Mets Sweep Season series vs Yanks

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What a week for the Mets! Tremendous pitching (especially by the starters) helped the Amazin’s take 4 straight games from the Yankees. It’s the first time ever that the Mets have swept the subway season series. Gee pitched brilliantly last night and his dominant performance was the icing on the cake of a great pitching week. It’s great to see the rotation live up to it’s potential.

The Mets pitching was so on point that it accomplished something that has never been done in the modern era (since 1900). Over the last 3 games, Mets pitchers struck out 34 batters without surrendering a single walk. No other team’s pitchers in the modern era have struck out more than 26 batters without a walk in a three-game span. Pretty impressive.

Aside from Harvey, there hasn’t been that much to get excited about through the first 2 months of the season, so I feel no shame in reveling in these victories even though the Mets are still 7 games under .500 and the Yankees are 7 games over .500. The team needed this week in the worst way and now we take our season-high 5-game winning streak to Miami.

We can really build on all of this great pitching and timely hitting against the lowly Marlins, who have lost 8 in a row and 16 of their last 18. Who knows, maybe we can work our way back to .500 by next weekend. It might be wishful thinking but I’m running with it because this is by far the high point of our season and it’s really fun to watch this team right now. A couple more good turns through the rotation and everyone will have forgotten about Ike’s troubles.

I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself but I’m really excited about this 5-game winning streak. I know the Yankees are missing a lot of guys but beating them 4 times in a row isn’t easy to do. This could be the start of a nice run, then Wheeler comes up next month, Harvey continues his dominance, Ike turns it around and who knows. Oops, there I go getting ahead of myself. Let’s just start with beating the Marlins, like we’re supposed to, and continuing the winning streak.

NBC decides not to pick up John Mulaney’s pilot

With The Office coming to an end last week, Parks and Rec is the lone staple left on NBC’s’ comedy lineup. SNL writer John Mulaney put together a pilot that was by all accounts hilarious but for some reason NBC decided not to pick it up. I am very far from the inside with regard to NBC programming decisions but it seems like NBC just made a huge mistake.

Mulaney is hilarious and his pilot had some big names involved, including Elliot Gould, Martin Short and current SNL cast member Nasim Pedrad. The pilot was also produced by Lorne Michaels and had a cameo from Jimmy Fallon. NBC might have passed because they fear another critically acclaimed ratings failure (like 30 Rock) but passing on quality is a recipe for failure in my opinion.

Hopefully Mulaney gets a chance at another network or even at NBC when they become smart enough to invest in him. This is the guy that helped create Stefon and all of the crazy night clubs he frequents. He’s hilarious and he has a writing background, which is essential to any good sitcom. Mulaney has a pretty large fan base already and I’m sure he will be a household name on TV shortly – after which NBC will regret not locking him up when they had the chance.

Watching his stand up videos on YouTube led me to one of my favorite jokes from one of my other favorite comedians…

So clever and so true.

Things are not going well for Ike Davis right now

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Today the Mets have an off day and recently those are the days Ike Davis must look forward to the most. When he’s on the field, everything that can go wrong is going wrong for him. Terry Collins has moved him all over the batting order but nothing has clicked. Davis is hitting .147 this season and there’s no signs of him turning it around.

In Ike’s last 11 games he has a comical .026 AVG (1-for-38) and he’s got a .095 AVG with runners in scoring position this season. This was the team’s opening day clean up hitter by the way. He looks lost at the plate and he’s clearly pressing now – looking visibly frustrated after every at bat. Not to mention the chorus of boos that reigns from the half full Citi Field every time he makes out.

Davis had a similar slow start last year but he straightened things out and eventually ended up with 32 HR. Last year’s turnaround has saved him a trip to the minors up to this point but he is under the microscope right now and that’s not helping his performance. It’s got to be hard to perform when everyone is watching your every move, but that’s part of being a professional athlete.

Yesterday, the one part of Ike’s game that wasn’t up in flames – his defense – failed him. He made a poor decision on a ball hit down the first base line, letting it roll past him thinking it was foul. The ball was fair and the go-ahead run came into break a tie game in the 9th inning. You can imagine what Twitter had to say about Davis”s mistake.

Ike knows that he needs to turn it around quickly but these early struggles for the 2nd straight year will be the ultimate test. He’s got to keep plugging away and get out of his own head. Easier said than done but he knows of capable of being a good hitter and until he stops thinking out there, he’s going to be mired in this slump.

A trip to Triple-A might not be that bad of a thing. It would be a chance to get out of the spotlight and straighten out his swing. But as long as he’s up with the big club, he’s got to take it one pitch at a time and celebrate the small victories. His next hit will probably be met with sarcastic cheers but I hope he celebrates it enthusiastically and builds off it.

If he can work through his dismal start for the 2nd straight season and get back to the hitter we know he can be, then that’s someone that I’m proud to have on my team. The Mets aren’t going anywhere this season. I want a resilient Davis to compliment the captain for the next couple of seasons. There’s no reason that the Mets can’t have the best corner infield combo in the NL by this time next year. Ike’s just got to prove he work through this slump and get back to being the hitter that everyone was so excited about before he got hurt 2 years ago.

