Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Curious Case of Chris Carter

In 2013, Chris Carter played his first full season in the Major Leagues. Since then, he has hit 131 home runs, a mark only surpassed in that timespan by Chris Davis, Nelson Cruz, Edwin Encarnacion, David Ortiz, and Mike Trout, five of the most feared hitters in the league (Josh Donaldson is tied with Carter at 131). Last season with the Milwaukee Brewers, Carter hit 41 homers, tying Nolan Arenado (who gets to play half of his games at the launch pad known as Coors Field) for the most in the National League.

So it seems a little strange not only that the Brewers decided to release Carter this offseason instead of paying him the estimated $8-10 million he would have made in arbitration, but also that he is still a free agent nearly 2 months later and may be forced to play in Japan if no MLB team shows enough interest to sign him.

Let's take a little closer look at why exactly one of the most prolific home run hitters in the league today is still looking for work.


Luckless in Glove

Any discussion about Chris Carter's shortcomings starts with his defense. It would be an understatement to say that he is a little less adept at securing the ball than the more famous Cris Carter.

Simply put, Carter is an abysmal defender and has been throughout his career. Although the A's and Astros tried him in the outfield, he most frequently plays first base (even while he was in the American League, he had more appearances as a first baseman than as a DH) where he rates poorly by just about every defensive metric. Among the 28 players who have spent at least 2,500 innings at first base since 2013, Carter rates third worst by both DRS and UZR.

Carter clearly profiles as a DH who can occasionally give you some innings at first, not the other way around. Although the Brewers signed him to be their everyday first baseman last year, I'd be surprised if many (or any) teams are looking to do the same this offseason, as any team looking for him to be a key contributor on offense has to trust that he gives you more with his bat than he takes away with his glove.

Swing and a Miss

It's no secret that strikeouts have been increasing across the league. 2016 saw MLB hitters strike out a whopping 38,982 times, and the number of total strikeouts has been increasing every year since 2005. Part of this is due to changing attitudes regarding the strikeout. Teams in this era are more willing to sign players who do less to avoid strikeouts if it results in more aggressive swings and better overall offensive output.

But even in this environment, Carter's strikeout and contact numbers are a huge red flag. Since he became a full time player in 2013, Carter has posted both the highest strikeout rate (33.2%) and lowest contact rate (64.9%) among all qualified hitters. When you put the ball in play, there's always a chance for something positive to happen (especially when you can hit the ball as hard as Carter), but you will always hit .000 on your swings and misses, and Carter whiffs A LOT.

The lack of contact also means that when he's not hitting homers, Carter isn't doing much. As mentioned earlier, Carter and Josh Donaldson both hit 131 home runs since 2013. However in that time frame, Donaldson has a whopping 249 additional base hits, including 52 more doubles and 8 more triples, along with 259 fewer strikeouts. In other words, Donaldson has about 2 extra seasons' worth of hits while Carter has 1.5 to 2 extra seasons' worth of strikeouts. Of course comparing most hitters to the 2015 AL MVP would look unfavorable, but the huge gap drives home just how dependent Carter is on the home run.

Although Carter has many positive attributes as a hitter, his inability to consistently make contact hampers his ability to actually utilize those qualities.

A Need for Speed

Listed at 6'4", 245 lb, Chris Carter is a big man, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that he is not among the fastest players in the big leagues.

Still, unless you're a DH who never puts the ball in play except on home runs (which maybe is what Carter is trying to be), your speed, or lack thereof, is going to make an impact on how much you're able to contribute on defense and on the basepaths.

We've already talked about Carter's struggles on defense, and his baserunning is not much better. He has had a negative BsR in each of his seasons, and has been one of the worst 60 baserunners by that measure since 2013.

(For those of you skeptical about BsR and too lazy to follow the link, all you need to know that it's a more comprehensive way of measuring a player's baserunning ability because it not only looks at stolen bases, but also at how often players take an extra base, make outs on the basepaths, and avoid double plays, among others.)

Carter's below-average speed hurts him on defense and limits his contributions on offense when he's not bombing the ball out of the park.

