Here at theGEEKwriters we usually cover “traditional” geek news. Comics, Sci-Fi, Movies, and the like. But truth be told, we can geek out about anything. And one of the topics sorely lacking coverage here is Baseball. Baseball is the ultimate sport to geek out about. Especially numbers; saber-metrics FTW! So, in an effort to rectify this glaring oversight, glimpse into the future of the greatest franchise to play the game, the New York Yankees.
As fans, we have been spoiled over the last decade plus. Every offseason, the Yankees have plugged the holes they had, and in the case of Soriano holes they did not have, with high priced superstar players. The list is, quite frankly, staggering. CC Sabathia, Mark Teixieria, AJ Burnett, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield, and Hiroki Kuroda. And let’s not forget the trades that brought in A-Rod, Randy Johnson, Curtis Granderson, Ichiro Suzuki, and Javier Vazquez twice. Not every move has worked out great and not every target has signed or been trade for. But, overall, when the Yankees and their fans have wanted a player, that player has become a Yankee.
And now here we sit the 2012-2013 offseason almost over, and the Yankees have signed Kevin Youkilis to fill in for A-Rod while he has surgery on his hip. They have also resigned Pettitte, Kuroda, Rivera, and Ichiro Suzuki. And the ground-swell sentiment in Yankee land is that the team is done, they have become cheap/miserly, and they no longer care about their fans. Yankee fans have had to endure the pain (sarcasm) of watching big names, Pujols, Greinke, Hamilton, etc., sign with other clubs. Fans have had to see the pictures of Russell Martin in a Pirates cap and Nick Swisher putting on an Indians jersey. And whether the fans will admit it or not, this new plan is the right plan. The goal of a payroll below 189 million dollars makes sense for the team and for the fans.
It has been a long time since Yankee fans could be legitimately excited about the future. Since 1996, the expectation has been to win the World Series every year and the fact that they have won titles in 96, 98, 99, 00, and 09 speaks volumes about how spoiled we all are. But with those superstar signings, with that payroll, Yankee baseball has become hard to watch. Other team’s fans complain about the payroll and so do we. How many times have you watched a game and thought to yourself, “This guy is making x amount of millions and he can’t even buy an rbi.” By lowering payroll, we can begin to eliminate this feeling from a lot of our game watching.
While pitching has certainly taken a hit in the minors recently the Yankees have some arms that we can dream on, some recovering from injury, and a few that could be in the Bronx sooner rather than later. The big impact name due this year is Michael Pineda. Acquired last offseason along with Jose Campos for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi, Pineda was the young, front-line guy the Yanks needed. And then he got hurt. And then he had surgery on his throwing shoulder. Now, he is due back around June. If he can regain his form, Pineda is a huge addition to this club. He is the young, cost-controlled arm the Yanks desperately need. Another injured starter to watch is Manny Banuelos. Out for the year with Tommy John, Banuelos should be able to come back next year and pitch his way to the Bronx mid-season. He flashed brilliance and paired with Pineda, could give the Yanks a 2-3 for years to come. We can dream on guys like Dellin Betnaces, can he figure it out, Ty Hensley, this years first rounder with big goals, Nick Turley, Adam Warren, Jose Campos, and Rafael DePaula. All of them have question marks but big ceilings. And finally, guys like Mark Montgomery, a young college reliever, could be in the Bronx this year. There is depth here, impact depth that has as many questions as possibilities.
More importantly though, the payroll plan affords us the opportunity to get back to what made the Yankees so dominate; in-house, cost-controlled, young players. There is a legitimate chance that three of the top four Yankee prospects will be in the Bronx on an everyday basis by 2014. The outfield trio of Slade Heathcott in LF, Mason Williams in CF, and Tyler Austin in RF have a ton of talent. And while they may not be 100% ready for opening day 2014, they should be close enough. If they get anywhere near their projections the Yankees will have an outfield that plays good to great defense, hits for average and power, runs the bases well, and most importantly is young. A year later should see Gary Sanchez make his debut in the Bronx as well. If he can match his projections than the loss of Jesus Montero should no longer be felt.
Heathcott Williams Austin Sanchez
Those four represent the possibility of a new Yankee core. They dynasty years were spurred on by the development of in-house, young, Yankees. Jeter, Posada, Williams, Rivera, Pettitte, Soriano, Lilly, Hernandez, Spencer, Mendoza, Rogers, and Leyritz. Smart trades and smart free agent signings brought about a championship. They Yankees find themselves in a unique position this year. With four standout prospects and a farm system full of potential on the pitching and hitting side, we could be looking at a young hungry team poised for a great run.
