Mr. Mushnick, Why You Are So Wrong About Chance’s Character


Image by Joshua Mellin

I admired so much of the work of journalists. From spending hours researching about a subject or risking reputation and even their own lives, journalists work really hard to provide us insightful and debatable subjects. But after reading this article from NY Post’s writer Phil Mushnick, I am angered and disappointed about this level of journalism.

Chance the Rapper produces not only joyful and exciting music, but he also does so much for his community and his hometown of Chicago. Earlier this year, he started a Warmest Winter initiative, which raises money for Chicago’s homeless. He also worked with the Enpowerment plan, a non-profit organization that creates self-heating and waterproof winters coats. In addition to all of the amazing things he do for the community, he constantly help the youth explore their inner creativity by hosting many open-mic events and exposing them to the city’s cultural offering.

What angers me about this article is that Mr. Mushnick ignores all of this detail and instead characterized Chance the Rapper as an awful role model based on lyrics of Chance earlier work. He is also saying that Chance won’t improve, but rather adds on to Chicago’s reputation as a murder capital. Sure, Chance’s lyrics do have vulgar words and it doesn’t help that he admitted to taking acid when he produced “Acid Rap”. A lot of us don’t demonstrate the right morale when we were young, but we can change. Chance the Rapper has progress so much in his music, as his latest songs talk about positivity and gun violence in Chicago. Mr. Mushnick, Chance isn’t going to make the city of Chicago and baseball run backward, he appeals to the youth and also helps sends a positive message to the city.

He used his given platform to spread a message to a mass audience. From his SNL performance in December, he referenced Jason van Dyke, a former cop who was charged with first-degree murder of Laquan McDonald. He said, “I’ve been waiting all week. I’ve been waiting all night. Jason Van Dyke, Had to say something on Saturday, see you at church on Sunday.” In his biggest platform of his career, he used to show a message. Chance the Rapper also recently released a music video for “Angels”, a song that talks about homicides in Chicago.

I understand what Phil Mushnick is trying to say, but he is not understanding the whole character of Chance the Rapper. You can’t ignore all of this detail about Chance the Rapper’s recent work and write this negative and incorrect article.


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Should Kendrick Lamar Be Taught Nationwide?


Five black men dressed in blue button ups with black jeans hobble from the shadows as they emerge chained to each other. With jail cells surrounding them, saxophones blare minor chords across the stage. The music sharpens and quickens as the lights go out showing fluorescent skeletons outlining the shape of the five men. They quickly dance and shake echoing their wills on the audience as the jazz transitions into a groove filled with bongos and sax but more lively and smooth rather than sharp and syncopated. The words “I’m African American, I’m African/I’m black as the moon, heritage of a small village” signal a transition as the jail scene disappears and a bonfire emerges behind a chorus of people. “We gonna be alright. We gonna be alright” chants the chorus as the music picks up even faster than before mirroring the bonfire rising in the background. The saxaphones blare “Bwahm, Bwahm” with each note sounding like a cat experiencing its last breath to signal the scene changing from complete illumination to darkness. With a spotlight centered on him, the rapper starts to go. Word after word, sentence after sentence, the lines flow out with aggression, rage, and regret. The lights flash in front of his face as he quickly mentions February 26, 2012 (the day Trayvon Martin was shot and killed) and how on that day the rapper said, “I lost my life too… [it] set us back another 400 years.” The show finishes with him in front of an outline of Africa labeled “Compton”.

Kendrick Lamar orchestrated this performance for the 2016 Grammys Award show. The biggest names in the music all came together to show real or fake love as each winner went to receive their award for Best Album of the Year, song, and more. As with every other award show nobody wants to see any drama or controversy, they just want to hang out with beautiful people and watch other ones walk the stage. But Lamar had a different agenda as he provided millions with a message about race.

The chain scene as described above served as homage to mass incarceration experienced by black males every day. As the chain gangs and harsh prison labor represents a present day form of slavery/oppression. The US Bureau of Census estimates that out of the 18,508,926 black males living in the US over 745,000 is estimated to be behind bars.

The song “Alright” that echoes the words “we gonna be alright” has become a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement as Youtube clips illustrate how thousands march to these words.

Lamar visited South Africa, and he extremely resonated with the people and the culture; therefore, the ending scene sends a message to African Americans that they should embrace their culture as more than the “slave narrative” taught in history classes today.

Lamar’s performance represents the complexity, poetic empowerment, and presence he provides through his music. As a whole, Lamar has impacted a generation of young adults and teenagers, rapidly inserting himself into the conversation of who the greatest rappers in history are at the age of 28. He represents a rallying call for the Black Lives Matter movement, and as a piece of literature, “To Pimp a Butterfly” represents a pivotal album for the Millennial generation. Race, self identity, and social empowerment represent the crux of what it means to be a Millennial. As a result of his impact and his message, Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” should be taught in high schools nationwide.

