Thursday, September 14, 2017

TRIBE - Don't Poo Poo The Steak

OK this is fun, this right now record 21 game winning streak the Indians are riding.  But conversely there are some detractors, and I sort of get it.

I have heard some in the National and Local Media, and even some chat around the office that says this. "Yeah this is all well and good but it won't mean a thing if the Tribe doesn't win the World Series."  I sort of get that too, and I do understand where that comes from.  But for me, they are not separate issues. They are one of the same.

I won't lie, I hope we win 25, 26 or heck, even 30 in a row.  What a streak like this does is so valuable to a team and the area, it makes winning it all even more attainable.  If this streak, whether is ends tonight or goes on for 10 more games does, is put the Tribe in a better position to win the World Series. 

First, it completely galvanizes the fan base, it gets everyone on board. And that is crucial down the stretch to re-energize a team that has played over the course of 6 months.  Second, if winning so many in a row helps us track down the Astros and have the best record in the American League, and make everyone come to our re-energized stadium to get through us?  Again, I am all for it. If this streak runs down the Nationals and Dodgers in the National League record-wise, and makes them come here to play a World Series first?  Again - FOR IT! 

You see winning a World Series is the hardest title to win in sports.  In the NBA, you can out athlete people to a title.  The NFL, is one and done, anything can happen in a one game situation.  Baseball is at least three series, against great teams and pitching only  - playing the hardest team sport there is to play in the world.  So I will gladly take anything that gives us a leg up on any team from either league. And if this streak plays a part in it, I am all in.

I have even heard some say they hope the streak ends so we can concentrate on the rest of the season. WTH?  Get a grip!  On opening Day every year, I want the Tribe to win every game! And right now, they are.  So let's go get the Giants now from 1916, and really leave no doubt.

The Streak. Is it everything?  No, but it's a real thing, and it's here and it is something that none of us will never see again.  GO TRIBE!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

TRIBE - Tito's Hand Made Roster

The Tribe is rolling along right now with a 17 game winning streak and are the talk of the town.

This incredibly likable team have become the darlings of the area, and are doing what only a winning Major League Team can do.  Re-energize an area like nothing else can. I, like you, never saw a 17 game winning steak coming, but no one should be surprised the Indians are 30 games over .500 with about 20 to go.  If you say you're not surprised at the streak, I'm not buying it.  It's happened a couple times in about 100 years.

It makes me laugh every season.  Twitter, Facebook, and even Sports Talk Radio are a buzz about how terrible this guy is, or how they need to send this guy down, or let's trade this guy, or go get this guy.  "Experts" of so many kinds who have a fundamental non-understanding of the game.  Many in this area continually get the Indians and the Browns confused and they are two completely different stories in every single, solitary way imaginable.  While the Browns have struggled with virtually every aspect of building a winning franchise, the Tribe has been brilliant in same.  The Indians these days are not "Typical Cleveland"

Terri (Tito) Francona is the main reason why.  One team can say they have the runaway best manager in the Major Leagues -  and that's us.  And it's not even close.  He has been the reason that players play as hard as they do, the reason free agents want to come here, and the reason top prospects break their butt to get up here and play well for him.  His managing hand and style are that of legend.  He's going to the Hall Of Fame as a manager, and few will be more deserving. 

Baseball is a very long season with 162 games played roughly over 200 days.  You are going to have your great patches, your rough stretches, your injuries, and disappointments. That is why we love the game so much.  It so mimics life, that we relate to it completely.  It takes patience to be a baseball fan, a good one anyway.  And Social Media has made it so easy to vent emotions quickly without putting a great deal of thought into it.  As to where some have to devour a bushel basket of crow with a shovel for dinner.

Ever notice that at years end, the guys that many fans scream about in May, end up being the reason your playing in October?  And of course the reverse can be true, as many times the "Blossoms Of April" ending up being "The Weeds of September."   The Indians are doing this area such good, no matter what happens with this streak, or from now on, enjoy this amazing ride.

