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Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Best Movies Of The 2010's (Update 1)

1) Inception (2010)
(dir. Christopher Nolan)

2) The Social Network (2010)
(dir. David Fincher)

3) Drive (2011)
(dir. Nicholas Winding Refn)

4) Young Adult (2011)
(dir. Jason Reitman)

5) Kick Ass (2010)
(dir. Matthew Vaughn)

6) Black Swan (2010)
(dir. Darren Aronofsky)

7) Shame (2011) (New Selection) 
(dir. Steve McQueen)
8) The Fighter (2010)
(dir. David O. Russell)

9) Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011)
(dir. Rupert Wyatt)

10) The Artist (2011)
(dir. Michel Hazavicious)

11) Moneyball (2011)
(dir. Bennett Miller)

12) The King's Speech (2010)
(dir. Tom Hooper)

13) 50/50 (2011)
(dir. Jonathan Levine)

14) Toy Story 3 (2010)
(dir. Lee Unkrich)

15) The Descendants (2011)
(dir. Alexander Payne)

16) Chronicle (2012)
(dir. Josh Trank)

17) Frozen (2010)
(dir. Adam Green)

18) Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
(dir. Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman)

19) X-Men: First Class (2011)
(dir. Matthew Vaughn)

20) Larry Crowne (2011)
(dir. Tom Hanks)

21) How To Train Your Dragon (2010) (dir. Dean DuBlois, Chris Sanders)
22) Bridesmaids (2011) (dir. Paul Feig)
23) True Grit (2010) (dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
24) Midnight In Paris (2011) (dir. Woody Allen)
25) 127 Hours (2010) (dir. Danny Boyle)
26) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part II (2011) (dir. David Yates)
27) Winter's Bone (2010) (dir. Debra Granik)
28) The Help (2011) (dir. Tate Taylor)
29) The Kids Are Alright (2010) (dir. Lisa Cholodenko)
30) The Town (2010) (dir. Ben Affleck)
31) The Other Guys (2010) (dir. Adam McCay)
32) Mission: Impossible 3 (2011) (dir. Brad Bird)
33) Warrior (2011) (dir. Gavin O'Connor)
34) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) (dir. David Fincher)
35) Hugo (2011) (dir. Martin Scorsese)
36) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)  (dir. Tomas Alfredson)

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Five Baseball Trends That Will Not Last

1) The White Sox will be on top of their division

Right now the Chicago White Sox are 5-3 (64.5 winning percentage) and are only .5 games back behind division winners the Detroit Tigers. I am going to savor this moment because it will not last. I love the White Sox and I hope they succeed and end up- at minimum- with a winning record but I predicted they will finish 4th in the AL Central and will be bad and I still contend this. But for the time being, let the good times roll!

2) The Angels will be bottom dwellers in their division

Even though the Los Angeles offense is essentially Albert Pujols and nobody else, they have the best rotation in the American League and a solid bullpen. Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and C.J. Wilson are all legitimate #1 starters in this league (plus the Angels also have Ervin Santana who is really good) and their talent will prevail and jettison them to the top of the AL West. Even though the Angels are last in their division and are 4.5 games back behind first place, this trend will not last.

3) Josh Willingham is an elite player in 2012

This year Twins outfielder is tied for 1st in the AL in home runs (4), second in the AL in terms of batting average (.419), and is the 4th best offensive player in fantasy baseball this year. Willingham is good for these type of spurts but do not expect this kind of elite production all season.

4) Albert Pujols is an average to below average first baseman

As of the writing of this post, The Machine has .624 OPS (17th among all first baseball in baseball) and has no home runs and no stolen bases. He may not be the Cardinals Pujols we all know and love while in L.A. but he's not even close to being this bad.

5) I will be in the bottom 4th on my roto fantasy baseball league

At least I hope not. Probably the least likely trend to change on this list.


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Friday, April 13, 2012

Five Movie Sequels That Are Better Than The Original (And Other Notes On Sequels)

There are a lot of great movie sequels. There are a lot of lists that rank the best movie sequels. However, those lists rank the sequels as stand alone movies. That is not this list. This list not only compares the quality of the sequel itself but also also compares the sequel to its original. In order to be eligible for this list the sequel needs to be better than the original. Frankly, it was tough coming up with five movies. There are a LOT of sequels out there but very few of them are better than the original.


