Author: Craig Calcaterra

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Ben Affleck refused to wear a Yankees cap in “Gone Girl”


I’ve come around on Ben Affleck. He used to drive me nuts, but after a few good performances and turns in the director’s chair, he’s certainly gone up in my estimation. Now, thanks to this story in the New York Times about the filming of the new movie “Gone Girl,” he’s risen even higher:

During a scene set at a New York airport, Mr. Affleck’s character, Nick Dunne, tries to evade recognition by donning a baseball hat. Mr. Fincher, Mr. Affleck said, wanted the character to wear a Yankees cap, because he believed that worked best for the movie.

But Mr. Affleck, a diehard Red Sox fan, would have none of it.

“I said, ‘David, I love you, I would do anything for you,'” Mr. Affleck recalled. “‘But I will not wear a Yankees hat. I just can’t. I can’t wear it because it’s going to become a thing, David. I will never hear the end of it. I can’t do it.’ And I couldn’t put it on my head.”

It’d probably be better if, instead of the fear that he’d be given crap for it, he said “David, I can’t do it because the Yankees FACKIN’ SUCK!” But this is pretty good too.

Now: don’t mess up “Batman,” dude.

(h/t SB Nation)

Playoff Reset: All eight playoff teams are in action today

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This is a pretty good day to be a shut-in, which is fantastic work if you can get it. All four playoff series are on tap, with the Tigers and Orioles continuing in Baltimore, the Royals and Angels continuing in Anaheim and the Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Nationals finally getting their NLDS matchups underway.

The Game: Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles, American League Division Series Game 2
The Time: 12:07 PM Eastern
The Place: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Justin Verlander vs. Wei-Yin Chen
The Upshot: A few eyebrows were raised when Brad Ausmus named Justin Verlander the Game 2 starter over David Price. Verlander may have the better playoff pedigree, but Price was the better pitcher this year. Now, after last night’s bullpen debacle, the Tigers need Verlander to do something he used to do all the time but had trouble with this year: work economically, go deep into the game and shut the opposition down. If he doesn’t, the Tigers’ backs will be up against the wall. Heck, they may be up against the wall already.

The Game: San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals, National League Division Series Game 1
The Time: 3:07 PM Eastern
The Place: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
The Channel: Fox Sports 1
The Starters: Jake Peavy vs. Stephen Strasburg
The Upshot: A whole different and way tougher test for the Giants, as they go from facing a Wild Card team with their ace on the mound to facing the best team in the National League. The Nats are probably the deepest team in the playoffs. There really isn’t a weakness in the lineup, even if they don’t have an MVP candidate, and their rotation is fantastic. On paper, the Nationals are the clearly superior team. Playoff-wise, though, they are greenhorns compared to the seasoned Giants, winners of two of the past four World Series. Tonight’s pitching matchup should be interesting: Peavy and Strasburg are friends, both of whom make their home in San Diego and work out together in the offseason.

The Game: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, National League Division Series Game 1
The Time: 6:37 PM Eastern
The Place: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
The Channel: Fox Sports 1
The Starters: Adam Wainwright vs. Clayton Kershaw
The Upshot: The Cardinals beat the Dodgers in the NLCS last year, but very different circumstances reign this time around. For one thing, the Dodgers are more healthy. Last year they didn’t have Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez was injured in the first game of the series. The Cardinals’ robust offense of 2013 is gone too, with Carlos Beltran gone and most of St. Louis’ key performers experiencing declines this year. That said, there is a lot of play in the matchups here, with the Dodgers having an edge in 1-2 starters while the Cardinals’ 3-4 starters are clearly superior. The Dodgers’ offense was far better this year and was peaking in September. The Cardinals’ bullpen is, top-to-bottom, better than L.A.’s even if L.A. has the better closer. And of course: tonight we get Adam Wainwright vs. Clayton Kershaw, a matchup of perhaps the two best pitchers in baseball.

The Game: Kansas City Royals vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, American League Division Series, Game 2
The Time: 9:37 PM Eastern
The Place: Angels Stadium, Anaheim, California
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Yordano Ventura vs. Matt Shoemaker
The Upshot: The Royals are living a charmed playoff existence so far, winning their first two games in extra innings. You can’t expect that sort of magic to continue, but maybe you don’t need magic when your opponents’ top hitters — Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick and Josh Hamilton — do stuff like go for a combined 0 for 18. The Angels need their big guns to produce.

The Mayor of St. Louis responds to those who hate the Cardinals and their fans

Best Fans

The Wall Street Journal ran an article the other day in which it determined that the Cardinals are the most “hateable” team in baseball. Even someone like me who enjoys giving crap to a certain segment of Cardinals fans from time to time can see that that little exercise was gamed — one of the criteria was “are your fans considered ‘The Best Fans in Baseball'” with attendant demerits — and was a clear effort at trolling Cardinals fans. Which I heartily endorse, even if we must call it out for what it was.

The proper response when you’re being trolled like that is to take on a “haters gonna hate” stance or ignore it completely. The Mayor of St. Louis was given space at the Wall Street Journal today to respond to it. He sort of said haters gonna hate, but offered more too.  In a mock apology to those who hate the Cardinals, he offered a bunch of civic accomplishments of St. Louis and basically said “we’re sorry we’re so awesome, America.” As for baseball:

You see, while you might think of St. Louis as flyover country and not pay us much due, we’re kind of a big deal come October on Major League Baseball diamonds. In fact, we’re kind of a big deal for a number of reasons . . . Sure, we’re sorry the Cardinals have won 11 World Series championships, two since 2006 . . . we here in the Midwest are not a boastful people. We’re humble and quietly go about our business, inventing the things you use every day, entertaining you, finding employment for your citizens and handing you losses on the baseball field regularly. (We’re especially sorry to Chicago.)

Don’t hate us because we’re beautiful here in St. Louis. But if you do, just know that we’re sorry. Go Cards!

Last I checked, no one mocked the Cardinals and their fans for coming from “flyover country.” Heck, I live in flyover country myself. They mocked them for thinking they lived in the center of the baseball universe in a position over and above that of any other baseball team and fan base. That they were, I dunno, “kind of a big deal.”

So I guess whether this satisfies you or, alternatively, whether you think he went a bit too far with it and probably proved too much is for you to decide.

(h/t SB Nation)


Salvador Perez likes to annoy his “hermanito” Lorenzo Cain

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We’ve all laughed at Adrian Beltre’s reaction when one of his teammates touches his head. Now we have a new target of hilarious “abuse” in Lorenzo Cain. It seems his teammate Salavador Perez loves to annoy him and capture the evidence on his Instagram feed.

A great bulk of it is Perez calling Cain “hermanito,” which unless I’m mistaken is “little brother,” with a decided diminutive slant. Then stuff like this happens:

Deadspin has collected Perez and Cain’s greatest hits. They’re absolutely hilarious and a little bit adorable.

Barry Bonds calls himself “BigHeadBarry”

Barry Bonds Glass


Barry Bonds has taken everything from you. Your innocence. Your precious heroes. Your foolish belief that anyone has ever played baseball as well as him. He has laughed at you while he has done it, and all you are able to sputter in impotent response are some lame insults about his “big head” or whatever.

Now he has taken that from you too:

He has taken ownership over the only thing you have on him, hugged it close and deprived it of its power.

You should just stop. Barry wins. Barry always wins.