U.S. versus T.H.E.M. (or The Danger of Acronyms)

The following is a transcript from a recent summit held at a conference centre in Toronto to discuss America and Canada’s response to rising global terrorism.  

Canadian Reporter: Mr. Prime Minster. What would you say is the greatest single threat to democracy our country faces right now?

Justin Trudeau: Oh without a doubt it’s THEM.

Reporter: Who is ‘them’?

Trudeau: They are *points to screen with Terrorists Helping Evil Mobilize (aka THEM) under skull and crossbones*

Reporter: They are THEM?

Trudeau: Exactly.

Reporter: Who is planning to stop THEM?

Trudeau: US.

Reporter: We are?

Trudeau: No, them. *waves to U.S. Secretary of State*

Reporter: US is THEM?!

Secretary of State: No, we’re just US. They are THEM.

Reporter: Then who is going to neutralize THEM? Us?

Trudeau: No, they are! *rolls eyes and gestures to Secretary of State*

Reporter: Got it. So it’s US versus THEM but what are we doing?

Trudeau: We are going to help them however we can. *nods at Secretary of State*

Secretary of State: You’re going to help THEM?! I thought you were on our side.

Trudeau: We are helping you against THEM. Our whole focus is on supporting US.

Reporter: How do you expect to defeat THEM if you are concentrating on us and not them? It’s not all about us you know.

Secretary of State: What’s that supposed to mean? US has always been there for you.

Reporter: Sorry, Mr. Secretary. I meant them. *looks at Trudeau*

Secretary of State: Wait….you are THEM? Trudeau? More like FALSEreau amirite.

Trudeau: Who came up with this acronym?

Assistant to Trudeau: Us.

Trudeau: I knew it was them!

Reporter: Who is THEM again?

Assistant: No, not US sir. We did it.

Trudeau: You’re fired. Why don’t you go work for them? *points to Secretary of State*

Assistant: *doesn’t see Trudeau pointing* You want me to help THEM? No wonder you’re losing this war.

Secretary of State: Why are you picking on US again?!

*Trudeau aims nuclear missiles leftover from Cold War at conference centre*

Trudeau: Tell my family I love them.

Reporter: I thought you wanted to stop THEM?

*Trudeau pushes red button*

End of transcript

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Billy Joel Really Did the Start Fire According to NYPD Report

tumblr_n1emtqoh5R1tooympo1_500Despite repeated protests that it had always been burning since the world was turning, musician Billy Joel was arrested on Monday night by state troopers for his part in an upscale Brooklyn house fire that left four people with life-threatening injuries and the building in ruins.

“At this point Billy Joel is the primary suspect of our investigation,” said deputy police chief Joe Menkoff. “He gave a lengthy, rhyming list of people/things/ideas that he accused of committing the crime but the majority have ironclad alibis. I’ve been on the force for 32 years and I’ve never heard of an entire country or a long-deceased baseball player being charged with arson or attempted murder, but this is New York, so stranger things have happened.”

Mr. Joel’s roll call of alleged arsonists included among others Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio, Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television, North Korea, South Korea and Marilyn Monroe. He went on to name Rosenbergs, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom, Brando, The King & I, and The Catcher In The Rye as persons of interest.

“These wild accusations are completely baseless and insulting to the legacy of one of America’s greatest authors,” said Peter Fineberg, who represents the estate of J.D. Salinger. “Mr. Joel may think he’s a big shot but he will held accountable for his libel and criminal actions.”

Joel, who claimed to be having dinner with an uptown girl at a nearby Italian restaurant when the fire started, will be represented by Clarence Darrow III. Darrow released a statement which said that, “Mr. Joel is an innocent man who didn’t light it and was simply caught trying to fight it. You may be right that Piano Man is one of the most overplayed songs in history, but his greatest crime is writing A Matter of Trust – not starting a deadly fire.”

Tom Booth, the lead prosecutor for the case, seems intent on pursuing the death penalty for Joel. “Only the good die young, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try to fry his wrinkly old ass. If they don’t have the courage to flip the switch, we’ll seek to have him put away for the longest time,” said Booth. “No one, not even the man who dated Elle McPherson and married Christie Brinkley, is above the law.”

The trial is set to begin early 2017 in Miami.

Fun with Photoshop: The Condor Flies North for the Summer

Michael Saunders Card copy

Baseball Card of the Month: 1952 Topps Clyde King


The cheers of “good eye” were intended to acknowledge Clyde’s plate discipline, but he always thought there was more to it than that.

Fun with Photoshop: Weeks Sauce

Weeks Sauce copy

Looking for something bland and past its expiration date to add to your lineup?

The have just the thing!

Redemption Song: A-Rod Slugs His Way Out of Purgatory

Vanity may be a sin, but it's not a crime.

Vanity may be a sin but it’s not a crime.

Despite what you may have been told by Bud Selig and Major League Baseball, Alex Rodriguez is not the devil.

