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Boston Irish

Sports and entertainment kinda thing, established 2006. Specializing in MLB, NFL, baseball in Ireland and movies. Always with the movies.

Updated: 2018-03-09T15:58:08.715+00:00


Defending Dunkirk: Rejecting Some Of The Critiscism


A movie that scores 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, takes over $200 million in the box office and is widely acclaimed as one of the best war movies ever made probably doesn't need that much defending. However, some of the criticism lazily lobbed at Dunkirk was so offensively inane that you just can't help yourself from mocking it. Mercilessly.'There's no hiding from this, son'Mild spoilers ahead, nothing too shocking, but, don't say I didn't warn you. Let's dive, Stuka like, right in.Where are the French?Tricky enough one to start, as personally I'm a little on the fence on this one. The fact of the matter is the French put up a rousing rearguard in and around the streets of Dunkirk itself, but most importantly the French First Army fought off a massive German assault at Lille for several days, without which not a single member of the BEF might have got off the beach of Dunkirk at all. The French covered themselves in glory in Lille in particular, a heroic rearguard that hasn't received its due in Western historical analysis.In fairness to the critics on this point, the French don't really get much praise here either, depending how up in arms you are about the topic. Contextually I can understand a French historian being a little miffed to say the least at how little coverage the French get. However, a couple of points to ponder.First of all, the French defense at Lille literally needs its own movie. It would have been silly for Christopher Nolan to try and amalgamate the French rearguard action, outside the city and at Lille, into his movie about the, largely, British escape. Dunkirk as a movie would have been diluted beyond recognition. Nolan wanted to make a taut escape movie, which is exactly what he did. He wasn't making a documentary, he wasn't making a mass ensemble piece similar to 'The Longest Day', he was making something different, and that's his choice as an artist.One final point on this, Nolan did offer one slice of French admiration right at the start of Dunkirk. As our protagonist of the movie escapes from pursuing German infantry (Nolan's choice to never really reveal the enemy, ala Jaws, was genius), a grizzled, stoic French defender helps him over a barricade. As he does, he delivers one of the cooler lines in the movie; 'Allez Anglais, Bon Voyage!' as he turns to face the oncoming Wehrmacht. It's a splendid little moment, dripping with history and homage to the French soldiers that, backs to the beaches, held the Germans at bay.Sure, it was a few seconds, but it was brilliantly delivered, and do you want a 3 hour 50 minute movie, or this slice of drama that Nolan unveiled in a svelte 1:45?It wasn't gory enough.This one, for me, is more of a comment on where we're at as a society right now than anything else. We're immune to violence, at this point. We've seen limbs blown off in Saving Private Ryan, we've seen all sorts of horror and macabre violent acts in Fury, Inglorious Bastards and Braveheart, to name but a few.When people say to me 'It wasn't gory enough' I feel like slapping them in the face and asking; 'What is wrong with you, man?!' Dunkirk may not show the inner workings of the human body after a gunshot wound, but it has more than its fair share of tragedy and pain. If the thought of being crushed by a sinking ship as it slams up against a dock isn't scary or gory enough for you, well then you my friend are completely desensitized at this point. There were plenty of terrible deaths in Dunkirk, and Nolan makes it perfectly clear how terrifying it must have been for teenage Tommys to have been there, without throwing limbs around the place like Mel Gibson after a couple of pre-shoot drinks.There wasn't enough stuff!There are a few who think that more stuff equals quality. Erroneous. You can have all the CGI in the World and end up with garbage like Avatar or The Phantom Menace. Yes, Dunkirk, the historical event, was a sprawling mess, with ships sinking left, right and center, and thousands of soldiers pouring onto the beach, but Nolan made his choice, he wanted reality and he skipped CGI almost compl[...]

John Wick 2: Marvel As Keanu Reeves Kills Lots Of People!


John Wick 2 has received much praise across the movie community, including a high aggregate score on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes too. It’s being called all sorts of nice things, and, great, that’s lovely.

Man kills many other men - but LOOK AT THOSE SUITS!!!

I had a chance to catch it last night, and, I am still pretty much in a daze.

Let me summarize John Wick 2 for you.

A handsome assassin wanders through various stages of something akin to a video game, sometimes in New York, sometimes in Rome, shooting dead bearded hench-men types, and almost always, without fail, utilizing a gruesome kill shot to the head. In 60-70% of his execution style killings you can see the blood spray outwards from the bullet impact. In fairness, the titular character does introduce a little variety, using car doors, knives and a pencil to kill those same, mostly bearded, hench-men types when a gun isn’t readily available.

Essentially, it’s 2 hours of Keanu Reeves killing people.

There’s also a cute dog, and lots of loud noises and music, and there are many lovely looking Italian suits.

That’s. It.

You can dress a dog up any way you want to, but, at the end of the day, it’s still a dog. Wick has some fantastic scenery, those beautiful Italian suits and an exciting, gritty soundtrack, but when all is said and done the movie is literally 2 hours of Keanu Reeves killing people,

Maybe that’s something that interests you. There was a guy sitting a few seats to my left who was certainly into it. He was about 400lbs and had purchased pretty much all of the food available. In between massive gulps of popcorn, he would guffaw loudly at the more ridiculous on-screen deaths. Particularly the one with the pencil, he loved that one. Almost choked laughing at that one.

So maybe you’re like that guy and you find head-shot, execution style death funny. Cool, maybe that explains the high scores this movie is getting.

Or, maybe it’s just the fancy Italian suits.

I just don’t know anymore.

''Have you seen my beautiful Italian cut suits?''

The Great NFL MVP Robbery Of 2016


Up until this weekend Tom Brady was the favorite for the NFL MVP with the polls and the bookies. Seemingly out of nowhere, Matt Ryan is now hot favorite with both, despite his five losses. Matt Ryan v Tom BradySomething doesn’t feel right about this. As of last week Tom Brady was the hot favorite for the NFL MVP award. I want to punch myself in the face for using this word, but nevertheless here it is, mysteriously, and despite a terrific final, winning, interception free game against Miami, in Florida no less, Brady is all of a sudden placing second to five game losing Matt Ryan of the Falcons.Um, what?Yes, Matt Ryan, who lost FIVE NFL games in 2016, has taken over the polls and indeed the betting for the NFL MVP race. Let’s get one thing straight first, I like Matt Ryan, I think he’s a terrific player, and should Brady ever retire, I would love nothing more than for the Patriots to trade for Ryan and have him steer the good ship New England onto its next dynasty. Pie in the sky, obviously, I am just illustrating that I’m a Ryan fan and have been since his Boston College days. Brady and Ryan's season stats are very close. They are almost identical actually, particularly if you average out Brady’s over a full, 16 game season. For example, if Brady played 16 games he was on a pace to toss 37 touchdowns. Ryan’s stats are a couple of points higher and that speaks to a very consistent season, however you can’t but take notice of the 7 interceptions.Sam Monson of PFF wrote a brilliant article about Ryan a couple of months ago and reading it (and indeed watching Ryan) you come away with the impression he’s a super talented gun slinger who sometimes is a bit loose with the rock. Hence 7 picks and extrapolated out further, hence 5 team losses for the Falcons in 2016. Some in the Ryan camp are apologetically using Brady’s 4 game suspension as a reason Matty Ice should take the trophy. They’re suggesting that Brady lost out on yards and TDs via the gap in games, and technically they are correct. The problem with that argument is you have to use it both ways. Matt Ryan lost 5 (Five!) games, Brady lost 1 (and in that loss they had the ball at the 1 yard line and probably should have at least tied the game). Call it both ways, as they say. For me, a major part of the MVP award is the value that player brought to his team and their success story, ultimately measured by wins. Matt Ryan contributed a great deal to a good Atlanta team but lost five games. I would openly wonder has an NFL MPV team ever lost as many as five games before?Tom Brady has just as good a season statistically as Ryan, better in some categories, and only lost once all year long. Last I checked it was Most Valuable Player, not 'Guy with slightly better stats in some categories but lost FOUR more games). The good news is Brady will take this insult and put it to good use. Plenty of football yet to be played, but we could very well see Brady v Ryan in the Superbowl. If that happens, unless you're a Falcons fan, I can bet I know where your money would be. [...]

