Quite Frankly… He Sucks.

KaepernickMuch has been made of Colin Kaepernick’s “protests” since they began just over a year ago. Personally, I’m of the belief that it’s entirely disrespectful to the flag, to the country, to the people who fought for this country, to the people who lost loved ones who fought for this country, and to the opportunities this country has given him and everyone else who has ever had the privelege to call this country their home. Proverbially, two wrongs don’t make a right and it’s just not the right platform or way to go about getting your point across. However, many others think quite differently and feel that the men and women who fought for this country did so in order to preserve the type of rights an individual has to allow them to make decisions like this so freely. There are slight variations to those two perspectives, but generally speaking, those are the two angles taken in this debate. Not to worry though, this isn’t yet another article debating which side should be considered right or just, this is an article addressing those who think Kaepernick is somehow being blackballed from the NFL.

You see, unlike the first debate where there are two possible sides who can both make compelling arguments or bring reasonable opinions to the table to support their claims, the reason for Kaepernick’s current unemployment status is very cut and dry. Quite frankly, he sucks. The 2017 QB Tiers survey asked 50 coaches and evaluators to place quarterbacks in one of five performance tiers, with Tier 1 signifying the best and Tier 5 the worst. Kaepernick was given a 3.88 average, placing him ahead of only six potential starters. The skeptics will say that this is because he’s now being unfairly judged, but in the exact same 2016 QB Tiers poll, conducted before Kaepernick’s first anthem protest, he was given a nearly identical 3.83 average. Once again, quite frankly… he sucks.

Many argue that he’d be a better backup quarterback than most of the 32 backups in the league, and unfortunately, that’s also not true. Generally speaking, backup quarterbacks do not have those jobs because they’d be the best available starter if the current starter were to fall to injury. They have those jobs as either developmental players, or for their professionalism and relationship as a supportive sidekick to the current starter. They’re the extra set of eyes in the film room and on the sidelines who reports everything they see to the current starter. This is why teams stick with the same limited-skill backups for multiple years, yet when an injury strikes their current starter while they’re still alive in the playoff race, they seek out other available options rather than turn to their weakly-skilled backups.

San Francisco 49ers versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers Additionally, the NFL has a ridiculously low success rate when it comes to running quarterbacks. Most running quarterbacks have either not succeeded at all, or had success windows that lasted only a couple years before they fizzled out and couldn’t find a starting job. NFL defenses and defensive coordinators are far too advanced to be beaten by running quarterbacks for extended periods of time before making the necessary adjustments. Additionally, a running quarterback’s body can not stand up to the relentless pounding it takes from getting hit regularly for any significant amount of time. (See: RG3, who incidentally, also can not find a job in the NFL right now.) Quarterbacks simply need to be able to throw the ball well to have any kind of sustained success in the NFL. Even Michael Vick, the most dangerous running quarterback in NFL history, repeatedly disappointed his employers and had a hard time finding a job in the NFL. When he did find a job, he was quickly benched and replaced by lesser talented backups who could manage a game better. Many people believed Tim Tebow was blackballed for the presence of his strong religious beliefs, but this was also a false perception. Tim Tebow couldn’t find a job because Tim Tebow couldn’t throw a football. Look no further than Derek Carr to pound that point home. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone with stronger religious beliefs than Derek Carr, yet he flourishes in the NFL for one reason and one reason only… he’s an excellent quarterback who can throw the ball. Colin Kaepernick is not being blackballed, he’s just suffering a similar fate as Tim Tebow did in that he’s unemployed for the simple reason that he can’t throw a football. Again, quite frankly… he sucks.

Kaepernick 3 A recent anonymous defensive coordinator summed it up like this: “As far as his prospects as a backup, I don’t think he is being blackballed in terms of rich white owners saying, ‘We are not hiring this guy.’ I think coaches are like, ‘Look, if this kid is not starting for us, why are you bringing in distractions not for a starter? We have a pretty good sort of locker room and mesh here. What is the risk-reward?’ I don’t think anyone is to the point of making him the starter, and that is the bubble he is getting caught in.”