So in Chris Carter we have a player who can't field, struggles to put the bat on the ball, and whose poor foot speed is a liability on offense and defense. Why are teams even showing interest in a player like this?


Power Overwhelming

Just as his defense was an obvious starting point when discussing his weaknesses, Carter's home run power is an equally appropriate kickoff for his strengths. The home run is one of the most exciting plays in baseball, and as mentioned at the top, there are only a few players that have been able to match Carter's pace over the last few years.

I mean, just take a look at this monster bomb:

Although we've already established that Carter's gaudy home run totals don't mean he's as good as those other sluggers, they still make him a potent weapon at the plate. Since 2013, Carter has posted a wRC+ of 113, simply meaning that he's created 13% more runs at the plate than a league average player. This puts him ahead of players such as Kendrys Morales (111), Wil Myers (110), and Mark Trumbo (109), who are also all more well known for their offense rather than defense.

(Coincidentally, all three of those players just signed new contracts or extensions this offseason, but more on that later)

Carter does not have the most diverse offensive arsenal, but his exceptional power is a unique weapon, and he has shown that he can use it effectively.

Wait for It...

You might not be able to tell based on his huge strikeout rate, but Carter is actually a fairly patient hitter who has a good eye at the plate. His O-Swing % (the rate he swings at pitches out of the strike zone) in 2016 was 24.7%, the 25th lowest in the league among all qualified hitters, and his overall Swing % of 43.7% was well below average too.

This patience has helped him draw walks at a high rate, as he's posted a BB% of at least 11.8% in each of the last four seasons except 2014 (where he still had a respectable walk rate of 9.8%). Carter's high rate of home runs, walks, and strikeouts make him the current king of the Three True Outcomes.

If Carter enters a slump, he can at least count on his eye to keep his OBP afloat, preventing his tendency to whiff from tanking it completely.

Do a Barrel Roll

Finally, although Carter often struggles to put the ball in play, when he does, he makes some of the best contact in the league.

According to Statcast, Carter had an average exit velocity of 92.6 MPH last year, good for 22nd among all hitters with at least 100 batted balls. He was also eighth in the league in barrels (balls that average .500 BA and 1.500 SLG based on their launch angle and exit velocity), with 56, putting him ahead of sluggers like Kris Bryant and Daniel Murphy.

Not that I need an excuse to post another Chris Carter home run, but here are the kind of numbers we're talking about:

Carter shines by basically any Statcast measure you want to look up, because his problem isn't making good contact, it's making contact period. As a 30 year old ballplayer, it's likely that he is what he is at this point. He's not routinely putting up league worst contact and whiff rates by coincidence. Still if he can make any kind of meaningful improvement in that area (say moving up from league worst to below average), the dividends could be huge because of the high quality of contact he's making when he does hit the ball.

There are few players in the MLB that hit the ball as violently as Chris Carter. The trick for him will be figuring out how to do that more often.

I think by now, we have a decently accurate picture of the kind of player Carter is. He has a limited skillset with very clear holes in his game but very obvious strengths as well. He's put up right around 3.0 WAR for his career, so if you're a team counting on him to start every day, you are probably not contending for the World Series. Still, it should still put him in the mix for a roster spot, especially when you consider that the aforementioned Morales and Trumbo inked new deals this offseason worth a combined $70.5 M over 3 years.

While those two are probably better players than Carter, I wouldn't think that the gap is that wide where they're getting paid $11+ M per season while he can't even find a job. But the answer lies in the most basic economic concept of all.


It's not easy to find an obvious landing spot for Carter, as he fills very specific, though useful, niche.

The Marlins showed some interest in Carter earlier in the offseason and for a time looked like a natural fit. Miami's starting first baseman Justin Bour is a fine player, but struggles mightily against left-handed pitching (career wRC+ of 55) and they also lack a good right-handed bat off the bench. However, as of last week, their 40 man roster was full, so Carter would have to accept a minor league deal to join the team. It could feasibly happen, but would be a steep drop from the $5.5-7 M I would have expected Carter to command at the beginning of the offseason.