The Amazing Bradley Lowery


Next time you’re sitting there worrying about something trivial, spare a thought for Bradley Lowery. Bradley and the Sunderland mascotBradley, an incredible young man, is suffering from neuroblastoma, a cancer which attacks the nervous system. He has been fighting it for over 3 years now and has had some tough news from doctors recently, suggesting further treatment might be unsuccessful. Incredibly, Bradley, a huge Sunderland fan, has kept a warm smile on his face throughout the prolonged treatment. He’s a glowing young man, with an infectious grin, and he’s touching hearts and minds all over the football and extended World.The outpouring of empathy for Bradley, from all corners, is a sight to behold, and hopefully something that keeps him and his family going, in their steep climb up a seemingly insurmountable hill. Bradley meets Irish star Seamus ColemanThe support for Bradley’s fight kicked into a new gear in September, when Sunderland faced Everton in the Premier League. Sunderland had (and have continued to) done some great things with raising support for Bradley, and when Everton got involved, it seemed to really raise the levels of awareness around the UK and indeed globally. Everton deserve considerable praise for raising $200,000 towards the 5-year old’s cause.Here’s Bradley on that matchday. If you’re a Dad, it gets hard to watch from the 50 second mark. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Maybe the thing about the footballing element is the way it has brought the absolute best out from our footballing idols. Sure, we love them, and our hopes and dreams rise and fall with them, but, try being a Sunderland fan, it’s tough work lately! However, Bradley’s fight has brought the best out of Sunderland’s players, and indeed from opposition players and teams. More than ‘the best’, it has brought empathy, humanity and touching shows of support on a grand scale. Figures from across football have come to his support. There’s been terrific messages of support from Robbie Fowler, John Terry, Alan Shearer and many others. Check out some of the mentions on Bradley’s Twitter account. I believe Bradley is getting all this attention from footballing icons and role models (and of course fans) because he himself is a role model. He’s a force of nature, remaining positive, happy and dignified despite the road blocks life has put in front of him. He’s an amazing little man.More about BradleyBradley’s family have a website which you can visit here, and you can find out more about the little guy there or indeed make donations towards his brave fight. They also have a Facebook page here, where the brave family provide updates on the treatment he’s getting and also the support from around the World. They are also on Twitter here.You can also send your best wishes to Bradley at the below address. The great lad himself has asked for as many Christmas cards as possible.Bradley's fight C/O 5 Attlee Avenue Blackhall rocks Hartlepool TS27 4BY.Bradley Lowery[...]

Make Facebook Great Again.


Facebook is under more scrutiny than usual, and rightly so. The social network behemoth found itself in the wrong place at the wrong time to some extent. As the incredible cascade of media noise around the US presidential election peaked, Facebook in turn became the single biggest media delivery source on the planet Earth. At a time when it could have done a World of good, Facebook instead was a major purveyor in the worst kind of misinformation seen perhaps ever in Human history. These statements are made entirely apolitically, by the way. I am a left leaning centrist personally, however I am not solely alluding to the deluge of right wing, fake articles that did the rounds on Facebook in the run up to November 8th. I acknowledge fully there were also fake liberal articles designed clumsily to do the same as their right leaning counterparts. Independent reviews have found that as many as 38% of the news articles on Facebook were fake right wing articles, with 16% leaning left.  The fact is, Facebook has a big problem. Whether it likes it or not it is a massive media giant, and with that should come some responsibility. Instead, the Facebook board is essentially running around watching the flames build, putting its hands over its ears and singing loudly ‘there’s nothing wrong, there’s nothing wrong!’. What exactly is the problem? In short, various groups are hijacking Facebook with landslides of fake news articles, and vast swathes of Facebook’s community of users are falling for it hook, line and sinker. News stories such as ‘How Hillary Funded Assassination Of American Soldiers In Iraq’ have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of shares and interactions on Facebook. Months ago, well before the election, you might recall Facebook attempted to do something about this, and their editorial team started to remove some of the crazier articles. As noted, the majority of the crazy is right wing (shocker!) and therefore most of the deleted articles were right wing. Cue the uproar from the right wing community, ‘Facebook is preventing us from free speech!’It’s important to keep in mind what we’re talking about here, these articles are absolute trash and many are being housed on fake newspapers such as the Denver Guardian, or the Boston Gazette, and being created in placed as far flung as Macedonia, where young college kids are building them to collect Google advertising money from stupid Americans clicking on their bait. That’s literally what’s happening. The right made such a noise defending these trash ‘articles’ that Facebook panicked, and, seriously, fired their entire editorial team. Yes, fired them, security escorting them off the premises. Why is all this happening? A clue to the motivation behind Facebook’s moves (or lack of) is the involvement in powerful billionaire Peter Thiel. You might remember him as the individual who had a personal vendetta against the Gawker media empire, and who financed Hulk Hogan’s ultimately successful legal battle against them. Thiel recently poured millions into the GOP presidential campaign, and has made no secret of this right wing leaning. In fact, he revels in it and is obviously starting to exert some serious pressure on the Facebook board to ensure it doesn’t become ‘too left’ leaning. What are we left with? A stream of endless ‘Hillary killed my husband’ and ‘Hillary worships the devil’ articles lapped up by the less intelligent among us. What can you, the average Facebook user, do?The answer, as with most everything, is to look within and take accountability for your own space. We can whine and complain as long and as often as we like, but the fact of the matter is we are (generally) not helpless beings without the ability to enforce change in front of us. Quite the contrary. We can mold everything around us, including Facebook. You can complain all day long about the way Facebook does things, but, it’s a service, a[...]

Would The Top Matt Damon Movies Be Better As DiCaprio Movies?


In May we hypothesized that the top box office hits for Leo DiCaprio would be better if they starred Matt Damon. This all came off the back of The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, comment that ''I believe every DiCaprio movie would be just a little better as a Matt Damon movie.''. At the time we ended up with a 5-5 tie between the two great actors but noted that; In summary, does this 5-5 tie come anywhere close to proving Simmons’ somewhat outrageous comment? Not really, no. Not really, for two reasons. First, Damon only barely got the nod for most of his 5 wins. DiCaprio absolutely annihilated the suggestion with most of his 5 wins. For example, going back to The Wolf, there’s no way Damon improves on that performance, in any imaginary scenario possible. So, the 5-5 tie is at best a precarious position for Damon. The second reason? Simmons’ original hypothesis can only be fully fleshed out be visiting the same topic upon Damon’s movies. Could DiCaprio have made Damon’s top 10 movies ‘better’? Well guess what, it's time to find out. It's time to put DiCaprio in ten of the most famous Matt Damon roles and ask, would Leo have done a better job than Matt? width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Rounders10. Rounders.Rounders shouldn't technically be on this list. It sits currently at joint 32nd on Matt Damon's all-time box office list. The fact is however, despite its slow start at the box office, Rounders has become a cult classic and an essential Matt Damon classic. That out of the way, would DiCaprio in the Damon role improve Rounders? Well, it would definitely have been a different movie. Better? There is a goofy likeability at the heart of Rounders. Whether it's the fun, quasi sleazy, late-night-drinks soundtrack, Edward Norton's boisterous 'Worm' or John Malkovich's over the top Teddy KGB, Rounders might not be technically the greatest movie of all time, but it's a very, very likeable movie. Adding DiCaprio, instead of Damon, might have brought a level of seriousness and perhaps a depth, but that wouldn't have fitted in the context in which Rounders works. So, no, Rounders would not have been better had DiCaprio played Damon's role.Matt Damon 1-0.9. The Talented Mr. Ripley.Ripley did surprisingly well at the box office, taking in almost $90 million, which back in the 90s was decent. It's a terrific, well paced and stylish movie, and, perfectly cast with Damon in the lead role. I say that last part with authority primarily due to one line, delivered early on as Damon meets Law on the beach for the first time. ''Dickie Greenleaf? It's Tom, Tom Ripley, we were at Princeton together.'' Here's the thing, if that's DiCaprio, and he's standing there delivering that line, you just know, immediately, that something is afoot. The audience knows, Dickie Greenleaf knows, we all know immediately that something is not right and this dude is up to something, for sure. With Damon's Ripley, you don't know. He's too goofy in those little yellow shorts and with that foppish hair, way too goofy, to be up to anything, surely? Damon's early innocence and goof lends itself perfectly to the Ripley character. Pushing DiCaprio into that role might have brought some extra menace, but at the cost of the innocence and believability of the Damon Ripley, so essential to the story. Matt Damon 2-0.8. Elysium.At the heart of this exercise we're not judging a movie, we're judging whether one certain actor would do better if they replaced another in said movie. In this case, with Elysium, it's hard to argue DiCaprio wouldn't add a certain grit and tenacity to the Damon role. For whatever reason, Damon is oddly not given much humor, physical or verbal, to work with in Elysium, and that's kind of the point in bringing Damon into a role like this, see The Martian for a perfect example. In this role, with this script, in this movie, DiCaprio[...]

