Survivor Smacked Me In The Chops

Jeff Kent on “Survivor” recap: “By the time Obama takes it”

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I watched Jeff Kent on “Survivor” last night so you didn’t have to …

• Jonathan narrowly avoided being voted out in last week’s episode and is very upset, telling everyone how betrayed he feels by Kent and others who lied to him about their plan. Meanwhile, Kent remains completely focused on voting out Jonathan, admitting to the camera that he “gave up a lot of power and authority” in last week’s unsuccessful effort to do so.

• There are two stages to the immunity challenge. The first involves ripping through rope knots and then going through a mini-obstacle course, which Kent does well enough to advance to the final round with Jonathan and Pete. The second stage is solving a puzzle and Jonathan rallies late to win the challenge, securing immunity and saving himself from almost surely being voted out. In losing Kent remarks: “What a joke.”

• Talking to the camera a frustrated Kent opines that Jonathan “just bought himself another three days of a dead man walking.” He then openly tells Mike that he’s the new person on the chopping block. However, once Kent leaves the area multiple other players immediately bring up his name as someone to vote out.

• Kent catches wind that he might be in danger, telling the camera: “We were all set to let Mike go, but now I found out they’re gunning for me. Hopefully the bullet’s gonna go in the right direction.” Kent seemingly talks enough people to swing the vote into getting rid of Pete, telling the camera: “Pete’s going home and we all got all six votes.”

• Earlier in the episode Kent remarked to the camera that “Lisa is so naive and so soft and so nice.” In direct contrast to that Lisa (also known as “Blair” from “The Facts of Life”) outed Malcolm as holding one of the hidden immunity idols and during tribal council that causes Malcolm to admit he has it to everyone. And then in a very odd turn of events Abi confesses that she also has an immunity idol.

• With that information out in the open Jonathan basically pleads his case for everyone to keep him around and instead vote someone else out. When he asks if everyone is ready to do that, Kent tersely replies: “We’ve discussed those options and many more, I think you know about that.”

• “Survivor” host Jeff Probst is dumbfounded by what’s taking place, saying that this is the most complicated and interesting tribal council he’s seen in 25 seasons. And then to make it even crazier, neither Malcolm nor Abi actually play their immunity idol after convincing everyone not to vote for them because the vote would be wasted anyway once they played it.

• Probst begins to pull out the votes and after each one listing Kent’s name Kent has an absolutely hilarious reaction. Kent looks totally shocked with each vote, glancing to his right and left like the world’s worst actor had just been told by a director to “act shocked.” Then on the fourth vote with his name on it Kent literally mutters to himself, saying “wow.”

• It’s a 4-4 tie between Kent and Pete with one vote to go … and Kent is voted out. He is completely stunned.

• In his exit interview Kent goes off on one helluva rant:

You know what pisses me off? I think I’ve made about 60 million dollars playing baseball and I want this frickin’ million dollars in this game. And it’s not even a million bucks, it’s 600 grand by the time Obama takes it. I’m a Game 7 World Series loser. You know, I played in the biggest games in the world and the worst games in the world, and this just sucks.

Note: Kent actually made $86 million playing baseball and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Game 7 of the World Series in 2002, as his Giants lost to the Angels.

• In the span of one episode in television time and approximately 48 hours in real time Kent goes from seemingly being in complete control of the game to the point that he can determine who gets voted out to losing all control while being voted out himself in ninth place. And, most importantly, this means I no longer have to recap “Survivor” episodes in this space every Thursday morning and no longer have any excuse whatsoever to spend an hour each week watching this show.

The tribe has spoken!

White Sox ballpark to be renamed “Guaranteed Rate Field”

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 10:  General view as members of the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins stand for the National Anthem before the White Sox home opener at U.S. Cellular Field on April 10, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Stadium naming rights have long been with us. They’re just a part of the sports landscape now. Some are pretty spiffy despite their corporate underwriting: “Great American Ballpark” could be the name of a sports facility even if it wasn’t also the name of an insurance company. “Progressive Field” could be the name of a field even an anti-corporate dude like Bernie Sanders could appreciate, at least if he’s sloppy with capitalization.

