December 19, 2007

Take the trip with Journeyman

Journeyman is the best show not named Lost or Heroes, and, at this point in time, very likely is the best of the three. Part of that is because there is a ton more potential and the unanswered questions thatv are out there are a little more mentally scaleable. while not predictable.

Think of Journeyman as the real life story that Quantum Leap was originally based on (it's not, but just work with me), until it spun into a strong Sci-Fi story of its own. Sam Beckett of Q.L. went to the past to change things that went wrong. He looked the part of someone in the past and we never saw Sam in his own time. J.M. is Dan Vasser a regular guy - with wife and kids - suddenly transporting in time. There are a lot of twists and turns, but suffice it to say that he has no idea why he's jumping back in time - for only short periods - and then back to the present. Except that he learns that he is supposed to change something back in time for whatever reason.

While incorporating one of the mainstays of Sci-fi, time travel, J.M. is a story that takes place in the past and the present. We see the present day repercussions of adding or subtracting things in the recent history (usually somewhere from the 70's through the early 2000's). The journeyman affects his own present day life -- on occassion there are tangible, and even dangerous consequences.

There are layer after layer of storylines within each story -- the one hour conflict, the overarching why & how, as to his time travel, the frequent references to his father (who abandoned his kids when are journeyman was four), and even a former girlfriend who is also a time traveller and frequently helps him on the missions in the past.

Journeyman doesn't ask for, and doesn't pander to, Sci-Fi/time travel fans. But it remains painstakingly consistent in working within, while trying to stretch, the paradoxes that are incumbent to travelling back in time. Especially the warped sense of travelling back within ones own time and often dealing with issues and conflicts that directly affect the Dan's past and present.

The last episode of the season airs Decmber 19. While it is rumored to be in ratings trouble, this is a show that - with the right promotional schedule and the network-confidence to allow more time for the audience to build and the overarching storylines to develop - would be a series for the books. I guess time will tell...

December 18, 2007

Hall of Fame.. of Fame, not Shame

Baseball is to many boys what Cinderella was to many girls. Towards that end, I do not want the Evil Step-mom going into my game's Hall of Fame. But, I'm metaphorically jumping ahead way to far... let me explain...

The ever-evolving quandry these days - regarding steroids and MLB's Hall of fame - is whether to vote for certain baseball players -- whose pre-steroid or pre-HGH numbers still hold up to HOF scrutiny -- to enter the HOF. The argument being laid out that they earned their place before the sojourn into artificially boosting their performance/endurance. It seems like most pundits I've been hearing say yes, they would vote for them for the Hall, because they already had HOF numbers. to which I say whoooooooa Nelly.

Now, let's just wait a minute before we actually reward these players for decisiding that being great wasn't good enough, so they went outside the game for help. Help which very likely robbed many other players the ability to play, while the limelight was extended or enhanced for other men. how can you not equate this to Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski? Here was a CEO who had worked hard all his life, had the bull by the horns - family, job, financial security and then some, and decided he wantedmore. He got caught and he's been put away. But according to some sports writers, if they had their way, he may have just received a corporate golden parachute; after all, his numbers were okay prior to going bad.

I take the opposite stance as many baseball writers for the same reason that they use for voting in the tainted players. I say because they had HOF numbers and a HOF career, I would never vote for them. Who the heck are they - when the world is essentially already their oyster - to add to the tarnishment of the game by padding their numbers or extending their careers? By enhancing their stats - either by enhancing their power on their gift of hand-eye coordination, or artificially extending their shelf-life - is placing their ego above all else. These men who had HOF careers previous to their juiced days, were going to be set for life, their legacy placed on a presitigious mantle.

Some say, in this day and age of so many 'using' where then do you draw the line? I draw it with my own eyes and ears. As any sports-writer worth his salt to vote should do as well. Perfect? no way. but it'll be many steps in the right direction. I've heard nothing about Sammy Sosa, but he came out of nowhere to do what he did. McGwire? Same. Neidemeirer? Dead (sorry, that's someone else's rant). If Palmeiro hadn't been caught, I never would have known & I would have voted him in. He was, so I wouldn't. It's as fair as we can make it and I don't make apologies for the inability to be perfectly all-inclusively exclusive or for looking to brush off the tarnish on the game.

