10 Years Ago Today, The Perfect End to a Perfect Game.

This time of year is the sports doldrums, there is very little to get excited about. I mean all we have is Baseball, and Baseball isn’t exactly thrilling. Except for when it is. Ten years ago today was one of those thrilling times. It was when Mark Buehrle pitched the 18th perfect game in MLB history. He retired all nine Devil Rays three times each. The Rays were no slouch either, they had the second-highest team on-base percentage in MLB at the time.

I remember watching this game in real-time, I didn’t see the start but when I heard that a perfect game was in the making I turned on the TV at around the end of the 8th inning. What made this game more special than a normal perfect game was the effort put in by the manager Ozzie Guillen and the defense especially defensive substitution Dewayne Wise.

Ozzie Guillen made the perfect move putting a better, faster player in Centerfield.

Dewayne Wise made an incredible play to save the perfect game.

It was Buehrle’s perfect game, but he needed his team. He wasn’t mowing guys down like he was Randy Johnson.

Let’s take a look back at that 9th inning.

What a fucking play. No room for error, History on the line. Hats off to Wise, you could say Ozzie Guillen made a Wise decision to put him in. (sorry for that shitty dad joke)

Reviewing “Far From Home” + Adoring Jake Gyllenhaal & Tom Holland

If you haven’t see most films in the MCU and plan doing on so, you might want to stop reading. I’m going to talk about them in detail that could be considered “spoiling” them, and it’s necessary. In fact, if you’re behind in your plans to watch all of the MCU and haven’t read / have an understanding of the comics then you’re clown shoes. Viewing these films without having the slightest idea of Stan Lee’s true vision for the characters is how the Tobey Maguire Spidey got love and TOPHER FUCKING GRACE PLAYED VENOM. It’s how James McAvoy butchered Professor X while Mystique became a hero instead of a ruthless assassin, and for just to further enrage me, had zero attention given to her being Nightcrawler’s mom despite her saving a young Crawler in “Apocalypse” AND sharing the screen/aligning with his father Azazel in “First Class.” It’s how Oscar Isaac is merely the second worst bastardization of an iconic villain on film…his Blue Meanie styled Apocalypse was only bested (worsted?) by the second antagonist of Andrew Garfield’s Spidey run.

poc

Who was that, you ask? Jamie Foxx. His acting and the atrocious costume design turned Electro into a bright blue, evil blend of the main bad guy from “Blade 2” + Ray Charles + Vincent the cab driver from “Collateral.” How does the comic book’s dopeness get supplanted with an aqua “Walking Dead” extra?!?!?

electro

Now that we’ve established my belief that peeps who don’t have a shred of comic book influence + rep Marvel films are the worst, let’s dive into Spiderman: Far From Home via Jake Gyllenhaal’s masterfully designed Mysterio costume.

jakeg

For the nebs of the world – Mysterio’s real life name is Quentin Beck. His backstory differs in how its presented in Far From Home, but the changes make sense when weighed against the current political climate. His villainous ways are nearly identical to the source material – Mysterio controls super advanced illusion tech and displays hyper intelligence. He manipulates the world’s reality with the purely egotistical and maniacal thought processes in order to present himself as a hero. Sound familiar, rail riders? Gyllenhaal channels Quentin Beck’s charismatic, superficial persona with ease. Lots of modern stars probably could. It’s the “reveal” that he’s the villain of this flick that separates Jakey G from his peers. If I spoiled him being the bad guy of this movie for you, I hate you and I’m glad I did.

