Friday, July 31, 2020

What Might've Been: The San Pedro Beach Bums (1977)

Aaron Spelling's track record with comedies, dating back to his days at Four Star, was never great. His first series after leaving Four Star was Rango, a midseason replacement series for ABC in 1967 that was Tim Conway's first post-McHale's Navy effort (previously reviewed).

Spelling's niche, he later discovered, was in crime drama and, to a lesser extent, westerns (Guns of Will Sonnett ran for 2 seasons). Blending comedy and drama? Spelling found out that worked, with the success of The Love Boat, so he decided to try a mix of comedy and some light crime drama.

The San Pedro Beach Bums began with a pilot movie that aired in the spring of 1977, and by the time it went to series in September, one cast member was replaced, and ABC hoped to hit the ground running with a crossover with the stars of Charlie's Angels, just in time for Cheryl Ladd's debut in that series. Adding to the pressure was being placed as a lead-in to Monday Night Football.

Unfortunately, it didn't work. ABC cancelled the series after 10 episodes.

The following video from Gilmore Box is for the pilot, which went by The San Pedro Bums. ABC & Spelling added Beach to the title when they went to series.



Of the cast, Kristoff St. John, who had been on NBC's ill-fated Saturday morning sitcom, Big John-Little John a year earlier, would find greater success years later upon joining The Young & The Restless, a gig he would have until his passing last year. Stuart Pankin is currently doing infomercials, long after the end of HBO's Not Necessarily The News. It's too bad none of the episodes are available, including a crossover with Love Boat, and one entry with a guest appearance by Arnold Schwarzenegger, a year removed from "The Villain".

No rating.

Sports this 'n' that

New York Giants offensive lineman Nate Solder, in his 3rd season with the team, has opted out due to concerns over coronavirus and prospective effects on his family. Solder, who came over from New England as a free agent in 2018, has the support of Giants management, but there is a window by which he can return.

That's because, in baseball, Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis, who initially opted out, has reversed field, and will rejoin the team in time for their return match with the Mets, beginning tonight at SunTrust Park in suburban Marietta. And if it works out, more players who opted out in both sports will likely follow suit.
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Add the Mets. If you believe tabloid media in New York, 1st year manager Luis Rojas has lost faith in closer Edwin Diaz.

Diaz, brought in with the Mets down, 3-2, in the 9th Thursday, added gasoline to the fire, as Boston scored an insurance run to nail down what would be a 4-2 win, as the team split the four game home & home series, each winning two at the other's park.

Unfortunately for Boston, they now must go across town to play their ancient rivals, the Yankees, the next three nights, starting tonight.

As for Diaz, Rojas told the New York Post he feels Diaz is letting his emotions get in the way, a sure sign that he isn't handling the pressure of playing in New York too well, so early in his 2nd season in Flushing. Uh-oh.

The fan base will call for Seth Lugo to take over as the closer, I suspect, and Diaz could be on his way out of town before the end of the summer. Stay tuned.
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Reading some comments on a Reddit message board, I can see that people ain't digging Major League Baseball adopting new extra inning rules that were tested in the minor leagues over the last couple of years. Valleycats fans know what I'm talking about. In an effort to speed up the game once it reaches the 10th inning, the inning will start with a runner on 2nd before the first batter steps to the plate. This worked out well for and against the 'Cats last year, as ye scribe can attest.

None of this would be happening if today's generation of ballplayers were broken of certain personal habits that prolong the games......!
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If you've been following the Independent Collegiate Baseball League, as I have, you know they've adopted the minor league system of 7 innings per game for each doubleheader.

Now, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, realizing they're in a dangerous situation due to COVID-19, are following suit, starting tomorrow. Doubleheaders will be 7 innings per game, with the new extra inning rules kicking in at the start of the 8th inning in these cases (ICBL games end in ties after 7 innings). The average time of a 7 inning game in the ICBL falls shy of 2 1/2 hours. For example, last night's twin bill between Amsterdam and the Albany Athletics clocked in at  just under 4 1/2 hours for the two games, so it's doable.
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The NBA resumed play with a nationally televised doubleheader from Orlando on Thursday, but not everyone is playing. Teams that were already eliminated from postseason contention (i.e. the Knicks) were not included for the summer party, if ya will, at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. The teams and their media partners (ABC/ESPN, TNT) may be happy, especially since the WNBA has also begun play.

