Forever Purple

Here in California’s capital city, tomorrow is a VERY important day.  There is so much going on!  First of all, it’s Tuesday which means my oldest daughter goes to pre-school (YAY!!) so I get a couple hours with just the baby.  So it’s quieter around here.  The sanity level goes up.  But tomorrow night is where the real action heats up.

Downtown, it’s the weekly city council meeting.  Around these parts, for the past year city council meetings have been a big deal.  Ever since that dickbag Chris Hansen and Seattle tried to steal our beloved Sacramento Kings, the council has had vote after vote on Kings related matters.  Mostly about the new arena.  Tomorrow is the final vote!  The team has already bought the mall that the new arena will sit on.  As soon as the vote passes, the team president, Chris Granger has said they are going to go downtown and turn off the power.  Part of me is sad because when that mall was full, it was a great open air place to shop.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t been more than half full of stores in….1o years?  They are expecting so many people downtown they are putting up TVs outside of City Hall for those who cannot get in and want to watch outside.  I was one of these people who wanted to watch outside.  I wanted to go with Phil.  But he wanted to go bowling instead.  What a jerk, right?

Tomorrow is also important because it’s the NBA draft lottery!  The Kings have the 7th spot right now with virtually no chance of getting into the top 3.  They have picked 7th every year they’ve been in Sacramento.  Okay maybe it just seems that way.  But they have selected Lionel Simmons, Bobby Hurley, Jason Williams, they traded down from 7 to draft Jimmer Fredette (wow that trade is still horrible), Ben McLemore, and the best 7th pick in the history of sports, Walt Williams.  See?  They are there a lot.  Now, there really isn’t much suspense tomorrow with the lottery.  The Los Angeles Lakers WILL get the #1 pick.  I am one of the conspiracy theorists who believe the lottery is fixed.  I will be shocked if the Lakers don’t get the first pick.  And equally shocked if the Kings do.

The other cool thing that the Kings are doing for the draft is what they are calling “Draft 3.0.”    I think it is so great that the front office is trying to use any and all people they can to get all the information on every possible player in college to make the right pick.  There are probably people who think that if general manager is reaching out to fans, maybe they need a new general manager.  I am not one of those people.  If there is a different side, I say there is no reason not to look at it.  It is wonderful.

I admit, I am way too stupid to put my own vote in on the page.  I started getting into the major stats just a few years ago with baseball.  I am still learning there.  I have barely scratched the surface when it comes to basketball.  All I know is, I really don’t want the Kings to draft yet ANOTHER point guard.  Yes, I’m sure Marcus Smart is amazing.  Dante Exum seems really really good.  But come on.  Something other than another damn point guard!!

DC Entertainment

Ask anyone who is a comic book fan, and they will have their preference in DC Comics vs. Marvel Comics.  There are those of us that like DC better, and those that are wrong.  As I have said previously, I don’t read a lot of actual comic books.  Pretty much just Green Arrow.  Although, I do read the Injustice series that tied into the video game of the same name that was released.

I am, however, one of the millions of people who cannot wait for every single superhero movie to come out.  This is where Marvel has taken the lead.  The most recent Batman franchise was amazing, even if I’m the only person who thinks Batman Begins was the best of the trilogy.  (I liked Green Lantern).  Unfortunately, every Superman movie tends to blow.  Iron Man, The Avengers and Captain America are really good.  Okay, The Winter Soldier was okay.  I haven’t written about that yet.  I can’t really wrap my thoughts around it yet.  I will.  Hopefully before Captain America 3 comes out.

Where DC really owns Marvel is on television.  Yes, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a Marvel show.  And anything associated with Joss Whedon is going to be aces in my book.  What can I say, after Firefly, the guy can do no wrong.  But it doesn’t compare to the televised world of DC Comics.  I didn’t watch Smallville at the beginning.  I don’t remember why.  It was a long time ago.  I have a problem remembering what I did last weekend.  But guess what happened?!  They added Green Arrow!  Do you sense a theme here?  So I picked up Smallville at that point and watched till the end.  My wife loved the show too because of the Arrow, but not so much for the bow and quiver…. more so for the.. uh… Oliver.

The CW is about to wrap up season 2 of Arrow.  I love it so much.  So damn much.  It’s not my favorite show on TV.  I think that title goes to Justified.  So pissed there is only one more season.  Anyway.  It’s pretty freaking good.  Stephen Amell is a much better Green Arrow than Justin Hartley.  It was the correct choice to recast.  During this season, they decided to spin-off The Flash.  It will debut this fall.  Here is the teaser trailer.  I have some hopes for it.  If it’s done as well as Arrow.  I’m not the biggest Flash fan, so I don’t have the highest of hopes, but I will certainly watch it.

