Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Official Fantasy Death Pool Rules

Here are the rules for the latest Bullets Blog Fantasy Game:

  • Each person drafts three actors/actresses from the IMDB cast list for the movie (actor names, not character names).
  • The participating parties must go see the movie at midnight on the night that it opens. 
    • Prior to the opening, the following are permitted:
      • Trailers
    • And the following are NOT permitted:
      • Synopsis-related reviews
    • Basically just try to preserve the integrity of the game. 
  • For each actor that dies, the team is awarded one point.
  • Deaths will be determined by the majority of the participating teams (in our case, we both have to agree). If a tie occurs, a third person will be consulted to determine if the character died or not. 
  • The team with more points at the end of the movie wins. 
Our first Fantasy Death Pool movie will be The Bourne Legacy, which opens this Friday. 

PS - If you listened to the podcast and were wondering what DIA actually stands for, it's either Denver International Airport or Defense Intelligence Agency. You make the call. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

MLB Power Rankings

Ahhh, August. A month that is typically spent by me working my butt off at my summer job, basically to kill time before the beginning of school. But it's also a fairly stagnant month for sports all around.

Obviously, with the Olympics this year, it's been fairly busy, which masks the fact that nothing's happening. But if you're like me, and not an Olympics fanatic like everyone else (apparently, 70% of the earth's population who are tuning into the Games this Summer), you're pretty bored.

Sure, there are "storylines" to follow, between the fake QB controversy between Sanchez and Tebow, NBA storylines like Blake Griffin's injury, the PGA tournament coming up next week, and I just received confirmation that people STILL care about Chad Johnson. But, if those storylines don't interest you, you're stuck with one sport only at this time of the year: Baseball.

So, in case you're looking for someone to handicap the rest of the season, I've taken the liberty of doing so for you. I have ranked the 30 teams, in order of where I believe they will finish. Keep in mind: my pre-season pick for the world series was Yankees over Marlins. So you know I'm not biased.

1.) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- by my calculations, they're the best team in baseball. Not in terms of current record, but they can, and will, go toe to toe with anyone in baseball with that rotation. The only other team in the majors who can match their rotation is....the Phillies. Who have no chance of making the playoffs at this point.

2.) New York Yankees -- my team. However, this doesn't look like their year. Clearly I think they're the second best team in baseball, and with three quality starters, the best defense in baseball and a very productive offense, who can argue that? However, between teams 1-4 here, the gap is tiny. I just think LAA has the most firepower in terms of pitching, and a good enough lineup to beat them.

3.) Texas Rangers -- they've fallen apart at the seams lately, but do NOT count that offense out at any time. Their injuries in the rotation, and lack of an ace will be their downfall ultimately, but this team can beat anyone in a slugfest. If the game is 8-8 after the fourth inning, advantage Texas. For the record, Ryan Dempster was the worst pick-up of all time.

4.) Cincinnati Reds -- with Strasburg pitching, the Nationals are better. But, after he hits the magic number and his arm reaches the point where it can literally fall off, the Reds are better. They're very hot right now, and I think the way they can hit will carry them to the World Series this year. Votto is the second best hitter in baseball, behind....

5.) Detroit Tigers -- ...Miguel Cabrera. Hands down, the best hitter in baseball. With him, Prince and Boesch (underrated hitter) producing, and Verlander being himself, this team can run with anyone. If Doug Fister pitches well down the stretch, this team is the best in all of the Major Leagues. Write it down. I just don't see it happening.

6.) Washington Nationals -- I hate innings limits. Call me biased, but after watching the Yankees botch Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes AND Ian Kennedy for the last 6 years, I don't believe in them. And because of that, this team will miss its best chance to compete for a title it will have for a long time. Do you really think Gio Gonzalez is THIS good? And Jordan Zimmermann? The clock will strike midnight on this team eventually, and their inability to hit will be exposed. And when it does, they'll wish Stephen Strasburg was there to dominate 7 innings of a game.

7.) Los Angeles Dodgers -- they upgraded their team immensely with HanRam, although Joe Blanton was a bit of a reach. This team is a player or two away from being unstoppable. This offseason, Magic Johnson should get his cronies together and make a push to trade for Cliff Lee. With him and Kershaw anchoring the rotation, and HanRam, Kemp and Ethier in the middle of the order, this team could be unbeatable for years to come.

8.) Oakland Athletics -- this will be my last drawn out response. I think they're for real, which is scary. They swept the Yankees a few weeks ago, and they looked every bit like a team that can be dangerous in the playoffs. They can pitch, they can field, and Cespedes and Reddick can both really hit. Like the Dodgers, in three years, this nucleus can be unstoppable.

