Parent Triggered

One of the things that I learned throughout my 30’s is to metaphorically not keep score with so many things in life.  Because life is not as fair as we’d all like it to be, and so very rarely is a perfect 50/50 balance, no matter how logical and equal people think they should be.

For example, say I meet up with a friend, and I pick up the check for a $40 dinner, and the next time we get together, they pay for a $20 lunch at Willy’s.  I could be a prick and mentally ledger that they still need to pay out another $20 for us to be even, or I can just appreciate the sheer reciprocity and be content that I’m getting one of my favorite foods for free.  Frankly, I’d rather do the latter than try to keep score.

My mom and I were talking about Korean politics way back when, back when Moon Jae-In had successfully reached through to the insane neighbors up north and made some massive ground in diplomacy.  Naturally, we were both dubious that anything was really going to progress beyond some monumental photographs, but her stance was that there was no way that the north was going to play nice enough for anything substantial to happen because there was no way that they were going to give anywhere close to equal what the south would have to give.

I explained that this was an instance where expecting fairness was never going to amount to anything, and that this was a prime example of where a 50/50 split just wasn’t plausible.  There are just some times in life where it might have to be 55/45 or even 65/35 in order for progress to be made, and sure it’s not fair, it’s not equal, but sometimes it takes one party to be bigger in order for progress to happen.

It’s like playing any variant of Civilization, like whenever India comes knocking on the door and you have Gandhi asking you for a king’s ransom’s worth of knowledge and technology, and refusing him results in him literally declaring nuclear war.  It’s not fair and it’s not equal that he’s asking for a 70/30 relationship, but when that 30 is the survival of your civilization, you still come out of the agreement knowing you made the right call.

You just can’t expect to live life thinking that everything is always going to equal out and everything is going to be fair, because it most certainly never will be, and thinking that will, only leads to frustration, angst and heartache.

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Sounds like a Clemson grad

The importance of an education: unknown man wagers $8,600 on #1 ranked Clemson vs. negative-ranked Syracuse . . . on Clemson to win.  And at -100,000 odds, the payout on Clemson’s inevitable victory would be an $8.60 payout

Either this person is a Clemson homer/grad, and/or they really don’t understand how sports betting works.  And/or they are just dumb.  Most likely all of the above.

Honestly, before I clown too much on this guy, I’ve kind of been there before.  Betting on sports isn’t as cut and dry as it is amongst casual friends, where everything is a pretty straight up bet.  But to do it on a book, it’s vastly more complicated, and usually involves match-ups that aren’t so overwhelmingingly favored in one direction as it was between Clemson and Syracuse.

In 2005, I felt really good about the Washington Redskins’ chances against the Seattle Seachickens in the playoffs, as the Redskins were riding momentum, and the Seahawks were going to be without Shaun Alexander when he was still good.  I actually called up a sports book that I’d been hearing advertised on television, and whereas I thought it would be as simple to just say I wanted to put $50 on the Redskins, I quickly learned that it’s vastly more complicated.  Such as money lines, spreads and partial games, but ultimately I went with the straight money bet, since that’s all I wanted, and I stood to make like $75 if the Redskins were to pull off the upset.

Naturally, I lost, because , because the Redskins are the Redskins and I’ve literally never won a sports bet in my life, but I learned a little something about sports betting that evening.  Mostly, that it doesn’t really have any meaning unless the matchup is remotely competitive, which is something that pretty much any college football game featuring Clemson is not, to the point where lots of books won’t even offer straight money bets on Clemson, because they win every game by like 40 points, and they don’t want to pay $8.60 to the 400 oafs who take the sure-lock bet, because that’s still $3,400 they lose, even if it would have netted them $3.4 million if the upset were to occur.

I get it though, kinda.  This loser with $8,600 to blow wanted to boast about how much they gamble, and conveniently leave out the fine details, like how they’re betting on the best college football team of the last decade, against a school that’s more known for basketball than football.  They brag to their friends and over social media about how much money they’re risking, and when they inevitably win, they’ll brag about winning, but fail to mention the odds or how minuscule risk there actually was.  If it’s not stupidity, then it’s all a really excessive effort dog and pony show for the internets; which still makes it stupid.

