Sunday, April 29, 2007

Solemn Redbird Ramblings: April 28th, 2007

I was just compiling a couple of podcasts for our network and got a message from a fellow Cardinal Fan that read:

"ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Josh Hancock, a key member of the bullpen that helped the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series last season, was killed in a car crash early Sunday."

The Cardinals postponed their home game Sunday night against the Chicago Cubs."

What a crushing blow to a baseball team. My thoughts are with the team and the family of a pitcher taken out of the game, and life, way too soon.

-- Link to the Article at Sports Illustrated

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Redbird Ramblings - April 22nd 2007

Ahh, the third of three great rivalry games for the Cardinals and the Cubs at Wrigley Field. This game was probably the most nostalgic of any this season, mostly because the Cubs overall play was reminiscent of the late 70's and early 80s where they have a gorgeous day for baseball, they get out in front and dominate, they come back to tie it up, and amazingly fall behind and end up losing HUGE in the top of the 9th!

Oh, the curse of the Cubbies is felt greatly in my heart, but today, all is well as I was voting for the Cardinals to win so that they'd collect another win for a very slow start to the 2007. As I write this, the Cardinals are in the field in the bottom of the 9th, ahead by 2, 9-7, with one on. A quick review of the positives:

-- The Weather: Today was the ultimate Baseball Weather day, not only in Chicago, but here in St. Louis. Just under 80, a great touch of wind at Wrigley, blowing straight out, which always makes for an exciting day both as a player and as an observer. Many fly balls were homeruns today because of that grand wind in the Windy City.

-- The BIG O: While I know many of my friends will say that defense makes baseball, there is something about a game with 16 runs in it. I love to watch both some great defense, but I'll take a game with 8 fielders and lots of great hitting over a defensive match any day. Both teams were very solid when the time came to perform, and MMMmmmmm Daddy likes offense.

-- Wrigley: After watching both this and Boston's Fenway so much this weekend, I have begun to remember how interesting Wrigley is. The shadows, the crowd, the almost growing ivy along the wall - there is something that I can't quite describe yet that is magical about Wrigley, and I look forward to trying to capture the text that describes it.

-- Catcher's Armor: I can remember vividly being a beat up catcher both in little league and high school, and the "armor" that catchers now have really is nice. I'll have to try to research what kind of materials and where the actual padding is now, but I remember actually buying my own catchers gear and wearing it through those hot and exciting days in the summers that never seemed to end. It was something special to have your own gear back then and it's clear to me that the catchers today are also creating and crafting their own gear.

-- Whoa hold on a tick: The See-Saw Game: As I write this, the Cubs have two runners on second and third now, the count is 2-0 with 2 out. Just when you count out the Cubbies, they seem to reach back from somewhere and bring it forward. 3 and 0 now, Isringhausen with the pitch: a strike on the outside corner. 3-1. Oh the tension is going to destroy me. And a bloop hit into short right field and TWO SCORE?? The score is TIED??? That ball was in the air at least 30 seconds and no one can get under it? How insane is this? The Windy City brings Preston Wilson a little bit of spit in his eye as he seemed to lose the ball (and potentially the game?) in the sun! Oh my! Now to decide whether to go back and modify my initial posting!? Let's leave it for perspective. Where's that fat lady at? See more about the See-Saw game and how great it truly is!

The Negatives:

-- Jiggling Cameras: In a world where technology has brought not only the players, the stadium, the audience, the televisions and every other damn thing that we interact with to jaw-dropping excellence, how is it that the HD Cameras can't have a gyroscope or something on them so that the cameras don't "jiggle" in the wind on a windy day in Chicago? The problem? If you thought that it was trouble dealing with camera shake on a regular screen it is multiplied 4-fold in an HD world.

-- The people behind home plate on the phone: A POX on all of you people. It's not cool, it's nauseating and your friends that will never be able to afford the tickets that you have that are on the other side of the phone are flipping you the middle finger as you tout your vaulted post with them while on your cellie. Again a POX on your, all of you!

-- Jimmy Edmonds at Bat: There was a time that he was electric when he was at the plate and I have to wonder: Has that time come and gone? Every single time he comes up during the last three games, he has looked like he's half asleep, wafting the bat out there and coming up with a ton of goose eggs. Has the day of Jim Edmonds come and gone to the land of the Arch? As he whiffs at three and strikes out again, we go to the bottom of the 10th inning with the Cardinals leading 12-9.