Another era of SNL coming to an end

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Tomorrow night will be the end of yet another era of Saturday Night Live. Change is nothing new for SNL – it’s a show that has evolved over its almost 40 years of existence. A luxury of its institutional status is the ability for cast members to go out on their own terms and four mainstays are doing just that.

The season finale looks like it will be the final show for head writer and weekend update anchor Seth Myers, impression master Bill Hader, movie-star Jason Sudeikis and Mr. Versatility Fred Armisen. A core group that will be impossible to replace, forcing the show to change it’s identity for the umpteenth time.

Hader has so many memorable characters and his impressions were always spot on. It’s impossible to pick favorites but if pressed I think I’d go with his Carville as my favorite impression and Stefon as my favorite character. Writer John Mulaney deserves credit too for helping bring Stefon’s twisted version on NYC to life. Myers’ also played off Stefon nicely, trying not to break while Hader told him that his dog’s name is Bark Ruffalo or that New York’s hottest night club UHNNNNNH. Watching those clips back will never get old.

I’ll remember Armisen as the guy who literally did everything. Throughout his tenure, he played everyone from women to Bloomberg to Latinas to Asians to Obama – and he was great at all of them. Fred was definitely the most under the radar of the foursome but he often got the biggest laughs and improved any sketch he was in.

Sudeikis hasn’t been in too many sketches this season but he was a tremendous presence in the skits he was in. He’s a full blown movie star now but I always enjoyed him most as the jumpsuited dancer during the What’s Up With That sketches. Equally enjoyable was his Pete Twinkle, host of obscure womens sports on ESPN Classic. We haven’t got to see that one in a while since Will Forte, aka his broadcast partner Greg Stink, left SNL. Jason’s already done his share of movies (like Hader) but it should be fun to see what he comes out with now that he will be focusing on the big screen full-time.

Myers did a great job with Weekend Update, which was his only camera time, over the past couple of seasons. His interaction with guests was always enterataining and overall I thought the show was very funny – so he succeeded as the head writer. Not everyone will agree with me but you can’t please everyone and Myers should thrive in his new role as host of Late Night. Fallon laid down a good framework for how to make that show a daily version of Saturday Night Live with celebrity interviews thrown in.

All four are special in their own right and it’s a big blow for them all to leave at once. Although it’s not confirmed that Sudeikis and Armisen are leaving after this season, it feels like the right time for them. The show is undergoing some changes and if they’ve been thinking about their exit for some time (which they have), then now is as good a time as any.

I’m not worried about where they will go from here but there will be doubters and detractors who write it off. Saturday Night Live is like water. It has many different forms (liquid, solid, gas) that change its appearance, temperature and consistency but it’s still composed of the exact same molecules no matter the state. Writers and performers come and go as do characters and recurring sketches but SNL remains the same at its core and that’s why it will continue to be culturally relevant until it decides to go off the air.

People will still care about it and it will evolve and produce more stars. The amount of talent Lorne Michaels has produced is remarkable and he’s not going to stop. The current young cast is already more than capable of producing a hilarious show. The audience just doesn’t know it yet because they haven’t gotten the chance.

Hader, Sudekis, Armisen and Myers will all be missed and of course now I am starting to think, “Damn, I wish I appreciated them more while they were on.”  I always enjoyed their time on SNL but like most things in life, you don’t realize how great they were until they’re no longer there. Or as Andy Bernard said so eloquently on The Office series finale, “I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

I’m excited to see what SNL does next and who emerges as the next big stars (currently I’ve got my money on Taran Killam and Kate McKinnon). Before that though, we’ve got the good old days for one more night – and it should be a great one.

Bruins and Rangers Win Game 7’s

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I am a New York sports fan and I have been for my entire life. I love the Mets, Giants, Rangers and Knicks and if those teams are out of it, I’ll root for other area teams including the Yankees, Nets, Devils and Jets (less lately thanks to Rex though).

Having said all of that if I could retroactively choose one sporting event to attend so far this year, it would have undoubtedly been last night’s Bruins game. Boston overcame a 4-1 deficit with 10 minutes to go in Game 7. The home crowd saw the Bruins score 2 goals in 29 seconds to tie the game with 90 seconds to go – in an elimination game! As a sports fan, that’s pretty special.

I can imagine the arena being pretty down when it appeared as if the Bruins season was coming to an end. Then a goal to cut the deficit to two inspired a little hope but I’m sure many felt it was too little too late. Then with 2 minutes left, another goal to cut the deficit to one. Can this actually happen? Then just seconds later, they tied it up and it was all but a formality that the Bruins were going to win. You don’t come back from a 3-goal deficit in the 3rd period of Game 7 and lose.

Last night was yet another display of why sports is the best. You really never know what’s going to happen and it’s impossible to predict. The energy in that arena after the overtime winner is what every sports fan craves – it’s what keeps up coming back.  It’s also another prime example that you can never leave early. I’m sure there’s a lot of Boston fans who left early and now have to lie to friends and say they were there when in reality they were in their car or on the subway during the epic comeback. Congrats to Boston on a truly amazing victory. Now they get to take on the Rangers in what will be a great original 6 match up.