9.) Atlanta Braves
10.) Pittsburgh Pirates (will finish over .500, get the fifth playoff spot. Good for them.)
11.) Chicago White Sox 
12.) St. Louis Cardinals
13.) Baltimore Orioles
14.) San Francisco Giants
15.) Arizona Diamondbacks (oh yeah, they're quietly 2 games out of the NL West.)
16.) Tampa Bay Rays
17.) Boston Red Sox
18.) Toronto Blue Jays
19.) Cleveland Indians
20.) New York Mets (this one hurts, because I really honestly thought they had a chance. Too bad. At least Harvey gives them something to look forward to.)
21.) Seattle Mariners (King Felix is the best pitcher in the MLB.)
22.) Philadelphia Phillies
23.) Milwaukee Brewers
24.) Miami Marlins (way to alienate your "fan base.")
25.) Minnesota Twins
26.) San Diego Padres
27.) Kansas City Royals
28.) Chicago Cubs
29.) Colorado Rockies
30.) Houston Astros (I predict less than 50 wins for them in the AL next season. That bad.)

There you have it! Angels over Reds in the world series this year, in 6 games. Tough to win four games against some combination of Jared Weaver twice, C.J Wilson twice, Dan Haren twice and Zack Greinke once. As a Yankee fan, my only hope is that Greinke gets an anxiety attack so bad that he can't pitch, forcing Earvin Santana to pitch. He gives up 16 runs in the first inning (as per usual), the bullpen gets decimated and Weaver, Haren and Wilson all fail to pitch complete game shutouts in the final three games. We'll see what happens.

Until then, I hear Tim Tebow changed his shirt on a plane. Check it out!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Bullets Blog's Favorite Olympians

To honor the worldwide block party that is the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, we'd like to present you with each of our favorite Olympians that are competing at these games. Keep in mind, it's "our favorites" and not "the best" or "the most attractive" (although generally some combination of those two traits is a major factor). We invited Dave, but in typical Dave fashion he did not participate.

(Note: this is Jay writing. All editor's notes are from me.)

1. Jordyn Wieber - She's all business, but when she breaks out that smile, it's intoxicating. In her floor routine when they were about to win, her smile lit up the building. She got robbed in the All-Around, the two per country rule is moronic, but she's clearly talented as she was supposed to be the next Mary Lou and Nastia.

2. Hope Solo - Not only is she incredibly skilled and beautiful, but her tweets ripping Brandi Chastain were fantastic. I like people who aren't afraid to say what they think, even if they're wrong. At least nobody can say the girl doesn't have a spine.

3. Kobe Bryant - My favorite NBA player ever. Naturally, he's one of my favorite Olympians as well. He may be on the tail end of his career, but the guy makes scoring the basketball artistic.

4. Aly Raisman - Her floor performance to seal the deal in the team competition was one of the greatest moments I've ever seen. To see her openly crying as she knew they achieved their goal was incredibly special. Beautiful moment.

5. Michael Phelps - I can't deny how incredible an athlete he is. He came in fourth in the most grueling event, the 400 IM, without even training for it. That's unbelievable. Everyone's falling head over heels for Lochte, but Phelps is the much more consistent swimmer, and the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.

Honorable Mention: McKayla Maroney - How she didn't get a perfect score on that vault, I'll never know.

(Editor's note: three gymnasts? Gay!)


1.) Michael Phelps -- tough to argue with this one. All-time medals winner in the history of the Olympics, he was the most dominant athlete at two consecutive games, won the most gold medal's at one games. The argument of who is the greatest Olympian of all-time is more difficult, as it's easier to get medals in swimming than some other events such as track and field. But he is undoubtedly still my favorite. Side note -- he was high the entire time it was going on too. Impressive, sir.

2.) LeBron James -- my love affair with LeBron is well documented at this point, so I don't need to go into the specifics of why he's the best player in the world, but I think even people who despise LeBron can admit that the way he's handled himself since winning the title has been outstanding. Rather than pulling the Kobe "one more ring than Shaq" card, he simply said that he was just happy to win a title. So far for the men's team, he's been a leader, and probably the best all around player. Another fun fact: I think this team could win 3 in a best of 7 against the original Dream Team.

3.) Hope Solo -- alright, I'll admit that she's a loudmouth and probably should keep to herself more, but you have to love this girl. She's strong, sexy, talented and above all, has a personality that she won't quell for anyone. She is the best women's goalie in the world, and might just go down in history as being better than her predecessor, Brianna Scurry. Also, I think occasionally it's refreshing to have an athlete who doesn't roll over in front of the media, as long as it doesn't affect their performance on the field (looking at you Chad OchoCinco Johnson).

4.) Roger Federer -- of the Big Three in tennis, Rafael Nadal is my personal favorite. However, he withdrew before the competition began, so I'll put my second favorite on here, Federer. Some of the shots he hits are simply unbelievable, shots that no other player in the world could make. Rafa, Djokovic and Federer have combined to win an astounding 28 of the last 29 grand slam events, and Federer has 11 of those wins, tied with Rafa most of the three. Federer is the most decorated of all three in terms of grand slam victories, here's to hoping he gets his first gold medal to go with them.

