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Tuesday

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January 2012

55

COMMENTS

Morning News: Staving Off the Pre-Super Bowl Malaise

Written by , Posted in General

 

Strike One: Free Agent Free-For-All  MLBTradeRumors.com reports the race for Cuban refuge Yoenis Cespedes is about to heat up.  The new Dominican Republic resident will travel to the US in the next week or so to begin meeting with teams interested in signing him–including the Cubs.  MLBTR also links to a story from Baseball America that projects Cespedes as one of the top fifteen prospects if when he signs with a team.  With Theo and Jed wanting to get younger and emphasize player development, the speedy outfielder might be the kind of free agent target they’re looking for.  And be sure to check back this afternoon for Joe’s post on the wave of non-roster invitees the Cubs are bringing to Mesa next month.

Ball One:  Quick Hits  Elsewhere around the league, the Brewers signed ex-Cub Corey Patterson to a minor league deal… Pat Burrell retired… the new owner of the Astros has decided not to change the name of team after all… Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson has lost a step, but it seems he’ll be OK… and the A’s are open to signing Manny Ramirez, although I doubt they will.

Strike Two:  Headgear Selection (Non-Corso Edition)  Tomorrow is National Signing Day for high school football recruits, and ESPNU will be running televised coverage all day.  I’m generally a college football fan, and I’m eager to see who my Oklahoma State Cowboys pick up.  But I think the fervor around high school recruiting may be getting out of hand.  Exhibit A: the number one recruit in the country, Dorial Green-Beckham, recently had an in-school visit from Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, who landed his helicopter on the high school’s baseball field.  A cool, attention-grabbing move, to be sure, but is it the kind of attention we should be heaping on high school seniors?  Do we really need all-day coverage of seventeen and eighteen year-olds dramatically choosing hats in front of the national media?  In spite of all that, will I probably tune in throughout the day to see who OSU picked up?  Probably.

Foul Tip:  Save Ferris  A frightening percentage of Sunday’s Super Bowl audience will tune in not for the game, but for the commercials.  While some Super Bowl ads have lived up to the considerable hype, most of them fall far short.  Early indications point to further disappointment on Sunday, when Honda will unleash this abomination on the viewing public.  I have not driven the all-new CRV.  For all I know, it’s the finest small SUV ever built.  But make no mistake–it is exactly the kind of car Ferris Bueller famously eschewed for a stolen Italian classic.  No amount of tweaked quotes and vague visual callbacks can salvage this half-hearted attempt to recapture the magic of John Hughes’ 80’s classic.  And what happened to Matthew Broderick?  It’s like he exchanged all his Bueller-esque charisma for a soft voice and a weird twitch.  He’s basically grown up to be Cameron Frye.  Is that what married life with Sarah Jessica Parker does to you?  Bottom line: I don’t know if this commercial will energize Honda sales.  Terrible commercials often work–those dancing hamsters sold a bunch of Kia Souls.  But I do know that any hope for a quality Ferris Bueller sequel will die a sudden and disturbing death on Sunday.

Strike Three:  Winter X-Games Guts and Glory  I didn’t watch the Winter X-Games over the weekend, but there was apparently an emphasis this year on snowmobile jumping, in effect making the snowmobile the Winter X stand-in for the dirt bike.  Who knew such an offbeat sport could so thoroughly embody the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat (this guy survived and went on to win the gold in his event about an hour later)?

  • Buddy

    Old Ferris Bueller looks like he ate young Ferris Bueller.

  • Lizzie

    Have they been running the obnoxious JCPenney commercials nationwide or are we Midwesterners the only lucky ones? I have vowed to never set foot in that store again after this every-fifteen-minute-scream-fest.

  • BLPCB

    I saw one of those screaming commercials yesterday, I was like wtf is up with that.
    Strike 1: I hope we get Cespedes, see how this management gets players developed
    Ball 1: I never knew the Astros owner was looking to change the name
    Strike 2: Can’t wait for this great class Urban Meyer has recruited. Got another great class coming in for 2013. 2013, Ohio State is going to set the world on fire.
    Foul tip: Bud Light always has great Super Bowl commercials.
    Strike 3: No comment.