On Thursday, LeSean McCoy said he doesn’t believe the league is being unfair to Kaepernick at all, adding that “the only reason he’s not in the league is because he’s not very good at football.” He also went on to say that if he were a more talented player, like an Odell Beckham, the distractions would be worth it, but that Kaepernick just isn’t good enough to be worth the distractions he’d bring to a team.

In other words, what Shady was trying to say is, quite frankly… he sucks.

~Jamie Capria

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Thunderstruck

Kevin DurantLet’s play a little game. I’ll describe two scenarios, and you tell me which one is more messed up. Before we begin, let’s be clear on something: The NBA is fixed on many levels. They’re a multi-gazillion dollar business, and if you think they don’t have their best money interest in mind, then you’re either really naive, or you haven’t been paying close enough attention. The following list is just a few obvious examples of when the fix was in:

1985: The Knicks get the #1 pick in the draft, Patrick Ewing.

1992: The Magic get the #1 pick (Shaq) in the draft when there were questions and doubts about whether or not putting a team in Orlando was even a good idea.

1995: Michael Jordan gets suspended… errr… I mean leaves to play minor league baseball as a cover up for his gambling issues that were on the verge of getting him Pete Rosed right out of the game.

2000: The Lakers 37-16 free throw advantage against the Trailblazers in the Western Conference Finals.

2002: The Lakers are gifted the playoff series over the Kings (video below), most notably in game 6, when they were awarded 40 free throws overall, 27 in the fourth quarter alone. A game in which referee Tim Donaghy later admitted to helping fix in 2007.

 

 

2003: The Cavs get the #1 pick (home town boy LeBron) in 2003, and then handed more #1 picks after he left.

2006: Dwyane Wade shoots 97 free throws in 6 games against Dallas. In game 5 alone, he shot 25 free throws, the same amount as the entire Dallas team.

2007: The Tim Donaghy (NBA Referee) gambling scandal that landed him in prison for 15 months. A scandal in which he also admitted helping to to fix the previously mentioned Lakers/Kings series by order of commissioner David Stern.

2008: The Bulls get the #1 pick (hometown boy Derrick Rose) despite only a 1.7% chance.

2012: The New Orleans Hornets get the first pick after the NBA nixed the Chris Paul to the Lakers trade.

2012: The ridiculous free throw advantages the Heat were given against the Knicks in the playoffs. The 28-5 advantage in the first half of game 1 alone and LeBron’s flopping was so blatantly obvious that multiple NBA players actually tweeted about it. Klay Thompson said he’d “never respect floppers.” Patrick Patterson wondered, “What kind of league are we becoming?” You know the game has turned into a joke when at halftime “and the Oscar goes to” is trending on Twitter.

2016: Dikembe Mutombo congratulates the 76ers for getting the first pick in a tweet 4 hours before the lottery.

These are just a few examples in a ridiculously long laundry list, and they always seem to coincidentally favor the bigger market or star power teams that would benefit the NBA, both prestigiously and financially. So make no mistakes, the NBA is rigged on some levels.

But let’s get back to the game. I’ll give you the following two scenarios, and you tell me which one is worse:

Scenario #1: A player gets drafted out of college to a REALLY bad NBA team. Nobody has any idea he’ll become one of the top 3 players in the league, but he works his ass off to become just that. In addition to becoming one of the top 3 players in the league, he also lifts that very franchise up from the dead and turns them into a legit title-caliber team, one in which the NBA conspired against to deny them a fair chance at a title. He exceeded all expectations by playing above and beyond what anyone could’ve ever expected of him coming out of college. When his contract was up, he did what every player not named Wade or Duncan do in this day and age of basketball, and accepted the best available job offer on the table.

Scenario #2: A kid in high school is hyped up as the best basketball player in the world. We were told he was going to take the NBA by storm and become the best player the sport has ever seen. Already ridiculous, and I haven’t even gotten started. The NBA, as they have repeatedly done, rigs the lottery draft so he can join his hometown team. He hasn’t even played an NBA game yet, and the NBA (and HIMSELF, I might add) are already declaring him God, and promising the league, the franchise, and the city all sorts of ridiculously presumptuous things. He then falls wayyyy short of what was expected of him. People even started to question his competitive fire. Even his biggest fans and supporters. He failed in nearly every aspect of what was expected of him. He then bails out on the very franchise, city, and fans he promised so much to in order to latch onto an established winning franchise just so he could ride coattails to a championship.

