The #Unexpectedly Chronicles Kaepernick: Not about the Flag My Ass UPDATE Steven Miller Kaepernick before and After Benching

The NFL commissioner made a big fuss recently about Colin Kaepernick stating perhaps they were wrong on his stance against kneeling because perhaps it wasn’t about the flag after all:

Oh Wait:

Colin Kaepernick rips 4th of July as ‘celebration of white supremacy’

But but we were told by everyone this is all about police brutality and not about hating the flag or the country and anyone who things otherwise is just twisting his words.

I’m sure that the NFL is absolutely DELIGHTED with this headline along with every single TV & Radio host who suddenly (or always) decided they were on Kaepernick’s side after all.

I have a funny feeling they will not have a comment on this subject. After all plausible deniability doesn’t work when deniability is not longer plausible

They damn well better hope they play without fans this year due to covid because with the exception of Tampa Bay excited about Brady and KC excited about a repeat I suspect the paying customer will not be anxious to give these clowns their money.

Update: Steven Miller notes that before he was Benched Kaepernick’s opinions on the 4th of July were….different

Unexpectedly of course

John Adams and Cops Shows Cancelling The Future to be Woke Today

Public business my son, must always be done by somebody.— it will be done by somebody or other— If wise men decline it others will not: if honest men refuse it, others will not. A young man should well weigh his plans. Integrity should be preserved in all events, as essential to his happiness, thro every stage of his existence. His first maxim then, should be to place his honor out of the reach of all men

John Adams to his son Thomas Sept 2 1789

Because of it’s nature Television has an over-sized ability to influence culture to the good or to ill. It is no coincidence that many of the cultural changes that have had negative connotations for society have been pushed by the celebrity culture for the sake of their own justification over the years for example: Sex in the City

I do wonder what my life would have looked like if “Sex and the City” had never come across my consciousness. Perhaps I’d be married with children now? Who knows, but I can say for sure that, as clever and aesthetically pleasing as the show was — and, as much as I agree with its value of female friendships — it showed too much consumerism and fear of intimacy disguised as empowerment.

It’s like candy: In the moment it feels good to eat it, but afterward, you feel sick. Whom you’re dating, what you’re wearing, or how good you look at that premiere — none of that s–t matters unless you genuinely love yourself. Solid relationships are what really matter.

Truth be told, I wish I had never heard of “SATC.” I’m sure there are worse role models but, for me, it did permanent and measurable damage to my psyche that I’m still cleaning up.

Sure, I could have been a dating columnist for the rest of my life but, honestly, I gave really bad dating advice — and so did Carrie Bradshaw.

Many women fell for this fantasy and are regretting it now. It’s worth noting that Sarah Jessica Parker got married in 1997 at age 32 and has been married to Matthew Broadrick ever since. She knew it was just a show.

However there were and are plenty of shows that can influence for the good. How many people became engineers because they wanted to Scotty from Star Trek or got into science because they wanted to be the Professor from Gilligan’s Island?

Cop shows are like this. I suspect there are plenty of people who became cops because they wanted shows about police as a kid and decided they wanted to be the honest cop the person of integrity and honor , who serves and protects others from the dangers of the world. Even shows like Barney Miller, which highlighted the monotony of the job, featured good people doing good things.

Now I ask you. If you decide to teach that the police are evil and to be rejected and you remove that image of the honest cop from the culture what will replace it? And more importantly WHO will replace it when it comes time to seek people to actually do one of the most thankless jobs of society.

Let me remind you again of John Adams’ quote that started this piece

Public business my son, must always be done by somebody.— it will be done by somebody or other— If wise men decline it others will not: if honest men refuse it, others will not.

This is being demonstrated in Seattle today. If the Police don’t do the policing others will who just might not be wise or honest or worried about serving and protecting.

The Demonetization of Police by the media/left for their political purposes is going to have great damage to our society in the short term. But the removal of the image of the honest cop and policeman who protects and serves from our cultural stream will do even more damage, not now but 20 years from now, because when you don’t inspire people to be honest men and women with integrity, with no other agenda than to make their living serving the public to be cops, then those looking to exploit such a job for it’s perks while hanging back from it’s responsibilities will be the ones who fill those positions and you and your children and grandchildren who follow won’t like the result.

Dynasty Baseball All Futility League West Divisions

The latest in our series of write-ups of the various leagues I am running. If you wish to inquire about future openings (all current spots are filled) contact me via the Dynasty system or leave a request in comments.

This weekend the All Futility 100 loss league West divisions. These results and standings were all current at the time of this writing

American League West

2008 Seattle Mariners 86-65 1st place

With three games to go and a two game lead Seattle has control of their own destiny. Will they be able to hold off the final late surge?

Heroes: Jose Lopez in addition to leading the league in hits & doubles is 4th in batting. Ichrio Suzuki is 3rd in runs and stolen bases and is top ten in the league in hits & triples with 9 OF assists thrown in. Seattle Closer Brandon Morrow is 3rd is saves (25) but more importantly has only blown 5 in 30 chances which makes all the difference.

Zeros: If Starter Miguel Batista had managed better than a 6.26 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP in 21 starts Seattle would already be resting starters for the playoffs. The same goes for Carlos Silva who with 30 starts is just under .500 thanks to a 5.58 ERA a .312 avg against plus almost 50 more hits given up than innings pitched

Wild Cards: There is no better illustration of the difference between getting good defense & run support and not than the contrast between starters Jarrod Washburn & Felix Hernandez both have a .260 avg against but Washburn is 13-7 despite a 4.63 ERA while Hernandez leads the league with a 2.96 ERA but is 10-14 with a full dozen unearned runs scored off him vs only 2 vs Washburn.

Coming Attractions. Seattle heads home to finish their season vs the 1982 Minnesota Twins. If they can win sweep the twins it’s a clinch no matter what.

Injury Report: Erik Bedard who has been out since July will not play again this season but if Seattle hangs on will be recovered in time for the playoffs.


1973 Texas Rangers 83-66 2nd place 2 GB

The Texas comeback from the bottom of the standings to within 2 games (and only one behind in the loss column) with 5 to play is one of the great stories of the season.

Heroes: Jeff Burroughs & Bill Sudakis are 1 & 3 in HR in the AL and in a 4 way tie for the RBI lead going into the final four games. Meanwhile the starting pitching duo of Jim Bibby & Jim Merritt are in a 4 way tie for the lead in wins & are sitting at 2-3 in League ERA. Bibby is also 1st in Avg against while Merritt is 2nd in WHIP.

Zeros: Jim Mason’s .212 avg with 0 HR & 18 RBI in over 200 ab isn’t impressive but if you want to know why Texas is still 2nd look no further than starter David Clyde (6-11 6.16 ERA ) in 25 starts and Charlie Hudson whose 6-4 record and 3.70 ERA in 43 appearance (4 starts) look good but six blown saves vs 7 converted saves is the difference between being 2 behind in the loss column and 0.

Wild Card: Texas has feasted off of AL East teams a full 20 games over .500 against them but they have not been so successful against left handed pitchers against whom their record is just below .500.

Coming Attractions: Texas Season is going to come down to their final two home games vs the 2005 Kansas City Royals and then a trip to Tampa Bay to finish their season with 3 games against the big bats of the 2002 Devil Rays.

Injury Report: Texas makes its dash with nobody on the DL but with a pitching staff desperately in need of a rest particularly Sonny Siebert.


1982 Minnesota Twins 79-72 3rd place 7 GB ELIMINATED

When last we left the Twins they were battling Seattle neck and neck, however a late 4-6 run has been just enough to put them five to go a single game too far back.