  • chuck

    Buddy: We all getting old.

  • BLPCB

    That JC Penny commercial is one that makes me not want to ship there. There lots of commercials that make my dad not want to shop somewhere. His favorite is this am/pm commercial, where the guy is in the store looking for a cart. My dad was like what is this supposed to mean? I explained to him the slogan is too much good stuff, he was going to buy a lot of stuff. So my dad is like so this commercial is telling me not to shop at am/pm. Bc I should go there expecting to buy a lot of stuff, but I won’t have a cart to put it in.

  • Noah

    I think on top of the annoyance, though, the problem with the JC Penney commercial is that it’s vague. It’d be much better off if they just told you what they’re doing: they’re permanently cutting their prices an average of 40% on all items instead of having sales. If I shopped at big retail stores like that much, that would actually appeal to me. My wife pays a lot of attention to sales, so she knows where the deals are. I do not pay attention to those things, so going to a place that essentially has a permanently built in lowest price they offer would appeal to me. But yes, terrible ad.

    With that said, I actually doubt long term people stop shopping places because of ads. For example, BLPCB, I don’t think much anyone particularly makes a special run to am/pm. It’s a gas station convenience store. But no one would say, “well, I really want some beef jerky and a water, and this is the gas station right here, but I hate their ads so much that I won’t go in and will instead be hungry and thirsty!” And Lizzie, odds are that a few months from now you just forget about the ad. I’ve purchased one thing from J.C. Penney over the past five years or so: my couch. I bought it from J.C. Penney because it was inexpensive, looked ok, and wasn’t a piece of crap. Bad ads or not, the best deal is the best deal.

  • BLPCB

    Well my dad doesn’t usually get anything from gas stations anywhere, and there isn’t an am/pm near us. He was just commenting on how stupid the commercial was. The commercial is telling me come to am/pm because I’ll want to buy more than a soda and candy bar

  • cap’n obvious

    A Ferris Bueller sequel would be the worst idea since….well, every other sequel. I like the commercial, though. I like the fact that Matthew Broderick has gone on to a distinguished career as an actor, and is still able to check his ego enough to embrace the role that started it all. The production and movie/music rights must have cost Honda a freaking fortune…not to mention 2:30 of Super Bowl airtime. You’ve gotta love marketing and ad people that take risks like that with stockholder money. The ad doesn’t make me want to run out and trade my Audi for a Honda sportwagon, but it does actually give me a sense that Honda ‘gets’ my generation by spending huge dough to re-create, albeit cheesily, a classic movie from my formative years.

    I hate the ESPN turns about 40 highh school senior football recruits into mini-Lebron’s for a day. You’d think that with all the negative press and sentiment that Lebron got, ESPN would have gotten away from this type of crapola. It seems as every day passes, the product that comes out of Bristol gets worse and worse, while costing more and more.

  • BLPCB

    They aren’t holding 1 hour specials where they announce to America who they’re taking a shit on.
    What do you expect, Disney owns ESPN

  • Lizzie

    @Noah I understand where you’re coming from but “the best deal is the best deal” only holds if price is your strongest motivator. And in some cases it might be. But there are plenty of places I won’t shop even if the price is lower. For instance, if the store is less convenient, if the service sucks (especially that!) or yes, even crappy ads. I’m lucky enough to be in an area where Penney’s will never be my only option. You’re probably right that I won’t avoid it forever, but when I have a choice my choice will no longer be Penney’s even if if means I have to pay a few bucks more for my socks.

  • Jedi

    w/Lizzie – Burlington Disease Factory is the one that does it for me…the one near us is closer to a crack house than a department store. Tweakers on every aisle, nothing’s been cleaned in months. I can’t go in there – no matter what they’re selling.

  • MJ

    The Burlington Coat Factory by us is scary as well. Although I did snag a nice coat there the other week….I just grabbed, paid and ran.

