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Mr. Baseball Meets Mr. Mom

Drake LaRoche, the son of recently (very recently) retired big leaguer Adam LaRoche, has the issue of kids in the workplace front and center.  However it’s interesting to me that there’s not been more about what was going on, and not just the manner in which it abruptly ended thanks to Chicago White Sox upper management.

Across America, 95% of the working class have jobs which preclude a parent, to varying degrees, from toting their child along to work as they would a snack.  So is it odd for LaRoche to drag his school aged kid to his place of business and pick him out a locker? Does it come across pampered, or at the least entitled, for LaRoche to take his ball and go home when it’s decided the persistent hanging around of his child, to the point he has his own locker, needs to be slightly dialed back?

LaRoche is not an underpaid, underappreciated intern, but a veteran employee, making a hefty paycheck for what he does.  Because of which, my inclination is to say his status and compensation entitle his employer to the expectation of maximum professionalism.  But on the other hand, because of his value, or clout, does that entitle him to house his family in the equipment room if he so chooses? Make no mistake, unless you’re a teacher with your child a student, there is no universe that you can spin bringing your kid to work as professional. Nuh-uh…

What requirements are there for the team and management regarding children in their locker room?  Do they need to hire child care professionals for staff?  What if Drake gets a toothache while his dad is out shagging fly balls? Should they have people ready to tend to the children of their players, perhaps toting them around in a pinstriped Baby Bjorn?

Somewhere in that clubhouse, maybe quite introspectively, there have to be players pleased they don’t have to watch their language or actions, and can cut loose without worrying if LaRoche’s kid is in earshot of a crass comment. I’ve never been a professional athlete in a team sport, but as an amateur at the local 24 Hour Fitness, I can attest that there is a certain sanctity to a locker room or clubhouse that is disrupted by outsiders, particularly someone not a peer. And if one player was less comfortable, going to work each day with the omnipresence of LaRoche’s kid in the clubhouse, that is one too many.

On the other hand, there’s likely a Coleman water cooler coming to the realization that the buffer protecting it from the business end of a bat-wielding tirade, just emptied out his locker and retired along with his father.

Largely going unmentioned, is whether or not spending his childhood in this company, instead of amongst peers and in school in the best interest of young Drake LaRoche?  Where is he learning peer group socialization? Drake is home-schooled, so spending his summers with grown men in a locker room seems to me as further limiting his exposure to the world beyond his home.

Interesting that for years the debate raged as to whether or not women belonged in a locker room as reporters. That issue still has flare ups of awkwardness and a poll of 10 professional athletes might not yield a unanimous response.  Yet a child, spending so much time in one that he necessitates his own locker, isn’t a concept striking anyone as awry?

What is the perspective of a teacher or child psychologist, someone qualified to discern a healthy from a “limited,” environment and upbringing? The kid doesn’t go to school, and if he’s in clubhouses to the point of having his own locker….where and when does he get to interact with his peer group? Not the one’s that are grown men with dip in their mouths, but the group of booger eaters eating Cracker Jack’s in the stands, while he’s grabbing towels for grown men in an MLB clubhouse….which holds the only locker he’s ever known.

The more I think about this…the more it doesn’t seem right on a lot of levels. When I first heard the specifics, there were some red flags but I kind of overlooked them. But in hindsight, this doesn’t seem like a healthy way to raise a healthy and well-adjusted adult. A team mascot…sure, but not a child. When Drake finally leaves the nest and goes to college…something tells me it won’t be more than a stone’s throw from where he can go do laundry at home on the weekends.

I’m sure they’ve got a great father/son relationship. And who am I to tell Adam LaRoche what is best for his kid. But it just seems a bit extreme…..home schooled, attached like a fungus to the ball club. That’s a pretty cool story to retell when you’re older….but is it a childhood? The story may become rehab or jailhouse lore, rather than grandpa’s tales of yesteryear. Maybe not…..but parents aren’t friends. We can be our child’s friend, but that’s a secondary or even more removed role. When I go to work, be it in a call center, a law office or a baseball clubhouse, I need to be able to focus 100% on my job. “Leave your crap at the door, and don’t bring it to the workplace…..when you’re here, it’s all business.” How can that possibly be the case when you’re attention is divided between bringing home the bacon and bringing up baby?

File photo of Republican presidential candidate Trump gesturing and declaring "You're fired!" at a rally in Manchester

The Trump Circus, Too Outrageous for Barnum & Bailey

The Donald Trump traveling circus has grown beyond ridiculous.

I admit, at one point I voiced support for the man. I was wrong, and he has no business as the President. Even his most ardent supporters have got to be getting doubts right?

I feel for my GOP friends. And for all of us… I thought this election could bring about the return to the Ike/Reagan/T. Roosevelt types of the Republican party. Firm on defense, fiscally conservative and less government….with policing morality and the relevance of one’s personal religious opinions not relevant.

But it appears that the GOP may be on life support…at least, as we know it. Are we looking at a Bullmoose (Speaking of TR) type of possibility perhaps?

Who’d have ever thought that Democrats, at least relative to Republicans….would be the one’s appearing to have their shit together!?

I think Trump isn’t as bad as he’s behaving….but he’s becoming the worst caricature of himself, it’s sad, pathetic and kind of scary. Right now the words “Trump,” and “President,” have as much business being mentioned in the same breath as “Child,” and “Strap-on,” do.

I watched a lot of The Apprentice over the years and felt like I had gotten to know him a bit. My beautiful wife, Amanda, and I both were always impressed, as he seemed relatively humble, and a decent and fair person.

I believe the real Trump is closer to that guy from Apprentice. That for some reason this caricature personality he has adopted, much like a Gremlin exposed to light or water, has taken on a life of its own and spun out of control.

Because yes, from mocking the intellectually disadvantaged, to professing that he would pay medical bills for his supporters whom physically removed protesters from a rally., the man couldn’t be less presidential.