By the way, ESPN now shares broadcast rights to the WNBA with CBS Sports Network. Just sayin'.

The NHL will get things going again as early as tomorrow, with two bubble sites in Canada. Like, it's not as if there's enough going on in New York now, eh?
=======================================
Fresh from having earned a Super Bowl ring with Kansas City, LeSean McCoy has signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent, joining ex-Patriots Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady, which will only elevate the Buccaneers' chances of making the playoffs. Do I see them winning the NFC South? Nope. Wild Card? Yep. The only way Tampa bounces perennial division champion New Orleans is if someone greases a few palms on behalf of the league's media partners, more so than for Brady.....!
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Governor Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this week that the US Open tennis tournament, set to start in late August in Flushing, will go without spectators. Ditto for the US Open golf tournament at Winged Foot Country Club. These are the times we live in, folks. Set your DVR's.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Remember Like Cola? (1984)

Today, 7-Up is now made by the same folks who make Dr. Pepper.

Back in the 80's, 7-Up introduced Like cola, which was meant to be their answer to Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, et al. Like didn't last very long, unfortunately, despite a simple ad campaign that featured Tim Conway.........




When people leave their brains at home......

A Nevada sheriff had to walk back some remarks after he stated that a local library shouldn't bother calling 911 after it had posted a message stating its support of the Black Lives Matter movement, stressing peaceful protests. Folks have to remember that the violence marring recent protests stems from outside instigators exploiting the sitch for their own gains.

The library staff can rest easy. The sheriff's office will answer 911 calls after all.
====================================
Just when you think President Trump couldn't possibly sink any lower in a desperate effort to win re-election, he made a quizzical suggestion that this year's general election, scheduled for November 3, be delayed. He offered no legitimate reasons why, but there's already been some blow back, citing the fact that Trump is trying to distract voters again from his bumbling lack of response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Classless Crybaby Donald Trump Wants to Be America's Complainer in ...

"WAAAHHH!! We need more time! WAAAHHHH!!!"

None of this would be happening if Trump owned his mistakes, but, nope, he'd rather look for scapegoats.

"Wag The Dog" much, Mr. President?
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Monica Cole, professional con artist, still working the One Million Moms gimmick, is again targeting Hallmark Channel.

The cable cousin to Hallmark Cards released its 2020 Christmas movie schedule, and there are a few films that will have some LGBTQ characters, though none of them are leads.

That doesn't matter to Cole, who already has gotten nearly 40,000 marks to sign her latest boycott petition, which ain't going anywhere.

Get with the program, Monica. It's 2020. We live in an inclusive society. God tells us to love everyone. Do yourself a favor, and actually crack open the New Testament for once. You'll be glad you did.
=======================================
Herman Cain made an unsuccessful bid for President in 2016. Today, we're learning of his passing as a result of----wait for it---coronavirus. Cain attended President Trump's rally in Tulsa last month, and bought into America's Oldest Baby's claim that masks weren't needed. The cost, apparently, was his life and health.

Unfortunately, that won't be enough to even scare Trump into finally doing something. Affluenza has its lasting effects on the idle rich.

Musical Interlude: Reminiscing (1978)

Australia's Little River Band continues to get airplay on oldies and adult contemporary channels with their soft rock hits of 70's & 80's, such as 1978's "Reminiscing":

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Weasel of The Week: Luis Santos

Allow me first to present photographic evidence that you don't have to be white to be tagged for racial profiling.

luis-santos.png

Luis Orlando Santos Santiago, to use his full legal name, age 54, was arrested for unlawfully detaining a teenager who was on his bike heading to basketball practice in the pre-dawn hours. What this nothing happening dirtbag did was falsely represent himself as an off-duty officer to not only the victim, 17, but to a 911 dispatcher, fabricating a story about how the kid supposedly was breaking into vehicles or something. The youth was so shaken, he was hyperventilating out of fright. Local police officers not only arrested this week's Weasel, but gave the kid a ride to basketball practice so he wouldn't be late.