Now you tell me, which scenario is worse? The guy who exceeded expectations by a longshot and lifted a franchise and city out of the grave, despite having to combat a conspiring NBA on top of his opponents? Or the guy who has been catered to by the NBA his entire career, yet not only still fell incredibly short of expectations, but turned his back on the very city, franchise, and fans that he made so many promises to?

Media and fans alike are getting all over Kevin Durant for his decision to join the Golden State Warriors. The comparisons to what LeBron did when he left for Miami are flying all over the internet, our radios, and our televisions. The problem is, it’s not even close to the same thing. Durant exceeded expectations. He gave his heart, soul, bDurant & Currylood, sweat and tears to a franchise that was left for dead, and he lifted them up into a signifanct force only to be denied by the NBA. The big money was in a Warriors/Cavs finals this year, so the NBA did everything they could to make sure that happened. They let the Warriors get away with murder to mount that series comeback against OKC. Draymond Green should’ve been suspended, paving the way for OKC to advance, but he got a free pass for acting like a straight thug… but yet, all he did was call LeBron a pussy and he got suspended in the Cavs series. Why? Because it was in the best (money) interest of the NBA for the Warriors to advance past the Thunder. It was also in their best money interest (by way of publicity and buzz) for LeBron and the Cavs to beat the Warriors. It’s what they wanted YEARS ago when they fixed the draft for him to go to Cleveland in the first place, but LeBron failed to live up to expectations and deliver.

The NBA does what the NBA needs to do to keep itself thriving and as lucrative as possible. Even the mighty Jordan got his share of phantom calls and help from the refs to all but guarantee the best possible scenarios the NBA wanted and needed for sport popularity and financial gain. Make no mistakes, the NBA is a business, and businesses do what they have to do to succeed and make money, even if that means making teams like the Kings, Thunder, or various others their sacrificial lambs. So don’t hate the player, hate the game. Durant is not a villain. He did more than was ever expected of him for the unfortunate (for him) city and franchise he was drafted into. When his time was up, he took the best available job offered to him. Who can blame him? It’s not like he was appointed the King before he ever even stepped on an NBA court, had the NBA in his corner rigging things in his favor, then failed to deliver anything even close to what was expected of him before turning his back on the franchise and city that went all in on him. On the contrary, he over-achieved and turned a struggling franchise into a powerhouse. NBA and Thunder fans should appreciate that, not criticize it. When his time was up, he took the best available job offered to him… something any one of us would do.

~Jamie Capria

Thoughts For Families With a Sick Child

Childhood CancerHaving a child who is going through health issue can be a very difficult time for a family. You can find yourself feeling lost and alone, overwhelmed, and unsure of where to turn. As a mother of three kids, I have been there myself, and while I’ve been lucky enough that my kid’s health issues haven’t been as serious as cancer ( though we did have a couple of scares) , they have been difficult so  I can understand the stress parents go through. I’d like to share a few things that helped me, and I hope you find them helpful too.

First, take a minute to catch your breath. When you first find out that your child has an illness, it can feel as if you are being bombarded with so much information that your head is spinning. You may feel as if you are almost drowning under the weight of it all. That’s normal. After all, who wouldn’t feel that way upon hearing this type of news? Take a minute and breathe deep breaths.  I know that sounds trite, but it’s true. Allow yourself time to find your center. This will help you in the days that lie ahead.

Give yourself time to absorb the news you have been given. Ask your child’s doctor if you can have a bit of time to develop a list of questions and concerns before you make any major choices. Keep a pad of paper or some other way of taking notes with you all the time so that when something comes into your mind, you can record it before it slips your mind.

Some parents find it helpful to go online and find out every bit of information they can about their child’s condition. Some would rather not know. Do what’s right for you, but I would strongly suggest that if you “take to the ‘net”, you quickly develop a filter, as not everything on there will be helpful to you or even true. Use what helps you and forget about the rest. Take your child’s medical team’s answers as the final authority, as they know your individual situation and all the factors involved.