  • Seymour Butts

    Wait a minute…you guys watch commercials?
    Sports is the only thing I don’t watch from a recording. 3 hour long shows can be watched in 2 hours by skipping all the crapola. I thought I was a Luddite.

  • BLPCB

    Sports is just about the only thing I still watch live. Even then, I will use the commercials to grab a beer or take a piss. Or I use it as a replay if I missed something, and then use the commercials to catch up

  • BLPCB

    I remember watching this commercial a few years back where 2 guys are boxing, and the boxing match repeatedly starts and stops, I always wondered how you catch up

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    The Yankees have hired Jim Hendry as a special assistant to Brian Cashman.

  • BLPCB

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • cap’n obvious

    Hendry and Rothschild, reunited and it feels so good to be a Yankee hater.

  • Jedi

    Hendry will be serving as Cashman’s proxy drinking buddy – when a colleague needs to be wined and dined before the Yankees fleece them in a trade, Cashman sends in Hendry to befriend the mark. Just before he realizes that Hendry lacks any power whatsoever, the mark agrees to the proposed deal thinking that he’s managed to hornswoggle baseball’s Barney Gumble. The Yankees are incredibly shrewd.

  • Kris

    What would possess anyone to even talk to Manny Ramirez? He’s going to want buko bucks, is turning 40, has to sit out nearly a third of a the season, oh, and he’s a headcase.

    I will avoid stores if the commercials offend me, although I can’t think of one that has bothered me that much lately. I will stop going if the service is crappy (i.e., when Marshal Field’s turned into Macy’s). I also have avoided filling the care up at BP like the plague since the oil spill.

    Burlington Coat Factory is like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s for me. If things look clean and are laid out nicely, I’ll stay. If I feel like I’m at a crappy garage sale where nothing has been washed and requires me to dig through piles–I’m outta there.

  • BLPCB

    I’m all for sticking it to BP, but the gas stations have nothing to do with the oil spill, and gas that you buy at Mobil or Shell may very well have been from oil that was drilled by BP. I buy my gas where it is cheapest, and that includes BP.

  • Kris

    It’s likely that once the oil hits the refineries it could be coming from anywhere. But not adding to BP profits does send a message to them that their handling of that spill was atrocious, and that’s a message I’d like to send. In the end, I’d be better off buying a hybrid, driving as little as possible, and buying only products that use as little oil as possible. Sadly–I’m a slave to the American way. Mass transit is not an option for my commute, but I’m not driving a Hummer either. 🙂

  • The only thing that makes me feel more immediately emasculated than wearing dress pants is jumping behind the wheel of my wife’s Camry. I’ll be the guy getting 11 MPG on the way to the gas station, in jeans, for the foreseeable future.

  • Doc Raker

    Cashman negotiates a 3 year deal at $10M per and Handry’s roll is to evaluate the value of the contract. Hendry, “I think we should go 5 years at $18M per, he will give us better numbers if we pay him more.”

  • BLPCB

    Interesting Bears-Sox connection: Both teams had new GMs for the 2001 season. Both GMs stuck with the incumbent coach/manager for 3 years, before canning them and hiring a new guy. Both teams have made a couple playoff trips, but have sucked otherwise. This year, the White Sox got rid of their clown manager, while keeping their clown GM. The Bears got rid of their clown GM, but kept their clown coach. Meanwhile, The last 2 years have been a house cleaning in Chicago sports. The Bulls and Hawks got new GMs in 2010 (even though Paxson’s stepping down was just a formality), while the Bears and Sox did above, and the Cubs got rid of ole Jimmy Boy. The White Sox should have fired Kenny Williams as well, and the Bears should have fired the Love-tron, or at least allowed the new GM to can him if he wanted. There is a reason no one wanted that job, and some former scout got it. Only until the Lovetron is gone will the Bears no longer rival the Illinois government for ineptitude.

  • @CAPS… sort of glad for your sake that the Yanks snagged Hendry instead of the Marlins… Bozo, Hendry, and Guillen in one place would have sent you into a hate coma. How long are you doing the Disney gig? Hopefully you can watch Z implode and give us a recap while you are in Florida.