The only true justice is if and when one day, Clemson actually gets upset by an actual scrub.  And in all fairness, one of the last times that actually happened was against Syracuse a few years ago, but that was also before Trevor Lawrence.  But hopefully, one of these days, this particular guy, or anyone like him, when it occurs, the internet is ready to identify, ridicule and meme-ify them to the rest of the world.

The precise moment where the Braves fulfilled their destiny

Top 4th, runners on second and third, nobody out.  The Braves had just taken a 3-2 lead on the Dodgers on a single by third baseman Austin Riley, and were in a prime position to bust the game open and put the Dodgers into a precarious hole.  Instead, in only a way that the bumbling Braves are capable of doing, they turn a scenario that has a high probability to score some runs into one where they commit three outs in mere minutes in a game where every single one of the first four innings felt like Star Wars trilogies in themselves, they took that long.

After Austin Riley got tagged out for the second out of a bang-bang botched run down, and then the Braves completed the colossal fuck up by harmlessly grounding out to end the inning, this is where I knew that the game was effectively over.  I’ve watched enough baseball in my life to recognize that when you give away opportunities to score runs that don’t cross the plate, Murphy’s Law dictates that the opposition will definitively, cash them in instead.  What probably should have been a 5-2 or a 4-2 score to end the 4th inning instead remained at a paltry one-run 3-2 score, which the Dodgers would easily grind away and overcome, while the Braves literally went three-and-out in every single inning except one throughout the remainder of the game.

The fuckup on the basepaths undoubtedly sucked all the wind out of the sails of the Braves, ruined all of their swagger and confidence, and most importantly, planted the undefeatable seeds of impending defeat into their minuscule brains.  The remainder of the game after that tragic sequence was all but a formality, and a contest of when, the Dodgers would eventually take the lead.

Frankly, the only reason why I watched the entire game was that I was hoping that the Dodgers would go to Kenley Jansen to close the game since he’s been pretty awful throughout the season and he would be the best chance for the Braves to maybe make some late-inning heroics as they’ve done numerous times throughout the year, but it turned out that the Dodgers didn’t trust Jansen in this critical game, and instead rode the hot hand of Julio Urias instead to close out the game himself.

Naturally, I’m sure anyone of my zero readers can see through the façade I put forth of being the world’s worst baseball fan when it comes to the Braves, and I spare a lot of words and drivel bemoaning them and deriding them, as if I had the mutant power to tempt fate to prove me wrong with writing, but in reality, there’s nothing more I would’ve wanted than to see the Braves actually not fuck up for a change, defeat the Dodgers and actually go to the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays of all teams.

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This is what wheels coming off a vehicle looks and sounds like

Well, at least the Braves aren’t going to go down having gotten swept.  Instead, they’ll have gone down flubbing a 3-1 series lead, which in baseball isn’t that terribly uncommon, but it’s still poor optics, since the statistics of teams coming back from 3-1 deficits are still minuscule in comparison to how long Major League Baseball has been played.

Honestly, I’m more surprised that the series is going to seven games now, which is the ultimate agony for sports fans to endure, watching the slow bleed of defeat, watching their teams bring them to the brink of hope and jubilation, only for them to crash into agonizing finality.  But when the Braves got blown out and allowed 15 runs in game three, I figured that it was a foregone conclusion that the Dodgers were beginning their mighty comeback and were going to win four straight, like the way the Braves blew the 1996 World Series against the Yankees after winning the first two games.

Instead, the Braves gave false hope to all Braves fans by winning game 4 in commanding fashion and sitting on a pretty 3-1 series lead.  Naturally, since they have no starting pitching, they lost game 5, which was probably to be expected, but fans would find solace in the fact that Max Fried, arguably the best pitcher on the team would get the ball for game 6, but that brings us to now, where Fried pitched well, it’s just that the Braves offense appeared to have cashed in all of its available runs in the previous five games, and could barely scrap together a single run, losing to the Dodgers and sending the NLCS to game 7, where they will undoubtedly lose in embarrassing fashion, by like a score of like 11-1, bringing closure to a season that really shouldn’t have happened in the first place, and back to another cold offseason of pessimism and increasing nihilism in professional sports.

Much like Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, I can’t bring myself to watch games of teams that I actually care about, because it gives me anxiety and stress that I really don’t need, and I superstitiously believe that I am a master of the universe that undoubtedly jinxes whatever team I care about when I watch them, and if I do want the Braves to win, I most absolutely should not be watching them.