The Red Sox And Coming Back From Post Season Deficits


The Boston Red Sox are 0-2 down to the Cleveland Indians and you might be thinking to yourself 'Haven't we been here before?' Well, pat yourself on the back, you are correct. Recent Red Sox playoff history is littered with dramatic comebacks. Four in fact, three of which culminated in the World Series title.The Red Sox don't really start their postseason title chase until they're in a holeWe might be stretching a little, but, you could reasonably conclude that the modern era Red Sox team has to be in a serious hole before it decides to start playing and go win the big one.Here are the most recent examples of this.2013 ALCS - down 1-0 to Detroit, won 4-3.2007 ALCS - down 3-1 to Cleveland, won 4-32004 ALCS - down 3-0 to New York, won 4-32003 ALDS - down 2-0 to Oakland, won 3-2The 2013 ALCS looked grim after game one. The big concern going into the series was the Tiger's excellent pitching. They shut us down in game one and had a big lead going into the eighth inning of game two. Then this happened. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">It's safe to say Boston's hopes were very low going into game five of the 2007 ALCS. Down 3-1 and looking dead and buried, the Red Sox turned it around completely and absolutely destroyed Cleveland 30 runs to 5 the next three games. Amazing turnaround, the size of which shouldn't diminish the scale of the comeback, from 1-3 down to 4-3 series winners.What can you say about the 2004 ALCS, other than it was a great time to be alive. Not so much after game three, when things looked pretty gloomy, but the astonishing Red Sox comeback was a defining moment for the entire franchise, a beautiful gift to its lovelorn fan base. One we'll never forget.The 2003 ALDS comeback over a good Oakland team is often overlooked as the Sox failed to finish the job and win the series. However, down 2-0 to a very talented, young, Oakland side, Boston dug in and came back with a 3-2 series win, catapulting them on to a historic showdown with the Yankees. New York took the '03 meeting, but perhaps Boston started to learn against Oakland that no deficit is insurmountable, and goodness did they put that to good use the following year.Hey, things look bleak going into game three tonight, but as a great man once said..''Don't let us win today''. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">[...]

The NY Giants Are 'Comfortable' Hiring A Man Who Hits Women And Children.


The New York Giants are reinstating kicker Josh Brown after his one game NFL suspension. Normally this would not be big news to those of us who aren't Giants fans, however in this instance this is very interesting. Sadly it's interesting for all the wrong reasons.Brown is in the news because he was arrested for being abusive towards his now ex-wife. She has accused him of violence against her, her daughter and her two sons from another marriage on no less than 20 occasions. He has violated a protective order placed by a court of law on him several times, including once where he was arrested for this act. Among the more harrowing details, documented diligently by this Deadspin article, are repeated emotional abuses, verbal and physical assault on her sons and, most chillingly of all, attacking her physically while she was pregnant with their daughter. Josh Brown can stand in front of reporters and act brave and sum his abusive behavior up by calling it 'Just a moment' (literally how he has defined 20 plus assault allegations, restraining orders and his own admission that he was at fault), but all that does is show he is not repentant for his actions and should not be of gainful employ in the NFL, in a league that allegedly champions integrity above everything. If you bother to read through the quotes and details Brown is clearly a broken idiot, a dangerous coward, and doesn't really deserve column inches. What's really saddening and disappointing is the actions, or lack of same, of the NFL and the New York Giants, and, to a lesser extent, some of the press.First to the latter. Mostly the media are busy reporting this from a football perspective, with little or often no reference to Molly Brown, Josh's ex wife, the lady who he abused emotionally and physically over a number of years, by his own admission. One article, on something called 'Giants Wire' goes as far to implicitly blame Molly Brown for the situation, saying;''As more and more information on the Brown’s strained relationship came out, it was eventually revealed that Josh had been on the receiving end of domestic violence himself, with Molly having allegedly kicked him in the ribs during one particular dispute.''Molly Brown defended herself on one occasion and the idiot who wrote the above deems that fit to print in the context that Brown himself has admitted to attacking, emotionally and physically, his smaller, more fragile wife on multiple occasions? Pretty pathetic stuff.Thankfully some of the media, not just Deadspin, are taking this seriously. Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News writes;''The NFL suspended Brown for one game, a pathetic slap on the wrist but nonetheless an acknowledgment of his wrongdoing.''That's of key importance to note. The NFL wouldn't have suspended Brown had they not thought he was guilty. The suspension is a clear message that yes, he was an abusive coward who attacked his ex wife. That's where the real issues start. If someone is guilty of physical abuse of their spouse, is the NFL really saying that all that is worth is a one game ban? This is a league that pontificates about integrity at every given opportunity, a league that famously bans players four games for being 'generally aware' of tampering with footballs. Finally, the Giants. The Giants claim they have conducted their own investigation and with that in mind they say they are comfortable with their decision to sign Brown to a two-year, $4 million contract this spring. They are comfortable with hiring a man who has beaten emotionally and physically his then-pregnant wife? That's an unusual thing to be 'comfortable' with. I don't know why they think it's important to justify this ugly lack of judgement on their part with a glib throwaway comment about their 'own investigation', perhaps the Giants need to be reminded that the court of law and indeed even the NFL are superior to them in h[...]

On DeShon Elliot, Cheap Shots and Texas Football Fans


On Sunday Texas beat Notre Dame in what many are describing as an instant-classic type game, complete with several lead changes and dramatic incidents, perhaps none more so than in the third quarter when Notre Dame were threatening. Torri Hunter Jnr (yes, that Torii Hunter!) looked certain to score a crucial touchdown when he was hit by DeShon Elliot.Here's the hit frameborder="0" height="480" src="" width="480">Reviewing the social media and subsequent news reports, the hit was dirty. The general consensus is that the referees and the replay booth simply missed the fact that Elliot clearly made contact high, to Hunter's head, and the play should have been ruled 'Targeting'. Naturally one group had a serious view the other way, a view they were not shy about sharing or defending. I shared the hit on Twitter shortly after the event, and commented that it looked very dirty, to me. I was instantly assaulted by a dozen or so Texas fans, who used various types of colorful language to disagree with me. They touched all the usual topics in their tweets, homophobia, racism and so forth. The usual. I dealt with Texas football fans before, when I had the audacity to suggest that Jonny Manziel was not going to work out in the NFL. Let's just say I know what to expect from Texan college football fans.Out of morbid curiosity I browsed down through the acidic timelines of the knuckle dragging clowns that assaulted me on Twitter, just to see what level of cretin was behind the vitriol. Every single one of the dozen or so I reviewed had the following attributes. They were all white males and looked generally between 30-60 or so, although one kid looked like he was about 12. Our outlier! They were all unabashed Texas Longhorn fans, no shock there of course. Interestingly, and perhaps not wildly surprising given their pathetic usage of the English language, they were all clear Trump fans also, half of them belching this out for all to see on their Twitter biography. What was most interesting of all, each and every one of them had a clearly stated view on the whole Colin Kaepernick mess. I will give you one guess which way they voted on that one. To a person, they rebuked the San Francisco QB for not showing respect with his actions. These angry individuals demanded respect to be shown to the American anthem.Respect.Just not in football. Just not to me. Just not to Notre Dame. Just not to Tori Hunter Jnr, who has been mocked relentlessly by Texas fans and described as a 'woman' for not 'taking his hit' and shutting up. Respect would seem to have certain caveats added to it, if this little cross section (and I do apologize to regular, normal, nice Texan college football fans, I know you're out there too!) is anything to go by. To finish, this was not a clean hit, by the way. It was a filthy hit, and emblematic of all the problems being experienced in both college and pro football. Tackling is the act in sports of taking a player down using your arms and body, wrapping the player up and bringing him to the ground. What Elliot did was pure thuggery, and if that's the way they're teaching tackling these days, football is going to last a couple of decades and then be gone. That's too dangerous, and there's simply no excuse for it. Football could learn a lot from Rugby Union on this point. Rugby teaches tackling very well, and manages to be a very rough, manly sport while also generally assuring the safety of its players. They do this proactively and quite progressively, largely by teaching kids to tackle the right way, but also penalizing any hit about the shoulders or to the head region. All this and meanwhile the fan-base manages to continue to enjoy their sport without a reactive, knee-jerk complaint that the sport is turning 'soft'. Times change, people, as does body size and the powe[...]