Based on the age of your child, you may have a lot of questions from them. There may also be fear, sadness and anger from them about their diagnosis. Again, all of that is normal. Allow them to feel what they feel, and understand that you can’t fix everything for them. That’s a hard one for most parents. I have been here myself, and as much as I wished I could take all their pain on myself and make them better, I had to accept that I couldn’t.

Give your child a way to express their feelings. If your children are anything like mine, it may be hard for them to talk about their emotions, especially with their mom or dad, but they still need to let their feelings out.  You can purchase a special journal for them Sick Childto write in, allow them the opportunity to draw, paint or express their thoughts through some other medium. For some kids, a mobile device such as a tablet or netbook with a journal app might be just the thing.

On the subject of feelings and emotions, you’re probably going to go through a whole range of them too. Sadness, anger, uncertainty, and fear (lots of fear) are to be expected. Just as with your child, you need an outlet too. Journaling, talking with supportive friends and family or a professional counselor can make a big difference. If there are support groups in your area, make good use of them.

If you are married or in a relationship with your child’s other parent, going through something like this can strain that bond. Keep it mind that the strain doesn’t have to translate to a break. Be there for each other, and if you need help, this is another place ab where counseling can make a big difference.

If you are having trouble navigating through the health care system, find out if there is a patient advocate that you can access. They will be there for you and your individual situation, and can make the whole process much less stressful.

Having three kids, something that I have found it that it can be all too easy for the siblings of the ill child to feel as if they are being lost in the shuffle, which is understandable. Recognize that this is a very difficult time for them as well, and they need you too. Try and carve out some one on one time with them if you can. Even if it’s just taking younger kids to the playground or the older ones out for dinner, it will make them feel loved, which will go a long way.

One more thing about siblings that I found out the hard way. Depending on their age and ability to understand, don’t try and sugar coat the situation should they ask questions. Be honest. I don’t mean you have to be brutally honest, but keep in mind that, especially with internet access, kids today can easily find out a lot of information on their own. What they may well be looking for is honest assurance. In the case of one of my own kids, we told her younger brother that she was ill, that her doctors didn’t know why but they were doing everything they could to make her better. We gave more “technical” information to her older sister, but it had the same underlying message. If you don’t know the answers to your kid’s questions, it’s okay to admit that. Let them know you will try and find out the information they are looking for.

Keep FightingSomething that is incredibly important for any parent with a child who is facing a major health issue (or any parent for that matter) is to find some time to take care of yourself, and to not feel guilty about it. You need to “recharge” so you can be there and fully engaged for your little one. You can’t do that if you are worn down and exhausted. Take some time to have a decent meal out (and not in the hospital) go for a quiet walk in the park, do some window shopping, read a book, get together with friends and family for an afternoon, go to a movie, show, concert or game, work in your garden, play a sport you enjoy, get your hair done, meditate, do something, anything, to give you a few minutes where your mind can relax. It will leave you fresh and ready to keep up the good fight.

I mentioned it above, and something I can’t endorse enough, is to find a support group for parents going through something similar to you. It can do you a world of good to talk to other people who know and understand.

Finally, one really important thing to keep in mind is that it’s okay to be angry at the situation. It’s okay to wonder why this is happening to your child, it’s okay to be sad and to even cry, to be frustrated, and to feel like you are being pulled in 100 different directions at once. If you feel guilty, remember, none of this is your fault.   You don’t have to be strong and carry the weight of this alone. There are supports that exist to help you, so please ask your child’s doctors or hospital care team about how to access them.  If all else fails, and you feel like you are at the end of your rope and just want to scream, go ahead and do it. Find somewhere private and just cut loose with everything you’re feeling. It can do you a world of good. I say that based on personal experience.

I hope that this has helped you a bit. Bering a parent is one of the toughest jobs, and when you find out your child is sick, it gets 1000 times more difficult. Take care of, and be patient with, yourself. You are doing your best to navigate through a situation nothing can really prepare you for. You are finding your way the best way you know how.