It may seem unfair to those that don't get caught, but, so be it. If they are caught, or there is a preponderence of circumstantial evidence, no go. Preponderence of innocence is in the Constitution, not the Hall of Fame. Roman law presumes guilt until proved otherwise -- I'm not looking to go that deep, but as a baseball writer, I have no idea why they almost seem to be looking to give The Mitchell Report-players the benefit of the doubt.

I wouldn't want to take my children to the Baseball Hall of Fame and point to those players and explain that the second half of their career was entirely self-tainted, but that, not only did they capitalize on their cheationg, they were rewarded by being placed in the most presitigious place for their profession.

December 14, 2007

PPVJ (46 explained within post)

A bright 46 to you. Some buddies and I are competitively prognosticating how many points the Patriots will dump onto the Jets this Sunday. Following are our geusses (at first I was going to omit the names to protect the missed guessers, but since everyone still carries a nickname in their back pocket, they are the only ones who will know who's who). See predicted number in 'bold' font...

Pats Points Versus Jets
Feef - 70 (love that one)
Hoom - I can't drive 55
- How many days does Kiefer get to spend in the clink?... 48!
Ritzer - Go ahead, I dare you to play it with The Wizard of Oz, for a 'Dark Side of the Rainbow' experience: Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' is exactly 43 minutes long.
Tomes - Waving his home run fair to win the game... 27!
- Wants to wake up to a score of 33. Wants to wake up to a score of 33. Wants to wake up to a score of 33 (Groundhog Day is the 33rd day of the year).
Bushes38 Shill’s number & the number of slots on an American Roulette wheel
T.H. - John Steinbeck dubbed it "The Mother Road'. What is Route 66?
Stoit - The Stoner 63 is a semi-famous machine gun used by the U.S. military from 1963 up until about 1971. I believe a Stoner 63 is what the Jets will need this Sunday to pull off what Stoit predicts -- a win in which the Jets score seventy points of their own (or the JPVP ratio).
Eh-Prop – Because 46 in Japanese can be pronounced as "yon roku", and "yoroshiku"(よろしく) means "my best regards" in Japanese, people sometimes use 46 for greeting.

Winner of this contest gets unmitigated bragging rights for 48 hours, to be scrupulously timed, immediately following the conclusion of the football contest.

Loser gets to step to the plate against Clemens with a cracked bat and take their chances battling the lesser known HGH-rage as he flings your shattered stick back at you on your weak nubber to the mound.

So, 46 to you and have fun watching...

December 11, 2007

The One to One on Brady vs. Manning

A buddy of mine, Tomo, sent a great email out regarding the quality comparison of Manning & Brady. Of course, the head to head match-up over the course of their careers is always front loaded with receiver-quality caveats. But, then I started looking at Manning's signature season to date and then looked at Brady's season this year, and noticed something.

Perfect dead-on comparison. No caveats or handicapping necessary.

'04 was Mannings seventh year in the league -- this year is Brady's lucky seven (disregarding the one game appearance in 2000); same level of experience.

'04 the Colts went 13-0, with a dominating air attack from Manning to his strong receiver corps. Brady - ditto & looking for more.

The numbers:

B-2007 ...NE.....13 ...334....476 ....70.2....4095..8.6...45....5...123.5
M-2004 ..IND... 16.....336...497....67.6....4557..9.2....49...10..121.1

Notable too is that Brady is averaging 3.3 yards on 25 QB rushes attempts so far and Manning averaged 1.5 yards on 25 QB rushes for the season -- although this may point to the notion that the Colts' offensive line was better, since Brady still has three games to go, it exemplifies the better running qualities inherent with Brady. Since his traditional QB stats are superior to those of the '04 Manning, you get a better running QB on top of the superior performance.

Thanks to Tomes...

December 9, 2007

Tigers or Tiggers

So, as I mentioned earlier, Detroit added Willis and Cabrera. Now, add to that Renteria and the Tigers are looking to leapfrog to first in the central. Some would say their offense rivals that of the Yankees and the Red Sox -- actually, most wouldn't even include the Sox in the discussion anymore. The Tigers may grow to be the powerhouse they are reputed to be, but I don't think it'll happen 'til '09 at the earliest. They may end up getting what they want, but I think tplayers' performances will get lost in the NL/AL translation for awhile.

The NL is like Triple A plus, to the AL's Major League.