Can he ever turn the other cheek? Must he reply to every single jab at him? Does the elevator in Trump Tower stop just before it reaches anywhere near The High Road?

He is poisonous, and what should scare us all, is his support seems to be growing.

For every one person, such as myself, who initially thought he might be the right person to fix our economy and restore the United States image in world affairs, but based on his repeated and worsening behavior chooses to abandon him. It appears that two people, often less educated, always less cultured; many of these individuals have never before seen the inside of a ballot boot. But they hear his rallying cry of hate and decide to come down from the hills and join the ranks of his army.

So many people will be marginalized by him if elected. Starting with about 2/3 of the people that are supporting him.

At this point, little he may do or say would surprise me. If tomorrow he pledged to invade and homogenize Canada if elected, with the goal being to secure more oil and mineral assets I’d not bat an eyelash in surprise. (But another couple would march down from their treehouse and pledge their support.)

Just got to hope that representative government functions as intended, preventing the masses from themselves.

If a person is registering for the first time, directly to vote for him…please don’t. I’m sure they have redeeming qualities, but they don’t need to involve themselves in selecting our government representation.

I always used to think that no matter who you vote for, please just vote and participate in the electoral process. By my count, that’s now two mistakes I confess in this article.

Why Would Someone Like Nancy Grace Be Allowed in Law Enforcement?

 

Why is law enforcement, from DA’s to beat cops….graded out and judged with any “quota,” attached? Why are they incentivized to manifest guilt via a radar gun or reviewed for promotion based on conviction percentage?

When a defendant at trial, is found not guilty based on a clear presentation of all the relevant evidence….this is a win for all of us, no?  A good thing…..no?

I watch trials and see stories about trials, and so often prosecutors seem so terribly to want people to be guilty. Not that it happens much, but I know that when a person charged with a crime enters the court without an attorney, scared out of their wits. DA officials will offer them deals that are awful, and would NEVER attempt to pass if a person versed in the law were advocating for them. Why does this EVER occur?

When a charged person accepts a bad deal, “favorable,” to the prosecution (I put that in quotations, because why is putting anyone anytime behind bars ever pleasant to anyone, other than a revenge ((often justified)) seeking victim), do they retire to their offices and high five? I’d think the goal would be to rehabilitate offenders, and return them to society with as little negative impact on their record as possible? Take, for example, a marijuana offender….who after being charged with a permanently impactful classification of crime, eventually, will emerge into society from serving a draconian sentence, with the potential to make our society more dangerous. There’s a chance a patchouli smelling hippie, will emerge three years from now from prison…now a potentially aggressive felon, with an education in violence. Maybe, a minority of them could be viewed as dangerous based on their pot smoking, but in my experience and interaction, pot smokers are paranoid, uber careful and placid.

Why do prosecutors fight the inclusion of evidence of ANY kind? I know that’s a naive question….so don’t tell me they want to win…I get that. But when a piece of evidence exists that helps a defendant..why is it EVER not allowed? If it’s legitimate? Baffles me….

In my opinion, this is a stark example of society’s descent into…well, not a society at all…but a series of self-absorbed individuals, lacking any concern for their fellows. Many adults have little to no care or sympathy for anyone outside their family or circle. And of course, what’s so bizarre and hypocritical is that a large number of these folks self-identify as “religious.” I”m not picking on one religious opinion either as this class includes Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu, Santeria, and people of almost every other faith that deify a central figure, or at the very least is supposed to live by a code of conduct of behavior. Almost always that practice revolves around humility, lack of self, concern for fellows, love and charity.

Back to the main point which is why do prosecutors want to put people behind bars? Criminals, clear-cut dangers to society, sure I want them to serve time as well. But that is not the only class of criminal whose successfully tried case leads to inter-office high fives. It’s a shame that there isn’t a premium put on compassion and accuracy at all costs. Accurately, proven and clear cut wins should be the goal, but often a hotly disputed, subjective and questionable outcome seems to be just as good to them. To me, this is the foundation of why we so often hear of our justice system being “broken,” and backward. And plainly, it contributes to the preponderance of poor and underprivileged who end up harshly sentenced for minor offenses, counter to the privileged and wealthy getting just the opposite.

Let Peyton Rewrite His Legacy Today

tom-brady-vs-peyton-manning_pg_600I’ve got total respect for Tom Brady. Both on the field, where I see him as all-time 1 or 1A with Montana. Definitely, the biggest factor is postseason and his “winstinct.” Also, he’s a good dude….and hard to not like off the field.

Peyton Manning…I never liked all his hype…never been a “hype guy.” Rarely do I hop on a bandwagon… So just kind of always rooted against him since Tennessee… I loved when Charles Woodson beat him for the Heisman, and then when Tennessee won the national title the year after Manning graduated….with Tee Martin at QB. But, the past decade or so….between the commercials and SNL appearances….it’s apparent he’s just a pretty wonderful human being. And upon reflection, I can count his missteps or misspeaks on one hand….total class act. Brady is more the hothead….but also a classy guy.

 

20160117_084036_brady-manningAs a Charger fan, I despise the Broncos as my most hated NFL team.  When Peyton chose them, he had started to grow on me and I really was pissed. A Super Bowl is not a fun thought with orange and blue involved.

But in all the leadup to Manning/Brady 58 or whatever, and with the poor season and benching Manning went through. Being doubted and it appears that he is on his last leg….with just the one title, coming in a year where there really weren’t great teams…Brady was hurt…and not a memorable Super Bowl….conrary to the legend that will always be Tom Brady.

So today, I’m torn…Manning really does seem like a special person…..and his family is a class act. Even if I didn’t always think so…and the Eli/Chargers debacle set me back on him more.brady-manning20handshake20usa20today-thumb-600x450-123323-thumb-609x457-123798

I hate the Broncos and never want them to win…but it would balance the scales a tiny bit and shut up some of the “best regulars seasons QB ever…” people if Manning could pull the upset today…and be an integral part of the win. So I kind of want that to happen. Even though most of these years I’ve quietly supported the Pats..because I appreciate greatness…a la, the 80’s 49ers.