The Rangers made it a lot less dramatic with a dominant 5-0 win over the Caps in their Game 7. King Henrik hasn’t allowed a goal in 2 games and if New York can score like it did in Game 7, it’s going to be a tough series for the Bruins. Playoff hockey often comes down to having the better goaltender and the Rangers have the best one still playing this season. I like our chances but it’s going to be a great series and now we know never to count the Bruins out – no matter how big of a lead we build.

Handicapping the Final 5 on Survivor

It’s that time of year again… Survivor is wrapping up Season 26 tonight. So before we sit down for 3 hours of finale and reunion show goodness, who’s got the best chance to win it all?

Cochran – 3 to 2

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The Harvard graduate and Survivor super-fan has played a nearly perfect game thus far. He seems to be thinking a step ahead of everyone else and he’s managed to do that without pissing anyone off. He’s not a threat to win challenges but Cochcoran doesn’t seem to have a problem using his brain to manipulate the others left in the game.

He’s the smartest one left on the island by about 100 IQ points, so in a game of strategy, my money’s on him. Out of the remaining contestants, he has played the best game up to this point. His likability has skyrocketed since his first season and he’s also been one of the most entertaining interviews this season. I look forward to his one-on-ones with the camera in the finale.

Cochran’s only problem is that Survivor history isn’t on his side. Players who have played the best up to the final 5 rarely win because they become a target right before the final vote. The others know that they won’t be able to beat him in the finals, especially when he can rely on his Harvard Law rhetoric in front of a jury.

The good thing for Cochran is that he is a student of Survivor and is well aware of this problem. It seems like he is on good terms with Dawn, and having a pair in the final 5 might be enough to take him to the end. If he gets to the final three, he’s got much better than a 33% chance to win it all.

Eddie – 5 to 1

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I can’t believe that Eddie is still around considering his back has been against the wall since Day 1. He’s gotten some help from his amigos who are now on the jury and the last two weeks he was the beneficiary of the core alliance going after its own members. He thought he was going home at least 5 different times, yet somehow he has a one in five shot at the million bucks.

In fact, I think his odds are even better than that and here’s why. Eddie can easily win two immunity challenges and guarantee himself a spot in the finals. He’s by far the biggest physical threat left in the game. He also has some leverage now that he’s seen that the core alliance is all but broken up. If he’s smart enough, he will actually make his first real move of the game and form a three person alliance with Sherri and Erik.

Also working in Eddie’s favor is that he’s got a ton of friends on the jury (Malcolm, Andrea, Reynold or Reynolds depending on who you talk to) and he could easily get the necessary jury votes to win. For the first time in the game, Eddie is a real threat and as dead as he looked on Day 5, he’s very much alive on Day 35.

Erik – 7 to 1

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Despite the fact that Erik went a little crazy last week and climbed what looked like a 100 foot tree in search of a coconut, I think he’s still got a good chance to win it all. He’s been the swing vote very often this season but he hasn’t really pissed anyone off. (This jury doesn’t seem like a very bitter one in general, but we haven’t seen Brenda there yet and she has every right to be bitter).

Like Eddie, he’s capable of winning one of the final two immunity challenges. I just don’t know how well he will be able to persuade a jury to vote for him after he gets to the finals. He hasn’t given the viewer any reason to believe that he can persuade or manipulate anyone else, including a jury.

Erik hasn’t really done anything memorable in the game but he also hasn’t burned any bridges. Kind of just a middle of the road competitor left that could easily sneak into the final three but would then struggle to win it all.

Sherri – 12 to 1

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I didn’t mean for the two ladies to end up with the lowest odds, but after giving it some thought, the ladies are going to have hard time winning it all. Sherri jumped ship from the fans alliance, latching on to the favorites and somehow she is still there. Kind of like how Eddie survived, there were bigger fish to fry than Sherri, so she’s hung around. She’s going to have a very hard time garnering jury votes, especially from any of the fans.

I guess she can argue that she was just doing what she had to do to advance herself in the game but I don’t think that’s going to coax any jurors (fans or favorites) into writing her name down. She might slide by to the final three, but she doesn’t have much a game to fall back on when questioned and there are at least 2 more deserving players left.

Dawn – 25 to 1

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Dawn’s crazy. She’s paranoid and lost her mind sometime in between losing her false teeth in the bottom of a lagoon and  demanding the hidden immunity idol from Andrea. The entire jury really dislikes her (as evidenced by the most recent Ponderosa dinner conversation) and she can’t ever seem to make up her mind.

She’s basically paired up with Cochran which might help both of them reach the final three but there is no scenario in which Dawn wins the million dollars. I remember really liking her the last time she played but this time she’s been stricken with paranoia since she stepped on the island. Her recent craziness along with her poor jury favor make her this year’s long shot to win it all.

Can’t wait for tonight! It’s amazing that after 26 seasons, this show remains one of the best on TV.