Invisible Force Fields: A Legitimate Strategy?

Every team in baseball looks for ways to help give their team an advantage when out on the field.  Any slight advantage could be the difference between a win and a loss.  In past years, pitchers have taken this philosophy to such great lengths that they would conceal pine tar, vaseline, or any other sort of substance to help them get a better grip on the baseball or to get the ball to move more effectively.  Because this method goes against the rules of baseball, however, teams looked to more “legal” approaches.

A big thing that teams do is design a ballpark that helps fit their style of play.  Colorado’s stadium is high up in the air, allowing the ball to fly out of the ballpark easier, so the Rockies play a more power-based game.  The Yankees have that short porch in right field, so they stock their lineup with left-handed hitters who can easily pull that ball down the line into the bleachers.  The Phillies have…an invisible force field?

Sitting in last place in their division and sporting the worst record in the MLB, the Philadelphia Phillies realized that something needed to change.  Despite being in a “rebuilding year”,odubel-herrera_kveivilgy5le129lorfd7fjmo Phillies ownership must have gotten tired of losing so terribly.  Even for a team rebuilding they have played exceptionally poorly.  With a run differential of -98 and a total of 104 home runs given up (7th most in the league), the Phillies needed something to help keep the ball in the ballpark.  A simple solution would be to trade for better pitching, but the Phillies are rebuilding.  There would be no sense in trading away prospects just to get some better pitching for the present day.  They’re planning for the future, not right now.  Another idea would be to move the fences back, but they can’t do that midseason.  So what other choice did the Phillies have but to put in invisible force fields to keep the ball from going out?  It truly is quite the revolutionary and fool-proof plan, the only problem is, it’ll sometimes backfire on you.

During last night’s Cardinals-Phillies game, the force field must have been malfunctioning because the Phillies gave up three home runs to the Cardinals.  Luckily, the Phillies were able to tie the game up at 5 and send it into extras.  But immediately in the tenth, the Cards put across two to give themselves a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the 10th.  The first batter up for the Phillies in the bottom half of the inning was Andrew Knapp.  With a 3-2 count on him, Knapp hit a long fly ball to right field.  The maintenance workers must have been playing around with the force field generator, trying to get it to work, and accidentally turned it back on because the ball appeared to ricochet off of nothing.  The ball bounced back into play keeping Knapp at first base, preventing the Phillies from coming within one.  Good on the crew for doing their job, but too bad on the timing.  That home run could have been the kickstart the Phil’s offense needed to come back and win.  And that win could have sparked a win streak.  And that win streak could have led to a playoff berth.  And that playoff berth could have led to a playoff run.  And that playoff run could have led to a World Series ring.  How depressing.

So what am I getting at here?  Well that’s a good question Zach.  What I am trying to say is that force field could have cost the Phillies a World Series.  Yes, the intentions of the force field are good, but one must remember that the home team has to deal with it too.  Theoretically, the grounds crew could be instructed to turn it off when the home team is up, but that would be a bit too obvious.   The league would be all over that quicker than Manfred on a game that’s lasted for more than 3 hours.  So I salute the Phillies for their creativity, and hope they can come to a decision as to what they will do with the force field.  As for my opinion on the matter, I say leave it in.  You paid the millions of dollars for the prototype technology, so why spend even more to have it removed?  Just fix the problems with it and you’ll be all set.  No more home runs for anyone.  Hope you guys have learned how to bunt…

Don’t Judge LeBron Based On This Final

Welp, another NBA season in the books and boy was it a boring one.  82 pointless games followed by a pointless playoff series all to set up the matchup we all knew was coming.  At least Joel Embiid was fun to watch for the few months he was out there.  If it weren’t for him, I probably would’ve gotten into the hobby of watching paint dry just to bring some excitement into my life.  It’s too bad this season was boring because in all honesty, the finals matchup this year was one for the history books.  The only problem was that everyone saw it coming, so it wasn’t a thrilling ride and then once we got to the finals, it was made clear quickly that this series wasn’t going to be as intense as we had all hoped.  The Warriors made quick work of the Cavs, eliminating them in only five games, handing LeBron another finals loss.  But did LeBron really lose?lebron-james-6717-usnews-getty-ftr_xqvd93njhofk10z2vpv9pkw7d