~Jennifer McNutt

Cheap Meals for Dummies – Vol. 1

Drums & Potatoes

For those of you who enjoy cooking, my good friend Robert Clement continues to bless us here at C4C by sharing some of his favorite fancy recipes. That man can cook. But what if you don’t enjoy cooking? What if you’re not any good at following quality recipes? What if you never have the ingredients recipes call for? What if you simply can’t cook to save your ass? You know, the type of person who can screw up toast? Or worse yet, what if you’re just broke, or on a tight budget? Well, that’s where I come in with Cheap Meals for Dummies. Recipes so cheap and easy that even the biggest cooking dummies can pull them off without breaking the bank or burning down the kitchen. So put down the frozen food and step slowly away from the microwave, because it’s time to put on your dunce cap… err… I mean chef’s hat and do some really easy cooking.

Deep Fried Drums & Salted Potatoes

Estimated cost per plate: $1.50 – $2.00

What you’ll need:
A Package of Chicken Drumsticks
A Handful of Potatoes
Salt

Optional Ingredients:
Frank’s Red Hot
Pineapple Cake Mix & 2 Eggs
Butter, Garlic Powder & Parmesan Cheese
Flour & 2 Eggs (Mustard for crispy)
Salsa Con Queso & Bacon Bits

We’ll start with the potatoes because they take longer, so they’ll have time to cook while you’re doing the chicken. Fill a pot with enough water to submerge the potatoes. Add a generous amount of salt to the water. Optional: You can add other spices as well, such as pepper, garlic powder, Sazón, etc… but just plain old salt and water if you’re going full-on dummy. Put the potatoes in the water and crank the burner as high as it will go. That’s it… you’re just boiling potatoes. (They’ll take like 20-25 minutes to soften.)

Now let’s get to the good stuff, the drumsticks. Ideally, you have a deep fryer, or at the very least enough oil to put in a pot to submerge the drums completely. If not, you’ll have to put a layer of oil in a pan and actually flip the drums halfway through. If you’re a true dummy, use tongs and gently set them down when you flip them or you’ll get polka-dotted burns on your hands and arms from the oil splattering. That shit’s hot, you know? Anyway, all we’re doing here is deep frying the drums… so heat the oil first to 350 in a deep fryer, or using medium on a burner if you’re doing it on the stove top.  Then just drop them in the oil and and walk away for 10 to 12 minutes. (Or slightly more if you like your chicken extra crispy.)

So all we’ve done is boil potatoes in water and chicken in oil. So far, so easy. Now for the trick to flavoring them. Pick any of the options below, whichever you prefer:

Buffalo Drums (Pictured): Take a round Tupperware container with a lid, or an old Country Crock container if you’re ghetto, and dump some Buffalo sauce into it. (Preferably Frank’s Red Hot, the best condiment in the world.) Put the top on and shake and swirl it around. Place the drums one at a time fat side down into the container, then close it and swirl it around in a circle. This coats the drumstick with hot sauce but keeps the handle clean so you don’t get sticky fingers like you do with chicken wings.

Other variations: Same directions as the Buffalo drums, but you can substitute whatever you like. Barbecue sauce, sweet and sour, teriyaki, blue cheese, etc.

Garlic Parmesan Drums: Same thing with the Tupperware container, only this time you’re going to melt some butter in the microwave first and add a sprinkle of garlic powder to the liquid once it melts. Don’t go too crazy on the garlic powder, nobody wants to smell your stank breath after dinner. Put the melted garlic butter into the Tupperware, close the lid, and then swirl it around. Open the lid… shake some Parmesan cheese into the container, drop the drums in one at a time and swirl them around. Go easy on the Parmesan and just add more in between in each drum.

For battered drums, there’s a couple extra steps before deep frying:

Pineapple-Battered Drums (Pictured): This is one of my made up tricks which takes a couple extra steps before deep frying, but I’ll tell you how because they’re freaking delicious. You’ll need a box of Pineapple Cake Mix. Get two Tupperware containers with lids. In the first one, stir two eggs with a fork into liquid. In the second one, fill it halfway with pineapple cake mix. Take a drum and put it in the egg container first and swirl it around. Remove it and drop it into the cake mix and shake it gently until the drumstick grabs pineapple cake mix on all sides. Then deep fry as usual and the end result is a battered drumstick from heaven.

