Nioh Review

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(I know no one cares about video games as much as I do, but I want to start posting more gaming stuff. Mostly so companies send me free copies to review. I’m a very generous grader. I’ll say anything you want. Just send me some free stuff. I’ll post my address. I’m #teamPS4, though. Unless someone wants to send me a free Xbox. Then I’ll gladly sell my soul to Microsoft.)

It was really hard but samurais are awesome.

Rating: 🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣

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Logan Review

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Man, that was intense, both viscerally and emotionally.

Rating: 👴🏻👴🏻👴🏻👴🏻👴🏻👴🏻👴🏻👴🏻👴🏻

I Burned the Roof of my Mouth and now I wish I was Dead

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The title says it all: I burned the roof of my mouth and now I want to die.

I was just minding my own business. Trying to eat some dinner in peace (what was I eating? Some nutritious soup? Maybe I was drinking some soothing tea? Was it a frozen pizza with an internal temperature of 1000000000º Fahrenheit despite resting for 10 minutes? I’ll let you decide). One bite in I knew. The roof of my mouth was burned. The thin, sensitive layer of skin that covered my palate was no more. If I had the chance, I probably would have jumped in front of an oncoming 18-wheeler. If I had a sharp enough knife, I might have considered engaging in the ancient art of seppuku to at least go out the honorable way, rather than live with this pain.

There’s pretty much nothing worse than burning the roof of your mouth. It’s the closest thing possible to Hell on Earth, perhaps other than Michael Stipe solo concert. I feel like one of the ghost pirates from the first Pirates of the Caribbean. Drink will not satisfy and food turns to ash in my mouth. Nothing tastes right. Everything is coated with those “skin re-grafting” overtones. And eating something like chips becomes an exercise in self-mutilation that even the ancient Flagellants would consider extreme. And now that we’re into Lent, I can’t even enjoy my favorite Easter-themed candy, Cadbury™ Mini Eggs (I’m open to running ads, by the way. Call me). It’s horrible. I can’t live this way. And it’s always such a lingering thing, too. It lasts at least a day longer than you’d think it would, and even then you’re so mentally scarred you can’t eat anything but pudding and ice cream for a few days after. If I could force one evolution on the human race, it would be to make the palate a little hardier. Why does it have to be so sensitive? A good rule of thumb I have is that if a tortilla chip is sharp enough to puncture something, it’s too weak to be a part of my body. Maybe some scientist out there is developing a synthetic palate that does all the same stuff but is just made of metal or plastic. If they need a guinea pig I’m here. I’m easy to find. I don’t ever want to experience this pain ever again, and I’ll do almost anything to make sure I never do. Except eating scalding hot food.

Pizza Hut is Introducing “Pie Top” sneakers for March Madness

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New York Daily News– “Pie Tops” — a limited edition sneaker for March Madness — allows you to place orders by pressing a button on the tongue that connects to an app, according to Ad Week.

The white and red sneakers have a geolocation built into them that allows the pizza to be delivered to wherever you are.

(Before we start I have to give a quick shout out to the NY Daily News for using what is a clear picture of a Domino’s pizza in an article about Pizza Hut. It’s the little things that make old newspapers so much better than websites such as this.)

They went all in on being the wacky brand a long time ago, but it’s good to see Pizza Hut further their brand as the leader in pizza innovation. This is a genius marketing scheme, especially since they’re only making 64 pairs. Nothing gets people’s blood flowing like a limited sneaker release, and 20 years from now, the resale market for these things will be insane. Granted, Pizza Hut technically see any of the profits for the secondary market, but the publicity is worth it.

It goes without saying that Pizza Hut should make sure that I get a pair. Having gone on record as saying that I sometimes want their pizza, I’m pretty much their greatest champion. In fact, I kind of wanted some Pizza Hut last night, but I didn’t get it. I’m not saying it definitely would have been different if I had some Pie Tops, but it might have been. Pizza Hut needs someone with my huge sphere of influence to have access to their product at a moment’s notice. Maybe make it all free, too. With franchising options. I’m just trying to look out for Pizza Hut here. They’re a clear third dog in the Great Pizza Race. Letting 64 randoms get these shoes instead of me isn’t the way to change anything.