-- The Long-Legged Uniforms: Coming from a player that had the cool stretchy stirrup socks, I hate, hate HATE, the long, baggy-ass clothes that have been adopted by so many players and teams in the majors currently. It just looks like no one actually has on a uniform that's sized correctly.

The See-Saw Game Continues: The Cardinals have mounted an offense of their own and up comes Pujols: The pitch: Albert JACKS ONE, way back, it could be and it's OUT OF THE GODDAMN PARK! It's out onto Waveland Avenue and it's 12-9, Cardinals! Albert's 5th home run of the season and suddenly the Wrigley crowd is deathly silent! 33 hits in the game as we go to the bottom of the 10th.

Isringhausen is out of the game, and is in what will be the strangest set up for a "W" on his record than he will probably ever see. He's left the game and Springer comes in to finish out the bottom half of the inning. After a couple of quick outs, and a long hard hit fly ball that Wilson catches at the ivy, the game ends with the Cardinals taking two of three this weekend from the Cubbies. Sorry Dr. Mark!

This post is yet another reason why those of you that aren't yet watching baseball should be. It is a game of skill, luck, history, legacy, and rollercoaster rides that few other sports can match.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Redbird Ramblings - April 21st, 2007

I was hoping to have the reason to procrastinate this afternoon to watch the second of three away Cubs/Cardinals games this afternoon, but after the Cubs struck early, and extended the lead with a series of errors (due to the sun and shadows??) as they went into the top of the 8th, I have decided that rather than to write about the game, I'll write about what Wrigley Field reminds me of.

I've been to Wrigley 13 times, whether it was originally with my Mom, with friends in high school, or in college with friends who needed a designated driver during Chicago jaunts, the friendly confines of Wrigley really are unlike any other ballpark in America. Like Fenway Park that I talked about in yesterday's missive, it is steeped in tradition and is home to one of the only teams to not have won a world series in a very long time. I have only been to two games after the lights were installed at Wrigley and it was the last field in the MLB realm to have them installed, and it was very strange. I can remember making banners to herald Dave Kingman, Barry Foot, Scotty Thompson and Harry Carrey during my days and there are many fantastic memories in that field.

The landscape around the field has changed a lot to accommodate the increased crowd count that continue to attend regardless of the years of losing baseball in the Windy City. It's good that the area is allowing people to enjoy baseball and just as the Red Sox won, the Cubs time is coming - thoughI hope to be alive to see it. :)

And as the Cubs/Cardinals game ends on a Jason Marquis strike out, the Cubs shutout the Cardinals for the first time since September 2003, in a very forgettable, wish-it-went-differently game.

On the other hand, the second of three Yankees at Red Sox games is not-so-surprisingly red-hot as the Red Sox lead 7-5 in the top of the 7th inning as Okajima strikes out Giambi! Oy! The comparison of worlds is striking! The Red Sox finish out the game with a win 7-5 for a win on the second game win of three at Fenway. What a great rival series weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Redbird Ramblings - April 20th, 2007

Ahh, the every-once-in-a-while glory of being able to watch a new plasma screen for a few minutes at work. Our workplace is installing long-planned video screens in our massive showroom and today was a neat opportunity to catch sadly the last 2 batters of the Cubs/Cardinals game this afternoon.

I could kid you and tell you that this entry was really about those two Cub batters but it's safe to say that - there was a Cardinal 2-1 win this afternoon. The big baseball news?

The Yankees/Red Sox game this evening.

Those of you that either don't like baseball, or either of those teams, this game was made for you. It had everything from the showcase of a a variety of future hall-of-famers, including the incredibly impressive of one Alex Rodriguez who had two homers in the first 5 innings.

Kurt Schilling who really got hammered but pitched expertly.

Six or seven great defensive play by both sides.

Mariano Rivera, one of the best relief pitchers ever in the game, crumbles in two back-to-back games and LOSES, Huge!!

The entertaining EPSN2 commentator gang of John Kruk, newbie Dusty Baker, and Karl Ravech - they were entertaining, quirkly and REAL which is a hard match to find on a ho-hum Friday nite on EPSN2.

The WONDER, but very average play of a guy named "Coco Crip" - Ahhh I love quirky names.

Great fan reactions by both the Boston homeland warriors and those defiant, brave and not-so-few Yankees fans. They both are rock solid fans and will not be denied whether being crushed over the head with a homer by Rodriguez in the Red Sox Fan case, or by losing this heartbreaker in the case of those New Yorker who made their way to Fenway.