Dang..what to think!? I don’t see the Broncos beating either the Cardinals or the Panthers….where I maybe do see the Patriots doing so. If Manning can win today, I think it may exhaust his reserves and leave him spent. So would it be a waste?

So yeah…I think I want to see Manning in a postgame press conference with champagne in his eyes and a smile….I can’t even picture or remember what tDenver Broncos Vs. New England Patriots At Gillette Stadiumhat looks like…which is sad….he’s a great QB…all-time great….probably top 5. Just drawn the short straw to Brady so many times….played Sergio Garcia
or Mickelson to Brady’s Tiger Woods. At least, he did get the one SB win…even if all I can picture is him in a suit…the two red knots on his forehead explaining what happened and why his team lost the big game…again. ALWAYS…without fail…putting it on him, and not even hinting that anyone carries blame other than number 18. Class act….

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On the other hand Brady, all lI can picture is the smile and confetti…..his arms over his head in celebration, awestruck by the accomplishment.   He always looks so grateful, and is a good winner…take nothing away from him as he’s an amazing competitor and maybe one of the 25 best people of the last century at their job….anywhere. The guy is clutch, despite the Super Bowl’s he’s lost. For crying out

For crying out loud, Brady really is “Captain Clutch,” always saving his best game for when it’s needed most. He’s the personification of clutch…despite the Super Bowl losses. For crying out loud it’s so hard just to play in one….just ask Peyton. And he’s won more than he’s lost….he’s lost more than most have played in too, just think of that!

Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks
Sorry Brady…your swell… a peach, but I’m gonna spread the wealth and satisfaction around and cheer for ecoes of “Omaha, Omaha….” coming live from my TV Super Bowl Sunday 2016. Brady’s piece of the pie is substantial….let Peyton’s plate is far too bare, let him take your place in line and grab seconds….he’s got to leave anyway so it’s now or never.

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Only the biggest Patriot hating, conspiracy theorists even suggest Peyton Manning isn’t worthy of his accolades and put his teams losses all on him. “The best regular season QB,” etc…it’s a crock.  So much more goes into things…..it’s not all the QB.

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Eli won the first one despite himself.  Same with Roethlisberger….  A couple different picks and maybe this is a three way discussion between Manning, Brady and Rivers of the Steelers.  I’ll go to my grave believing Philip is probably the most underappreciated and underrated player I’ve ever seen in professional sports.  Steeler franchise…Giants….or my Chargers?  C’mon…I love the team, but put Rivers at either…and he does at least what the other two from his class have done, if not quite a bit more.  Rivers is a top 10 QB all-time…yes, I said it….ask his peers.  Look at some of his receivers that caught TD passes?  Few have done so so much with so little….  Look at the list of names who caught a Rivers TD pass in 2010, the year Vincent Jackson held out until like week 9.  Jeez, that franchise was so manhandled by the talented, but egomaniacal AJ Smith…Philip is a great guy, he’s got the rep, but his peers, even those he jaws with…listen to them talk about him. You NEVER hear a bad word or opinion….and talent…shoot, ask Peyton…

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But I digress…so back to Peyton and Tom…

tumblr_kxj83044sr1qzys08o1_500We have seen a lot of Manning-angst-postgame face….and it’s left its mark. Thus as far as greatness, Peyton’s is debated quite a little bit.  Silly…rubbish…it absolutely shouldn’t be. To honestly suggest he’s not a Hall of Famer, or one of the top 5 or 10 all time QB’s in the NFL…

Well if you are in that group, just stop….and bummer, because it’s a collection of societies more ignorant, black and white seeing, underexposed and educated, hyperbole spouting jackwagons. That blame every loss of his career on him, as harshly as only he himself does.  Give me a break… Fortunately, as we’ve see with Dan Marino…and this was counterintuitive for me, but Dan, now near a decade removed from pro ball, actually is viewed more favorably I estimate.  Peyton may finish top 3…shoot some may suggest even the top 2 (Montana is no lower than 2 for me).  It’s just haters…same people that think Timberlake “sucks.”

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As far as a win today, and really a second title…Peyton deserves it…and I will sing a quick Redemption Song in the name of Peyton Manning today. I want to see that Brady look of satifaction on Manning’s face….to have it be the resonant image in my memory, instead of angst and guilt. To see a much deserved shit eating grin across that pizza millionaire man’s awkward looking-Manning-gene laced face.

Besides…Brady appears to miraculously have found the fountain of youth and is still improving! Meanwhile Manning, most of this season appared akin to a rusty old Dodge pickup with a flat tire.  Brady may win another three….but this is absolutely Peyton’s last hurrah I believe.  Don’t let a field goal sail wide to rob him…

Go get ’em #18! Silently, and with gusto tell your critics to suck it.  Smile and put a fist in the air….console Tom Brady for crying out loud!  Don’t let Eli be the only Manning to experience it.

It would be a fitting finale….

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It’s Time to Play “THE BLAME GAME” (in fact, it’s overdue)

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I’ve stayed clear of the political fray for the most part of late, but I had an observation based on the outpouring of sentiment following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Gay Marriage.

The vehemently hateful comments that have poured from Facebook and much of Fox TV, etc. The vitriolic, often threatening and if not encouraging than at least hinting at violence and suppression….

Why, when a controversial policy or issue is decided in government, ending in a favorable outcome for “liberals,” or Democrats.  Before Shepherd Smith’s lips are done moving with announcement of the decision, both social and national media is lit up by extremists spewing vitriolic poison from the GOP and conservatives? Some of which is so hateful and menacing that in those moments not an elephant is the symbol of the party, but a spitting cobra. Why is there no effort to understand or tolerate, or simply acknowledge

“you know what, we lost this one…we’ll win the next one, but meanwhile let’s talk and maybe figure out why so many people disagree on this that it’s now law.”

