“It’s Not Ideal” T-Shirts On Sale Now!

What a dumpster fire of a press conference that was by the Red Sox. A lot of quotes that made me cringe and/or laugh out loud. This one by John Henry spoke to me though. So much so that we had to slap it on a t-shirt because laughing is the only thing we can do to keep from crying. Buy a shirt now!

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The Astros Got SMOKED by MLB, Alex Cora Got Fired, Yet Owners Still Aren’t Happy

ESPNThe kneecapping of the Houston Astros went off Monday in exquisite fashion. Big names were fired. Draft picks were revoked. A record fine was levied. Pounds of flesh were exacted from egregious cheaters. The optics worked. The Astros’ comeuppance was here, and it was severe. Major League Baseball was righting an obvious wrong.

As the day rolled on and people around baseball pondered exactly what had happened, a less obvious version of the story emerged. It was all so tidy, all so clean, so carefully orchestrated and meticulously calibrated — like something the Astros, ever lauded for their efficiency and ruthlessness, might concoct…As much as MLB played the big, bad monolith in delivering the ruinous news from on high, this was not some unilateral punishment for the Astros. It was a sneak peek inside the sausage factory of power and the anger that Crane’s relative acquittal caused across the league…Multiple ownership-level sources told ESPN that dissatisfaction with the penalties had emerged following a conference call with Manfred, in which he explained how the Astros would be disciplined, then told teams to keep their thoughts to themselves..”Crane won,” he said. “The entire thing was programmed to protect the future of the franchise. He got his championship. He keeps his team. His fine is nothing. The sport lost, but Crane won.”

It’s a long read, but I definitely recommend you check out Jeff Passan’s whole story because it is a pretty fascinating peak behind the curtain. My first reaction to the Astros news yesterday was that they got absolutely HAMMERED by the league. The other owners don’t seem to agree. While I completely understand owners around the league still being bullshit at the Astros, this Passan story just shows how out of touch these team owners have become. What the hell do you want Manfred to do? He fined the Astros the largest team penalty in league history at $5M (and the maximum allowed under MLB rules), banned the GM and the manager for a year and took 1st and 2nd round picks from the team for the next two years. I know, I know the Astros will recoup most of that $5M, if not more in money saved from not having to pay those four draft picks.

With all things considered, thats still pretty, pretty savage. Especially for an organization like MLB that is basically setup like a franchise model thats comprised of franchisees operating their own businesses. For all his faults, Manfred is working with what he’s got here and a lot of that is playing politics amongst 30 billionaires. These owners have no idea what it takes to appease a boss, let alone 30 bosses that make 100x what you make annually, so to bitch and moan about the punishment rings hollow.

“Manfred’s report named Beltran as one of the players involved in the scheme, though the league did not discipline him because it gave players immunity in exchange for their testimony.

That choice registered publicly as another curious part of Manfred’s ultimate decision. What sort of disciplinary action clears players for a “player-driven” scheme? The answer is a practical one. Between the well-defined lines that held GMs and managers responsible and the fear of the Major League Baseball Players Association defending any discipline against active players and sending the cases into grievance hell, Manfred’s pragmatism here, though not satisfying, is understandable.”

Have these guys never watched a cop movie in their lives? Or an episode of The Sopranos? You gotta let some of the small time guys off the hook if you want to get anyone to talk about the Capos. This ain’t the NBA in the 70s where David Stern could just tell some bum owners what was going to happen and they had to accept it.

Now its just a matter of time until Alex Cora gets absolutely roasted himself. Passan cited two sources saying “the end of Cora’s time in Boston could be coming” Alex Cora got the axe from John Henry on Tuesday night. During the middle of the Jeopardy GOAT Tournament no less, which is about as big of a news dump as I can remember.

This came as no surprise because of the optics of the situation. There was no way the Sox were going to take that heat for a guy who in all likelihood won’t be able to work for *at least* the next year. AJ Hinch already completely threw Cora under the bus in the statement he released

Although Shaugnessy did a nice job playing both sides of the fence on this one and reported on Tuesday that the Sox may not actually fire Cora.