WWE superstar Titus O'Neil, listed in press accounts as a "former" wrestler as he's doing mostly public relations for the company when not involved in civic affairs in his native Florida, is acting as a spokesman for the victim's family. Santos has been charged with false imprisonment, which could bring a 5 year prison sentence if convicted.

The odd part here is that we have a Latino profiling an African American. Whodathunk? What did Santos hope to gain by pulling a scam like this? And this clown taped the entire incident himself, thinking he's a hero. Something tells me he's got something in common with another delusional dirtbag somewhere up north.......

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Baseball this 'n' that

That didn't take long, did it?

After upsetting Philadelphia over the weekend, the Miami Marlins have been hit with a series of positive tests for coronavirus, forcing the postponement of a series vs. Baltimore, and the Marlins are on ice until at least Monday, according to reports.

The Phillies, on the other hand, have seen their home & home four-set with the Yankees postponed as well as Major League Baseball is checking to see if there were any positive tests among Phillies players and/or stadium personnel, though reports suggest the Marlins didn't get infected in Philadelphia.

As a consolation, the Yankees will play two at Camden Yards against Baltimore tomorrow and Thursday, with two previously scheduled dates switched out to make up for the Phillies postponements. Stay tuned.
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When Michael Wacha broke in with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, becoming NLCS MVP in the process, a certain Muppet's picture appeared in the stands.....

Fozzie Bear.jpg

"Wacha! Wacha! Wacha!"

The very name lends itself to being a play on Fozzie Bear's catchphrase, "Wocka! Wocka!" from The Muppet Show. And so it is, then, that with Wacha winning his Mets debut Monday night over Boston, now would be a good time to have Fozzie make an appearance. Just can't resist.

After beating Boston, the Mets find themselves tied for first in the NL East with Atlanta at 2-2 after the Braves lost to Tampa Bay.

Now, if there were fans in the stands, you know the Mets would find a way to do a promotion with the Muppets......!

Twitter locks down Dumb Donald II's account for 12 hours. It should bounce him for good (and his dad, too)

In another example of political desperation, President Donald Trump and his son, Dumb Donald II, retweeted a video that made false claims about alleged cures for coronavirus, the same "cures" that the President touted back in the spring. Said video has since been booted by YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, et al, and in Twitter's case, they locked Dumb Donald II's account for 12 hours for spreading misinformation.

Classless Crybaby Donald Trump Wants to Be America's Complainer in ...

"WAAAAHHH!! We have the right to post this information! This stuff works!"

No, it doesn't, Mr. President. There's not enough scientific evidence to support your claims, if any at all. More and more people in this country are waking up to the fact that you're not really interested in doing anything to stop the virus.

Twitter's decision on Monday should be just the first step toward permanently banning Dumb Donald I & II for abusing their privileges on the site.

CNN's Chris Cuomo offered this assessment on Monday regarding the virus and Trump:



Anderson Cooper weighed in on Trump's claims of developing a "powerful" strategy:



And, yeah, a round of golf whilst shirking responsibility surprises no one.

Also, we reported yesterday that Trump had cancelled a scheduled appearance at Yankee Stadium next month to throw out the first pitch of a game between the Bronx Bombers and Boston.

Turns out, per the New York Times, that Trump, to no one's surprise, except for the Yankees, was lying. They never officially scheduled the appearance, despite Trump's claims of brokering the deal with Yankee president Randy Levine, a personal friend. No, what really happened was that Trump was upset with Dr. Anthony Fauci and his impersonation of 50 Cent on the mound at Nationals Park on Thursday with a season opening first pitch before the Yanks downed Washington, and thus fabricated the story that he would be in the Bronx in August.

Even Pecos Bill wouldn't be caught dead telling a tall tale like that.

Monday, July 27, 2020

What if inner city insults were worthy of a game show? (In Living Color, 1994)

If you've ever ventured through the inner city in your hometown or anywhere else, chances are you've probably run into some African American men and/or women engaging in something called "the dozens", where they insult each other's mothers in a good natured way.

