I can’t say I’m surprised, but still: fuck the Braves

It’s just business: Atlanta Braves trade four prospects for Oakland A’s first baseman, Matt Olson; and then promptly sign him to an 8-year, $168M extension, metaphorically throwing in the towel at the possibility of re-signing franchise icon, Freddie Freeman

To me, the most disappointing thing about this whole turn of events is the perception that the Braves didn’t even really try and re-sign Freddie Freeman.  Sure, the lockout was a great big elephant in the room that got in the way of business, but it’s not like the Braves didn’t have an entire year, or even the nearly two months after Freeman helped bring a fucking World Series title to the franchise, to do something to secure Freeman in Atlanta.

But then again, that’s now how the Braves work, because the in spite of the perception that the team isn’t as data-savvy as teams like the Oakland A’s, Tampa Bay Rays and other Moneyball internet nerds love franchises, the Braves are basically MIT bean counting wizards in the accounting department.  Anything to keep profits up, shareholder value high, and revenues flowing, and absolutely anything, anything at all that threatens some old white guy getting $2.9 million dollars instead of $3 million dollars, is problematic and needs to be eliminated, no matter the perception, optics or disappointing the less-important stakeholders AKA those asshole fans.

Sure, I’m sure there’s all sorts of actual truth about how the Braves tried, truly tried, behind closed doors and in private, and/or perhaps I’ve just had my ear so far away from the ground that I missed it all, but still, the general perception that I get is that the Braves hardly even tried to retain Freddie Freeman, and by acquiring a guy like Matt Olson, and immediately giving him a massive extension, just kind of reads like the franchise just held a big middle finger up to the guy that not only was the undeniable face of the entire baseball team, but also just helped bring a fucking World Series trophy to the goddamn city.

Continue reading “I can’t say I’m surprised, but still: fuck the Braves”

Time to opine about the gas prices

I can’t remember if it was 2008 or 2009 or some other year around then, but I do remember when Georgia was in the midst of one of their national embarrassments, when we had a major fuel crisis.  Memories of going to gas stations that had all their pumps taped up because they had no gas whatsoever.  People relying on Twitter and social media to get leads on which stations had any gas at all, and the stations that had any, would usually have people lined up like it was the 1980 fuel crisis. 

I remember one specific evening where I caught wind of one station that had gas, so I made a trek out at like 10 pm to wait in a line, and when it was my turn, learn that there was a $40 limit per vehicle, and my 13.3 gallon tank would be short about three gallons from full, but it was better than not having enough gas and being unable to go to work.

Do the math, and it was roughly $4 a gallon, in the midst of an actual crisis.

The photo above was a picture I took while I was in Midtown, so this really is the tip of the gas prices as far as Metro Atlanta is concerned.  But still, $4.69 a gallon, is pretty absurd to see, especially in Georgia, which is considered one of the “cheap” gas states in the country.  Acquaintances out in California have already shared photos of $5-6+ out in SoCal, not to mention their octane rules make their gas shittier than most other places.

Obviously, it comes off as insensitive to say that what’s going on in the Ukraine isn’t a crisis, it most certainly is, especially to the Ukrainian people and those in the country, but it’s not the same circumstances as a busted pipeline, guzzling crude into the ocean.  It’s more like much of the world is simply sick of Russia’s bullshit right now, and in the midst of violence occurring somewhere on the planet, gas prices spontaneously combust.  I know it’s a little more complicated than such a statement, but honestly, that’s really what it feels like.

The other day, it cost me $45 to fill up my wife’s car.  Just like that, I’m fairly certain that that’s the most I’ve ever spent on a tank of gas for a personal vehicle, and it’s just really depressing to think about the financial bleeding that this has on the vast majority of the people on the planet with gas-powered vehicles, and the general reliance we all have for having them.  I’m very fortunate to be in a position where I can afford to fill up my tanks, but I feel for all sorts of other walks of life where the current gas prices really do make people have to stop and think and compare apples to oranges to whether they can fill their cars or fill the stomachs of their families. 

Regardless of the circumstances, mythical wife and I have given a lot of thought of getting an EV as our next vehicle.  Conflicts being simply the availability of adequate EVs that fit our spatial needs due to the size of our famiry, and the fact that cars in general, much less EVs, are also at their highest point ever as far as prices go, so it’s not necessarily the best time to be purchasing.