To put it simply, LeBron straight up balled out this entire series.  He became the first player in history to average a triple double in the finals by posting a slash of 33.6/12/10 in the finals.  If you were to look at just LeBron’s stats for these finals, you would assume that the Cavs won solely based on that.  He was absolutely unstoppable during the finals, yet somehow it wasn’t enough.  So what happened?  Well, for starters the bench was absolutely nonexistent.   There was absolutely no help from anyone outside of the Cavs big three.  At times it felt like the Warriors had a 5 on 3 power play, leaving LeBron, Kyrie, and Kevin to fend for themselves.  Tristan Thompson got outrebounded by Steph Curry.  Deron Williams didn’t score a bucket until game four.  Richard Jefferson was their fifth leading scorer at a mere 5.8 ppg. jr-smith-6517-usnews-getty-ftr_sy1ach5ffia513rdhwunf2uzx  JR Smith started playing well, especially last game, scoring 25 on ⅞ from 3-pt range, but his play came a bit too late.  With no help from outside the big three and the Warriors bench outplaying the Cavs bench, LeBron, Kyrie, and Kevin were forced to play extra minutes in order to make up for the poor bench performance, putting all the work onto their shoulders.  Honestly if it weren’t for LeBron’s stellar performance, the result could have been even uglier than it was.

But by no means is this an excuse for Cleveland’s loss to Golden State.  The Warriors were just too good for the Cavaliers.  I don’t think any team in history could best this Warriors team in a 7-game series.  This has got to be the best team in the history of basketball.  There was no stopping them.  Kevin Durant went off this series, averaging 35 ppg.  It felt like every time he pulled up to shoot it was going in.  And when he would leave his feet to dunk it was as if he was gliding through the air to the hoop.  It was all so graceful to watch.22846785-mmmain  Add that performance with Steph Curry’s great series as well, and there was just nothing the Cavaliers could do.  Curry slashed 26.8/8/9.4 in this series, nearly averaging a triple double like LeBron.  Steph Curry really showed up this series and it made all the difference in the end.  And like I said earlier, the play by the Warriors role players really helped seal the deal.  They were able to outscore the Cavs bench and force Cleveland’s big three back out onto the court sooner than the Cavs would have liked, thus tiring out LeBron and Co. allowing the Warriors starters to punish them.  Nothing could be done to stop this Warriors team this year.  I have yet to see a weakness in the Warriors that could allow a team to beat them.  The only way for the Warriors to lose is if they beat themselves and they certainly did not do that this finals.

But LeBron still statistically lost another finals, putting him at a 3-5 record in the finals.  Many people look at that and say LeBron isn’t great because he has a losing record in the finals, which is absolute shit.  The fact that LeBron has been to 8 finals already is impressive enough, so what if he’s lost 5.  Losing in the finals shouldn’t be looked down upon as much as it is.  It’s impressive to even be there, so why give an amazing player like LeBron flak for losing five?  “Oh but MJ has never lost a final.”  Yeah well LeBron also hasn’t gotten swept in the first round.  Twice.  Also if you look back on the teams LeBron has lost to, they’re nothing to be ashamed about.  He’s lost to the Spurs twice and the Warriors twice.  Two amazing teams during their times and were not really seen as underdogs in any finals.  Yes, he did lose to the Mavericks in 2011, but you gotta remember, that team swept the two-time reigning champ Lakers team.  So why should LeBron be looked down upon for losing to that team?1465581946-bkn-nba-final-heat-mavericks_19739287

A player’s finals record should not be used to judge the greatness of said player.  People keep looking at LeBron’s finals record as if it’s been an individual affair.  LeBron isn’t 3-5 in the finals, LeBron’s teams are 3-5 in the finals.  People need to remember that this game is still a team sport.  You win and lose as a team, and one player isn’t going to dictate that.  Yes, one player can have a large impact, but it is still up to the team as a whole to perform well in order to bring home a ring.  LeBron has balled out every finals he’s been in and tried to give his team the best chance they have at winning it all.  You cannot blame someone who gives his all those losses, especially this year’s finals.  Averaging a triple double is going above and beyond what was asked of him, and I think a lot of people don’t see that.  All they see is that LeBron lost again.  LeBron sucks, end of story.  But it’s not the end of the story.  If you look at what LeBron does when he goes out there game after game, you would see that this man is an incredible talent that has nothing to be ashamed about.  LeBron is the exact opposite of a sucky player.  LeBron is one of the greatest to touch the court and too many people take that for granted.