The one I couldn’t be more excited about is Gotham.  An origin story of Jim Gordon.  No Batman.  Bruce Wayne as a child, the villains before they were villains.  It looks like it could be really really good.  Or it could be really really terrible.  The only thing it’s missing is the best comic book villain from either universe.  Harley Quinn.  But, she was teased to possibly be in the next season of Arrow, so I’m good.  Plus, she was played brilliantly Mia Sara in the 2002 series Birds of Prey.  I guess I shouldn’t be too greedy.  But I can never get enough Harley.  Especially since my wife wouldn’t let me name our first daughter Harley Quinn.  Ppppttthhh.  Almost four years later and I’m still upset about that.

Weezer

I have been burglarized twice in my life. Luckily, no one was home either time and nothing of any real importance was ever taken. A TV or two, some jewelry, and both times my CD collection. For a child, to rebuild your music collection is time consuming and expensive. I only bought two CDs both times our home was broken into. One was Dookie by Green Day and the other was released 20 years ago today, Weezer’s Blue Album.

Looking back after 20 years it certainly makes my top five albums of the 90s.  Grantland.com ran a piece about the album that was brilliant as well. I highly suggest reading it for another perspective.  They took all of their writers and each one discussed a song on the album.  Pretty cool.  I’m not going to go that far, but for me, my favorite song on the album is The World has Turned and Left Me Here.  It may not be the best, or the most critically acclaimed, but there’s something about it.

When the CD came out, I was dating a girl named Andrea. She loved Buddy Holly. Loved it. All these years later, the song still makes me think of her. She was weird and goofy and while most of high school sucked for me, it’s songs like this that bring back happy memories, even though they are few and far between.  At the time, it was one of the coolest videos I had ever seen.  It’s still really amazing how they did it.  And for the mid 90s?!  Brilliant!  The Sweater Song was a song that was so crazy cool to me, and EVERYONE knew it so well, that it sort of lost some of it’s awesomeness for a while.  But there is nothing about The Blue Album that is not absolute gold.

It’s a CD that is so totally 1990s.  However, I put it on the last couple of days in the car while driving my daughters around town, and it still holds up extremely well for being 20 years old.  Weezer has done put out some great songs since then.  Beverly Hills I really enjoyed, and the album Hurley if you don’t have it, is really really good.  I highly recommend it.

So with a tip of the cap, I say well done boys.  Congrats on a great 20 years and a brilliant album.  It was and will always be a benchmark CD for me.

The NFL Draft

I’m an Oakland Raider fan. They just selected Khalil Mack. My wife is still at work. I texted her:

“They selected the right guy. You can come home now.”

Phil’s a 49er fan. He’s got a long time to wait. Which is fine, because he’s going to be at work for a long time.

RBI Baseball ’14

When I was a child, I had a Sega Genesis.  All my other friends has Nintendos.  I eventually sold it to get a Nintendo.  It just had better games.  Or at least, games that were more accessible via my local video store.  This was at a time when local mom and pop video stores rented video games.  Before Blockbuster.  Before Hollywood Video.  I know.  Forever ago.  I used to ride my bike down and look at the dozens of Nintendo games for rent and the five genesis games for rent.  It was awful.  So, I convinced my dad I had to have a Nintendo like everyone else.  And when I did get it, one of the first games I got was RBI Baseball.

I’ve always preferred sports games to other games.  There are exceptions.  Mario, Smash TV and a bunch of others.  But my friends and I always have played sports games.  Baseball games were big with my friend Chris and me.  Depending on who’s house you were at would depend on which game you played.  He had Bases Loaded.  I had RBI Baseball.  (There was no debate on football.  We both had Tecmo Bowl.  Everyone had Tecmo Bowl).

When I played the game into college, I would play as my beloved Oakland A’s.  I actually kept stats manually so I could see how they did at the end of the season.  Yup, I am just that cool.  I was stoked beyond belief when I heard they were bringing back RBI Baseball.  Just like I was last year when DuckTales was brought back.  I bought that too!!  Well, I went over to Amazon to pick up my copy and it was no where to be found.  “What the hell,” I said to myself.  Did a little research, turns out, the game is only available through the game console!  That’s crazy!

Am I the only person who still likes having the actual game?!  I still buy DVDs and Blu Ray discs.  I don’t just download digital copies of movies.  Am I completely out of touch with the rest of the world?  Have I become my father so soon!?  This really snuck up on me!  I will eventually get my copy when I stop being so lazy and actually turn on my PS3 again.  It’s been a while.  There are a few games I’d like to get along with it.  That are actually sold with a disc and case and everything!  I hear some good things about last years Tomb Raider.

 

In the Battalion: Pro Soccer in Sacramento

I’ve been meaning to write a post on pro soccer coming to Sacramento for some time now, and maybe it was the fact that Eric beat me to the punch, but I’ve finally awoken from my blogging malaise and am ready to chime in on a subject that I truly am passionate about.