I’m going to get back to JG’s place among his contemporaries after I chuck some praise the way of Tom Holland. Holland’s Spidey is VASTLY SUPERIOR to Tobey’s and Garfield’s. Tobey couldn’t convince us he was a kid, and Garfield has one of the stupidest, ginger/emo faces in the world. In order to play Peter Parker aka Spiderman, it is paramount to be able to age yourself down. Spidey is a teenager! Imagine your 16 year-old self getting insanely awesome super powers and then figuring out how to handle the next day(s) of your life – it’d be awesome, but most teenage dudes are bumbling morons. Tobes and Garfield didn’t convey this even for a minute in their Spiderman renditions…Holland NAILS IT. Spiderman: Homecoming, his first full-feature appearance as Peter Parker, is just as good as Far From Home. Keaton’s performance as The Vulture is truly epic, but it’s Holland who ends up stealing the show. He seamlessly and effortlessly hooks you into the belief that he’s a teenage doofus, and he does so in the face of source material plot changes that shouldn’t enhance his on-screen presence. The MCU WAYYYY over emphasizes Ironman / Spiderman’s relationship. I believe they did this as a way to ease Holland into the part. It was a strategic, albeit silly decision to have him on screen with Downey’s perfected, almost too good portrayal of Tony Stark. Holland didn’t seem to mind in the slightest, and managed to sway me in FAVOR of the Stark / Parker paternal bond that I was witnessing unfold on screen. The kid has chops. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say he’s peerless among the new crop of leading males. His versatility, musical ability, and genuine charm has him running laps around Garfield, Miles Teller, Tye Sheridan, and Ansel Elgort. Taron Egerton is his closet competition, but him doing an Elton John impression isn’t nearly as impressive as what Holland has done with Parker (side tangent: Garfield, Elgort, and Egerton have all be sabotaged by Jamie “Trash Heap” Foxx. Garfield and Electro, Elforgt and his absurdly terrible gangster role in “Baby Driver,” and Egerton via the shitshow that was Guy Ritchie’s “Robin Hood.” Interesting or nah?).

holland

If you don’t get the “Dunny” usage, you need to get way wiser. Parker is from Queens, Mobb Deep is from Queens, and bad asses from Queens use “Dun” instead of “son.” You’re welcome.

Last note on Holland’s performance that I have to crush on – he CRUSHES a scene where he officially steps into Ironman’s shoes as the lead dog super hero alive. It got dusty, folks. Ya know, because Ironman died in “Infinity War.” I’d be remised if I didn’t throw some love Jon Favreau’s way. He’s really great as Happy, Ironman’s best friend and assistant. He’s even better as Spidey’s new father figure.

Now…back to my mainest man, Jake G. This movie cemented something for me that I’ve believed for a long time. Jake Gyllenhaal is the greatest actor of the LOADED Generation X / Millennial crop. He’s better than Leo, Pitt, Hardy, Bale, McConaughey, Cooper, Fassbender, Damon, both Afflecks, Gosling, Idris, Wahlberg, Joaquin, and Emeka Okafor. The one thing missing from his resume was ownership of a true blockbuster role, and that mission was expertly accomplished. His resume now contains standout performances with unparalleled range. Donnie Darko, Moonlight Mile, Brokeback Mountain, Jarhead, Zodiac, Love & Other Drugs, Source Code, End of Watch, Prisoners, Enemy, Nightcrawler, Southpaw, Demolition, Nocturnal Animals, and Far From Home. No other modern actor touches that variety or sniffs the consistent excellence within it. I’m not any other actor in history can do it, but I won’t go that far. I don’t give a flying fuck how many statues he has, because he should’ve gotten one for at least three of those roles. 2014 was the biggest robbery, as he didn’t get nominated for Nightcrawler ahead of DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort, Bale’s turn in the absurdly overrated American Hustle, and Wooderson’s coronation via Dallas Buyer’s Club. If ya didn’t appreciate JG before this blog, please do so now. And don’t be like Train and avoid these two excellent Spidey flicks. Hopefully this blog will finally get him to watch some supremely entertaining, surprisingly touching, and damn near perfect summer movie action.

Last stop, family! Tip your servers.

NBA Free Agency: A Beautiful New League.

It’s been a minute since my last sports-related blog but NBA free agency came in like a bat out of hell and reset the NBA. This is a glorious day. No longer is it the Warriors (if they stay healthy) and everyone else.

THIS LEAGUE.

We have Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant to thank for this…mostly Kawhi. The NBA is now made up of 5 types of teams.

  1. True Contenders.
  2. We just hit the reset button “process teams”
  3. Up and coming but still too young. (Excited fan base)
  4. We don’t know what we are doing at all.
  5. Purgatory.

I want to focus on who I think the “true contenders” are.

