About SimpleJack

Avid sports fans. I'm trying to be impartial but not always am going to be. Just so everyone (and I mean you the hordes of my loving/awesome fans) I'm an avid Knicks, Mets (hence me not being so stoked for the 2012 season), and football fan. I enjoy spending my nights in my study, especially with a nice glass of scotch and a fine cigar while reading a good book next to the fire and my prized collection of animal skins.

It’s Always Sunny on Netflix – a review by SimpleJack

So as you many of you have heard, one of the funniest shows to grace cable TV over the past 10 years has finally made its long awaited Netflix debut (albeit American Netflix, sorry Canadians *cough Vernon Smells cough*). I was never a huge Sunny fan, occasionally I would catch a rerun on FX or Comedy Central, and actually was able to catch most of the last season, however I got into the show so late that I was unable to find a (legal) way to catch the classic episodes from the earlier seasons . However, when Vernon told me It’s Always Sunny came out on American Netflix, I was more than excited… here’s my layman review of my experience.

I started at good old episode one, determined to watch all the episodes one-by-one straight though. So I grabbed my trusty pint of MountainDew, some chips and dip, and several 5-hour energies and found my place on the couch. As soon as I was half way through the first episode I knew something was off, then it hit me. WHERE WAS DANNY DEVITO?! I mean Frank… You see, I always enjoyed Frank’s character from the later episodes I saw, I can relate to him because I too am vertically challenged. That’s beside the point, it just was not the Sunny I knew without Frank. So going against my promise I skipped to the first episode of season 2… and that’s where things got good. I do not know how my kidney is still functioning because after 1.5 seasons and over 6 hours straight of Sunny, I was in a constant state of laughter and ecstasy. I swear, I herniated a disk in my back watching Frank drop acid at walk-on tryouts for the Eagles, or when the McPoyles hold the gang hostage in the bar (seriously that episode was 25 minutes of nonstop laughter. Well anyway, I am 5 episodes into Season 3, but will keep you all updated as I continue my journey to experience 100% of Sunny. Anyway here are my quick reviews of my 3 favorite episodes so far:

1. The Gang Gets Held Hostage: This and The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre (Season 8) are my 2 favorite episodes of Sunny I have seen so far, both coincidentally are McPoyles episodes. The twist ending really makes this episode, but there was not a single dull moment in this episode where the McPoyles, armed with AK-47s, hold the gang hostage in Paddy’s.

2. Hundred Dollar Baby*: This episode starting a bit slow but soon became one of my favorite. Frank trains Dee in the art of self-defense, while Dennis and Mac season Charlie for the dangers of underground street fighting. This was the first episode where I began to warm up to Sweet Dee’s character. (MLB baseball has forced me to place an asterisk next to the title of this episode because of PEDs use)

3. The Gang Gets Invincible: classic It’s Always Sunny parody. In a spoof of the film Invincible, the Eagles are holding open tryouts which attracts the interest of Mac, Dennis, and Dee with promises of playing on “The Linc” and meeting (then Eagle star) Donavon McNabb. The situational humor is priceless in this episode, as Frank drops acid and even more conflict is precipitated by the notorious McPoyle family.

Those are my thoughts so far. Stay updated though as I will continue to report on my progress, hopefully another article coming late this week. This is SimpleJack, signing out.

-Simple Jack

Follow us on Twitter: @CriticsFTCouch
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/criticsfromthecouch

30 Teams in 30 Days – Colorado Rockies

Ahhh the 2007 Rockies’ season. Who would’ve thunk it? The no-names of the league went on a championship run. The team that no one gave a chance proved themselves to be champions of the NL. The Rockies had a more than abysmal 2011 however finishing 4th in the West with a meager 73 wins. Can the Rockies rebound in 2012? Will there be a repeat of 2007′s “Rocktober”? And can the Rockies make another Cinderella run? These are the questions that should be at the back of everyone’s minds as we look forward to the 2012 season.
2011 Season
Record: 73-89