Steve Kerr yelled at John Wall last night proving the Warriors want everyone to hate them

So this happened last night (easily the most noteworthy thing from that game). Steve Kerr yelling at John Wall a little bit. Now, it way seem like a throwaway sequence, but it’s just another example of the Warriors’ bizarre quest to get everyone to hate them. Drayman Green is still going after Paul Pierce, kicks everyone he sees, and still acts like no one believes in him despite the fact that he’s a two time all star and was 2nd Team All NBA last year. Kevin Durant signed as a free agent (the ultimate sin) and has wasted no time ruffling feathers, most notably slandering Shaq in wake of his very public feud with fellow Warrior Javale McGee. They keep taking goofy team pictures that get shredded online. Zaza is his typical self, cheap shotting everyone he sees then getting held back before anyone can fight back. Kerr bashed the players for their all star votes, and hasn’t been shy making political comments. They just keep going out of their way to make you hate them, and their online army of fans don’t do a whole lot to deter any of that. Makes me long for the old Golden State, when Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson were running pick and rolls with Andris Biedrins as Al Harrington spotted up on the wing in front of a raucous crowd. Or a few years ago when Monta Ellis was averaging 25 a game and once every five games or so a random guy like Anthony Morrow or Kelenna Azubuike would have 40 or CJ Watson would have a triple double. Back in the early days of Steph when the explosions were rarer and only the people in the know got to experience them. They used to be such a fun team, but the last couple years have sucked the fun out of a team that theoretically should be the most fun team of all time.

Now that that’s out of the way, the real reason I wanted to write about this was to talk about Steve Kerr’s past life as the color guy in NBA Live 06, the most over-the-top, least realistic, and most fun basketball game ever made.

Steve Kerr was the angriest announcer of all time. He took bad decisions as a personal offense. I don’t know what was going on in his life when they recorded the audio, but it couldn’t have been good. Maybe his wife was nagging him hard or his daughter just brought home her first boyfriend, but whatever he was dealing with had him in a seriously horrible mood. If you took a 3 with a big man he wondered if you had graduated 1st grade. After a bad turnover he’d just sit in silence out of pure rage. And nothing, and I mean nothing, got him more fired up than fouls. One time I let Kyle Korver pick up a third foul in the first quarter and he practically threatened to kill my entire family. He was ready to fist fight Marv Albert in the player’s place if you let a star player get into foul trouble. And he’d keep bringing it up, too. That same game I was down like 5 points at the end of the third quarter and he said I’de be winning if the idiot coach hadn’t let Korver get a million fouls. The only way to make him happy was scoring with either Amar’e or Manu Ginobili. He was even pissed off during the All Star Weekend modes. It was crazy. If my hard life growing up in the wintery streets of Rutland, Vermont hadn’t already jaded me, 13 year old me might have been traumatized by being screamed at over and over by virtual Steve Kerr. Can’t help but think last year’s finals might have been karma coming back around.

I try my hand at writing an Oscar Winner

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So, the Oscars were last night. Moonlight took home Best Picture, and it was inspirational and emotional and all that jazz. That’s all well and good, but it’s time to look ahead, and the 2018 Best Picture race is wide open. Well, I think it’s time I throw my hat in the ring. To give myself the greatest chance to win and Oscar (because that’s all that matters), I’ve studied previous winners and found some common plot points and themes that many share. Let’s see, the Academy usually gravitates towards unfortunate people. Mob movies typically do well. Musicals always have a shot. A tragic fall can help. I’m on the phone with Jennifer Hudson to get a powerhouse original song. Hmmm, I think I’ve got something here. Because I appreciate you, I’ll reveal some here to get the buzz going. So, I present a few select scenes from the upcoming film Carmine’s. I’ve already started writing my acceptance speech, and I’ll be sure to mention each and every one of you*.

(*I’m only going to thank myself for coming up with such a good idea).

 

CARMINE’S

Written by

Brian

EXT. CITY STREET-NIGHT

CHRIS and HEATHER are walking on the sidewalk, looking for a place to eat. They’ve been searching for a while now, and tensions are running high. A dimly lit Italian restaurant is on the horizon.