Staying in Florida, the Rays are another team that could be in on Carter, although given their front office and relative lack of resources, his price would have to come down significantly for them to make the deal. Brad Miller currently sits atop of the Rays' depth chart at first base, although after they traded Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers, it may make more sense for them to shift Miller to second base and fill first with a player like Carter. He would also instantly be a key pinch hitter, as he provides a more dynamic right-handed option than Nick Franklin or Tim Beckham.

There are a few other teams like the Rangers, Mariners, or White Sox, that have uninspiring options at first base and/or DH that might be interested in Carter's services, but he might be too inconsistent for a team with playoff aspirations (Rangers, Mariners) or too expensive for a team looking to rebuild (Sox).

Unfortunately for Carter, this is a bad offseason for a right handed power hitter to be on the market. In addition to Morales (a switch-hitter) and Trumbo, veteran sluggers Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Carlos Beltran, and Matt Holliday were all picked up in free agency.

Among available right-handed batters, Mike Napoli is a flat-out better hitter than Carter, and Franklin Gutierrez provides strong production against lefty pitching while also providing some defensive value in the outfield. And this is to say nothing of similar left-handed options who are still on the market like Pedro Alvarez, Adam Lind, and Justin Morneau.

At this point, realistically Carter's best shot at regular playing time and a sizable payday will probably be overseas. It would probably take an injury to another player to open up a spot on an MLB roster for Carter. Mark Reynolds, who has a similar profile to Carter with 251 career HR and a 11.3% walk rate against a 31.0% strikeout rate, was also available and signed a minor league deal, which could end up being Carter's only option if he wants to stay on this side of the Pacific.

Despite what I might personally think, it looks like MLB teams just don't require the services of 2016's National League Home Run King.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

On Star Destroyers and the Glory of God

One of my favorite shots in movies and other media is when the director is trying to convey a sense of scale. This is typically seen when objects or characters are introduced to establish size or a feeling of grandeur. They often use something we as viewers are familiar with (e.g. a person, vehicle, iconic building) so we gain an idea of what we're doing with. This shot from the King Kong trailer is a good example of what I'm talking about.

King Kong's enormity is emphasized next to the smallness of something we would perceive to be average sized (i.e. this person). What this does is allow the filmmakers to show how big or how great something is instead of saying it or perhaps when words can't adequately describe it.

As another example, I could describe Darth Vader's Super Star Destroyer (The Executor) from The Empire Strikes Back using facts and figures. I could provide measurements or tell you that it is tens (or even hundreds) of times larger than most of the other spaceships we've seen in Star Wars. Or I could just show you this scene.

The shot of the whole ship is almost superfluous after seeing how insignificant a regular Star Destroyer looks compared to the Executor's massive underbelly. What gives you a better sense of the Executor, knowing that it is 19,000 meters long or seeing its vast shadow slowly engulf another spaceship in this scene?

I have been thinking and reflecting on this since this weekend's church service, which was about prayer and included a section on the glory of God (this links to where the point starts, but I'd recommend watching the whole thing if you have time).

As Pastor Adam mentions, God's glory can be one of the more difficult terms to grasp. He defines it as the "representation of the awesomeness of the character and the wonder of the Creator God." John Piper shares the sentiment when he says, "the glory of God is the manifestation of his holiness." It is not the awesomeness or the holiness itself, but rather the display and/or expression of those qualities. This is not to diminish God's glory, as we see in Exodus that even the faintest glimpse of the tail end of it caused Moses' face to shine brightly.

So given this, what should our reaction to God's glory be or what should our relationship to it be like? I believe considering scale in film can help us understand this a bit more.

1. Our purpose is the glory of God

So I think it's pretty obvious that the objects/people in the foreground of the examples above are just there to enhance the size of what is beyond them. As an unnecessary extra example, look at the cover of Pacific Rim, mostly because I really enjoyed Pacific Rim.