LeBron is one of the greatest to play the game.  There’s really not much more to say.  I think those that do not see that are not paying enough attention.  Far too often LeBron’s skills are overlooked and under-appreciated.  Yet then those same people who think LeBron isn’t one of the best see him lose and blame it all on him.  It’s mind boggling to me how bipolar the fans of the NBA are towards this man.  One minute they love him, but the minute he has a “bad” game they’re down his throat.  Everyone needs to stop criticizing LeBron, especially when it comes to losing in the finals.  It’s a team game.  There is only so much that one player can do, yet LeBron day in and day out gives his team more than enough.  Honestly the fact that people expect LeBron to win a final on his own is impressive enough.  Says all you really need to know about LeBron.  So leave LeBron alone, it’s not his fault.  Teams win and lose together.  All the blame cannot be placed on one person, especially a player like LeBron.Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game One

Watching The Hockey

Last night was game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators.  Pittsburgh held a 3-2 lead in the series, so with the season possibly about to be over, I decided to tune in.  I’ve always wanted to get into hockey, but never really got around to it, so I figured watching a finals game would be the perfect way to start.  Before last night I had never watched a full NHL game.  I’ve watched some college games in person, but other than that, nothing.  Instead of just writing about the game from memory, I decided to take notes on the game as it happened and then work off of those.  To make it easier, I also broke it down by period, too.  And a quick disclaimer, I do not know much about hockey.  My only knowledge comes from playing the 2002 edition of Backyard Hockey and a bit of NHL 14.  You know now that I think of it, maybe I am expert.  Anyways, let’s not waste any more time and begin!NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators

 

Pregame: So I turn over to NBC at 8 o’clock sharp and at this point, I’m pretty excited.  They show the huge crowds outside the arena and throughout the streets of Nashville.  I never expected such big crowds for this game.  At first I just assumed the power was out in the city, but then I saw all the Nashville jerseys and I realized that they meant to be out there.  Crazy kids.  Two men came out onto a stage outside the arena.  The one guy doesn’t matter, because I was focused on the fact that Dierks Bentley was the other guy. Has Dierks Bentley even been to a hockey game before?  What’s he doing there?  And that also got me thinking; Nashville is known for their Country Music.  But does Country and Hockey really mix?  I would find out the answer to that question by the end of the night.

Nashville seemed to really want it.  I haven’t seen a fan base this passionate in a long time.  They were literally smashing a Penguins-themed car…Now that’s passion.  Makes me wish I lived in a hockey town.  Is Nashville a hockey town?  I doubt it, but you get the point that it would be a lot of fun.  After seeing this, I thought that It’d be a shame if Nashville lost.  Their fans would be more devastated than an Atlanta Falcons fan.bigphotofornashville

Oh, there’s a commercial.  My dad’s flipping through channels.  The Simpsons and Tigers vs. Red Sox is on.  Any other night I would watch that.  But last night was special.  Okay so I watched the baseball game during commercials.  What else am I supposed to do?  

The game came back on.  Time for festivities.  They showed Sidney Crosby, man what a horrible playoff beard.  Looks like pubes.  I bet he wishes he could shave that off.   Also he’s the only player I’ve heard of in this game, and one of the only players I’ve heard of in the league.  On the subject of this Penguins team, I take it they’ve won before.  The way everyone’s acting, including the Penguins themselves, make me feel like they have.  Upon further research, it seems they’ve won four before coming into last night.  Including last year, so they’re going for that back-to-back title.  That sounded like a decent amount, but turns out the Canadiens have won it 24 times…Looks like I found the Yankees of the league.  

So Nashville is the last seed in this playoffs?  That’s awesome.  Plus they’re making their first finals appearance?  Man, I should’ve been watching this series from the beginning. Matter of fact, I should’ve been watching since the beginning of the playoffs.  That sounds like a lot of fun, unlike the NBA.  This NHL playoff actually sounds exciting and unpredictable, instead of the NBA’s where everyone knew who was going to be in the finals since before preseason began.  I should really watch the NHL.