Brian Mooney teaches at High Tech High School in New Jersey, and he centered part of his English curriculum on comparing “To Pimp a Butterfly” to Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye. He called for his students to examine and compare how racism has not really changed through the 40 plus years that have passed between these publications. For their essay prompt students were given the choice of writing just about The Bluest Eye and how it pertains to race or they had the choice of comparing the two together. Half the class picked the second prompt even though it required analyzing two pieces. “I can connect with it because it’s a language I can understand”, said one of Mooney’s students. “It’s one of the best teaching tools you can implement in school.” By teaching the album, Mooney brought his class together as the room is covered with pictures of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, each one comes with a poem or a rap of its own.

Many before have used hip hop as a means to convey a social message. In the 80s and 90s, NWA formed between Easy-E, Dr. Dre, and Icecube. They started a movement of anti-police brutality in the streets of LA, and their famous line, “Fuck the Police”, became a rallying call for the LA riots in 1992 that erupted over video of the unjustified police brutality experienced by Rodney King as the police pulled him over for speeding.

But while “Fuck the Police” resonated well with the inner-city youth experiencing the same things that NWA rapped about, other demographics were isolated, viewing NWA more as gangsters and thugs rather than vehicles for social change. One man who managed to resonate with all different skin colors and income levels was Tupac Shakur.

Makaveli, rapper, poet, philosopher, activist, thug, and survivor were a few of things Tupac was called during his brief but everlasting twenty-five years of life. Tupac had an ability to elicit sympathy for the human condition. He invited people of all colors to talk about problems particular to communities of color and the poverty surrounding them.

Rather than chasing people away, Lamar, similar to Tupac, invites people to talk about social issues with him. He preaches about loving yourself rather than hating others. “Those are the same qualities that Tupac had back in the ’90s. He’s [Lamar] from the streets and he understands the power of courage, the power of his ability to speak and also the power that he’s not afraid to say what needs to be said,” Emmett Price, an Ethnomusicology professor at Northeastern University, said. “It’s so down-to-earth that it forces everybody to remember that regular people matter.”

“To Pimp a Butterfly” represents a generational change by Millenials. A study called the “Generation Why Segment Report,” interviewed 3,000 adults age 18-34 and shows that 79 percent of them indicate that “meaningful work” is their priority when job-hunting. Another 67 percent said they were passionate about six or more social issues. The entire Millennial generation has a better appreciation of social change and Lamar represents this through his music and has adapted to encourage it.

“Hip-hop is about immediate feedback to the world people observe around them”, said Georgia Regents University Professor Adam Diehl who teaches a college course based around Lamar’s previous album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city”. Diehl designed this course for “good kid, m.A.A.d city” because of the social issues surrounding it, and it has opened the eyes of some students who “don’t live in the situation Lamar grew up in”. Lamar has popularized his own story of growing up in Compton, and as a result, he has raised awareness around the country of his struggles and the struggles of all kids raised in the inner city. Diehl describes hip-hop as “the more journalistic art form within pop culture”. Lamar certainly exemplifies this idea as he opens the eyes of people everywhere.

Teaching Lamar helps teach students about race and oppression from the past and present because these issues impact them right now in their daily lives. As a result, this encourages participation in the classroom because students can relate to the issues being discussed. Classrooms, on the other hand that continue to emphasize Shakespeare, Catcher in the Rye, and many books that we deem “classics” alienate teenagers and young adults who do not resonate with the time period these books were written for. A high school English canon should consist of more than just what experts deem “classics” but rather a mixture of mediums that include great novels, songs, raps, poetry, and any medium of words that seek to make a difference.

Kendrick Lamar has proved himself as a man who knows the power that his words can have on the people who listen to him, and he has clearly made efforts to demonstrate who he is as a person, a rapper, and a young boy from Compton. So even though he ended up missing out on the Best Album of the Year to Taylor Swift, I’m pretty sure he will one eventually in what has already been a great career in such a short amount of time. But even then I’m pretty sure he will remember this Grammys as the one where he opened the eyes of millions.

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The Tragedy of Not Seeing Park’s Flips

With the cracking of a bat akin to Zeus himself striking down from the heavens, Byung Ho Park crushed baseballs into another atmosphere unlike anybody else in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization). Due to his countryman and ex-teammate’s (Jung Ho Kang) success with the Pittsburgh Pirates, MLB teams have more optimism in finding talent in the KBO. Combine this with Park having a career year in 2015 where he batted with a .343 average and a slugging percentage of .714 that saw him hit 53 home runs with 146 RBIs, the stars were perfectly aligned for Park to earn a Major League contract to play in the United States. The team that ended up winning the bidding for his talents and managed to sign him for just $12 million dollars for four years ended up being the Minnesota Twins. While he may be an absolute monster at mashing the ball out of the park, the best part about Park’s game is that he can pimp a home run like no one else.

Whenever he has a big moment at the plate, Park takes every advantage of it. Amid a variety of bat flips that he uses, my personal favorite is what I like to call the lean and let it fly. Park smashes the ball into another galaxy, and as he proceeds to admire his moonshot, Park leans back and squares his shoulders with the ball’s trajectory. As easy as the ball flew off his bat, Park effortlessly flips the bat off his chest as it makes 3 flawless spins through the air and to the ground in a perfect parabola. But the problem with Park’s swagger at the plate is that according to baseball’s hidden “rules”, any player with a sense of how “American” baseball should be played will not spend any extra time admiring their home run, bat flipping or even walking out of the box unless they want a fastball running up against the knuckles. As a result of this, Park has agreed to “no bat flips” because he wants “no beanballs”.