Detroit is a big market with big market pressures. It's also the American League. And it's one of the most competitive divisions.

Cabrera will be on a competing team, where other teams will be dialed in to playing the Tigers. I believe he caught NL pitchers and teams off-guard when they faced him. Besides being a better pitching league, that's not happening anymore -- everyone knows his hitting rep and, while I've heard he's a smart hitter in the vein of Manny ?Ramirez, it may take a season and a half to learn the new ropes.

Renteria may have a head start because he went this route before, to less than stellar results with the Sox... then went to Atlanta and broke out offensivesly -- I'm not convinced if the Sox had kept him he would've done the same in Boston, so it was a good let go. I'm similarly skeptical of Renteria being in the top 30 in hitting this year, even though he was #3 in the NL this year.

It took Beckett a season to overcome his fireballing tilted ego to reel it in, assess the league & himself, and approach hitters in a winning way. Willis isn't the pitcher that Beckett was in the NL, let alone what's going to happen in the AL. I don't see him getting past a #3 starter - #2 if the rotation sees injuries.

The odds of all three falling flat in '08 are far better than all three picking up where they left off, and I think I'll be wrong with someone.. but I think I'll miss the mark with only one player at best. However, in '09 or '10, who knows...

December 6, 2007

Romney's Church State speech (or, why that better be a presumed position)

I know this may underline my own ignorance on religions. Other than knowing the basics of Mormons - that it's based on Christianity & practicers seem to try to get around the polygamy law in Utah (I know there's much more than just that, but what can I say), I became aware of how much I didn't know when Romney came out with his separation of church & state speech today.

So, I looked it up, and let me summarize how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to be (I apologize if you already know this story) : In 1827, a guy in New York name Joe Smith claims he was awoken by an angel named Moroni (who was the son of a guy named, you guessed it, Mormon) and brought to a plot of land near his yard. Buried in that spot were two golden plates (I guess stone tablets had already been used), from which he read, transcribed and founded the church. Oh, those tablets were in a language described by Smith as "reformed Egyptian" from a people that lived in ancient America (so they beat the vikings here! -- the original Native Americans -- they could've made a mint in casinos). After transcribing the stones, Joe was nice enough to return the plates to Moroni. (Of course he did.)

Fast forward a bit, Joe said that a "city of Zion" was in Missouri (where else?) - he went there with followers and got kicked out, went to Illinois, was killed with his brother, then Brigham Young won a head of church scrum to become the spiritual leader & off to Utah, followed later by a successful football career by Steve Young.

Hey, I know parting the Red Sea is a stretch, but at least that and all bible stories are ancient history that you can see developing through allegory, legend, myths, and metaphorical transpositions. Some take it literally and that works too. It's the founding of some major religions from storied history.

From wikipedia regarding Joe Smith's life prior to his backyard find:

"As a youth, Joseph Smith, Jr. lived on his parents' farm near Palmyra, New York a place and time noted for its participation in the Second Great Awakening and a "craze for treasure hunting". Beginning in the early 1820s, he was paid to act as a "seer", to use seer stones in (mostly unsuccessful) attempts to locate lost items and buried treasure.[4] Some contemporaries state that he would put the stone in a white stovepipe hat, put his face over the hat to block the light, and then "see" the information in the reflections of the stone. Some say that his favored stone, chocolate-colored and about the size of an egg,[6] was found in a deep well he helped dig for one of his neighbors."

Remember how I said I was ignorant about this stuff? I guess ignorance is bliss.


Okay, you know the judge presiding over the Kiefer Sutherland drunk driving case watches - or is at least overly aware of - '24'. Sentencing him to 48 days in the clink? Seriously?... how about 45 or 50 days? The number 48 is so easily extrapolated from 24 that it kind of makes a mockery of the ruling (not that Kiefer is laughing either way). I've already heard it today at the water cooler... "hey, do you think the next 24 will be 48 instead". I know they're days instead of hours, but why is it that judges in California consciously show the difference between stars and the general public. Kiefer should be glad he wasn't in the movie '300' I guess.

Other news today, a man was arrested for a hit & run -- he hit two pedestrians, and continued on home.... with one of the victims stuck in his windshield. He later called the cops and said the thought he may have hit someone on the way home. And, very likely, he wasn't being disingenuous -- when the police came and he blew .18 six hours after he hit the two walkers.

