After a nice long break, the Piffcast is back! It’s been a month, so Mike and TJ had some catching up to do…
– Developing a Kris Bryant’s up-to-bat Alert App – Comic-Con Trailer Roundup – TJ’s movie homework (including some Mark Ruffalo recommendations) – What we’re watching on TV (Stranger Things, The Night Of) – The Pokemon around Mike’s house (don’t go looking) – Coldplay at Soldier Field and K-Pop ‘farms’ – A special thank you to awesome people
For your Memorial Day Listening, Michael and TJ give their guests a breather and cover a vast array of topics all on their own. They discuss their favorites of the NEXT James Bond candidates, some of our favorite video games, the Riot Fest Chicago lineup, Game of Thrones (per usual), and all the tangents that come with.
Listeners ALSO get in on the fun by asking ANYTHING and the guys do their best to answer them. Questions include: The #1 Sport for America, Favorite Simpsons Characters, Sports to add to the Olympics, and our favorite things to do in Chicago.
Just hours before the NBA Draft Lottery show, which airs Tuesday on ESPN at 7 PM CDT, Dikembe Mutombo tweeted a nice congratulations to the Philadelphia 76ers…
…wait. How would Mutombo know that if they haven’t even picked the ping pong balls yet? He deleted this tweet shortly after sending it.
Maybe Mutombo misspoke. The Sixers have the best odds of snagging the #1 pick after winning only 10 games in the 2015-16 season. Their record earns them a 25% chance in the lottery. The Sixers also have the right to swap picks with the Sacramento Kings after trading them Nik Stauskas last year. The Kings have a 1.9% chance of getting the top pick in this year’s draft.
The Sixers can also have have 2 high draft picks by the end of the evening, as they also have the rights to the Los Angeles Lakers’ pick if their ball is pulled outside of the Top-3, due to a three-team deal that sent Michael Carter-Williams to the Milwaukee Bucks and Brandon Knight to Phoenix. The Lakers have the 2nd best odds of landing the top pick with 19.9%. There’s a 44.2% chance the Sixers will get the Lakers’ pick otherwise.
Or perhaps the conspiracy theorists were right and the NBA is rigged and Mutombo let the cat out of the bag. We’ll just have to wait and see for ourselves tonight. If the Sixers land the top pick, the NBA is going to have some explaining to do.
UPDATE: Mutombo is already doing damage control on Twitter. This is fun.
It’s Draft Week in Chicago and Eric Edholm (Shutdown Corner on Yahoo! Sports) joins the Piffcast to preview it. We talk about his process in preparing for the draft, the best overall player, trading up for the “Big 2” quarterbacks and who will be available later. We discuss who could slide as well, and what the draft experience is like in Chicago. (31:30 mark, if you want to jump ahead)
TJ and I also go back and forth on Chicago baseball (he’s a Cubs fan, I’m a White Sox fan), moving to the city, some ideas we have for the show, and how we want to promote the things our listeners are doing. We want to hear from you! Let us know if you’re working on anything cool!
It’s not easy being a Bulls fan these days. The team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The veterans on the roster didn’t want to play in their new head coach’s system. Their star, Jimmy Butler, didn’t make it any easier. It was a hot mess.
Some of the few bright spots from the 2015-16 campaign included Etwaun Moore breaking out (like most backup Bulls guards do behind Derrick Rose) and Doug McDermott dunks. The BRIGHTEST of spots though, as it has been for a long time, was team mascot Benny The Bull. The #BestInTheBiz has had a good year appearing in ESPN ads, bringing joy to children everywhere on off days, and giving you a reason to visit the United Center while the team struggled to themselves.
Saturday night, Benny went FULL BENNY during a stoppage in play between the Bulls and Cavaliers. It was a dance medley of epic proportions that also included help from one of the game’s officials. While the Bulls won’t be in action this postseason, at least you can replay great entertainment like this…over and over again.
While the weather forecast may have called for overcast skies (a day after disheartening April blizzards in Chicago), there’s still a ray of sunshine breaking through any and all mundane mediocrity clouding your life. For one day, every cliche and sports movie monologue feels as inviting as the guy selling programs when you walk through your favorite stadium’s gate.
Only a handful of teams are playing today, the Cardinals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Rays, Mets and Royals. The whole league will be in action tomorrow and the hometown love will pour over each respective ball club, but it’s amazing how we can all be just as excited today. Is it because everyone is tied for first place at this very moment? Do we forget that there are 161 games to go and anything can happen from now till October? Or is it because we just can’t help but “get romantic about baseball”?
The romance is real. It hits you when you first climb the steps from the concourse toward your seats at Wrigley Field, much like walking up a ramp to your aisle at Fenway Park when the sun starts to set. If you’re lucky enough to share that with someone, don’t take it for granted. As a White Sox fan, I lose myself in their brand new pregame montage every year, with moving music and memories. I forget I’m 28 years old and involuntary noises erupt from my windpipes as the fireworks signal it’s time to begin. There are micro-versions of these instances throughout the long regular season, but nothing compares to the first.