However, in the KBO, bat flips are just flips. Nobody really cares about them. As it can be seen, this cultural variance has caused a disjunction between American baseball and other international cultures. Since baseball compared to other sports has such a large international following, players from all around the world have been recruited from different leagues to play in America. But the beautiful thing about all of these cultures playing baseball is that they have added their own style to the game we all love. For example, a baseball game at Japan is entirely different from an American one. Fans bring drums to the game that they bang and rap in support of teams, and they have entirely different slogans and cheers compared to the ones seen in America.

Another example of how different cultures take baseball and make it their own is the recent events in Cubs where the Tampa Bay Rays went along with President Obama in order to play a game against the Cuban National Team to mark of the end of the embargo and isolation between the two countries. Chris Archer, ace of the Rays, said something in particular particular resonated with me. He said that he wanted to “experience Cuban baseball, the real Cuban baseball.” That is the beauty in it. Americans want to keep baseball as their own, and they believe that every single player playing baseball in America should play by their standards. But rather, instead of forcing different cultures to follow what America does, the MLB should promote the celebration of international players showcasing how their respective countries play the game.

Jose Bautista who has been the target of many for not playing the game right way retweeted something that I think is crucial this conversation.

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“Sports bring diverse cultures together.” And that is the slogan that MLB should promote. Rather, than this hate filled mantra that comes from old time players such as Goose Gossage from a long time ago. In a new day and age where social media has become prevalent, in order to make baseball appealing to young kids you have to allow players to express themselves as Bryce Harper and to express the diversity of cultures. Because imagine a world where we didn’t have Chinese, Mexican, Peruvian, Armenian, and all the other different types of food you can can get in America today; it would not be the same if we only hate hamburgers everyday. If Park wants to flip, Park should be able to flip. Plus, I want to be able to tell my kids about Park’s moonshot hits along with the spins that come with them.

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The Joy of Co-Winning a Fantasy Baseball Championship

Fantasy Baseball can dragged on since it seems to last forever. But it gives you the some of the greatest feeling when you win the league. And it’s honestly a better feeling if you do it with someone else.
I was asked to be a co-owner of a team when my buddy, Ryan, couldn’t’ make the draft due to a time conflict. In my previous drafts, I never felt any pressure, since the leagues were just mostly for fun and the people in there were mostly strangers from all across the world. But Ryan’s league was different. His friends were a pretty interesting bunch. One of them was a college baseball player; another was a student at NYU. And some were teachers at Ryan’s Alma Mata. We did little communication on what type of team he wanted, but in the past Ryan prided himself on pitching. I wasn’t totally clear on what he meant, so I used my own strategy, which was a balance offense and cheap pitching. That didn’t go well with him at the beginning of the season.

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The Drafted Players

Like every other owner after a draft, I thought I drafted a great team. What I like the most was the balance offense. I loved what Pollock and JD Martinez did last year and believe that they would have amazing value this season. Arenado was also superb in 2014, showing strong home run potential. Analyst loved him and I agree with them of being a breakout candidate pitching. I payed big for Carrasco but other than that went pretty cheap on my pitching.

Upon first sight, Ryan hated the team. He criticizes me for my starting pitchers and outfielders. As the first month went on, I receive weekly reminder from him that our team was awful and our pitching won’t ever compete with the other league mates. I believed him too. I hyped Aaron Sanchez and Feliz too much and within the first week, we released them. Our starting pitching wasn’t deep and we struggled in that department badly the first month.

But as the season went on, we made really smart pickups that catapult our teams to the upper echelon. This was definitely the year of the rookie and they were big reasons for our comeback. We were able to stashed Carlos Correa and Miguel Sano for a dollar each. At starting pitching, we picked up Noah Syndergaard and Lance McCullers and they were both excellent contributors. We also picked up Eaton and he really helped us in the steal department after Hamilton went down. Even without Rendon for most of the year, we were able to plug get quality production out of Kolten Wong at 2B. Beginning of the season, it looked like we were going to lose saves every week. But we picked up Brad Ziegler and Roberto Osuna, cheaply. Along with Francisco Rodriguez, our relievers were really good for us.

The offense was the biggest reason why we won this league. AJ Pollock provided us at all six offensive categories (AVG, OPS, SB, Runs, HR, and RBI’s). We had six players who had more than 20 homeruns. Arenado, Jose Abreu, and JD Martinez all had over 100 RBI’s. We also wrapped up steals every week with Billy Hamilton, Pollock, and Eaton. Our team was an offensive juggernaut. In the end, we finished first in the league in Runs, HR, RBI, and SB. We were top three in average and ops.

What I learn from this year is the importance of patience and good communication. Even with my poor drafting of pitchers, Ryan still didn’t lose hope on the team. Yes, it was tough at the beginning but we knew our flaws could get fixed. We communicated daily and in the end, we achieved a storybook ending.

We did it Ryan!!!

Our Championship Team!

Our Championship Team!