Directed By: David Yates
Original: Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Why The Sequel Is Better: Frankly, it was not hard for HP8 to beat HP1. It wasn't that the original was not a good movie, it's just that the Harry Potter franchise never really made THAT good of a movie. Don't get me wrong, I love the Harry Potter franchise and saw all 8 movies, most of them in IMAX. However, as stand alone films they are nothing more than three star flicks.

The plot of the first six are all the same. Harry is with his surrogate family that he hates, he goes to Hogwarts, meets up with his friends, something terrible happens, Harry, Ron, and Hermione stumble across teachers where they explain that something is wrong, the three friends try and solve the problem, there is an "epic" climax sequence, and then Herry saves the day and is the hero. Don't get me wrong, I love watching that formula, but it is a formula nonetheless.

The Deathly Hallows, Part II however not only does NOT follow that formula (mainly because it's the second half of a book and not a whole book) but it's extremely darker than it's first seven predecessors. The action is better and HP8 takes you on a better and more exciting journey. You know in your heart of hearts that there did not have to be 7 Harry Potter books and J.K. Rowling easily could have gotten what she needed to say in, at maximum, four books. So as the series went along the plot did kind of get a little stale. But that being said, the epic conclusion was very entertaining one to see.

4) ALIENS (1986)

Directed By: James Cameron
Original: Alien

Why The Sequel Is Better: The simple answer is because Ellen Ripley is infinitely more of a bad ass in James Cameron's version than she was in Ridley Scott's version. Admittedly it is hard to compare Scott's version to Cameron's because they are purposefully two different genres of films. I just prefer Cameron's genre better because of the action sequences (which Aliens is purposefully more of an action movie than Alien). Alien is more of a horror movie whereas Aliens is sci-fi/horror/action-adventure. Never before had we really seen that blend of scariness and fun like what Cameron delivered to us and for that I believe Aliens is better than Alien.

Plus, in Aliens we get that famous Ellen Ripley line, "Get away from her, you BITCH!"

3) SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004)

Directed By: Sam Raimi
Original: Spiderman

Why The Sequel Is Better: Spiderman was Sam Raimi's take on a superhero movie and because Raimi has a great sense of humor which shows in all his work (see: Evil Dead) his interpretation of a superhero movie was very fun to see. But then Raimi topped himself with Spider-Man 2. The reason the sequel is so much better is because it is not really an action movie at all. Since Michael Bay burst onto the scene action movies have had a very thin plot but lots of explosions and shit guys generally want to see. Sam Raimi changed the entire landscape of not only superhero movies but action movies in general- by taking OUT the action. While Doc Oc and Spiderman have an pretty badass fight on a train at the film's climax, the vast majority of Spiderman 2 is how Peter Parker deals with being in a relationship with Mary Jane and dealing with his superpowers. It is because of how revolutionary this squeal is that it easily earns a spot on this list.


Directed By: James Cameron
Original: The Terminator

Why The Sequel Is Better: The main reason is the special effects. Sure the seven year gap between the first and the second one helped with that, but the fact remains Judgment Day still holds up today- even with the world being exposed to Cameron's Avatar. The same can not be said for the original. These special effects make for better action sequences and an overall better movie going experience.

The plot is also better with the addition of Edward Furlong as a young John Connor plus the addition of a robot protecting the Connor's as opposed to just a soldier. I understand there is still that disparity as the one protecting the Connor(s) is still weaker than the one sent to destroy the Connor(s) but it is much more believable in this world the movies set up that the Connors are saved by a cyborg as opposed to just a soldier.

For a better plot and better special affects, Terminator 2: Judgment Day earns the runner up position on this list.


Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Original: Batman Begins

Why The Sequel Is Better: The simple reason is because The Dark Knight is one of the best films of all time. (It's number two on my personal list behind The Shawshank Redemption). The long reason is because the plot is darker and it is able to explore the complexities of Batman in Gotham City which was a limitation of Batman Begins because it was an origin story. Batman Begins is the prequel laying the foundation for The Dark Knight. The theme for TDK is escalation and what happens when Batman helps to clean up the mob from ruling the streets. We are able to get to that darker place because of the initial steps Batman Begins took.

Plus, The Dark Knight had the greatest characters ever in the history of cinema: The Joker. Hot damn was Heath Ledger's Joker amazing!


- Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King: To be honest I think the entire LOTR trilogy is overrated. The third installment is probably the best one, but really, how can you tell?

- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back: I was in the boat for the longest time that Episode 5 was the best of the trilogy. Until I actually saw Episode 5 past the age of 12. Like all of the original trilogy, it's an excellent film but really it is just a bridge so we can get to Episode Six. There is only one true fight scene and it's a "eh" battle between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. The cliffhangers of Empire are great (such as Han getting frozen in carbonite and Luke finding out Darth Vader is his father), but it is only as good in the fact that it connects us to the end and not better than Episode IV.

- Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi: The three battle sequences at the end (Luke v. Darth Vader and The Emperor / Han and Leia and The Ewoks vs. The Stormtroopers / Lando Calrissian and the Rebels v. The Death Star) make this one a more legitimate contender to be better than A New Hope but the Ewoks are just so damn silly and too cartoonish (although they probably are more entertaining than the original idea of a planet full of Wookies just for the fact that the Wookie language would make you want to shoot your brains out) and the muppets that hang around Jabba The Hut at the beginning of the film are just ridiculous (something George Lucas realized and updated in the "newer" version)  and all of which make Return Of The Jedi inferior to A New Hope.

- The Godfather: Part II: What does Part II add or do that Part I didn't already do?

- Toy Story 3: An excellent film but it was too reminiscent of the original and I personally didn't even think it was the best Animated Film of the year (20110)


- Raiders Of The Lost Ark: Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull was just atrocious, Temple of Doom was very entertaining but the restrictive narrative makes it inferior, and The Last Crusade was so boring at parts I literally zoned in and out of the film.

- Die Hard: You just can't find a better villain than Hans Gruber

- The Bourne Identity: I can't stand Paul Greengrass' shaky cam which far and away ruined The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum (Greengrass did not direct The Bourne Identity)

- The Planet of the Apes: What made the original so great was that it tackled the issue of science vs. religion yet Hollywood and produces stupidly thought Americans just wanted to see talking monkeys. Idiots. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes could give the original a run for its money but I consider it more of a reboot than a prequel/sequel.

- The Matrix: Again, the producers suffering from a "Planet Of The Apes" type syndrome. What made the original Matrix so good was not the fight scenes and the effects (granted it was a huge part of it) but the futuristic story line. The best part of The Matrix was not the shoot 'em up stuff that happened after the Agents kidnapped Morpheaus (although again, pretty bitchin' stuff) but everything that happened before then. The second sequel was a decent action flick but the third one was just a pile of garbage and both completely missed the mark on what made the original so great.

- Lethal Weapon: Not only did Joe Pesci (whom I normally love) alone ruin all the sequels because his character is so damn annoying (Ok, Ok) but Mel Gibson's character was so great in the original as a suicidal maniac / great cop yet was not the same guy in the latter films. Plus, there's only so much shit Danny Glover was too old for. If he was too old to do the stuff in the original he absolutely was too old to do the stuff in the next three movies.

- Jaws

- Back To The Future

- Shrek

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Ten Least Anticipated Summer Movies


Release Date: June 8
Directed By: Ridley Scott

I know everyone is excited about this film and for many people this is their #1 most anticipated movie this summer. But for me, I couldn't care less. Not only has Ridley Scott made a handful of terrible movies of late (Robin Hood, Body Of Lies, A Good Year) that makes me distrustful of him now, but I'm not THAT big of an Alien/Aliens fan. It's probably because I first saw both movies within the past eight months but I'm not an Alien(s) fanboy like the vast majority of America. So that fact that there's a prequel to Alien about to come out (while Scott will not confirm nor deny this, we all know this is true) does not excite me.

