Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ban London: TWTW's Lions @ Chiefs Preview

Danville, Kentucky -- London, England. A city that some liberals would claim rivals the magisterial splendor of cultural hubs like New York, or even Cincinnati. A city that untold American blood has been shed in defense of; too much American blood for this man's taste. We fought a war to be free of the red-coated terror. Good tea was sacrificed in a harbor of freedom on behalf of that cause. In 1738, King George III was born, ushering in a reign of terror upon the innocent colonists of the New World. In 1814, the English burnt down our White House in one last futile attempt to subdue us. We became back-to-back World War champions for them. We put up with another British Invasion in the 60's that put hard-working American musicians out of business and stole attention from national treasures like Neil Diamond.

But now, the English have forced good Americans to make yet another sacrifice. This Sunday, the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs will face off in London's Wembley Stadium, in front of ungrateful limeys who don't appreciate American sports or American sacrifices. The game will not be played in Liverpool, or Manchester: blue-collar industrial English cities with character and grit who might appreciate gridiron glory. It will be played in London, a town where bourgeoisie tourists go to sip tea and take selfies while listening to One Direction.

If the NFL wanted to play games in front of an audience that doesn't care or understand the game or even watch the game, they could've just given some free tickets to Nate Silver and the 538 crowd. The true fans deserve better.The good people of Kansas City will lose an opportunity to see the Chiefs play a home game at Arrowhead Stadium. Because of timezone differences, the good people of Detroit will be forced to get absolutely hammered 6 hours earlier than normal in preparation for another depressing Sunday of Lions football.

As a Danville man raised in the expanse of Midwest nothingness that lay between these two cities, Detroit v. Kansas City match-ups have long fascinated me. I've written about the Tigers and (World Series favorites) Royals here, here, here, here, and here. While the MLB confusingly puts these two great cities in the same division, the NFL recognizes the cultural chasm that lies between them. Kansas City is a town where folks complain about the weather as they wear shorts and sandals in the waning days of October; Detroit is a town where its inhabitants forget the touch and feel of sunshine for a good 5 months per year. Children of Michigan fall in love with lakes, the woods, the fields, and little rivers; those born on the plains of Missouri and Kansas remember only the flat expanses of gently waving amber wheat. Yet, both cities are proud of their crafts: be it Kansas City jazz, Motown, BBQ, or automobiles. Both cities are proud to be American.

In spite of their cultural and geographical differences, Detroit and Kansas City find themselves united against a common enemy, just as our founding fathers did all those years ago. Just as Americans from all walks of life rallied to defeat the lobster-back menace in the 1770s, all Americans must unite now to resist England's usurpation of the National Football League.

The NFL clearly no longer cares about its fans, only bombarding us with advertisements for Draft Kings and Buffalo Wild Wings. They won't Ban Brady, and their safety protocols have made the game I once knew unrecognizable. Before long, there will be an NFL team playing in front of the spray-tanned Hollywood liberal hordes of Los Angeles, instead of a less flashy blue-collar town. The NFL has fostered an environment that favors racking up meaningless passing stats while the grind of a hard-nosed running game is abandoned. College coaches and gimmick guys like Chip Kelly have jobs, while longtime NFL men like Wade Philips have to be coordinators.

The NFL would rather let bored Englishmen watch these fine teams than loyal American fans. Indeed, what few Londoners do show up to watch the Lions-Chiefs game will be disappointed when they realize that American football doesn't feature penalty kicks and theatrical flopping. The NFL has no qualms about disrupting the delicate preparation routines of generational talents like Calvin Johnson and Alex Smith by forcing them to travel across the Atlantic. The Lions and Chiefs should have no qualms about refusing to take the field, even if it causes anarchy in the UK.