Lastly, one of the best-ever lead rollercoasters game in recent history on the 95th anniversary of one of the most historic ballparks in the game, Fenway Park.

As I type this it's the top of the 9th, with the Yankees NOW TRAILING by one run.

The Red Sox lead 7-6, leading for the second time in this game of juggernauts. Finaly two outs arrives, it's 0-2 with Thompson at the plate.

Okajima delivers...

and a check-swing strike out and the Red Sox win, 7-6!!

A heartbreaker but heart IMPALER for the New York Yankees tonite as the Rex Sox head for the locker room with grins a mile-wide!

I'd really like to hear from you that don't watch the game or hate either or both of these teams. The steeped history and at times almost tangible hate between them is something that makes their games such a treat. Let's here it here!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Redbird Ramblings - April 15th, 2007

Ahhh a spectacular game this afternoon on a brisk, cool St. Louis afternoon, and the hallmark edition of Cardinal Baseball on our new HD television. A very happy surprise as this will be the first game available in HD which really does boggle the mind. I thought surely the opening day game would be up and running on HD, but alas, it's more than a week into the season that the first HD game has been made available on our local channel 5 in HD.

On to some details of this game vs. the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO.

-- Albert Crushes One Early! No sooner than I sit down and kick open the Lifebook here - PUJOLS JACKS ONE, HUGE, for a 3-run homer! Ohhh yeah!

-- CRISP HD: I know that I'll continue to hear about this from a variety of people who are sick of me talking about it, but the picture for today's game is just so above bar that it deserves continual mention. The colors, the details, the textures made available are really something to marvel at. The texture in the clothing. The position of the pitchers hand in the glove before a pitch. The snaps on both the catcher's gear and protective elements on the hitters that are wearing the gear. It's all something very special and I'll be sure to include more here as I experience it.

-- Blob-a-Goo Players: I'm not sure if it's because the day is cold and they're layering up or that there's more detail being shown because of the HD, but it just looks like everyone in today's game is "chubbier." When I started typing this it's the top of the 4th, and I just noticed that everyone is number 42 today, apparently a nod to the greatness of Jackie Robinson which is great to see and way overdue.

-- The Care of Looper: A line-drive was hit in Looper's direction and was batted down by a glove, but it was funny how quickly the commentators were to get on the sympathy wagon, regardless of how clear it was that he wasn't hurt. Shrug.

-- Playstation 3 Baseball: Jade and I were in a local Best Buy store yesterday, and we saw whatever the most recent edition of the Playstation Baseball was on there with a couple of people playing it. It's funny that I've been talking about the HD experience because the game that they have is very well representative of this stadium and the players. They had more wind available in the game apparently (they probably have weather effects that you can toss into the mix) but the camera angles, the movement, the pseudo-blur of cameras finding focus: it's all there and it's extraordinary.

-- Yadi's Throwdown: When I was a catcher in little league and high school one of the plays we never really took advantage of is the cacther throwing back to first behind a runner. The Cardinals currently benefit from having the true-blue additional weapon in their arsenal of Yadir Molina, in that he not only has a cannon of an arm, but has the confidence to throw to any base, at any time, and is very skilled at it. It was showcased in the top of the 5th wonderfully as Yadir helped the Cardinals close out a potential rally by picking off a large, and sleeping Prince Fielder at first. Very nicely done.

-- The Hit and Run: I wonder if anyone that doesn't really understand or like baseball understands the value of a team that participates in the hit and run so often? The Cardinals today have pulled it off wonderfully today and Ihope it is a trend that continues all through this 2007 season.

-- Chaw!!! The new and shiny Duncan is a talented gentleman to be sure, but MAN! The CHAW in HD is EXTRA disgusting! Let's hope that's something that he and anyone else that's partaking can eventually kick because seeing the chewing, the spitting and the extraction of the chaw is just SICKENING!

-- Franklin's Pelting of Strikes: Something that's kind of lost in the realm of professional baseball, are pitchers that get in there and work quickly. Franklin gets in there and PELTS batters with strikes, quickly, over and over and over again. I know that he's a one-year free-agent acquisition but I hope that his pitching continues and he's able to lead us into the next Championship round.