Seriously though, check out this Mookie Betts catch.  This is the kind of highlight that preserves no-hitters or turns the tides of playoff series.  If he doesn’t make that catch then Ozuna doubles for sure, and Freddie Freeman probably scores.  A single run doesn’t change the 3-0 deficit that the Braves were in, but at the same time, it could very well have been the start of a rally.  The thing is, a catch like Betts’ is what keeps the mythical momentum on the side of the Dodgers while sucking the life out of the hope of the Braves.  The jubilation of Mookie Betts after making the catch is precisely the opposite of a metaphor of what the Braves’ chances of winning the series sounds like.  Although his lips appear to be mouthing something probably like let’s fucking goooo it could very well be emanating the sound of a flushing toilet, because that’s precisely what happened when he makes that.

Welp, Baby Magic and partial-year champions theories were cute while they lasted.  I would undoubtedly put legitimate money on the Dodgers to win game 7, because it’s a foregone conclusion that the only thing well that the Braves are going to do, is what they’ve historically been known to do: fall short.

The real question is will they get blown out in the first inning like they did in game 3 a few nights ago and in game 5 against the Cardinals last year, or will they be competitive and hard-fought the entire way and then lose in agonizing and soul-wrenching manner late in the game like they did against the Dodgers back in like 2012?  Who knows, but as long as it ends up with the Braves going home yet again, does it really matter?

The corporate workplace injury risk

In the world of internet sports fandom analysis, every sport’s offseason is often pocked with discussions on the player(s) that everyone’s favorite teams should want to acquire, whether it’s through a trade or free agency.  It’s a thankless and pointless black hole of exercises, because in the grand spectrum of things, the chances of a professional sporting franchise actually utilizing the opinions of a bunch of internet armchair general manager tough guys is probably pretty slim, and what it really amounts to is a bunch of dudes on the internet vying to see who might actually be right about theories or predictions.

Among one of the more predominant tropes of internet sports arguing is the dreaded injury risk player.  As the name insinuates, these are professional athletes who have a reputation of getting injured frequently, and therefore not capable of playing the kids games in which they’re contracted for large sums of money to perform.  These are often times players capable of above average talent when they’re healthy, but the constant fear of them getting hurt and providing zero ROI is significant of a deterrent to actually jeopardize their employment chances.

A good example of an injury risk player is linebacker Jadeveon Clowney.  This guy is an absolute monster defenseman who is capable of altering an opponent’s entire offensive scheme just to mitigate his impact; that is, when he’s actually playing, and not on injured reserve, nursing a laundry list of injuries throughout his seven year career that’s enabled him to play a full 16-game season only once.

Pitcher Stephen Strasburg is also another good example, as sure, he’s helped the Nationals win a World Series sure, but from a business standpoint, the guy isn’t glass fragile as he once was, but can be assured to miss at least a month every single season with some sort of really questionable (pussy) injuries.  He’s made 30 starts in a season just three times in his eleven year career, and someone I’d definitely classify as an injury risk player.

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Should we get excited about the Braves?  Fuck no

SS;DY – Braves clinch the NL East, for the third consecutive year

Doesn’t have the same ring as winning 14 consecutive division titles, but it’s still pleasant to hear that the Braves are back on top of the NL East as if it were the 90’s again.

But ultimately, it doesn’t really matter, because the Braves are basically dead in the water already.  As I’ve posted about numerous times throughout the years, and as history has proven, the Braves making the playoffs means absolutely nothing except another first round bounce.  The Atlanta Braves are the new Buffalo Bills.  Atlanta is now the new Cleveland, if you’re the type to not acknowledge an MLS championship as an actual championship.  Atlanta is undoubtedly the most insufferable, prone-to-choking sports town there is in the country.

To make matters worse, the way the playoff picture is shaping up, there’s a very good chance that the team the Braves will be lined up against is the St. Louis Cardinals.  The same St. Louis fucking Cardinals who bounced them out of the playoffs last year, the same St. Louis fucking Cardinals that bounced them in the bullshit infield fly Wild Card game in 2012, and the same St. Louis fucking Cardinals that swept them in 2000.  Needless to say, the Braves are shit against the Cardinals in the playoffs, and if such matchup is locked in, the conclusion is already forgone.