CHRIS

Alright, you’ve shot down the last five places we’ve walked by. So either you pick a place or we’re going to KFC.

HEATHER

Alright, sassy, jeez. Well if you want to eat so bad, let’s just go there.

CHRIS

Carmine’s? Seriously?

HEATHER

So I’m the one being picky? What’s the problem? It looks nice and cozy.

CHRIS

That’s because no one’s inside. No one’s ever been inside. That place has been open for like, 20 years and never had one customer.

HEATHER

Well, there must be a reason they’ve been open 20 years. I’m tired of walking around, so I’m going to eat there.

CHRIS

(rolls eyes) Fine. I’ll join you. We better get a free meal for being the first customers.

FADE OUT

MAIN TITLE SEQUENCE

EXT. SUBURB STREET-DAY

Pan downwards on a two story colonial as Smash Mouth’s “Story of my Life” plays. Sprinklers are going off as paperboy throws newspaper at house.

Cut to kitchen table. MARCO, a late 20s/early 30s Italian American, is glumly eating cereal. VALENTINA, his mother, is busily cleaning the kitchen.

VALENTINA

Marco, look at the time! You’ll be late for work!

MARCO

Mom, I got laid off. Again.

VALENTINA

(stops what she’s doing) From Waste Management?

MARCO

Mom, I haven’t worked for Waste Management in two years. I was at the hospital, remember?

VALENTINA

Oh, I’m sorry sweetheart. How many times is this, now?

MARCO

(mumbling) Five in the last five years.

VALENTINA

You’ve just had some bad luck is all. You know, this is why I say–

MARCO

I should have finished college, I know. It’s hard to finish when you get kicked out because someone with the same name got caught in a plagiarism scandal and the school expels you by accident.

VALENTINA

You could have gone somewhere else–

MARCO looks at his mother with sad eyes, and she gets the hint to back off

VALENTINA

Why don’t I ask your Uncle Dino if he can get you a job? You know he’s got the shipping company. And soft drink distribution company. And that restaurant–

MARCO

Please don’t. I don’t want to work for Uncle Dino. You know I hate being around him.

VALENTINA

You just hate all his body guards, is all. Here, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll ask your Uncle Dino. You go out and look for a job. And we’ll see who gets one first.

MARCO

But–

VALENTINA

Listen, Marco, you know I love you with all my heart. But you’ve been living at home for a while now. Say what you will about him, but Dino knows how to be successful. I think you might learn something from him. Who knows, you make a little bit of money, too.

MARCO sighs and accepts his fate.

.

.

.

INT. CARMINE’S RESTAURANT-DAY

MARCO walks into an empty restaurant. DINO and three GOONS are sitting at a table near the kitchen doors in the back.

DINO

Marco, my boy, so good to see you!

DINO gets up to meet MARCO. DINO hugs an uncomfortable MARCO and gives him a kiss on the cheek.

DINO

Sit down, sit down. Anything I can get you? Food? Drink? I know you like the pasta fagioli.

MARCO

(sitting) No, thanks. I ate on the way over.

DINO

Nonsense. Paul, get him some soup.

MARCO

Oh, okay–

One of the GOONS goes to the kitchen.

DINO

I’m glad you came, Marco. Your mother told me you’ve been down on your luck lately.

MARCO

I’m just kind of…in between jobs right now.

DINO

Either way, it’s good you came to me. You’re my blood, and it’s time I start looking out for you. I didn’t think you had any interest in joining the family business, though.

MARCO

Yeah, I never really wanted to work at a restaurant before…

PAUL puts bowl of soup in front of MARCO

DINO

(looking sideways at GOONS) Err, right… Good news is, you won’t be busing tables or any of that nonsense. I want you to be the new manager of Carmine’s.

MARCO

(stunned) Did you say manager? But-but I don’t have any experience–

DINO

Ahh, this place practically runs itself, don’t worry. Listen, our family’s run this restaurant for as long as it’s been here. I’ve got a lot on my plate, and I am getting older. I think it’s time someone else takes over the place.

MARCO

Obviously I appreciate this, but I wouldn’t even know where to start. I can hardly do my own taxes, how am I going to run a restaurant?