Curtis writer-artist Ray Billingsley occasionally uses "the dozens" when the title character is hassled by school bullies.

During season 5 of In Living Color, the show's writers turned "the dozens" into a game show, as The Dirty Dozens, a game show parody structured similarly to Jeopardy!, for example.

Actor-comedian Nick Bakay, later of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, was one of those writers, and played the MC in these sketches. From February 1994, we have a "tournament of champions", with guest stars Biz Markie and, crossing over as himself, Married.....With Children star Ed O'Neill......



Wack, man.

Rating: B.

Sports this 'n' that

Fans in New York can rest easy. America's Oldest Baby, President Donald Trump, has cancelled his scheduled appearance at Yankee Stadium to throw out the first pitch prior to a game between the Yanks and Boston next month, claiming he's too busy.

And if you believe that one, you'd probably think he thinks Pinocchio and Pecos Bill are real ancestors of his.....! The truth is, Trump is deathly afraid of being booed out of the Stadium, just like he was booed out of Nationals Park 9 months ago, and he has to focus his energies on his re-election campaign. Unfortunately, since he employs morons to help run said campaign, maybe he does wish those literary icons actually existed......
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Mets fans are a fickle lot.

They cheered when their team won their opener Friday, 1-0, on a Yoenis Cespedes home run. Reality struck on Saturday when closer Edwin Diaz couldn't make it two in a row, giving up a tying homer to Marcell Ozuna, and then the Braves scored three times in the 10th, making use of the new extra inning rules that were first implemented in the minors a couple of years ago, to escape with a 5-3 win.

Back on ESPN on Sunday, the Mets laid a stink bomb, getting blown out by the Braves, 14-1, ruining Rick Porcello's National League debut. Porcello was bounced after 2 innings. Similarly, Minnesota blew away the Chicago White Sox, 14-2.

After three games, Atlanta shares 1st place in the NL East with......Miami, which beat Philadelphia, 11-6.

Over in the AL East, it seems a little more expected that the Yankees and Tampa Bay would be on top, but they're sharing 1st place with Baltimore. That won't last.

As for the Mets and White Sox stinking up the joint, well, let's introduce them to their mascot du jour, Pepe Le Pew:

Pepé Le Pew.svg

"Bonjour, mes amis. Zis can't be zat bad, can eet?"

It's only the first weekend, Pepe. Just wait until football season. If they get to it.
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The Jests caved in, and traded one of their best defensive players, Jamal Adams, to Seattle for draft picks on Sunday. Apparently, Adams wasn't the least bit happy with coach Adam Gase last season, and wanted out. Training camps open this week, but will they play come September? The NFL will not have preseason games this year, including the Hall of Fame Game. Hmmmm.
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By now, you know that baseball's playoffs will expand to 16 teams this year, which only benefits the leagues' owners and their media partners financially, and they're hoping fans will enjoy the added drama. Top two teams in each division and two wild cards per league will make up the field. This explains the motivations of expected also-rans such as Boston, Baltimore, Miami, et al, over the first three days. We'll see how it all plays out in October, where they'll play best of three rounds before getting to the LCS in each league.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Here's something you don't see anymore. Accountability in advertising (1976)

Eastern Airlines knew the best way to attract customers was through open accountability in their advertising. Company president Frank Borman was also their on camera spokesman throughout the 70's, such as in this ad....



You just don't see this anymore.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

What Might've Been: The Joey Bishop (talk) Show (1967)

In the spring of 1967, ABC decided to mount their first challenge to then-late night overlord Johnny Carson.

Actor-comedian Joey Bishop, who had gained some experience as a talk show host filling in for Carson on The Tonight Show, was brought in, and lasted a little more than 2 1/2 years (April 1967-December 1969), his tenure ending right after Christmas 1969. With the notable exception of Frank Sinatra, most of Bishop's "Rat Pack" comrades were frequent guests. Johnny Mann was the bandleader who, with his Johnny Mann Singers, had climbed the charts with their version of "Up, Up, & Away". Future daytime legend Regis Philbin was Bishop's announcer-sidekick.

As ratings slid at the end of 1969, ABC cancelled the show, replacing Bishop with Dick Cavett.