If they don’t get the Cardinals, then they’ll probably end up getting the San Diego Padres, who in spite of their own historic ineptitude, have been playing like a season of destiny, and in spite of their wild card positioning, they actually have a better record than the Braves, but unfortunately share a division with another team of destiny, the Los Angeles Dodgers who are playing mad because they’ve lost two of the last three World Series to teams who were basically cheating, and are determined to make things right this year.  But the Padres would absolutely annihilate the Braves because if it’s not the Cardinals or the Dodgers knocking them out of the playoffs, it’s the lightning-in-a-bottle teams like the Padres that will 100% sweep them out of the playoffs.

Admittedly, I thought it would be funny if the Braves would find success in another shortened season, seeing as how they won the World Series in 1995, the last time there was a shortened year.  But that was still over 100 games, and not 60* games.  Plus, this was a great year to put baby luck to the test, since it was finally my turn to see if a team that I favored would win a championship in a year where a baby was born, but since mythical wife is a goddamn Yankees fan, she’s still in contention now and more likely to cash in than Braves will since they actually have some starting pitching.

*if a team was lucky to not get any games cancelled on account of coronavirus AND remain mathematically viable to playoff contention

The point is, just because the Braves clinched the division, there is absolutely no reason at all to be excited about the playoffs.  There is too much history, too many complexes, and most importantly the fact that the Braves have NO STARTING PITCHING, to believe that there’s any chance for success, and that a conclusion that isn’t a catastrophic failure isn’t a guaranteed result. 

Although it will be impossible for me to not pay attention to the Braves in the playoffs, or be annoyed when they inevitably get bounced in the first round, the one thing that I won’t be when all of this comes to fruition is, surprised.  And that, is nothing to get excited about.

It’s hard to even describe the cringe of Randy Orton apparel

Perusing through my news feeds, I came across this story that detailed how WWE wrestler Randy Orton has apparently released a clothing line, known as SLTHR; presumably as in “slither” because his in-ring persona is that of a snake-like aggressor who cannot be trusted and strikes quickly. 

After looking at his announcement image for five seconds, and the painfully low-effort design of Old English typeface, and the horrible utilization of the no-vowel spelling of words as if we’re trying to go back to Aramaic, and my face literally did the Steve Carell from The Office face meme.

Holy shit man, it’s hard to really put into words just how terrible the idea of Randy Orton clothing is.  It’s awful because in all the years Orton has been on screen in non-gear attire, it’s always douchey bro clothing, and it basically validates the blurred line between character and person that Orton’s personal clothing line is basically the same kind of crap.  It’s awkward because as much as Orton loves to pick fun at wrestlers with indy pasts or those who he feels has not made a respectful amount of money in their careers, a guy schilling out his own apparel seems a little desperate to be making more money himself.

And it’s just plain bad, the way it looks, how it’s branded, and how it’s “announced,” over social media.  If the one shirt is any indication of what any other products are going to look like (I can’t under good consciousness make any conceited effort to check out the rest), I wouldn’t be too optimistic.  I’ve never actually see anyone wear a WWE-licensed Orton shirt in public before, not even ironically, so I have a hard time believing anyone would be willing to actually spend real money and purchase much less wear Orton’s SLTHR crap either.

Another funny thing to me is that this is barely a week removed from where Vince McMahon himself put the company on blast, to tell all wrestlers to stop using their WWE gimmicks and likenesses to try and profit on shit like Cameo, Twitch or any other third-party creative outlets.  Orton is notoriously infamous for being coddled and protected by the WWE, and numerous wrestlers past and present have all insinuated all the rules he’s been allowed to bend and outright break, on account of his privilege, and this is turning into a glaringly prime example of just such.  Sure, “Randy Orton” is actually Randy Orton’s name, and there’s nothing against the rules of him using it to sell his own shit, but the optics of this combined with the eggshells all his other peers are walking on certainly doesn’t help the overall picture.

Overall, just everything about this is cringeworthy and turrible.  For a guy that is currently being billed as the greatest wrestler of all time, it reeks of desperation, and much like Orton himself, seems so very flat, boring and completely lacking in creativity.  But hey, if there are any wrestling fans out there that get put into the friend zone of anyone they’re unrequited crushing on, at least now they have an official shirt that can wear to really drive home the reality of the situation.