Jason Bourne Review


Looking at the mediocre reviews for Jason Bourne, you have to think perhaps this entry into the series is handicapped somewhat by the success of its predecessors. Forgetting the Jeremy Renner 'project', the four Bourne movies Matt Damon starred in are scored as follows on Rotten Tomatoes; 83%, 81%, 93% and a clear drop to 56% for the most recent effort. Personally, having seen it twice, I think this disparity is a little unfair. I'd grade Jason Bourne (2016) at around 75%, not too far off the three Bournes that came before it (again, dropping poor old Jerry R into the waste basket). Sure, there are a few aspects that drop the score a little from the 80s-plus, but there is also a lot to be excited about within.To duly note the drawbacks. On pure look-and-feel it's immediately recognizable this isn't Identity, Supremacy or even Ultimatum. Identity and Supremacy reveled in small details, travel and even the details of human emotions, such as romance. Ultimatum had more of a Global feel about it and I suspect the most recent entry into the series is doubling down on this aspect further. Bourne has done extremely well on a Global scale, and I would imagine this has the producers grinning from ear to ear, and laughing all the way to the bank, too. Remember, it took some time for Identity to become popular, I think they took no chances here and stripped out some nuance in order to land a wider audience from the get-go.The dialog is a little clunky also, it has to be admitted. This is not a Coen brothers movie, that much is sure. Again I think this suggests the producers wanted this Bourne to be as popular in say, Germany, as it is in Italy, Turkey and China. There were three or four moments where the characters deliberately repeated themselves to really nuke a point home to the audience. Depending on your level of frustration with Globalization and Hollywood movies, that point could prove a stickler for you.One somewhat unusual complaint, if you've seen it, did you notice how Bourne has apparently drawn a line in the sands of style and reverted back to outfits that would have been at home in 70s adaptations of the series? The Bourne movies are all about progress, in technology, political thinking and spy-craft. They have also always been pretty slick and stylish. This Bourne, however, is very much your Dad's Bourne, a thick, heavy looking leather jacket, jeans any 57 year old would feel comfortable in and a haircut that would be at home in 1950s America. The jacket in particular is an odd choice. I would like to know the wardrobe team's reasoning there. A heavy leather jacket in Greece on a hot summer's night? That doesn't seem wildly functional to me.Whatever happened to this Bourne, the stylish one?Those relatively minor complaints out of the way, on to the good stuff. First, the audacious set pieces, of which there are several. You won't find any spoilers here, suffice to say this Bourne is perhaps the most ambitious in terms of pure, raw action of all the entries to date. The opening, sprawling, set piece in Greece, during what presumably was meant to be an anti-austerity riot, is so good it could double as a news broadcast on the turmoil in Greece. The director, Paul Greengrass, is brilliant at these set piece action segments and he really shows of his skills in Bourne, be it Greece, Germany, England or, finally, in Las Vegas. Bourne is, above all else, an astonishingly raw action movie.There is nuance to be found, among the action shots. The second time I saw it I caught sight of Bourne showing off his light fingers, quick hands, as he tooled up for a mission. Very gentle and yet super detailed stuff, something you might miss at first glance. There's plenty of detail like that, and the movie has a very contemporary feel, with references to Edward Snowden and Faceboo[...]

20th Anniversary Of Baseball Ireland's Trip To Hull


Almost exactly twenty years ago, the Irish baseball team travelled to Hull, England, for the Pool B European Championships, our first foray into European Competition, not really knowing what to expect. The team assembled were young, inexperienced and had never taken the field against another international side. The Irish Baseball League hadn't even started serious play as yet (that would come a year later in '97), effectively the team had only played a handful of pick-up games. Despite all of this, it proved to be a great adventure full of great experiences and learnings. What could have been a disaster and a quick end for the Baseball Ireland program was ground into a meaningful expedition that set the program up for years to come, from '96 through to the silver medal in Antwerp in 2006, the final year that Ireland meaningfully challenged for medals in Pool A or B in European competition (the team has been rebuilding since). With the 20th anniversary year in mind, I revisited my notes on the Hull tournament and added some 2016 comments, which you can see below (in resplendent navy blue). Special thanks to Darran O'Connor for the fantastic photos. It's hard to believe it has been 20 years, but, here we go...The Irish team in Hull, 1996HullEuropean Seniors Championship"B" Pool Great Britain - 1996Preparation for Hull consisted of a few months with two of Major League Baseball International’s (MLBI) coaches, or ‘envoys’. Pat Doyle and ‘Gentleman’ Jim Reach. Both were and still are well respected in the MLBI organisation, indeed Coach Doyle is currently the head of MLBI.Cormac 2016: I am unsure if this is still the case in regards the coaches, although I imagine MLBI has undergone a few face-lifts in the ensuing years. The MLBI website isn't exactly instructive.It was our first experience with US coaching as a team. Mick and Mike had actually attended spring training for a few sessions with the LA Dodgers, Mike took some batting practice pitches, a few brushbacks and some colourful language from Tommy Losorda. Apart from the two Godfather’s of Irish baseball this was the teams first experience of high level US coaching. Both sides took a while to get used to the arrangement.Boy does Mike love telling the above story. Mick Manning and Mike Kindle are basically the Godfathers of Irish baseball. There are a number of crucial folks who got the ball rolling, the Mitchells (there's about nine of them), Anne Murphy and people like Brian Connolly and Paul Peake, but without Mick and Mike, there's no Baseball Ireland, simple as that.The coaching staff in '96. From the left, Coach Doyle, Anne Murphy, Mick Manning, Mike Kindle and Coach Reach. Coach Doyle's son in front. Cute shirt!In America if your coach tells you to ‘jump’ you ask, ‘how high Coach?’ In Ireland, when a coach asks the same question the reply in those early days was ‘Hang on a second just finishing this cigarette.’Team Ireland 1996.Coach Reach actually had to stop a training session once to ask Fiachra to put his cigarette out. That’s the way it was. There certainly was never any disrespect, however there was definitely a culture clash. Coach Reach was the more approachable of the two and spent quite a lot of time with the players, often joining in animated conversations at the bar.  Coach Doyle had actually brought his wife and young child with him and was therefore a little more withdrawn from the day-to-day goings on of the team. It certainly never affected his work however Coach Reach definitely got a little closer to the team.Twenty years on I think it's safe enough now to say, I for one did not enjoy the company of Coach's son. He, for some reason, thought it was funny to tell players that[...]

The Worst Team Mate Ever: Baseball Ireland Edition.


Playing a sport in a country where that given sport is a minority exercise often brings up funny situations. Baseball and indeed softball in Ireland are great examples of that. You get this 'big fish, small pond' syndrome where certain individuals think they are really something, when, in actual fact, they are not. This can manifest itself in all sorts of shapes and sizes and sometimes the results are hilarious. Sometimes it's as simple as someone making an absolute buffoon of themselves over email. The great sports website Deadspin occasionally posts funny emails from amateur teams and individuals, and I have a beauty to share with you. A few years ago a guy I played baseball with for a little while left my club team in inglorious fashion, via the media of angry-rant email, in fact. A little bit about this chap, for context and so you get how funny this email is. A mediocre ball player, this fella thinks he is someone. His ego does not match his output, he has considerably out-punted his coverage. He used to send us extravagant stories as to how he led the Spanish baseball league in all sorts of stats, but when we looked into it, he hadn't played in the actual league, instead was splashing around in some Mickey Mouse, glorified pick-up games. He would constantly yack on about his skills and, if things didn't go his way, he would just change teams. He changed squads twice in Ireland before joining my team, and I believe has changed squads twice since sending this nuclear fart of an email below. If my math is correct, and I think it is, he's played for 5 Irish baseball teams. Yeah, that guy. This guy is actually relatively popular amongst his peers, however those that have read his hilarious emails down the years, and listened to his bizarrely narcissistic and exaggerated stories of self-success on the diamond, know that he's a simple blow-hard and a terrible team-mate who will stab you in the back quicker than you can say 'Douche Bag' if things aren't going his way.What led to this hilariously inept email below? This guy played every game when available over a couple of years, and was slotted in to various positions on the field, despite a an anemic batting average. An enjoyable side-note, when faced with his pathetic statistics, he actually accused one of the team co-captains, one of the most honorable and responsible men I have ever met, of 'cooking the books' to make him look bad.  That's the kind of deluded clown we're dealing with here. The team did all it could to make him happy, and he certainly wasn't lacking playing time. So why the anger? For one, he was behind me in the team's pitching rotation, and as you can see below he singles me out for a couple of choice stabs in the back. A couple of weeks prior to this email I had a back and forth with him about caring for his injury over email, and I always tried to support him as a team-mate. As you'll see, apparently that wasn't enough for this guy.Let's cut to the chase, shall we.The email in full, for your absolute entertainment. Unedited save for a couple of added, contextual comments and redacting names to protect the innocent and indeed the moronic. Spelling mistakes left as is, again, for your pure unadulterated enjoyment (bear in mind this was written by an adult male, not by some kind of exceptional chimpanzee that recently, with the help of scientists, 'mastered' the English language).Enjoy, in all its glory.Hey [Redacted team co-captain] and [Redacted team co-captain], Decided to boycott your team man,after long deliberation with my freinds,familly and colleagues about how things have been handled on the team,ive decided im not happy playin for you,being benched is just completetly embarrasing for one [Editors note - bear in m[...]