Heroes: There may be recriminations in Minnesota over their finish but Kent Hrbek Certainly did his part .343 (3rd) with 36 HR (6th) and 128 RBI’s (2nd) plus top 7 in Triples, Hits, Runs OBP, Slugging and OPS. On the Mound Robert Castillo is 1st in WHIP, tied for the league lead in wins 6th in ERA 3rd in Innings pitched 5th in strikeouts and 2nd in best avg against (.242) And Ron Davis’ 28 Saves vs 3 blows is pretty solid.

Zeros: Frank Viola may have a great future but his 7-11 record with a .325 avg against and 5.45 ERA is a big reason why Minnesota is eliminated today. It also doesn’t help that Terry Felton (5 saves in 9 chances) and Jeff Little (4 saves in 8 chances) couldn’t do the job when Davis wasn’t available.

Wild Cards: Nobody closed out games like Minnesota. They were 1st in the majors in saves while tied for the fewest blown saves in the AL. Unfortunately it’s a little tough to get to that save situation when you lead the league in both walks and Home Runs allowed.

Coming Attractions: Minnesota might be out of it but with their season finishing in Seattle against the 1st place 2008 Mariners they hold the destiny of the division in their hands.


2005 Kansas City Royals 76-73 4th place 8 GB ELIMINATED

Kansas City is playing for pride. One win secures at least a .500 record and they are but a single game behind Minnesota in the loss column. Can they manage to get out of the cellar in their final five games?

Heroes: David DeJesus is currently tied for the AL lead in doubles 4th in triples 10th in OBP & 7th in walks. Matt Stairs is 2nd in OBP 4th in Slugging and only injuries kept him out of bigger categories and Mike Sweeny’s .309 avg 33 HR & 122 RBI’s are nothing to sneeze at. Andy Sisco in 51 games out of the pen went 8-2 with 3 saves in as many chances & a 2.85 ERA

Zeros: Practically the entire Royals starting rotation can quality with only one starter managing an ERA under 5 but the worst offenders of the lot have to be Runelvys Hernandez (3-15 6.72 ERA .321 avg against & over 50 more hits than innings in 32 starts) and Jose Lima (8-12 7.03 ERA .315 avg against in 26 starts)

Wild Card: It certainly wasn’t offense that put Kansas City in last. They led the league in Runs, doubles, RBI’s OBP and OPS and led the majors in Avg and Slugging. However while they hit .290 as a team they also allowed their opponent to hit .290 against and converted the fewest saves in the AL while being near the bottom of almost every AL pitching category.

Coming Attractions: Kansas City’s offense will have a chance to decide how the division finishes as they play a pair in Texas against the 1973 Rangers before closing out their season against the AL East champion Chicago White Sox.

Injury report: The good news for KC is all of their potent bats are available for the close of the season, the good news for their opponents is so is all their pitching.


National League West

2012 Houston Astros 77-74 1st place

Houston won their two biggest games of the season sweeping Arizona for a pair giving them a 2 game lead with three to play. But with both San Diego and Arizona still alive with 3 to go they’ll have to go all out to guarantee a playdate against the 100 win Nationals.

Heroes: You won’t find a lot of Astros on the various leader boards but one is Wilson Lopez whose 16 saves are 2nd in the league. Another is Scott Moore whose .327 avg is 2nd in the league But Justin Maxwell’s 32 HR and steady pitching from folks like starter Jordan Lyles (14-8 1 sv 3.93 ERA 1.32 WHIP) and reliever Fernando Rodriguez (10-4 3.85 ERA in relief) played their part.

Zeros: If Xavier Cedeno (52 games 1 start 4-3 2 saves in 8 chances 5.58 ERA) .292 avg vs) Fernando Abad (33 games 6 starts 3-8 1 save in 4 chances 6.64 ERA .323 avg vs) & Rhiner Cruz (43 games 3 starts 3-5 0 saves in 2 chances .7.76 ERA .327 avg vs) had been even slightly better the NL West would be sown up today.

Wild Cards: Despite a -58 run differential (No team with a record better than 25 games under .500 has worse) and the worst fielding percentage in the majors (.977) the 2nd most blown saves in the NL and more of their batters striking on than on any other team they are two wins from a division title. Perhaps being 2nd in HR & RBI, in the NL have something to do with it.

Coming Attractions: It all comes down to a three games series in Milwaukee vs the 2002 Brewers. Win two and Houston punches their ticket to a series vs the Nationals.

Injury Report: Fortunately for Houston all three zeros on their list Fernando Abad, Rhiner Cruz and Xavier Cedeno are out till next year along with Buck Travis are out for the season and playoffs although there is a Tiny chance that Cedeno could be well enough to play before the end of the World Series. Francisco Cordero won’t be available vs Milwaukee but if Houston makes the Playoffs he might be able to be activated late in the Washington series if another Astro is injured.


2004 Arizona Diamondbacks 75-76 2nd 2 GB

Arizona managed to climb all the way from last to a tie for first with five games to go only to lose 2 straight to Houston. Can they pull off one final miracle in their last series?

Heroes: The question isn’t if Randy Johnson will win the NL CY Young. With the exception of Home Runs per 9 Innings (4th in majors 2nd in NL) and Innings Pitched (1st in NL 2nd in Majors likely to be 1st soon) he leads leads the majors in every non relieving pitching Category and by a lot. His 1.88 ERA is a full run better than the #2 his 335 K’s is 85 better than the 2nd best and he’s hte only pitcher with a WHIP under 1.00 (0.80) the question is does he win MVP too? Luis Gonzalez Brandon Webb and reliever Mike Koplove did their part but Johnson is the best in the majors period!

Zeros: To say that reliever Randy Choate (58 gm 3-10 1 sv in 3 chances) and starter Edgar Gonzalez (12 starts in 13 games 3-7 6.36 ERA .301 avg against 11 HR in 58 innings) have been bad is true but Casey Fossum line of 29 starts, .337 avg against 8.38 ERA 1.82 WHIP and a 5-13 record takes the cake. If they had collectively been 2 games better over their 41 starts and 59 relief appearances the Diamondbacks would control their own destiny.

Wild Card: If Arizona makes the playoffs Randy Johnson is the wildest card there is capable of beating any team at any time. Arizona as been a doubles machine leading the majors and it’s a good thing too because their 13 steal attempts (10 sb) are the fewest in the NL. On the mound they lead the majors in ERA (3.97) WHIP (1.33) avg against (.246) K’s (1259) fewest Runs & Earned runs (674/600) fewest hits (1282) and lead the NL in completed games. One guess why.

Coming Attractions: It comes down to a 3 game series vs the 1973 San Diego Padres. at home. Johnson will pitch once so it will come down to if the remainder of the staff can come through. Two wins forces Houston to win one. 3 forces them to win two

Injury Report: Danny Bautista will not be available for the SD series but if the team makes the playoff he’ll be recovered sufficiently to make the roster.


1973 San Diego Padres 74-77 3rd place 3 GB

It’s a credit to the relevancy of this Padres team that with a single series to play they are still in the playoff hunt but they not only need Houston to be swept they will need to beat Randy Johnson. Can they do it?

Heroes: Willie McCovery still has an excellent batters eye leading the league in walks and OBP. while hitting a solid .298 with 25 HR & 99 RBI. Young Dave Winfield has been a liability in the field (10 OF errors) & doesn’t have McCovey’s patience at the plate (31 BB vs 139K’s) but with 25 HR & 105 RBI he’ll do. On the Mound Dan Spillner has been the best of a good rotation 11-8 with a 3.78 ERA and a save in his only chance.