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Brandon Belt and Joey Votto in the Art of Mimicry

Something incredible happened two days ago. No, I’m not talking about the Giants losing a game. That’s been happening a lot recently (wow, shocker). No, I’m also not talking about Madison Bumgarner going from 0-2 to eventually scraping out a walk from Aroldis Chapman. Even though that was extremely awesome and probably warrants an article for itself sometime. The amazing thing that happened two nights ago was this:

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Brandon Belt hit a popup. You must be wondering what does that even mean? Hitting a popup is just another part of the game. Everybody does it. That’s the kind of mindset I used to have about infield popups but in 2013 I read articles by Jeff Sullivan from Fangraphs detailing Joey Votto and his invincibility to popups. Infield popups are considered easy outs due to their long hang time and short distance hit from home plate. As a pitcher, when you are in a jam, and you need to prevent the runners on base from scoring, an infield popup is the next best thing compared to a strikeout.


The popup that Brandon Belt hit two nights ago was his first for the entire season, and as a result, raisinghis infield flyball percentage from 0% to 0.8%; therefore, marking the first time this year that his percentage has even touched a nonzero number. Even though Brandon Belt has become a mortal again, he still has one of the top 5 lowest infield flyball percentages in the league.

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As you can see Joey Votto is up there, no surprise there, Brandon Belt is also up there and so are Howie Kendrick, Christian Yelich, and Ryan Howard. What’s interesting is that four of these players have BABIPs over .340, way above the average of .300 for the league, and then well… there’s Ryan Howard. But disregarding Ryan Howard, it makes sense that these players have such high BABIPs (batting average on balls in play) because they have low infield flyball percentages. As stated earlier, an infield flyball is one of the easiest balls to catch in the Major Leagues. Therefore, limiting this kind of contact makes a high BABIP sustainable because these types of players are more likely of producing challenging contact that has a higher chance of slipping through a fielder’s glove than an easy, lofty infield popup.

Something else to recognize here is that Howie Kendrick and Christian Yelich are both extreme ground ball hitters who barely put the ball in the air in the first place, let alone hit an infield flyball. However, both Joey Votto and Brandon Belt are the opposite of what you would call groundball hitters with both of them having less than 50% of their contact moving on the ground. Brandon Belt is actually hitting ground balls at a lower rate than ever before. He has a career low GB% of 33.5% compared to 38.0% from the year before, and if you also account for his decrease in flyball percentage to 37.9% (from 44.0% the year before), his missing flyballs and groundballs have translated into more line drives as seen by his increase in line drive percentage of 10% percentage points from last year (18.0% to 28.6%). This may seem like a lot to take in but Belt hasn’t just stopped changing in the angles he hits the ball but how hard he hits it as well with a career high 39.5% hard hit percentage along with a tremendous drop in soft hits, 11.6%, from last year’s percentage of 15.9%. All I just said can be clearly explained by this table below:

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But to understand the overall gist of what this graph and I just explained, the main idea is that the 2015 season Brandon Belt has increased the overall quality of his contact across the board by constantly hitting the ball harder and straighter in the air, producing difficult outs for the defense to make. He has also experienced a career high pitches per at bat of 4.18 (up from last year’s number of 3.98 P/PA), which shows that Brandon Belt is taking the time to see a great number of pitches until he can find the one that he can square up and hit hard in the air.


So while we know that Brandon Belt is hitting the ball better than ever before, let’s go back to the Joey Votto comparison from before.

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Wait… there is something eerily similar about these two players. Let’s take a closer look.

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Belt and Votto have nearly identical pull/center/opposite field tendencies that you can barely tell the difference. Votto has hit the ball to all sides of the field for his entire career. But for Brandon Belt this is something of a resurgence for him because when he first entered the league, Belt maintained an opposite field approach that saw him spraying the ball all across the field. He showed potential to get on base with a .344 OBP from 2011-2012 but the power that he showed in the minors never translated into the majors as he only had 9 home runs in 2011 and 7 home runs in 2012, never managing to even hit for double digit home runs.

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However, this year Brandon Belt has not only returned to his all field approach but has also managed a career-high 18 home runs over 135 games while maintaining his on base capabilities with a slash line of .282/.359/.482. He’s getting on base more, slugging more, and just plain hitting better. He’s become a stronger, better version of the “spray to all parts of the field” hitter that he came in the league as.


The best indicator that Brandon Belt has indeed become a stronger hitter to all parts of the field is to compare his spray chart to Votto’s.

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The black dots that represent Joey Votto’s home runs spread across the entire field as clean as jam on toast. Brandon Belt’s home runs on the other hand are bunched together in patches throughout the field. They may be distributed differently across the field but you can clearly see Brandon Belt’s opposite field power with 8 of his 18 home runs going the opposite way. In a baseball stadium such as AT&T Park that has a huge brick wall in right field, it certainly helps to to have opposite field power as a left handed hitter because there’s only been one left handed hitter that I have personally seen demolish that wall.