DINO

You won’t be alone, Marco. Alfonso is still here to run the books. I’ll have my guys write up some instructions on the do’s and don’ts. You’ll be fine.

MARCO

If you really trust me to do it. I mean, Carmine’s has been around a while…

DINO

Marco, it’s an easy job. You sign a few papers, you talk to some guests, you take home a check. I think you’ll find this to be a very low-stress environment.

MARCO

I don’t want to mess up, though. I mean, I hardly see anyone in here anymore. How can I get business back up? What if we have to close?

DINO

(laughing) Marco, don’t you worry about that. Business is fine just the way it is, and as long as I’m around, this place’ll never shut down.

.

.

.

INT. CARMINE’S-NIGHT

MARCO has been on the job for a little over a week, and he’s starting to get the hang of it. Every night the same three or four regulars come in. Tonight, he’s making his rounds and comes to LUKA, an intimidating mob-boss looking older guy.

LUKA

Marco, how are you?

MARCO

(shaking hands) I’m doing well, Luka, how about yourself?

LUKA

I can’t complain. It was good of your uncle to give you Carmine’s. He’s a good man, your uncle.

MARCO

Oh, I know. I’m very grateful.

LUKA

So, how’re you liking it so far?

MARCO

I gotta tell you, it’s easier than I expected. I’m worried about the bottom line, though. We get deliveries all day long, and we only get a few customers a day.

LUKA

(chokes on his meal a little) I wouldn’t worry too much about those shipments, Marco. I’m sure Alfonso’s got them covered. And there’s something to be said for creating a family–

The door opens and two mid 20s WOMEN come inside. The REGULARS look immediately uncomfortable with the new faces. MARCO, on the other hand, is excited

MARCO

(walking over to greet them) Welcome to Carmine’s! Table for two?

WOMAN #1

Yes, please.

WOMAN #2

We’ve been looking forward to coming here all week. Our friend Heather told us about this place and we can’t wait to try it!

MARCO

Well, we’re thrilled to have you. Here, right this way.

CUT TO: Success montage. Word of mouth and Yelp reviews spread like wildfire as Carmine’s exploded in popularity. The dining room is full every night and, soon enough, there’s a waiting list to get in. It’s place to go to be seen. The REGULARS still get their usual tables, but don’t like the added attention one bit. Newspapers and local TV interview MARCO, who stays humble but still accepts all the credit for the newfound success.

.

.

.

INT. DIMLY LIT ROOM-NIGHT

DINO, LUKA, and many other high-ranking MAFIOSOS are sitting around a table. A few bottles of scotch are being passed around and at least half of them are smoking cigars.

LUKA

Dino, what are we gonna do about this? We can’t have this many people at Carmine’s! The TV station was there the other day, for crying out loud! What if they start poking around?

DINO

I understand your concern, but there’s really no need to worry yet. We’ve got plenty of time before we need to make any kind of move.

MAFIOSO #1

That nephew of yours is going to bring down the entire operation! Doesn’t he know what we’ve got stored in there?

DINO

No, he doesn’t. My sister asked me not to get him involved with our real business.

MAFIOSO #2

Then why is he running Carmine’s?!?!

MAFIOSO #3

Should I send my guys after him?

DINO

(defensive) Listen, the kid’s a screw up, alright! He’s a good kid but a screw up. I thought it’d be an easy thing for him to do. How was I supposed to know he’d do something good for once?

DINO’S goon PAUL runs into the room.

PAUL

Apologies, sirs, but we may have a problem. The boys from the 83rd Precinct just pulled up to Carmine’s for dinner. I can’t be certain, but Officer Smith almost always brings his dog with him everywhere he goes.

All eyes turn to DINO. LUKA slams his fist on the table.

LUKA

(growling) Dino you’d better find a solution to this right fuc–

DINO

It’s okay, Luka. (sighs) I don’t think he realizes it, but he’s the legal owner of Carmine’s. His dearly departed father was the original owner, and when he passed, his will gave Carmine’s to Marco. I never changed it because I figured it’d be a good out to have. Now that he’s officially both the manager and owner, he’ll take the fall. It pains me to throw the boy under the bus, but we should be able to skate by on this.