I think any reasonable person understands sign stealing happens in baseball and the more technology you add the more sophisticated the sign stealing is going to become. Granted it’s my favorite baseball team that is embroiled in this, but as former Marlins slugger Logan Morrison has said, he knows first hand of several teams that do the same type of stuff.

Manfred’s report directly references how teams like the Yankees were fined for doing the same exact thing in 2017. I mean Cora even joked about Carlos Beltran and how much he’s “helped” the Yankees after the Sox got bludgeoned by them in the London Series last season.

So lets not all start acting like this is someone stealing a $20 out of the Sunday School collection basket. This is a bunch of guys getting bagged doing something they should not have been doing and they knew it. This is not the 1918 Black Sox throwing a game and ruining the integrity of baseball.

Just take a look at the response Passan got when he asked an unnamed team president if he would take that hit for a World Series title:

“I don’t know that I would,” one team president said, “but I don’t know that I wouldn’t.” It was an honest answer.”

So everybody just pump the breaks on the hysteria train before you hurt yourselves.

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Odell Beckham Was Literally Handing Out Cash to LSU Players After the National Championship

I couldn’t care less that Odell Beckham gave out cold hard cash to LSU players after their National Championship win. Besides being laugh out loud funny, I actually think it’s awesome. I’ve long been a proponent of letting NCAA athletes make money off their own names, but I also am an adult and realize that there are some pretty well known rules around college athletes and paying them. All Odell did was put these kids in a shitty spot. Sure Joe Burrow just played his last game, but some sophomore might get hosed by the archaic NCAA because Odell gave him a few crisp benjamins.

Shoutout to LSU for the completely believable spin they put on this saying the cash OBJ gave out was fake.

OBJ takes a lot of shit in the media, but he does bring a lot of it on himself. However, this is another instance of why Twitter is the best website in the world. I’ve been laughing my ass off instead of working for like 20 minutes at all the NCAA tweets.

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Chad Ochocinco is Trying Out for the XFL. As a Kicker.

So Mattes and I were discussing the XFL earlier and the one question he asked me was, “will you watch?” My answer was the same as it was for that disaster that was the AAF: I’m going to try. Where the AAF was just bad NFL football, at least the XFL will be playing with some rule tweaks to make the game quicker and differentiate it from the NFL.

Now Vince McMahon does sees much more wary of turning the XFL into a circus act like it was the first time around so you don’t see many big name former NFL players in the league just to grab attention. It looks like they’re trying to build something semi legitimate so maybe he doesn’t want former wide receivers joining the league as kickers, but hey lets see what he’s got at least.

I mean it’s not a total gimmick either; the man has legitimately kicked field goals in NFL games before. Against the Patriots no less.

As a well known FIFA diehard Ochocinco is no stranger to striking and apparently he can boot the ball.

Unfortunately for Ocho, the XFL nearly eliminated the need for a kicker by removing extra point field goal attempts. They also pushed the kickoff back 10 yards from where the NFL and college does it so unless you’re kicking it 75+ yards you’re probably not getting many touchbacks.

All I know is football is more fun when Chad Ochocinco is a part of it so I’m pulling for him.

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The Bruins Invented a Totally New Way to Lose, Fall to 0-7 This Year in Shootouts

The Bruins have been pretty bad in shootouts for as long as I can remember. I used to attribute it to Claude Julien just using wacky shootout lineups with absolute scrubs going before guys like Bergeron. Well, this year they have been even worse. In fact after blowing a 3 goal lead and then losing in yet another shootout last night, the Bruins fell to 0-7 on the year in shootouts. Even worse was the fashion in which they dropped this one.

Holy hell. What’d Marchand spot a pretty blonde behind the net? The only reason I even knew it was possible to lose like this is because I accidentally did the same exact thing once in NHL 2009 on Xbox 360. I literally just laughed out loud as this unfolded.