True Contenders: WEST

  1. The Los Angeles Clippers: Kawhi Leonard and Paul George add star power to a well-coached team with solid role players. In many ways, this team is like the one in Boston that won the title under Doc Rivers. They have a good mix of stars and elite role players. They still need to add a frontcourt player but as we have seen before they can be added mid-season, and I expect the Clippers would be a top destination for any big man that gets bought during the year.
  2. Golden State Warriors: They lost substantial assets with Durant and Iggy gone. Klay might not play at all next year until the playoffs. Still, they add DeAngelo Russell who they can trade if need be. They keep Looney and add Willie Cauley-Stien. This could be a much grimier Warriors team come playoff time and they still have Championship pedigree.
  3. The Los Angeles Lakers: This team is pretty much the 2017-18 Pelicans with Lebron James and Kyle Kuzma on it. So what does that mean? I’m not sure. If Cousins can be healthy and stay on the floor, a team with a 6 man rotation of  Davis, James, Cousins, Kuzma, Rondo, and Danny Green is formidable. They are paper thin at guard however and have bad chemistry potential if things go wrong.
  4. Utah Jazz: The Darling of NBA writers everywhere. I need to see it first. Mike Conley is a great addition but I actually think Utah gave up a lot to get him. There are nice pieces in place but they still lack a true superstar. I see them as a good regular season team that will probably lose to a team seeded below them in the playoffs. When I close my eyes I just cannot envision this team playing for the title next year. In this way the might not even be a true contender but NBA writers say they are, and who am I to judge those morons?
  5. Portland Trailblazers: Not much to say except Lillard and CJ with a healthy Nurkic should have a say in the western conference. I don’t know what the Whiteside deal does for them but they no longer have scrub Meyers Leonard and I say that’s addition by subtraction.
  6. Denver Nuggets: A situation similar to Portland’s the Warriors got worse so they look better. Another year playing together this team could take a step forward again. They are still too young to really threaten a title but they need to be on the list in a year where there is no clear giant to slay.

I refuse to put the Rockets on here. Those LA teams would both wipe the floor with Houston in a playoff series.

True Contenders: EAST

*If KD wasn’t injured Brooklyn would probably be #1 in my East ranks but sadly no KD means they won’t contend this year.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks: Teams go through growing pains and last year it happened to the Bucks. A great regular season and a #1 seed did not equal a title appearance. Now, this is a more veteran team, a team with a few battle scars. Oh, and they have the MVP. Losing Brogdon wasn’t great but this is still a very dangerous team.
  2. The Sixers: They would be my clear cut #1 seed in the East if Jimmy Butler was their max contract extension and not Tobias Harris. That didn’t happen. I don’t love this team with Harris but someone has to come out of the East. It’s in the rules. So if you can contend for the East then you are a contender, and Philly is certainly that.
  3. Boston: Kemba led Boston is very intriguing to me. There is something I like about this teams potential just from Tatum and Brown getting better and Kemba being a better fit. A healthy Heyward goes a long way. Losing Horford is bad short term but probably fine long term, the last years of his contract in Philly will be hard to live up too. Boston is probably my favorite in the east and I know Danny Ainge might have a midseason move up his sleeve…Maybe they trade for Brad Beal midseason who knows?
  4. Indiana Pacers: The other NBA media darling is the Pacers. Again I think they have a great regular season and they fall apart in the playoffs. They still seem a player away to me. Most of these East teams do.

 

Up and coming young teams:

From the West, I see two teams: Dallas and New Orleans. I love New Orleans and I would love to see them in the playoffs. They are too young and unproven to be a true contender but they could and should make the playoffs and give someone (hopefully the Lakers) a hell of a series.

Maybe this is the homer in me but I like the Chicago Bulls roster and how it fits. They made small but good offseason moves by adding Thad Young and Tomas Satoransky to fill in the gaps. The Bulls were a tough out for teams when Lauri Markkanen was healthy and the team was motivated. I am very unsure about the coach but the roster construction has me optimistic.

Atlanta is another team on the rise but they are like the of Bulls last year, still way too young to be anything but back in the lottery.

Reset Button Teams:

Toronto

Oklahoma City

Memphis (almost to young an up and coming but not there yet.)

The rebuilding has begun for these three, the reset button was hit with authority. You could argue the Hornets hit the reset button, but how do you reset when you never made the playoffs? They lost Kemba and got nothing for him. The Hornets belong to the…

We don’t know what we are doing at all teams:

Suns

Hornets

Knicks

Timberwolves

Cavaliers

Kings

not much to say here.

Stuck in NBA Purgatory:

Pistons: Who knows what this team is doing?

Orlando Magic: Just happy to be here and not a worse category.

San Antonio Spurs: How the mighty have fallen.

Miami Heat: I love Jimmy Butler but what a weird move. I thought you were about winning? Better start wooing Giannis now.

SubCategory of NBA Purgatory are teams that I think want to hit the reset button but can’t:

Houston Rockets: ew

Washington Wizards: gross