Zeros: Of all the teams I’ve written this is the hardest to pick out zeros because while many have performed below avg, no regulars stats have been horrible, but it’s fair to say that while their numbers aren’t horrible the inability of Padres relievers to convert saves like Bill Laxton (7 of 12 ) Lowell Palmer (4 of 8) and Mike Corkins (6 of 10) are a big reason why SD is a game away from elimination.

Wild Cards: No team has a more consistent set of starters 1-4. Spillner, Randy Jones (.261 avg 4.52 ERA) Dave Freisleben 4.72 ERA, and Bill Grief (4.91 ERA) have consistently kept SD in games. If only their manager’s health has been as consistent as their rotation.

Coming Attractions: It all comes down to the final three games against the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks. One loss (or one Houston win) and they’re done.

Injury Report: San Diego goes into their final Do or die series with all hands healthy and on deck.


2002 Milwaukee Brewers 61-90 4th place 16 GB Eliminated

It’s been a disappointing season for Milwaukee which started strong but now could finish with the worst record in the majors. However they will play the deciding series for their division.

Heroes: Eric Young has been a runs machine scoring 104 while stealing 56 bases (3rd in the league) Despite 200 k’s Jose Hernandez 32 HR (4th in the league) & 94 runs makes him feared but not as feared as Rickie Sexton whose 25 HR 53 doubles (2nd in league) 112 RBI’s and 90 runs scored means he’s a danger both at the plate and when he’s on base.

Zeros: Ruben Quevedo’s 3-18 record in 34 starts is well earned with a 7.14 ERA a .291 avg against and a WHIP of 1.67. Nick Neugebauer 2-11 record .279 avg against 6.84 ERA & 1.86 ERA is only better because he’s had just 18 starts to do it. At the plate Ronnie Belliard at .218 2 HR 24 RBI & only 23 runs & a .281 OBP inspires little fear for a 3rd baseman.

Wild Cards: Milwaukee has earned their place in the league. They have the worst batting avg in the majors and the fewest hits which is trouble. Perhaps if they were on base more they’d be a tad more careful as they also lead the majors in being caught stealing. However in the field they don’t make such mistakes their fielding percentage of .985 leads the NL but it’s not enough to overcome NL’s worst ERA (5.07).

Coming Attractions: Milwaukee final three games at home will not only decide if they finish with the worst record in the majors but will also decide the fate of the NL West as they finish against the 2012 Houston Astros who need w wins to clinch without help.

Injury Report: Geoff Jenkins, Valerio de los Santos and Mike Matthews will all miss the final series of the season. Slugger Matt Stairs just might be healthy in time to play in the last game of the year

Review of Season 4 of The Last Kingdom

By John Ruberry

Are you stuck at home during the COVID-19 lockdown? Here’s another Netflix binge-watching opportunity for you: The Last Kingdom.

Last Sunday Season 4 began was released by the streaming service.

On the old platform of Da Tech Guy I reviewed the first three seasons. Here’s a brief summary: Uhtred Ragnarsson of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), the son of a Northumbrian nobleman, is raised by Danish Vikings, along with another Saxon, Brida (Emily Cox), after his father is killed in a battle. Both of them abandon Christianity and convert to the Norse religion. As adults they serve as bridges, Uhtred much more than Brida, between the Danes and the English. Uhtred, also called “Uhtred the Godless” and “the Daneslayer,” sets his goal to reclaim Bebbanburg, his ancestral castle.

In the first season the four Saxon kingdoms, Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia, and Wessex have been conquered by a Danish force later called the Great Heathen Army. Only Alfred (David Dawson), the king of Wessex, puts up an effective resistance. Uhtred and Alfred form an uneasy alliance to defeat the Danes. Wessex of course is that Last Kingdom. Alfred is one of two English kings to be given the moniker “the Great.” The other was Cnut, an 11th century ruler.

The series is based The Saxon Stories books by Bernard Cornwell.

Minor spoilers in the next paragraph:

In the fourth season Bebbanburg, weakened after a siege by the Scots, finally seems within reach of Uhtred. He’s been united with his children, yet another Uhtred (Finn Elliot), a devout Christian, who was largely raised in a monastery, and his daughter, Stiorra (Ruby Hartley), who like the elder Uhtred is conflicted in her relations with Saxons and Danes. Edward (Timothy Innes), who succeeded his father, is the new king of Wessex and has a strong influence over Mercia, where his sister Aethelflaed (Millie Brady) is queen. 

The Viking era of the British Isles lasted over two-and-a-half centuries, ending in that auspicious year of 1066. The Last Kingdom is set roughly half-way into that conflict. If the Danes were to issue a knock-out punch, it needed to be by the Great Heathen Army over Alfred. That didn’t happen so that sets the table for a long series of alliances and betrayals. There is plenty of both in the show, in this season the prominent one is a scheme from the traitor Eardwulf (Jamie Blackley), a member of a fallen Mercian noble family. Meanwhile Alfred’s widow, Aelswith (Eliza Butterworth) weaves her plan to fight the Danes. 

The middle section of Season 4 is overly burdened with plots and counter-plots, made even more confusing because many of the historical characters in The Last Kingdom have similar names. For instance we have Aethelflaed who is married to Aethelred (Toby Regbo). Such similarities can work in books, but the scriptwriters for the series should have changed one of those names. There is more. Aelfwynn (Annamária Bitó) is their daughter. Her grandmother is the aforementioned Aelswith.  While Edward is in Mercia, Wessex is ruled by an ealdorman, Aethelhelm (Adrian Schiller). His daughter, Aelflaed (Amelia Clarkson) is married to Edward.

But the season is redeemed by the battle scenes which are quite intense. And of course the later episodes are dominated by major one, a siege with Uhtred and Brita on opposite sides of the walls. The Saxons are led by Edward, the Danes by a new Viking leader, Sigtryggr (Eysteinn Sigurðarson).

A fifth season seems likely as The Last Kingdom has enjoyed a top-ten Netflix viewing all week. One issue that needs to be resolved is that the main characters have barely aged yet Uhtred’s children are in their mid-teens. It’s time for a touch of gray in his hair. And Brida’s too.

The Last Kingdom is rated TV-MA for violence, torture, and nudity.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

All Time Great Team League League Report AL & NL Div A

We are now 40 games into the season so let’s see how things are going since the last time.

AL Div A

1993 Toronto Blue Jays

When we last left the Blue Jays they were in the only losing team in a very tight division. Five weeks later Toronto is in 1st place 8-2 in their last ten and with the best run differential in the league (+40). Can they keep this pace up?

Heroes: Roberto Alomar may be down to .338 (from .404) but his OPS is still over 1.000 (1.008) leading the team in both runs and runs scored. Duane Ward has managed to convert 7 of 8 save chances but his WHIP & his ERA are both 0.59

Zeroes: When you say that Jack Morris has increased his winning percentage by .200 point, dropped his avg against by .053 points and his ERA by over a run and a half it sounds impressive until you discover his record is now 1-4 with a 7.02 ERA and an avg against of .336. Pat Borders .221 avg .267 obp and .257 slugging percentage with 0 HR and 15 RBI isn’t scaring anybody.

Wild Card: Toronto’s OPS of .788 is the highest in the American League and their team ERA of 3.76 is 2nd

Coming Attractions: The 1968 Tigers pay Toronto a visit before they Jaunt to Washington DC to face the red hot Washington Senators before returning home to host the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers for some interleague play.