Finish: 4th in NL West
Playoffs: None
Top Pitcher: Jhoulys Chacin (Don’t worry I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce this name either) 11-14, 3.62 ERA, 150 SO
Top Hitter: Troy Tulowitzki (Believe it or not but I can pronounce this name!) .302 AVG, 30 HR, 105 RBI
Manager: Jim Tracy
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Jeremy Guthrie RHP, Casey Blake 3B, Chad Tracy 1B, Jamie Moyer LHP (How is he still alive, let alone playing professional baseball), Marco Scutaro SS, Michael Cuddyer RF, Ramon Hernandez C, Tyler Chatwood RHP
Important Offseason Losses: Huston Street SD, Chris Iannetta LAA, Mark Ellis LAD, Kevin Millwood SEA, JC Romero STL, Kevin Kouzmanoff KC, Ty Wigginton PHI, Ryan Spilborghs CLE, Clayton Mortenson BOS, Matt Lindstrom BAL

Now the 2012 Rockies are a new look team from 2011. But unfortunately this is not necessarily a good thing (nor is it a bad thing), along with gaining a ton through a front office gone wild, the Rockies also lost a lot. I would say all that they gained exactly equaled what they lost, which is surprising, usually a team improved from the season before or got worse. Now I won’t keep you guys for a while because we all know what article is up next aka the moment you’ve all been waiting for (I’ll give you a hint it rhymes with Ain’t Trouis Ardinals) but in all honesty I’m not sure how the Rockies will do in 2012. I mean one can assume that their record will be almost identical to lasts, but 2011 was disappointing for the Rockies so I doubt you’ll see them doing worse. They had some key acquisitions that added depth to both their hitting and pitching, but by the same token lost some depth to both their hitting and pitching. Knowing that there aren’t many Rockies fans out there (sorry to the few that exist!) I’m going to have to cut this article short so we can get to our grand finale. Rockies fans look forward to a… well unpredictable 2012. P.S. this might be the last year we see Todd Helton.. that would be a big loss to the league losing both Helton and Chipper.

Prediction
Record: 76-86

Finish: 4th in West
Playoffs: None
Top Pitcher: Jeremy Guthrie 15-14, 4.01 ERA, 177 SO
Top Hitter: Todd Helton (just because it’s probably his last season) .289 AVG, 29 HR, 107 RBI
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/criticsfromthecouch
Follow us on Twitter: @CriticsFTCouch

-Simple Jack

30 Teams in 30 Days – Miami Marlins

Looks like the Major Leagues have a new bad boy on the block. It seems like roughly every six or so years the Miami Marlins (formally Florida Marlins) spend 2 years building an awesome, championship contending team to find themselves winning the World Series! However, the Marlins always crumble the following offseason, losing well 80% of their team. This has become a trend for the Marlins, and it looks like they’re going through the rebuilding phase again! Snagging some big name free agent acquisitions.. before we see my prediction for the Marlins in 2012 let’s see how they stacked up in 2011.

Miami Marlins
Record: 72-90
Finish: 5th in NL East
Playoffs: None
Top Pitcher: Javier Vazquez 13-11, 3.69 ERA, 162 SO
Top Hitter: Giancarlo (formally Mike) Stanton 0.262 AVG, 34 HR, 87 RBI
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Carlos Zambrano SP,  Austin Kearns LF, Heath Bell RHP, Jose Reyes SS, Mark Buehrle SP,  Aaron Rowand CF,
Important Offseason Losses: Javier Vazquez (retired), Jose Lopez CLE