That giant fighting robot looks pretty cool right? And it would still look pretty cool if it was the only thing on the cover. The little girl in front, which you might not even notice on your first look, has no reason to be there except that her presence shows you that the jaeger isn't just some guy in a suit, but actually a gigantic machine.

Similarly, our purpose on earth is not to make much of ourselves, but to glorify God.

(Emphasis mine on the verses below)

Isaiah 43:6b-7
bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
1 Peter 4:10-11

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies--in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
I think it's both helpful and necessary to remember why we are here and what our proper place in relation to God and His glory is. After all...

2. God's glory is intrinsic, regardless of what we do

As Christians, we often use the phrase "give glory to God" or variations of it. You don't have to go far to find a video of a professional athlete doing the same thing, usually after a victory.

But I have to remind myself that it's not the typical way we use the word "give." It is ridiculous to think that I, as a small human being, can meaningfully transfer any of my nonexistent glory to the almighty God. I can attribute glory to Him or celebrate it or proclaim it, but I could clearly not actually add to it.

The size of the jaeger in Pacific Rim or the Executor in The Empire Strikes Back is accentuated by, not dependent on, the smaller objects in front of them. If this isn't readily apparent, I've included two shots of the Executor. One with Star Destroyers for reference, and the other with the smaller ships (poorly) removed. 

Likewise God's glory simply is and abounds on earth. We must be careful not to confuse the fact that our purpose is to glorify God with the misguided idea that we can somehow take any credit for it.

Isaiah 6:3
And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"

Acts 12:24-25
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 
God's glory is reality whether or not we are willing to admit it. We can be thankful that even though we do not possess even a fraction of God's glory for ourselves, in His love and mercy, He has allowed us to take part in it. But in order to do that, we must remember that...

3. We must intentionally acknowledge and point to God's glory

It's somewhat redundant with the first point, but I think it's moreso a logical followup rather than repetition. After all, things are not used for their proper purpose all the time.

In keeping with the theme, let's look at this recent poster for the new Power Rangers movie:

Looks pretty neat right? Giant robots with trees in front for scale. Except that while that might be why they are there, they fail miserably. Look at the poster again, with a slight change I've made.

I moved the Yellow Ranger in the Zord down to where the trees are. You can see that for whatever reason, the Ranger's upper torso is about as big as that entire treetop. Now unless in this reboot the Power Rangers are like 20 feet tall (which I would not put past a movie studio), someone goofed up. The trees in the foreground are not conveying the proper sense of scale. In fact, they are making the wrong thing look too big!

How easy is it for us, for me, to do this exact same thing? There are so many opportunities to give glory to someone or some thing that is not God. It wasn't hard for me to find myself calling people or things great.


You get the idea. Of course this is not to say that we can't or shouldn't give compliments, but we must remember that God is worthy and the object of our ultimate praise. Without that, we lose perspective and can be fooled into thinking we are good or sufficient on our own.

We might see ourselves like this Star Destroyer. Reasonably menacing by itself. A big ship compared to the small Tie Fighters flying around it. But this misses what the shot actually looks like.

Although God will have His glory regardless of what we do, that does not give us an excuse to leave Him out of the picture. It would be foolish for a filmmaker to shoot a scene ignoring the most important and significant object in the shot, and it is foolish when we live our lives that same way.

1 Chronicles 16:23-24

Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day. 

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 
1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God
Everything we do on this earth points to Him. Our successes are a reflection of God's surpassing greatness. Our failures are a reminder of His perfection and grace.

There are many other questions that should be asked, like a further dive into why we glorify God or how we can even do so, and of course I don't want to pretend that I have made any kind of comprehensive or original look at the glory of God. But I hope that it is at least a useful starting point to start asking more and deeper questions. That's what this weekend's message was for me, and maybe this can be that for you.

Helpful links:

Monday, January 12, 2015

QB Most Eligible

One of the easiest and laziest ways to look at a football game is to compare the teams' quarterbacks. As the highest profile position on the field, QB is just a natural starting point. In the case of tonight's national championship game, it's an interesting contrast between Oregon's Marcus Mariota, a senior QB and by all accounts a good guy, and Ohio State's Cardale Jones, who will be making his 3rd career start and once famously tweeted about OSU, "We're not here to play school."