1970 Baltimore Orioles

Toronto rose and Chicago fell but the Baltimore Orioles remained in 2nd place and a game out of the 2nd wild card despite going 7-3 over their last 10 Will slow and steady win the race or at least stay in it?

Heroes: Jim Palmer leads the league in ERA (1.94), Wins (7) Innings pitched (83 1/3) and strikeouts (76) while remaining top 7 in every other non relief category so no change there and while Boog Powell has still been a monster (.294 7 HR 32 RBI) Merv Rettenmund (.353 6 HR 33 RBI) is a monster who hits .59 points higher.

Zeros: Dave McNally has halved his previous ERA from 8.25 to 4.41 but he’s still 3-6 with the worst ERA on the team and 8 round trips allowed. To no bodies surprise Brooks Robinson leads the O’s in HR with 8 and his .967 fielding percentage and 2.72 range factor while both lower than expected aren’t completely horrible but his .169 Avg and .259 OBP, that’s pathetic.

Wild Card: Baltimore is dead last in the majors in doubles with 56 but 1st in walks by a lot with 230 (Stl & Fla tied with 191) & 1st in the AL in ERA (3.44)

Coming attractions: The O’s finish a 12 game road trip with 3 at Yankee Stadium vs the 2009 Yanks before coming home to host the Big Red Machine (1975 Reds) then heading off to Chicago for three against the 2005 White Sox.


2005 Chicago White Sox

A five game losing streak has the pale hose below .500 and down to 3rd place. Can they reverse the slide before they sink to the bottom of the division?

Heroes: On a team that’s not hitting pitching matters so Mark Buehrle 2.00 ERA 5-3 .240 avg against and a WHIP of 1.11 in 10 starts along with Jon Garland 3.19 ERA 5-2 .207 avg against and WHOP 1.08 are what will keep the White Sox in the race.

Zeros: Just as good pitching is vital on a team Orlando Hernandez 7.30 ERA 1.70 WHIP is why his record is 0-6. Scott Podsednik is still stealing bases when he gets on (12 without being caught) but when you’re hitting .222 with a .288 OBP and only 4 RBI’s there’s not a lot of chances to do it.

Wild Card: The White Sox don’t like extra work they have only played one game that has gone to extra innings and they are at the bottom of almost every offensive category but one steal percentage with 20 successful steals against only 3 times caught an .870 avg.

Turnaround: Jermaine Dye was on the zero list hitting .182 last time around he’s now at .250 with seven HR and 21 RBI.

Coming Attractions: The White Sox get nine chances at home to change their luck. Three vs the 2015 Kansas City Royals, 3 interleague games vs the 2013 Arizona Diamondbacks and then 3 more against the 1970 Orioles.


1988 Oakland A’s

Between Injuries (Terry Steinbach will miss the next 12 games) a sick manager and a power outrage worse than the NYC blackout of the 70’s the Oakland A’s are

Heroes: Jose Canseco has gone from Zero to Hero. After a .143 start He’s raised his avg to .280 2nd on the team has hit 8 Homers and has 31 RBI’s. Dennis Eckersley continues to impress with a 1.40 ERA and a .157 avg against.

Zeroes: Dave Stewart continues to fail to impress with a 1-6 record 7.71 ERA and a .306 avg against and a WHIP of 1.85. Curt Young’s ERA of 6.29 and 2-5 record is slightly better but his .311 avg against and 11 HR given up in 21 less innings is a worse.

Wild Cards: If anybody told me that the team that hosts the Bash Brothers would be dead last in RBI’s in the majors and only ahead of the powerless Washington Senators in HR’s in the American League I wouldn’t have believed you.

Coming Attractions: The A’s welcome the 2002 Anaheim Angels and then the 1986 New York Mets for Interleague play before heading across to the country to face another NY team the 2009 Yankees.


NL Div A

1975 Cincinnati Reds

A Change in the Managers seat had meant a change in their fortunes as they have leap frogged to the top of their division but can their luck last when their long homestands end?

Heroes: Johnny Bench continues to rule the roost with a .316 Avg 14 Homers and 45 RBI’s. While Will McEnaney’s 5-0 record in relief is superior to Rawley Eastwick’s 3-2 Eastwick edges him in ERA (2.05 vs 2.08) WHIP (0.91 vs 1.05) avg against (.170 vs .209) & HR allowed (1 vs 3)

Zeros: A 3-2 record might not sound too bad for Jack Billingmam but a 5.45 ERA .309 avg against and only 38 innings in 7 starts and 3 relief appearances aren’t a lot of help. Caesar Geronimo might be back in the lineup but with a .191 avg and only 2 HR and a .263 OBP opposing pitchers likely don’t notice.

Wild Card: Cincinnati might be 2nd in stolen bases in the majors but they’re 1st in caught stealing. the Reds 1.29 WHIP is 3rd in the majors.

Coming Attractions: The big red machines plays 3 vs the 2005 Houston Astros before going on the road 1st vs old foes the 1970 Baltimore Orioles for interleague play and then across the country for 3 against the 1962 San Francisco Giants.


1955 Brooklyn Dodgers

After a long stint in 1st place the defending Champion Dodgers find themselves in 2nd with a .500 record and tied for the last wild card spot. Can they get themselves back in the right direction?

Heroes: Duke Snyder is on a tear his triple crown numbers of .342 16 HR and 34 RBIs are a terror to pitchers everywhere. Don Newcombe 5-2 record and one save in a single chance is good and it certainly doesn’t hurt when instead of an automatic out you’re hitting .345 with 5 RBI on the days you pitch.

Zeros: Don Zimmer’s 9 HR & 23 RBI’s are good numbers but when the come with a batting avg of .194 (.176 with men in scoring position) they don’t mean that much. Clem Lebine may lead the Dodgers in saves with 3 but a 8.27 ERA & and 4 HR given up in only 16 1/3 innings are why he has two blown saves and two losses to go with it.

Wild Card. with 24 appearances Jim Hughes continues to be a workhorse extraordinaire out of the bullpen but not as big as the team leading the majors in HR with 60 to date. Brooklyn refuses to beat themselves as their .989 fielding percentage is tied for 2nd in the NL.

Coming Attractions: It’s three weeks of leap frogging as they welcome the 2008 Philles for three before Traveling out of the country for their inter-league series against the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays then back home for three vs the 2013 Arizona Diamondbacks.

1986 New York Mets

What a difference a few weeks makes the Mets find themselves with an empty DL, tied for 2nd in the division and back at .500. Will this turn of events continue?

Heroes: Wally Backman has been an on base machine with a .340 avg , a .398 OBP which is likely why he leads the team with 28 runs scored while till driving in 17 of his own. (now if they could only stop him from trying to steal he’s 0-4). There’s not a lot to cheer about on the pitching staff but Jesse Orosco’s six saves in 8 chances combined with a .230 avg against and a 3.42 ERA are all tops on the team.

Zeros: Rick Aguilera and Bruce Berenyi have been used both as starters and relievers but have not impressed in either spot allowing a .342 & .359 averages respectively along with a 7.01 & an 8.48 ERA. How Berenyi can be 1-0 with a save & Aguilera 1-2 is beyond me

Redemption: Ron Darling’s 1-3 record and 4.88 ERA might not sound impressive until you consider five weeks ago his record was 0-2 & his ERA 19.89

Wild Cards: You would think that being dead last in fielding in the Majors at .973 the Mets team ERA might not be bad but their 4.85 trails only Florida and the 2019 Nationals in the NL

Coming Attractions It’s off on the road for the mets with 3 in the windy city vs the red hot 2016 Chicago Cubs then to Oakland for their interleague series vs the 1988 A’s and then back to Philadelphia for a visit to the 2008 Phillies.