If this movie is anything like Alien then it absolutely does not deserve a spot on this list and truth be told it probably will be good (which is why Prometheus is only ten on my list) but if I had to rank this movie on a scale of 1-10 in which 10 is I am super excited to see the movie (a la The Dark Knight Rises) then this newest Ridley Scott adventure gets like a 3.


Release Date: August 3
Directed By: Len Wiseman

There is just no reason for this movie to even be remade. The original Schwarzenegger film was so great there is nothing this Colin Ferrell version can do to make me not think that this movie even should have been remade, nevertheless will be good. I'll probably be thinking the same thoughts that I had while watching David Fincher's version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It's just hard to remake things that were already great to begin with.


Release Date: July 6
Directed By: Oliver Stone

There is nothing Oliver Stone can do to make me actively WANT to go out and see one of his films. I mentioned earlier about Ridley Scott's recent track record but his does not even come close to Stone's awful resume which recently includes: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, W., World Trade Center, and Alexander. Not only were these movies bad, they were (and I'm seriously not being hyperbolic here) some of the worst movies I have ever seen. I have not even seen the trailer for Savages but I do know I will not be seeing feature film.

NOTE: Even after posting this blog post I still have not seen the trailer for Savages.


Release Date: May 25
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

Despite Josh Brolin being awesome and doing an incredible Tommy Lee Jones impersonation, there is no way I'm seeing MIB:3. Not only was the second MIB awful but Will Smith's recent track record is just bad (despite them all making a gazillion dollars each). His latest movies includes: Seven Pounds, Hancock, I Am Legend (OK, maybe I'll give him this one. Maybe.), The Pursuit Of Happyness (bad movie, good Smith acting), and Hitch.


Release Date: May 11
Directed By: Tim Burton

Yes, we get it Johnny Depp. You want to be eccentric. You don't want to play the "typical Hollywood leading man" role. Tim Burton is cheating on Helena Bonham Carter with you (speaking of which, why is SHE not the lead female and Michelle Pfiffer is, I mean this IS a Burton production). But I'm sick of it. I didn't like this Depp/Burton pairing in 2007 when they did Sweeney Tood, I didn't like this pairing in 2010 for Alice In Wonderland, and there is no in hell I am going to like it in 2012. Both Depp and Burton need to move on creatively.


Release Date: June 8
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon

I remember seeing the second Madagascar with my girlfriend, my best friend, and his girlfriend. The four of us were deciding which movie to see and my best friend's girlfriend (I'm always game to make a reference to The Cars) strongly pushed for Madagascar II. I can't remember what other movie the other three of us wanted to see but it did not matter because we caved to see Madagascar II. After the movie ended, my friend's gf just kept apologizing profusely. "I'm sorry I made you guys see Madagascar. We totally should have seen the other movie."

You'll be saying the same thing if you actively seek out and force others to come with you to see the third installment of a franchise made just so David Schwimmer can have money.


Release Date: May 18
Directed By: Kirk Jones

I love Thomas Lennon (or rather I love Dangle on Reno 911) and truth be told I genuinely laughed at everything he said (as well as a lot of what the other "Dudes" said) but I know in reality this is a chick flick and unless it's a chick flick written by Tina Fey (Mean Girls) or Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) I will avoid it like the plague.


Release Date: May 18
Directed By: Peter Berg

All I have to say is the title of this film is based after a board game. A BOARD GAME! That should be enough to make you not want to see Battleship but then I saw the trailer and I will say "No Thank You" to Transformers Four. Michael Bay has not made a good movie ever and I am positive this will not be his first. (Yeah, Yeah. I know Bay "technically" had nothing to do with this movie but for all intensive purposes, he did. I mean, come on. Have you seen the trailer?!).


Release Date: June 29
Directed By: Jon M. Cho

This is a G.I. Joe movie. Enough said. I do not need to go any further with my justification so I'll just say one more thing. G.I. Joe Rise Of Cobra only got a 34% on Rotten Tomatoes. No way in hell the sequel fairs any better.