As usual, tonight's game is on a Monday which means, as usual, it's going head to head with ABC's The Bachelor. And as it just so happens, Mariota and Jones share a lot in common with two of the ladies who seem to be in pole position to either win or become the next Bachelorette: Jade Roper and Britt Nilsson.

Let's get one thing out of the way with Jade: she's got naked pictures on the Internet. A time honored tradition of any Bachelor(ette) watcher is judging the appearance of the contestants on the first night. After all, you know nothing else about them other than what they look like. And of course, this is important to the Bachelor himself as well. With Jade, there's no mystery. Everything's already out there. Chris doesn't need the fantasy suite to see her at her most revealing. Of course, that still leaves the important questions of personality, chemistry, etc. Will Jade need these to get through the show? Probably, but not always. We've seen plenty of relationships go on based on purely physical attraction (think Ben F/Courtney, Juan Pablo/Andi) before crashing down either during or after the show when they actually had to spend time with each other. Can Jade show that she's more than a pretty face?

There is very little we don't know about Marcus Mariota. He has an exceptional career at Oregon, displaying skills and athleticism sure to catchy even a casual football fan's eye. Mariota has top-end speed, always seems to make the right play, and has flat out won, and won a lot, in the past couple years. He has all the intangibles you'd want in a quarterback. But there are still important questions. Much of his success has been predicated on being a better athlete than his competition. He's shown to be very capable at making reads after the snap and hitting the open man. But in the NFL, the playing field is more level. Mariota will have to take snaps under center, adjust his protections and read the defense before he gets the football, and he'll have to fire passes into much tighter windows than he's used to. Will we see this tonight? Probably not. He's been fine playing in Oregon's system, and of course it does not mean he can't succeed at the next level. But we've seen enough QBs with similar skillsets and who didn't have to play in pro style offenses in college get drafted and struggle. Can Mariota be the exception?

Britt didn't have the most memorable limo entrance. She didn't bring out a portable karaoke machine, didn't bring a (I hope) fake human heart, and didn't tell Chris that he could "plow the f*** out of her field any day." But there was something about her that just clicked. She was attractive, smiled a lot, and most importantly, she seemed real. Chris kissed her and gave her the First Impression rose, clearly making her a favorite for the season. Of course first impressions can fall apart quickly. What he thinks one night might not carry throughout the whole season. Can Britt keep up this relationship and lead the competition from beginning to end?

Not every school could start their third-string quarterback and win a game, much less have the level of success OSU has had. Heck, the Cardinals closed out the season starting their third-stringer and looked awful, and he's an NFL caliber player (supposedly). Though Cardale Jones started down on the depth chart, he's given OSU fans good reason to have confidence going into this matchup. He doesn't have the experience of Braxton Miller and is not as skilled a rusher or passer as JT Barrett, but when he hit the field for the first time, there was just something that felt right. Jones is humongous. When he barrels down the field, it's not a quarterback coming at you, it's a tight end, and the way he trucks people leaves no doubt. He is not the most polished passer, but there is no doubt that he has NFL-level arm strength. His throws have incredible zip and he routinely makes amazing deep throws. But we've seen this before, and no one wants to hear whispers of Jamarcus Russell. Jones has to prove that he doesn't just look good as an NFL prospect, but that he is a legit one. Can Jones show that he's the full package?

Enjoy the game, enjoy the show.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Witches Be Crazy

I was watching Frozen the other day (despite Let it Go being stuck in my head to the extent that I've considered trying to get it out with a cheese grater) when I realized that it's pretty much Wicked. I'm not sure what took me like 5 months to realize the similarities between the two. They're both notable for telling the story of their two female leads who become close, grow apart, then overcome obstacles to become close once again.

Wicked stars Kristin (Chenoweth), a short, plucky blonde, as G(a)linda, a girl who has a good heart (but no special powers) and sees the world from a bright, optimistic perspective, though she is somewhat naive and shallow. Opposite Kristin is Idina Menzel, a brunette veteran of the stage with a powerful voice, as Elphaba, a girl who is a bit of a loner, in large part because of her unique powers.