-- Preston's Stagger: Is it just me or does Preston Wilson today look like he's trying to walk and run with a potato chip up his ass and doesn't want to break it? What's up with that? Is there an injury report on him?

-- As the Bottom of the 8th Arrives: Albert puts on on a TEE and hits it for a ton for his second homer of the day! It's amazing that people are saying that "Albert isn't 100%" - if he's not 100%, what will he get over and above the 5RBIs and 2 homers he's had today?

-- The Announcers: With a sprinkling of Mike Shannon, Jay Randolph and Rick Horton really made for a fun, entertaining, and memorable game and I look forward to hearing them again in the future.

As Handy Randy Flores puts the side down quickly and the game comes to a close, the Cardinals win it 10-2, in front of 44153 happy Cardinal Fans, and a few not so happy Milwaukee Brewers Fans. A great 2hrs and 10 minutes this afternoon that really does bring some satisfaction to a lazy weekend day.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Tiny Obit... In the Wine...

I can remember vividly looking at Don Ho's IMDB entry last year when I was looking for a .wav file of "TINY BUBBLES" for our 2GuysTalking: 24 Podcast's "24 in 60+!" where I review the episode each week in 60 seconds+. I remember at that time seeing that he was STILL ALIVE and 76 years old which made me think back to the first and second time I'd seen him. The first was in the TV advertisement for his "greatest hits" when I was a kid living in Schaumburg, IL. watching the "Son of Svengoolie" Horror Show in the late evening on Channel 32, WFLDtv. It would rifle though his greatest hits, showcasing the time and ageless lyrical goodness of Don Ho. The SECOND time I remember seeing him was in The Brady Bunch - thaaaaat's right - when they go to Hawaii and acquire the cursed Tiki idol (and the ORIGINAL syndicated viewing, none of that revisit crap in 2005!)! Yeah! Man, those were the days and nights of summer when there were far fewer things to care about, and even more to make fun of.

When I read his obituary this evening while waiting for some noodles to boil, I thought to myself, "Damn, that's gotta' be the smallest obituary every conceived." Still haven't seen it? Let me share it with you:

"Singer Don Ho dies at 76

By JAYMES SONG Associated Press Writer

HONOLULU — Legendary crooner Don Ho, known for his catchy signature tune "Tiny Bubbles," has died, his publicist said Saturday. He was 76."

This is the epic review of a man who's career has spanned most of not only my life but my parents lives? Zowie! A way too "Tiny Obit" for a man that's left such a bare footprint on the world of vacation-goers in probably every country on the planet.

What are your thoughts? Too tiny? Does the man deserve something more grand? Let me know what YOU think now by clicking below to leave your comments!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Redbird Ramblings - April 10th, 2007

I had thought that I would be forced to blog NOTHING of the events of this game, mostly because until the last possible moment, in almost 1980's Cubs-like fashion, the Cardinals had been completely ineffective against the Pittsburgh Pirates this evening.

Then the Cardinals built and tookd advantage of a rally I thought would be the death of me but guess what? The dark horse Scott Spiezio brought the Cardinals back from the brink of destruction to survive into extra innings! The game continues and truly, there's only ONE GIANT negative that I can comment on here: Why on EARTH is this game not televised ANYWHERE? I checked the hundreds of channels available via my HDTV set hookup - nothing. I checked a variety outlets online and as always, MLB's GAMEDAY service literally saved every ounce of potential interest for this Cardinal fan and hopefully many others.

I'll be sure to provide more as I see the action unfold with Gameday and great job, Spiezio!

(Revisiting after another DANDY episode of "THE SHIELD")

Oh in 12 innings it's the Cardinals up by one and they win the game that they trailed 91% of the time 3-2!

The last second heroics are one of the most aggrivating yet satisfying things that I think Major League Baseball provides and it was neat to be part of this one.

Another Dan Rather Reports Moment....

Since acquiring an HDTV a month ago tomorrow. I've seen probably 3 different offerings of "DAN RATHER REPORTS" on HDNet, and today's show inparticular seems incredibly unbiased in comparison to what I've seen him dish previously during his especially recent stint with CBS.

I had expected something very biased when I watched the last two shows, and I got something completely straight-forward as well as informative from his this program and tonite's show is no exception. Below are some notes from the segments provided as well as some of my admittedly opinionated thoughts on them.

Guiliani as President? I was AMAZED at the very honest and straight-forward review on Guiliani. I expected a lot more biased reportnot only from Rather, but also from 2 columnists that he had on and appreciated the no-nonsense, no fluff, here's what we think details that were very fair.