  • BLPCB

    Don’t forget village idiot Mark Buerhle. Though I would love to hear his tirades on the drinking water in Florida. It is absolutely disgusting in Florida, but thankfully at Disney it is very clean, and that includes my apartment. I had a friend who went to Thug U, told me he had a water filter in his apartment, one day he cut an old one open when it was time to replace it, and there was dirt in the filter.

    I’m in Orlando till the end of July. I put in a request to get off work for the Cubs-Marlins series, because I want to go down to Miami for the series.

  • BLPCB

    I would love nothing more for the Cubs to destroy both Bozo the Clown, and Buerhle the Village Idiot

  • BLPCB

    Just watched the commercials.
    Kia should have waited for the Super Bowl for that commercial
    Snickers not Super Bowl worthy
    What a lame Honda commercial. It makes no sense at all. I don’t need a freaking commercial to get me to buy a Honda. Until Toyota had the issue with the sticking gas pedals, a Toyota was going to be the first car I bought. Now after putting almost 20,000 miles on a Honda, the first car I buy will likely be a Honda.

    • Doc Raker

      Good job Eddie Von White. The green energy scam is upon us and to many of us are clueless.

  • Eddie Von White

    Kris – it takes the same amount of fossil fuel to power a hybrid as it does a Hummer. It’s just delivered to the consumer in a different package. And…why is “being a slave to the American way” something to be sad about?

  • BLPCB

    Barry tried pushing a green energy bill through and some company proceeded to go belly-up

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Co-sign with Eddie and Doc.

    BLPCB, most of those “sticking gas pedals” turned out to be nothing more than defective operators.

  • Seymour Butts

    Eddie and Raker, not so fast.
    While electricity from the wall socket can involve fossil fuel, it does not have to. Many areas of the country have hydro electric or nuclear power that do not burn fossils. Further My Honda insight gets a solid 44 mpg ( and no plug in), my sister-in-law’s Hummer about 10. So there are advantages to going somewhat green. For the planet hating, people hating conservatives out there, it may sway you if you look at dollars per mile. About $.33 per mile for the hummer, $.07 for the insiught. That you can take to the bank.

  • cap’n obvious

    except that the Hummer will go for 300K miles, and the Insight ‘might’ grap out at 80K. Apples and apple there surgeon.

  • Doc Raker

    The green economy is a falsehood Seymour. No one is anti renewable energy but the vast majority of electricity is produce from fossil fuel, switching to electric cars does not reduce fossil fuel reliance. Furthermore, fossil fuels are still much less expensive than solar. Hydro and wind can only provide so much. California’s electricity rates will at least double when the mandated solar requirement kick in according to the Ca regulatory agency responsible for overseeing this green boondoggle. The government has flushed billions of tax payer dollars down the green economy toilet trying to support private green energy companies. Politically favored green companies have had legislative advantages and free tax payer money given to them and they still can’t make it in the market place. Drive whatever car you want Seymour but the green economy is a fallacy. Obama will not admit this since his crony supporters have invested billions in green energy and expect Obama to rig the market place for them in order for them to recoup their investment plus a healthy return. It is a scam and we are the suckers.

  • Doc Raker

    “Not so fast’ is the motto of the HONDA INSIGHT isn’t it Seymour?

  • BLPCB

    Why is this whole green energy movement failing? How complex is it really? I mean instead of burning coal and oil, you have wind turbines and solar panels. I seriously don’t understand the science behind it

  • Doc Raker

    Everything has benefits and disadvantages. Wind turbines kill birds, solar panels cover the desert and ruin the desert ecosystem, nuclear plants have radioactive waste and hydro has limited geographical impact. Natural gas is the cleanest and least expensive source of energy but there is an unproven claim of contaminating well water from ‘fracking’ which is the method of extracting the gas. Natural gas won’t make all of Obama’s crony’s rich since they have bet the farm on solar so don’t look for the government to be natural gas friendly until Obama is gone. The best economics for energy is oil and natural gas but politics perverts the market place so we will end up paying much more for our energy so Obama and his green crony’s can fleece America. Why does Obama give $500M to one solar company, Solyndra, and deny the building of an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas? Not because it makes economic sense, because it made political sense for him. Hopefully the voters send Obama and his green crony’s packing. Maybe Seymour can give them a ride home from DC in his not so fast Honda Insight come January 2013.