I guess it can really be summed up that thanks to Russia’s bullshit, as well as all the supply chain bullshit that occurred over the last few years thanks to coronavirus, this is a good example of some really horrific global inflation going on, primarily due to the fact that the world is a shitty place full of greedy people who can never seem to have enough money to where they’re completely content on ruining lives of countless people in order to make more money than they’ll ever actually use in their lifetimes.

Back to the gas prices, it really sucks that all this shit is happening, because I’ve just begun commuting again, several days a week.  Now I’m sure the advent of remote work over the last two years is going to be revisited by many if this gas price bullshit doesn’t calm itself down eventually, but honestly, I like going into the office, because I’m more productive there, plus it’s where I can actually go to the gym and exercise again.  Frankly, I didn’t realize Russia was such a player in the global fuel supply because I always figured that that distinction really was more belonging to the Middle East, but here we are.

The scary thing is that I have yet to need to fill up, while the prices continue to escalate.  I was “fortunate” to have filled up just a few days ago where prices were climbing, but weren’t yet quite fuck you insane yet.  But quite literally, from the time that I had filled up, to when I was on my way back home and passed the same gas station, prices shot up another 30¢/gal in the span of two hours.  My last two fill-ups were “lucky” to have seen gallon prices with a leading $3, but it doesn’t seem likely that I’ll be able to avoid a leading $4 the next time I need to fill up.

A $50 fill-up for a 13 gallon tank is not something I am looking forward to, but it seems pretty inevitable.

No Ian, we won’t

Long story short: Major League Baseball is still in lockout; Cubs’ outfielder Ian Happ “hopes the fans understand what they’re fighting for”

Here’s the actual quote:

The players are so heavily committed to getting this thing back on track and we hope that the fans understand what we’re fighting for.

As the subject of this post says, no Ian, we won’t.  We will never understand what baseball players are fighting for, because we all know it’s just money.  It’s always money, it’s never anything other than money, and anything else that is ever mentioned is just another roundabout way of saying money.

So no Ian, we the fans will never understand why baseball players whose league minimum salary for the even shittiest player on the 25-man roster is practically $500,000, are trying to get even more money.  Especially considering every team’s MLB Players Association rep is usually a veteran player who probably makes anywhere from $4-32 million dollars a year, and is somehow trying to bilk even richer assholes who run the league and the teams out of more money, while prices for parking, food, apparel and tickets continue to rise and rise for the fans that actually fund all this entire racket in the first place.

Up to this point, I didn’t really care that baseball was still in a strike.  Over the last few years, it seems like every major sports league seems to go into some sort of strike, be it players or referees, leading to all sorts of shitshow bullshit, and then the conflicts are settled, and things go back to normal, to the point where it’s no real surprises anymore when some other sport league goes into a strike anymore.

I figured that eventually this MLB strike would end, players strong arm the league and the owners out of more money, who will then turn their losses onto the fans; millionaire players and billionaire owners end up making more money than ever, while the fan experience gets more expensive and the sun rises in the morning. 

We then have a chaotic season where there ambitious players who workout privately and/or go apeshit on performance enhancing drugs while testing is off the table are ready for the work stoppage to end and put up ridiculous numbers and highlights through the season, while on the other side of the coin there are lots of lazy players who take their job for granted get out of shape, and get shelled through a season but manage to keep their jobs because baseball teams are suckers for sunk cost fallacy. 

And there are lots of injuries because people are out of shape, or their bodies are in turmoil from going apeshit on performance enhancing drugs while testing is off the table.

But I didn’t really care that the strike was going on.  I’ve got enough on my plate to where baseball is unfortunately an afterthought, as much as I do love the game, in spite of how critical I can get towards it, but it’s because I care, damn it.

But then seeing Ian Happ’s remarks about hoping fans understand why they’re going on strike just set me off, because it’s just a perfect example of how tone deaf baseball players themselves can be when they stop realizing how privileged they are to be making money at all for playing a kid’s game at an incredible level.

Take Happ himself for example.  The guy is set to make $8 million dollars in 2022 that will undoubtedly be less than that because the stoppage.  The guy has already made about $8 million dollars in baseball salary alone at this point, and if he has any bit of IQ outside of baseball, could probably very easily live out the rest of his life very comfortably at the age of 27.

And he wants more money.  All of his MLBPA compatriots want more money.  And the funny thing is that Ian Happ is a pleeb, in comparison to some of the other guys on the MLBPA that is “fighting for,” more money. 

