We Are Wilmer

We are happy. We are sad.

We are good. We are bad.

We are smiles. We are sorrow.

We are today. We are tomorrow.

We are hits. We are outs.

We are wins. We are doubts.

We are friends. We are foes.

We are joy. We are woes.

We are bought. We are sold.

We are young. We are old.

We are players. We are fan.

We are people. He is the man.

I am Wilmer. You are Wilmer.

We, are Wilmer.


Monday Morning Musings: Extreme Makeover – All-Star Game Edition

Where’s my invitation to the MLB All-Star Game? At this point so many have turned down a chance to compete Tuesday in Arizona that I’m beginning to feel a little left out. Desperate times indeed and I wonder how many young fans out there are going to enjoy the 8th inning matchup of David Robertson pitching to Miguel Montero. Unfortunately there probably won’t be many young fans watching at that point because by the time the 8th inning rolls around it’s 11pm and most folks have already switched over to either The Daily Show or Keeping Up with the Kardashians reruns.

A Quick Trip Around the Bases (aka 4 simple ways to improve the All-Star game)

1B- Make it a day game. What’s so wrong with a 1 or 4 o’clock start on a Sunday afternoon? Fear of running up against the ratings buzzsaw otherwise known as the final round of the John Deere Classic? If you make it a day game you expose younger fans to the best players MLB has to offer which will surely lead to greater interest in the sport. Which leads me to my second point…

2B – Smaller rosters and eliminate that silly little rule where each team has to be represented. Believe me, I’m a Baltimore Orioles fans and even I don’t think Matt Wieters is an All-Star this season. Baseball fans only want to see the best competing against one another. Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated said something really interesting when he talked about how All-Star starters should be left in longer and that playing time shouldn’t be equitable.

3B – USA vs World. Call it an appetizer to tide you over before the next World Baseball Classic. (By the way, when is the next World Baseball Classic?) The NHL tried this for years and I seem to remember it working out quite well. Of course, if you really wanted to up the ante you could pair countries together like USA/Japan/Korea vs Dominican Republic/Puerto Rico/Venezuela. The only problem with this model is that you would then need to alter the current All-Star Game stakes where the winning side is crowned the home team in the World Series.

HR – Shorten the length of the home run derby. Do we really need 3 rounds? Also limit the number of competitors to 4, 2 from NL and 2 from AL, and make sure only the best power hitters are invited. Instead of having captains choose their squads, why not have the fans vote to determine who participates in the derby?

I would also add a skills challenge to the derby festivities, sort of like what the NBA does before the slam dunk competition. You could have a bunch of skilled 2 hitters likes Placido Polanco and Dustin Pedroia going through a round of “mission” hitting where they are awarded point for successfully executing a hit/run, sacrifice bunt, etc…. You could also organize a relay race of sorts where you have 5 competitors from each side competing against one another to see who can record the fastest time. Things like this could add an exciting element to the All-Star Game festivities.

view from AT&T Park courtesy of @MF_FOXDOG

Plodding Through the Previews: Horrible Bosses

Some folks boast a photographic memory while others claim to count cards. Me, I have a strange telekinetic ability to predict the plot of a movie based solely on the coming attraction. I will channel these talents every week in an effort to breakdown the latest summer blockbuster. With a little luck, and patience, I’ll also connect the movie to a current sports story however, this final pursuit may result in complete and abject failure.

Horrible Bosses

We try to make it so that the highest grossing film of the coming weekend is the preview dissected on our Tuesday Plodding Through the Previews post. Today was an exception however because I just could not lower myself to a critical analysis of the sure to be summer sensation Zookeeper starring Kevin James. Instead, we’re going to take a closer look at Horrible Bosses, which on the surface, looks like a preview much more in line with my delicate sensibilities.

A second by second breakdown of the preview

:5 – I wonder if Kevin Spacey is pleased with his post American Beauty career arc? After a string of successful gigs – Usual Suspects, Se7en, American Beauty – it feels like he has drifted off into relative obscurity while working on several pet projects  like Beyond the Sea. Maybe Spacey’s role in Horrible Bosses will catapult him into a new genre of comedic roles a la Robert De Niro in Meet the Parents.

:22 – With Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis, we could have ourselves one of the most bankable starting rotations since the days of Palmer, McNally, Dobson, and Cuellar with the Baltimore Orioles.

:38 – When are we going to start giving Colin Farrell some credit for being a pretty good actor? In Bruges was awesome and it just feels like the guy takes a ton of crap for being a good looking guy with great hair and an awesome Irish accent.

1:11 – Hey look, a Jennifer Aniston movie that just might not suck.

1:26 – Jamie Foxx playing a “murder consultant”. He really has come a long way since winning the Academy Award for Ray.

1:35 – More people should be watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” on FX. Charlie Day, not Jason Sudeikis, is poised to be the breakout star of this film. My only hope is that he doesn’t commit career suicide by signing on to be the comedic sidekick in the next Brett Ratner good cop/bad cop movie. Where’s Seann William Scott when you need him?

1:58 – Gotta applaud the effort.