Here at theGEEKwriters we really love movies. Like, REALLY love movies. And while we haven’t seen all of these films yet, life gets in the way sometimes, presented here are the official tGw Oscar predictions.
Best Picture -
Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Django Unchained – WINNER – going out on a limb here and giving the nod to Tarantino, he certainly deserves it
Life Of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Best Director -
Michael Haneke – Amour
Benh Zeitlin – Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Ang Lee – Life Of Pi
Steven Spielberg – Lincoln - WINNER – with Tarantino getting the snub here this is really a no-brainer
David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
Best Actor In A Leading Role -
Denzel Washington - Flight
Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln - WINNER – hey Daniel Day-Lewis was in a movie? he wins
Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
Best Actress In A Leading Role -
Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Naomi Watts – The Impossible
Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings PLaybook
Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty - WINNER – the only love Zero Dark Thirty gets this year
Best Actor In A Supporting Role -
Alan Arkin – Argo
Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained
Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master - WINNER – tough call but Hoffman always delivers
Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
Best Actress In A Supporting Role -
Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables – WINNER – no doubt here, Hathahaters be dammed
Sally Field – Lincoln
Amy Adams - The Master
Helen Hunt – The Sessions
Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook
Best Original Screenplay -
Michael Haneke – Amour
Quentin Tarantino – Django Unchained
John Gatins – Flight
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola - Moonrise Kingdom – WINNER – this is the type of film that wins best script
Mark Boal – Zero Dark Thirty
Best Adapted Screenplay -
Chris Terrio – Argo
Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild
David Magee – Life Of Pi
Tony Kushner – Lincoln
David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook - WINNER – Russell is fantastic and this movie has gotten huge buzz
Best Foreign Language Film -
Amour – WINNER – total guess here, I have no idea
A Royal Affair
Best Animated Feature Film -
The Pirates! Band Of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph - WINNER – best animated feature in awhile, great film
Best Original Song -
Before My Time – Chasing Ice
Pi’s Lullaby – Life Of Pi
Suddenly – Les Miserables
Skyfall – Skyfall - WINNER – bond song sung by Adele, done and done
Everybody Needs A Best Friend – Ted
Best Cinematography -
Seamus McGarvey – Anna Karenina
Robert Richardson – Django Unchained
Claudio Miranda – Life Of Pi - WINNER – most interesting looking film of the year
Janusz Kaminski – Lincoln
Roger Deakins – Skyfall
Best Film Editing -
William Goldenberg – Argo
Tim Squyres – Life Of Pi
Michael Kahn - Lincoln - WINNER – never can predict these types of awards so why not
Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers – Silver Linings Playbook
William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor – Zero Dark Thirty
Best Costume Design -
Jacqueline Durran – Anna Karenina - WINNER – perfect film for this type of award
Paco Delgado – Les Miserables
Joanna Johnston – Lincoln
Eiko Ishioka – Mirror Mirror
Colleen Atwood – Snow White and the Huntsman
Best Documentary Feature -
5 Broken Cameras
How To Survive A Plague
The Invisible War
Searching For Sugar Man – WINNER – haven’t seen any of these, total guess
Best Visual Effects -
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Life Of Pi
Marvel’s The Avengers – WINNER – the Hulk scenes alone should make this a lock
Snow White And The Huntsman
Best Production Design -
Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer – Anna Karenina
Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, Simon Bright – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - WINNER – Hobbit needs something
Eve Stewart – Les Miserables
David Gropman, Anna Pinnock - Life Of Pi
Rick Carter, Jim Erickson, Peter T Frank – Lincoln
Best Original Score -
Dario Marianelli – Anna Karenina
Alexandre Desplat – Argo – WINNER - between this and Lincoln probably, nothing clear cut
Mychael Danna – Life Of Pi
John Williams – Lincoln
Thomas Newman – Skyfall
Best Make Up -
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - WINNER – great makeup throughout and a ton of it
Best Sound Editing -
Life Of Pi
Skyfall – WINNER – who knows with this one
Zero Dark Thirty
Best Sound Mixing -
Life Of Pi
Lincoln – WINNER – lots of balancing conversations with some action as well
Best Documentary Short Film -
Mondays At Racine
Open Heart – WINNER – total guess, didn’t see many docs this year
Best Animated Short
Adam And Dog
Head Over Heels
Maggie Simpson In The Longest Daycare
Paperman – WINNER – if this doesn’t win we riot
Best Live-Action Short Film -
Buzkashi Boys – WINNER – topical and controversial, done and done
Death Of A Shadow
This is the sort of thing that well, you either love this or hate this instantly. There is no in between at all. And really, if you hate this, I question your love of life. Hit the link to pick up a pair.