Outsourcing the Military: Oh we can only hope that specialty metals are 100% American melted metals for as long as I'm alive. That corporations are trying to get cheaper, more "cost-effective" solutions for materials that are used to create planes, guns, bombs and magnets that make our military machine "go" is one of the scariest things I've ever learned of and folks: it's something that is going on right underneath our noses. Will the "let's make a deal" think of future generations cripple us as a superpower to be left on the high-tech railroad tracks of future military conflicts? Only we can make the difference and this report was very well crafted and forthright. The message? We cannot afford for the security of the defense industry to be literally "watered down" with imports. The defense industrial base needs to not provide a fulcrum left on people that might potentially (as one Swiss company that created precision instruments for guided bombs at the start of the Iraqi War did) cease production leaving us with the country hanging by it's last bootstraps. A wonderfully informative report.

The US COAST GUARD: 34,000 people were resuced from Hurricane Katrina (oy, If ever there were a time for Dan Rather to tee off, this was it) and thankfully he provided what was an very evocative report in regard to the Coasties that are ready to fly 24/7. Ready to launch in 30 minutes, in a state called "Bravo-0", a ready crew of 4 is ever-ready to spring to life to make a difference in a variety of areas all across our nation. Again a very solid and heartfelt fact-filled report with no lean whatsoever. Hmmm...

In general I thought this was an excellent and very informative show on a variety of things including those serving in the Armed Forces of our nation and American Politics: Both breeding grounds for media bias as has been evidenced over the last year in my reports both here and in my LunchTimeGab blog entries.

What are your thoughts on this? Is it Dan earning a paycheck acording to the "man" or has he realized that there's more to than just taking what's provided, wrapping it in opinion and spin and offering it up for consumption? Tell me what you think in the comment section below!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sopranos: They Return to the Summah' House and Lawn'dry

Sopranos: They Return to the Summah' House and Lawn'dry
Episode Review - Final Season, Episode 1 of The Sopranos by Mike Wilkerson - 2GuysTalking.Com
A 2GuysTalking TelevisionReviewBlog.Com Review:

Oh, to see old "friends and/or family members!"

The episode starts with Tony being towed off after a mass of police officers show up and offer us an immediate chance to see the rest of the family again! AJ, Meadow and the ever-somehow-hot Mrs. Soprano are all in character and ready to showcase some more of their undeniable skills.

The rest that follows is a listing of random thoughts as they arrive inside my head and are then placed in to the categories provided below.. Please feel free to chime in on any of them and again, it's great to see all of our "family" again and I have high-hopes for this ending bookend season to one of the hallmark television programs of all time.

Bada-Bing! What It's Done Right:

In HD: This will be the first episode and sadly the final season of The Sopranos that I'll have the fortune of watching in HD. The colors, the complexions, the front butt of Janice: Amazing. :) For those of you that haven't gotten on-board the HD revolution, it's very much worth the effort, time, money and anguish to do so. Be sure to touch base with someone that's gone through the combine of HD conversion so that you can help avoid the pitfalls that await you, as well as needing to follow the "you-musts" and "if-you-don'ts" from the bloodsuckers that will be selling you your set.

The Characters: The Sopranos does something here that very few programs can and or ever do: They are able to put us back into situational awareness of what's happened over the period we've been gone and to introduce us to more than 15 already-met characters in about 15 minutes. That truly is amazing and while I know that The Sopranos knows how to do it because the cast is so large, it really IS ground-breaking and something that I wish other shows would learn already. The pacing of this episode was perfect because of this ability.

Automatic Weapons: When in doubt give the boss and AR-10! When I grow up to be a boss I TOO want an AR-10! There's something about Italian Mafia shows and automatic weapons that just makes me need to change my pants. Ahhhh. Doh!

The Cliff Relationship Dialogs: The Sopranos continues another characteristic that really does provide you with a wonderful sense of contentment in that you probably will never have the kind of relationships that they have. I call it the Cliff Relationship Dialog. Here you are, you and your sister talking about life, the past, specific events, and how chummy you all are. A few back-and-forths occur and suddenly: Life falling off a cliff, you or her, or both of you are in a very uncomfortable "geez, I don't know what to say to that" moment, but it feels like sitting down on razor wire. There are few programs that are able to pull this off, especially when there's so much "family" involved in something like The Sopranos, but truly: They are MASTERS of it. Whether it's Janice talking to Carmela, or Bobby simply telling Tony to not talk like that and then AAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! Down a cliff they go. Whether it's simply emotional turmoil/a void or a monopoly board piece embedded in the face, The Sopranos is the MASTER series for such trade-offs and it is amazing.