In Response To The Irish Times Article On American Sports


Dear Sir,I was very disappointed to see column inches dedicated to the erroneous and indeed lazy article by Brian O’Connor on American sports. Normally in the journalistic World, ignorance of a subject precludes writers from tackling same, Mr. O’Connor seems to wear that same ignorance of American sports like a badge of honour. His article is wildly inaccurate on a number of levels, and is actually quite offensive in parts.He appears to be making an odd case that American sports are not popular in the rest of the World, and offers a few glib remarks to back this up, but very little of actual substance. Indeed, he takes a quick swipe at baseball and yet doesn’t actually tackle the game in the body of his content. It’s as if he awoke, saw news of Fourth of July celebrations and snidely thought, ‘Screw them, their sports are crap!’. From an Irish perspective I have to wonder if Mr. O’Connor knows anything about sports in Ireland outside of a seemingly very narrow understanding on his part. Basketball is absolutely enormous across Ireland, and indeed Irish keeper Darren Randolph’s father, Ed, is a legend in Irish basketball circles. The game is played in schools and clubs all over the country and has enjoyed several years of huge success as it makes it mark as one of the bigger sports outside of the biggest players such as soccer, GAA and rugby. Mr. O’Connor’s poorly argued article would fall down on the topic of basketball alone, however he is also hugely incorrect when it comes to American Football and indeed baseball too.American Football has been growing steadily in Ireland since the 1980s and is home to a vibrant league, the IAFL, with thousands of registered members both North and South of the border. One of the joys of the sport in Ireland is that it is played by teams North and South, fostering sporting ties in broad communities. It is one of the biggest ‘minority’ sports in Ireland, and its thousands of members should be greatly offended by Mr. O’Connor’s lazy article (in which he actually goes out of his way to offend those very people in a bizarrely arrogant sentence). Baseball is smaller in terms of membership and yet ironically better placed internationally than its footballing brothers. The Irish National baseball team has taken part in European Championship tournaments since 1996 and has achieved medals and notable scalps along the way. We’ve beaten several big European teams (Austria, Belgium, Finland and England, twice, on their home patch, to name but a few) and have achieved bronze and silver medals at European tournaments in ’04 and ’06. The team is growing as is the sport in Ireland. The Irish Baseball League contains teams from literally every corner of Ireland, again North and South, and is developing and growing annually. Both football and baseball have huge followings all through Europe. As a member of the Irish baseball team from ’96 to ’06, I had the huge privilege to travel the World in an Irish jersey, and I can tell you, there are some beautiful baseball facilities all over Europe, in places as disparate as Karlovac Croatia, Prague, Hull, Vienna, Stockholm, Croydon, Regensburg Germany and Antwerp. Baseball is absolutely enormous in France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands in particular.Mr. O’Connor’s article is wrong on both sides of the Atlantic. In his shopping list of sporting clichés, he appears to copy and paste in the old refrain that soccer, football, isn’t big in America. I would openly wonder has Mr. O’Connor bothered studying the game in the USA lately, as it’s absolutely huge at this point. Huge at all levels. Soccer is pushing the established sports at school, college and professional level all across the States[...]

The NBA Finals, Fixed? Kind Of.


Look, I know, there’s nothing worse than a bad conspiracy theory. For example, I know of actual real human beings who think that the United States Federal Government actually want to ‘take away’ all the guns, and their 2nd amendment rights with them. Think about that for a second, what would President Obama do, start driving around in a pickup and collect them all? It’s beyond asinine. Anyway, you probably know a few sloppy conspiracy theories yourself. You definitely have a friend or two that are into them, I know I do.

However! These NBA Finals, am I right?  I’m not saying they are fixed to a particular outcome, but I think it is perfectly reasonable to hypothesize that the league is trying to extend to a six or seven game series.

Why? That should be blatantly obvious, money. Imagine the difference in overall dollar revenue for the NBA between a four game sweep and a dramatic seven game series. A game seven alone must be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising revenue alone to the NBA. It is absolutely in their interest to ensure this series doesn’t slink off into the off-season off the back of a four to five game affair.

Imagine how easy it would be for the NBA to quietly instruct its referees to achieve this? So easy. Just over-officiate the home games in favor of the home teams, and very few will notice. The vocal home crowds will be baying for the calls anyway, and the TV audience doesn’t really get a say, apart from some fart like noises on the social networks.

We’re seeing exactly that in these finals, the zebras officiating heavily in favor of the home teams, and, I write this as someone who’s rooting for the Warriors and Curry.

Games one and two, LeBron and the Cavs were not only beaten to a pulp by Golden State, they were smothered heavily by the men in charge. Watching Twitter react to LeBron repeatedly being called for travelling was a treat. Watching LeBron react to being continuously called for travelling was the cherry on top. LeBron doesn’t get called for travelling, be it 5 steps or the 7 steps he was taking in games one and two. It wasn’t just that, everything even close to a 50/50 went Golden State’s way.
Then last night, in Cleveland, the mirror opposite happened. Curry, Thompson and crew couldn’t buy a call. The horrific moving pick that Mosgov set on Thompson should have been investigated by Cleveland Homicide, it was that bad, yet amazingly the zebras kept their whistles quiet. The entire game they called anything close in Cleveland’s favor.

Keep an eye on this on Friday during game four. If a lot of calls seem to go Cleveland’s way, well, don’t say I didn’t tell ya!

Would The Top DiCaprio Movies Be Better As Matt Damon Movies?


Say what you want about former ESPN writer Bill Simmons, but, he’s not afraid to make pretty outlandish claims. In a press release to highlight his forthcoming HBO series, Simmons said that, and I quote; ''I believe every DiCaprio movie would be just a little better as a Matt Damon movie.''That’s a pretty astonishing comment right there, and for many, a little too crazy to even give pause for thought. I however have always enjoyed all three elements of this sentence. He's not everyone's cup of tea, but I'm still a Simmons fan. He's still an entertaining read. DiCaprio and Damon are two of my favorite actors, both definitely top 5, with ease. Therefore, Simmons’s seemingly bonkers suggestion still made me think, ‘Could he be right? Could the movies of Leonardo DiCaprio be better with Matt Damon in the leading role instead?Well, let’s take DiCaprio’s ten biggest movies and find out! Naturally we’ll then flip it over and partake in the same exercise but with DiCaprio in Damon’s place, but for now, let’s focus on the DiCaprio question.To the movies!Number 10 – The AviatorWe’re off to a good start! The Aviator is a movie that you could conceivably argue might be better with Matt Damon in the lead role, instead of wily old Leo DiCaprio. This is by no means a slight in any shape or form on DiCaprio’s at times majestic performance, it’s more of a knock on us, the audience. The Aviator is loved by critics and put forth as a sample of DiCaprio’s greatest work. The audience, by and large, liked it, but didn’t love it. It’s a sweeping epic with great attention to period detail, and sometimes that just doesn’t resonate so well with the average cinema goer. What does Damon bring to a movie? One major element is a kind of lighthearted, guy next door ‘feel’ that in turn lightens the movie a little. The Aviator could have lightened up a little with Damon in the lead role. Again, I’m being careful here as DiCaprio was superb, but for the sake of this overall argument, let’s give this one to Damon on the basis he would have brought some levity to the project.1-0 Matt Damon. Number 9 – The Wolf Of Wall StreetWumph. That’s the sound of Simmons’s hypothesis splatting into the ground from up on high. DiCaprio completely owned this role, and turned it into seventy billion memes that we can never un-see. DiCaprio very much made The Wolf his own, and it is unimaginable to place any other actor at all in this role. 1-1 tied. Number 8 - Shutter IslandWait, what? Shutter Island is DiCaprio’s eighth highest grossing movie? Seriously? Yes, it’s true. Hard to believe, indeed, but true. To understand that you just have to know that Shutter was Leo’s second highest grossing opening movie ever, yes, ahead of Titanic and just behind Inception. I think it’s safe to say there was not much going on the weekend Shutter opened, otherwise there’s no way to understand a $41 million opening box office for such a movie. Shutter is entirely joyless. It’s technically brilliant, and quite chilling, but there isn’t a single element of joyful type entertainment to be had within. Again I had to double check in astonishment that this was DiCaprio’s eighth highest all time box office entry. You can probably see where this is going. Damn right Damon might have had some impact towards the positive if magically placed in DiCaprio’s place herein. There’s no reason to say he couldn’t improve a little on the role, and perhaps bring a bit of toothy charm to the lead role. He would definitely have played the shock and surprise as it all unraveled. That’s something he does well. Let’s move on, but let’s all agree, Damon could [...]