In this clip, Mann seems a little out of place with Joey & Regis sporting Nehru jackets.....



In memory of Philbin, 88, who has passed away. To do Regis' daytime talk show would've been too obvious.

No rating.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Musical Interlude: Welcome Back (1975)

Former Lovin' Spoonful frontman John Sebastian scored his only #1 hit as a solo act in 1976 with "Welcome Back", the theme from Welcome Back, Kotter. "Welcome Back" would also be his last top 40 record.

Sports this 'n' that

A few years ago, rapper 50 Cent threw one of the worst ceremonial first pitches ever at Citi Field.

Thursday night, Dr. Anthony Fauci might've just topped him....



That might've been a bad omen for the World Series champion Nationals, who lost, 4-1, to the Yankees in 6 innings due to rain.
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Players from both the Yankees & Nationals, as well as the Giants & Dodgers later in the evening, took a knee before the playing of the national anthem.

Of course, that won't sit well with President Trump, who ripped Giants manager Gabe "Welcome Back" Kapler earlier this week, as Trump refuses to back down from his claim that the kneeling disrespects the flag. As far as the sports leagues are concerned, no, it doesn't. It's been all about fighting racial injustice & inequity right from the go, but Trump subverted the message to appeal to the closet bigots that make up his voter base. Trump, who was booed out of Nationals Park during last year's World Series, will throw out the first pitch before tonight's Boston-Baltimore game. Personally, I can't wait to hear the reaction.
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The National Hockey League is expanding into Seattle, and the franchise there will go by the name, "Kraken".

What's a kraken, you ask? Well.....



Can you picture a kraken, a type of octopus, on skates? I can't. I don't get the logic of the choice, either.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Sports this 'n' that

They were hailed as two of the greatest fighters of their generation. Both have long since retired, but the lure of-----what else?----money is bringing them together for an exhibition.

Roy Jones, Jr. is 51. "Iron" Mike Tyson is 54. Some promoter is taking a chance on putting these two in the ring for an exhibition match.

SAY WHAT?

Neither one actually needs the money or the spotlight, although Tyson was last seen on AEW Dynamite a few weeks back, where they teased a possible match between him and wrestler-musician Chris Jericho. Tyson has also dabbled in acting in recent years (i.e. "The Hangover", Mike Tyson Mysteries), while Jones simply has enjoyed being out of the spotlight.

Stay tuned.
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Because NFL training camps start next week, Washington should've been in a hurry to come up with a new name for their team after retiring "Redskins" earlier this month. But because owner Daniel Snyder's top advisers are vacationing somewhere in the vicinity of the Twilight Zone, the team will, for now, be simply known as the Washington Football Team.



That's what I was thinking.

Apparently, no one in Washington reads this blog, else they could've used Trumpets.

Actually, this year, they'll be known here as the Washington Senators, as no one will confuse them with a former baseball team. We think.
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Common sense would've suggested that the Toronto Blue Jays would play their home games in Buffalo, home of their Triple A team, this year, since the Canadian government won't allow them to use Rogers Centre.

Unfortunately, ownership must've taken the advice of "Weird" Al Yankovic and decided to "dare to be stupid", accepting an offer from division rival Baltimore to play their home games at Camden Yards.



Well, playing at their spring training home in Dunedin, Florida, would've been even more problematic, what with COVID-19.

But, then, as we're seeing in the Independent Collegiate Baseball League, three of the four teams are taking turns using the same home field. The NBA's Lakers & Clippers have shared Staples Center for the last few years. Some MLB teams in the Cactus League during the pre-season share the same fields, so this isn't as unprecedented as you'd think.

Update, 7/24/2020, 4:28 pm: The Jays have reversed course, and are in negotiations to play instead in Buffalo after all.

Desperate men do stupid things: President Trump wastes taxpayer dollars by sending Federal troops to cities

While he may have the Constitutional right to do so (you can look it up), President Trump is actually doing the wrong thing by sending Federal forces into places like Portland and Chicago to put a stop to peaceful protests, exacerbating the situations with violence that isn't needed.

Classless Crybaby Donald Trump Wants to Be America's Complainer in ...

