Cubs go “All in” on Darvish

The news broke Saturday afternoon that the Cubs signed free agent pitch Yu Darvish to a $150 million dollar deal for 6 years ($126m plus incentives). I instantly wonder, “Why not Arrieta?*” At least we know Jake. We know his work ethic. He’s pitched some clutch games, and won. I hope this works out.

Color me skeptical. Then I remember the Cubs fired stellar pitching coach Chris Bosio at season’s end. This could have been a factor in going with Darvish. I am on record as saying the Bosio firing is going to end up being a bad decision. Time will tell. MLB.com has a nice comparison piece on both pitchers that is worth a read.

On paper, it gives the Cubs a formidable starting rotation 1-4: Lester, Hendricks, Quintana, and Darvish–not necessarily in that order. Darvish will likely command the #2 spot. If they stay healthy, they should win a lot of games in 2018. The Cubs hitters, who had a bit of a down year in 2017, should get back to hitting in the new year. Rizzo is in his prime, Bryant, Russell, and Schwarber have another year of experience. It will be interesting to see how a slimmer Schwarber hits.

Spring training is only a few days away. Thus begins the grind of regular season baseball.

*It has been revealed that the Cubs did call Arrieta and let him know they were about to sign Darvish for the numbers posted above, and made him an offer.

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Brawl of the Week: Just a Hallucination (again)

This week’s Tavern Brawl is one we have had before: Just a Hallucination. You get a random deck of class spells, plus a bunch of “Discover a card from your opponent’s deck”. It’s a little like another brawl that came out to teach us the Discover Mechanic.

It’s RNG-y, but yet there is a little more control with the “Discover” cards. You can get some really cool cards like the hero card that transforms your hero into a corrupted version of themselves, or legendary minions, or even a timely spell.

I went with the hunter- for reasons. Mainly It’s fun, and shooting your opponent for 2 damage a round feels right.

Even though my opponent had stacked a few Secrets, I felt the tide turning. Especially with Lich Queen Jaina, and her healy elementals!

My opponent was not amused that I was assaulting them with their own spells. I don’t blame them. Since you can pick your hero, and get lots of class spells, you can use this brawl to get a lot of quests done. So get in there, have fun, and get that free pack. See you next week!

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Is it time to think about trading Jonathan Toews?

Now, I am a Blackhawks optimist. The reality is though, Toews best hockey may be in his rearview mirror. As sad as that is to think about, maybe he could help a young team grow into a playoff contender? The subject needs to be breached, and I just had a sweetened caffeinated beverage. Let’s do this!

The Blackhawks, and captain Jonathan Toews have been struggling over the past two seasons. Toews in particular has been looking more off than on. It’s to the point where anyone who plays with him seems to encounter the same struggles. There’s something going on. I might not be smart enough to figure it out, but the truth is there in plain sight. Saad started out hot in his first few games back, but has cooled off. Nick Schmaltz has also struggled with the captain, but bloomed with Patrick Kane on the second line.

Is there a market? Is there a team, or teams out there that would readily accept the veteran center? He does come with an $11 million dollar a year price tag. Would that even be worth it to an organization that has a lot of young, ungroomed talent?

Could the team be Chicago? I know this is going to sound odd, but the Blackhawks do have a lot of youngsters. Should they just stand pat and suffer some growing pains? The next couple weeks will probably be an indicator of what they will do organizationally. If Corey Crawford can come back and be half the goalie he was before he suffered this latest injury, the Hawks might have a fighting chance to make a playoff run. If not, cue up the Bowie song, “Ch-ch-ch Changes…”

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She’s just like you, she’s just like me

She’s just like you, she’s just like me

1-31-18

She’s running, she never gives up, she never goes home, she’s a little bit rough

She’s humming, she never lets go, she doesn’t have patience, she’s never slow

She thinks, she feels, she hurts, and she heals

She asks, she takes, she bends, she breaks

She’s just like you, she’s just like me

She wants, everything

Send her some love

Send her a smile

Tell her it’s okay to cry

She’s just like you, she’s just like me

She wants, anything

It’s been a long time

Such a long time

Send her some love

Send her a smile

Tell her it’s okay, it’s okay

 

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Brawl of the Week: UnidentifiaBrawl

This week’s Tavern Brawl is a new one: UnidentifiaBrawl. Pick your hero and get a random deck for your class. The kicker? You get these boost cards, that are basically +2/+2 to a minion with a special effect.