  • Doc Raker
  • BLPCB

    Wow I never knew that. Well it did say a small unit home is okay, which is good to know

  • Eddie Von White

    Doc has it right. There are 78 wind turbines within view of my kitchen window. They make a huge “swooshing” noise every revolution they make, and at night it is required that they each have a flashing red light on top. The only way they “make money” is through government subsidies. They are very annoying and ugly and ruin the landscape in my rural area. One percent of U.S. energy comes from green sources. The rest is fossil. There is no economic reason for denying the pipeline, but it is more than political croynism, “green” is Obama’s religion. He actually believes that green energy is our salvation and without it we will self-destruct.
    North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation because they are extracting natural gas by “fracking” but the environmentalist are screaming and trying to shut them down via negative public opinion.
    I have read that there is evidence that underground oil is not a limited resource that will soon be exhausted, but it continues to produce even while being mined.
    Politicians sway with what they perceive to be public opinion for their own personal gain, thus muddying the waters for everyone.
    Seymour – I love our planet and I love people – We can have it all if we use common sense and logic. Science has made it possible to cleanly burn fossil fuels without permanently harming our planet. We have come a long way since the Industrial Revolution and we continue to improve with time. Not to mention the average life span is now around 80 years old compared to approximately half that at the turn of the 20th century when wind, water, and horse were the main sources of energy.s

    God bless America!

  • Doc Raker

    Sure, very little is all bad or all good which is why the market place should be left to decide how these new technologies fit in. When the government chooses winners and losers in the market place like Obama and the democrats have done with solar power they distort the path to what is truly best for everyone and waists our money doing so. It is ignorant and naive to think a central planning government can make the best decisions for every market place in the country. But what can we expect from a president who’s greatest achievement prior to being president was being a community organizer, i.e. helped people of the community make use of government programs, help people stay dependent on government which is the opposite of helping people become self sufficient. OBAMA = THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALL THE ANSWERS and they don’t.

  • Doc Raker

    Right on Eddie. You bring up a good point, previously dried up oil wells have been found to have oil in them again. The theory is that oil may be inside the earth more than we know and as it gets pumped out new oil from deep within the earth refill the oil well. We really don’t know where oil and natural gas come from, it could simply be A RENEWABLE ENERGY. The ‘green religion’ is just as much about crony capitalism as it is about fanatical religion. The crony capitalist bets money on green technology while the politician rigs the market place for votes for himself and an easier green marketplace victory all behind the fanatical rantings of the green enviro disciple. Again, Obama is ignorant of how a true market place works and naive enough to believe the government has all the answers but smart enough to know how to get votes by appeasing the Seymours of the country who believe all the fanatical rantings our media reports as truth.

  • Seymour Butts

    You guys are skirting the issue.
    Eddie said “it takes the same amount of fossil fuel to power a hybrid as it does a Hummer”. I pointed out that this is not even remotely true. MPG matters to those who pay for their gas.
    Renewable energy is not at present the total answer. But to dismiss it entirely as a just political issue is retarded. I don’t care who is elected grand poobah, I want my energy bill to be as low as possible. If you want to drive a gas guzzler, that’s on you, but don’t deny that poor mileage causes increased consumption, and thus increased prices for all of us. Fossil fuels are finite. Not in our life times, but give a crap about your kids for cripes sake, you meanies!

  • CubbieDude

    JJ, I beg to differ – I enjoyed the Ferris-themed CR-V commercial. It makes me appreciate the original all the more.
    I almost bought a Honda CR-V a few years ago. If they had offered a few dollars more on the trade-in, I’d be minus a Jeep Grand Cherokee now.
    Besides, changing the location from Chicago to L.A. is roughly the equivalent of trading a unique Italian Sports Car for a Honda.
    Thanks, JJ, for the link.