On the other hand, Frozen stars Kristen (Bell), a short, plucky blonde, as Anna, a girl who has a good heart (but no special powers) and sees the world from a bright, optimistic perspective, though she is somewhat naive and shallow. Opposite Kristen is Idina Menzel, a brunette veteran of the stage with a powerful voice, as Elsa a girl who is a bit of a loner, in large part because of her unique powers.

If that's all there was, it might be an interesting bit of coincidence. But does it stop there? Oh no no. To wit:

The Krist(i/e)ns

As mentioned, Chenoweth's Glinda and Bell's Anna have a passing resemblance. Galinda arrives at Shiz University ready to make friends, just as Anna is once the gates of Arendelle are opened. They don't have the special powers of their costars, fall for the wrong guy, and are forced to represent the people against the (perceived) villainy of Menzel's characters. Speaking of which...

Idina's Witches

Elphaba and Elsa are both big sisters with magical powers who would do anything for their little sister, although sometimes it backfires. Because of their abilities, they alienate others and live in isolation. Neither of them are all that Popular. They're so similar, I'm somewhat surprised "Elsaba" hasn't become a thing yet. ...what's that? It is? Nevermind.

Developing Friendship

In the beginning of the stories, neither pair spends a whole lot of time together. In Galinda and Elphaba's case, it's due to unadulterated loathing, while Elsa has isolated herself because she can't control her powers, no matter how much she might want to build a snowman. Meeting again at a party (at the Ozdust Ballroom in Wicked, Elsa's coronation in Frozen), they begin to (re)kindle a friendship.

The Wrong Guy

Wicked's Fiyero, a prince, shows up out of nowhere and charms Kristin's naive Galinda. They sing a catchy, carefree song expressing their love and how they are an ideal match (Now that we've met one another/It's clear we deserve each other/You're perfect/You're perfect/So we're perfect together/Meant to be forever). They later become engaged, but it doesn't work out as Fiyero falls in love with Elphaba.

Frozen's Hans, a prince, shows up out of nowhere and charms Kristen's naive Anna. They sing a catchy, carefree song expressing their love and how they are an ideal match (Our mental synchronization/Can have but one explanation/You and I were just meant to be). They later become engaged, but it doesn't work out as Hans tries to take over Arendelle and kill Anna and Elsa.

The Animal Song

Completely dissimilar in subject matter and quality, but you know I had to stretch a little bit right? You know what they say. Reindeer are Better than Something Bad (though both are among the shortest on their respective soundtracks).

The "Screw it, I'ma do me" Song

The wickedly talented Idina Menzel is well known for her vocal prowess. Unlike Enchanted, a musical Disney movie in which Menzel, the most tested singer in the cast, had her one song cut, both Wicked and Frozen let her loose in their signature and arguably best songs. Defying Gravity and Let it Go slowly pick up and allow Menzel to show off her pipes while also being extremely similar thematically.

I'm not doing what they told me to do anymore
Something has changed within me/Something is not the same/I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game
Don't let them in, don't let them see/Be the good girl you always have to be/Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know/Well now they know/Let it go, let it go/Can't hold it back anymore
 I'm soaring over my fear
Too late for second guessing/Too late to go back to sleep/It's time to trust my instincts/Close my eyes and leap
It's funny how some distances/Makes everything seem small/And the fears that once controlled me/Can't get to me at all 
No really, I'm literally flying
It's time to try/Defying gravity/Kiss me goodbye/I'm defying gravity/And you can't pull me down
Let it go, let it go/I'm one with the wind and sky
I should have been in Mean Girls because the limit does not exist (rough paraphrasing)
I'm through accepting limits/Cause someone says they're so/Some things I cannot change/But til I try I'll never know
It's time to see what I can do/To test the limits and break through/No right, no wrong, no rules for me/I'm free 
 I'm right here, come and get me
So if you care to find me/Look to the western sky/As someone told me lately/"Everyone deserves a chance to fly"
Here I stand/And here I'll stay/Let the storm rage on
You get the idea.