Regular Battered Drums: Or if you’re ghetto, we’ll call them Banquet-style drums. This also requires the extra steps before deep frying. You do the same thing as the pineapple trick, but put some pepper in with the stirred eggs and use flour instead of cake mix. If you like your chicken super crispy, you can either repeat the process again to double batter them, or simply add some mustard in with the eggs and the mustard will make them come out all crunchy.

As for the potatoes… they’re easy too. Take them out of the water when they’re done and slice an X in the top of them so they split evenly open. Then you can simply eat them as-is (pictured) by dipping them in melted butter, or you can get a little fancier by pouring salsa con queso (cheese sauce, you dummy) over them and sprinkle bacon bits on top for a cheesy-bacon potato sort of thing.

I got a pack of 12 drums on sale at Aldi for 3 bucks, so 3 or 4 to a plate is only 75 cents to a dollar. The potatoes were 3 bucks a sack, so using only a few per plate amounts to like 35 cents. Tack on any of the extras like the eggs, cake mix, flour or sauces.. and you’re still only talking $1.50 to $2.00 per plate.

There you have it. Cheap, easy, delicious, and it kicks the shit out of your frozen dinner, dummy. Now go wash the dishes. Being a cooking dummy is cool, but being a cooking dummy with a kitchen full of dirty dishes is kind of gross.

~Jamie Capria

15 Minutes of E-Fame

FameEveryone’s heard the Andy Warhol “15 minutes of fame” quote, but what most people don’t know is that it was plagiarized. Not only does a photographer claim to have uttered a similar phrase to Warhol two years earlier during a photography shoot, prompting Warhol to run off with it… but we can go all the way back to the year 1600 when William Kemp, a clown actor, published the phrase “9 days wonder,” which means a novelty that loses its appeal after a few days. It basically expresses the same exact underlying premise that Warhol is credited with.

It doesn’t matter what decade of what century you look at, history has proven that human beings are programmed to have some sort of strange desire and fascination with fame and attention. Fortunately for mankind, the average fame-seeking freak had limited resources for vomiting their lame attempts to garner attention all over our laps. Up until the past decade or so, that is. Enter stage left, the internet and social media. Every dolt with a computer, tablet, or cell phone suddenly thought they found their wormhole to fame. What was once the information superhighway has now become the highway to hell, and it’s paved with idiotic intentions. The world wide web has been reduced to a LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! stage. You can’t browse for more than 20 seconds without enduring someone’s sad attempt to achieve internet fame… two words that go together like douchebag and prestige.

With that in mind, I offer the following public service announcement:

Don’t follow me on Twitter, don’t star my tweets, don’t friend me or subscribe to me on Facebook, don’t like my posts, don’t follow me on Instagram or heart my selfies, don’t read my Tumblr blog, don’t see what garbage I like on Pinterest, don’t make me the mayor of anything, don’t Snapchat me, and don’t like, star, retweet, heart, or share if you agree. In fact, if you’re one of the millions of shallow-ass attention and validation-seeking morons who clog up our screens with your weak attempts at douchebag prestige… err… I mean internet fame, then do us all a favor and go out and get a huge firecracker. After lighting it, make sure you grasp it firmly between both hands until it explodes and shreds your fingers and/or hands into such inoperative stumps that they’ll never be capable of typing on a keyboard, maneuvering a mouse, or operating a cell phone or tablet ever again. Once you’ve accomplished that you can achieve the internet fame you’ve so desperately desired by opening a GoFundMe page and asking for handouts for your pain and suffering, much like the clowns who have received donations and then bragged about their new (funded) tattoos, or posted pictures of themselves doing their (funded) bong hits.