Ok along with the Angels, the Marlins were the talk of the town during the offseason acquiring several big names and going after several more (Many sources reported they were within a hair of acquiring Albert Pujols). Well the Marlins are locked and ready to go in 2012; acquiring Jose Reyes AND holding on to Hanley (who is going to have to make the move to 3B! EGAD! The world is ending.. at least in the eyes of Hanley). And I know all you guys are saying “SimpleJack are you stupid or something? Hanley Ramirez sucks!” And I know he had an abysmal 2011 but look for Senor Ramirez to bounce back during the 2012 campaign. Well, onto Reyes! The Marlins acquired arguably the only good Met from the 2011 season, but considering the Mets’ performance that isn’t saying much… But we all know Reyes is a great player, a perennial allstar, and a guy who will guarantee to accumulate you a .300 AVG and 40 SB on a early basis as long as he stays injury free. The Marlins will surely have no problem with their lineup. They’re bringing backed Mike.. ahem sorry I mean Giancarlo Stanton who had a stellar 2011 and I only see him improving upon that especially with the addition of Reyes. I foresee Giancarlo becoming a RBI machine in 2012. They also added ex-Phillie and Giant, Aaron Rowand and Austin Kearns who should both add considerable depth, whilst retaining most of their core which includes Greg Dobbs, Omar Infante, and Gaby Sanchez. Now for the Miami Marlins, the pitching is where its going to be at. Despite losing their 2011 ace Javier Vazquez to retirement the Marlins managed to add the always feisty and hard-headed Carlos Zambrano (who the Cubs finally released was causing too many problems in Chicago) who, despite his temperament, is a very good, solid starter and MARK BUEHRLE! My boy! Along with these new fellas the Miami Marlins retain Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez (who don’t forget, threw a no-hitter!) They also added considerably to the bullpen by signing closer Heath Bell. Anyway, along with a change in name, the Marlins are going to see a drastic change in their team in 2012 and will most likely find themselves in the playoff hunt as August draws to a close and may even manage to fight their way into the play-in game.

Prediction
Record: 88-74
Finish: 3rd in East
Playoffs: Lose in Play-in game
Top Hitter: Jose Reyes .322 AVG, 12 HR, 68 RBI, 51 SB
Top Pitcher: Mark Buehrle 14-7, 3.67 ERA, 173 SO
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/criticsfromthecouch
Follow us on Twitter: @CriticsFTCouch

-Simple Jack

 

30 Teams in 30 Days – Chicago Cubs

The one major question that’s been lurking on everyone’s minds since 1908, how long will it take this God-forsaken team to win another World Series? I mean for Pete’s sake it’s been 104 years since the North side has last wrapped up a world championship. In 1908, the laughing stocks of the league were the Boston Doves, the New York Highlanders, and the Brooklyn Superbas.. I mean come on the Yankees weren’t even an MLB team yet, and since then the Yanks have won 27 championships! Well after an abysmal 2011, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Cubs will have to wait another 104 years until their next championship. (That’s just hilarious! A 208 year winless streak! America is barely 208 years old.) Well let’s see how ‘dem Northsiders stocked up during their 2011 campaign.
Chicago Cubs
Record: 71-91 I mean that was even worse than the Pittsburgh Pirates (see below)
Finish: 5th in the NL Central
Manager: Dale Sveum (Nope it’s no longer that old dude! I loved that guy..)
Top Pitcher: Matt Garza 10-10, 3.32 ERA, 197 SO
Top Hitter: Aramis Ramirez .361 AVG, 26 HR, 93 RBI
Important Offseason Acquisitions: David DeJesus RF
Important Offseason Losses: Aramis Ramirez MIL, Carlos Zambrano MIA, Carlos Pena  TB