London has taken enough from America. They took our taxation, and they took our representation. Some Americans gave all they had to give, so that the English may have the freedom to parasitically enjoy the great American game of football. I call on President Trump and/or President Fiorina to immediately reinstate Thomas Jefferson's Embargo Act of 1807, which banned all exports from the United States to Europe, until the NFL and London cease and desist their treasonous behavior. America grudgingly refers to our native tongue and language as "English." Yet, the crooked-toothed bastards, who our grandfathers died face-down in the muck fighting at Bunker Hill, refuse to open a Chili's or Applebee's on their soil. Most ominously, football games in London can only be a prelude to an International Football League. Before long, American heroes like Peyton Manning may soon be forced to play games on North Korean or Cuban soil, all in the name of expanding the amount of people the NFL can bombard with Draft Kings and Buffalo Wild Wings commercials.

The Continental Congress didn't declare independence from the British only to have their ancestors destroy what makes this country special. Americans must now unite to banish the NFL from London before London once again banishes us.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Kansas City Special: TWTW's 2015 World Series Preview

Danville, Kentucky -- Many people long desperately to return to a Golden Age; a simpler time, when Neil Diamond was on the radio, before grunge music, before NAFTA, when B. Sanders was just a kid from Wichita who knew how to break tackles and not a Leninist from Vermont. At least once in a man's life, the opportunity to revisit the glory days of old presents itself. For me, these opportunities have been few and far between. My life has been one of separation and severance; I've never known the catharsis of finally getting a second chance with the one that got away. I've been unemployed, stood up at an Olive Garden, and kicked in teeth by the forces of globalization repeatedly. Yet it wasn't always like this.

For one magical night, I could relive the best days of my life. I remember the rush of discovering a letter in the mail: You are cordially invited to the Danville High class of '72 reunion. It wasn't really a reunion for me, because I never really left Danville, and Danville never really left me. The shadow of the past clung to me like an overly-attendant waitress, topping off a drink when it's still three-quarters full. With an excited nervousness I hadn't felt since the salad days of the Big Red Machine, I slammed back half a handle of Kentucky Deluxe, put on my nicest attire, and drove to Danville High.

World Series 2015: New York Mets v. Kansas City Royals

Folks, the Royals are about to have a reunion that's nearly as magical as my own. A reunion with the World Series. By now we are familiar with the basic plot-line; a 2014 team that struggled out of the gate - a team that nerds said should fold and sell assets like James Shields at the trade deadline. A team of Cinderella men that ran the table with the American League until stranding the tying run 90 feet away from home plate in game 7 of the World Series. A team nerds said would win 72 games the following season, who defied the projections and spreadsheets of the fangraphs crowd. A team who proved in the ALCS that a championship-caliber baseball team is more than a collection of egos acquired at the deadline. A team that isn't just happy to be in the World Series, but expected to be.

Yet, the Royals now face their stiffest challenge yet. The New York Mets, who are having a season almost as magical. A team with a rotation that boasts Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey, all aces of Bumgarner-quality or better. A team with veterans like Curtis Granderson who are hungry for one more shot at a ring.

A team that has Yoenis Cespedes, the NL's one-true-MVP and phenom talent, who hits dingers to the moon and has an arm more explosive than the Volcano Taco.

A team with Daniel Murphy, post-season hero, who destroys baseballs like radical leftists want to destroy him for not being afraid to challenge their politically-correct anti-Christian worldview.

A team with Bartolo Colon.

By now the ending should be obvious. If the Royals went the distance but fell short à la Rocky I in 2014, 2015 is when Apollo Creed is defeated and champagne popped. It's time to stop doubting the Royals. This is a team that can't be killed, that never quits, that will hit infield singles and sacrifice flies until the enemy relents. Not to mention, the boys in blue have momentum and history on their side.

I understand that the Mets rotation has a better xFIP and that their hitters have higher ISOs, but too many intangibles are breaking in the Royals favor. Omar Infante will be on the sidelines cheering them on, willing the Royals to victory.