MAFIOSO #1

What about all the money we’ll lose?

DINO

We’ll make it back. Besides, this might be a good thing. It was always foolish to have such an important part of the operation be in a place where this could happen. We’ll come out of this fine in the long run.

.

.

.

INT. HOLDING CELL-DAY

MARCO and his LAWYER are sitting in a holding cell at the 83rd Precinct. Officer Smith did, in fact, bring his drug sniffing dog with him, and he started barking the second they pulled up. Thirty minutes later, the police had found the multiple tons of cocaine in Carmine’s kitchen and apprehended MARCO. The trial moved quickly.

LAWYER

It’s not looking good, Marco. I can’t get you out of prison time–

MARCO

How can this happen? I had no idea what was going on! Why don’t they believe me?

LAWYER

Well, it’s tough when you’ve been the legal owner for a few years, now. And they’ll never believe you didn’t know anything.

MARCO

But I didn’t! I knew Uncle Dino had some shady business, but I didn’t think it was a massive drug front. I can’t believe he’d sell me out like this.

LAWYER

I mean, he is a mob boss. Did you think he’d take the fall for you or something?

MARCO

I don’t know. I just can’t believe this is happening.

LAWYER

Well, as I was saying, I can’t save you from prison, but I might be able to get you to a white collar prison upstate. But you’ll have to start off in a real prison. I was able to save you from maximum security, at least.

MARCO

Gee, thanks. God, I’ve got to be the most unlucky guy of all time.

.

.

.

INT. PRISON CAFETIERIA-DAY

It’s MARCO’S first day in jail, and he just got first first tray of food. He finds an empty table and sits down. Across the room, BIG ED and his BOYS are watching intently. When MARCO is almost done eating, BIG ED approaches with a couple BOYS.

BIG ED

(sitting down across from MARCO) Haven’t seen you here before.

MARCO

Yeah, it’s my first day.

BIG ED

Ha! Some fresh meat, then! So what’d you do?

MARCO

I got framed for my uncle’s drug running operation.

BIG ED

Framed, eh? Well, we were all framed, too. Right boys?

BOYS all boisterously agree.

BIG ED

I can tell you’re a little lost. I’d be happy to take you under my wing and show you the ropes. Even offer you protection from some of the more…aggressive inmates.

MARCO

Really? What’s the catch?

BIG ED gives BOY #1 a nod. BOY #1 picks up some utensils and starts hitting them against the table to the tune of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.”

BIG ED

(singing) The club isn’t the best place to find a lover
So the bar is where I go
Me and my friends at the table doing shots
Drinking fast and then we talk slow

BOYS

Mmmm

BIG ED

(singing) You come over and start up a conversation with just me
And trust me I’ll give it a chance now
Take my hand, stop
Put Van The Man on the jukebox
And then we start to dance
And now I’m singing like

Boy, you know I want your love
Your love was handmade for somebody like me
Come on now, follow my lead
I may be crazy, don’t mind me
Say, boy, let’s not talk too much
Grab on my waist and put that body on me
Come on now, follow my lead
Come, come on now, follow my lead

BOYS

Mmmm

BIG ED

(singing) I’m in love with the shape of you
We push and pull like a magnet do
Although my heart is falling too
I’m in love with your body
And last night you were in my room
And now my bedsheets smell like you
Every day discovering something brand new
I’m in love with your body

BOYS

(singing) Oh I oh I oh I oh I

BIG ED

(singing) I’m in love with your body

BOYS

(singing) Oh I oh I oh I oh I

BIG ED

(singing) I’m in love with your body

BOYS and MARCO

(singing) Oh I oh I oh I oh I

BIG ED

(singing) I’m in love with your body
Every day discovering something brand new
I’m in love with the shape of you

That’s all I’ll give you for now. I haven’t quite worked out the ending yet, but it’s gonna be big. The studios are all lining up to get the rights, and Joe Pesci agreed to be in it in some way the second I said the word mob. Oscars 2018, here I come!