Which is part of my point…when conservatives or Republicans win…do you hear this type of speech coming from Democrats and Liberals/Progressives? I’m sorry, you may be able to point out exceptions and finite cases where it’s happened in a very isolated instance…but overwhelmingly the answer is NO.

Typically Liberals/Democrats are more willing to move on, and even to try to understand why so many people seem to passionately disagree, at least so many disagree that in a vote or decision, they came out on the losing end.

For  those that view themselves as a person of value, who cares and wants good things to happen for people other than him or herself.  Can’t we agree it’s beyond time for a glance at your associations and a reevaluation of standing aside some of these zealots. The extremists promoting violence and casting themselves to decide what is “right,” or “American,” for other people, mostly strangers, to do?  Those who regurgitate what they heard someone else say, but stand tall and defend it because it reinforces their already limited and self-centered worldview? It’s shocking to me some of the people that I know deep down, and even some on the surface, are kind and do care about others.  But they choose to align with a party growing more and more radical and unaccepting of any outcome that isn’t 100% what they want; even if it disregards the will of a group, often a large group or even a majority, of other Americans.

Liberals mostly encourage you to say your piece and share your opinion, and often they even think about it, and try to relate to it and put themselves in your shoes! This may be a concept I should asterisk and offer more detail on below, as it’s sure to puzzle any GOP’s that don’t stop reading this after the first few sentences.

The vast majority of “Libtards,” I know, all have an open-mind in common.  Even to the point of saying “change my mind if you can.”  Understanding and not planting a deep wedge of dissent of disagreement is a frequent characteristic of Liberals I know.  Typically leaving the back door out in case future information or events shed new light on a subject, is a unique characteristic only displayed by one side.  Personally I’m proud of the fact I don’t plant my flag and declare myself immovable. I like to think it takes a certain amount of humility, but also, and this is really not up for debate, but it takes a whole lot of intelligence.  Some of my most provocative discussions have ended with the statement:

“you know, I never thought of it that way, I am going to have to reconsider.”

I always want to keep up with the opposing side, and see both sides of anything.  For my own good, if not for my ability to discuss current events.  You never know when the winds of change blow in, and I’m a firm believer that more knowledge is always better than less.

I know progressives open to listen to Bill O’Reilly, Glen Beck and other radical entertainers. Conversely, I can’t tell you of any conservatives, at least of those I know, willing to listen or give thought to what is said by Rachel Maddow or Keith Olberman. I use the most extreme examples on each side, to make a point. But am I wrong?

One side seems overwhelmingly to be willing to listen to what the other has to say, and attempt to put the shoe on the other foot and see where the opposition is coming from.  But on the other side, the GOP side…simply it isn’t reciprocated, or really even considered.

A few days ago, during an online forum discussion on a site I frequent, one of the posters made a comparison on a point to climate change.  Once I was able to interpret analogy, reading on I came to his closing statement of

“or whatever Al Gore is calling it today.”

REALLY? Do some still believe that climate change, “or whatever it’s called” is a trumped up Al Gore manifestation existing only to make the ol’ guy not feel useless?

Regardless of your conclusion, whether you believe climate change is real, man-made, a natural cycle, a menstrual cycle, or a motorcycle.  That I understand, as I realize conservatives avoid reputable sources and don’t listen if they don’t agree. But to suggest Al Gore is the sole source and that his demagoguery on the topic is all keeping it relevant, is ignorant at best and flipping moronic at worst.

That’s a relevant example here, because, not the issue, but the tactic because it’s worn out by conservatives related to any debatable issue they don’t like to discuss. “Liberals want to kill business and industry,” “they’re a bunch of socialists,” “they want to give my job to an immigrant.” Really? I know many of the extremists concocting this hyperbole don’t have a iron-clad understanding of exactly what these statements mean.  Or what process of deduction they used to logically come to these conclusions with such certainty. But c’mon…is that all Sean Hannity told you to see?

If so, then it reinforces my point that it’s past time to expose yourself to some of the drivel from the other side. Because these issues are so much more complex and “grey,” than that. I don’t care what anyone says, we live in a world of grey, and black nor white seldom apply. Foreign policy? Climate change? Economics? Systems of governance? How can anyone see these as black and white?  And with our recent controversy relating to gay marriage. I will understand a person seeing the right or wrong of homosexuality as black and white based on their beliefs. But the concept of marriage isn’t unique to any one race, creed, religion, nation or tribe.  It’s a universal way two people bind themselves and commit to partner through the rest of their lives.  Even if the issue of them personally having to accept it, I don’t care if they do, that’s their right.  But the right for them to get involved and decide what other people may or may not do? Obviously some think it’s black, to others it’s white.  Indicating that accepting it as grey, is probably pretty logical.  Living in the grey, or at least accepting grey, is how compromise happens.  And in the history of the world, compromise has led to quality outcomes.

In the United States today, we hear comments like “both sides shoulder blame.”  Which because we do disagree, in that respect we do share blame.  But if the answer is compromise, as history has shown it over and over to be.

Yet one side still refuses to budge a millimeter or consider why there so many think they’re right, and vehemently disagree. This viewpoint and unwillingness is not unique to both “parties,” or “affiliations.”  When heels are dug in, teeth are gnashed, threats and personal insults are hurled…honestly, which side is associated with those actions? Is the blame really 50/50….or even 60/40? Can you look in the mirror and tell yourself that with a straight face?