So the Bruins continue their run of embarrassing shootout performances, which is odd considering they have two of the leading goal scorers in the league in Marchand and David Pastrnak. The Bruins may need to hire an outside consultant like Sparky Polastri to shake things up a bit.

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The 300s Official Oscar Nominations Round-Up

As many of you know, I like to go to the movies. A lot. Thanks to AMC rolling out their $20 a month for unlimited movies plan, I try to go at least once a week to see whatever is playing, good or bad. I’ve really gotten into the Oscars the last few years or so, and I’ve seen “pretty much” every movie nominated for the big awards this year, so I figured I’d run through the list and give some of my thoughts.

A good thing about this year’s batch is that there aren’t any movies nominated for Best Picture, that I’d classify as “Oscar-bait.” You know what they are when you see them. The “Call Me By Name’s, and the “Roma’s,” of the world. You absolutely have to respect them because of how well they are shot, directed, and acted, but the plot just never really hooks you or appeals to you at all. None of those this year, thank goodness.

(Note: there are still two or three movies that were nominated for the big awards that I haven’t seen)

On to the nominees.

BEST PICTURE


Ford vs. Ferrari: The ultimate Dad movie. Christian Bale, Matt Damon and race cars. What more could a guy in their mid 50s wants. My last two cars have been Subarus, so I wouldn’t be exactly what you’d call a “car guy,” but the last third of the movie where it focused on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, had me at the edge of my seat. That being said, the movie is a little too long, and Damon and Bale don’t make the characters all that memorable. I wouldn’t have nominated it for Best Picture.

The Irishman: Speaking of LONG movies, here we got The Irishman. An absolute epic made by and with some of the gods in Hollywood. Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino, Pesci. This is something I feel like I need to re-watch again because I watched it over three sittings on multiple days. I’d classify it as a “liked, but not loved it” movie. Pacino steals the movie with his role as Jimmy Hoffa. Just an absolute crazy man with some legendary rants throughout. Definitely deserves to be nominated for Best Pic, but I’d throw it in the middle-tier of nominated flicks.


Jojo Rabbit: One of my Top 5 favorite movies of the year. Taika Waititi can do no wrong for me. First Thor: Ragnarok, now this. He’s on an absolute heater and now he’s bringing Christian Bale into the MCU with his next Thor movie. Let’s. Go. A perfect mix of comedy, drama and tension. Waititi as a young, confused Nazi’s imaginary best friend (who happens to be Adolf Hitler), is just a ridiculous concept and he pulls it off so well. Sam Rockwell is in this too as a Nazi general, and you know he’s going to kill in every movie he’s in.  Also full marks to Thomasin Mckenzie (go see Leave No Trace, a great movie which literally no one saw. She kills her role in that.) and ScarJo! The year of ScarJo! Her two best acting performances in back to back flicks. I feel like not a ton of people saw this, but once it gets on high demand, I highly HIGHLY recommend it. 

Joker: Feel like this is the most divisive movie on the list. People either loved or hated it. Well except me, I’m kind of in the middle here. Joaquin Phoenix killed his role as Arthur Fleck turning into the Joker, and it’s a fascinating character story which dives into the problems of mental illness, and the lack of support for those struggling with the disease. I just didn’t like the “twist” at the end. It was pretty clear to me, that (SPOILER) he was making a lot of shit up in his head. The last scene of the movie with De Niro’s talk show host and Fleck was great tension, but there was also a lot of meh parts in it too. I didn’t think we needed to include the Thomas Wayne subplot. Don’t think it added much to the plot and it seems like it was shoehorned in there so you could be like “Oh, yeah this is a Batman movie.” I would have been fine with just subtle easter eggs that could have appealed to the comic book fans in the room.