Faith Hill emerged to perform the National Anthem.  Her hair looked amazing and she killed it.  I was trying to remember who she’s married to, but then he came out anyways. Hi Tim McGraw.  After the National Anthem, my dad made a pun, saying he had “Faith” she would do well.  Classic.faith-hill-predators-national-anthem

Period 1: Wow that game started off fast.  I don’t get how anyone can follow this game. And there’s so many substitutes.  How do people know who’s out there or where their favorite player is.

Would you call what they’re wearing shorts?  I think I would.

I know a Colin Wilson. That’s neat.

Someone threw a catfish onto the ice.  What was up with that?  And then the announcers said that this type of stuff has happened with other teams and with different animals? What kind of league is this?

Cody McLeod sounds familiar.  Where would I know him from?

I also forgot until about halfway through the first period that the United States was playing Mexico in soccer.  Boy yesterday was a big day in sports.  Stanley Cup game 6, U.S. vs. Mexico, Max Scherzer got his 2,000 strikeout, and Aaron Judge hit a 496 ft. home run.

Those hockey jerseys look comfy.  I should get me one of those.  I wonder how much they cost…I just searched them up, kind of expensive.  Eh, maybe someday.

I feel like I didn’t see Sidney Crosby all period.  Or maybe I did.  I don’t know, I can hardly tell who or what I’m watching.

Pittsburgh had that 2 on 1 and that guy missed that pass.  They probably would’ve scored if he caught that pass.  But he mucked it.  And then Nashville had a breakaway and their guy mucked it.  He probably felt bad for the Penguins player who missed the pass and wanted to make him feel better.  What a nice guy.  And god damn, I don’t get how these goalies block some of these shots or even see the shots for that matter.  The puck is coming at them so fast and the puck is so small, plus they have that mask with hardly any peripherals.  It’s honestly incredible that they can block shots.  Some of the shots practically just disappear.  I feel like the goalie just puts his glove up and hopes for the best.

I feel like if you’re a hockey player, you have to have long hair.  Example A, one of the only other players I know, Jaromir Jagr.  Also I’ve never seen so much red hair in one game before.  Or in one place for that matter.jagrmullet

There’s just so much going on.  And so many broken and lost sticks.  Does that happen a lot or is this game an anomaly?  Also I wonder if it’s illegal to purposefully break someone else’s stick.  I would imagine that it is.  That only makes sense.  On the same sort of subject, I don’t get how some of these hits are legal.  They look absolutely painful.  I’m surprised some of these guys are still alive.  Or at least don’t all have permanent brain damage.  I wonder what the average number of concussions is per game.

Why do some guys try those long-range slapshot.  How often do those even go in?  Or is it to send a message I wonder.

The Nashville goalie’s mask is dope.giphy

 

Period 2: Jeez only a minute in and they already got a shot on goal and then managed to knock it in.  Turns out it didn’t count though because the ref blew the whistle.  That’s bull, play shouldn’t have stopped and that should’ve been a goal.  What bullshit.  If the ref was in a better place, then maybe they would’ve gotten the call right.  He was more out of place than me at a Luke Bryan Concert.  Nashville had another chance a bit later on, but mucked the pass again.  Shame.  

Was that the first guy in the penalty box?  I think it was.  Clean game, I guess.  I wonder if those NHL workers in the box talk to the players.  If they do, I wonder what they talk about.  Dinner plans?  Hobbies?

Who’s the Steph Curry of the NHL?

These defenders have been insane all game.  Very tenacious.

Do the announcers work as auctioneers in the offseason?  If not, it’s a waste of their voice.

I bet team dentists make a fortune.

This game is absolute madness.  I can’t follow a damn thing.  And I think that one Pittsburgh player just leapfrogged that Nashville player in front of the bench.  I guess that’s one way to get around a defender.

High stick was called.  At what point does a stick become high?

I would kill to have the NBA tonight crew announce this game.

That was a great save by the Pittsburgh goalie.  Or was it?  Did Nashville just muck it up again?  Who knows?  Not me that’s for sure.