When it comes to financial issues and economics, conservatives want to keep what’s theirs, which is a common view and may surprise them but so do liberals.  Many liberals of today are fiscally moderate to conservative, this one included.  We like the ideas of financial prudence and playing some things safe. When discussed, I nod my head along and think “uh-huh.”  Right up

to the point that the opinion moves from reasonable to what any rational person has to see as bing the definition of “greedy,” or at best extremely “self-centered.” If the government has to fund our country, and it comes to who to ask for more from.  If the money will either come from my country club membership fund, or your food and shelter fund….I have no problem taking the hit, in reality…I insist.  I neither want or work for more than my share, and I certainly don’t need to be rewarded for working hard by taking more than my share and leaving someone else with less.  I want my share, and I want you to have your share.  Then maybe we can both hang out, talk and enjoy life and company.  Maybe there will even be a chance that neither of us has to be too concerned with debt, or bills or gas prices and we can focus on our fellows.  And if that’s the case for me, but not for you, then I’d like to know what I can do to help, if anything,” and someone who starts off as a stranger, maybe we can help one another and in enrich both of our lives and enjoy the pursuit of happiness as friends, who care about each other and are always there to help. Finances separate us all today, creating the imagined concept of social class, which we then turn around and exploit and excuse many of our actions.  Further we allow it to justify why things are how they are, and to remove empathy for those that have less.

Class is directly related to levels of crime, as 80% of crime is related to finances….stealing, gangs, drugs? All those things represent segments of the population that are marginalized and don’t have near a fair share. The other 20%….it’s white collar crime. So crime is either because people are miserable, or they’re selfish and greedy….oh well, throw them both in jail….

I’ve actually heard friends I respect say that’s the answer “throw them in jail.” WOW!

Some people spewing, believe it or not, are active churchgoers identifying as “moral.” They not only see themselves as good, but take it upon themselves to decide who is else is good, and who else is not.  Just like their politics they skew over the line into judgment and closed mindedness in almost all of their opinions.

The GOP is closely associated with the church today, which counterintuitively is part of where this “closed for business,” approach to politics is originates. While I agree with their faith, I don’t agree with their practice of it or their steadfast insistence on their way.  Further, I don’t want my faith and beliefs to be forced on other who may not share the beliefs.  I would imagine many “Libtards,” regardless of faith feel the same.  There’s a pattern here, and it’s one of acceptance, tolerance and empathy.

On almost all issues, Liberals and Democrats will listen to what the other side has to say. They not only listen…but they consider, and ponder….they give some thought to. Unfortunately, for all of us, it’s just a one way street.

Conservatives, don’t want to hear what “Libtards,” think, they don’t care about any opposing argument.  It might as well not exist, because they’re not going to consider it. If discussing it, more often than not, descend into ad hominem arguments that have no relevance, but act as a crutch for people who frankly, and this is just my opinion, but they can’t explain why they think what they think.  Often they realize somewhere in them it’s illogical…and avoid discussion that leads to that conclusion at all costs.   This is the core of the problem, discussion creates questions, and questions in the case of these extremists, they really don’t have answers that make real sense.  It’s a situation that doesn’t appear to be changing soon.  Liberals will continue with “let’s talk,” and conservatives with “if you don’t agree, you’re unAmerican, socialist and of low moral character.

Not all conservatives are bad people, but all conservatives are misguided at least in their insistence that issues not have two sides.  I challenge those that are good people, who care for their fellows and want to help other people and in turn help themselves.  How can you associate with extremists and allow these loud and radical voices to speak on your behalf.  There needs to be another group step up within the group.  To say not all of them are on board with what’s being spewed so hatefully in their name.  To embrace education and logic and no longer stand with others that are so extreme, often willing to espouse or at least hint at violence. So extreme, that they equate more closely to radical Islam than “Libtards.” Time to reassess just which side carries blame, or at least the majority.  It will never be our way or the highway with Democrats, we’re not going to rollover and just change everything we think without you giving some too.  Compromise is about two sides of the coin, agreeing to work things out and find common ground.  It’s time to take accept responsibility and stop trying to blame others for our misguided opinions.  We all have to say “let’s talk,” and stop saying “buzz off.”

 

Daily Fantasy Sports…My “Take”

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I shared this earlier with some buddies in my normal, season long league.  They were asking what I do to win in Daily Fantasy Baseball, as I’ve finally “cracked the code,” at least a little bit of it.  I’m  by no means a “shark,” and I’ll still play a pitcher or player who gets rained out….but more often than not, I’m catching those now, and I’m picking based on stats and figures, not gut or some blogs daily favorites.

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You have to put your “knowledge,” or how closely you follow the sport where it belongs…in a van, down by the river!  I was picking based on reading roto blogs, and based on my own intuition as a lifelong baseball nut and stat nerd.  Turns out, this gets you NOWHERE!

The roto blogs, mostly, are written by baseball fans.  Guys that two years ago were writing for Fansided or Bleacher Report and are insanely knowledgable about baseball, but not DFS.  In this instance, A doesn’t equal B, although B, may sometimes equal A!  This is not to say they can’t be good DFS players with practice and strategy development, smart writers and beat guys could learn and become solid DFS players.  But as far as what they think about who to play for fantasy lineups, the advice you want is from the finance guys.  People that don’t know what “‘round the horn,” means, and could care less how many players are in the 40/40 club.  I had to start seeking DFS advice from unlikely sources, such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Fortune.   You won’t find daily advice, or even regular advice….but what I found, was a few interviews with some of the true DFS “sharks,” the guys that are entering $10,000 per day, and winning. They play everywhere, are almost unavoidable and a night mixing it up with them is about as pleasant as waking on a Cancun beach with no memory of the night before, and as you roll over and sit up realize…well it hurts to sit. Not only that, but you notice you had slept on your stomach, and there’s deep, very deep indentions in the sand from where your knees had been.

Back to DFS, these sharks aren’t your friend.  But what do all Ivy League, Wall Street trader types have in common?  Huge Egos!  So when approached for an interview by Forbes or WSJ, and asked to spill on what they do differently, making them successful at DFS.  These huge egos betray them and they can’t help but proselytize to the world about their genius and how they’ve got everything figured out. Usually, if you’re like me, you just want to hate these guys, but in this case, they are my new friends! When they speak on DFS, I listen, and you should too.  Abandon RotoDork.com or SpazticRotoWiz.com, and study the real pros. Do you want to eat, or be eaten….there’s two types of players in DFS, and we do certainly need fish, but not me, I set out to stop the losing, and join the sharks!