In a sports world filled with murderers, wife-beaters and drunk drivers, the vilified Yankees’ slugger worst sin was trying to gain an advantage on the field of play.

Think about that for a second.

If the NFL put the same amount of effort towards curbing domestic violence as baseball did building a case against A-Rod, would the headlines still be smattered with stories of Ray Rice and Greg Hardy?

Yet, in spite of the relatively benign nature of his transgressions, Rodriguez was forced to spend all of last season in baseball purgatory. MLB and Selig seemed to think it could solve its steroid problem by casting all the blame on one player (it’s not the first time) and then publicly flogging their artificially enhanced pariah. It, uh, didn’t work.

The 2015 season rolled around after what must have felt like an eternity, and A-Rod, healthy and freed from the tyrannical reign of Selig came out swinging, reminding fans that he’s still one of the most talented players in baseball — with or without performance enhancing drugs.

After the first 19 games of the year, A-Rod leads the AL in walks and is 4th in HR, 9th in slugging and 10th in OPS. His fast start to the season is even more impressive when you consider that he missed all of 2014 and plays for a team that really doesn’t want him around.

Rodriguez’s superlative skill set was on full display at Tampa Bay on April 18 as he drilled two home run including the longest shot of 2015. That moon shot not only gave New York a 1-0 lead, but also served as metaphorical giant middle finger to Selig, who likely thought he had hammered the final nail into A-Rod’s career with a 162-game suspension.

The Yankees weren’t expected to compete in a deep AL East this year but thanks to A-Rod’s potent presence in the lineup they find themselves atop the division with an 11-8 record. New York may not want Rodriguez, but it needs him.

Rodriguez is a cheater and a liar. But he’s also a helluva baseball player who’s overcome Titanic sized hurdles to find himself on the brink of history. The national pastime’s prodigal son has returned and he’s not leaving anytime soon.

So go ahead and cheer for A-Rod, because unlike the real criminals of sport, he deserves a second third chance.


Fun with Photoshop: Nelson the Destroyer

whatever he hitz copy

Happy Opening Day from Viva La Vidro

Let’s party like it’s 1995…

Go Mariners.

C’s Get Degrees: Mariners Lineup First Half Report Card

Who needs plate discipline with a winning smile like that?

Who needs plate discipline with a winning smile like that?

Mike Zunino (B) The young catcher has been invaluable behind the dish for the Mariners as his stellar defense and pitch framing have been a major reason for Seattle’s staff success. At the plate Zunino shows above-average pop (13 HR) but his abysmal pitch recognition (11 BB/97) needs quite a bit of fine tuning.

Kyle Seager (A) After struggling out of the gate Seager has been nothing short of sensational over the past three months, launching himself into the upper echelon of American League players. He is currently third in the A.L. in WAR (trailing only Mike Trout and Josh Donaldson) and is on pace for career highs in nearly every statistical category. Get that man a long-term contract!

Robinson Cano (A) The 240-million-dollar man has been as good as advertised in his first half season with Seattle. Despite a slight drop in power numbers there’s little to complain about with a slash line of .334/.393/.462. His presence in the lineup seems to have a positive effect on the rest of Seattle’s hitters and he’s no slouch on the defensive side either. Will he finally break the curse of Mariners’ free agent signings?

Brad Miller (C-) Miller had a forgettable April (.173) and even worse May (.136) before turning in a solid June (.298) at the plate. He has struggled at times defensively but the numbers show him to be above-average at short despite some costly errors. The Mariners showed unwavering faith in Miller throughout his slump and he looks to be on the verge of repaying their trust in him.

Justin Smoak (D) The sun might be just about ready to set on the Justin Smoak era in Seattle as the first baseman continues to show little of the promise that once made him a top 10 prospect in baseball. Although he still flashes some pop at the plate, Smoak’s ongoing lack of ability to make consistent solid contact grade him out as a below average corner infielder. It’s a make or break second half for the one-time first round pick.

Willy Bloomquist (C) Willy Ballgame has done a little of everything for the Mariners this season in perfectly mediocre fashion. Although his .269 average in 119 AB is almost entirely hollow (just 6 XBH and 3 BB) WFB’s ability to play multiple positions has been crucial to a team with major roster construction issues.

The Condor's inability to stay off the D.L. has put a damper on the M's playoff hopes.

The Condor’s inability to stay off the D.L. has put a damper on the M’s playoff hopes.

Michael Saunders (B-) The Condor was quietly putting together the best season of his career (2.0 WAR in 65 games) before shoulder inflammation and serious oblique injury landed him on the disabled list. Saunders was Seattle’s third best hitter before the injury but his inability to stay healthy has thrown a major wrench into the M’s lineup and outfield defense. Fans hope he’s not becoming Franklin Gutierrez 2.0.

Stefen Romero (D) Romero crushed the ball in Spring Training but couldn’t carry that success into the regular season as he slashed just .196/.236/.324 in 148 AB with a ghastly 4 BB/40 K ratio. Still just 25-years-old, he has a chance to be a part of Seattle’s future with improvement in plate discipline and in the field, but he shouldn’t play a major role in 2014.