That took up way too much space. Let's shorten it up for the rest of this.

Demise of the little sisters
Not sure if it's worse to have a house fall on you or to be turned into an ice sculpture, but I think I'll do my best to avoid both.

The "WTF are those" creatures

Not pictured: Olaf, big ice monster, Dr. Dillamond, Tin Man Boq, Scarecrow Fiyero

The forgettable ensemble song

You have to be a pretty big fan to remember that March of the Witch Hunters and Frozen Heart exist, an even bigger one to know their titles without looking them up, and a massive one to know how they go.

As a fan of both works, it was fun to revisit the parallels in the two, intended or not. And with Disney developing a stage adaptation of Frozen and a film version of Wicked possibly "gearing up," we'll have many more opportunities to appreciate the two franchises.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Highlights of the Sleeparound

The (Live! 3 hour!) Bachelor finale was last night, and even though I only watched the first two or three episodes, there's something about the last episode + After the Final Rose show that has as much addictive crack value as all the previous episodes combined.

To commemorate Sean and (ugh) Catherine's "amazing journey" (I'm pretty sure those words are trademarked by ABC), the Grantland Crew had a fantastic post recapping the night. I would have written up something myself, but pretty much everything I would have said was written much more eloquently (obviously) by one or more of their writers and I laughed so hard reading this that the only thing I wanted to do was share. Please read the full thing if you have time.

The Bachelor Sleeparound: Final Roses, Final Lessons, Final Nationally Televised Humiliations

From "A Final Lesson for a Final Rose" - Mark Lisanti

When Sean failed, repeatedly, to generate any kind of closure-bestowing reason for choosing Catherine over the "incredible" wasn't because he didn't have the answer. He had it the entire time, in the form of a nagging voice in the back of his head reminding him, over and over again, in whispers and in shouts, That girl wore a wedding dress her first day. You're not going to actually marry any of these people, no matter what you tell Chris Harrison on that stage, in front of an audience craving your empty promises. That's the deal. Pick the other one. Any other one.

"Why It's Almost Impossible for This Thing to Work" - David Jacoby

If my wife watched me tell some dumb chick named Lindsay that I loved her and then turned around and, minutes later, asked for my wife's hand in marriage, she would murder me. I would not be shocked if this program someday leads to a homicide. I would also not be shocked if the first person the police questioned was AshLee. 

"Sean is a Dick" - David Cho

The worst thing Sean did was tell Lindsay that he loved her WHILE THEY WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF BREAKING UP. Just to be clear, at this point he has yet to tell any girl on the show he loves her, but now, while in the midst of breaking this girl's heart into a million pieces on national TV, he decides to slip in that he "loves" her. WHAT IS THE POINT OF THAT, SEAN? I'm no love expert, but I DON'T THINK THAT'S WHAT YOU DO TO A GIRL YOU LOVE. 
"The Un-Style of Sean Lowe" - Sean Fennessey
There are two Bachelors every season: the man in the dark suit with the cinched cuffs and flowering pocket square, and the guy who dresses for a trip to SeƱor Frog's.
 "An Elephant (and/or Producer) Never Forgets" - Caitlin Mangum
[Lindsay] was the Tom Brady of the Sean the Boring Bachelor combine, except instead of running an unimpressive 5.28-second 40-yard dash, she somehow giggled and snuggled her way into Sean’s abs heart. In the end, however, the substitute teacher who once asked, “Is that a helicopter?” while staring DIRECTLY AT A HELICOPTER was kicked off, leaving hope for Catherine and full-time teachers everywhere.

When asked, for her ABC bio, what were the top three things on her bucket list, Catherine responded, “To eat traditional pasta in Italy, to go skiing in the Alps, and to ride an elephant in Thailand.” I repeat: TO RIDE AN ELEPHANT IN THAILAND.
If that’s not destiny (or prebooked travel and producer intervention), I don’t know what is.