The Mets have Seinfeld in their corner, but Fetty Wap has endorsed the Royals. The nicest man in the game will be pulling for Johnny Cueto from afar:
Dixon handed Cueto an iPhone with a FaceTime request. On the other end was Brayan Pena, Cueto’s former catcher in Cincinnati. Cueto thumped his fist across his heart as he spoke to his friend. He had shown this city — and shown a baseball industry that doubted him — what he could do. (source: nerd-face McCullough
The entire Mets roster and fanbase will be distracted and humiliated; seething with rage over the disloyalty of Mrs. Met and the cuckolding of Mr. Met.
Then there's Alex Rios. The man waited his time. Then, he waited some more as his hope of an October with the playoffs seemed as illusory as Linus' hope of the Great Pumpkin. Sometimes hope can transform reality. Alex Rios didn't listen to the naysayers that said you shouldn't even be playing, and he didn't listen to Fangraphs when they said nobody steals on David Price. Alex Rios is too busy winning to listen to losers.

Ned Yost can't be discounted either. Yost has learned his lesson after game 6 of the World Series. Normally a brilliant bullpen tactician, Yost foolishly had his closer pitch the 8th inning. Going forward I'd expect Ned to let Madson keep pitching the 8th and Wade Davis to handle the 9th.

All these factors lead me to confidently predict a Kansas City Royals World Series victory in 5 games. It will be a reunion to remember, and a restoration of the franchise to glory it hasn't known since 1985, when Maggie Thatcher and Ronnie Reagan proudly presided over the zenith of Western civilization thus far.


Not all reunions can be as sweet as Kansas City's reunion with glory is about to be. My own reunion was hardly the escape to the glory days I wished it would be. When I walked into my old high-school gymnasium, onto the basketball courts where I used to school youngbloods with a reckless youthful abandon, I was disappointed. Instead of supporting a time-honored local business like Chili's or Dairy Queen, Danville High's class of '72 reunion was catered by Chipotle, which meant "Non-GMO" signs and other liberal propaganda all around -- but Queso nowhere to be found.

Danville High's stud second baseman, who had reliably scooped up ground balls for me during my no-hitter days, was working part time at a five-and-dime. Our power-hitting left fielder was between jobs and living with his parents again. My classmates seemed utterly uninterested in entertaining my yarns about no-hitters. How had the passage of what felt like only a few years turned myself and the other cool kids into has-beens? Aggravating the situation was the fact that the dungeons-and-dragons crowd had found nice jobs, a comfortable middle-class existence, and nicer cars than me. The woman that 17 year old Will Hart gave his heart to, and put a ring on, was at the reunion, under the arm of some twerp she met at art school. It wasn't the Danville High I remembered.

Drunk and in a bewildered state of despair, I made one last appeal to the woman I had once called my high school sweetheart. I told her I could change, that I was on the cusp of breaking into baseball again. Any day now, I would land a job with the Single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds thanks to a friend-of-a-friend. She said she was married, as her eyes began to dart around the room, looking for the turtle-neck wearing nerd that she drug along to the reunion.

"This isn't right. You were supposed to run away to the West Coast with me - not settle down in some liberal condominium in Louisville with a visual-arts graduate student," I said, fighting back tears.

"Will, I loved you. I really did. But the seventies are over. I moved on. We can't go back," she softly spoke. With that statement I knew that the dream of Nixon was truly dead.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Manning Madness

Image result for manning tennessee

Danville, Kentucky- In 1997 I lost my wallet and my wife's affection at a Tracy Lawrence concert. While myriad stories could come from having my identity stolen or that man stealing my wife, the real event that day was hearing Tracy Lawrence play the classic, "Time Marches On." Folks, despite the nerd's forecast, Peyton Manning marches on at 6-0.

Image result for manning colts
"The South moves North, the North Moves South," is how the classic chorus begins. Peyton has left his roots in Tennessee and leads the Denver Broncos to an undefeated record. Nothing else matters.

"A Star is Born, a Star Burns Out," is what the nerds would say. They claim Manning can't make the throws he used to. They say his interceptions are costing the Broncos. They say the defense masks the inabilities of his game-play. Folks, he's undefeated. QBR- like promises offered at a wedding- don't translate to victories. Only Peyton Manning does.