According to multiple reports, Marvel and director James Gunn had the lead role of Peter Quill/Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy down to two actors, Zachary Levi and Jim Sturgess. There were rumors that there may be a third guy on the list and it appears that those rumors have come true. According to Bleeding Cool, who are getting their report from Deadline, Joseph Gordon Levitt may have tested for the role over the Xmas holiday.
(he would be the blond guy)
While the best choice may be Sturgess as he is simply fantastic, JGL is always good. Casting should happen relatively soon so we will know one way or another.
Without a doubt, watching Doctor Who makes you a better person. In its 50 year history, it has consistently been a show to challenge its viewers on both intellectual and emotional levels. It hooks you in a way no other show can. After you watch a few episodes you find yourself wanting to know everything about the Doctor and his companions. You find yourself dabbling in the wiki history and wondering who this Rassilon guy is and if he and the other Time Lords are coming back. It fills you with a sense of wonder, a sense of joy. Doctor Who has always been labeled a “kids” show and while that may have been appropriate in the traditional sense before the 2005 relaunch it has taken on a new meaning since. Doctor Who is a kids show in so far as when you watch it and let it get into to you, you become like a child again. You are able to be amazed at the things you see and the possibilities before. You will be scared and hopeful often at the same time.
But where to start? You’ve got 50 years and 11 Doctors to make your way through. For our purposes here we will be looking at the 6 episodes you need to watch since the 2005 relaunch. Once you’re hooked, you can check out the history of the show here. These episodes are grouped by Doctor and should not be taken as a list or rank. They are all fantastic.
9th Doctor – Christopher Eccleston
The man charged with bringing the Doctor back for a new generation. And he nailed it. Eccleston is a brilliant character actor and was a perfect casting for the relaunch. In his one season as the Doctor he has more good/great episodes than bad. Perhaps his best episode is The Empty Child. You get caring and rage, cleverness and frustration, plus the introduction of Capt. Jack Harkness.
10th Doctor – David Tennant
This is my Doctor. Everyone who watches this show eventually settles on their Doctor and David is mine. I am not alone in my man crush here either. This guy is a rockstar in England because of his turn as the Doctor. He grew up a fan and it shows. He gets three episodes on this list including perhaps the most fantastic piece of television there has ever been. First up is Midnight, an absolutely terrifying look at just how far humans can go when they get scared.
Next up for the 10th Doctor is The Girl in the Fireplace. This episode shows the Doctor’s unfailing commitment to doing the right thing, even if it will cost him in the end.
The last bit of David is one of the most fantastic episodes of television ever produced. The episode is called Blink and does two incredible things. One, it makes you love characters that have five minutes of screen time total more than most dramas will accomplish in two hours, and two, it will make you question every stone statue you see for the rest of your life.
11th Doctor – Matt Smith
As of this posting Matt is the current Doctor and has said he has no plans on leaving. But, this year does mark the 50th anniversary of the show and it seems too obvious a time for a change. Regardless, Matt is entirely different from Doctors that have come before. He has admitted to being aware of the show but not really a fan before taking over the role. He does bring an interesting mix of child like wonder and old man I don’t care about your opinion, I’ll just be weird attitude. The first selection from his run shows the humor found often in this show. The Lodger is legitimately funny for fans and newcomers alike.
The second video from Matt Smith happens to be from his second episode, The Beast Below. This episode is heartbreaking in the purest sense of the word. It shows us why we should stop and ask questions sometimes, not just assume the worst. It works on so many levels and really shows the range Matt Smith has.
So there you go. Six episodes since the 2005 relaunch to get you started. The entire run can be found on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and I’m sure other services as well. Start with these and when you realize that your life will not be complete without knowing everything, go back and start with Rose. Fall in love and wonder with the world.
Spiderman is dead. Kind of anyway. See, the character will continue on in Marvel Comic’s Superior Spiderman starring Peter Parker as Spiderman. Except, it’s not really Peter, it’s Doctor Octopus. They switched bodies. Doc Ock was dying and swapped his consciousness with Peter’s. When Doc Ock’s body died, Peter died with it. But he didn’t. The reader is shown that in his dying moments, PeterOck has a heart to heart with SpiderOck and that they have shared memories now. Everything that happened to Peter also happened to Ock and that really, Spiderman was what could have happened to Otto Octavious is someone had loved him enough. SpiderOck vows to be a hero, a better hero even, that Peter ever was.
Now, as confusing as that may all be, my comment here is not on the story itself. I quite like Dan Slott as a writer and think he has done a fine job steering the Spidey franchise through some rather unfortunate editorial choices, see One More Day and One Moment In Time. My comment stems rather from the cheap death this seems to be. This is comics after all and there is no way this will stick. There is, after all, a sequel to the surprisingly good Amazing Spiderman film due in 2014 and one can safely assume that it will be Peter Parker and not Peter/Octavious Parker in the suit both in comics and film.