Like professional soccer in the rest of the United Sates, pro soccer in California’s capital has had a mixed history. Sacramento has hosted a number of amateur, semi-pro, and professional soccer teams over the years; the most “famous” of which was probably the professional indoor soccer team, the Sacramento Knights. Despite its spotty history, however, I’ve always felt that professional soccer could work in Sacramento. Having played club soccer (teams that travel to compete in tournaments across the state) for years, I’ve long known about the strong community of soccer-savvy individuals that live in the greater Sacramento area. Like most families with the kind of expendable income required to fund their vicarious children’s pursuit of sporting glory, these folks tended to be middle- to upper-middle class. When combined with the more stereotypical soccer mom’s as well as the large numbers of families that have settled in the Sacramento area from countries far more passionate about the sport of soccer than their adopted one, there always seemed to be enough of a market for a pro team to take hold…if it was done right.

Enter the Republic FC.

From the moment the team was announced, the Republic, led by president/founder Warren Smith (who also has ties to Sacramento’s minor league baseball team, the River Cats) have fostered a sense of community and purpose. Everything done on the field (hiring former U.S. Men’s National Team player Predrag “Preki” Radosavlijevic, forming affiliations with the San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer (MLS), building a temporary, soccer-specific stadium at Cal Expo) and off it (special events, community outreach, partnering with the supporter’s group Tower Bridge Battalion) has been focused on one clear goal: building a professional soccer team in Sacramento that will last.

Whether or not the Republic will succeed or follow in the footsteps of its predecessors remains to be seen. Many will argue that the Republic’s long-term success will hinge on whether or not it can break into the MLS. This is a complex process that generally requires three main ingredients: deep pocketed owners, a strong fan base, and a soccer-specific stadium. Based on a very small sample size, Sacramento appears to at least have a fan base that is ready to support a local soccer team. The Republic home opener drew over 20,000 fans in a sellout game at Hughes Stadium. Their following game drew over 17,000 fans, which was more than three of the seven MLS matches that occurred on that same day (per the Sacramento Bee).

The numbers–of fans and those preceded by dollar signs–will eventually decide if Sacramento gets to play in the MLS sandbox, but that’s for the executives of the Republic and the MLS to worry about. Personally, I’m just excited to have a local team in a sport I love. As someone who wakes up early on the weekends to catch EPL matches, it’s thrilling to have something resembling a “true,” professional soccer atmosphere in my own backyard. It’s also about civic pride. Sacramento is a great city with the reputation for being a one-trick sports town (i.e., the Kings), but the truth of the matter is that we have the capacity to support multiple sports franchises. And as any long-time Kings fan will surely attest, we Sacramentans will support our teams through thick and thin.*

So I would encourage everyone, whether you avidly love soccer or are lukewarm towards the beautiful game (like Eric), to get out and support the Republic FC. You’ll be treating yourself to a fun experience, but more importantly, helping to ensure that a professional sports team and community partner gains traction in our great city. As members of the Tower Bridge Battalion would say (sing), “Glory, glory Sacramento!

*Unless the owners decide to throw mud in our face. ::cough::the Maloofs::cough::

Sacramento Republic FC

Okay so maybe this is a little localized.  But it’s pretty important here in Sacramento.  We have our own professional soccer club!  The Sacramento Republic FC.  I will admit that I am usually only interested in soccer every four years for the World Cup.  International soccer gets me interested, but MLS, or English Premier League I couldn’t care less about.  But put a club in my backyard?  Yeah, I’m going to pay attention.

We have now had two home matches and are 1-1.  Phil is lucky.  He has season tickets. I guess lucky isn’t the word I should use.  Phil shelled out the cash for season tickets.  He also lives much closer to the stadiums than I do.  I say stadiums on purpose.  I’ll get there.  Hey Phil, where are the pictures that I would have expected to be online by now?  Phil stands with the Tower Bridge Battalion!  He’s a big deal downtown.  Well, he’s there.  Maybe not the biggest of deals, but I assume he’s a deal.  The team is not part of Major League Soccer, or MLS.  The team is part of the United Soccer League, and we couldn’t be prouder of our boys.

In the first match, the club lost 2-1.  They won by the same score in the second match.  Both matches were at a stadium that holds over 20,000 people.  The first match was sold out.  They set an attendance record for the league by 9,500 people!!  The second was around 17,000 people if I read it correctly.  It was on the campus of a college here in Sacramento.  The reason is, they are still building the stadium that was designed for the club.  It holds 8,000 people.  Uh…. I’m curious if it’s capable of doubling the capacity.  We need to get MLS to notice!  The designers may have underestimated the desire for soccer in this town.  The coolest part is while 20,000 people were selling out a soccer match, across town 15,000 people were selling out a AAA minor league baseball River Cats game.  This is a great sports town, no matter what anyone will say about us.

Anyway, I am proud of my teams.  I am proud of my town.  And I am proud of Phil for being there every match.  I get to watch on YouTube, so that’s cool.  I gotta convince Phil to ditch his wife and take me to once.  Maybe twice.

Oh!  Also happy Star Wars Day!  May the 4th be with you!