I admit, my patience wears thin sometimes too, but not at Tito's Hand Made Roster, but when you're going great, I have a hard time waiting till the next day to play. 

Go Tribe!

Remembering - Glen, Don and Troy

The past couple of weeks have been tough for long time and newer fans of Country Music.  The deaths of three long time artists that were loved by millions.  Glen Campbell, Don Williams and Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry.

Glen - 

Glen passed a couple weeks ago after battling a long term fight with Alzheimer's.  It was an incredible story that showed me that life is a series of phases.  Campbell lived them all.  First, in the 1960's and 70's with his amazing run of classic songs still loved today.  Wichita Lineman, Galveston, and dozens more, leading up to a song all of the world knows, Rhinestone Cowboy

Glen was the kind of entertainer that really doesn't exist anymore.  Singer, actor, performer, amazing guitar player, Vegas act, TV star, and during the height of his run, was seemingly everywhere, and everyone loved him.  He sung in one way or another virtually everyone there was to sing with, and they were lining up to do it.

By his own admission, he always tried to bridge the river between Country and Popular Music. And he did it. The greatest songwriters in America were lining up to give him songs so he could sprinkle his magic dust on it, with this unheard of five octave range.  He knew a good song when he heard one, and knew how to sing and arrange it so neither side was offended.  He did this more effectively than anyone I have ever seen.  What a gift.  His songs perfectly blended the genres, they were just...good songs.

His final gift was his public battle with Alzheimer's.  Touring, and singing while the disease was in full force, he gave hope to thousands and awed millions with remarkable bravery.  When his battle ended, his music sales soared and I was glad to see that. He earned every reason to keep his incredible music alive.

Glen Campbell.  There were few like him. 

Don - 

If you are reading this here, there is every possibility you are not very familiar with The Gentle Giant, Don Williams.  His run covered a long period of time, and he successfully bridged and survived many changes to the format itself.  Williams' list of hit songs is a mile long, and awards and nominations same. 

Williams rose up in the 1970's with great songs like Tulsa Time, Amanda and others.  Rode the wave of the Urban Cowboy craze in the late 70's and recorded amazingly huge songs like, I Believe In You and tons more.  But he did it differently than many others.  At the time, there was Conway Twitty, Kenny Rogers, George Jones, Waylon, Willie and Hank Jr.   Williams was way outside of all that. He was not the heartthrob like Rogers, or Twitty, and had no headlines like Jones.  His music was not reminiscent of the Outlaw Movement of Jennings, and Nelson, or the southern rock influence of Hank Jr.  He just quietly recorded hit after hit.  Williams style.

Williams was a real fan favorite singing truthful songs, with a voice that was as smooth and honest as anyone at the time, or any time  His hit making  survived the first real crush of New Country acts that appeared about 1982, with George Straight, Ricky Skaggs and John Anderson.  And then the next crush about 1985 with Randy Travis, and Dwight Yoakum.  But when Country turned to the higher profile presentations of Clint Black, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, and the Tracy Lawrence types in 1989, Williams and others found that the tide had turned for good.  Ironic, the Traditionalist that was Williams, was replaced by the New Traditionalist Movement on the radio. Especially after Williams never sold out to the "pop" sound of Country that was attempted early in the decade by many.

But Williams continued on with his chronic bad back, and toured and pleased thousands of fans for many years after falling of the charts.  He embraced the new world and has about 800,000 Facebook fans, and this week, we lay him to rest.  For many, including me, he helped forge a love for Country Music that we all still enjoy today. 

Don Williams.  He just did it quietly.

Troy -

When we all heard the news of Troy Gentry being killed this week, we all stopped and caught our breath.  50 years old, and dying a tragic death.  Being half of the duo Montgomery Gentry, they helped pave the way for a new era of country.  When you listen to an MG song, there is no doubt it's country. And there's no doubt they had the right idea about the music itself.  They understood that many times in our format, we take ourselves musically way too seriously.