"The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes." That's true. One of these seasons Manning will retire. But if he retired right now, he'd be undefeated. He wouldn't have a top F/P+ grade. He'd just have a Super Bowl and an undefeated team he'd be leaving behind.

I never did find that wallet. Stupidly I remarried that woman after she left me for some guy, and then, she ended up leaving me like McDonald's will one day leave the promise of all-day breakfast. Yet, sometimes you have to enjoy the moments while they last. Manning may not have many seasons left- he might get tired of playing like Brett Favre did. Let's enjoy undefeated while it lasts.

Friday, October 16, 2015

TWTW's 2015 ALCS Preview

Danville, Kentucky -- A trip to your local Great Clips for a routine haircut and side-burns trim is often a humiliating experience for all parties involved. As you look at yourself in the mirror, your poor decisions and wasted opportunities stare back at you. As you gaze at your own inadequacy, reflecting on your dire financial circumstances, your hair is being massacred by someone equally humiliated to be employed at a Great Clips. As you sit in the spinning leather chair, your eyes may wander to the employee's nametag, prompting you to wonder where they came from; what their story is. As you gaze at what's left of your hair in the mirror, it's only natural to contemplate the series of choices that brought your hairdresser to this Great Clips, where they now trim the locks of people who are too cheap to buy a real haircut but too proud to ask somebody to hack away with a bowl and scissors. The scent of hair product and humiliation hangs in the air like the smell of cheap vodka lingers in a trashed hotel room after a night spent trying to escape the grind of the proletarian lifestyle.

October is a month of humiliation; and not just because the arrival of Autumn causes otherwise alpha-men to sip pumpkin flavored lattes whilst wearing emasculating fuzzy scarves and wooly sweaters. October is the month when the dreams of baseball fans are slashed by the cold, unfeeling steel hair-scissors of fate. Many dreams have already been crushed; like some forgotten follicles, carelessly thrown onto the barber-shop floor until somebody has the decency to sweep them up or donate them to a hair-drive or something. The Houston Astros seemed ALCS-bound until the baseball gods intervened, reminding the Royals of the magic of 2014, when the boys in blue won games by hitting singles and running the bases. Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers will wear the shame of his multiple 7th-inning errors like a schoolboy wears a bowl cut as the head that his mother lovingly groomed is lowered into a garbage can.

With the dust settled from the ALDS, the board is set and the pieces are moving. Here's what to look for.

American League Championship Series - Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals

Folks, I could've told you this would've been the ALCS matchup back in Spring training. I've always believed in the Blue Jays, and I've always believed in the Royals. There's alot to like about both these teams. They have swagger. They stick up for their teammates. They brawl.

The Blue Jays hit bombs, and the Royals throw flames. Yet, I think the likely winner is obvious: the Kansas City Royals, a team of companions who have been through hell and high water -- a fellowship that was battle-tested in the crucible of back-to-back playoff runs, will triumph. On paper the Blue Jays have better starting pitching and a better offense. But this is a clubhouse of strangers; of flashy deadline acquisitions like David Price and Troy Tulowitzki share no bonds of camaraderie with their teammates. Kansas City has also made blockbuster deals for Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist, but the Toronto Blue Jays have no comparable wellspring of playoff experience to draw upon. Unlike Moose and Hosmer's clique, the Blue Jays did not defy the nerds and haters in a miraculous postseason Cinderella story last October.

Am I 100% sold on the Royals? No, especially given the absence of field general and master tactician Omar Infante. But we've seen before what happens when America's best faces Canada's best; and that's why we pronounce Detroit: "Dee-troy-t" and not "Deh-twah." Price will dazzle; but Cueto will put the team on his back. Bautista will bat-flip; but Morales will put the ball in play and drive in runs. Royals in 6.


