09 December 2004

More Signings, Dimebag Dead, "House of Sand and Fog"...



Troy Glaus signed a four-year, 45 million dollar contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks today, giving the worst team in the major leagues a viable replacement for the now-assuredly departed Richie Sexson, and placation for what was surely a very embarassing scenario (losing Sexson after giving up a lot for him and getting nothing- literally- in return).

For that reason, I can see overpaying for Glaus a bit which is what they did here. Of the power-hitting corner infield types, there was Glaus, Sexson and Delgado- of the three, Delgado is a significant decline risk (though a probable good investment for whomever he signs; his value is at a low), Sexson is coming off a very serious injury (torn labrum) and Glaus is recovering from arthroscopic surgery after years of shoulder problems.

Gun to my head, of the three, I'd take Glaus. He's the youngest, a more wise gamble than Delgado. Between he and Sexson, Glaus' injury was less troublesome long-term (though not by much), and if even if it wasn't- Glaus is probably a bit better.

It's also easy to forget how prodigiously Glaus played 3B early in his career. He may be moved to 1B permanently to protect the shoulder, but if he holds out (and his strenuously in-depth physical says it should), don't be surprised to see him shift back.

Needless to say though, this takes Arizona maybe a step and a half in the direction they need to go, a journey that is miles long. This was a good way to restore faith in the team, an olive branch to the fan base. But make no mistake- this team will not be good for a few years to come at least, and hiring Bob Melvin as the manager is not a good start.

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Jeff Kent signed a 2-year deal today with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the terms indisclosed. In LA's drive for more offense, this was a good move. They're the NL West favorites right now. Kent can still hit- but after seeing a dip in his production playing in a pronounced hitter's park, expect more of the same hitting in the pitcher's park.

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Jermaine Dye signed a two year, 10.5 mil contract with the Chicago White Sox today, giving the ChiSox someone to plug in Magglio Ordonez' vacated RF spot (The WSox declined to offer Magpipes arbitration).

Dye was a very solid option considering his low value- when healthy, and he's been that for a decent stretch now- he's a great power threat with great defense and a good arm. He's not what he was at his peak, but at 5 mil per, he's a steal. He'll be great protection in the lineup for Konerko/ Thomas (assuming the WSox keep Konerko) and will not be prohibitively expensive.

I still say that injury he incurred against the Yankees in the ALDS on a foul ball off his leg was a government plot to help New York. Insidious.

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I watched The House of Sand and Fog on a lark last night on HBO- I'd never had a real interest in watching it, and I don't really know what drew me in. As it turns out, it was a really, really amazing movie. An inspired piece of writing and a beautiful looking film- with great performances by literally everyone in it, especially Ben Kingsley and Shohreh Aghdashloo.

The best part about the film is that it never becomes a "right vs. wrong." Instead, all the main characters operate on a moral ground- Jennifer Connelly's character has had her birthright home taken from her by a clerical error on the part of her hometown. Ben Kingsley's Iranian immigrant buys the seized property at a fraction of it's worth, intending to sell it for large profit and return his family to a semblance of the comfort felt back in their days living on the Caspian Sea.

I love movies that lay responsibility at the feet of the viewer- respecting and trusting in the audience enough to simply tell a story and not proseletyze or preach. Never does this movie do anything but tell a story- a story so organic and natural that it almost becomes reality while you're watching it- the plausibility of the plot so strong initially that everything that comes from then on has an iron-clad credibility. The dialogue was natural, honest, never showy. When Jennifer Connelly's character- a foe for much of the film- is in The House in need of help, Kingsley tells his son to respect the woman, and his mother adds- "We have a guest in the house," as perfect and concise a line as I've ever heard. That one line says more about her specific character than more movies can dream of showing.

Without going crazy, I'd also mention how great I thought Kingsley, Connelly and Aghdashloo were. Kingsley's final scenes- OK, I won't ruin it- were really heartbreaking, as were Connelly and Aghdashloo's, actually. Ron Eldard was great as a shifty (and possibly the film's only blame-worthy participant) police officer who's "lust" overpowers what may be his better judgement. Make no mistake- this movie is a total downer, but a great one.

And really, the rapid time rate shots of the fog coming off the water never got old. Just a magnificent, engrossing film.

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In what is arguably the most bizarre and tragic story I've heard in a long time, Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott, former lead guitar player for the influential metal and Pantera, was shot dead on stage when a crazed "fan" stormed the scene and shot five people. He was 38.

Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power is, quite simply, one of the stone-heavist albums ever recorded. Whatever you think of the band, it's hard to argue that "Cowboys from Hell" is one of the all-time classic heavy metal songs. What's hardest to believe is how it all went down- Abbott was onstage with his new band Damageplan, a group he started with his brother and former Pantera bandmate Vinnie Abbott. Just really, really sad.

Here's the story from CNN.com...

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