2013 Arizona Diamondbacks

3 straight losses and an 2-8 record over their last ten have dropped them to last will injuries and bad luck turn this cinderella team into the ugly duckling of the league?

Heroes: Paul Goldschmidt continues his tear a .311 14 HR and 34 RBI to a source of starting fear to pitchers while Willie Bloomquist has been a hell of a pinch hitter he’s appeared in 32 games with a .378 avg causing pitchers to worry off the bench. On the mound Trevor Cahill 4-1 record .218 avg against and 2.05 ERA in nice stars make a lot of other teams jealous.

Zeros: How bad has Joe Thatcher been? So bad that his .327 avg against and 7.62 ERA are both significant improvement (.441 10.57) over the last time we talked. Cliff Pennington was critiqued last time around for a high avg with no production behind it, he still doesn’t have the production, only 4 RBI’s and 4 runs scored but now doesn’t have the avg has he’s down a full .105 points to .228.

Wild Card The Loss of Brandon McCarthy for the season wasn’t good but the loss of starting 2nd baseman Aaron Hill for the next 20 series that’s disaster particularly when it’s likely that the slumping Cliff Pennington will be his replacement. Particularly for a team that’s tied for 2nd in the league in fielding.

Coming Attractions: It’s off on the road for Arizona as they travel 1st to San Francisco to face the 1962 Giants, then to Chicago to meet the 2005 White Sox in Interleague Play, then off for a set vs the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers before their final stop taking on the 1st place 1975 Cincinnati Reds, the big Red Machine.

Dynasty 100 Loss All Futility League Report: East Divisions

The latest of a weekly series on the teams in my Online (or in person) Dynasty baseball simulation leagues I run. If you have an interest in joining one leave a message in comments.

This week we visit the Dynasty All Pathetic 100 loss league consisting only of teams that lost 100 games in a season. We are in the home stretch here with about 40 games to go of a 154 game season.

AL East

1970 Chicago White Sox

With 38 games to go the Mariners are just one series away from tying. Can the White Sox continue to hold their lead with a few big bats and and the best pitching in the AL or will a suspect defense at the corners let them down?

Heroes: Bill Melton (29 HR 98 RBI ) and Ed Herrmann (30 HR 80 RBI) may be the 2nd best HR duo for a team but they have made the difference in game after game. Meanwhile on the mound Tommy John has been an innings horse 208 innings, 10 complete games and a respectable 3.72 ERA

Zeroes: Barry Moore has been much worse than his 5-5 record indicates, with a 5.69 ERA and a .296 batting avg against he’s kept many a door open. Meanwhile while Sid O’Brien has been acceptable at the bat when occasionally starting his .933 percentage at 2nd and .930 at 3rd has helped extend plenty of rallies but when it come to bad defense Walt Williams takes the cake with an .897 in left and a 917 in right.

Wild Cards: The best arms in the White Sox bullpen are looking tired as the season nears its end. That could spell disaster shortly.

Coming attractions: The Pale Hose finish a 4 city roadtrip with a pair against the 1st place 1982 Twins before a quick stop at home for a pair vs the 2003 Tigers before heading off to Baltimore for a 4 game series that will likely make or break the 2018 Orioles.


2002 Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Tampa under it’s new manager has risen to within three games of Chicago and on occasion even closer. Can the timely hitting overcome an average pitching staff?

Heroes: No question who the heroes are on this team Aubrey Huff leads the league in batting (.358) Slugging .631 OB+Slugging (1.053) and Runs Batted in. and is top five in Runs, Hits and On Base Percentage. The only reason he’s not a lock for the MVP is teammate Randy Wynn who leads the league in Runs, Triples, Stolen bases 2nd in Avg, .(356) Hits (172) Doubles (37) and is top five in two others.

Zeroes: Estaban Yan may have 21 saves but he’s also blown 8 on the way accounting 4.11 ERA & 6-10 record, and of course a lot of runs don’t help a lot when you have starters Joe Kennedy (6-9 ERA 5.00 AVG .302) and Tanyon Sturtez (7-7 ERA 4.99 Avg .304) helping the other guys along.

Wild Cards: Almost half of their remaining games are against teams currently in or tied for 1st place in a division.

Coming Attractions: It’s two in Minnesota against the 1st place 1982 Twins before a 9 game home stand vs 2008 Mariners (4), 2018 Orioles (2) and the 2005 Royals (3).


2018 Baltimore Orioles

Despite losing their manager early in the season the Orioles still have an outside shot (a very outside shot). Can this ship without a rudder steer itself straight in the closing weeks of the campaign?

Heroes: Jonathan Villar has provided the triple crown numbers for the team (.325, 21HR 71 RBI) while leading the team in runs by more than 40 and stealing 37 bases. While reliever Mychal Givens has proved to be not only a workhorse but one of the best closers in the league with 23 saves with only 4 blown and a 6-2 record to go along with it.

Zeroes: Having a great closer doesn’t help if you can’t get to him and the O’s boast the worst pitching in the AL as David Hess (7.58 ERA 19 HR allowed .316 avg) Dylan Bundy (5.95 ERA 19 HR .305 allowed ) and Andrew Cashner (5.22 ERA .290 AVG 13 HR allowed) just haven’t done the job.

Wild Cards: What as bad as having the worst pitching in the league, having the lowest fielding percentage in the majors (.978)

Coming Attractions: after a pair vs the slugging 1973 Texas Rangers the O’s have 4 at home vs the 1970 White Sox and then start a road trip that begins in Tampa Bay with a pair against the 2002 Devil Rays. If they are to climb back into the race this will be their chance.


2003 Detroit Tigers:

The math still says that the Tigers have a shot but with pitching only slightly better than Baltimore and Hitting that is meh. It will take a real run of luck for these cats to roar into the playoffs.

Heroes: Dimirti Young has been at the top of his game all year with 26 HR 91 RBI a .341 abg and an OPS of .992 On a bad pitching staff Wil Ledezma has managed to put together a 6-3 record mostly from the bullpen with a few starts for good measure and Chris Spurling has thrown 106 innings all in relief with an era under 4 on a team whose ERA is over 5.

Zeroes: While Omar Infante (.205 0HR 25 RBI in 111 games is an obvious choice if you list the Tigers pitching by ERA their four primary starts are at the bottom with only Jeremy Bonderman with an ERA below six (5.45) but Nate Cornejo (9-11 6.14 ERA .343 avg) Gary Knotts (3-10 6.28 ERA 16 HR allowed) and Mike Maroth (6-16 6.75 ERA 24 HR allowed .327 Avg) have been the gifts that keep giving to opposing batters.

Wild Card: Whatever is to blame for Detroit’s problems it’s not the glovework as the Tigers are tied for the best fielding percentage in the league.

Coming Attractions: If Detroit is going to make a move the best time for them is now with a pair at Chicago followed by 4 at home vs the last place 2005 Kansas City Royals and then back on the road for the 1973 Texas Rangers.


National League East

2009 Washington Nationals

The Nationals have dominated the National League since almost the start beginning with a pair of 4 game win streaks to start and never looking back. The only question left is can they sustain this level of winning when the playoffs come around?