Presumed Happiness: I'm not sure if it's the color palettes, camera angles, cinematography or pace that are chosen for the show, but the times that they depict people happy really make a perfect "picture" of happiness, that is the perfect set up for the Cliff Relationship Dialog. Again, just brilliant storytelling that few series can match.

AJs Slackery: I'm not sure if it's the ability to have AJ not "follow in his Father's footsteps", or if it's just that I was never the slacker that AJ is/has become, but it's a very interesting kaleidoscope that we see with AJ (Tony's Son, Tony Jr.) and I hope that we have some more screen time for him in something other than a whining/bitching session with Carmela. Watching him lie once again to his parents as he entertains was one of those guilty pleasures that strangely I am getting over as I too get older. Hmm, is it possible you can truly outgrow "outsmarting your stupid parents?" Thoughts?

Ahhh, Fishing: Y'know - I've always LOVED fishing - the peace, the alone with nothing but you, the person with you, the boat and the water, etc etc. But you know what? I've caught almost NOTHING when I go, especially with my Father. I'm not kidding: The last time we went we were on a gorgeous lake in the middle of Wisconsin, perfect weather, perfect conditions and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, zero, zip nada. I don't know if we have the most unlucky fisherman license or something but I've always valued the time that I've spent with him even though we come back with nothing. Did I already say we always come back with an empty net? I'm sure I did. :)

Picturesque Shots: Again, it might be that I'm just now watching in HD, but there are literally some shots I could take a picture of and have printed out and mounted in this episode. The imagery of the boat with Tony and Bobby in it fishing from the treescape view are some of the most striking shots I've seen in recent television.

You Know It's a Good Fight When a Monopoly House is Stuck In YOUR FACE! Does this REALLY need any explanation? :) Kudos to the fight coordinator and to the grip that said "what if we have a Monopoly House lodged in his face when he's out cold?" :)

The Make-Up Department: Tony's eye when he wakes up in the morning hurt when I looked at it. That's the "mark" literally of a talented make-up crew and The Sopranos secured someone great this season. Kudos (sound of a punch landing and a body falling to the ground, thereby embedding a Monopoly House into my face).

Turnabout: They have created a literal monster in Tony with his eternally evolving ability to shovel responsibility. The sequence where he goes from being a pissed off brother-in-law whose just lost a lot of apparent face, to basically telling his "I-kicked-your-ass-last-nite" brother in-in law to go whack somebody to appoint blame and the potential for failure is immaculate story writing.

What's Been Whacked/Sleeps with the Fishes:

Ummmm... Unlike last season where I could complain about at least 2-3 things in each of the episode, my only complaint here was that it simply wasn't long enough. In the age of "2 hour openers" it was strange to only be alloted an hour to watch the last, ever, never-will-be-another, this is it, after-this-we-sleep-with-the-tv-series-fishes season opener for a show I've liked since it started. I guess that's a great problem to have, eh? Perhaps other shows should take this as something of a bellweather for their entries into christening a season of a television show.

'Da Rest of 'Da Story: (7/10 upside-down guns) As we've started with The 2GuysTalking: 24 Podcast, I'll be giving the episodes of The Sopranos a number rating this final season. This one earns 7 upside-down guns as a welcome, average "hello there" from an old friend from whom I hope to see and witness many great things this season.

What do YOU think? Right on? Don't know what the hell I'm thinking about and should be whacked in a laundromat? Chime in below via our 2GuysTalking Television Review Blogs Comment system below and tell us what YOU think of this first, episode of the last season of the hit HBO series, "The Sopranos."

RedBird Ramblings: April 8th, 2007

A truly devlish Easter Surprise!

After what was a horrifying outing by the Cardinals against the bane-of Cardinal existence, Roy Oswalt yesterday, it was great to have the Cardinalso bats and offense in general awaken.

They literally rolled over the Astros today, in a 10-1 rout that honestly really felt good. The pitching, the hitting, the "game feel" were all outstanding, and it seems that the Cardinal "engine" might be coming around to take on another bend with the Cardinals heading to Pittsburgh, a team that somehow actually lead their division with 4 wins and 2 losses. I'm eager to see where we'll be taken on Monday evening.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Red Sox Crush KC in their Opener...