Release Date: June 15
Directed By: Sean Anders

I've made a big stink about recent track records in this post but no one in Hollywood has a more worse track record than Adam Sandler. Did only did Adam Sandler and his movie Jack And Jill just set a Razzie award record for most wins, but Adam Sandler has not made a good movie since Big Daddy in 1999. Here are some of Sandler's recent movies that he has made: Jack and Jill, Just Go With It, Grown Ups, You Don't Mess With The Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Click, The Longest Yard, and Spanglish. And that's only SOME of the terrible movies he's made. There's actually more!

There are few things that I am actually sure of when it comes to predicting the quality of a movie (hell, I thought Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes last year was going to be awful and it ended up 3rd on my top ten list) but I am confident that That's My Boy will not be funny and will be a terrible piece of crap.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Ten Most Anticipated Summer Movies


Release Date: May 4th
Director: Joss Whedon

The only reason I am putting The Avengers 10th is not because I do not really want to see the movie (I do), it is just that I do not think it will be any good. The best superhero movies of the past decade has always been ones that focused on a singular character/superhero. Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, Sam Raimi's Spiderman movies, Ed Norton's The Hulk, and the original Iron Man have set the standard for what superhero movies SHOULD be and all of them focused just on ONE superhero. The Avengers focuses on SIX. Group superhero movies have not historically worked out well in the past- most notably the original X-Men trilogy and it worries me that The Avengers will be closer to that than the best group superhero movie in a long time- X-Men First Class.


Release Date: June 22
Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov

While I am hesitant to trust a movie based upon a book made for 13 year olds, how does the title alone not suck you in? It will probably be a commercial flop but it will not be because I did not shell out ten dollars to see it.


Release Date: April 27
Directed By: Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt

While the trailer does nothing to excite me, I am a big fan of Aardman Animiations- the animation production team responsible for this film. They are best known for their Wallace And Gromit series (all of which are great) and commercially known for Chicken Run but they also were responsible for Flushed Away (even though Flushed Away was far better than Chicken Run). While Aardman Animations may not be in the pop culture lexicon like Disney and Pixar are, they continually produce great quality products and I will gladly go see everything they do.


Release Date: August 3
Directed By: Tony Gilroy

I really disliked the last two Bourne movies (Supremecy and Ultimatum) but The Bourne Legacy has two things working for it that the last Bourne movies did not have. First, it is not directed by Paul Greengrass who is known for his shaky cam during action sequences. This means I am expecting to actually SEE the action sequences and know what is going on during The Bourne Legacy. Second, it stars Jeremy Renner. Renner has been on a role since The Hurt Locker starring in The Town and Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (both of which he was excellent in) and will soon play Hawk Eye in The Avengers (see: above). While I like Matt Damon I expect Renner to exceed all Bourne expectations.

SIDENOTE: Damon joked during his press junket for The Bourne Ultimatum that the next movie to be released will be called The Bourne Redundancy. Well... it was not.


Release Date: June 22
Directed By: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman

This is one is a tough one for me. On one hand it is Pixar studios and they have produced great movie after great movie and I expect nothing but greatness from them. However, on the other hand, not only do I really dislike anything set in the Medievil time period (unless it is Monty Python And The Holy Grail) I refuse to see it AND this film looks eerily reminiscent of How To Train Your Dragon (2010) (which was excellent).


Release Date: May 11
Directed By: Larry Charles

Not only was Borat amazing and Bruno really good but the trailer makes me laugh with (what I believe) not actually giving anything away from the actual film. Everything in the trailer looks like just set up to the main plot and I am hoping the actual movie will be even funnier than the trailer.


Release Date: July 3
Directed By: Marc Webb

I was like you and thought a reboot of a movie that came out just a decade ago was silly but after seeing the trailer and knowing the characters and what this story is about, I'm hooked. The film has a major villain from the comic books (The Lizard) as opposed to a relatively minor one with The Green Goblin and has a new love interest (Gwen Stacy played by America's Sweetheart Emma Stone).

Don't look at The Amazing Spiderman as just another sequel and a chance for Hollywood to make money, look at it as a chance to enjoy the original Spiderman all over again.