Heroes: Adam Dunn has been a monster a the plate with 36 HR and 105 RBI’s meanwhile Morgan Nyjer has not only hit .335 but has stolen 63 bases and scored 96 runs meanwhile John Lannan’s 13-5 record is driven by a .203 batting avg against and 2 k’s for every walk 114 vs 57 (despite 17 HR)

Zeroes: It’s hard to find zeros on a team that has only lost 37 games but while starter Livan Hernandez has given up just one less HR than Lannan he’s also allowed a .312 avg against and a 6.41 ERA on a team that has outscored their opponents by over 175 runs certainly qualifies. How good is this offense? Their “Zero” in the hitting column Elijah Dukes is hitting .235 with 13 HR 83 RBI and 24 doubles. Even their least productive overall hitter Wil Nieves whose .261 avg 1 HR & 39 RBI in 353 AB are not impressive is hitting .315 with runners in scoring position.

Wild Card: Since acquiring their new manager the Nationals who were already solidly in command have won 12 of their last 14.

Coming Attractions: The Nats welcome the NL West with series vs the 1st place 2012 Houston Astros (2) and the 1973 Padres (4) before heading off to a three city Road stand that will take them to Milwaukee, Florida and Pittsburgh.


1998 Florida Marlins

If you moved the Marlins to any other division in the league they would be leading by anywhere from 3 to 8 games instead they find themselves 10 games back with 38 to play. Can they recover?

Heroes: The Marlins have won with pitching (3.72 team ERA) and Starter Livan Hernandez (12-9 2.68 ERA .140 avg .228 avg against) has been the biggest part of an excellent staff, it helps when your closer Matt Mantei is 14 of 16 in save chances with a 9-3 record and workhourse reliever Vic Darensbourg with a 1.51 ERA in 101 1/3 innings and a 9-2 record in relief. Of course Cliff Floyd’s 18 HR and 92 RBI’s haven’t hurt either.

Zeroes: The only dark spot on the rotation has been Andy Larkin (0-7 in 15 starts with an era of 6.63 almost double the team avg. At the plate Derrek Lee has 14 HR but has only hit .201, .180 with runners in scoring position and managed an OBP of .288 while Gregg Zaun has managed only .212 with 4 HR and 44 RBI.

Wild Cards: If you’re going to beat the Marlins you had better do it in nine innings. They are a perfect 15-0 in extra inning games.

Coming Attractions: Florida finishes a home stand with 2 against the 1973 Padres and a pair against the 2002 Brewers before heading on the road to try and knock the 2012 Astros off their perch at the top of the NL West.


2010 Pittsburgh Pirates

After a horrible start the Pirates have somehow managed to make it back to .500. With only 38 games to go can they rally to make a respectable finish?

Heroes: Brian Giles (.327 20 HR 72 RBI) numbers are nothing to sneeze at but for pure power i’s been Aramis Ramierz with 30 HR (2nd in NL) and 117 RBI (1st) that has really done the job

Zeroes: While the injury bug has not been kind to Bronson Arroyo it’s not a good excuse for an ERA 2 full runs over the team avg and a .310 avg .062 above the rest of the staff. Jack Wilson has been a disappointment with a .221 3 28 triple crown line and an OBP under .300 (.291)

Wildcard: The Pirates have been incredibly average everywhere with identical 29-29 records at home and on the road, but have blown 22 out of 56 save chances.

Coming Attractions: Pittsburgh’s quest to go beyond avg continues with a pair vs 2004 Arizona and then 4 at 2002 Milwaukee before they come home for a nine game set that begins with the 1967 Mets


1967 New York Mets

In a league of 100 loss teams the 1967 Mets have been a loser among losers as with 38 games to go they are a single loss away from being mathematically eliminated. Dare I say Amazing?

Heroes: No question who the hero is on this team Tom Seaver is 15-8 with an ERA of 3.36 and 167 K’s vs only 58 walks he’s also pitched 8 complete games which is seven more than the rest of the rotation combined. Despite playing in 103 games Bob Johnson has only managed 167 at bats but in those limited at bats he’s hit .365 with an OPS of .880

Zeroes: At the plate Jerry Grote has been the lowest of the low lights for the gothamites (.170 1 HR 26 RBI in 317 AB) on the mound despite Jack Fisher’s 2-16 record the biggest villains in the rotation are Don Cardwell (4-12 3.16 avg 5.58 ERA) and Dennis Bennett (4-10 6.26 ERA 19 HR in 100 2/3 innings)

Wild Cards: Polhittingly Correct The Mets bats are careful not to offend anyone. They are not only the last in the league in HR, but last in Runs, Doubles RBI’s OBP Slugging and OPS

Coming Attractions: the 1974 SanDiego Padres get the honor of trying to officially eliminate the Mets at their home but if they fail to do so, the 2004 Arizona Diamondback get four chances to do it in Shea before they head off to Houston to face the 2012 Astros.

DaTechGuy’s AM Court Livestream 9:30 AM Friday Topics MSM Reade or Not @POTUS the man with a Opening plan, WHO are you fooling

It’s time for the lastest edition of DaTechGuy’s Friday Morning Court now permanently moved to 9:30 AM EST on Friday’s

Today’s topics

  1. MSM Reade or not?
  2. Trump the Man with an Opening Plan
  3. WHO are you fooling?
  4. and misc including Catching Mike Trout and product placement

You can watch the livestream here starting a 9:30 AM EST

Remember this is completely a tip jar operation we’re looking to pick up an extra $180 a month via dapodcast we need another $135 for April so if you like what you see consider hitting DaTipjar and if you’re not in a position to then like the video or spread it around and subscribe as I’m a few hundred Youtube subscribers away from qualifying for ad cash on the channel.

Review: Season Three of Ozark

By John Ruberry

Late last month Season Three of Ozark began streaming on Netflix. The center point of the story is the Bryde family, father Marty (Jason Bateman), a former Chicago financial planner, mother Wendy (Laura Linney), a onetime Illinois Democrat political operative, and their children, teens Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz), and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner).

In the first season Marty, talks his way out of assassination by convincing his killers that he can be of great use to his Mexican drug cartel client, who turns out to be Omar Navarro (Felix Solis), by laundering even more money for him in the Lake of the Ozarks region of southern Missouri. He does that of course for self-survival, but also for his family.

If you haven’t seen Ozark yet the following paragraph and the trailer contains minor spoilers.

But being the money guy–with bloody hands–is a strain for the other Byrdes, even though Wendy is for the most part a willing participant as the family moves up from laundering cash though a failing restaurant, then a fledgling church, and finally a casino boat, which is how the second season ends–the final shot is a sepia still of the Byrdes–with none of them smiling–at the grand opening. 

Warning: “F bomb” in the trailer.

The second season introduced the cartel’s lawyer, the cold-blooded Helen Pierce (Janet McTeer), another Chicagoan. Like the Byrdes, she is facing a challenge by balancing her criminality with her family, specifically her teen daughter Erin (Madison Thompson). Helen and Erin in Season Three move to the Ozarks for the summer.

The primary new character in the third season is Wendy’s troubled younger brother Ben Davis (Tom Pelphrey), who offers the best performance so far in Ozark in an Emmy-worthy performance. Laura Linney is superb again too.

Meanwhile the Navarros are at war with another cartel. And as with most of the major European wars since the 17th century, the battles cannot stay contained in a tight geographic area. The cartels are always “all in” in their fights–and the title of the last episode of the third season is “All In.”

The FBI, which is not shown in a favorable light throughout the series, remains hot on the heals of the Byrdes. Which means Marty and Wendy not only have to balance their money laundering and shell companies with the needs of Navarro along with the demands of parenthood, but they are also under the constant scrutiny of the FBI, this time led by an agent of better character than what we’ve seen before here, Maya Miller (Jessica Frances Dukes). 