I’m not going to go very in depth about the Cubs in this article, I neither think they will make the playoffs let alone have a, in any aspect, successful 2012 campaign, nor do I believe they have a bright future in store for them. Sorry about that Cub’s fans, I’ve made fun of your team enough already. Aramis Ramirez had an exceptional 2012, he is an exceptional player, batting a career high .361. However, Aramis left the team in the offseason (I don’t blame him) to join the division rival Brewers. Along with Ramirez, the Cubbies also lost their haughty and often controversial long-time starting pitcher, Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins. Along with Ramirez and Zambrano, the Cubs lost another one of their top players in slugger Carlos Pena, who posted a solid 2011 campaign. The Cubs starting 8: Alfonso Soriano LF, Marlon Byrd CF, David DeJesus RF, Ian Stewart 3B, Starlin Castro SS (this kid actually has some potential), Darwin Barney 2B, Bryan LaHair 1B, and Geovany Soto C, sounds decent on paper, however most of these players have not performed up to par recently or are past their prime (Soriano). Their starting rotation doesn’t get that much better. I mean they do have names like Ryan Dempster (Canadian), Matt Garza, and Paul Maholm, but again these guys look good on paper, but their performance, and their team’s performance has not lived up to expectations recently. And with the Cubs LOSING tremendous depth in both their lineup and starting rotation I would not want to be a Cubs fan in 2012.

Prediction
Record: 68-94
Finish: 4th in NL Central
Top Pitcher: Ryan Dempster (Canadian) 12-14, 3.86 ERA, 173 SO
Top Hitter: Starlin Castro, 0.328, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 38 SB
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/criticsfromthecouch
Follow us on Twitter: @CriticsFTCouch

-Simple Jack

30 Teams in 30 Days – Oakland Athletics

The Oakland A’s, the Oakland A’s.. you know I’m really not sure where to start. Probably the most historically storied franchises (who has knotted 9 World Series titles and 15 AL pennants, which gets overlooked), the Oakland Athletics had a 2011 in which they surely will not forget too soon. Posting a deplorable record of 74-88, the A’s weren’t ever in the hunt for a playoff spot during the entire 2011 season, the highlight of which was the release of a popular feature film about their general manager (who is apparently doing quite a $h177ty job lately). Let’s see how ‘dem A’s stacked up during their 2011 campaign.
Oakland Athletics
Record: 74-88 (7 games worse than 2010)
Finished: 3rd in AL West
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Gio Gonzalez 16-12, 3.12 ERA, 197 SO
Top Hitter: Josh Willingham .246 AVG, 29 HR, 98 RBI
Manager: Bob Melvin
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Bartolo Colon SP, Jonny Gomes OF, Manny Ramirez LF, Ryan Sweeney OF
Important Offseason Losses: Gio Gonzalez WAS, Hideki Matsui (probable retirement), Josh Willingham MIN, Mark Ellis LAD

Ahh remember the good ol’ days of the Oakland A’s, with the Big Three (Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, and Mark Mulder). Well for those of you who don’t remember, from 2000-04 the Oakland A’s arguably had the best pitching tandem in the league, before well, all three of those guys descended in diaspora. A lot has changed since those days, and the Athletic faithful should seriously be worrying. The 2011 Oakland Athletics were horrendous, in their pitching game (aside from their ace Gio Gonzalez.. oh wait he’s not even on the team anymore, he was traded to the Nationals this offseason for some prospects you haven’t heard of), and in their offensesive game. I mean seriously, the highest batting average on the team came from Cliff Pennington who hit .264 in barely 550 plate appearances. Josh Willingham, who was leaps and bounds above the majority of the A’s offense, posted a solid 2011… oh wait, he’s not on the A’s anymore either, awkward (Twins). I mean the A’s still have some good sounding names in their lineup including Hideki Matsui (who is still undecided about coming back), Mark Ellis (oh wait he went to the Dodgers!), and Kurt Suzuki. And the one who is actually coming back out of that group, Kurt Suzuki, batted a career low .237 to go along with 14 homeruns, and he really hasn’t improved as a player, as many people thought he would. But have no fear A’s fans! The A’s signed Jonny Gomes and Manny Ramirez (to a minor league contract! Oh wait he’s also suspended). These two guys will surely take them places, and definitely revitalize this dying A’s offense….. yeah right. I will not go as in-depth in their pitching but they acquired Bartolo Colon in the offseason, but as stated earlier, they lost their #1 pitcher Gio Gonzalez. Besides Colon their starting pitching has very little depth. It includes Brandon McCarthy, who had a decent season, but really hasn’t thrown enough innings to be considered a solid starter, Dallas Braden (perfect game guy), who had an injury riddled 2011, and a couple of other for lack of a better word “scrubs”. Well A’s fans you better look forward to seeing your Athletics in 2012! That is, if you would be excited to see your A’s scratch together 65 wins, because I don’t foresee the Green and the Gold winning more than 70 games in 2012.
Prediction:
Record: 69-93
Finish: 3rd in AL West
Playoffs: None
Best Pitcher: None
Best Hitter: Coco Crisp, 0.274, 14 HR, 75 RBI
Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/criticsfromthecouch
Follow us on Twitter: @CriticsFTCouch