Due to the park he plays in Brandon Belt has always been seen as a serviceable hitter that could provide a solid average and decent power but never surpassing the twenty homer mark that his minor league numbers have indicated. But advanced sabermetric numbers that adjust for park factor have indicated that Brandon Belt is a much better hitter than perceived to be. AT&T park still takes away homers from him everyday but due to an even stronger hitting all field approach that seems him hitting line drives and fly balls to all parts of the field, Belt is starting to take advantage of the spacious cavern that is AT&T park. By taking a page out of Votto’s book, Belt has regained the power of his minor league days and has developed it to all parts of the field. Now if only he could just borrow Votto’s walk percentages, and the Giants would have a homegrown infield that would clearly best any team in either league.

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Week 1 Begins: Carlos Hyde Says Hello to the World

There’s just something so sweet about getting those last few points and completely obliterating an opponent in any kind of Fantasy sport. It becomes even sweeter when you beat your own friend. And it becomes the sweetest thing in the whole damn world when you go on to beat your friend in his own league.

It’s come to that time of year again, Fantasy Football season.  And the funny part is that I didn’t even understand any part of football until just last year. I could probably name Jerry Ricecakes as the only player I knew in the NFL. However, that just makes it all the sweeter when last year I finished in at least the Top 3 in all 3 of my leagues, rubbing it into the face of the fools who constantly told me I’d finish in last place. So now I will embark on a new series where I will document my triumphs through the league because  everybody knew about Alexander the Great’s victories so why not hear about mine?

This series will only focus on one league, Men of Steel, which is commissioned by the one and only, Kevin, the other scrub blogger on this website. So this one’s personal. We really do agree with a lot of things but I love being contrarian to him just for the opportunity of me being right and him being wrong. I just love being right. Don’t hate me. I really don’t even know why. I just love beating him, which may I mention happens all the time. Anyways, last year I managed to smash my way to 2nd place overall (in the regular season standings and the playoffs) with a duo of WR studs in Demaryius Thomas and Julio Jones along with the surprising contributions of Justin Forsett and Golden Tate – my MVP in nearly every league I played. Well, this year I think I may have crushed last year’s draft even better than the year before with possibly the greatest gamble of a team known to mankind. Just take gander:


Tony Romo is a consistent top 10 quarterback even though he will take a hit with Dez Bryant being out for possibly 6 weeks or even more. But that offensive line is so great that he could have tea time behind it and still have have enough time to make a smart decision for where to throw the ball. Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. will be both PPR monsters and will anchor this roster. John Brown has the hands, the speed, and a full season of Carson Palmer (hopefully) to become the top receiver in what will seem to be a high-powered Cardinals offense. Gore provides health and upside with Andrew Luck taking all the defense’s attention away. Compared to what Gore had before, he should see routes as wide as the pathway into AND out of Taylor Swift’s heart. We can talk about Carlos Hyde later. If Kyle Rudolph can stay healthy, he can be a top option in Teddy’s offense. I’m probably going to name my first child after Ameer Abdullah. Enough said. Nelson Agholor has been hyped up all preseason. Todd Gurley was an absolute steal in the 8th round, and has bundles of potential for being the playmaker in the Rams’ offense. And Mathews, Parker, Dorsett all could provide great value if the right things kick in. Michaels though I’m dropping him now because while he is possibly the greatest talent in that Dallas backfield, anybody can be a star behind that line. And no, don’t ask me who my kicker and defense are because who the hell cares?

Now that we have set the groundwork; let’s begin another season of Fantasy Football. Week 1 I ended up playing my friend, Muhammad, or TEAM FLASH as he is called in the Men of Steel League. It was complete and total annihilation. I got the biggest blowout of the week with may I mention the highest point total. Yes, I did just beat Kevin by only 0.42 pts for the top scorer in the league for Week 1 but a win’s a win, and from completely dominating Week 1 I am officially in First Place and I have no plans to relinquish my spot at the top anytime soon. May I mention that Yahoo did also give me the Toyota Biggest Blowout Award for the biggest blowout of the week. So I’m not going to blow my horn but I indeed think that I am the greatest for the week. And to you Toyota I can’t thank you enough for this award, I’d like to also thank my family, friends, and of course to you Muhammad for being complete trash this entire week.

While this Week 1 was an easy win and a great way for me to establish my early, utter dominance over this week. I did have one headache I had to deal with — the goddamn rise in overall Tight End quality this week. Just a few days ago I was talking to Kevin about how Tight End is just a horrible position consisting of Gronk and a whole lot of nothing. Thanks to my luck, this week turned out to be the Week of the Tight End. One Tight End that I wasn’t completely buying into the hype leading into the season was Tyler Eiffert who Kevin was a huge supporter of and is. So while my love for my first born son to be, Ameer Abdullah Soe, was in full blossoming, Kevin was just raining down on my parade with Tyler Eiffert’s fantastic week, and I had to accept for some part that he is good because damn did he look good. But while Tyler Eiffert was great, I’ll admit that.


Ok. I’ll also admit that was some pretty shitty trash talk. Kevin is genuinely a really nice guy but don’t worry Internet, I know just the right buttons to cause the fumes to flame from his head. So just you wait, the tears and flames will come.