Autumn is a glorious season; a season of splendid red, orange, and brown hues. A time of Hallowed Evenings, and a time where thanks are given. But it is also a season of decay; of dead leaves, where the crisp October air gives way to winter's chill. Yet spring brings new life to all, just as biology dictates that even the worst trips to Great Clips can be undone by the steady passage of time and Men's hair-loss products. Expect the Royals to have an autumn to remember, long after the cold of winter has come.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

TWTW's 2015 MLB MVP Ballot

Danville, Kentucky -- "Value." It something that everyone strives for but only the great attain. A man spends his life trying to prove his value to himself, to his father, or to the woman that broke his heart. Value is measured by the sweat on a man's brow or the dirt underneath his fingernails, or by his willingness to drive another man to retrieve his car from a Jack In The Box parking lot in Reno after a night of Fireball-fueled hedonistic debauchery. True men of value go to the gym at 6 AM, taking only their boxing gloves and their pride, to teach the punching bag a thing or two about suing a down-on-his-luck guy for custody of his own children and Basset Hound. True men of value sit in their cubicles with their heads down, putting in work to keep the dream of a 2 car garage and endless appetizers alive. True men of value report to the construction site with a bagged lunch and a hard hat, inhaling the bitter fumes of concrete dust and thwarted ambition. True men demonstrate their value without expectation of reward or recognition. Yet, there comes a time each Autumn where baseball bestows special recognition upon the men who made a difference. The men who put their teams on their back and carried them to the playoffs by sheer force of will alone.

Folks, I'm not a voter for these awards. The last ballot I cast was in 1996 for Bob Dole, the man who dared to challenge NAFTA. I can't vote anymore. The state of Kentucky requires a valid form of ID, and I've never had a driver's license and lost my birth certificate in a Poker Game back in '98. However, no voter ID law is going to keep me from expressing my opinion about who the most valuable players in the MLB are.

NL MVP - Yoenis Cespedes (New York Mets)

Folks, this man always had MVP potential. After studying under another MVP in Detroit for several months this season, La Potencia looks ready to take the boys from Queens to the promised land. He took a feeble offense with more performance issues than myself on my honeymoon after a few Limearitas and some horse tranquilizer, and turned them into the class of the NL. He's provided the middle-of-the-lineup power bat that strikes fear into the heart of pitchers everywhere.

And don't waste your time arguing that Bryce Harper deserves it. Bryce and his attitude have cost the Nationals a chance at the playoffs. True MVPs don't lollygag their way to first base on a pop-fly, and they don't pick fights with proven closers.

AL MVP - Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees)

Sometimes, a nation wants Kennedy when they need Nixon. Sometimes, a fanbase wants Jeter when they need A-Rod. Yet, it's dingers that win pennants and not a nice-guy attitude or boy-next-door charm. A-Rod has been a shot in the arm to this Yankees team. Most franchises would be limp and lifeless after losing their Captain, but Alex has injected a winning attitude and mentality into this Yankees team. With his still formidable power and hitting skills, he has not only made history this season, but has done what Jeter failed to do since A-Rod last left the scene: take the Yankees to the playoffs.. If the Bronx Bombers make noise this postseason, expect A-Rod to guide them to glory.


It brings a pain to my heart (and my intestine) that I haven't felt since I got divorced and melancholically binge-ate 32 Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers, but I sincerely doubt that the actual award voters will do the right thing and reward the right men. The world has changed since 2013, when the dream of Huckabee in '14 was alive and when baseball fans still valued RBIs and leadership and being the best at your trade. Mike Trout and his ilk don't steal bases anymore; now they just steal awards and recognition from more deserving men like Victor Martinez and Kendrys Morales. Fortunately, Mike Trout will be eating Subway sandwiches on his mother's couch this October while the true MVPs like Josh Hamilton chase glory and championship rings. As we gather around the Chili's table with our friends and families this weekend, let's dip a peppery piece of corn-on-the-cob into some creamy ranch sauce in honor of these truly valuable men.