Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Texas Rangers are 3-11 Since........

The debut of SharkNado on the SyFy channel.

Sure, you can use the All-Star  break as the line of demarcation, and the Rangers haven't been good since then (2-7).  But we believe it has something to do with SharkNado.

What other logical explanation can there be?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Texas Rangers at the All Star Break

As the Texas Rangers gear up for the remainder of the season, let us take a look back at how things fared before the All Star break.

There were 394 pitchers who went on the disabled list before the break, 96.7% of those pitchers were Rangers' starters.  Seriously, the pitching staff was hammered and hampered by injuries.  When the rotation consists of Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, and, take your pick of Grimm, Lindblom, Tepesch, Wolf, or the neighbor kid down the street, that the Rangers are where they are is commendable.

And where are they?  Thirteen games above .500 and two games back of Oakland in the AL West.  Plenty of time and games still left.

The offense on the other hand, meh.  Sure Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland both joined the pitching staff on the DL, but the offense has wasted many good pitching performances.  Nobody ever won a game scoring zero runs.

The bullpen, while overworked and overexposed at times, has really held it together.  Kudos to Joe Nathan, Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers, et al.

Going forward, Lance Berkman can't be counted on to stay healthy and even if he is, can he even hit?

Elvis Andrus and David Murphy need to figure it out at the plate.  And quickly.

Alexi Ogando seems ready to return, but will the Rangers ever see Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis or Neftali Feliz on the field this season?  We would proceed thinking not.

The trade deadline looms.  The Rangers need another starting pitcher and a right-handed bat.

This is still a very good team.  And instead of all those clamoring for manager Ron Washington to be fired, here in the Cheap Seats, we think he has done a tremendous job of getting the Rangers where they are right now.  Give us a better available option.  Or would you rather have Bobby Valentine? Puh-leeeeze!

The second half starts tonight.  Sit back and enjoy, it's going to be a fun ride no matter how it turns out.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cover Songs

I had a brief facebook conversation the other day with somone about cover songs.  Or more precisely, one song that was recently covered.

My friend's post had a link to the cover version of the song along with a comment that said "better than the original".

Was it better than the original?  Well, no, not really.  But it was fresh and new and on his mind.

We eventually agreed that the cover was not better than the original.  Covers rarely are.  Especially if the original recording was written by the original artist.

Are there exceptions?  Sure.  At least as far as we are concerned.  However, a certain twitter conversation enlightened me to the fact that some regard any covers as inferior.  The conclusion of that conversation ended in "to each his own."

The writer of the song usually has a personal investment in the song and/or a story interwoven into the song and can sing it like they mean it.

A lot of it has to do with perspective.  Was the first time you heard a song the original, or was it a cover?

Growing up, the only version of "Blinded by the Light" I ever heard was Manfred Mann's.  Little did I know that the song is a Bruce Springsteen original.

Listening to the local classic rock station, my daughter would start singing along to a song.
Me: "How do you know that song."
Her:  "It's in (some animated movie). They do it better in the movie."

All perspective.  But for the most part, give me the original.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thoughts on Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer out by the second round.  Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka also.  Serena Williams ousted before the quarterfinals.  The last four days of Wimbledon must have been horrible.

Or maybe not.

Congratulations to Andy Murray especially.  Finally a Brit winning Wimbledon.

Congratulations to Marion Bartoli.  Wins the championship without dropping a set.

The championship matches did not live up to what took place two days prior, respectively.  Murray and Bartoli dispensed of Novak Djokovic and Sabine Lisicki in straight sets.  Props to Murray and Bartoli.  They both played very, very well.

On the women's side, Lisiscki was gassed, both mentally and physically.  A three set win over Serena in the round of sixteen in which she was down 3-0 in the third set only to come back. Then in the semis, she pulled the same trick on Agnieska Radwanska.  Finally winning 9-7 in the third.

One of the most entertaining matches on the WTA we have seen in recent years.

But that was only a prelude to the Djokovic match against Juan Martin del Potro.  A five set insta-classic.

Both gentlemen battled, gutted, dug deep.  The fourth set tie-break, won by Del Potro, should be played on a loop on the Tennis Channel when they are lacking for programming.  We would watch.  It was that good.

Djoker will get another Wimbledon at some point.  Maybe Lisicki will get her first.

The finals were a celebration of Murray and Bartoli, not a referendum on Djoker and Lisicki.

Things just got interesting going into the hard court season.  US Open, we can't wait.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

NBC Should Take a Cue From Their Friends at the Tennis Channel

While not being able to watch the first week of Wimbledon matches live, we took to Wimbledon Primetime on the Tennis Channel. As we were watching, the Olympic Games and NBC kept creeping into our mind.

The Tennis Channel does a fantastic job at broadcasting matches from the majors that we tennis fans already know the outcome.  They begin the broadcast recapping the big stories of the day. Then, the best parts of the best matches are shown. Interviews are interspersed throughout the tennis action.  It makes for quite enjoyable viewing.

While this is definitely not an apples to apples comparison, NBC could learn a lot from the Tennis Channel leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

NBC has exclusive broadcast rights in the United States for the Olympics.  The Tennis Channel does not for Wimbledon.  ESPN has the live rights.  Therefore NBC can control what and when events are broadcast for U.S. consumption.

This is not a bash NBC post.  On the contrary.  For the most part NBC does an outstanding job covering the Gamesl with its many broadcast platforms (NBC, NBCSports, MSNBC, CNBC, USA).  Many more different events are given more extensive coverage than in the days of one broadcast outlet. We love that one of the stations becomes the de facto Curling Channel during the Winter Games.

But the rub comes with the primetime telecast on the mother station. The show itself is fine. Show the most anticipated races, competitions, etc.  Sprinkle in some human interest and interviews. It is good viewing.

The problem is with the intelligence-insulting way that things are presented - as if nobody knows the results. Anyone with a smartphone, internet access, a television or radio can get the results if they desire.  There is no reason for NBC to pretend otherwise.

Also with live streaming available, there is not reason for NBC not to broadcast the top events live either.

A large portion of the United States population is unable to view the events live anyway.  The primetime telecast should not suffer.  And don't deprive those that work during primetime the chance to see the events live.  And stop pretending we don't know.

Maybe it will ruin everything for the one guy living in a trailer in the foothills of a mountain range with no telephone, no internet and through an elaborate and complex configuration of aluminum foil and wire coat hangers is able to get a lone NBC station on his 19 inch black and white television.  But he will persevere.