Little Women: I clearly wasn’t the demographic this movie was intended for, but I still enjoyed this, DESPITE, the incessant chatter commentating on every single scene of the movie by the two middle-older aged women sitting next to me. And people think millennials are the problem with society… Greta Gerwig is one of the best directors in Hollywood and it’s a shame she wasn’t nominated for this. I hadn’t seen any of the older movies or read the book, so I was only vaguely familiar with the story coming in, which probably made me more engaged with the movie. Florence Pugh (Midsommar, Fighting With My Family) was probably the highlight of the movie for me and I was pleasantly surprised to see her earn an Oscar nom. She was definitely the highlight for me over her more-acclaimed co-star Saoirse Ronan. My biggest complaint was that they told this movie in a non-linear way, when I think they could have told it without switching back and forth between present and past timelines. I could see Gerwig choosing this method to differentiate this version from all the previous iterations, but as a first-time viewer it was a little muddy at times.

Marriage Story: If you were to ask what movie had the best overall acting this year, this would be my number one choice in a heartbeat. Adam Driver and ScarJo absolutely kill it in each of their roles and they have great chemistry together, despite the disintegrating chemistry of their characters. Laura Dern and Ray Liotta also provide a really interesting look at the cutthroat nature of divorce lawyers, although I wonder how realistic some of the tactics that they used actually are. It’s a really well-done movie that has you going back and forth siding with each side of the couple during the course of the movie, while highlighting the tiny details which can make divorce such a painful and messy process. The fight scene in the condo which was getting memed all over the internet may be one of the best scenes of the year. 

 

1917: HAVEN’T SEEN YET. 

Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood: We’re getting to my two favorite movies on the list now. I am a big Tarantino fan (Inglourious Basterds might be my favorite movie of all-time and I even enjoyed The Hateful Eight, which many people hated.) This is just Tarantino, Leo and Pitt at their absolute best. I could watch Leo and Brad do anything together, and it’s crazy that this is the first time they’ve ever worked together. Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate is awesome as well, and she puts in a great performance showing a burgeoning actress at the peak of her life who was on the cusp of superstardom. The whole movie, you are just sensing the obvious dread for her, until Tarantino throws a complete u-turn into the whole movie with one of the most incredible sequences I’ve seen in a movie in a while. My biggest gripe with the movie is probably that the acting scenes of Rick Dalton go on a bit too long, but I understand the necessity of them to fully understand and flesh out Dalton’s character.


Parasite: My favorite movie of the year. I was absolutely blown away. I came into this movie pretty much completely blind, just knowing that the film was completely in Korean and that it had a positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And it was awesome. It is essentially two different movies. The first half being a social commentary about class and wealth, and then halfway through, the movie is completely flipped upside down and becomes something else completely. It is a completely original concept and there really has never been a movie anything like this one. I really hesitate to say more, because I feel like not many people have seen this movie yet as it wasn’t even released in the AMC theater near me. Had to venture into Providence to go find it. Now that it’s nominated for Best Picture, it’s just going to get more and more buzz, I cannot recommend this enough. Don’t let the subtitles scare you away.

SNUBS

Knives Out: Damn, I wanted this to get nominated so bad. Such a fun experience. Daniel Craig was just born to play a Southerner, I guess? I love movies that plant little clues throughout the movie that are eventually tied together at the end, and this does it with the best of them. Also one of the funniest movies of the year, the running gags they have and some of the one-liners are just hysterical. Brilliant script and I’m glad Rian Johnson got at least nominated for screenplay. Only nitpick I have,is that the true “mastermind” was a little predictable, even if the reveal of how they did it was not.

Uncut Gems: Adam Sandler, Kevin Garnett AND Mike Francesa??? Yes, please. No Oscar nominations for this movie is super sad, because this is one of the more anxious and tense movies I’ve ever sat through. It’s also one of the noisiest. There’s no time to breathe, no silence. Something loud is happening in literally every scene. Just a whirlwind of a movie that absolutely flies by. Julia Fox is going to be an absolute star in the future. Must-see.

Avengers: Endgame: Obviously, no chance of getting nominated for Best Pic, but it would be criminal for me not to include it here. Brilliant end to a decade-long stretch of incredible movies.