MLB Preview: NL West

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Back for round 2 of the Brian’s Den MLB preview, this time taking a look at the National League West. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Traditional logic would dictate that the second division I break down would be either the AL Central or NL East. Well, I don’t really care about conventional logic. I’m going to talk about the divisions in the order I want. So, sorry AL Central, but I’m going to delay talking about you for as long as humanly possible. Here’s my AL East preview if you need a refresher. All projected win totals taken from Atlantis Casino Resort.

Los Angeles Dodgers

512px-los_angeles_dodgers_logo-svgThe Dodgers have probably been the most consistent team in the league the last few years, winning over 90 games every season since 2013. I don’t really see that changing this year. After staying afloat during an extended absence from the best pitcher in the game, the Dodgers bring back every important member of one of the best pitching staffs in the game. Last season they lead the league in strikeouts per 9, strikeout percentage, strikeout-to-walk percentage, and finished third in fielding independent pitching +. This year they’ll (hopefully) get a full season out of Kershaw, a full season out of midseason acquisition Rich Hill, and a full season from top prospect Julio Urias, who looks to build on a very good second half of the season. They had a top 10 defense last season, as well, another staple of the Dodgers’ recent run of success.

It’s their mediocre offense that’s kept them from becoming a truly great team. They finished in the middle of the pack in pretty every statistic. They don’t do anything particularly well or poorly. They could improve this year, though, if Rookie of the Year and budding superstar Corey Seager takes another step forward. Just 22, he had the 5th highest WAR in the National League last season and finished 3rd in MVP voting. He has the ability to cover up the limitations in the rest of the lineup, and if one of my favorite players Joc Pederson can continue to add consistency and power, the Dodgers should rack up the wins again this year.

Over/Under 91.5 Wins: Over

Key Offseason Move: Resigning Rich Hill and Justin Turner

Burning Question: Now that famed baseball mind Magic Johnson is making all the key decisions for both the Dodgers and Lakers, how long until Kobe takes over as Dodgers manager?

Bold Prediction: This year, Clayton Kershaw’s postseason ERA will only be 4.50

San Francisco Giants

300px-san_francisco_giants_logo-svgLast year’s Giants team was just so…Giants. A bunch of no names who aren’t great at anything, but there they were in the playoffs. Like the Dodgers, they rode their excellent starting pitching and defense (which was second only to the Cubs in ultimate zone rating). Unlike the Dodgers, they had a nearly disastrous second-half collapse spearheaded by their abomination of a bullpen that lead the league in blown saves. Signing free agent closer Mark Melancon was one of the better offseason moves, and he should add much needed stability to last season’s comically unstable late game pitching.

The rest of the roster is all typical Giants. The stars (Bumgarner, Cueto, Posey, Pence, Crawford, Belt) will do what they do every year. There’s almost no point talking about the rest of the lineup, since whoever they put out there on Opening Day is probably gonna be completely different come September, with random bench guys and unheralded rookies becoming key contributors. They’ll win between 86-90 games, finish in the bottom half in runs scored, and finish near the top of the league in fewest runs allowed. I’ve figured out the football and baseball Giants, and they’ll have the exact same season every year until Bruce Boche retires.

Over/Under 87.5: Under (barely)

Key Offseason Move: Signing Mark Melancon

Burning Question: If the Giants win another championship will anyone really care?

Bold Prediction: They’ll make the playoffs and everyone will get scared of them then they’ll lose in the NLDS.

Colorado Rockies

201px-colorado_rockies_logo-svgI don’t know why, but I’ve always been in love with the Rockies. Maybe it’s their beautiful stadium (Stadium power ranking: 1. Wrigley Field 2. Fenway Park 3. Camden Yards 4. Coors Field 5. PNC Park) that I’ve dreamed of going to since the first time I heard the name. Maybe it’s the fact that they always have high-octane, powerful offenses that mash home runs and rip doubles all day long. Maybe it’s the fact that they always give up just as many homers and doubles as they hit, keeping every game high scoring and exciting. Maybe it’s because my favorite color is purple and I love their jerseys. Maybe it’s because the best Little League team in my district was the Rockies, and it drove me crazy that I was never on the roster, despite the fact that I lived in the same town and was always the best player on my team (I peaked athletically earlier than most) and it became my obsession (No, I’m not bitter, why do you ask?). No matter the reason, the Rockies have long been my favorite non-Red Sox team, and I try and watch them as often as possible. I almost always try to wind up on the Rockies in my MLB The Show careers, too. But does any of that make them a good team? Maybe?