Release Date: April 27
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

The last movie directed by Nicholas Stoller and written by Jason Segel? Oh, that would be Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the two team up again for The Five Year Engagement (also co-written by Stoller). I'll see anything Jason Segel does whether it's How I Met Your Mother or Bad Teacher (in which Segel was by far and away the best part of the movie). This film is no exception.


Release Date: June 1
Directed By: Rupert Sanders

I know I just said I am not a fan of things set during the Medieval times era but this looks amazing. Mainly because I just love a darker re-imagining of things and the fact that a classic Disney film (and the fact that a light heartened version of this story just came out in theaters) can be turned into a dark epic excites me.


Release Date: July 20
Directed By: Christopher Nolan


Come on? Do I really need to say why this is not only my personal most anticipated movie this summer but is everyone else's as well? The Dark Knight was amazing and the best movie to come out within the past 15 years (really one of the best films ever). I am absolutely not worried that the main villains are Bane and Catwoman (I know people are upset about this but let's get real. What has Christopher Nolan done throughout his past four films to make you think he won't be able to make Bane and Catwoman fantastic?). What does worry me is that the hype and anticipation of this film plus the greatness of The Dark Knight almost guarantees that I will not like TDKR- no matter how good it actually is on its own. My expectations MAY be a tad too high. But I hope not.



Release Date: August 10
Directed By: Jay Roach

While no official trailer has yet to be released for this film, it stars Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, and Jason Sudekis. I will see EVERYTHING Will Ferrell does. Although this movie is not directed by Adam McKay (Stepbrothers, Anchorman) so maybe I need to temper by expectations about Will Ferrell. But only a little bit.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Hope That The White Sox Will Not Be Terrible In 2012

In my Mega Baseball Preview post I had the White Sox finsihing 4th in the AL Central behind the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, and (sigh) the Kansas City Royals. Replace the Twins with the Indians and that's how the White Sox finished the 2011 season. As a White Sox fan, I am not hopeful on how my Pale Hose will fare in this baseball season and after last season can you blame me? Since last season the White Sox seemingly traded away a handful of their best assets. They traded away their star closer Sergio Santos to Toronto for peanuts and OF Carlos Quentin to the San Diego Padres for some cracker jacks. I don't care if they ever come back. The only real addition the White Sox made was they made relief pitcher Chris Sale into a starter.

But I'm still holding out hope. I think if things break the right away and the White Sox get enough luck in one season (hey, it happened in 2005, maybe it can happen again. Maybe.) then the South Siders can at least stay in contention throughout this upcoming baseball season (Look at me. I'm like Angels In The Outfield kid where a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt didn't want his Angels to win the World Series- just the pennant, which means he just wanted the Angels to GET to the World Series. Come on man, at least wish for them to win it all! Anyways, I can only hope the White Sox stay in contention. I'm not wishing for them to make the playoffs because even *I* know that can not happen).


We all love Mark Teixeira right? The Yankees and Red Sox got into a bidding war for Tex when he hit free agency and now that he's the slugger for The Pinstripes he's an amazing offensive first baseman, right? While that is true, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko has actually been better than Teixeira offensively for the last two years. The South Siders have a legitimate Power Slugger in the middle of their line up to not only help drive in runs but to get on base and move runners over.

Protecting Konerko will be Adam Dunn. I know how atrocious Dunn was last year but Adam Dunn is not, well, er, done. For the past seven years Dunn has put up 38 home runs like clockwork and then he comes over to the AL and hits 11. Over the past eight years, seven of those years he walked like crazy and was a power beast and then one year he does not (at least from a power perspective)? You know what you call that? You call that one year an outlier. Adam Dunn had his worst BABIP since 2004 and the worst ISO of his career in 2011. With some other players (see: below) I'm just hoping they play well. With Dunn, I KNOW he will play well in 2012. And by the way, despite Dunn hitting an atrocious .159 last year, he still had a .292 OBP. That on-base percentage is terrible on its own but coupled with that batting average and it is actually pretty darn good.