-Simple Jack

 

30 Teams in 30 Days – Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays! Ahh…still such a heart-warming, and possibly the longest fairy tale in history, who, over the past few years, have epitomized what a small market team with little cap space should look like. Taking down teams such as the Yankees and the Red Sox, who have 5 and 4 times higher payrolls respectively, the Rays are truly a little giant. Am I the only one who remembers them as the lowly Devil Rays who probably didn’t even deserve to be a AAA team. Well anyway, the Rays made yet another roar in 2011, let us recap.
Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 91-71
Finished: 2nd AL East
Playoffs: Lost in ALDS to the one and the only Texas Rangers 3-1
Top Pitcher: James Shields,16-12, 2.82 ERA, 225 SO 
Top Hitter: King Evan Longoria, .244 AVG, 31 HR, 99 RBI
Manager: Joe Maddon (I’m sorry to inform you but this isn’t JOHN Madden… I know I was disappointed too)
Important Acquisitions: Jeff Keppinger INF, Luke Scott CF, Fernando Rodney RHP, Jose Molina C (He’s one of the good ones don’t worry I lose track of them too)
Important Losses: Andy Sonnanstine RHP, Johnny Damon CF, Casey Kotchman 1B, Juan Cruz RHP

Well the Rays are certainly an interesting team. Since their World Series Appearance against the Phillies in 2008, most people have counted them out or overlooked them during the preseason, especially after the loss of Carl Crawford. It may be due to the fact that people view them as being flukey, considering how historically bad they were from their inception until the 2007 season. But I’m here to say the Rays are for real. Not like they’re going to be in the playoffs every year, but for the next 6-7 years the Rays will be among the top 5 or 6 top teams in the AL. It surprises me that despite the second lowest payroll in the Majors, the Rays are able to hold onto most of their young talent, such as David Price (who apparently recently injured himself by “toweling off too vigorously”, seriously? and Evan Longoria, while re-signing many of their big bats who include Carlos Pena who recently received a 1 year extension this offseason after experimenting with the Cubbies for a year. Despite lacking offensive depth, the Rays have a solid starter at pretty much every position. BJ (and no I’m not talking about the superstore, I’m talking about the Upton) returns to Center from a strong 2011 campaign, where he knotted 81 RBIs to go along with 0.331 OBP and 36 SB (still a high number, but it broke BJ’s streak of 3 consecutive years with 40+ SB). “The Franchise” Evan Longoria also makes his return. Longoria comes off his 2011 season, which did not quite live up to exceptions despite having 30 big flies for the Rays. Expect Evan to have a big 2012 campaign, we might see 40 HR and 40 2B out of him next year. In addition to Longoria and Upton, Carlos Pena, Ben Zobrist, and Matt Joyce make their returns to the starting cast. Also, look for the Rays addition of Luke Scott, whose speed fills the void left after Carl Crawford’s departure during the 2011 offseason, and catcher Jose Molina. However, the one question looming over the Rays is: are their big bats going to be able to remain healthy? With their losses of Damon and Kotchman in free agency (who is also a major defensive power, posting the best fielding percentage among major league first basemen in 2011), their offense lacks depth, an injury to one of their starters could potentially cripple the Rays 2012 playoff ambitions. In terms of pitching, the Rays are surprisingly strong and conversely quite deep. With three starters posting below 3.00 ERAs in 2011, you should expect the Rays pitching staff to make quite a storm in 2012. In addition with this strong starting staff, the Rays bullpen includes 2011-star setup man Joel Peralta, along with veteran closer Kyle Farmsworth (who had a surprisingly good 2012 season with only a 2.18 ERA and 25 saves). The Rays see themselves as playoff contenders in 2012, however, I will believe they will fall just short of a playoff appearance.There’s also a possibility that if the Rays are able to hold onto their starters, remain relatively injury free, and possibly make a move for a big bat around the deadline, they could still be very much in the mix to squeak in to that newly-added 2nd wildcard spot.
Prediction
Record: 87-75
Finish: 2nd AL East
Playoffs: None
Top Pitcher: David Price, 17-12, 3.11 ERA, 184 SO
Top Hitter: Evan Longoria, .267 AVG, 40 HR, 103 RBI, 45 2B
Like us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/criticsfromthecouch
Follow us on Twitter: @CriticsFTCouch