One one more headache for the Byrdes is the Kansas City mob.

Of course there was criminality in the Ozarks before the arrival of the Tom and Daisy Buchanan of Missouri, Marty and Wendy, who as F. Scott Fitzgerald said of former in The Great Gatsby, “smashed up things and creatures.” Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner), the leader of that family’s small-time criminal family, is now an integral member of Bryde Family Enterprises. But the other homegrown female crime leader, Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery), an avowed enemy of the Brydes, revs up her operation after a respite.

This is the best Ozark season yet. The penultimate episode, “Fire Pink,” is the most powerful one and it contains an homage to the film noir classic The Killers, which starred Burt Lancaster. The 1964 remake, a thriller with John Cassavetes in the Lancaster role, is worth a look too. It was Ronald Reagan’s last dramatic film appearance. 

Ozark is rated TV-MA. It contains graphic violence, torture, obscene language, and nudity.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

All Time Great Team League League report: AL & NL Division 1

Here is a report on one division in the All time great league for Dynasty Baseball game. A report will come out each week for one AL & NL division. Note there are still as of this writing 7 teams looking for a non-computer manager and until 3/31 Dynasty the maker of the game is offering a month free with code USA2 You can join here.

AL Div 1

2005 Chicago White Sox

The pale hose 5-4 start while not exciting is currently good enough for sole possession of 1st place albeit only by 1/2 a game. After losing their opening series vs the 1970 Orioles back to back series wins vs Toronto and Oakland have been just good enough to keep them clinging to a lead, time will tell if that can be maintained.

Heroes: Tadahito Iguchi is on a hitting tear with a .389 avg good enough for 4th in the early season while Scott Posednick’s 6 stolen bases is a tie for the league lead

Zeroes: Bobby Jenks has found his way into four of the teams 9 games and has opponents hitting .409 against him with an ERA of 9.00 Meanwhile at the plate the only nice thing you can say about Jermaine Dye’s start is that while his anemic .182 is last in the team his .229 is better than Joe Crede or Juan Uribe but without any RBI or HR RBIs.

Wild Card: The White Sox success has been despite their failure to find a permanent manager for the season can they keep it up without one and if they find one can he continue to keep them on top?

Coming attractions: It’s a trip to the NL East for 3 vs the Mets at Shea then south to Baltimore for three more.


1970 Orioles

.500 ball over their last 12 might be good enough for 2nd place in the division but new manager Joe S expects better out of the defending division champs who found themselves dropping two straight series one to Toronto and another to the Defending World Series champion Dodgers. Will the return to the DH make the difference?

Heroes: Jim Palmer is all over the leaderboards in just about every category leads the league in wins, WHIP & HR per 9 innings while Boog Powell continues to put the fear of God into the heart of every pitcher he faces.

Zeros: Dave McNally has put the fear of God in the heart of his manager with an 0-3 start and an ERA of 8.25. Meanwhile Pete Richert’s perfect record of two losses and two blown saves in two appearances is turning heads in the wrong direction.

Wild Card: It’s always odd when manager moves on to a different franchise but when he does so AFTER leading a team to a division championship it gets harder for his replacement. Can Baltimore’s new manager get his team to the series when his predecessor could not?

Coming Attractions: 9 straight home games in division starting with the 1st place White Sox followed by Oakland and Toronto will give their fans a chance to cheer their team back into first. That is if the team can rise back to their division winning ways


1988 Oakland A’s

There are few things more discouraging than staring your season blowing a 7-0 lead but twelve games in a half game out is nothing to sneeze at for a team with both Power and pitching and 2nd flock of the games in the division they are more than in a position to strike

Heroes: Dennis Eckersley, despite his opening day loss he has bounced back saving games for Nelson, Welsh and Burns before holding on against Arizona to to even his record. Dave Henderson: With a .367 avg 4 HR and a dozen RBI’s he leads the league in 3 offense categories while placing in the top 10 in 5 others.

Zeros: Jose Canseco despite a pair of Home Runs is managing only a .143 avg and a .246 OB with 19 K’s in 49 at bats. Dave Stewart In three starts opponents are hitting a solid .375 with an ERA of 9.37 a full five runs over the team avg despite only a single loss against him.

Wild Card: Nobody in their right mind would describe Doug Jennings as anything but a backup so his season ending injury might not seem big but over the course of a 162 game season his loss means one less day of rest for a player who might need it or one pinch hit or run that doesn’t happen

Coming Attractions: The A’s get a chance to jump ahead with the last place Yanks coming to town before getting a 2nd shot at the Orioles before running back for a shot at the Red Sox.


Toronto Blue Jays 1993

The Bluejays after an incredible comeback on opening day have not fared as well as they like going 4-6 and possessing the only losing record in the division. But despite this they remain only a game out of first since but despite this remain but a game out of first, more than close enough to strike.

Heroes: Roberto Alomar is hitting over .400 (.404) with an OPS of 1.100. While Rickey Henderson has combined a .311 avg and five stolen bases with three outfield assists in less that a dozen games.

Zeros: Jack Morris has managed in two starts to go 0-2 with an ERA of 8.64 with hitters pounding him at a .389 clip in less than 9 innings. Tony Fernandez, while a single error and a .979 fielding percentage at short is not bad a .200 batting avg and OB percentage is a drag a full .89 points below the rest of the team.

Wild Card: With the only turf stadium in the league will other teams struggle on the unfamiliar surface or will Toronto pay for their surface in DL trips such as Ed Sprague‘s?

Coming attractions: A win in their final game vs Cincinnati can get them back to .500 in time to face a Kansas City team on a mini losing streak and a shot a the 1st place White Sox and 2nd place Orioles on the road.


NL Div 1

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers

The Defending World Champion Dodgers picked up where they left off last year with an 8-4 start including 7-3 in their last 10 and a +24 run differential against their foes If this pace keeps up they may repeat their running away with the division but with 4 more teams and an an extra round of playoffs to deal with they’ll need that to get started.

Heroes: Gil Hodges after winning the NL MVP last season has picked up right where he left off leading the NL in batting and 2nd in OBP & OBP + Slugging. Meanwhile on the mound Karl Spooner is making up for spending most of last season on the DL with a 2-0 record without giving up a run in two starts and holding opponents to a .059 avg.

Zeros: Jim Hughes has been a workhorse working in seven games but a horse with an era of 8.59 while being responsible for a solid quarter of the homers allowed by the team. Roy Campanella has been in a slump of epic proportions hitting a mere .095 and an even more pathetic OBP of .152

Wild Card: With Karl Spooner back this season George Shuba‘s major league stint is over. Last year he spent half a season in the majors hitting .264 in limited service and .333 during the post season. He’s back in the minors and hoping for a 2nd chance and ring, will he get it?

Coming attractions: A trip to Arizona is followed by a 15 game homestand which begins with the last place mets given them a great chance to increase their lead.


Arizona Diamondbacks 2013

For a team that had no business being in an all time great league (the 2001 version was supposed to be invited) they’ve kept pace very well including a series win against the World Champion Dodgers. Their .500 start is good for 2nd place so far and with a little bit of effort 1st place can remain in reach.

Heroes: Paul Goldschmidt .396 and 4 HR have been an unpleasant surprise to pitching staffs around the league. If a .350 avg and seven RBI’s were not enough to celebrate Geraldo Para playing all three positions in the outfield without an error but with an assist would clinch it.

Zeros: Some might think this Arizona team doesn’t belong in this league and Reliever Joe Thatcher is their patron saint thanks to an era of 10.57 and a batting against avg of .441. While Cliff Pennington’s .333 avg looks good on paper a single run scored and none driven in doesn’t make up for two errors in four games.