Like Max Scherzer – this guy is legitimately contractually obligated to be paid $43 fucking million dollars in 2022 alone, for throwing a baseball over and over again.  His current career earnings from baseball alone have already exceeded $139 million dollars.  If he stopped playing at the end of his current contract, he will clear $300 million dollars.  And because baseball is full of laughably stupid, idiotic contracts, even if he were to retire in 2024, he would still make $60 million dollars over the following four years because of deferred payment from the Nationals and Dodgers.

This guy wants more money too.

Make no mistake, the end goal of this strike benefits nobody but these greedy fucks who think baseball is absolutely indispensable in the grand spectrum of the world’s needs.  I love the game, and I’ll always love the game at this point, but I’d love to see the owners and commissioner’s office hold their ground, and the season grinds to a full halt. Laughably it would only apply to the MLB season, and as 2020 showed, when ‘Murica needed baseball to watch, they simply outsourced that need to Korea, and ESPN started broadcasting KBO in the states.

Furthermore, Minor League Baseball wouldn’t be affected by this, and if you don’t think television rights to broadcast the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, Montgomery Biscuits, Toledo Mud Hens, Modesto Nuts and all the other gaudy but still competitive minor league baseball wouldn’t suddenly be hot tickets, the Major Leagues would become a fast afterthought.  Casual fans and lovers of the game will find their salvation in the minor leagues, and MLB can go choke on a bag of dicks.

It wouldn’t happen, because at some point, one party is going to blink, but it’s fun to imagine the global baseball power shift if MLB comes off the table at their own greedy volition.

What I feared might happen, happened

I’m sad.  One of my former reports from my old job texted me to let me know that they, and numerous other members of my old newsprint team from my old job were all being laid off.

This is something that I figured could eventually show up on the table, but seeing as how over the last six years I was there, I never saw, or heard of anywhere in the company that did any sort of laying off, I didn’t think that it would actually happen.

It’s funny, when I had planned on leaving the company, my ego and I had hoped that it would get a modicum of respect and acknowledgment.  I’m not saying I was ever the most important cog in the machine that was my team, but I did design the work process that kept us afloat throughout the transition into the Ford Pinto of software we were forced to use.  However, when I had announced my notice of resignation, we were already in the first week of a two-week notice from one of my production counterparts, and unbeknownst to me, my other production counterpart was a week away from announcing their two-week notice.

Suddenly, I was the Stephanie Tanner middle child of resignations, doomed to be unnoticed, and worse off, I begun feeling concerned that this power vacuum that was forming due to the departure of 3 out of 4 managers on the team was going to no longer put the team in a defensive mode until they could staff back up, but now put them at risk of being potentially liquidated, and the work outsourced.

Ever since the pandemic rose and my team specifically took some lumps throughout the last two years because the print medium isn’t as agile and adaptable as digital ones, there was concern throughout the team about the security of their jobs.  I had, honestly opined that I felt that everyone was safe, solely because of the ironic fact that we all had knowledge of the aforementioned Ford Pinto of graphic design software, so it’s not like any joe-schmoe could be hired off the street to do our jobs.  And for the last two years, in spite of how much of a pain in the ass it’s been, our team had navigated the bumpy waters of pandemic retail, and come out no worse for wear at the end of it.

But now, with the Great Resignation™ hitting our team specifically and creating such gaps in the team, I can’t say that I’m surprised to see that liquidation and outsourcing has begun.  The company as a whole clearly soured on the print medium, which was my impetus for starting to look for a new job, aside from the fact that I hated the fuck out of my boss, but none of it changed the fact that I still cared about my team and that all these talented designers all deserved better than they’ve been dealt.

I do feel a little bit of guilt that there is the possibility that my departure, along with the departure of the other managers made this happen, although I have no clue to whether or not this was always on the table in the first place regardless of if we were there or not.  But when the day is over, I still have to, and I did, put myself and my family above all else, and it turns out that I dodged an extremely close bullet.

It’s just that as an empathetic person, it kills me that people that I cared about are put in this unfortunate position.  The saving grace is that they still have nearly nine weeks notice, which gives them fairly sufficient time to begin looking for new jobs, and with the cards all out on the table, it’s not like anyone has to be discreet about it.  In fact, as long as they’re not insubordinate shitbags, all my old team that’s on the block doesn’t even really have to put up the front of being friendly or overly professional anymore, because the company is still going to rely on them to put out all the scheduled advertisements all the way up to Memorial Day.

And then they get a severance package, and fortunately the timing of it will still allow all of them to partake in the company’s semi-annual profit sharing bonuses which usually take place in March.