To complement Dunn and Konerko we will have Alexei Ramirez. For the past three years he has had a wOBA of .319, .322, and .319 respectively. He's not an amazing player but he definitely is a sold complementary guy who can steal a little and has a decent amount of pop. Hit batting average suffered a tiddly bit in 2011 but he also started taking more walks. I expect Ramirez to improve a little bit in 2012 and still be a solid top half of the line up type of guy.

Here's where my optimism comes in, with players like Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham, and Dayan Viciedo. While I am not expecting these guys to be great, or even above average in 2012, they COULD be.

If Alex Rios is an All-Star in 2012 would it surprise you? Absolutely not. He has been an All-Star before and has the skills to hit the ball, walk, hit the ball for power, and steal bases. In 2010, Alex Rios hit 21 home runs, stole 34 bases, with a .345 wOBA. it is certainly possible and easily within the realm of possibility that Rios in 2012 is more like his 2010 days than his 2011 days.

Next we have Gordon Beckham. This guy was a #8 overall pick, played college ball, was an elite prospect, and almost won Rookie Of The Year in 2009. He has all the skills to be good, but over the past few years he has not lived up to his potential posting a .305 wOBA (.317 OBP) and a .284 wOBA (.296 OBP) over the last two years respectively. Beckham has looked completely overmatched and overwhelmed at the plate the past two years and I personally think he should have been demoted to the minors leagues a year and a half ago. The only reason Beckham was brought up to The Show to begin with was not because the organization thought he was ready but because of injuries to the club's starters and back ups. I still think the organization should demote him (which is obviously why I'm not TOO optimistic) but like I said, with Beckham's talent, it would not surprise you if he pulls a 2011 Alex Gordon and becomes a post hype sleeper.

Lastly, we have Dayan Viciedo. This is the player who I think has the biggest outside chance to perform well offensively yet still be realistic for his to play well offensively. In AAA Charlotte last year Viciedo hit .296 with a .364 OBP and 20 home runs. Again, I do not believe Viciedo will play well but considering he's shown success in the minors and is not a random prospect from a decently touted player, and this post is all about if things broke well for the White Sox, it would not surprise me if Viciedo got extremely lucky in one season and played well offensively.

With A.J. Pierzynski, Brent Morel, and Alejandro De Aza it WOULD surprise me if they played well offensively. Can they? Sure, in any given year they CAN get lucky, but even in my wildest imagination where the White Sox have a good offense again I can not image these three players being a contributing factor.

I still would like to see this line up take more walks and be more willing to get on base though. While I am trying to be overly optimistic, I know that good offenses aren't how well the players perform in fantasy (which is kind of where my hope lies), but really how well will this team get on base and walk. The power is probably going to be there but I can not imagine the walks will. *sigh*


Even in a non-optimistic world, the White Sox have a nice little rotation with Gavin Floyd, John Danks, Jake Peavy, Philip Humber, and Chris Sale. This rotation does not have a legitimate ace but you don't need one if you have five guys who all are, or have the potential to be, above average. Even after losing White Sox great Mark Buehrle and his 3.59 average over 205+ innings last year, White Sox rotation is still pretty good.

Excluding last year, John Danks has had an ERA of 3.72, 3.77, and 3.32 respectively over the past three seasons. Danks is not a good fantasy pitcher because he doesn't overwhelm batters and get a lot of strike outs but in terms of ACTUAL baseball the man eats up innings and can do it with a low ERA. Plus, over the last (actual) three season Danks has increased his strike out rate and decreased his walk rate.

Gavin Floyd has had an ERA over 4.00 the past three season but xFIP's of around 3.65 for those three seasons. There's no reason Floyd can not have an ERA of around 3.50 for the season. Do I expect it? No. Would I be surprised if it happen? Absolutely not.

Last year Philip Humber had an ERA of 3.75, a FIP of 3.58, and an xFIP 3.86. Those numbers suggest Humber did not get super unlucky, or really unlucky at all, in 2011. Humber, like Danks, is not a strike out pitcher but in reality I don't care about strikeouts if he eats innings and does not let guys score. While I do not expect Humber to have an ERA below 4.00, with Don Cooper as his pitching coach and being a guy so good the Twins wanted him to help replace Johan Santana, it is definitely within the realm of possibility Humber duplicates his 2011 season. This is certainly more logical than Alex Rios or Gordon Beckham being good again.