As I mentioned, many of these wily brainiacs used to be Wall Street traders, only now they spend their days following sports information tickers instead of the Dow.  Oh, they bring the same tools….namely a maven’s knowledge of how to build and use Excel spreadsheets. But they have learned to apply it to what used to make them feel so inferior in high school….sports!  There are actually some sites with information on how to create reusable spreadsheets that compile data and spit out winners for you, and I attempted to make a couple, but let’s face it.  Mathematically, I’m about an 8th grade level, and I really don’t even care about it…as I simply despise math. If I stare at Excel for too long, my eyes will cross and I’ll start speaking in tongues…but I did find other ways to use what I’d learned, but dumb it down for a guy like me.  I have no doubt in the process I’m sacrificing some info,  if I could find a couple partners and we split up the number crunching duties, maybe I could even handle a full on “death by Excel,” style strategy. But it’s just not what I’m naturally good at, and I’ve always felt one of my strengths is just that…I know and utilize my strengths, and I admit, avoid or compensate for my weaknesses.  In this case, I am a good “baseball guy,” and I’ve got a knack for spotting trends.  I actually do enjoy statistics, analyzing them to figure what they can tell me…just don’t ask me use them to spit out other, more or different NUMB3RS!

So what I did do, was I started tracking which games I entered, how much I spent, and my ROI.  A month ago, I’d have told you I was winning “some,” but…turns out it was more like “barely ever,” or about 15%.  I was foolishly betting too much in the $.25/tourneys that pay out in the thousands for top finishers, even finish in the top two-hundred or so, and you’ll likely take home $10 or more.  When betting sports, I’ve always enjoyed parlays, they’re low risk, with high reward…or so I’ve always thought.  Turns out, playing in ten of those over a 48 hour period, I would win maybe one. Which isn’t “low risk,” it’s “low intelligence.”

I was actually winning the 50/50’s, which if I bet $1, I’d win $1.80.  Which is such little gratification for my lizard brain, that I scoffed….but would I rather win one of those 5/7 days a week, or lose 45 $.25 tourneys, and win 4 for a total loss of -$8.75? I was entering  about one 50/50 every two days, and 6-7 quarter tourneys in that same time.  So I reversed that ratio, now playing one $1 – 50/50, and maybe two quarter tourneys per night.  This not only builds up my bank, but it gives me some confidence….some SWAG! And that’s nice to have…nobody at the mall may know why I’m “pimp-walking,” but it’s that extra $3.75 in my wallet from last night’s DFS!

Also, I mix in all free games that offer an actual payout.  Usually there are 4-5 on each DraftKings, DraftDay and FantasyHub (I play those three, plus FanDuel). You can, feasibly win trips to big tourneys in NYC and San Francisco, autographed memorabilia, and a few free dollars in credit to use to enter a cash game and maybe increase your bank!

Your bank is very important….I’ve read advice and determined to not bet more than 10%, up to an absolute max of 20% on one night.  And overall, I haven’t made a deposit in a long while.  I wasn’t winning much, just barely staying alive.  But keep reading…because suddenly, my banks are growing…and my status as “guppie,” is moving out into deeper water.

I tweaked many of my strategies…or lack thereof. First, as a beginner, you have 50 games in any sport to enter “beginner,” matches.  USE THEM ALL!  Once you hit 50, you’re ineligible.  And, the low dough games are good for a pauper like me, but also, I avoid most “sharks.”  $5 and above, and you’ll run into a few Ivy League finance guys in there.

Weather and starting lineups are KEY!  I kept losing because of rainouts, and worse, because a guy gets the night off.  Obviously, catchers are a huge culprit, but every player gets a night off now and then…nothing is more frustrating than learning that the 15% of your total salary cap you spent on Mike Trout or Giancarlo Stanton, was on a night that he stayed on the bench and ate seeds.  It’s imperative to find a site with reliable, and early lineup and weather information.  I highly recommend the following:

http://mlbstartingnine.com

They typically have lineup info posted hours before anywhere else that I can find…and it’s always accurate.  Go figure…I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!  I just put the bit in and ride the sumbitch!

Days off blow, weather too, but it’s not as bad…as you can find weather reports anywhere.  Overall, just don’t risk it if you can help it. And if you do, you better keep a close and constant eye right up until game-time. Even “a slight chance of rain early, tapering off…” is enough to make me think twice.  Easy way to settle a toss up of players in my lineup.

Next, I studied up on the differences in scoring, site to site.  Sorry, but if you’re not doing this first thing…then slap yourself, and stick a fork in your ass because your DUMB! I know, because I WAS! DraftKings, FanDuel, DraftDay, and FantasyHub all score a little differently, and when 50th (wins $10) or 650th (wins $.65) is a statistical difference of maybe 8-12 points….? Let me tell you, that on multiple nights, I’ve been one starting spot, away from winning 1st out of 5,000 guys and a $200 payday off a $0.25 bet, and instead I finish 175th and net a dime in my pocket….woot.  It’s bad enough when I considered the right pick that night, but when it’s a rain out or night off….well, I have ordered one of those spiked, leather flogging things the psycho monks always use, and that’s going to be how I learn my lesson from now on.

As much as all the above matters, the single greatest impact on a lineup is typically going to be related to pitching. Miss bad….and it’s probably not your night no matter how good your hitters do.

On DraftKings, you get two pitchers with win/loss weighted far less.  Your pitcher can lose the game, but if he strikes out a bunch of guys, doesn’t get many walks or beanballs…then you can still have a great night scoring despite the pitcher losing the game.  However, in FanDuel, it’s “Just Win Baby!”  If your guy loses his matchup, then you’re behind the 8-ball…  Oh, and FanDuel you pick one pitcher, in DraftKings..two!