December 5, 2007

Tigers add teeth, Marlins go belly up

Tigers just nabbed Cabrera and Willis ('watchoo talking 'bout Willis') from the Marlins. I thought the Tribe would be odds on favorites hands down next year, but Detroit is a growing monster -- they are close to luxury tax status. On the flip side, funny thing is, Marlins now have an $8 mill payroll. How insane is that? The Red Sox's Lugo gets $8 mill per year. I'd love to know how much the Marlins get in luxury taxes alone -- if they get $800 grand, they can say 10% of their salaries are covered by The Sox, NY, et al. There's been a lot of legitimate talk regarding a salary cap, but I gotta say there should be a floor too.

I know, Florida has won two World Series in the last ten years, with below par teams in between, so the odd formula seems to work, but I'd rather be a Cubbie fan than a Marlins fan. The postseason is a capper to a great season, but it's kind of hard to build a loyal following without competitive years connecting championship seasons.

Whether it's MLB retraction, or just moving to another market, the Marlins are in need of a big change. It can be argued that Miami is just a tough sports market, but how do you ever know if you don't even put a competitive product on the field. If the Pawtucket Red Sox played the Marlins 5 games, I'd say the PawSox win the series. Heck, if the double A Portland Sea Dogs play them 7 games, I say they take two or more.

A floor may be easier to institute than a cap, and once established, a cap may be the next logical step -- thereby easier to implement. Gotta take some first steps to insure qualioty in MLB.

December 4, 2007

Two Cents on Ten Topics

1. Do you think Cashman is looking askance in the mirror every morning these days thinking, "My God, just when you start to get up and actually fulfill your job title, the new Steinbrenner keeps pushing you down..."

2. Just got off the road and heard Buster Olney talking on ESPN -- he said the Sox are the only ones talking to the Twins at this point... Hank's thinking, "c'mon they couldn't have taken me seriously, right? Look at A-rod... I just say those things... I don't really mean it..." -- all this said, watch the Hank-ees (nickname stolen from the NY Post) throw in Ian Kennedy at the last minute and do the Santana dance.

3. At first I thought I was just being fan-emotional over not wanting Jacoby Ellsbury (hereafter referred to as Jake... every team needs a Jake) on the potential trading block, but this is how I look at it: if the Sox get Santana at the expense of Jake, they've likely secured the next three to five years -- but, we all saw what Jake did in September and in the postseason -- the highest pressure moments of any season in one of - if not the - highest pressure town to do so. Jake's your man -- he's the guy you want at the plate, on the basepaths, and in the field (he was a little rough, with flashes of brilliance out there). Picture this... as good as Jake was on the basepaths and at bat, maybe he has as much room for improvement there as he does in the outfield. He started the season in AA Portland and he was a star in 95% of his starts. He was a doubles machine in the World Series. Getting to the postseason, and winning throughout, is an out and out battle. This guy is GOLD. In times of war, you can bank on gold.

4. Logically, doesn't it make sense for the Twin cities to fill their lefty loss with an up and coming lefty? Lester - Coco - Lowrie - Masterson is my prediction (may have to pick up all of Coco's next season, although, it may take Moss too).

5. Isn't the quantity of players for Santana getting more and more like the Celts/KG trade?

6. How much of a discount did Lowell take? Jose Guillen just got $36 mill for three years with the Royals. World Series MVP Mike Lowell got $37.5 mill for the same duration with the Sox. I was always better at english than math, but at every turn, dontcha just love Mikey?

7. I wonder how the line in Vegas is changing with the last two Pats scrapes?

8. Speaking of which, I usually like Mike & Mike in the morning on ESPN, but this AM the non-football player Mike (that's the Golick-one, right?) talked in conspiracy tones about the last two Baltimore penalties last night, implying that the league wanted the Pats to win and somehow willed this ref - who threw the defensive holding flag prior to the missed pass - to make the call. Huh? Waitjustaminute... where was this talking head during the Pats-Colts game?...

9. Which leads me to this: discussing officials' calls is so local market... these guys must not have had much to debate this AM,... do you think the two Mikes flipped a coin to decide what side of the issue they'd argue?

10. My favorite three shows on TV (scripted, main stream network shows, mind you), are Chuck, Journeyman, and Life... give them a two episode chance and I believe you'll be in.