MG had no interest in singing formula songs about lovey-dovey relationships.  I interviewed them once and they laughingly said that the song, She Don't Tell Me To, was as close to a love song as they would ever sing. They had no time to sing about sap. Their music simply made people happy.  From Hell Yeah, to My Town, Speed, Somethin' To Be Proud OfHillbilly Shoes, and my favorite, She Couldn't Change me.  And there were many more.  What a gift to give, the gift of music giving happiness, making fans move at a show!

They came of age in the era of Brooks And Dunn dominance and that was tough to do.  But they held their own, and separated themselves as their own act, with a look, sound, and attitude that was different from B&D.  They were the Florida Georgia Line of the time, and helped pave the way for what would be known as Bro Country.  In my ear, they were Bro, we just didn't really have a name for it then.

This duo faced some tough challenges in real life off the stage as well, and somehow survived and made it all work.  And even after the songs stopped being played on the radio every 3 hours a few years ago, their fans never ever forgot them.   And they never will. You see, MG made Country cool for many, and that's a gift all of us will benefit from for years to come.

Troy Gentry. Too young.  Far too young.

Friday, September 8, 2017


At last!  THE movie adaptation of Stephen King's 1,100 page thriller IT, comes to the big screen this week, and it is terrific.

This story, and the slightly under budget early visual attempts have ruined clowns for countless people, and this will only make it worse.  But I'm good with that, as this movie is adapted well, acted well, and overall captured well.  And will... well, give you a jolt or two.

Pennywise, the well, whatever IT is, clown demon thing, is terrorizing the fictional town of Derry, Maine where children are disappearing at an alarming rate.  And as the town keeps ignoring this fact, a group of brave kids decide to take IT, straight on.

This movie is very rare in the essence that it virtually has no adult actors in it.  This is basically all kids, who are casted well, and are all very good, in a bevy of large roles with tons of difficult dialogue.  The direction is terrific as the emphasis is placed on being a cruel mind game for you, as opposed to tons to loud jolts and crashes. There is a lot of slow burn suspense here, and the payoff is quite good in most scenes.   This is like the roller coaster you have never ridden because of one thing or another.  But you should ride this one as this is worth seeing, even if scary movies are not your thing.

Much of this is classic King. Knowing what scares you, and preying on your fears from your childhood.  And also giving you the epiphany of having things scare you that you didn't know you were afraid of when you walked into the theater.  About everything about this is really great, and this is head and shoulders above most sellout "scary" movies that hit the theaters this time of year.

IT.  A King Classic, that movie goers should not miss. This is the version you have been waiting for.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW - In Theaters Now

Let's get caught up on what is out there for you at the flicks. 

Atomic Blonde

This graphic novel come to life with the full weight of actor and producer Charlize Theron is what's fun for you right now.  This has been highly anticipated all spring, and being honest, this good - not great.

This is in the John Wick vein, but not as effective.  But what this lacks in parody and fun, it does make up for in a deeper story, and and overall more adult feel.  Theron plays our hero, our secret agent who works for....well who?  She is an amazing hand-to-hand combat agent, and quite frankly is great at about everything, ala James Bond.  This takes place in 1989, just days before the Berlin Wall came down, and it's a battle for control of sensitive info before the world changes for good

This is really fun, and Theron is terrific as this enigmatic character, who does much of her own stunt work.  James McAvoy, and John Goodman too.  This is not as great as the anticipation, but this is good summer fun. Violent yes, and adult all the way, but good summer flick.

Girls Trip

OK, this is a bit late but this is worth the wait.  This is the latest of the "Hangover" type movies, and the new trend is to show women acting "badly."  This has much of the same formula as Hangover, and Bridesmaids, but this is so much more than that.