2:23 – Tater Salad and Bunk playing cops. I hope this is set to be a spinoff next summer.

The Plod (where I guess the plot of the movie based solely on the preview)

Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis all want to kill their horrible bossesKevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell respectively. Because they’re all “nice guys” who wouldn’t know the first thing about murder, they hire a “murder consultant” to help them explore their villainous options. Of course, all kinds of hijinx ensue as the 3 best friends fail over and over again to execute any sort of successful murder. Along the way, Sudeikis falls for Aniston and the two become romantically involved while Kevin Spacey turns out to be not such a bad guy after all, just a little misunderstood and lonely. Not only does he give Jason Bateman that much desired promotion but the two spark a lifelong friendship built on trust and respect. The only “boss” I worry about actually losing is Colin Farrell. I could see some sort of accident befalling him, completely unrelated to anything the 3 friends conspired to do.

Connection to a Current Sports Story

Is there a worse boss in professional sports than Frank McCourt, the soon to be deposed owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers? Here’s hoping that MLB gets in there and cleans up this embarrassing mess as quickly as possible. The Dodgers remain one of the flagship teams in MLB and need to end up in the hands of an owner who knows and understands how to successfully operate a professional sports franchise. But the question is, will Bud Selig allow Mark Cuban to ever own a MLB team? Hopefully the Dallas Mavericks successful title run in 2011 shows people that Cuban is interested in winning above all else and wouldn’t alter the integrity of the game. His energy and passion would be a great boost to the Dodger clubhouse and all of Chavez Ravine.

view from Chavez Ravine courtesy of @darrenmartin2

Balk Walk-Off or a Walk-Off Balk

Just when you think the New York Mets are about to cross over the .500 mark, and in the process sweep a three game series with the Atlanta Braves, D.J. Carrasco balks in the walk off run in the 10th inning. To be fair to Carrasco, it was a poor play by 1st baseman Lucas Duda that allowed the Atlanta runner to move up to 3rd base thus leading to a run scoring on the balk. Even still, balks are fairly uncommon in MLB, but a balk to end the game? I can’t remember seeing that before.

Heartbreaking loss for the Mets who continue to rise above uncommonly low expectations and play some surprisingly scrappy baseball. But what to do about Jose Reyes? As Buster Olney tweets, the Mets SS is on pace for a remarkable statistical season and will likely command Carl Crawford money, in excess of $140 million over 7 years, this offseason. Can the Mets really afford NOT to resign Jose Reyes? If you don’t resign Reyes you are sending the message to your fans that you aren’t willing to spend the money necessary to compete and this will hurt a franchise already dealing with attendance issues at Citi Field.

Trade Beltran. Trade KRod. Do everything you can to resign Jose Reyes – unless he pulls another hamstring between now and the end of the season.

view from Turner Field courtesy of @cdryan

View from Spring Training: 2011 New York Mets

2011 New York Mets

NFL Equivalent – Washington Redskins: At first glance, you’re looking at two organizations with histories of success and deep pockets.  Until you open the books and recognize that at the center of this comparison are two organizations with “questionable” business practices.  The Skins threw upwards of $100 million at DT Albert Haynesworth to do virtually nothing except not complete shuttle runs.  The Amazins, on the other hand, did nothing, and somehow were thrown hundreds of millions of dollars from Bernard Madoff.  And only the Mets could possibly top the Haynesworth signing with their history of fiscal irresponsibility.  Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Kevin Mitchell?  Gone.  Vince Coleman, Bobby Bonilla, Mo Vaughn…Oliver Perez?  In you come!  Oh, and both fan bases absolutely loathe their teams’ lovely ownership groups.

Google Search: I think my Internets are broken!  According to them, the Mets did absolutely nothing this winter.  That can’t possibly be right… can it?  I suppose out of obligation, I should note that they did sign pitchers Chris Young, Chris Capuano, and Taylor Buchholz.  They also acquired a new RF in the guy that is now wearing CF Carlos Beltran’s #15 jersey.  Most of the news coming out of Flushing this winter had to do with the ongoing financial scandal involving the Wilpons and public enemy #1. And just today, the New York Times reports that the Mets organization was running low on cash well before this recent lawsuit was filed.

Famous Movie Quote: Right after I got here, I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce and I got egg noodles and ketchup. I’m an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.Henry Hill, Goodfellas.

What happened to my team!  Like Ray Liotta in Goodfellas, Met fans (and I) have been relegated to the Witness Protection Program.  Even when we were in the prison of the mid 1990s, we were still eating better than this.  A few years ago, when 3B David Wright and SS Jose Reyes were barely formed meteors and SP Johan Santana and CF Beltran were the best in baseball, the sky was the limit.  Back then, we thoughtlessly expected a nice Fettucine Carbonara every night.  Alas, even before we sit down at the table this Spring, we already know that the Wilpons are dishing out the Heinz special.  And when the bill comes, we already know what it will say $25 million and 5 years of open market purgatory. 2011 record: 77 – 85; 4th Place NL East 

view from Digital Domain Park courtesy of @spearsiela