Sunderland Pull Off Great Escape Version 4.0


It has been an astonishing comeback by Sunderland. I am in the top 5% optimistic people in the World but even I had resigned myself to Sunderland playing in relative anonymity in the Championship next year, and subsequently missing out on next season’s 100 million euro EPL extra payment bonanza.Kone blasts home from close in to push Sunderland 2-0 upThe beautiful part of the Great Escape Version 4.0 was that it was done in style. Just a few tweaks, and Sunderland are suddenly a decent side again. A feisty, savvy and contextually aware manager in Big Sam. Four or five well judged signings and, everyone buying into the plan together. Manager, players and fans. The way the fans and players bought collectively into this was really uplifting and enjoyable.Defoe gets all the attention with his incredibly clutch goals, but Kone, Khazri, Kirschoff and indeed Borini were all crucial to the Great Escape, and all look right at home in Sunderland.Khazri is literally exactly the type of player Sunderland have been crying out for, for seemingly years and years. A playmaker, who can also score goals himself. An added bonus, he likes a tackle! Perfect for the North East.Two other players in particular deserve a big shout out, first Vito Mannone, who has his reward with a call up to the Italian Euro Championship squad. Mannone was nothing short of superb these last 2 months, and it’s great to see the big man get his dues after patiently working hard in training and waiting for his chance. A big shout out also to DeAndre Yedlin, who has gone from looking lost in January, to being a huge, impact player by May. Once again the future looks bright for that young man.You could see this escape coming in the last few weeks, as the crowd got more and more behind the players, who responded in kind with better and better outings.The Great Escape version 4.0 was epitomized, to me, by a simple moment in the Chelsea game. With Sunderland up 3-2 and trying to play out the last 10 minutes, Borini chased down a Chelsea defender in possession, waving his arms to get the crowd loud again. They responded with a massive roar and Sunderland, led by the literally heroic Lee Cattemole, tore into Chelsea for the final ten like their lives depended on it.Without totally losing my mind I want to suggest that Sunderland stayed up because a group of very well paid young man forgot their egos and wages for a moment and tapped into the incredible energy created by the massive, throbbing, roaring crowds at The Stadium Of Light, and played like their lives depended on it.That, in this day of mercenary players and million dollar contracts, is pretty fucking cool.[...]

Leicester City Cheated


Just so we’re all clear about this, Leicester City cheated to win the Premier League. ''Think anybody will notice?''It’s not up for debate either. In full context it’s glaringly obvious what they did. What’s not clear is why only a couple of publications are tackling this. I suspect it’s due to threats of litigation. However, yes, Leicester achieved Premier League glory by cheating. What level of cheating are we talking about here?In short, Leicester are paying their group of players much more than they are bringing in as legitimate revenue. They are hiding this fact behind fake loans, fake sponsorship of advertising space they have already sold and other financial theatricality and deception. Again, none of this is up for debate. They aren’t even denying it. These are facts. Let this sink in for a second. Leicester flat out cheated to win the league, and basically no one, or at least very few people,  are calling them to task for this.Digging a little deeper to illustrate, the Foxes shirts are sponsored by their owner's company (don’t you love where this is going already?!), but of course not directly. Instead, that company buys the sponsorship through a marketing company, with the end effect being increasing Leicester's sponsorship income significantly. The point of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules are that clubs should not be spending money they are not actually earning or creating themselves. The wheeling and dealing with the sponsorship alone increased Leicester's sponsorship revenues from £5.2 million to £16 million. This money directly built their current squad. All of this information is freely available in the public domain. There is nothing convoluted or tweaked to make Leicester look bad. This is what they did, they cheated the game in order to build a squad which could win the Premier League. Sure, they then went out and did the harder part, actually winning the thing, but they flat out cheated to put themselves in position to do same.The Guardian had covered this extensively in this article however they, nor anyone else, has brought out much on this lately. Again, I would highly suspect this is due to the threat of litigation. Perhaps we’ll see more in the coming weeks, but for now, it is what it is.The natural reaction to this is 'Well, everyone is doing it', and that's just false. The Premier League is in flux right now, open up to clubs like Leicester winning it, because of the very fact the clubs are adhering to FPP. With the exception of Leicester. Arsenal are a great example of a well run club that only spends what they legitimately bring in. Arsenal could easily manufacture the cash to bring in a couple more players to push them over the edge. However, they don't, and it comes back to bite them when their own fans turn on them. Personally I was brought up to root for the Under Dog, and I will do so most of the time. Not, however, when that dog cheats to win its prize. Leicester City cheated to win the Premier League.[...]

On Brady, The NFL And Reaching A Tipping Point


Deflategate, am I right? You know, this has been building and building, and this, to me, could be the tipping point for the NFL and I. I have a strong feeling I am not alone in that sentiment. The simple question is, what’s the point, at this stage? The NFL has really become the theater of the absurd.

Where to start?

Greg Hardy walks free, free to play sports and make inappropriate jokes about other player’s wives. Peyton Manning has his two potentially serious alleged transgressions wiped under the carpet faster than you can say ‘Protect Pappa John’s meal-ticket’. Roger Goodell earns $40 million a year doing, well, what, exactly?

It's not just the tangible elements that outrage, it’s the overall context that the NFL is forcing on its fan-base at this point. They appear to be saying;

‘’Hey, NFL fan, look we’re building an enormous, billion zillion dollar empire and what we’d really like you to do, as a pawn in all of this, is root passionately for your team, sure, that’s a given, but most of all, can you empty your wallets for us? And, we mean, really empty those wallets. We want you to soak up every little thing we throw at you, and when we’re done, we’ll color it pink and ask you to buy it again. We’re going to allow several really nasty people to play in this sport, by the way, but don’t worry about that, they still produce a lot of cash so we know you’re going to be on board. Along the way we might punish a few guys completely disproportionately however you’ll understand, we can’t have anyone potentially unmasking this venture for what it is. A gigantic money grab with no soul anymore.’’

So now we’re supposed to be OK with the NFL banning a player for 4 games for allegedly knowing some other guys let a bit of air out of a ball, despite the fact Aaron Rodgers and the smaller, squeakier Manning have openly admitted to doing same and not being punished for it.

We’re supposed to be OK with this despite the fact this is clearly not about the incident and more about the power struggle around it?

I’m not OK with this, and the worst part for me, after being all fired up about this last season, this time round, I don’t even care. Have it your way, NFL, let the misogynists, women beaters and HGH cheaters play. Ban the guys who work their butts off and do incredible things in their community. Yeah, that makes sense, NFL. Let’s go with that.