So the question becomes, why kill him off to begin with? The only explanation is that it is an easy ratings/sales spike. And that is a problem. It happens far too often in entertainment. A few examples:
1. Batman is killed by Darkseid only to have the reader find out he was merely misplaced in time
2. Wash is killed in Serenity because Joss Whedon hates us
3. Captain America is assassinated only to return a few months later in a book called Captain America: The Return
4. Cyclops killed Prof. X this summer and while he isn’t back yet he will be (it is the X-Men after all)
5. Speaking of, Jean goddamn Grey
All killed, all back already or soon to be. The death serves as a cheap pop and nothing more. We live in a world where the only comic book character to stay dead is Uncle Ben. Jason Todd and Bucky came back. Jason Todd who was killed off by the readers and then punched into existence by Superboy. At least Bucky had a reintroduction that made sense.
The point here is that death should not be taken lightly. Death in entertainment should be used to maximum effect. It should mean something. There are countless examples more that can be found with a simple search. If you write, kill only when it actually benefits the story. Anything done cheaply will be derided and ignored. I hope for better in the future.
The BBC has just released the first five titles from the upcoming season of Doctor Who! Unfortunately they haven’t said when the show will begin its fall broadcast. There is a screening of the first episode tonight and the rumor is that Steven Moffat will let the proverbial cat out of the bag. Here are the titles:
1. Asylum of the Daleks
2. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
3. A Town Called Mercy
4. The Power of Three
5. The Angels Take Manhattan
Episode 5 will see the end of Amy and Rory as The Doctor’s companions. The leading thought is that they are going to be killed off which would be a first for the new series of Who. After episode 5, the Christmas special introducing the new companion, Jenna Louise Coleman, playing Clara will air with the rest of the season sometime in the spring.
Coming in October, this flick re-teams Colin Farrell with writer/director Martin Mcdonagh. The pair last worked together on In Bruges which, if you haven’t seen it, is an absolutely brilliant little movie. It is possibly the darkest, dark comedy I have ever seen. It is definitely a must see if there ever was one. This film is about dog-napping gone wrong. It’s got a stellar cast. Check it out. Also, Tom Waits!
Marevel NOW! is the latest publishing initiative from the House of Ideas. Surprising no one, it comes one year after the successful relaunch of the New 52 from DC. Marvel is insisting that this isn’t a reboot of the universe however, merely a realigning of their top creators on new titles. Last week saw a number of teases about upcoming books and this week has brought confirmation. Each of the Marvel NOW! titles will debut a week at a time. This should give readers a chance to break these books in slowly and not be flooded like the New 52. Here’s what was announced this week.
Captain America by Rick Remender and John Romita Jr.
X-Men Legacy by Si Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat
Future Foundation by Matt Fraction and Mike Allred
Fantastic Four by Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley
Deadpool by Brain Posehn, Gerry Duggan, and Tony Moore
Thor by Jason Aaron and Essad Ribic
Iron Man by Kieron Gillen and Greg Land
Uncanny Avengers by Rick Remender and John Cassaday
After a very long wait the team of Matt Fraction and David Aja have reunited for a new Hawkeye series. Their first series together, The Immortal Iron Fist, was nothing short of spectacular. It completely rejuvenated the Iron Fist character and brought him to the front line of Marvel Comics and a big spot in the Avengers. The question is, can they work the same magic on Hawkeye? After one issue I can safely say they are on the right track.
I’m not sure what I expected in a new Hawkeye book. It definitely wasn’t this. Which is not to say it wasn’t good. In fact, I would go so far as to call it great. The art is fantastic which should be expected from Aja. His work is consistently clean, easy to follow, and does a great job of conveying the story. I’m very excited to see him get to draw some true action sequences in the future. The writing is very good as well. While some of the dialogue comes off as a bit heavy handed, to me anyway, it fits in with the tone and setting of the story. The plot itself plops Hawkeye directly in Bed-Stuy New York dealing with a crooked landlord. It gets a little crazy from there but it does a great job of showcasing Hawkeye’s morals.
Overall the book hits on many levels. I cannot wait for the rest of this series. With the popularity of Hawkeye coming off the Avengers movie, he is primed for a huge breakthrough. Many consider him a poor imitation of Green Arrow which I’ve never really seen. The differences between the two are huge. Hawkeye stands on his own. I’m hoping this book will break Hawkeye from the comparisons to Green Arrow and out of Captain America’s shadow.