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But to me truthful, the eruption of Tyler Eiffert on Sunday really had me worrying that I wouldn’t even be the top scorer this week. I really didn’t care that much but I did want to do it for my fans (all two of you). I was just worried that all of you wouldn’t be able to hear me gloat with such arrogance and pure confidence after establishing myself as clearly the best in Week 1. But something happened during Monday Night Football, and well I’d just like to introduce all of you to the Absolute Fantasy Destroyer of the week that brought me 32.20 points to scrape the title of the best away from Kevin.


Take that Tyler Eiffert. You piece of shit.

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2015 NFL Award Prediction

Most Valuable Player

Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts – Entering his 4th season, Andrew Luck is provided his best supporting cast in his young career. Enter Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, who replace Reggie Wayne and Ahmad Bradshaw/Boom Heeron, whom were all disappointing last year. All these new weapons will take him to the next level and will create a monster statistical season. No player means more to their team this year than Luck. All four of these quarterbacks will have great seasons, but with the worse defense of the bunch, Luck will have to provide more for his team than Brady, Rodgers, and Big Ben.


Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburg Steelers
Dark Horse

JJ Watt, DE, Houston Texans

Offensive Player of the Year

Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts – This award is intended for the player with the best statistical season. I see Luck capturing this award, as well. According to Pro Football Focus, Luck had the 10th highest amount of pressure. He was still able to perform extremely, but should be able to perform much better if he faced less traffic. Last year, the Colts backfield consists of Ahmad Bradshaw, the “great” Trent Richardson, and Boom Heeron. None of those players are with the team anymore. Frank is going to provide Luck lots of space and this will provide Luck more to find his fast receivers.


Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburg Steelers

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Dark Horse

Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Defensive Player of the Year

JJ Watt, DE, Houston Texans – Not a sexy pick but he is just so damn good. All throughout the offseason, there have been stories that he’s training in an isolated forest, and wakes up at 3am just to workout. He’s only entering his fifth season, but is already in consideration to become the best defensive player of all time. In 2015, his Pro Football Focus Grade was 107.5. The next highest grade was 55.3, by then Oakland Raiders rookie Khalil Mack. Watt is going to run away again with this award.


Khalil Mack, DE, Oakland Raiders,

Lavonte David, LB, Tampa Bay Bucaneer

Robert Quinn, DE, St. Louis Rams

Dark Horse

Chris Haris Jr, CB, Denver Broncos

Offensive Rookie of the Year


Amari Cooper, WR. Oakland Raiders – Cooper is already entrenched as the lead target for Derek Carr. He is the most polished receiver from the draft and should catch lots of targets. All throughout preseason and training camps, we have heard amazing things about this guy. Scouts and coaches have been praising his demeanor, his work ethic, precise route-running, and incredible footwork. Cooper is going to put up huge numbers for the up-and-coming Raiders.


Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans

Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers

Nelson Agholar, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Dark Horse

Devante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Vic Beasley, DE, Atlanta Falcons – Allowing the most yards in the NFL last year, the Falcons hope to change that by hiring defensive minded Dan Quinn and drafting Vic Vic Beasley with their 8th overall pick. During the combine, Beasley was praised for his excellent pass-rushing ability. This is a perfect player for Quinn, who will preach an aggressive defensive game plan. Beasley will be a force this year, achieving lots of sack and pressure.


Leonard Williams, DE, New York Jets

Danny Shelton, DT, Cleveland Browns

Shane Ray, DE, Denver Broncos

Dark Horse

Stephone Anthony, LB, New Orleans Saints

Coach of the Year

Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons – This award can also be called the award for team that came out of nowhere. I could see the Falcons making it to the playoffs. Playing the 3rd easiest schedule and in the putrid NFC South, the Falcons could definitely be the surprised team of the NFL. The offense of this team was never the question. It was their defense, whom last year allowed a league worse 6372 yards. Dan Quinn was major reason for the transformation of the Seattle defense. If Quinn can transform Atlanta to just a respectable defense, the Falcons could be the Panthers of 2013.


Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles

Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts

Dark Horse

Jim Tomsula, San Francisco 49ers

Comeback Player of the Year

NaVorro Bowman, LB, San Francisco 49ers – This award was the toughest one for me to pick. It all came down to Bowman or Bradford. Both suffer significant injuries, but have shown in the preseason that they are fully recovered. I chose Bowman because he’s going to mean a lot more to his team. In the offseason, no team lost more from their defense than the Niners. Bowman is the catalyst for the changing defense. In the Niners-Broncos preseason game, Bowman played spectacularly and sacked Peyton Manning twice in one series without being touched by any Broncos’ lineman. A completely healthy NaVorro Bowman is pretty scary for any team facing San Francisco this year.


Sam Bradford, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs

Dark Horse

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Houston Texans

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A Different Dodgers Team

While the Dodgers may consist of the 2010 Phillies, the egos are gone, and they aren’t the same Dodgers team that we all hated so much last year. Kemp is gone. Hanley is making a fool of himself with Panda out East. And even Puig’s own teammates got tired of him so much that even he’s trying to better himself this year.