Boo! The Negativity Around Red Sox Opening Day


I dropped about six followers on Twitter these last few days (probably another six or seven after this!), and looking at them I understand immediately why. I am an outspoken defender of Pablo Sandoval, and to a lesser extent, Hanley Ramirez too. I find their treatment among a large, angry, disrespectful and noisy group of Red Sox fans on the social networks to be at best ugly, at worst, disgusting. Yes, everyone loves a bit or sarcastic humor, sure. But, the sheer level of vitriol leveled at Sandoval and also Ramirez is, at this point, nauseating. It really doesn’t matter who the players are involved here. My concern, for the psychological well-being of the people involved is, what on earth are you doing loudly booing a home team player on opening day? If you saw the footage of the Red Sox players being introduced to the home team crowd today, what stood out was a negative aspect. What stood out was thousands of buffoons booing Pablo Sandoval. A Red Sox player, a home team player.Now, if a player was guilty of something bad, I would understand to some extent. Harming another human, cheating at his sport, something along those lines, sure, knock yourself out, boo away to your little heart’s content. But Sandoval is guilty of nothing of the sort. He’s a bit overweight, and he isn’t performing to the levels we would expect for a player on his salary.  That’s the crux of it. If you are a Red Sox fan, one would assume you want your team to do well. Part of that would surely be supporting players in a slump to do better, right? Is booing going to fix anything? Is your ugly, negative projection on to this player going to do anything positive at all? I have so many questions for these people, those who stand up at a home opener and lustily boo a home town player. What’s wrong in your life that you have to boo loudly a home player on opening day?  I hate to go there but, are you taking your own over-eating and weight issues out on someone who is earning more than you, but suffering the same issues physically? That’s one thing I’d like to ask some of the overweight people I saw on twitter, Facebook and also from the feed of the home opener, booing Sandoval. Sure, you’re not paid millions, and I am guessing that’s at least of part of where your anger comes from, but really I am curious, what do you think the Booing is going to achieve?Of course, it’s never going to end. Some lurk is always going to boo. It happens everywhere, in every sport. It is undeniably louder than it used be, however. This angry, negative behavior is a snapshot of our current state of society, where someone as ugly as Trump can come to the fore, riding a wave of tangible anger right to the top. Make no mistake, fellow Boston fans, supporters of other teams are watching us and mocking us for this behavior. It’s getting louder and louder, and, it’s a really ugly look for a fan-base. [...]

Thirty Years Of Star Wars And Here We Go Again


This will give you an idea how old you had to be to go to the original Cinema showings of the first Star Wars. I was looking for pictures of the Forum Cinema, in Dun Laoghaire, now closed down, and most of the returned images in Google were in black and white. I am not kidding. Look for yourself.It didn't look like much from the outside, but the Forum Cinema was gorgeous on the inside.Understanding why Star Wars means to much to people my age is simple really. We just didn’t stand a chance. There was nothing like it back then, it blew the lid off for my age group, starting with Star Wars, all the way through Empire and on to Return. It is no exaggeration to say that Star Wars, and the subsequent sequels, acted as a background narrative to many of my peers and I in the 70s and 80s. The simple tale of good versus evil resonated for a variety of reasons and dragged us with it through the years, through the mixed-bag second batch of movies and all the way through to today and the JJ Abrams re-boot.There’s was just nothing like it.I want to talk a little about actually physically going to see the trilogy, but first, how it manifested itself through my life. I know many of you my age will nod and hopefully smile at some of the references.I’m going to be honest, I don’t remember much about Star Wars before actually going to it. I don’t remember the hype. However, I do remember the day I went, as clear as if it was yesterday. Well, two weeks ago, maybe. I also remember various little moments through my youth that all came from the Star Wars experience.The vociferous argument with my parents around my communion name. I wanted Luke. For obvious enough reasons. I was vetoed. I remember where I was standing as I moaned ‘You never let me do anything!’. ''Mum, Dad, I'm going to school''I remember coming down the stairs at home, dressed up as a Rebel soldier on Hoth for a school Halloween party. The outfit was lovingly put together using anything and everything I could get my hands on, but as I stood in front of the mirror in my room, about to go down stairs, I steeled myself for the inevitable ribbing from my family, or, worse, apathy. To this day I remember which step of the stairs I was on when my Dad looked at me, shrugged, and said, ‘’You know what, I actually know what look you’re going for, and that’s not bad.’’The action figures. Who my age hasn’t thought to themselves ‘Why didn’t I leave just one or two of them in their box?! Why?!’ If you had the foresight to keep a few of those figures in their original packaging, I salute you. You are most likely either very rich, or about to be very rich. Those things go for thousands, each!Why?! Why didn't I buy ten of them and leave them unwrapped?!I got one pound pocket money, and I saved basically only for Star Wars figures. I can picture myself as clear as day standing in front of the packages in one of the few stores that sold them in Dun Laoghaire, 2-3 weeks’ pocket money saved in my clammy hand, trying to figure out what figure to get this time. Princess Lea on Hoth? Chewie? Han Solo, in any number of cool outfits (if you don’t think Han Solo is cool, you may as well stop reading now, in fact I am astonished you got this far).I remember one day after school standing beside my poor mother as she made dinner, giving her a long, detailed explanation of why X-Wings, and all the other craft in the Star Wars galaxy, look so old, worn and beaten up. Realism. Yes, I was evangelizing the merits of realism in the craft design of Star Wars, [...]

A Day In The Life Of Atlanta Radio Host Mike Bell


Mike Bell is the Atlanta area radio jock who, last night, made several derogatory comments on Twitter about 2 time Olympic Medalist and ESPN baseball commentator, Jessica Mendoza. He has since been suspended from his job for 2 weeks, and has issued an apologetic statement.Why do we bring this up? Well, this blog is delighted to exclusively reveal a page from his daily diary, just for you!The greatest country in the World - unless you consider how deeply embedded sexism is in its sports. But hey, whatever.Whilst the timing of this diary excerpt is perhaps manufactured somewhat, the content is 100% accurate. The details are all actual things. In many cases, I wish I was making them up, however, they are all real.7:00 am - What you got, Thursday?! Start the day with some Lucky Charms and the highlights from last night's game. By game I mean, last night's Lingerie football. That's right, Im'ma start my day with some women in lingerie playing football. Depressing? Bite your tongue no! This is America, this is wonderful. I am eating cereal in my boxers watching scantily clad women embarrass themselves on National TV because I can.7:27 am - So this is great, I'm reading some article about something serious on the CBS website, and, you know those little click-bait 'articles' down at the bottom of the page, well there's a picture of a babe in a bikini and the article is titled;  Most NFL Players have Hot Wives - Here are the top 27. It's a slideshow! Bingo! This is going to be a great 7 minutes.7:34 am - Better do some research for today's show. Where to start. How about one of the most popular sports sites in the USA, Barstool Sports? The great thing about BS is that they have sports, sure, but they also have a quick-link to their 'Girls' area. This is home to 'Smokeshow of the day', basically a daily woman, normally in little or no clothing. 'Guess that underboob' is a fun recurring article but my favorite is 'Guess that ass'. You just aren't living if you're not staring at a part of a woman's body trying to figure out who owns it. On a sports website. That's advertised on many mainstream sites, and is very popular among young American men. BS is just the best! Actual 'articles' about women use any picture of that woman in next to nothing. The comments section on these 'articles' are the really great part. If you want to take a little peek into the empty, darkest areas of the human race, checkout the comments section on a Barstool 'article'. Barstool Sports, molding the minds of our brightest and finest!10:00 am - Slow day at work. We're running a competition where the prize is an NFL jersey of a prominent player. We talked about it for a while in the office and came up with the following list of awesome NFL players, being paid to play football right now as we speak.Ray McDonald and Chris Cook, Tony McDaniel and Kevin Williams, Brandon Marshall and Santonio Holmes, Greg Hardy, Dez Bryant, Erik Walden , Donte Whitner, Randy Starks and Frostee Rucker (oddly enough, these guys have all been arrested for domestic violence or related charges since 2005).I have the deciding vote, and I select Greg Hardy. You might remember Hardy from the 2 month long NFL investigation that found that there was "sufficient credible evidence" that Hardy had engaged in conduct which "violated NFL policies in multiple respects and with aggravating circumstances." The league's investigation had concluded that Hardy used physical force in at least four instances, including placing his hands around the victim's[...]