This is only the Penguins’ coach second year coaching this team?  That’s pretty impressive.  I wonder what happened to their previous coach.  Research time! Apparently the coach prior to their current coach, Mike Sullivan, was a man named Mike Johnston.  Guess they like Mike.  Anyways, Johnston coached the Penguins for a little more than one season before being fired.  Not sure why he was fired.  Oh wait it says it was because the team “Underachieved” according to the GM.  Interesting.

The splits these goalies are doing are incredible.  Especially the Pittsburgh goalie.  I wish I was that flexible.

Hockey might be the perfect sport to release any pent-up anger or frustration you have. You can just channel it into decking an opponent into the ground.

When a defender blocks a shot for the goalie it reminds me of the scenes in action movies when a guy jumps in front of a bullet for his friend.

That guy just faked a shot from center ice.  I was hoping he’d pull up and shoot like Paul George. pg2

Damn that coach was calling a timeout even after it was granted to him.  Was that the Pittsburgh coach?  I think it was.

Damn you could hear that last shot hit the post.

That period was insane.

 

Period 3: Wait Cage The Elephant is here?  What?  Why?  How?  They didn’t even show them play, either.  That blows.  I was kinda looking forward to that.  

From what I am hearing Nashville should have been winning at this point.  I guess there have been a lot of missed calls.  Besides that goal call, I haven’t really seen anything, but what do I know?

It’s hot in my house and that ice looked so refreshing.

Matt Murray is not human (look at me learning a player’s name).  He had 56 consecutive saves since what was it? The third period of game four?  Holy shit.  

I wonder how much it costs to have your ad on the boards.  I would love to be rich enough where I could just buy a space and put my face there.

The name Wilson has been said so much this game I feel like I’m watching Castaway.

That was a fresh backhand spinning shot.  Too bad he missed it.  Would’ve been great to put in your career highlight reel.

How was Trevor Daley (learned another name) not dead after that play?  Last time I did the math, Head + Ice=Bad.

What is happening.

Nashville goalie with another dope save.  I wonder what his name is.  They said it at the beginning of the broadcast, but I forgot…Just searched it up, his name is Pekka Rinne.  That’s a great name.  I like him.  He’s cool.

Some of these trips look like falls.  The one Maatta’s in the box for wasn’t, but I’m just saying in general.  But then they slow it down and it looks so obvious.  This game is magical.

They showed a replay and some Nashville player was getting absolutely punished and berated by a Pittsburgh defender.  The guy just kept pushing him in the back and then knocked him into the boards.  This game is brutal.

That 5 on 3 sequence was insane.  Great defense by the Penguins.  I thought for sure the Predators were going to score.  Probably should’ve.

What even is offside?

They said that there’s 2300 names on that trophy?  How is that even possible?  And what if they run out of room?  What happens then?1200px-stanleycupavs2000-01engraved

Fuck the post.  I thought that goal was in.  That’s happened a couple of times now.

Will anyone score?

If the puck goes into the stand and a fan catches it, do they get to keep it?

There’s some beautiful moves in hockey.  Not as nice as some in the NBA, but nice nonetheless.  They’re just so smooth and elegant.  It’s like watching a ballet.

Are these teams known for their defense?  Especially the Penguins, because these teams aren’t letting anything in.

Oops, spoke too soon.  What even happened on that goal?  It just barely squeaked in.  That was a nice reverse by 72 on Pittsburgh, though.  Props to him.  There’s nothing the goalie could do about that.  That’s just a great move and bad timing.  He shouldn’t beat himself up too much about that.

I did not know there were challenges in this sport.  Not sure why.  It only makes sense. Every other sport has reviews, so why not hockey.  Goal counts anyways, so didn’t really matter.  I didn’t think it was goalie interference, either.  It looked like he was just going for the puck.  But then again I don’t know what goalie interference is, so who am I to say anything?

Pulling the goalie always seemed risky to me.  Especially now in this case because the Predators didn’t do well during their power plays.  Don’t see how another guy is gonna help them against this Pittsburgh defense.

Open net goal.  That’s game.  I knew it was a bad idea.  I would never pull my goalie.  But I don’t think I’ll be coaching a hockey team any time soon to put my philosophy into place, so what does it matter.

Pittsburgh seems like the Warriors of the NHL.

 

Postgame: That was an amazing game.  Probably one of the best game in any sport I’ve watched all year.  Definitely better than any NBA playoff game this year.  Charles Barkley was right, the NHL playoffs are more exciting.