This has a number of good laughs, and maybe a few too many sight gags.  Some I could have done without seeing.  But, after you cut through all the stuff, this delivers a pretty nice message on friendship, and of self empowerment, no matter who you are. 

Four girls in  New Orleans doing a lot of naughty things, OK.  But there is more here.  It may have taken them to long to say it, at 2 hours, 2 minutes shorter would have been better, but not a deal breaker.  This is overall fun, and had the theater laughing out loud.

The Emoji Movie

Can we just stop?  Please?


Friday, July 21, 2017


Director Christopher Nolan gets a lot of praise for his movies, some of it warranted.  As decent as some of his directed movies have been, I have been slow to get on the bandwagon. I do believe his movies have flaws.  But this is terrific!

Dunkirk is based on the true story of the 400,000 trapped British and French troops in Dunkirk in the dark days of WWII.  The Nazi's had them pinned in with no way home, and sitting ducks on the beach.  Then "home" came to rescue them.  This is a tough story to watch sometimes as little went well there for the Allies, but this is a remarkable story told very well here.

Nolan's movies for me, have always have a flaw or two that are big.  They have all been way, way too long, and many of them infused with him being far to infused into the movie.  Most of his flicks check in at almost 3 hours, and just need less of "him" and more of "them" (the people in the movie).
Dunkirk is under two hours and the star of this movie is  - the movie!  This incredibly written story, (that Nolan wrote) is told exrtremely well through action, with little emphasis on dialogue.  There is not a lot of character development, and needless side plots.  And this doesn't smack of  "I'm the smartest guy in the room" vibe.

This is filmed brilliantly, and acted same.  The editing is amazing and we, and Nolan, can sit back and watch the movie itself tell its important story as if we are really there.  This is exciting, suspenseful, and told as simply as it can, and as it should be.  This is important stuff here, and the respect shown to the participants is really on full display.  Adapted well, written well,  and directed with a restrained skill and sharp editing blade, not generally displayed in Nolan films. 

Dunkirk.  Will get some Oscar buzz, and will be one of the best movies of the entire year.   Just flat out great!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters Now

Baby Driver

This us terrific!  A great cast led by Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, John Hamm, Ansel Elgort, and Lily James.  This gets a ton of originality points with me.

It's the story of Baby, (Elgort) a young hot shot getaway driver with a small group of big time bank robbers.  Baby has a back story that is interesting and and original. He falls in love with Deborah, (James) and decides he wants out of the crime business. But his boss (Spacey) feels differently.

This is fun, fast, well paced and  a story you have not seen before, with original characters and good performances.  HUGE kudos to Lily James, she is amazing as the reluctant love interest and is a very nice break from the fast pace of the much of this movie.

Baby Driver - Flat out good!

The Beguiled

This should have been much better than it is, and that's a shame. All the parts were assembled together for this to be really strong.  Adapted by Sophia Coppola, and starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell. 

National critics are loving this, but the public is not.  It's the story taking place in 1864 Virginia.  A school for woman takes in a wounded Northern soldier (Farrell) in the waning days of the Civil War. He is badly injured and they bring him back to health, even though the are Southern Loyalists.  Then the problems begin.  They have not seen a man in years, and he a dishonest guy with ideas about how he can "benefit" from being locked up with many lonely women.  How do they take revenge? Or deal with him?

This lacks teeth.  Yes, there is some nice acting, and some twists that are interesting, but this lacks a any real direction, and there is really no strong end payoff.  This could have been way more compelling and way more scary, but this just comes up as a movie packaged way better than produced.

The Beguiled - disappointing.

The House

Will Farrell and Amy Poehler can be funny people, or maybe used to be funny people.  But quite frankly, I feel they are just out of ideas and have been for a while.

I am sure you know the premise here, and if you've seen the trailer, there is no real reason to see the movie.  You have seen all of it.  There is not one thing here that is new, original, and the laughs are few.

The House - Huge flop and flat out bad.