“The best things in life are free.” ~Coco Chanel

“… from the masses, who inevitably fuck everything up.” ~MrFornicator

~Jamie Capria

Jake the Transformer

Jake ArrietaA lot has been made about Jake Arrieta’s success with the Cubs, prompting baseball-clueless guys like Stephen A. Smith to allude to the possible use of performance enhancing drugs. Somewhere along the way, Smith decided that his knowledge of basketball somehow qualified him to speak feverishly on other sports in which he has very limited knowledge in, and ESPN loves putting him on your televisions because his antics draw ratings. I mean, we’re talking about a guy who once brilliantly pontificated on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters panel, that an NFL team should’ve attempted a FG on third down, that way if they missed they could try again on 4th down, so unless it’s about basketball, most educated viewers have learned not to take anything he says very seriously. I should give him a break though. I mean, after all, it was mighty noble of him to phrase it in a way that basically translated to “I’m not saying he might’ve used performance enhancing drugs, but I think he might’ve used performance enhancing drugs.” Slippery much, Stephen? This phrasing allowed him to implant PED use doubts in people’s minds, but also granted him the ability to claim he never said Jake used if his comments garnered any backlash. Putting Stephen A. Smith’s reckless ratings-driven comments aside, I decided to give a closer look into Jake’s transformation from thrower to pitcher.

Arrieta was basically just a fastball/sinker pitcher in Baltimore. It’s almost all he threw. Because of their movement, sinkers (and knucklers) rely heavily on weather conditions. It’s one of the primary reasons why sinkerballers and knuckleballers are so inconsistent. Some days they just can’t get it to drop as sharply. Additionally, Arrieta throws his sinker in the mid 90’s, so it’s very close to the speed of his fastball. Jake used that sinker/fastball combination in Baltimore over 60% of the time, so hitters were rarely off balance because the majority of the pitches they saw were coming at them close to the same speeds. Combine that with Camden Yards being a HR hitting stadium, and you’ve got a guy who threw primarily 2 pitches… a hard and straight fastball, and a similarly hard sinker that sometimes wouldn’t sink sharply in a HR hitting division and stadium. The result was 48 jacks allowed in just over 350 innings, and a rather unsightly ERA. If you’re not keeping guys guessing and off balance because you’re basically relying on two pitches with similar velocity, suddenly both pitches become very hittable for major league hitters.

PilatesFast forward to Chicago, where he backed off that mostly 2-pitch formula and gradually started heavily mixing in a slider, a changeup, a curve, and adding cut to his fastball, and suddenly you’ve got an entirely different guy on the mound. Now you’ve got a guy who can throw 5 good pitches, and uses them all regularly. Nasty slider, nasty cutter, nasty changeup, nasty sinker, nasty curve… all with good rotation, and only the change and the curve aren’t thrown in the 90’s, so the other 3 pitches look eerily similar coming out of his hand. As a result, hitters have a hard time gauging which pitch is coming at them. Hitters no longer have a 50/50 shot at dead red or the sinker anymore and aren’t able to gear their timing into one very small window of speeds. With a low 80’s curve, high 80’s changeup, 90 MPH slider, mid 90’s sinker, and an upper 90’s cut fastball… he’s now keeping guys guessing and off balance at all times. That small window of speeds has now become a canyon of speeds. Additionally, he’s been doing Pilates religiously for quite some time now, and that has his flexibility and balance on point, which results in incredible consistency in his mechanics. He rarely has a mistake pitch. When he does, he already has hitter’s so off balance he gets away with most of them rather than turning to watch them fly over the fences in Camden. Let us also not forget the obvious switch from the DH-laden American League to the pitcher-friendly National League.

I realize the Entirely Self-Promoting Network loves the attention Stephen A. Smith’s controversial statements bring them, but unless he can back up his verbal vomit with some sort of pertinent facts, or even just sound reasoning, he should really just stick to basketball.

~Jamie Capria

Slow Cooker Beef Paprikash

Slow Cooker Beef Paprikash1 medium Onion, sliced
2 pounds cubed Beef Stew meat
2 Tablespoons Flour
Salt and Black Pepper
2 Red Bell Peppers, coarsely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Beef Broth
2 Tablespoons Sweet Paprika
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon Caraway Seeds, crushed
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Dill and Parsley, freshly chopped
Egg Noodles, cooked

Spread the onions in the bottom of a slow cooker. Toss the beef with the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and place on top of the onions. Top with the bell peppers and garlic. Stir together the broth, paprika, tomato paste and caraway and pour over the beef. Cover and cook until the meat is very tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Uncover and let stand at least 10 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and dill/parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over egg noodles.

~Robert Clement