I feel bad for the Predators.  They seemed like they really wanted it.  Not only the players, but the fans as well.  Good for the Penguins though.  Winning back-to-back Stanley Cups is quite the feat.

And was Sidney Crosby nonexistent or did I just miss him?

Also it’s quite a feat what the announcer did.  Being able to talk quickly for nearly two hours straight and to also be able to follow what players are on the ice and what was happening when.  I know I could never do something like that, so props to them.

I don’t understand why more Americans don’t like this sport.  It seems like something Americans would really love.  It’s right up their alley.  It’s got action, suspense, and fighting.  What American doesn’t love some good haymakers?century-miracle-ice

 

Overall, I give it a 9.5/10.  Definitely would watch again and look forward to watching more games next season.  I will also be looking into a team to follow next season to help me get into the sport.  I’m not going to bandwagon any team.  I want to pick a team I love and can relate to.  Research is going to be done to find what team is right for me, but I am confident I will find a team I can love.

Oh, and to answer my question earlier…Yes.  Country and Hockey do mix.

Meme Music

Meme music is a term I like to use to describe the songs that are featured in viral videos across the internet.  Usually, it’s one or two songs that get passed around from video to video, which in turn make the song a hit.  For the most part, the songs that have been used in viral videos have been rap songs.  In recent weeks it has been Mask Off by Future that has followed this trend, mainly being used by white people in awkward dance videos on Instagram (Haha comedy!).  Another up and coming one that I have seen has been Magnolia by Playboi Carti, which is used in the same sort of manner as Mask Off is.  Meme music, however, is not a recent trend.  It may not have been called Meme music or referred in a similar manner, but it was still present in pop culture.  maxresdefault-4

The trend of songs becoming popular through frequent uses in other medias can be traced back to the ringtone era of rap.  Ringtone rap was prominent around the time when cellphones were becoming more widespread and people began customizing their ringtones.  The music industry, as well as up and coming artists saw this growing trend and realized that they could easily capitalize on it.  Since a ringtone was only played for a max of 30 seconds, music artists only really needed to make a catchy hook with a nice beat that people could use as a fun, catchy ringtone.  People would hear their friend’s catchy ringtone and want to use it themselves, then their friends would hear it and want to use it and so on and so forth.soulja-boy  When Kiss Me Thru The Phone came out, practically every teenager rushed to make that their ringtone.  It was such a fly song at the time, yet many look back on it as being wack as hell.  But these rappers didn’t care.  They just wanted to make something catchy.  Many of these songs saw millions of plays and their creators in turn, saw millions of dollars and that’s all most of them cared about.  Many rappers achieved their popularity through these means, but for many of them, it was short-lived.  Rappers like Soulja Boy, D4L, and Jibbs saw there moments of fame, with their hits Kiss Me Thru The Phone, Laffy Taffy, and Chain Hang Low, respectively, only to be left in obscurity once the ringtone age was over.  You may still see their names pop up every once in a while, but other than that, their music is nothing but a memory.  Ringtone rap died down like any other music trend, but with the launch of Vine in 2012, viral songs saw light in a new medium. 

Vine was introduced to be a fun, unique social media platform where people could create 7-second clips of whatever they wanted.  Many used Vine for comedic videos, to show off their musical talents, or sports highlights.  Like anything in pop culture and especially the meme era, Vine would follow certain trends.  Viners would recycle jokes, styles, and even music.  It became a trend to use certain songs in your videos, especially if you wanted to gain popularity on the site.  Many of the songs used were dance songs that’s sole intention was to do a certain dance to it.870x489_silento-clip  Examples being Watch Me by Silentó, Hit the Quan by iLoveMephis, and countless others.  The dances to many of these songs were quite simple, yet of course white people couldn’t figure them out, but they would still try nonetheless.  These songs were just novelties made for viners to use in their videos, so the rappers could make millions.  Of course none of this would be possible without the help of streaming sites like Soundcloud and Spotify to house the songs for people to listen to in their free time (Not sure why).  However what was different about the Vine era from the ringtone era was the fact that there was a large number of songs that were not intended to be viral hits.  Examples of such songs being Hot Nigga by Bobby Schmurda, Hotline Bling by Drake, and Ultimate by Denzel Curry.  What’s interesting about these songs is that they were not originally intended to become viral like their ringtone era predecessors.  For the most part, these were simply songs that were released by the rappers, picked up by certain viners, and then beaten to death by the entire site.  Although one could argue that these songs were intended to blow up due to the internet, Bobby Schmurda did have talent, in my opinion, before he got put in jail.  Drake is Drake, so he didn’t need Vine plays to gain popularity.  And Denzel Curry is impossible to group with the other Vine rappers, because he’s as far from being a Vine rapper as possible.  Denzel Curry is one of the best up and coming rappers in the game, who saw one of his songs see viral play.  Just because one of his songs blew up in that manner does not mean he should be written off as a one-hit wonder.  Denzel Curry has all the talent in the world and I have nothing but respect for him.