I could go into a long thing about hope for every team, only for someone (maybe myself) to shoot it all down with projections, sabermetrics, and the pessimistic cold hard reality check that not everyone is meant for the playoffs. However, baseball is weird…quite possibly the weirdest of the major sports. While numbers, trends, and track records are real and incredibly valid, you can’t predict injuries, suspensions, personal issues, trades or the litany of fortune-bending occurrences that are bound to happen over the next 6 months.
Also alluring is the mystery of what kind of greatness and individual accomplishments this new season will hold. Who will be the closest to batting .400? How long will someone go in their hitting-streak, and will the challenge Joe DiMaggio? Who will throw the next perfect game? Can anyone emulate the 1998 home run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire (and not be busted for steroids)? Where will longtime veterans finish on the all-time lists (Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols) and who can we get excited about to possibly surpass them someday (Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Kris Bryant)? Who will come out of nowhere?
Right now, more than any time the rest of regular season, you can comfortably be a fan. You can be excited. You can be optimistic. You can be a full grown…kid. For a few hours at a time, you can escape to a game you love and forget about the drama and stresses of life for a little bit. It’s Opening Day. Just have fun.
Share your experiences and thoughts with me this season on Facebook or Twitter.
By now, nearly storyline and angle for the Broncos and Panthers have been hashed out going into the Super Bowl. The Prop Bets are available to keep the non-football fan interested, which include wagers on things like how long Lady Gaga will sing the anthem, which song Coldplay will play first, and what color the Gatorade is that will be dumped on the winning coach. Even the commercials are getting leaked early (although I think that takes some of the fun out of it).
The Denver Post and The Charlotte Observer are also in on the game with their own friendly bets. If the Broncos win, the Post will receive “No. 1 IPA beer in the country” Hop, Drop and Roll (brewed in Charlotte) as well as some World Famous barbecue. If the Panthers win, the Observer will receive a broad selection of Colorado craft beer and bison steaks.
A tradition that we began here a year ago was to go beyond the teams playing the game, and compare the regions they’re from in EVERYTHING BUT FOOTBALL. Last year, New England had the edge over Seattle in our game here and eventually won the Big Game itself.
So for the fans (and newspapers) of each team, lets see how they stack up.
John Denver, Ginger Baker (drummer), Earth Wind & Fire, Flobots, The Fray, India.Arie, The Lumineers, Glenn Miller (Jazz), Neutral Milk Hotel, OneRepublic, Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Judy Collins, The String Cheese Incident, and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.
James Taylor, Tori Amos, George Clinton, K-Ci & JoJo, Anthony Hamilton, John Coltrane, Ben Folds, Petey Pablo, Fred Durst, The Avett Brothers and Ryan Adams.
The Edge – Carolina
This may be the toughest call, considering how subjective music is for everyone. However I’m taking quality over quantity here. Fred Durst and the EDM of Denver cancel each other out for things I’m good without. There are more pop acts in Denver, if The Fray and OneRepublic are your thing. Both regions bring the Funk with George Clinton and Earth Wind and Fire. But I’ll take the Carolina singer songwriters (Taylor, Adams and Folds) over John Denver *skypoint*.
Bonus Points too for my favorite school slow dance song ever, “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo.
Set in Colorado
South Park, Community, Diagnosis: Murder, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Nikita, Stargate SG-1, The Real World: Denver, The Man in the High Castle, Dynasty and Mork & Mindy.
Set in Carolina
East Bound and Down, Dawson’s Creek, The Famous Jett Jackson, One Tree Hill, The Andy Griffith Show.
The Edge: Denver
There isn’t too much programming set in either region. Community and East Bound and Down duke it out pretty well for comedies. I do love Andy Griffith and that whistling will be stuck in my head for the rest of the month, but 19 seasons of South Park is too many to pass on. Sorry, One Tree Hill fans.
Set in Colorado
The A-Team, About Schmidt, Aliens vs. Predators: Requieum, Beerfest, The Big Short, Blades of Glory, City Slickers, Cliffhanger, Interstellar, Misery, Phantoms, The Prestige, The Shining, Stargate, WarGames, and Dumb and Dumber
Set in Carolina
Cape Fear, Carrie, Cold Mountain, The Descent, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Kiss The Girls, Maximum Overdrive, Pitch Perfect, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Tin Cup, A Walk To Remember, and Bull Durham.
The Edge: Denver
Carolina makes a case with solid Kevin Costner sports movies. But Denver has two amazing Christopher Nolan films (Interstellar and The Prestige) the better Stephen King horror flick between The Shining and Carrie…and Dumb and Dumber.