I defaulted to the mage as I often do. I’m not sure mages are that great in the battle, but they seem to be better than warriors. My opponent found it hard to keep minions on the board, while I just kept popping them out, and buffing them. It was fun for me. I can’t imagine it was much fun for my foe. Ah, well.

So get in there and mess around. See what wonderful things are in store for you. Snag that free pack! I’ll see you next week.

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Brawl of the Week: Nefarian Rises! (again)

This week’s Tavern Brawl is a cooperative match we have had once before. This one pits you and another player vs Nefarian. Nafarian starts out with 0/200, and has a nasty array of attacks, and special moves. I couldn’t see a whole lot because I had a card stuck in the middle of my screen for most of the match.

Did I mention 200 Health? This was the best view of our opponent I would get. Soon after there would be a card stuck in the middle of my screen. I could not see when his attack went up, nor could I see how much health it had.

It got a little crazy at times. Not being able to see the middle of the board was annoying. Despite that, me and my partner did OK.

Eventually we got the victory, and got our free pack. This battle seems like a “one and done”, but you may find it more fun/challenging than I did.

So go get in there, and get that free pack. See you next week!

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Blackhawks sputtering on the edge of ‘oblivion’

Okay. That may be a tad mellow-dramatic. Last night’s game was a tough watch. The Hawks got out to a 1-0 lead only to see the Islanders score the next 4 goals. I’m not sure why coach Quenneville stuck with goalie Anton Forsberg so long. I would have pulled him after the 3rd tally. For whatever reason, the Hawks don’t seem to play hard for him.

In the midst of the inconsistent defense, and goalie play, Patrick Kane had himself a night. He scored two goals (one unassisted), and made a sweet pass that lead to defenseman Erik Gustafsson’s first NHL goal. When the Hawks cut it to 4-2, I thought there was a chance. Unfortunately Jeff Glass couldn’t do much better in goal. It was sad to see.

The Hawks clearly need to do something. They can’t count on Corey Crawford to come back and save them. He could be dealing with a career ending injury, suffering from post-concussion symptoms. Crow masked a few deficiencies, including bad defense at times, and lack of scoring. The Hawks should have manhandled the Islanders, instead they looked like a team playing 4 games in 7 nights.

Perhaps it’s just the effects of not playing hockey in a week. Perhaps, Stan Bowman needs to make a trade for another goalie. At what cost though? With the team the way it is, you don’t want to lose more young talent. Then again, they are not getting anything from Saad, Sharp, and Toews. Towes drought is going on two years now. There is something clearly wrong with his game. Perhaps he has taken too many shots to the head, and body?

I don’t have many answers for this team. I thought last year’s high scoring team was destined for a deep playoff run. I was sadly mistaken. This year’s team is so hot and cold. Many are calling for either stars to be traded, or Quenneville/Bowman fired–or all of the above. I’m not sure that’s the answer.

The Blackhawks no longer have the luxury of depth when key players like Artem Anisimov, or Corey Crawford go down. They simply can’t outplay teams anymore to compensate. Hopefully getting Anisimov back can put a spark into the team. They probably need to break up Saad and Toews. Kane has proven to be able to make any two other forwards look good, if not great. Toews seems to have the opposite effect, and that is no good for winning hockey. It’s tough to watch. The Hawks are in an equally tough spot. I fear the results, and change that will inevitably come if the Hawks miss the playoffs.

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