Now, some rapid fire takes on the other five major noms :

Best Actor:

Antonio BanderasPain and Glory

Leonardo DiCaprioOnce Upon a Time … in Hollywood 

Adam DriverMarriage Story 

Joaquin PhoenixJoker 

Jonathan PryceThe Two Popes

Haven’t seen Pain and Glory or The Two Popes. Still sounds like a three-way race between Leo, Driver and Phoenix either way. I’m a big Leo fan so I will be rooting for him to win it, but I think Joaquin Phoenix will get an overdue first Oscar. Sandler needs to be in here.

Best Actress

Cynthia ErivoHarriet 

Scarlett JohanssonMarriage Story

Saoirse RonanLittle Women 

Charlize TheronBombshell 

Renée ZellwegerJudy

Haven’t seen Harriet. Give me ScarJo here, although quick shoutout to Charlize Theron, she looks and sounds so much like Megyn Kelly in Bombshell, that it’s a little scary. Zellweger as Judy Garland will probably win and she was very good in her role, but the movie was a snoozefest.

Best Supporting Actor

Tom HanksA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Anthony HopkinsThe Two Popes

Al PacinoThe Irishman

Joe PesciThe Irishman

Brad PittOnce Upon a Time … in Hollywood

Haven’t seen The Two Popes. Just a couple of no-name struggling actors in this category, eh. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, was a little different than I thought it would be, but very enjoyable movie, and Hanks absolutely deserves a nomination, and it is rightfully as a supporting actor. I would give this to Pacino, but I have no qualms if Pitt wins it.

Best Supporting Actress

Kathy BatesRichard Jewell

Laura DernMarriage Story

Scarlett JohanssonJojo Rabbit 

Florence PughLittle Women 

Margot RobbieBombshell

Not the strongest batch in my opinion. Robbie was better in Once Upon a Time, than she was in Bombshell. Dern was really good, but she was basically playing the same character as she did in Big Little Lies, and she had limited screen time. Bates was fine, but nothing spectacular in Richard Jewell. Comes down to Pugh or ScarJo for me, and I’ll take ScarJo here, but I think Dern wins.

 

Best Director

Martin Scorsese – The Irishman

Todd Phillips – Joker

Sam Mendes – 1917

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Bong Joon-ho – Parasite

Bong Joon-ho is my new king, and he absolutely deserves this award. Although I wouldn’t be that upset if Tarantino wins. Mendes won the Globe, but I’ll reserve my opinions until I actually see the movie. Gerwig should be here instead of Phillips.

Top 5 Movies of the Year (NON-ENDGAME DIVISION):

5. Jojo Rabbit
4. Knives Out
3. Uncut Gems
2. Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
1. Parasite

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The Patriots are Too Old, Too Beat Up, and Now the Vultures are Circling. Here. They. Come.

Theres just something about old, grizzled, veteran teams making a final stand that I love more than anything. It’s the reason why the 2011-12 Celtics are one of my favorite teams of all-time despite the nightmarish end to that season. That old, veteran team spawned the greatest rallying cry for fans of old ass teams everywhere.

And just like that Celtics team, this year’s New England Patriots and Tom Brady specifically are like the last Spartan in 300. Just fighting until the last man. Now I wouldn’t exactly qualify Ryan Tannehill and the Titans as the Persians in this situation, but not all analogies are perfect so work with me.

I refuse to believe the wide receiver turned Dolphins quarterback in Ryan Tannehill unseats the Patriots. Then again he’s been playing absolutely lights out as was former Dolphins runningback Kenyan Drake who went from afterthought to fantasy juggernaut in Arizona. So maybe its the Dolphins who are garbage more so than the players we’ve dragged for years. And maybe Tannehill and Mike Vrabel do have what it takes to come into Foxborough to knock the Pats out in potentially Tom Brady’s last game as a Patriot.

But, the Titans better hope so because Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have heard this song before and here. they. come.

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