In lieu of the Cardinals game outcome, perhaps I should have Tivoed and watched the Red Sox game from this afternoon during a 7-1 destruction period of "that team to the west of St. Louis.

The only thing more pitiful than the outcome of this game and the Cardinal game? The interview with Cardinal's Manager, Tony LaRussa - a quiet, uncomfortable, waste of airtime, honestly. Clearly Tony understands that "we are better than that" a it could have been summed up by saying "we sucked and we'll change it - goodnite."

He has so much passion for his team and it's clear that he just hates having to give time to people that ask him inane questions. Looking forward to Friday's game during the Battle of the Sucklings...

Ha! Ryne Sandberg: Check It!

Ryne Sandberg is someone that I've always admired, in fact a dear friend of mine named his second son after him and it is deserved. That being said, be sure to check out this couple-of-year-old article by Ryne, that really does put some light on his thinking process, and has a great line in the first couple of sentences in regard to Nomar - Ha!


RedBird Ramblings: April 5th, 2007

The Cardinals Finish their First Series Against the New York Mets -- All Thrusters Disabled:

I never thought that I would see the day the 2006 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals receive their World Series Championship Rings, and lose a game 10-0 in the same three hour period.

Alright it's clear that all thrusters aren't firing appropriately, so let's talk about a few of the good things in this evenings game.

The New York Mets Batting Helmets: I'm not sure if it's because we've seen so many of them this evening, but I noticed these right away on Sunday evening when we had our opening day rout of the Cardinals on April Fool's Day. They are a striking mix of blue that flirs to black as the color trails to the back of the helmet. At first I thought that it was something we'd see on all helments, but the Cardinals have their regular Redbird Red Hats.

Ahh, Joe Buck: In lieu of the lingering hate for another Joe, Joe Morgan, it is great to see and hear Joe Buck on Fox Sports Midwest. It's almost criminal that he doesn't have anything to make some great commentary this evening because of the Cardinals lack of performance. That's a shame.

Looper's Opening Pitching: I was happy to see almost 6 innings in this game and he really does have a lot of potential. It's neat to see his skill set in place with the cornicopia of both new and talent that the Cardinals have and have had over the last three years.

A Workout for Izzy: Man - into the top of the 9th we've got Jason Isringhausen, he-who-was-maligned-last-year, who I really hope to see turn the tables on his critics from last year. There were many places where he was the sole focal point of what happened with Cardinals baseball and he's got a great set up for a superb showing this year. Let's hope it all runs through in a positive light as the year progresses.

Isringhausen's Tan: It's good to see that something other than the hip was worked on this season. "Letting it go and throwing hard" as Izzy shuts down the Mets 1-2-3 this time. I look forward to seeing how quickly he can be deified this season.

MLB GameDay Action: Something that a coworker and a fellow Cardinal Fan hooked me on several years ago, is the "Gameday" service which provides you with some of the best online update action in regard to an in-play baseball game/ Each and every game that goes on during the year has it available at every single MLB Team website. It's realy something to see and I recommend it totally.

#40 - Delgado: For a man that can bring the heat but "isn't always sure where it's going to land" he sure shut down the Cardinals after arriving on the scene. The 8th inning was stunningly silent, and it looks as though he's going to go through the 9th inning as well.

How About a Brawl? Something to get the juices flowing perhaps? Delgado is "known for tossing it up and not being sure where it's going" so how about a bench-clearing fan-absent brawl to end the Mets first visit to the City by the Arch? Darn: The Mets have put in Sele to close it out this evening as Eckstein strikes out. That brings up Chris Duncan who hits a dandy to right center for a double to bring up Pujols. Could it be very long night not only for the frigid fans as well as the frozen but potentially awakening bats? Pujols strikes out looking on a 12-6 breaking ball. Wow.

Respect of the Cardinals: It was astounding and very satisfying to see TOTAL RESPECT during a post game interview with Sean Green who, while his team just kicked the WORLD SERIES' CHAMPION ASSES for three games, gave what was one of the best, short and respect-filled pieces I've ever seen. It's great to see things like that happen and it is DESPERATELY missing inside of professional sports.

