in the World Series will not have question marks in their bullpen.