I started being really selective about pitching.  In DK, I try to pick one top dollar guy, a Scherzer or Kershaw, and one “wildcard.”  Thing is, if I can pick a wildcard…my odds of winning are like 150% better. But you better know what you’re doing…cause if you go with that random rookie from the Giants, Chris Heston, and he’s on the road at the Mets at Shea….well, just pick him on the night he throws the no-hitter…mmkay?

If you can hit a wild card, and leave a big gun who you actually think is not in a good spot. “Yeah buddy!”  That’s a night that you may break your own record and actually make an entire $5!  For example, when “King,” Felix Hernandez got shelled in 1st inning on Friday night at Houston, I just had a bad feeling about that matchup.  So I go elsewhere, and hit on a random wildcard…not insane points, but 20-25.  Once a matchup starts, you can see the percentage of DFS players from that site who selected any given player.  On Friday, almost 80% of guys picked King Felix!  So after one inning in Houston, my chances of winning had just increased like 5,000%…..and I did go on to win 4/5 games I entered that night.

Now, realizing pitching is such an essential.  Do I have any advice you ask?

Vegas BABY!  Pull up the Caesar’s or another sportsbook, and look over the gambling lines.  Most will be expected…but usually, I identify 2-3 games standing out as “what do they know I don’t?”  And being Vegas….there’s a reason they can pay all those giant electric bills for those strip based casinos.  Let’s just say it’s not because they don’t know how to set betting lines on sporting events. Overall, using Vegas odds to select my pitchers, particularly on FanDuel, where wins are everything…it’s been the single biggest help to my scores.

Now selecting a lineup of batsmen….as I said above, I used some Excel “Super-Devil,” spreadsheets, and if I had a few buddies to share the duties with and all work as a team, maybe it could be done and I’d get even more refined data.  But by my lonesome it’s just too much info for me to process.  The Wall Street Wunderkinds who quit their day jobs and play DFS fulltime…they spend 10+ hours a day prepping.  That man, is like, not going to happen right now man.  No can do….

But I did what I could, and after pitching…it was time to find out more about the scoring in each site.  Much to my surprise, hitting stats are also quite different, which really I didn’t expect. In Fanduel, a walk, hit by pitch, stolen base, or a lowly leadoff single, score EXACTLY the same as a run scored, or an RBI….1 lousy point. Don’t ask me, but that’s one big flaw in scoring, and just another reason I have to say I prefer DraftKings. One other big consideration is FanDuel, unlike DraftKings, deducts 0.5 points for every out!  As far as hits, add one point for each base, starting with the aforementioned 1 point for a single, and you can count on 2 points for a stolen base, with no penalty for being caught thieving bases.

DraftKings, is more typical….or less insane whichever you prefer! A walk is 2 points, which is still the same as an RBI, or run scored..and hit by a pitch…gets you only an “e-bruise,” on the offended body part, but no point.  Singles are 3 points, doubles are 5 points, triples are 8 points, and a HR is 10 points!  Also, a stolen base is 5 points, for the mathematically challenged like myself, that’s half the points of a HR, and more than a double or an RBI! But beware, if you are caught stealing, it’s minus 2 points.

Think about Billy Hamilton last night, with 5 SB, plus a single and a double!  So 33 points, with no RBI, only one run scored, one extra base hit (a double), one single, but 5 stolen bases!  Talk about a lot of stat padding…but hey, 34 points is 34 points.

Finally, I developed four primary categories to check daily to select my hitters.  I use my ESPN season fantasy league’s “player,” page and sort all players in the league by position.  Focusing on “BVP,” (batter vs. pitcher) and “7 days,” (his numbers in the past week).  I also check a couple other boxes that I’ll explain below, but they’re not really statistics.

First, I check the BVP, which probably I weigh most heavily.  What’s the history of this hitter vs. this pitcher?  More often than not, this holds well, but there can be outliers like Chris Coghlan on Saturday night…he was 12/15 vs. Mike Leake, and only got on base once and scored one lousy run. Still, that’s a great statistic, and with him being over .400 the past 2 weeks….and he being a left-handed hitter, and Leake a right-handed pitcher…I felt great about the matchup. Like I said…best laid plans don’t always work out, but I’ll remember that and play him again next time vs. Leake.  That’s a great stat, and he just had an off night.

But, I also picked Aramis Ramirez that night, and as a Cubs fan I know him very well. I saw he had almost a .600 average vs. the pitcher he was facing (I think Gio Gonzalez?) and my memory of watching him daily for a decade, is that when he had good numbers against a guy, that seemed to ALWAYS hold true.  He’s just one of those guys that you don’t even have to watch him to know exactly what he’s doing in the game…you will usually know in advance!  Is he hot of late…then he’ll rake.  Cold?  He’ll stink.  Is he at a favorite ballpark to hit at, against a favorite pitcher to face, or a time of year that he prefers (notoriously slow starter)? If he’s any of those traditionally, then it’s likely he’ll be that in the game today. So this is one place, where my unquestioned, epic “fandom,” helped me out in DFS!
Next stat, after BVP, as I said is the past week.  Is he generally hot?  Most guys I’ll ride with if I don’t have anything to tell me not to, as Ramirez, etc because of him being a longtime Cub.

Final two factors…one is the ballpark.

Playing at Petco?  Forget it, unless it’s a late start slate of games only, and I really want to play because of another matchup and I like some other number that I think could override that cavernous outfield. By the way, games start and are setup by time of day, with “All Day,” being easily self-explanatory,  “Early,” indicating games starting around noon, up until 3-5pm, “Evening,” which are approximately 7pm starts, and finally “Late,” which is west coast, etc. I hate late games, because it may only be 2-3 games total…or less. But if there’s a pitching or other matchup I have to be in on, then I hold my nose and dive in.