As you would expect, this was the most prolific offense in the National League last season, leading the Senior Circuit in runs scored. They even added Ian Desmond and will get rookie sensation Trevor Story back from injury. Here’s where you say “but they’re just a product of Coors Field.” That may be true. After all, they scored about 150 more runs at home than on the road. But last time I checked, they still get to play 81 games at home, so what does it really matter? They’re going to score a million runs at home again this year, and new manager Bud Black getting them playing better on the road might lead to some true Rocky Mountain Highs, especially since their pitching isn’t as bad as you think.

They finished with the third worst team ERA in the league, but, just like the offense, that’s largely a product of the stadium they play in. They had the 15th best road ERA in the majors, and had a league average overall ERA+, which takes the Coors Effect into account. The bullpen was bad, but if new addition Greg Holland can get back to his 2014 form, or close to it, it should improve. If their crappy defense gets a little better and they can take the Coors fireworks on the road, the Banquet Beer could flow in celebration.

Over/Under 79.5 Wins: Over

Key Offseason Move: Signing Ian Desmond

Burning Question: With Coors Field so close to noted secret society hotspot Denver International Airport, why haven’t steps been taken to ensure the Rockies success?

Bold Prediction: They’ll win the Wild Card game, then…who knows?

Arizona Diamondbacks

156px-arizona_diamondbacks_logo-svgDbacks were complete trash last year. Much like the Padres from two years ago and the Marlins from a few years before that, their get-rich-quick scheme didn’t work. At all. But is there any hope for this year? There’s a glimmer. Bringing in a new manager in Torey Lovullo can always raise a team’s spirits. Getting AJ Pollock back from injury is huge, especially if he can perform like he did in 2015 when he was a legitimate MVP candidate. They traded for pitcher Taijuan Walker, who has shown flashes of his true ability but hasn’t been able to put it all together. Still, he’s only 24. They also can’t possibly be as bad as they were last year. Judging by ERA+, this was the worst pitching staff in the league. Judging by ultimate zone rating this was the second worst defense in the National League. They did score the 10th most runs in the league, though. This lineup has some talent. Paul Goldschmidt is still a stud. Yasmany Tomas and Jake Lamb have 30 home run power. Zack Greinke probably won’t have his worst career season again. Shelby Miller can’t really be that bad, can he? They signed Fernando Rodney, which reeks of desperation. They tweaked their jerseys after last year, but I was in the minority that liked the bold new design. Might be some bad karma. Still, I think they’ll be better this year. Not too much better, though.

Over/Under 78.5 Wins: Under

Key Offseason Move: Trading for Taijuan Walker

Burning Question: Why hasn’t Luis Gonzalez introduced the team to his steroid guy yet?

Bold Prediction: Fernando Rodney brings a live snake into the bullpen as a prank and it winds up biting someone

San Diego Padres

278px-sdpadres_logo-svgPadres suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. They’re so boring and irrelevant. They’re almost not even worth talking about. I mean, go look at their roster. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Recognize more than five names? I didn’t. Jhoulys Chacin is their number one starter, for crying out loud! Their projected starting outfield is Travis Jankowski, Manuel Margot, and Hunter Renfroe (not the football player). None of those names are made up. Their manager is Andy Green, the most boring name of all time. And, to complete their total dedication to being the most boring team in all of pro sports, they went back to their strictly navy and white jerseys and ditched the navy and yellow jerseys that looked awfully sharp. I don’t even think bringing back the brown and yellow jerseys would get me to care about this team. Every night I weep for Don Orsillo.

Over/Under 64.5 Wins: Over

Key Offseason Move: Not moving to Los Angeles

Burning Question: How can the Padres’ front office live with themselves knowing what they’re forcing Don Orsillo to watch? And how can Red Sox ownership live with themselves knowing what they did to him? Why am I not listening to Don and Jerry every night anymore?

Bold Prediction: They will play in 162 baseball games in 2017