Wild Card: JJ Putz has been an Arizona workhorse appearing in more than half of the teams game but with a serious injury that will keep him out till early or mid May can anyone else carry the load?

Coming attractions: A six game homestand gives them a chance to repeat their fine start against the Dodgers and welcome Cincinnati who is right behind them before getting another crack at the Mets this time in Shea.


1975 Cincinnati Reds

The Big Red machine did not envision themselves at 5-6 after 11 their only winning series being against a weaker Arizona team, but can their big bats and stingy pitching staff (2nd fewest runs allowed in the league) turn things around before the Dodgers get too far ahead to catch, particularly with the Defense of Caesar Geronimo out of the lineup.

Heroes: Johnny Bench with 3 homers and .340 avg remains a terror to opposing pitchers who dare throw to him. Meanwhile while there has not been a lot to cheer from the bullpen Will McEnaney’s 1.17 ERA & 1.54 AVG has been a breath of fresh air

Zeros: The bullpen has three blown saves in three chances and the worst offender has been Pedro Borbon with 2 Blown saves and a .348 avg for batters. One might forgive Tony Perez his slow start and .226 avg, but it’s hard to be forgiving with no HR only one RBI and a single extra base hit

A Wild Card: The injury of Caesar Geronimo means the possibility of more offence at the Center Field position but will such offense come at the cost of a vulnerable defense.

Coming attractions: Four games remain in Cincinnati’s 12 game homestand one more vs Toronto and 3 against the SF Giants before they head to Arizona in the hopes of getting hot.


1986 New York Mets

There is not a lot to cheer about in New York as the Mets , after starting with two wins in a row dropped six of their last seven and between Gary Carter who was injured on opening day a team that has three pitchers with ERA’s over 10.00 and a flock of bad fielding they are resembling the 67 mets more than a champion team.

Heroes: With two saves in three chances and a 2.38 ERA Roger McDowell has been the rare bright spot in a pitching staff that has been a dismal failure. Meanwhile Mookie Wilson with a pair of HR’s a .308 avg and 12 hits has managed to do what is necessary.

Zeroes: Not only has Howard Johnson not been appetizing at the plate with a .222 avg and a single solo homer but in the field his four errors and .636 fielding percentage doesn’t even rise to the level of anemic. Meanwhile on a staff with a team ERA of 6.24 there are plenty of Zero candidates but Ron Darling with his 0-2 record & 19.89 ERA rises or shall I say falls below the rest.

Wild Card: Ed Hearn was pressed into service behind the plate with the Carter injury at the bat he has been at least serviceable with a .265 Avg 1 HR and 5 RBI but behind the plate he has allowed nine of ten baserunners to steal.

Coming attractions: The bad news continues for the Mets as they face the 1st place White Sox before taking on Philly and then with Gary Carter back traveling to LA & Arizona

Sundays at Rest: The Movies I’ve Bought from Amazon: The Seven Samurai


I’m been meaning to get this Series of movie posts started for while but with Corona Virus/Wuhan Virus panic in place it seems the best time to start recommending movies to buy and watch at home that perhaps folks have not seen.


Common sense tells you that a movie that runs over three hours and twenty minutes would have a slow moment or two that you can or want to take your eyes off the screen.

However that is only common sense if you’ve never watched the Seven Samurai.

There is not a shot, not a performance and not a line not even a glance in the picture that is wasted. Everything plays to the story. It’s everything that a movie is supposed to me.

If you are firm in the quite rational belief that The Godfather or Casablanca or Gone With the Wind or Citizen Cane is the greatest movie ever made nothing will challenge it more than watching this movie.

In theory the movie is about Seven Samurai who are hired come to save a poor village from bandits.

The reality is it’s really about how the process of doing so saves them. I find it one of the most Catholic movies I’ve ever seen. It’s all about responsibility, sacrifice and being one brother’s keeper and the costs that come from it.

In the beginning we see the bandits arriving at the village and noting that the barley harvest has not yet taken place and deciding to come back later when it does. The villagers frustrated by the cycle that all of their labor going to feed others without recompense look for a solution. The old man of the villege suggesting hiring Samurai. When they insist they have nothing to offer expect for food he replies “Find Hungry Samurai”.

Thus begins the 1st of three distinct phases of the picture

  1. The quest to find Samurai
  2. The preparing of the village
  3. The Actual Battle

For the modern viewer ignorant of history the culture shock of the caste system whereby a Samurai has the authority to kill and the villager is nothing and where rice is a currency in itself is striking, but this group of poor farmers attempt to approach Samurai who consider themselves far above them is really something. Eventually they get lucky when they encounter Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura) a wandering rōnin, (masterless samauri) who saves a young boy taken hostage by a bandit who considers their problem and agrees to help, they also get in the bargain the young and inexperienced Katsushirō (Isao Kimura) who, impressed by Kambei’s rescue of the child begs to be his disciple. Meanwhile Kikuchiyo also impressed by Kambei’s ( Toshirô Mifune ) actions starts shadowing them .

This entire sequence of Kambei attempting to find and recruit men to go on this quest that offers no glory or reward could easily stand alone as a movie in its own right. In fact if this picture was made in 2014 instead of 1954 it would likely have without a doubt been a trilogy and a whole franchise. Eventually Kambei recruits an old friend Shichirōji ( Daisuke Katô ), Gorobei ( Yoshio Inaba) who is fascinated by Kambei, Heihachi ( Minoru Chiaki) whose real skill is morale rather than the sword ; and Kyūzō ( Seiji Miyaguchi ) the master swordsman interested only his his craft.

These six (followed by Kikuchiyo ) head to the village where the 2nd part of the movie begins. The interaction between the villagers and the Samurai, the preparation for the attack and the bonding of them as a team and dramatic contrast as the villagers deal with both their fear of the Samurai and the sacrifices that they come to realize this entails. There is also the drama of Rikichi one of the farmers who went to recruit the Samurai who has a painful history unknown to them.  It is also a time of comic relief provided mainly by Kikuchiyo & Heihachi who never passes up a chance to needle him.

The climax of this idylic scene comes shortly after the encounter between Katsushirō and Shino ( Keiko Tsushima ) whose father Manzo ( Kamatari Fujiwara ) has disguised as a boy to hide her from the Samurai he fears. They spot three scouts for the bandits coming to spy on the village and the transition to the final phase of the movie, The Battle, begins.

The initial repulse of the 1st attack fills the villagers with confidence that they will be left alone for easier pickings but when they discover that the bandits are in worse shape than them and need to conquer or starve comes the realization that it is a battle to the end. Here we see the real costs of war as the villagers and the samurai both take losses up to the climax.

Ironically director Akira Kurosawa was constantly going over budget and Toho films tried to kill the project repeatedly. Kurosawa who wrote as well as Directed the picture however reasoned that the investment in the picture had been so great that they were unlikely to let it die and successfully argued fought for its completion.

While the movie was a success the critics in Japan were not as impressed but upon foreign release it reaped rewards and directors far and wide would be inspired by this storytelling. The film would be remade in the US as the Magnificent Seven replacing samurai with gunfighters with Mexico as a setting over Japan but the reach of this film, it’s cinematography is perfect, the performances (particularly Mifune & Shimura ) are outstanding and complement some of the best writing and storytelling you will see in a movie.

Social Isolation from the Corona / Wuhan Virus might not be pleasant, but if it means that you and millions others will discover this classic it will certainly not be wasted.