"WAAAHH!! Lock them all up! I don't care how!"

And thus, Trump's critics, and they are a growing legion, will claim he's a fascist, the same kind of ruthless ruler that we fought in World War II (i.e. Mussolini). Trump's support base, mostly suburban closet bigots and brainwashed evangelicals, either will gloss this over, or finally wake up to the reality that Trump isn't fit to lead.

Trump's niece, Mary, so much as said so in an interview with CBS' Stephen Colbert Wednesday night on The Late Show. Mary Trump believes that her uncle's bragging about passing a cognitive test may be a sign of dementia. She's a psychologist, so she'd have an idea.

Add to that the fact that Trump has again, as he said four years ago, stated that he might not accept defeat at the polls on November 3. He doesn't get it. His critics will tell you he's drunk with power. The power trip is fueled by Trump's own ego, realizing he's on the biggest stage in the world as President, and, like the spoiled man-child he is perceived to be by the media that he thinks betrayed him, the perception is that he doesn't want to give up said power, as if it were a precious, beloved toy.

That said, come January 20, if he's lost his re-election bid, he might have some guys in white suits, wielding butterfly nets, waiting for him.....

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The dark side of Fox News---why it needs to be cleaned up NOW!

The firing of Ed Henry by Fox Shmooze the other day was just a band-aid on an even bigger problem, one that dates back to the former network president, Roger Ailes.

Ailes was, for all intents & purposes, forced out the door in the wake of allegations of sexual harrassment & misconduct a few years ago. Not long after, primetime host Bill O'Reilly (ex-Inside Edition) followed Ailes out the door, if but because sponsors abandoned The O'Reilly Factor like rats off a sinking ship.

Now comes a lawsuit claiming Henry and current tabloid hosts Tucker "Used" Carlson and Sean Hannity both allegedly harrassed and demeaned female co-workers. Ring of Fire's Farron Cousins breaks it all down:



That there is misogynistic behavior at Fox Shmooze can't be just dismissed with a jaunty wave and a sigh, oh no. You have to wonder if this is what attracted that other known misogynist, President Donald Trump, to the network, although there is a growing disconnect, even in the wake of Trump getting verbally spanked by Chris Wallace on Sunday. This could make the Matt Lauer mess at NBC seem tame by comparison if there is more to this than what's already been reported.

Unfortunately, Fox Shmooze wasn't part of the package when the rest of the Fox networks were sold to the Walt Disney Company. Fox News & Business Channels are on their own. However, it's way past time for the networks to finally wake up and join the 21st century. The "old boy network" is dying a slow, painful death, and it's increasingly clear that the suits value the ratings generated by Hannity & Carlson, despite the latter losing sponsors over some racist remarks made by a since dismissed writer for his show a few days ago, over allegations of sexual harrassment and misconduct. Screw the ratings, and take these two clowns off the air until the case is settled. How hard can that be?

Final National League preview for 2020

National League Logo | National league, National baseball league ...

Opening Day can't come soon enough. We took a wider look at the American League on Sunday, so now, it's the National League's turn.

NL East:

Let's refresh your memories on the division from an earlier column, this time with thumbnails:

1. Atlanta. This year's Braves have a better chance of reaching the World Series.

2. Mets. Zack Wheeler's gone (Philadelphia), Noah Syndergaard will miss the season due to Tommy John surgery. Enter Michael Wacha (St. Louis) and Rick Porcello (Boston). Welcome back Yoenis Cespedes, likely to DH most of the season (yes, the NL will have a DH, too). Rookie of The Year Pete Alonso now has some serious backup.

3. Philadelphia. The Phillies added Wheeler and Didi Gregorious (Yankees), but the albatross known as Bryce Harper will keep them from the World Series. So what if the fair weather pundits think Philly will win the division. I don't see it.

4. Washington. The defending champs won't have Ryan Zimmerman, Wellington Castillo, and Joe Ross, all of whom are sitting out the season due to COVID-19 concerns. Anthony Rendon is gone (Angels), which, coupled with Zimmerman being in absentia, takes away a good chunk of the Nats' offense, such that their front three starters (Scherzer, Strasburg, Corbin) won't be enough to save them.