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Like every trend, however, it has to die and Vine saw it’s demise in January when it was shut down by Twitter, putting an end to the Vine era of rap. Viral rap, however, simply moved platforms, shifting from Vine to Instagram and Twitter, bringing us to the present day.  The songs that are popping on those sites being Mask Off, Magnolia, and perhaps some others that I have yet to notice, are slightly unique from their predecessors.  Both Mask Off and Magnolia were written and released within their artist’s album.  They weren’t released as singles like the countless other viral rap songs.  This shows that they were not intended to become viral hits.  They’re just catchy songs that lived out their purpose of catching on and gaining popularity.  It’s fun to see an artist that you love have a song catch on and be a success, but it got me thinking; is it always a good thing?

Looking at the history of viral rap songs, the majority of the rappers became one-hit wonders. In most cases it’s because the artist cashed out and just never made music again, but in some cases, it is because that one viral hit is all the rapper is ever known for, which is what I worry for Denzel Curry and Playboi Carti.  Denzel Curry has all the talent in the world, but I fear that his music will just always be associated with middle schoolers flipping water bottles and dabbing.  Playboi Carti, meanwhile, looks to be being picked up by the white kid crowd that dances to songs that don’t fit their style (hilarious, right???) as well as the revitalization of the Milly Rock.  I guess what my worries boil down to most is the lack of appreciation for these rappers and the delegitimization of their music.  I enjoy Ultimate by Denzel Curry and Mask Off by Future,future-portrait-a-billboard-2016-kn-b-1548 but now I have a hard time listening to them because it just feels…weird.  I can’t separate the song from the viral videos and neither can most people.  The average person who does not really listen to a lot of rap music hears these songs and automatically associate them with the viral trend.  I play Ultimate and my friends will just start dabbing and flipping water bottles.  I play Bad and Boujee and all the white girls in the room start acting hood.  

Now I understand that there will always be popular music, I mean that’s exactly why it’s called “pop” music.  There will always be those songs that you just can’t avoid because they’re played on every radio station out there.  That’s just how it goes.  And there’s always a reason that it is so popular.  It’s not like the songs that I have talked about have no appeal that I can see.  I completely recognize what exactly makes these songs popular, it is merely the attitude about the music that comes afterwards that bothers me about these meme songs.  Whether it be the trend becoming annoying and being beaten to death or the devaluing of the song and the artist. Now I’m completely okay with it if that is the only song the rapper has to his or her’s name, but when an artist like Future, drake-views-from-the-6-cover-story-interviewDrake, or even Migos have their entire discography devalued simply because of one viral song that they had, that’s where I get annoyed.  The majority of people only know a couple songs by these artists (Maybe not Drake) and write off the rest of them.  They don’t bother diving deeper into the rapper’s music because they only view them as a novelty.

People just disrespect the music.  I may be just whining about people not appreciating the music I like, but I’m sure many people agree with me when I say that I don’t like it when people disrespect the artists I love.  I’ve listened to Denzel Curry, Future, and Migos long before they saw their viral successes.  That sounds pretentious, but it’s just me wishing people would respect the music more.  Dive deeper into an artist’s discography every once in a while.  Don’t just hear an artist’s most popular song and associate them with that until you die.  

“Listen deeper than the music before you put it in a box”-Tyler The Creator.