Watch As Vegas Casinos Shut Down Daily Fantasy Games - It Will Happen


Let’s get this straight first, I love Fantasy sports, fantasy NFL in particular. I’ve been in a fantastic, 10 team, fantasy NFL league for over a decade now, and it’s a fantastic way to have a bit of fun with my guys. However, I will shed not one tear when this Daily Fantasy fad explodes in its own face. The advertisements for Daily Fantasy sports games are nothing short of obnoxious on TV in the States. Obnoxious in terms of volume and indeed content. The repetition is nauseating, and the content is wildly misleading. They try to pawn themselves off as cash machines for the average punter, ‘Hey, Joe in Philly won a billion dollars sitting on his backside playing Fantasy sports, which means, so can you!’. That’s just a gigantic lie. Big money has already completely ruined Daily Fantasy for the average player.Detailed reports have shown that groups and big money players with heavy financial backing are producing automated teams and entering 500-1000 times a day on the popular sites, effectively flooding the games with super-well researched, technically almost perfect teams. Joe Punter signs up to a tournament, enters a team, these big-money backed guys flood the same tournament with 500-1000 teams, wildly pushing the odds in their favor to win the tournament and collect the cash.Effectively, regular Joe Punter players have a 10% chance of winning the big money tournaments, while big money players and companies are raking in as much as 90% of the profits. Translation: Stay away, unless you are going to enter big numbers of teams at a high cost.  Meanwhile, it’s not hard to envision Daily Fantasy ‘going away’ much like regular online sports gambling. Daily Fantasy is big money, and big money attracts the attention of some of the biggest money in America, the Casino moguls in Vegas. The men who make gambling in the USA tick, and who control same at every point, will be noticing the incredible cash flow that currently pouring into Daily Fantasy portals. The major players, two of them who I’m not going to name, are worth over a billion dollars each already.If Vegas decides they want in on this action, and start producing their own, highly profitable, Daily Fantasy games, perhaps packaging them with their ‘legitimate’ sports-book experiences, watch out current Daily Fantasy sites. All Vegas would have to do, to create a monopoly, would be throw huge amounts of cash into the campaign funds of a friendly senator, ask him (or her!) to get Daily Fantasy banned everywhere except Vegas, and sit back and enjoy the cash flow.This is exactly what Vegas did with online sports betting in the USA. They stuffed Senator Bill Frist’s campaign coffers with hundreds of thousands of dollars (that we know about) and he in turn forced through a bill banning online sports gambling, pushing all sports betting to Vegas.  It was that simple.From: Bill Frist, the downfall of online poker and jobs being lost in Dublin and the rest of the World.The publicly available breakdown of Frist’s campaign funding from previous years makes fascinating reading. It is all there in black and white. For the period 1997 to 2002, Harrah's Entertainment contributed $14,250 to the Frist campaign. What does Harrah's Entertainment do? Glad you asked. Caesars Entertainment Corporation (formerly Harrah's Entertainment from 1995 to 2010) is a private gaming corporation that owns and operates over 50 casinos, hotels, and seven golf courses under several brands. How about [...]

Spotting Frauds On Twitter


It would be great to talk about sports all the time and never have to delve into anything else but sometimes something comes up that is your duty as a citizen of the planet Earth to talk about. Yesterday's tragic events in Virginia have led to a lot of important discussion, and some touching memorials to the two souls lost, however they have also led to some pretty nasty fraud attempts.

Take for example this account, Alison&Adam Funds, which I am sincerely hoping is banned by the time you read this (if it's not, please report it!).

Let's dive right into the flags, the things that should help you spot frauds like this in future.

  1. First – the name @owinostephen3, clearly not affiliated with either family or any organization likely to help. 
  2. A quick check of that name on Google links to a Facebook account with 20 followers – instant flag right there
  3. Unfortunately it has to be said, that Facebook account is clearly African of origin. Ask yourself, why would a Facebook user in Africa with 20 followers care about funds for a tragedy like this?
  4. A very quick check to run is the followers of the account. In this case they are almost all fake accounts. You can tell quite simply from their makeup. In this case, a lot of soft-porn type accounts, a lot of African accounts and several clearly fake ones.
  5. Another check is of course followers-to-following ratio, in this case 60 approx to 350 approx, meaning they are following a lot of people, yet no one follows them proportionately, a big flag.
  6. The tweets they send are a quick check point, in this case this is clearly an account setup with the aim of defrauding people, as all 30 approx tweets are copy/pasted and repeated.

The more you dig, the more hateful and disgraceful this kind of behavior is. All you can do is be smart yourself and don't fall for it, educate those around you and of course, report, report, report. The Internet is our playground, pick up the litter and throw it in the trash, so everyone can enjoy it. This litter definitely needs to go in the trash,
I have to say, sadly Twitter do not make it easy to send a detailed report on accounts such as these, lots of other bad stuff, sure, but they need to make it simple to report this kind of rubbish as quickly as possible.

The Internet is both awesome and awful. Make sure you stay smart while on it, and never let fools like this trick you.

An Open Letter To Wes Welker (Upon Reading Sydney Seau's HOF Speech)


Dear Wes,

I love you man. And I want you to live a long and fruitful life after football. With that said, I beg you; put your cleats away and put your helmet down.

You were a terrific player for my beloved Patriots, always answering the bell no matter how big the hit on the previous play. You made the Pats a better team, always clearly giving 100%. Tom Brady loved you, and that's a good enough endorsement for most of us New England fans.

Alas now, it's time for you to go do some fun stuff. You quite obviously have a pretty good idea of how to have a good time, go ahead and explore that space, just get out of football.

Let me really spell this out, I, and countless other of your fans, can't take watching you exposed to one more big hit. I bet the loved ones in your life feel the same.

Have you been following the Hall Of Fame inductions today? As I read the reports of Sydney Seau's lovely, touching speech that the NFL didn't allow, I thought about you actually. I thought, the NFL clearly doesn't care about player safety, not when they are so obviously and so cowardly hiding from a young daughter's honest, heart breaking speech.

Too honest, obviously, for the NFL

The league clearly wants zero part of the concussion debate right now, instead they want us to argue about Deflate-Gate and fantasy football.

The league does not care about you, Wes. Get out now, while you're still healthy. Get out and enjoy the fruits of life, the rewards of your excellent career.

Don't put your future in the hands of this poorly run league front office. If you're on the fence about this at all just consider one thing amongst all the scandal and rubbish associated with the NFL lately.

Just consider their cowardly behavior this weekend, running scared from a young daughter who just misses her Dad.

The Narrative Of UFC 189


First things first, I don’t care either way about the angry, noisy, flatulent (I just presume that) and violent Conor McGregor. Good for him, and I mean that seriously. I felt a twinge of Nationalistic pride when he vanquished his patsy opponent on Saturday night in Vegas, and his absolutely relentless act is actually growing on me a tiny bit. So, it would not be accurate to read this and file it under the much over used ‘hater’ tab.

I really couldn’t care about McGregor, either way. I don’t hate him, I don’t love him. I do think his angry, aggressive act is starting to have a detrimental effect on Irish male teens, who see themselves as his natural replacement once he finally gets his comeuppance, however that’s a story for another day.

My problem with Saturday night’s farce is that even a non-seasoned WWE UFC viewer, such as myself, could see clearly what happened. It was astonishing to see so many, blinded by Irish triumph, missing the overall context.

It’s pretty simply really. UFC knew that once Aldo pulled out they had to dash something together, and Chad Mendes was convinced to be the lamb to the slaughter. What would be interesting would be to find out what UFC promised Mendes to take this beating. Remember, he had a couple of weeks ramped up training, whilst McGregor was literally at the peak of his form. Mendes knew going into this he didn’t have a chance.

However, UFC managed to get him in the ring. At that point, what happened was clearly visible.

Mendes gave it a decent shot in the first, but his stamina, greatly curtailed by lack of training, started to give out. Once he realized he wasn’t going to be able to make an impression on the finely tuned Irish man, he literally dropped his gloves, waited for an excuse, and went down faster than you can say ‘dive’.

Did you see how fast that referee called the fight?

There’s no doubt in my mind that UFC told Mendes not to worry, they would ensure the referee called it the moment he got in trouble, thereby ensuring Mendes wasn’t exposed to too much of a beating.

The Irish media and fans have completely and utterly ignored the borderline WWE nature of the ‘fight’, but really, it was there for all to see. It was interesting to watch ESPN, shortly after the fight, basically say it straight out ‘Mendes went down very, very easily’.

Great, an Irish man is kicking butt and taking names at a high level in a sport. I am genuinely glad about that.

The problem is, the ‘sport’ would appear to be basically almost as scripted as WWE. Sure. There’s real blood, sweat and tears being spent, but don’t tell me there isn’t a narrative being constructed here behind the scenes.

It’s just too obvious.