James Jones (C+) The speedy outfielder has been a pleasant surprise since being called up to replace the struggling Almonte. A spark plug atop the order, Jones has tallied 17 stolen bases while being caught just once. The left-hander makes consistent contact but will need to show more patience at the plate (just 11 BB in 245 AB) to become a long term fixture in the leadoff spot.

Abraham Almonte (F) Almonte got off to a hot start but quickly cooled down once the league’s pitchers figured him out. The switch-hitting rookie was unable to make any adjustments (40 K’s in 106 AB) leaving him as dead weight atop the lineup for the better part of a month. Almonte also struggled defensively in centerfield leaving many wondering why he stuck around as long as he did.

Dustin Ackley (D-) The former #2 overall pick in the 2009 draft has the third most at-bats on the Mariners this season with just 4 HR, 3 SB and a -0.5 OWAR to show for it. His defense in left has improved to the point where he is at least average at the position (despite one the worst arms in the game) but the player who was supposed to be able to roll out of bed and hit is posting an anemic .616 OPS for the year. It might be time to pull the plug.

Endy Chavez (C-) Chavez probably shouldn’t be in the majors right now, and he certainly shouldn’t be hitting leadoff, but the gritty veteran hasn’t been a complete disaster filling in for Ackley and Saunders. The 36-year-old has struck out just 12 times in 127 AB but his unwillingness to draw a walk and lack of extra-base pop make him unsuited for anything more than a 4th or 5th outfielder. If he gets significant playing time in the second half, the M’s are in trouble.

Logan Morrison (C) LoMo has been adequate at first base since his return from the disabled list, but it’s not tough to look good when you’re replacing Justin Smoak. He’s playing better than his .230 average suggests (due in part to a .252 BABIP) and a strong second half may allow the former top prospect to carve out a long-term role as the Mariners’ first baseman.

Corey Hart (D+) The Mariners were hoping they got the player who averaged 24 HR between 2007 and 2012 when they signed Hart in the offseason, but the ageing slugger has shown a considerable amount of rust after missing 2013 to  knee surgery. Since he can’t play the field anymore Hart is strictly a designated hitter so he had better start hitting before he’s designated (for assignment that is).


MLB to Immediately Replace All Pitchers with JUGS Machines

A five-year guarantee? Don't expect one of those with a pitching draft pick.

A five-year guarantee? Good luck getting one of those with a free agent pitcher.

Dr. James Andrews had better find a hobby because he’s about to have a lot of free time — and soon.

As the list of baseball’s Tommy John surgery victims reached epidemic levels (Jose Fernandez, Matt Moore, Jarrod Parker, Brandon Beachy, Patrick Corbin, et al.) commissioner Bud Selig, long revered for his quick responses to the sport’s big issues, decided something had to be done.

So he made the biggest change to the sport since the mound was lowered in 1969.

In a stunning announcement Selig revealed that following the All-Star break, Major League Baseball would replace all pitchers with JUGS brand pitching machines in an effort to cut down on UCL injuries and keep the sport’s stars off the disabled list.

The Commissioner’s Office released the following statement on Tuesday:

“After careful consideration, we believe that it is in the best interest of baseball to remove the traditional “pitcher” from the field. Despite an increased focus on pitch counts and proper rest, UCL injuries continue to rise and drastic action had to be taken to protect the future of this game. Although fans may initially be disappointed with this decision, the decrease in season-ending injuries will see their favorite players spending more time on the field and less on the D.L.  Baseball has adapted to major changes in the past and we are confident that it can do it once again. “

According to sources close to Selig, pitchers will still allowed to stand on the mound and select which pitch and how hard the machine throws, as well as field the position, but will not be allowed to throw any pitches themselves.

Players around the league were quick to voice their opinions about Selig’s decision.

I haven’t had much luck hitting against humans so I’m looking forward to taking my cracks at a machine,” said Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak. “I fixed things in my daddy’s workshop growing up so I got a good idea about how these machines tick. It’s go time for the ole Smoakamative.

Other players were less than enthused with the change.

I’ve been busting my hump every off-season to stay healthy while all these young guns blow out their arms,” seethed veteran southpaw Mark Buehrle. “I planned on pitching for a few more years but this latest stunt might be the last straw. How can they even call it baseball anymore?”

America’s pastime is trying to protect it’s future, but in doing so, has the sport sold its soul?

Is this the future of baseball?

Is this the future of baseball?

How long until robots replace umpires and technology allows for other so called improvements to baseball?

Perhaps the answer lies in the seminal 1991 video game Super Baseball 2020:

The game follows the basic rules of baseball, but there are several upgrades since the game takes place in the year 2020. The most obvious difference from real baseball is that some of the characters in this game are robots. All the human characters are equipped with powerful armor, computer sensors, and jet-packs for improved offense and defensive skills.


Powerful armor?

Brace yourselves baseball fans…it’s just six years away.