Back to ballparks, which I try to avoid the likes of San Diego, Seattle, Kansas City or Miami. Conversely, I try to play a team hitting in Colorado, Arlington, Baltimore, Houston, Yankee Stadium, Fenway and Wrigley (if the wind is a non-factor or blowing out, be careful early in the season….it’s a tough place to drive the ball with the icy wind blowing in off Lake Michigan). Keep in mind other factors at the ballpark too, such as a speedster like Hamilton or Dee Gordon playing on Skydome turf, or similar…..I see them on turf…I want them in my lineup….most likely, unless the BVP or other stat says “stay the hell away!”

The last factor is R/L matchup.  And you’d think “who cares,” because I’m already watching BVP.  But there are small sample sizes, and no sample sizes.  Plus think of R/L as more of a corollary that just strengthens the BVP numbers.  If BVP is good, and the hitter is a lefty, pitcher a righty….the trend is about 50% more likely to hold that day, than if a good career BVP is facing R/R or L/L matchup. Hey, I don’t make up these stats! But yeah, I do try to exploit them, AND YOU SHOULD TOO!😉.

Now, a few others, try to find those cheap guys who have numbers that say “big game.”  If he can check all 4 categories….”Good BVP, 7 days of hot hitting, game in a backyard of a ballpark, and pitcher throws from his opposite side,”  well you’ve likely got a pretty darn safe pick for your lineup; and likely at 1/3 the cost of a guy like Rizzo, Stanton, Trout, Harper or Cabrera.

Same thing with  a pitching mismatch.  The other night I went with CJ Wilson in DraftKings, and even though they lost.  It was a close 1-0, and with him costing $6,500 instead of the $11,000 guys were spending on Matt Harvey or Corey Kluber.  Well, identify a few of those, and you’ll really have something and can pick the best and most likely hitters for all the other roster spots. Newbies, like I recently did, will just pick the top two pitchers, call it money well spent, and move on.  And it is likely money spent on a high scoring pitcher…but…if I can identify the pitcher that is underrated, like the aforementioned rookie Chris Heston vs. the Mets at Shea, who last week would throw a no-hitter and cost half or less than Kluber and Harvey.  I can take that difference and apply that savings to invest in Giancarlo Stanton for the outfield, instead of my opponent who blew his wad on obvious Kluber, and then had to settle for Alexei Amarista, in the same roster spot that I have Stanton!  Pitching is ultra important…but it’s also IMO, the easiest spot to predict an under the radar scoring stud.   And why is this so important you say?  Well, because my friend, Giancarlo Stanton is what we refer to as a ‘difference maker,’ and, well…we like those.

I’m still tweaking the setup daily, but so far this has worked well.  And say with 7 day numbers, once I do it every day for a week or so, I get the hang of who’s hot, and can save some time there.  For example, if the Blue Jays are active, and Russell Martin is in the lineup, he’s getting selected!  He’s been scorching for the past 2 weeks.  Same with Giancarlo Stanton, so I go into my lineup construction looking to save elsewhere so I can get them in.  I hit over this weekend with dirt cheap, “veteran minimum,” type players like Eddie Rosario with the Twins, Delino DeShields Jr. with the Rangers, and John Mayberry Jr. with the Mets.  I was able to identify, select and hit on each of them and they all produced as well or better than other players in the outfield who literally cost 10x more.

If you want to “stick your toe,” in the water, I recommend accounts at DraftKings, FantasyHub, and DraftDay.  They will let you play for free, with no deposit, and offer at least 3-5 free entry contests every night…that pay out cash or credit for cash games. At DraftDay, and FantasyHub, they offer a really unique gameplay and interaction, both with their different strengths.  DraftDay has some unique and different types of lineups to offer, two in particular I’ve not found anywhere else. Both are free and you can win cash and tickets to big tourneys.

One is “Perfect Team,” with no cap. You just pick the best players at every spot that night. Next morning they calculate and post the actual perfect lineup: and whoever got closest, wins.  The second is picking from 8 blocks of players. No cap, just a list of 5 guys, different positions (except pitchers) and you pick one.  Usually you’ll have two blocks of separate pitchers, then 6 different blocks of 5 positional players each. For example:

Martin
Cabrera
Springer
Pederson
Tulowitzki

So you pick one of this group.sane deal with several other groups.

I just began play on FantasyHub, and I’m really impressed so far. For one, I opened a FREE account, no deposit, and I now have $4.75 in my account! I placed in one game, but I also got $1 for a “hot streak,” which can be logging in every day, selecting a lineup every day, and other reasons.  They literally pay you just to keep coming back!  Which worked well, because I’ve been on FanDuel and DraftKings and am happy with those, but if DraftDay and FantasyHub will let me play for free, and fill up a bank for me for just coming back (at FantasyHub), then I will indeed keep coming back!  Now, I can play all four sites, and decide where I want to spend my actual money!  Who knows, maybe I’ll keep winning and won’t need to spend anything, but either way, I’m hooked!  Indeed, there’s likely to be more money deposited eventually, and I’d say FantasyHub or DraftKings are neck and neck for my favorite sites for DFS.  One factor hugely in the favor of FantasyHub, is they donate to charity, and allow you to select a large or small portion of your winnings to donate as well.  Is that a smart platform or what?  They probably do enough to get non-profit status which will likely bring out the cynics among us…but really who cares!? I think it’s cool, that I get to give a bit to charity for playing DFS. And it’s a great way for them to differentiate, and probably yes, to get a nice break at tax time! But hey, you gotta love playing DFS and feeling philanthropic…is this a great country or what!?!?  ‘Merica!

Fantasy leagues have changed the game and how we follow sports.  Stats and numbers are huge! But in DFS….they’re twice as HUGE!  They’re literally EVERYTHING! Take a little time, and toss your “gut,” out the window. Try some different sites, and try different techniques.  Don’t ever lose sight that it is gambling, you’re not always going to win and anyone that says they do (at least anyone who didn’t go to an Ivy League school, major in science or math and formerly worked on Wall Street) is full of it.  It’s like Vegas…everyone I know “wins,” in Vegas.  Really?  Interesting…..  Same idea on DFS….it’s the ego talking man!

Good luck, and most important, have fun!