5. Miami. Maybe Derek Jeter should ask A-Roid about joining his ownership group, since it's clear A-Roid ain't getting the Mets.

NL Central:

1. St. Louis. The Cardinals only had Marcel Ozuna as a 1 year rental (now in Atlanta), but their pitching remains intact, though I question Adam Wainwright as anything but a #1 starter.

2. Cincinnati. Don't laugh. The Reds plucked Nick Castellanos (Cubs) and Mike Moustakas (Milwaukee) from division rivals to fortify their youth-based offense. Some alleged experts think they'll win.

3. Milwaukee. Aside from a servicable rotation and Christian Yelich, the Brew Crew's window of opportunity is closing.

4. Chicago. Joe Maddon's gone (Angels), along with Castellanos. The Cubs may yet be the Scrubs again.

5. Pittsburgh. The Pirates wish they could switch divisions.

NL West:

1. Los Angeles. The Dodgers got David Price & Mookie Betts from Boston, but Price is sitting out the season due to concerns over coronavirus. Betts is expected to contribute immediately, since he can't go bowling in his spare time.

2. Arizona. The Diamondbacks picked up Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco) to back up Zack Greinke in the rotation. Unfortunately for both, they won't be able to bat this year.

3. San Diego. The Padres already have good offensive core, but traded Hunter Renfroe to Tampa Bay to bring Tommy Pham back to the NL, which might not work so well. Garrett Richards (Angels) is a #3 starter? Uh, no.

4. Colorado. The Rockies have decided that ex-Met Daniel Murphy will serve them better as a DH this season. Latham NY native Jeff Hoffman (Shaker High) is the #5 starter. The offensive core is still there. Unfortunately, they won't be able to get any higher than this.

5. San Francisco. Bruce Bochy retired, so the Giants brought in Gabe "Welcome Back" Kapler, who flamed out in 2 seasons in Philadelphia. Buster Posey is sitting out, taking away one of the best defensive catchers in the business.

Wild Cards:

AL: Cleveland, Seattle.
NL: Mets, Arizona.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Musical Interlude: Stay Young (1984)

Irish-born entertainer Val Doonican had a brief cup of coffee on American primetime television when he had a summer show on ABC in 1971. Meanwhile, his BBC variety show lasted well into the mid-80's.

In this clip from 1984, Val joins with American country singer Don Williams for "Stay Young". How this never became a single here, I'll never know.



I barely remember seeing Val's ABC series, as the only thing I can recall was an empty rocking chair as the credits rolled at the end of the show. He cited Bing Crosby as an influence, but his love of cardigan sweaters suggested also being influenced by Perry Como.

On The Air: Cannonball (2020)

USA Network's new reality competition series, Cannonball, continues a tradition of importing series from England, and repackaging them for American audiences.

However, unlike British sitcoms such as 'Til Death do us Part (which begat All in The Family), On The Buses (Lotsa Luck), and Man About The House (Three's Company), Cannonball is a throwback to 70's trash sports on either side of the pond. Wrestler and reality show vet Michael "The Miz" Mizanin (Smackdown, Miz & Mrs.) is the play by play announcer, toning down his usual WWE persona. The success of Miz & Mrs. apparently convinced USA suits that Mizanin was the man for the job here.

Miz leads us through a quick teaser.



It's perfect comfort food on a summer night. As noted the other day, NBC repurposed the series opener, which USA replayed in back of NXT last Wednesday. The plan seems to be for fresh episodes airing on Thursdays, opposite ABC's Holey Moley, with replays on Wednesdays, as I'm not sure NBC was doing the opener as a 1-off. Miz has MC experience (MTV's The Challenge, formerly Real World/Road Rules Challenge), which also factored into his selection.

Rating: B.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Musical Interlude: Games People Play (1968-9)

Singer-songwriter Joe South's signature hit, "Games People Play", peaked at #12 on the Hot 100, and won 2 Grammy awards 18 months after the single was released to radio.