At this point, what I’m most curious about are the future statuses of other individuals on my old team, namely my old boss.  I don’t get the impression that they’re on the block like my old reports are, and I have this pessimistic suspicion that they probably didn’t fight very hard, nor are they remotely anything close to the type who would go down with the ship.  They have another channel under their umbrella, and I’ve long known that that one was their true passion, while my team was kind of the bastard they had to manage in order to have their role.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they in fact initiated this liquidation, because often said that their life would be peaches if they could get rid of newsprint, and could focus solely on catalog.  But these are things that I’ll never know, but the result of it all is still feeling terrible for a lot of talented designers who will soon be out of a job, and not help feeling a little bit guilty for helping push the boulder over the edge.  I don’t regret anything I’ve done in regards to seeking greener pastures before the shots were fired, but I’m still allowed to feel empathy for those I used to work with who were saddled by this unfortunate development.

lol Alpharetta white people

SMH: racists sue city of Alpharetta because they can’t display the Confederate battle flag at a Veterans Day parade, get shot down in court; however, due to the attention, the city opts to cancel the parade outright

My reaction to reading this story was the following line, said in the mocking southern white supremacist impression I’ve found myself doing an awful lot more than I used to since 2016: 

if I cain’t be racist at the parade, I don’t want there to be a parade at all.

That’s kind of the takeaway of this whole story.  Supposedly, the parade still happened, whether or not it was sanctioned by the city in the first place, I don’t have the care to dig and find out, but supposedly the Sons of Confederate Veterans did not participate or fly any Confederate battle flags during it.

Either way, Alpharetta is a super white suburb north of Atlanta, and I’m actually more surprised that the courts ruled in favor of outlawing the Confederate battle flag, given their demographics.  But Alpharetta is also pretty flush with new money which tends to lean towards the left, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned throughout history, money speaks louder than racism and political correctness, and by product of it, sometimes the right calls are occasionally made.

The new era of college sports

A while back, I used to have the attitude that agreed with the notion that college athletes shouldn’t be getting paid to apply their talents under the banners of their respective schools, and that the education that they receive, should they actually choose to accept them, was compensation more than adequate in the tradeoff.

Things change though, and for every Cardale Jones that flaunts his hired gun status that gives no shits about a college education, are still countless other student athletes who are stalwarts at the college level, but the harsh reality is that they have very little to no actual future in professional ranks.  It’s those guys that that have helped change my tune when it comes to compensation for student athletes, because college is most likely going to be the pinnacle of their athletic careers, and it would be great if they could cash in on a modicum of it before their window of opportunity to earn, is shut.

So the news of the NCAA now allowing student athletes to start making money on their likenesses, endorsements and social media accounts is definitely a positive step in the right direction at a knee-jerk reaction, but at the same time, there’s a lot of gray area and things that could potentially go in an unsavory direction, that spurred this train of thought post.

Like I said, my knee-jerk reaction is one of positivity, and general happiness for all student-athletes who will now start to be able to make some money off of their sweat, efforts and contributions.  They won’t be explicitly being paid by their schools, which is still something that I agree should not be allowed, but it’ll be nice to know that an innocuous autograph session or them showing up to a local car dealership or restaurant to make an appearance can get them some punishment-free cash, just because they play some sport for their school.

The one thing I like the most from this is that I think it will help curb the culture of one-and-dones, in mostly basketball and football.  Fringe prospects that aren’t Zion Williamson or Trevor Lawrence-good might actually stick around for another year or two, and now have options to choose from whether or not it’s worth becoming a benchwarmer in the pros versus remaining a god on campus and cleaning up on endorsements and other profitable endeavors.

College-good athletes will be more likely to stick around four years, and not only will their teams benefit from having physically and mentally matured juniors and seniors on their squads, the ones that actually take life seriously might actually get educations and graduate legitimately, instead of a parade of paper African-American studies majors trying to survive illiterately in the world after college.

The benefit to this is that fringe contenders’ windows of contention might remain open a little bit longer, because key members of contending teams might stick around longer if they’re capable of earning while in college, instead of bolting for any Euroleague hoops or XFL or CFL if they can’t make it to the bigs directly. 

And it goes both ways when it comes to the power schools in the nation, because obviously schools with preexisting relationships with major companies will still get the lion’s share of top prospects, but if programs start to get a little crowded with upperclassmen staying in school, it’s going to funnel prospects or force incumbents into the transfer portal to go to other schools, which may or may not raise the amount of parity throughout college athletics.