Others are clunky: “Globe Life Park in Arlington” seems to have both adjective and preposition problems, as if it were run through a foreign language translator and then back again to English. The joint in Oakland went by the name O.co Coliseum for a spell. That was for Overstock.com, but it didn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

At the risk of being snobbish, I think it’s fair to say that there are also higher and lower rent names as well. Banks, airlines and beer companies, however crassly commercial they are, seem a bit more respectable and venerable than, say, the fly-by-night dot com companies which named sports facilities for several years. “Chase” and “Coors” aren’t going anyplace. Those places are named after American institutions, even if they’re still corporate institutions. I’m pretty sure that circa 2001 half the stadiums and arenas in the country were named after businesses still being run out of tech incubators in nondescript office parks, their first biggest investment being the naming rights, their second biggest investment being the ping pong table in the break room.

The White Sox have long played in “U.S. Cellular Field.” This is pretty dicey as it is, given that that company is only a regional wireless provider. Fifth largest in the country. Certainly not A-list, and likely far more identifiable to more Americans as the name of a ballpark than the name of a going telecommunications concern, thereby sort of defeating the purpose of naming rights. Which must be why U.S. Cellular is getting out of the naming rights business, leaving the White Sox to find a different naming rights partner:

As the tenth largest mortgage company in the country, is there even any guarantee that Guaranteed Rate will be in business in 2030? If the choices are “it goes under,” “it gets purchased by a larger lender” and “it’s still there,” I am not putting money on the latter choice.

That aside, it’s just a goofy name for a ballpark. It’ll better lend itself to columnist jokes about bad guaranteed contracts for bust veterans than it will to spreading awareness of a financial services company. And don’t even get me started on the dissonance between the ballpark name and its tenant’s ticket price policies:

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Best work on that, guys.

UPDATE: LOL

 

Phillies’ Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz cleared waivers

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 10:  Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies follows through on a 3 RBI double in the ninth inning off of Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 10,  2016 in Los Angeles, California. Phillies won 6-2.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and catcher Carlos Ruiz have both cleared waivers, which means the club can attempt to trade either player unimpeded. Stark adds that two teams are mulling a pursuit of Ruiz, but Howard is “virtually certain” to stay with the Phillies.

Howard, 36, has unimpressive overall stats, as he’s carrying a .198/.252/.445 triple-slash line with 19 home runs and 43 RBI in 286 plate appearances. The Phillies have limited Howard to right-handed pitching by platooning him with Tommy Joseph.

Shockingly, Howard has been one of the best hitters of the second half, as Corinne Landrey explains at FanGraphs. Using wRC+, an all encompassing offensive statistic that sets 100 at average, only Joey Votto has been a more productive hitter since the All-Star break, owning a 226 wRC+ to Howard’s 191. Howard is trailed by Freddie Freeman (179), Adrian Gonzalez (149), and Paul Goldschmidt (140).

Howard is owed the remainder of his $25 million salary for the 2016 season as well as a $10 million buyout for ’17. Despite Howard’s productive second half and even if the Phillies were to cover all of the remaining money owed, there won’t be much of a market for an inconsistent 1B/DH in his mid-30’s who can’t field, can’t run, and can’t hit left-handed pitching.

Ruiz, 37, has had a solid season, batting .261/.368/.352 in 193 plate appearances. Like Howard, Ruiz has lost playing time at his primary position to a younger player — Cameron Rupp, in this case. Ruiz is owed the remainder of his $8.5 million salary and is under contract next season if his controlling club picks up his $4.5 million option. That option may make him even more attractive to interested clubs, as Ruiz is still a valuable catcher. He has accrued 1.3 Wins Above Replacement despite limited playing time and has a reputation for working well with his pitchers. A playoff-bound club could do a lot worse.