The bottom line is that the Cardinals have had some very significant miscues in each of the games, almost all of them being either in the outfield and behind the plate. That is a lethal combinaton but thankfully one that is good to have this early in a very volatile season. As Tagucci taps out to the infield, the Cardinals are CRUSHED, SWEEPED, and ringed as we prepare for the fourth game of the season, with the not-so-red-hot, just-as-crappy Houston Astros in Houston.

Look for more here at my blog and remember to chime in with your thoughts on what we've got here!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

RedBird Ramblings: April 1st, 2007

Oh how terribly appropriate it is that this is the first day of Cardinal Baseball - perhaps we'll have EPSN2 open up a new window and announce that the 5-0 lead in the top pf the 5th inning is a cruel April Fool's Joke?

Today's game was just summed up so far by Tony LaRussa in a Manager's Comment segment where the Mets are truly using their hitters to their advantage in this game. My goal with these writings will be to provide some commentary in regard to not only the Cardinals, but the presentation of the game, the commentators and my general feelings about the follow-up to the 2006 Championship Season for the St. Louis Cardinals. Let's get straight to it.

-- Joe Morgan: I have to tell you that I was really looking forward to watching this game - until I learned that Joe Morgan was going to be one of tonite's main commentators. While no one can deny the skill that Morgan brought to the field during his payer days, he has to be easily one of my most hated television commentators. His perspective in general is just so completely negative, regardless of whatever team he's refering to, that it makes me want to change the channel. In particular was the short questions he had to Cardinal coach Tony LaRussa recently. "What's wrong with Carpenter tonite?" "How do you feel about your rotation this year are they doing alright?" Another that really disturbed me, was when he says that "Albert Pujols has to be the best he's ever been for the Cardinals to repeat." Right - thank you Captain Obvious. He also then ladels in Scott Rolen with the same comment and just the thought that they WON'T try to be their best is insulting to two warriors that led the Cardinals to the pennant last year. Here's another great one: "As you can see, Carpenter, because he's a fastball pitcher, is falling off to the 1st base side and is unable to field those balls being hit back up the middle." Joe, EVERY SINGLE PITCHER, falls away to the side (to the 1st base side for righties, and the opposite for lefties", and isn't necessarily WHY Carpenter, or any other damn pitcher in the history of baseball. GaaahD! While they may seem mundane, when you consider the frequency of his negative comments, it's only the top of the iceberg for Morgan's lackluster style that just makes me want to grab an AM radio and listen to our local play-by-play when games include his name on the roster of televised commentary.

-- HD inna' House! While my family just acquired a great HD television to replace a 14 year-old friend/television that died recently, I sadly have to report that I don't get to watch tonite's rout in HD. Why EPSN2 isn't carrying this game in HD is beyond me. Does anyone have anymore details about that? After having been watching HD for most of the week when I have my very short opportunities to watch TV - I didn't realize how "hard" it would be to revert back to regular televsion even though it's on an HD screen. I wonder if I'm just missing a channel listing someplace or seomthing.

-- Bitching About Age: You might not believe it, but I've counted 14 different references to player ages during this game so far, into the top of the 6th inning. How about CONGRATULATING players that may be older (41, 37, 33, 31 - good gawd, my 37th birthday is tomorrow. I would be a dinosaur were I a professional athlete apparently. All of these were initiated by Joe Morgan adding again to the relative negativity of his participation in professional sports commentary.

-- Albert Looks Outstanding: I'm not sure if it's that he's let his goatee flesh out, or that he's got a more chiseled chin via his different workout process this season, but Albert looks OUTSTANDING today. It really is special it is to be a baseball fan living in a city that has such a great sample of a player of the game. I look forward to seeing where he's going to go this year as he adds to his continually growing career total numbers.

-- Outstanding Crowd: We always talk about how people don't "understand St. Louis Fans" and I have to continue to aspouse this. I've been to 5 other professional major league opening day games, and seen even more on television, and there IS something both indescribable, nor matched about St. Louis opening-day baseball fans. that I can't put my finger on. Can you help me describe it here for others that are reading? Chime in below

-- Redbird Wrap: As we wrap this edition, it's currently 5-0, and I hope to be able to log on later on this evening to be able to provide you with some more details and information about a late-inning win for the Cardinals, but sadly I doubt it. I will without a doubt, enjoy the next Cardinal game that I can only hope will not feature the negative theatrics of Joe Morgan, and will include positive numbers escalating our Cardinals to their first "W" in the Win column.