The Edge: Carolina
It was a tough call, but I drooled the most researching all that southern comfort awesomeness.
The Edge: Carolina
Both seem perfect if you love the outdoors. I think if you love skiing/snowboarding and weed, you’ll probably lean toward Denver. The idea of mountains, beaches, and some college sports staples have me wanting to visit Carolina first. Red Rocks is a hard venue to pass up though.
In Denver (327 Craft Brewers)
In Carolina (151 Craft Brewers)
The Edge: Denver
This one is depends on your tastebuds, but I’ve always been partial to Colorado beer. Carolina seems to be on its way though.
Sports (other than football)
Colorado State Rams
Duke Blue Devils
North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina State Wolfpack
The Edge: Carolina
The two Stanley Cups won by the Colorado Avalanche are admirable, but 12 Men’s Basketball National Championships won by Duke (5), North Carolina (5), and North Carolina State (2) are a bit more impressive…
…plus the fact that state produced the greatest player in NBA history.
For everyone who has followed along or checked in over the last year and a half, thank you so much for doing so. If people didn’t read, I wouldn’t write…Your encouragement for me to to keep doing so is more appreciated than you know.
The plan in 2016 is to continue covering everything in movies, music, sports, TV and food, but to generate more and more fun and entertaining content for all the topics this blog has become known for. Below is a list of things I look forward to featuring on the site and hope to get your input on. I am also always open to ideas and collaboration, so please feel free to reach out on Facebook, Twitter, or email me at email@example.com. I would like to include guest posts as well, so PLEASE let me know if you’re interested.
The Burger Challenge
Just like the Pizza Challenge a year ago, I’m looking for the Chicago area’s best burger! So far I have visited 10 burger joints and plan to have 40 ranked before summer. Above are some of the awesome items that I’ve tried and I’m always looking for recommendations. Follow along on Twitter and Instagram as the list grows, and let me know if you’d like to team up for an upcoming burger adventure.
Note: A Wings Challenge has been suggested as the next project. Stay tuned for that.
Movie/TV Madness Tournament
An annual tradition for those who have followed my work for the past few years, I’ve conducted a multi-week bracket tournament for both TV shows and movies. In the spirit of the NCAA Tournament, we list 68 competitors and break them up by region with appropriate seedings. Readers vote round-by-round on the winners of each matchup. The madness happens in March, but stay tuned to see if you’ll be voting on movies or TV shows this year.
Something I look for when visiting stadiums across the country is a unique and awesome food item I can’t get anywhere else. Starting this Spring, I’ll be reaching out to Major League Baseball organizations to see what baseball fans can look forward to at the concession stands for the 2016 season. I’ll be checking out as many ballparks as possible but if you happen to find something yourself, please send a photo my way on Twitter with the hashtag #BallparkFoodie and I’ll feature it here!
TV Show and Movie Power Rankings
I wrote up a few lists regarding my favorite TV Shows and movies from the past year (The 2015 Movie List will be complete after The Revenant finally hits theaters). Rather than wait months at a time for new lists, I’ll have an updated Power Rankings for new movies and favorite TV shows as I watch them every couple weeks. Look forward to how Batman v Superman stacks up against Captain America: Civil War, and House of Cards with Game of Thrones…There will also be a pre-season 6 ranking of all surviving (or speculated to be surviving) Thrones characters.
The 2016 Fantasy Football Draft Board
ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper will be updating their NFL Draft boards up until the first pick is called…I’ll be doing the same this year with all Fantasy Football positions. If you’re like me, you’re already thinking about your first round pick for next year’s Fantasy draft. From the end of this season until draft time next year, I’ll have a regularly updated version of my Fantasy “Cheat Sheet” for you to prepare.
The college radio DJ in me LOVES sharing music and giving people a look into what I’m listening nowadays. It also encourages me to check out new artists and tracks and see if they’re worth including in upcoming playlists. Here are the mixtapes from 2015, and lookout for what’s to come in 2016. Maybe we’ll finally get new Radiohead and Tool that we keep hearing about.
In 2015, I started a new tradition of keeping a list of my favorite follows on Twitter. I plan to update the list every year with new accounts and some of old reliables that make Twitter fun to be on. If you recommend anyone to follow or would like to nominate yourself for consideration, just say so here!
The New Piffcast 2.0 (Finally)
When I started writing this blog, I fully intended to relaunch my podcast and feature it here. This year I’m fully committed to bringing it back, discussing all the topics I write about here, getting YOUR thoughts and opinions on-air, interviews with people and experts who know way more than I do, etc. If you’re interested in contributing to the podcast or would like to even sponsor it, contact me via Facebook, Twitter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
These are just a few of the plans I have for this year, along with the columns and articles that help make this blog what it is. Looking forward to getting things rolling and to make big things happen in 2016! Follow along for all the fun on Facebook and Twitter!