In fact, you can’t just help but respect them. They have one of the most talented pitchers in the game. Justin Turner was just some old forgotten utility player but has somehow brought himself from the fissure of irrelevance to semi-God status. They have a young Bay Area boy in Joc Pederson who grew up rooting for the Giants but just got picked on the wrong side of the coin. And how you can hate Kikè Hernandez who ended up running out on the field after the never ending 14-inning marathon in this:

The pragmatic front office of Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi, and Josh Byrnes has started to replace the “me first” attitude with more of a “team first” feel. I can really hate a bunch of egos that do not play as a team. But rather for this Dodgers team, I feel more of a mild dislike instead of that burning hatred from before. In fact, this team could even be what you say likeable…


Nevermind. I hate them.

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A Totally Biased Giants Fan’s Opinion on the Idea of No Divisions in Baseball

Due to the fact that the three best teams in the National League all exist in the same division — Cardinals, Pirates, and Cubs, all in order — there have been complaints that only two of these teams even have the chance to be in the division series while only one of them has a chance to play in the National League Championship Series. This has led to people (mainly NL Central fans) to call for a division less league where there is just one big National League Division instead of the NL West, Central, and East. Dave Cameron from Fangraphs highlights some great reasons about why not to get rid of the division in this article right here. He points out that having the 3 best teams in the same division really doesn’t happen all the time. He also mentions the difficulties to the traveling schedule if every team has to play each other the same amount of times. However, I’d like to add my own input. Logistics can come and go. But at its core, baseball is just a game. It’s for entertainment. With the end of the division, rivalries will be lost amidst 3 playoff races becoming just one; therefore, losing the competitive edge that comes with hating another team.

Being the son of a lifelong Giants fan, all I’ve really known is orange and black. So from the time I was born I was taught to hate the Dodgers. This is a rivalry steeped in history. Jackie Robinson was rumored to have wanted to retire instead of being traded to the Giants. Juan Marichal knocked the Dodgers catcher, Johnny Roseboro, twice against his head with a wooden bat during a heated pennant race between the Dodgers and the Giants in the summer of 1965. And who can not remember one of the most famous calls in baseball history, the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World, by Russ Hodges as Bobby Thompson hit a 3-run jack that sent the Giants over the Dodgers to the 1951 World Series. Oh man, we could have used one of those the other night against Clayton Kershaw. But me, personally, some of my favorite moments in the rivalry were the epic matchups between Eric Gagne and Barry Bonds. You know the old saying “if you can’t beat them, just join them.” And to truly face the greatest slugger in the PED era, you had to juice yourself up as well. Battles between these two were as if you had not one but two Mountains from “Game of Thrones” going against each other in a battle to the death. Just watch as these two giants shake the Earth beneath them:

Rivalries in baseball help place greater weight and tension into a game for the players but especially for the fans. As seen by Dodger/Giant tickets that can cost more than playoff games, fans love being apart of this rivalry. Because it is just plain fun being apart of something that is bigger than yourself and the 9 players on the field. But at the same time it is still just a game at the end of the day. The whole Dodger/Giant conflict sort of reminds me of the blood-feud between the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons from the “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain. Buck Grangerford tries to explain how the conflict began to Huck Finn:

“Oh, yes, pa knows, I reckon, and some of the other old people; but they don’t know now what the row was about in the first place.”

Nobody really knows how the Grangerford/Shepherdson rivalry really began. Nobody really knows how the Giant/Dodger rivalry began. Think Blue LA attempts to search through history to find the answer but does anyone really know? Or rather does anybody really care? The only thing that matters is the Giants hate the Dodgers and the Dodgers hate them right back.

A division series makes these rivalries so much more intense than if this was just a division-less era where there would be only one true playoff race. With the Giants winning 3 World Series in the past 5 years, and the Dodgers having basically accomplished nothing since 1988, this has been the San Francisco era. But even when the Dodgers went on a tremendous second-half tear through the West in 2013, the odd year curse was playing its toll and the Giants were nowhere to be seen. Just recently in 2014 and 2015 we have seen the Giants and Dodgers at the top of their games to establish themselves as the titans of the West . While I love seeing the Dodgers suffer and the Giants succeed, this past three game series represented some of the best baseball played between these two teams. Even though it was a three-game sweep, they were all one-run games featuring some of the best baseball ever, albeit neither team was completely healthy, between these two teams.

The series began with a fourteen-inning long epic that nobody expected was going to end until things would get extremely weird:

This game featured Brian Sabean’s black devil magic at its finest with newly acquired Marlon Byrd trying to join Scutaro and Ross as he tries to ascend into San Francisco postseason legends by poking a grounder through the right side of the infield to score two runs for the Giants. Then of course the usual suspects, Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier, end up homering off a Jake Peavy who stayed in just a few batters too long. The Giants could have won this game so many different times and the Dodgers could have won this game so many different times. In fact, the Dodgers almost won it in the ninth on a bawk call that could have been called but it wasn’t. However, the torture wanted to continue, and just like any typical Dodger/Giant game when Bumgarner, Greinke, and Kershaw aren’t pitching, the game became a bullpen game where it seemed as if the bullpen mound was in a perpetual state of warming up pitchers. In the end, the Giants ended up losing in the 14th inning as the Dodgers walked right down Broadway to home plate.