Wrap your head around that one. "Games" was released in August 1968, and the Grammys were won in the winter of 1970. Go figure.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Original Rockumentary (The Monkees, 1967)

The Monkees closed out the first season with a mini-documentary chronicling the boys' appearance in Phoenix. Ya might say this was a forerunner to the later MTV series, Rockumentary, after a fashion.



Rating: A.

Sports this 'n' that

Impact Wrestling's much-hyped Slammiversary card last night produced a changing of the guard among the promotion's champions, and welcomed back some old friends.

Eddie Edwards won the vacant Impact World title in a 5-way elimination match that also included the returning Eric Young, who'd been cut by WWE back in April. Young was horribly misused by WWE after being called up as part of the SAnitY faction in the spring of 2018, and spent the final months of his WWE tenure as a part-time agent/producer and a jobber. WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon & Executive Producer Kevin Dunn didn't understand the concept behind SAnitY, and waited seven months before calling up the fourth & final member of the group, Nikki Cross, who is now a 2-time women's tag team champion, and will challenge for the Smackdown women's title tonight.

Luke "Doc" Gallows had been with TNA-Impact as part of the Aces & Eights faction in 2011-12 before going to Japan. This time, he brings with him his long time tag team partner, "Machine Gun" Karl Anderson, as he returned to Impact. For now, the "Good Brothers" are babyfaces, but it's a matter of time before the former 2-time WWE tag champs turn heel.

EC3, nee Ethan Carter III (Michael Hutter), like Young, was mistreated creatively after being called up by WWE in January 2019. McMahon, Dunn, and their staff of anonymous, untrained-in-wrestling scribblers had the perfect storyline in position, after EC3's storyline "aunt", former TNA President Dixie Carter, appear for a Kurt Angle compilation DVD. But, because past invasion angles have backfired badly in WWE due to McMahon's own ego, having the "Carters" come in and attempt to take over WWE was never brought to the drawing board, and Hutter was stuck as a background player holding a drink. David Otunga, last seen as a legal analyst for WWE and for TruTV, might want to discuss things down the road, as he had the same thing happen to him at the end of his run with WWE.

Chris Bey, who was introduced to cable audiences during the short-lived Ring Warriors in 2018, won the X Division title from Willie Mack. Deonna Purrazzo, another wrestler WWE gave up on, captured Impact's women's title from Jordynne Grace, leaving the North (Canada's Josh Alexander & Ethan Page) as the only champions to retain on Saturday.

Impact's weekly show on Tuesday, now on AXS TV (a premium channel on Spectrum, check your listings), should be interesting.
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With The Horror Show at Extreme Rules on tap tonight, WWE will have a bit of a viewer problem.

You see, NBC will at least for tonight replay the series premiere of USA Network's new reality game show, Cannonball, which bowed on July 9. Michael "The Miz" Mizanin (Miz & Mrs., ex-The Real World), after playing up his self-serving in ring persona in commercials for the new show, actually dials it down as a commentator. We'll have a full review up before the end of the week, but on NBC, Cannonball will be coupled with Dwayne Johnson's 2nd year series, The Titan Games.
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Image result for american league logo

As baseball's regular season finally begins this week, we have to encapsulate our previews.

We previously discussed the American League East in early March, before the coronavirus pandemic began wreaking havoc on sports. To recap, here's our predictions for the division:

1. Yankees.
2. Tampa Bay.
3. Toronto.
4. Boston.
5. Baltimore.

However, the Blue Jays won't be playing in Canada this year, and their "home opener" is set for the end of the month, either in Dunedin, Florida (doubtful) or Buffalo. They'd be better served in Buffalo. Boston's pitching staff took another hit when Eduardo Rodriguez tested positive for coronavirus, so he might not be ready for opening day. Yankees pitcher Domingo German won't play this season due to a domestic violence related suspension, but now he claims he's retiring. Yeah, right. Our prediction for the final standings remain the same, but it's looking like a 2 horse race.

As for the other divisions:

AL Central:

We'll just take a shot in the dark here:

1. Minnesota.
2. Cleveland.
3. Detroit.
4. Chicago.
5. Kansas City.

AL West:

1. Houston.
2. Seattle.
3. Angels.
4. Oakland.
5. Texas.

Of course, I could be wrong. National League final predictions on Wednesday.