I Am The Key to Sean Manaea’s Success

About a week ago, I sat down in front of the T.V. with my dad to watch the New York Yankees take on the Oakland Athletics.  The starting matchup for that game was Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees, and Sean Manaea for the Oakland Athletics.  Prior to the game beginning, I commented on how every time that I saw Sean Manaea pitched, he would get lit up for seemingly 5+ runs every time, so naturally, I called him trash.  After doing so, Manaea proceeded to throw seven scoreless innings, allowing only four hits, and leading the Athletics to a 4-1 win against the Yankees in New York.  Obviously, I was astounded by the man’s outing, but I immediately wrote it off as a fluke.  “The Yankees must’ve had an off day,” I thought.  Boy was I wrong.

Fast forward to this morning when I woke up to see that Sean Manaea pitched another solid game, this time against the Blue Jays, going six innings with 7 strikeouts, only giving up 4 hits and 2 runs. In fact, since I called Sean Manaea trash, he has gone 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA. 920x1240 It was also at this moment that I realized something; I am the key to Sean Manaea’s success.   Manaea, a career 12-12 starter with an ERA sitting at 3.84 and a WHIP of 1.15, has been nothing special since he arrived to the big leagues.  Prior to the last three games, Manaea was sitting on an ERA of 5.24, but since I called him trash, he has lowered his ERA to a 3.81.   His strikeouts per start have also been consistently higher, never being below 7, showing that he is pitching more effectively, and hitting his spots more accurately in order to get those punch outs.  That can be no coincidence.  There is a direct correlation between my comment and Manaea’s success.  I just wonder how my words could have gone such a long way.

Perhaps Manaea and the Athletics have set up microphones in every household in America in order to fully grasp what the public opinion is of Manaea and upon hearing that some college student from Upstate New York called him trash, Manaea was motivated to pitch better and prove him wrong.  And prove him wrong he has.  Sadly, however, this seems unlikely, due to the cost alone.  Upon a quick search on Amazon, the cheapest microphone I could find was around $7.  Clearly this would be the model the Athletics would go with due to Billy Beane’s famous1337256000000-cached_16 “Moneyball” policy, which is just code for spend as little as possible.  Now to make it easy, let’s assume that Billy Bean puts in 3 microphones per household in America.  That would mean spending $21 per household, excluding tax.  There are roughly 125,820,000 households in America, so you multiply $21 by 125,820,000 and you get a grand total of $2,642,220,000.  I’m no financial expert, but I would have to say that the Oakland Athletics don’t have that kind of money lying around.  Also with that kind of money, the A’s would be able to pay the Los Angeles Dodger’s entire roster nearly 11 times over, so I doubt they’d put that money into spying on every American household when they could instead just get better talent.  But if it wasn’t the work of surveillance, then what was it?

Since I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a coincidence, there has to be some sort of explanation as to how I was able to influence Mr. Manaea into performing at such an amazing level.   Clearly Oakland would not be able to afford the surveillance equipment needed to spy on every household, thus ruling out that theory.  And I was not at the stadium that day (I have my dad as my witness) so Manaea wasn’t able to hear my comment first hand, either.  So what happened?  Well here is my theory: When I called Sean Manaea trash, the front door opened and in walked my mom.  The sound waves of me calling Manaea trash must have gotten out the door, floated through the air until it got caught in a gust of wind, forcing my comment all the way to Yankee Stadium, where it was able to bounce off of countless fans before it was flung onto the field and picked up by Sean Manaea, who was standing on the mound, awaiting to make his first pitch.  Of course at this point, due to the distance they traveled, my words were merely a murmur, but they were still loud enough for Manaea to hear them and become enraged, motivating him to give it his all to prove whoever would dare say such a thing about him.  I feel as though this is the only explanation and it can be proved oh so easily with science.  I could go into more detail about it, but I wouldn’t want to bore anyone with the details.  If you wish to understand it yourself, simply do a quick google search.  It’s all pretty basic.  seanmanaea1280_saaqsufp_khqvscvz

So there you have it.  I am the reason Sean Manaea has been pitching so well as of late.  It’s all me baby.  You’re welcome Oakland.  You got yourself an ace.  May you ride him all the way to second place.  I know it sounds great, and believe me it really isn’t.  Still puts you a mere 15 games away from being in first.  But at least you can tell your kids your team finished second to the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros.  So you’re welcome.