-Simple Jack

30 Teams in 30 Days – Baltimore Orioles

I think we can all agree that the 2012 Baltimore Orioles will be, without a doubt, the greatest team in MLB history. With a lineup, rivaling that of the 1927 Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles will storm into their 2012 campaign with fire in their eyes. But before we see how the Orioles stack up in 2012, let’s see how the Birds stacked up in 2011.
Baltimore Orioles
Record: 69-93
Finished: 5th in the AL East
Top Pitcher: Jeremy Guthrie, 9-17, 4.33 ERA, 130 SO
Top Hitter: Mark Reynolds, .221 AVG , 27 HR, 86 RBI
Important Acquisitions: Nick Johnson 1B, Luis Ayala RHP, Jason Hammel RHP, Matt Lindstrom RHP, Ronny Paulino C, Armando Galarraga SP (yeah that dude who almost threw the perfect game), Pat Neshek RHP, Wilson Betemit IF, Darren O’Day RHP
Important Losses: Vladimir Guerrero FA, Jeremy Guthrie COL

Ok we all know the question that’s lurking at the back of everyone’s mind. And it’s not whether the O’s will make it to the World Series but how badly they will beat the NL champion by. The Baltimore Orioles are truly a baseball powerhouse. A star-studded lineup with arguably 11 Hall-of-Famers, a rotation filled with the likes of those only matched by history’s greats such as Sandy Koufax, Tom Seaver, and Nolan Ryan, and a coach who is just flat out a friggin’ bad@$$. I mean really who wouldn’t want to be Buck Showalter? That guy is a flat out beast. I’m not even going to go in depth about the Orioles pitching rotation and lineup… because in all honestly no one knows how deep that thing actually is. I mean, this team is truly of legendary proportions… one that has not been matched in over a century of baseball and almost certainly won’t be matched for another century. If nine Jesus’ returned for their second-comings, they still would not match the status of this unbelievable Orioles team. I’m sorry, I’ve reached my sarcastic limit for one article, I have to stop now. Anyway, the O’s are a terrible disgrace of a baseball team and do not deserve more than two legitimate sentences about them. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. If the Orioles’ front office gets their act together they may be able to lay the foundation for a successful young team around their current core. 2012, however, will not be the Year of the Birds. There you go.

Prediction
Record: 59-103
Finished: 5th in the AL East
Playoffs: Obviously none
Top Pitcher: Armando Galarraga 8-15, 4.16 ERA, 188 SO
Top Hitter: Nick Markakis .303 AVG, 19 HR, 73 RBI
Like our Page on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/criticsfromthecouch
and Follow us on Twitter: @CriticsFTCouch

-Simple Jack