Friday, August 11, 2017

5 Things on a Friday: Farewell My Bluefish

Happy Friday, everyone.  The forecast this week is for sun with a chance of Nuclear Winter.

If the North were to follow through on its threat to launch an “enveloping strike” in the vicinity of Guam, it would be the first time that a North Korean missile landed so close to an American territory. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that, according to the plan, four of the country’s Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles would fly over the three southern Japanese prefectures of Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi before hitting the ocean about 19 to 25 miles from the coast of Guam.
What’s scary about this is the specificity of the threat.  North Korea seems to be telling us exactly what they plan to do, so that we won’t start a war over what is meant to be an act of deterrence.  However, the deterrence in question is so amazingly provocative and so potentially devastating to so many American citizens that it seems likely to provoke exactly the response that it’s intended to prevent.
For what it’s worth, God is apparently in favor of “taking out” Kim Jong-Un.  I am too, so long as we can do it without starting a war that will kill hundreds of thousands of civilians.  However, I’d prefer not to blunder into war at all, if that’s possible.  Just for a change of pace, I’d like to give time and actual deterrence a chance at ratcheting down the tension.
“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need — crucial to both well-being and survival. Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University.
“Yet an increasing portion of the U.S. population now experiences isolation regularly.”
Approximately 42.6 million adults over age 45 in the United States are estimated to be suffering from chronic loneliness, according to AARP’s Loneliness Study.
Least surprising thing I’ve ever heard.  Both my parents suffered from chronic loneliness, and if it was in large part because they pushed people away, that doesn’t mean that the solutions to their problems were obvious or straightforward.  The hardest thing about being lonely is taking the steps to end one’s own isolation.
The New York Giants selected Davis Webb with their third-round pick in the NFL Draft out of the University of California. Webb got his first 11-on-11 reps of trainign camp on Wednesday, and coach Ben McAdoo said the rookie will play in Friday’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The game is tonight at 7:00 pm, and for a first week preseason game, it’s rapidly shaping up to be something like a must-see contest.  Here are two good teams, each with a handful of intriguing players trying to make their respective squads.  
The Giants and Steelers both have established Super Bowl winning quarterbacks who’re in the last stages of storied careers.  Both teams tried to address the issue with mid-round picks in the draft.  The Giants took Webb out of Cal.  The Steelers took Joshua Dobbs in the 4th round from the Tennessee Volunteers.  Webb and Dobbs will both make their professional debuts tonight, and though neither will start during the coming season, it’s just possible that one or both will wind up as franchise quarterbacks at some point down the road.
The Giants also need to iron out some issues in their running game.  How much difference will TE Rhett Ellison make, and how much progress will we see out of LT Ereck Flowers?  We probably won’t learn the answers this evening, but we will be able to gauge a bit of progress.
Yeah, it’s Week 1 of the preseason.  
The game is tonight at 7:00 PM at MetLife Stadium.
4. The Bridgeport Bluefish Are Closing Shop

I’ve heard through the grapevine that my beloved Bluefish owe a shitload of back-taxes to the City of Bridgeport, and after twenty years, the mayor and town council have had enough.  I’ve complained before about the team’s outreach efforts, and yeah, that has an effect.  The team averaged just over two thousand fans per game in 2016, which is less than half what the Long Island Ducks and Somerset Patriots are pulling.  This year the team is in first place, and no one locally either knows or cares.  
Look, if the Yankees can pull 40K on a Tuesday in the South Bronx, the Bluefish ought to be able to pull 3K on a Saturday and compete with Long Island.  But they can’t just sit there like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams.  “If you build it, they will come,” only works in the movies.  In real life, you need a marketing strategy that goes beyond having occasional costume specialty nights, beer, and fireworks shows.  A presence on local radio and broadcasting the occasional game on YouTube or Twitter would only help, as would a couple of beat writers from the local papers.  That’s not asking too much.
But this story is still developing.  The Sound Tigers have apparently sued the city for breach of contract, claiming that the new amphitheater will create unfair competition against their existing amphitheater.  
They probably have a legitimate grip.  Whether it will make any difference remains an open question, however.
Cline, a scout-team player as a freshman, has taken advantage of his chances as returning senior starting wide receiver Jeff Ejekam works his way to practicing fully with the team.
“You just get more comfortable with the offense from working hard through summer and spring,” said Cline, who played in one game for Army last season. “The entire team has been working hard and everyone is ready to step up and make plays. I was just getting the opportunity and I made the play (the catch on post route)…”
“He’s put himself in position to make some plays in this camp already,” Monken said of Cline earlier this week. “Physically, he’s developed so much from last year. He looks like a different kid.”
Cline was one of last year’s top recruits, and with the departure of Edgar Poe, I think his is one of the more important stories coming out of camp this summer.  Unfortunately, there’s no one on this year’s team who has the combination size, catching radius, and blocking ability of a guy like E. Poe.  Cline may have a bit more speed, however, and if he can commit to blocking along the outside, he may yet prove to be an impact player.  Army needs one on the outside to keep defenses honest.
This is a story I’ll be watching for specifically when Army plays Fordham in the season opener.
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Looking for something else to read?
My buddy Joe put his half of this week’s NFL Preview up on his blog last night.  You can find it here:
That’s all I’ve got today, folks!  Have a nice weekend.

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