  • CubbieDude

    Oh yeah. The woman has good taste in canines, too.

  • Eddie Von White

    When you plug in your hybrid to charge it up, the power for that plug in comes mainly from coal or another fossil fuel. Nuclear power is in the mix, but at a very low ratio. We have not built a new nuclear power plant in the U.S. since the 1970’s.

    When you factor in the government subsidies for that hybrid, you are and I are both paying much more than your price at the pump in mpg.
    Everybody wants their energy bill as low as possible, but we also want our tax bill as low as possible too. If green is the future then let private industry invest in it. The government has no business in it, excpet for, as Raker pointed out, political reasons – meaning money.
    Research has been done – it takes the same amount of fossil fuel from manufacturing to driving the car to power a hybrid as it does a gas guzzler. It’s just delivered to the consumer in a different form.

  • Seymour Butts

    Hybrids don’t get plugged in. Hence the term ‘Hybrid”. Honda’s no longer qualify for the hybrid tax deduction. It expired for them with the 2008 model year and expires for all brands based on a certain sales volume.
    Your “research” is faulty.
    My local power is nuclear and hydro. There is an occasional trash fired plant. There apparently are a few fossil fuel plants in the Pacific Northwest, but they are rare.

    http://www.energyjustice.net/map/searchobject.php?gsTable=facility&gsSearchtype=themap

    This link will give you a map of types of power generating plants in your area.

  • BLPCB

    I thought hybrids get plugged into the wall? I saw lot of those at the Chicago Auto Show in 2008. How does the battery get charged if it isn’t plugged into the wall? And if they are plugged intothebwall, would they have to be treated like phone or computer batteries? I’ve pretty much destroyed my computer and iTouch batteries keeping them plugged in 24/7. My new computer I’m not ping to keep plugged in all the time, and I’m going to turn it off when not using not for long stretches.

  • I think they have a whole bunch of AAs in the trunk.

  • Doc Raker

    I want my energy rates to be as low as possible and government intervention is making them higher, our current grand poobah admitted as much. I love my Audi A8L and I don’t care what mileage it gets. If the grand poobah let Americans farm our own oil and gas my gas bill would be significantly less than it is now. To each his own but to ignore government intervention as a market problem is ignorant.

  • Seymour Butts

    Ok, fine, I will get out my most condescending tone.
    Electric cars need plugged in. Gas (diesel, etc) don’t.
    Hybrids have an engine that genterates power that charges the batteries. Some use braking to do this as well. So hybrids don’t have a plug in.
    The 44 mpg my insight gets is all from gasoline, no wall plug to supplement it. 7 cents per mile for fuel costs. Period.

  • Seymour Butts

    Ok, fine, I will get out my most condescending tone.
    Electric cars need plugged in. Gas (diesel, etc) don’t.
    Hybrids have an engine that genterates power that charges the batteries. Some use braking to do this as well. So hybrids don’t have a plug in.
    The 44 mpg my insight gets is all from gasoline, no wall plug to supplement it. 7 cents per mile for fuel costs. Period.

  • Doc Raker

    And that is great Seymour. It is wonderful that our economy can offer us such a wide range of choices and that everyone can choose what is best for them. My point is I do not appreciate government intervention that spends my tax dollars and my childrens future earnings on politically favored technologies that may or may not be best. The ‘green economy’ is an empty promise and one that is directly costing us as tax payers and hurting our economy. The State of California is mandating solar power for electrical utilities and it is going to raise our rates “at least double’ according to the CA state agency responsible for managing the utilities. Obama gave away $1 trillion in tax payer money to political cronys solar companies that went bankrupt, this trillion dollars will be added to our growing debt problem to be paid back by you, me and our children. All while blocking the private sector from expanding oil and gas exploration and distribution. I accept a higher fuel cost for my bigger car, I don’t accept higher costs because I do not behave in political favor. End the tax loopholes for everyone, wall street and green companies alike so our collective limited capital will be spent wisely, not per an inefficient central planning government that has a myriad of bureaucratic interests which to often are contradictory to our economic interests.