5.) Khatuna Lorig -- you may have never heard of her, but she has a chance to do something that no other Olympian in history has done: medal in 5 consecutive Olympics. Talk about longevity. Granted, if there's one sport where age doesn't affect your performance too much, it's definitely archery. I hope she can win another medal for the US this time around!

5. The Dutch Women's Field Hockey TeamThey actually just held a beauty pageant, eliminated the girls that were below a 9, and taught them all how to play field hockey. That's the only explanation. I hate when people use "literally" wrong but literally every girl on the team is attractive.

4. Destinee Hooker, USA, volleyballHer name is hilarious, let's just get that out of the way. But she is an astounding volleyball player - at any time and in any rotation, she can demand a set and pound a kill. She's kind of like LeBron James in that regard: when they want to, they can dominate any level of competition.

3. Aly Raisman, USA, gymnasticsArguably the best all-around gymnast on the team and arguably the most attractive. I was watching the Olympic trials with my mom, saw Aly, and immediately fell in love. And then watching her clinch gold for Team USA literally brought me to tears - but I was under the influence so I may have just been crying because she was.

2. Alex Morgan, USA, soccerThe cutest Olympian in the history of the Olympics. She's perfect. And she can actually ball out on the pitch. The only problem I have with her is that I now own 50 Panasonic TVs because she was on the boxes.

1. Michael Phelps, USA, swimmingI waffle on the "most medals ever" record. Obviously, it's impressive because it's the most ever. But he does compete in 8 events and his sport and year of birth allowed him to compete in 3 Olympics. Double but, no other swimmer has done what he's done. 19 medals and counting - and 15 golds? Jesus. Someone look up how many countries don't even have 15 medals total in their history. But my favorite part about Phelps is his ability to unite an entire nation. In '08, EVERYONE watched and cheered for him. In '12, everyone will watch and half of everyone will be rooting for Lochte. Bandwagoners.

(Editor's note: I think Phelps won a few more medals since I wrote this, one of which was head-to-head with Lochte. I rest my case.)

5. Kevin Durant
4. Weiber
3. Lochte
2. Franklin
1. Phelps

No explanations from the big man. But I know that Alex shares a first name and a birthday with a certain female soccer star and I was really, really surprised that he left her off his list. Which led to this conversation:

To summarize: 
  • We all love Phelps
  • We all love women's soccer players that are attractive
  • We all love girls' gymnastics
  • Ahhh-merica

Update: Here's the official standings, pending Dave's submission that may or may not ever happen:
  1. Michael Phelps
  2. Alex Morgan
  3. Hope Solo
  4. Jordyn Wieber
  5. Aly Raisman

Blogging From The Beach

I'll admit it, the last year or so have been quite lackluster for me as a writer, as a blogger. Yes, there have been remarkable stories, but nothing has been particularly captivating enough to grasp my interest so hard I can't break free. Seeing as this week I'm on vacation, and the Mets are taking their lack of talent to the west coast (thank the good Lord), I've been stuck watching an event I can never seem to get excited for, the Olympics.

Every time I go into it saying it's something I just don't care about. But every time, one competition grabs my interest, and for whatever reason that happens to be women's gymnastics. Maybe it's because I had a 12 year old crush on Carly Patterson in Athens. Or because Nastia Liukin was not only stunning, but simply incredible in Beijing. Regardless, I'm partly proud and partly terrified that I have a passion for Women's Olympic Gymnastics, and this year was no different. Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman both stole my heart. And both of their hearts got broken.

It amazes me when people are so secure in what they're doing, and passionate enough to dedicate everything for one idea. For these girls, it was the prospect of winning All Around gold. For these girls, it didn't pan out. Jordyn and Aly spent 17 and 18 years, respectively, to not reach their ultimate goal. Does that constitute as a failure? I'm not the one to judge. Only they can say whether or not the ride was worth it. I am a man of many emotions, a disgusting amount of them to be exact. I am undoubtedly a little jealous of the fact that they were unwavering in their passion for the game, in their passion for the ultimate goal, regardless of whether or not it was reached. I want to say that I'd much prefer pouring my heart and soul into one close failure that abruptly ends, over trying to grasp for anything and everything that could be beneficial down the road. Critics will say that's impatient and short sighted. And, quite frankly, it is. But at least these girls knew it was right. They'll tackle the future when they get there.

Security and stability are undervalued in our culture. But so are risk taking and living in the moment. Why go out of your way to put your best days ahead of you, when you could be living them now? I think I'd rather try to attack down the odds and fail, than play conservative. You don't hit on 19, but you have to on 16 every single time.