But like I said, it’s not a perfect solution, and for all the good that’s possible, there’s still a lot of room for negative things to be or remain the case; like the aforementioned obvious aspect that the major schools with preexisting relationships with companies like Nike, UnderArmour and other relationships are still going to get the best prospects, due to their now-available opportunities for endorsements, so it will still probably feel like the rich will remain getting richer, while all the other schools will feel like they’re fighting over scraps.

And foolishly counterpointing one of my positives, programs like Duke will be tailor-made to probably do well under this new era of college sports, because as much as everyone loathes Duke, Duke is great at producing college talent.  Sure, a lot of it has to do with Coach K’s brainwashing, and he is allegedly on his way out, but the fact of the matter is that Duke rosters historically have been loaded with well-built teams that dominate the college level, and keeping these rosters mostly together for 3-4 years at a time might result in some return to prominence by the Dukes and other programs that operate in similar manners.

Finally, let us not overlook one of the more annoying outcomes of this development: the era of self-promotion and rise of obnoxious social media presences of student athletes now who are going to embark on missions to promote themselves, develop personas, brands and identities to try to monetize and make bank while they’re in college now.  If I had as much time to fart around on the internet and sports websites as I once did, I can only imagine how obnoxious things have the potential to be as college athletes across the nation will be getting up in our virtual faces trying to become famous so they can make money.

Either way, it’s ultimately a step in the right direction, with both positives and negatives up in the air, and the fact that it’s so new and unrefined, it’ll take all of two seconds for college athletes and the inevitable wave of agents that will prey on them, to find all sorts of loopholes and gray area for things to get muddy really fast.

But man, how much must it suck to be the graduating seniors of 2020/21’s NCAA athletes?  Sure Najee Harris probably was cleaning up on all sorts of under-the-table non-monetary compensation while winning a national championship for Alabama, but how salty do you think he’s going to be knowing that all the freshmen coming in are going to be able to make money without needing to hide and be as secretive as he once was?

The world will one day drown in cardboard

Every other Sunday, I spend an inordinate amount of time outside with a box cutter, slashing up cardboard boxes as if I were plotting to hijack an airplane.  This is an activity that I have grown quite exhausted with, and every other Sunday, I curse my waste management company for being greedy pricks who have handcuffed my general area with a monopoly of the waste disposal everywhere.

Seriously, they’ve literally purchased all of their competitors, and regardless of the fact that there are waste bins with three different companies, it turns out that they’re all owned by the monopoly and it’s just more cost efficient to let all the other-brand bins remain as-is.  I know, because I’ve reached out to these other companies to seek an alternative waste provider, only to be told this.

The monopoly has grown complacent and lazy with their service, and used coronavirus as an excuse to curb their recycling pickup to every other week, citing safety for their workers or some other bullshit, but really it’s probably to reduce overhead and maximize profits, especially considering the reduction in service seemed to coincide with an increase of cost.

As it is, every two weeks, my household has the capability to generate an absurd amount of cardboard that needs to be recycled, because we do pretty much all of our shopping online, and we’re purchasing a ton of shit because we’ve got a second kid on the way.  Needless to say, without any sort of actual physical effort involved, the amount of cardboard we typically amass is usually impossible to be securely placed inside of the pedestrian 96-gallon waste bin provided by our waste management company.

So every two weeks, when I’m in the driveway cutting boxes down to more compactable chunks, all I can think is that the world is destined to drown in cardboard, because of all the online shopping that is done these days.  And as convenient as Amazon is, they’re the ones probably leading the forefront of this inevitable destiny, and I can’t imagine that no matter the claims of recycled materials or environmentally-friendly initiatives, I’m dubious that the recycling of all this cardboard can keep up with the demand for shipping boxes, and that the world is really headed for a future where we’ll drown in all this brown corrugated shit.

Given the endless escalation of Amazon Prime, and online shopping, I would wager that I am the only household that generates ridiculous amounts of cardboard on a regular basis, and it’s simply a game of basic math; all the households that generate tons of cardboard every single week, versus the time and resources it takes to break down, sort and actually recycle all this shit, and we’re all on borrowed time.

Unless someone invents a way to turn all this cardboard into masses of land to plop into the water like the landfills in Sim City, I do think that if coronavirus doesn’t kill us, overpopulation doesn’t kill us, climate change doesn’t kill us, then drowning in cardboard probably stands a chance to land on the endless list of things that will one day overrun the earth.