Chris Sale is an damn good prospect and was the best pitching prospect the White Sox had in their organization for the past two seasons. While we just do not know what Sale will do in 2012, with his talent, he will probably be the South Siders best pitcher in 2012.

I'm not going to have any delusions of grandeur that Jake Peavy will both be healthy AND pitch well in 2012 but I expect him to be the Sox's 5th pitcher and just go into a 4 man rotation when he spends time on the DL. All I can hope for is that Peavy has an ERA between 3.50 and 3.75 when he does pitch and considering he's a former Cy Young winner, he has the talent to do so.

This rotation can easily be one where every pitcher has an ERA under 4.00. I would like a legitimate ace to ease everyone back into a more natural role but if this rotation is even above average, they alone can make some noise in the weak AL Central.


The White Sox bullpen isn't half bad with Matt Thorton, Jesse Crain, and Will Ohman. The White Sox have consistently had an above average and consistent bullpen over the past few years. The closer of this team is still up in the air but once The Matt Thornton Experiment busts again like it did in 2011, flamethrower Addison Reed will become the next Sergio Santos. Speaking of Thornton, despite a 8.64 ERA in March and April, Thornton finished the year being Matt Thornton posting a 2.45 ERA and a 9.29 K/9. Even in my realistic world where I have the ChiSox finishing 4th in their division and not being in contention all year, I still expect them to have a good bullpen.


This is the only area where I am not going to be optimistic because I just can't. In a world where the pitching and hitting click, the defense just can't. I expect Alexei to be an elite fielder at shortstop, but that's about it. Paul Konerko has had seasons where he's not completely terrible at first but three out of his last four seasons he's posted negative defensive fielding.

Gordon Beckham posted a 4.9 Fielding Rating last year and with continued development and growth and being a shortstop in college you would think he could play second in the majors and he should be an above average defender. Brent Morel barely posted a Fielding Rating above 0.0 last year but considering the club is using him more for his defense than his offense, I'm realistically expecting a Fielding Rating above 0.0 (but probably below 1.0. Hey, it is still positive!). The same can be said Alejandro De Aza. While he posted a Fielding Rating above 9.0 last year, it was in a very small sample size. The fact remains is that we just do not know what De Aza will do defensively.

Dayan Viciedo has always been known to be a hitter and not a defender, that's why he will play left field. I also don't expect anything defensively good out of Pierzynski expect that I hope Tyler Flowers will play instead.

Lastly, we have Alex Rios. Words can not describe how bad Rios was defensively was in 2011. OK, he wasn't THAT bad, but Rios has been more terrible than good defensively since his time on the South Side. However, his Fielding Rating was amazing while he was in Toronto. Hopefully the move from center field to right field will help Rios return back to glory, but I wouldn't hold my breath about it.

I do not expect the White Sox to be spectacular defensively but I can hope for an overall defense that is not negative. If De Aza, Morel, and Beckham can post positive Fielding Ratings, Alexei to play elite, and for Konekro, Rios, and Viciedo to not take dumps on the field, then the weakest aspect of even my wildest hopes will just not HURT the White Sox.


In my ideal world, the White Sox will have above average pitching with above average hitting and then have their bullpen take the game over and close it out. In 2005, the White Sox had four pitcher have career years (Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Jose Contreras, and Freddy Garcia). Things broke the right way that the Sox won 99 games, had the best record in the American League, and won the world series. If things break right for the 2012 White Sox, they'll win 94 wins in the terrible AL Central and thus win their division.

Again, let me make myself perfectly clear, (as if I have not already), I DO NOT EXPECT THE WHITE SOX TO BE GOOD. This post is just mentioning what if. What if this current White Sox team have players that reach their potential. If a team like the Pittsburgh Pirates or Houston Astros reach their potential they will still only win like 82 games at most. But not the White Sox.

One can dream can't they?


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