The next game featured a pitching match of epic proportions where the two hitters that the fans wanted to see the most were both pitching on the mound:

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Every duel between these two involved a back and forth that saw each pitcher come up in dire situations at the plate. Greinke almost won one of those matches but thankfully for Bumgarner and especially his teammates, who would have to deal with Bumgarner’s pride shrinking a little bit if he lost to another pitcher, Matt Duffy showed the reflexes that Skeeter taught him so well to catch a flaring line drive hit by Greinke down the 3rd base line.

But in the end, the deciding run was off the bat of a rookie who reached an all time high by going to the All Star game, then lost the starting job in centerfield, and then becoming the only lefty to hit a home run off Bumgarner all season other than Bryce Harper. All of this happening in only a matter of months.

Now for the last game in the series, Grant Brisbee talked endlessly about the one pitch that could have been. He exhausted all the hope I wanted to believe in so I’m just going to say this. For the past eight years, Kershaw has dominated the highlight reels on ESPN. People around the world have followed his starts here and there. Other than Dodger fans, Giants fans have had the closest seat in the house to the show. We’ve seen Kershaw grow up learning how to develop his arrow-like fastball, his wicked slider that whacks through bats like a lawnmower through grass, and of course his curveball that Vin Scully has coined as “Public Enemy Number One”. He is the child that we saw grow up right before our very own eyes only to turn his weapons against us. And now we have come to that point where he has become so great that our only hope is to wait for that once in a million chance where Kershaw slips up . But let’s face it, as of now, we are only witnessing the 999,999 ways that Kershaw can tear our lineup apart. However, Giants fans, let’s just appreciate the fact that even though we are facing the full force of it, we are indeed experiencing greatness.

This three game series turned out to be the epic it was born to be. Sometimes you just gotta give it to Kershaw, Greinke, and the Dodgers though. They got the better of us in some close games. But who knows what will happen with this team? There is still one more month of baseball left, and the Giants have proven once and once again that they can accomplish riduclous feats. Plus, we still have 4 more games against the Dodgers, and regardless of whether we are contending or not, we know those games will matter as long as the rivalry stays strong and the division remains the same.

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Filed under Baseball, Buster Posey, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants

Three Roster Bubble Players That No One Want to See Get Cut

Charles James

The season is a little more than a week away and there are still about 700 players that will need to be cut. Yesterday night, the excellent HBO series, “Hard Knocks”, had a central theme of ticking time clock for some of the players that are fighting for a roster spot. None of those roster bubble guys can afford to have a bad day. After cutting 10 players, Bill O’Brien tells general manager Rick Smith, “It is hard man, cutting those guys … because you care about them. And they’ve all busted their a** for you.” The last preseason game is essentially the last chance to prove to the team that they are worth to keep. Throughout training camp and the preseason, these three players have been fighting hard to earn a roster spot, and it would be devastating from that team’s fan base to see them get waived.

We really hope that none of these guys get cut

Charles James (CB, Houston Texans)

The socks. The constant funny attitude. His fangirl moment with Erin Andrews. Getting the finger from Coach O’Brien.

James is just so lovable. From the show, it obviously been seen that his teammates and coaches love him. Knowing that he is on the roster bubble, he busts his a** off and still shows a funny and inspiring attitude. He showed the same attitude last year with the Giants and earned respect from many veterans. When James was cut from the Giants, Antrel Rolle, a 10 year Pro-Bowl Safety, sadly tweeted, “THIS ONE HURTS! Charles James has the heart of a line and is exactly what any organization should have on their team… The best training camp amongst cornerbacks.”

Already having a lot of depth at the cornerback position, O’Brien is going to have a grueling choice of whether to keep James or not. During Hard Knocks, O’Brien admitted that James, who is only 5’9 and 179lbs, is limited from his size. But he acknowledges James’ constant hard work and leadership hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Jarryd Hayne (RB, San Francisco 49ers)

Having no football experience, Hayne was considered by many experts as only a camp body. No one could have foresee that Haynes making this far and having a strong possibility of being on the 53-man roster.

Even though he had very limited snaps during the 49ers-Broncos game, Hayne, according to Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post, was raved by Denver coaches and players for his return ability. Known as one of the best rugby players in the world, Hayne has translated well with his run skills. He is still able to make opposing players miss, has a good burst and vision.

While it may be hard for Hayne to get any carries during the season, he can definitely be an impact in the special teams. If the 49ers cut him, I expect some time will pick him up right away.

Seth Roberts (WR, Oakland Raiders)

Reggie McKenzie and his teams of scouts have done a great job of creating a pretty deep receiving core. This paves well for Derek Carr, who had a tough time moving the offense last year Seth Roberts, an undrafted second year receiver of West Alabama, looks to be a part of the receiving core this year and has showed, throughout training camp and preseason, that he is worth a roster spot.

Roberts spent last year on the practice squad and has impressed his coaches that he can possibly filled a slot-receive role. According to Pro Football Focus, he has been the Raider’s most dynamic receiver on a per-route basis and has look very natural in space.

With Andre Holmes hand injury and Rod Streater’s injury history, Roberts could have a significant role in the season, if kept.

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