OK, if you were stranded on a deserted island and had one actor's entire DVD catalog at your disposal, who is it? Don't answer too quickly. We're going to explore this - and work it into a theme show. We know you're excited. Today, let's explore a few of the gems from Robert Duvall.
From the "Talk Too Much studios," let's go.
Love the smell of baseball in the morning...
It smells like victory. Duvall was not the star of "Apocalypse Now" but he was a scene stealer as Lt. Colonel Bill Kilgore - his above line and "Charlie don't surf" are two of the most quoted from that movie.
That said, there's something comforting about knowing the Boys of Summer are starting to get loose in Florida and Arizona. The TFP even had a story on Braves closer Craig Kimbrel in today's Sports section (Craig Kimbrel eager to get past last outing). Kimbrel is the anchor of baseball's best bullpen. How they perform - and how well they are managed this summer by Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez - will be an interesting and crucial storyline for the Braves, who did not make any moves in the offseason.
Kimbrel and set-up man Johnny Venters each pitched in roughly half the Braves' games last season (Kimbrel had 79 appearances, Venters had 85) and there were obvious signs of fatigue in the Braves' September collapse. Will they be stronger? Will Gonzalez be smarter? Can the Braves, who missed the wildcard by a game after losing 18 of their last 27, be one game better?
We'll have seven-plus months to figure it out. You can either surf, or you can fight... or we can all play ball.
(And while we're here, we'd be remiss not to mention Manny Ramirez returning to baseball on the cheap with the Oakland A's. Granted he'll have to sit the first 50 games for not passing a drug test, but welcome back to the best right-handed hitter we've ever seen. Period, and yes, that includes Albert Pujols. In Manny's prime, dude was a hitting savant, and how many other athletes can say they were the fountain of inspiration for one of the generation's catch phrases. Think about it - how many people say, "It is what it is," and now ask yourself if that's not a direct descendent of "Manny being Manny.")
No compliments consigliere, Portland edition
"Then they come after us. Right now we have the unions and we have the gambling and those are the best things to have. But narcotics is a thing of the future. If we don't get a piece of that action we risk everything we have. Not now, but ten years from now."
Duvall gets a spot on the "all-time catalog" list in large part because he's in Godfather and Godfather II - and bonus points for not being in Godfather III. The above quote was from Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagen discussing the future.
And while the stakes are different, looking into the future is as important as looking at the present when it comes to the draft.
Hey, the 5-at-10 loves the draft, and you know this.
And while we have the most love for the NFL draft, we have some passion for the NBA draft, too.
Which leads us to what appears to be a very dubious honor. Of the five biggest draft busts in NBA and NFL history, the Portland Trailblazers look to have No. 1 and a fast-rising No. 5 on the list.
Here are the five biggest draft misjudgements:
1) Portland taking Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan. Yes, Portland had Clyde Drexler and felt like it didn't need another shooting guard. That would be like some one saying, "Hey, we're already rich, we don't need another couple hundred million."
2) A four-team tie - and a for sure three-team tie if we give the Bills a pass - in 1983 for the teams that took a quarterback after John Elway and before Dan Marino. Kansas City took Todd Blackledge No. 7, Buffalo took Jim Kelly No. 14 (we can accept this, but still), New England took Tony Eason No. 15, the Jets took Ken O'Brien No. 24 before Marino went 27th to Miami.
3) Oakland drafting Jamarcus "Purple Drank" Russell No. 1 overall. Sorry, it's just that bad. And to make matters worse, this draft was loaded in talent, with arguably this generation's best wide receiver (Calvin Johnson to Detroit at No. 2), left tackle (Joe Thomas to Cleveland at No. 3), running back (Adrian Peterson to Minnesota at No. 7), linebacker (Patrick Willis to San Francisco at No. 11) and cornerback (Darrelle Revis to the New York Jets at No. 14).
4) The Detroit Pistons taking Darko Milicic No. 2 overall in 2003. And this was when the Pistons were pretty strong - Billups, Prince, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, et al. - and they lucked into a lottery pick and picked Milicic over a couple of guys you may have heard of: Carmelo Anthony went No. 3, Chris Bosh went No. 4, and Dwyane Wade went No. 5. Ouch-standing.
5) Portland drafted Greg Oden No. 1 overall in 2007 ahead of Kevin Durant. Oden will miss the rest of the season after learning he will need another microfracture surgery - his fifth knee surgery in his career. Oden has played exactly 82 games in his injury-riddled career; Durant is headed to be a three-time scoring champion. Yes, Portland has passed on the best scorers of the last two generations to draft injury-prone centers.
Rubbin' is... well you know
You had to know that Duvall's turn as Harry Hogg, Cole Trickle's cantankerous crew chief in "Days of Thunder," was going to make the cut this morning. Now this is not to say this was one of Duvall's best roles - far from it, of course - but "Days of Thunder" is the NASCAR version of "Road House" or even "Water World."
And with that, here's our contest for Sunday's Daytona 500. We're calling this the "Ricky Bobby - if you're not winning you're losing" Challenge. Send us who you think will win the Daytona 500 and who you think will finish last. Here's how we'll score it: five points for the winner and two points for last place.
As a tie-breaker send us the driver you think will be leading on Lap No. 46. Why Lap No. 46 you ask? Because that's the number of Cole Trickle's City Chevrolet Chevrolet.
And remember, rubbin' is racing.
This and that (with a shout out to our favorite Duvall movies not already mentioned)
- Sling Blade: Duvall was Carl's father in this movie, a small cameo that was awesome. In someways, not unlike a closer in baseball. The single most dominant relief pitcher ever - Mariano Rivera - has made a decision about whether 2012 will be his final season. Of course, the 42-year-old Yankees closer isn't telling anyone, but he says he knows. Whatever that means.
- The Paper: The last big fight that could make a lot of paper for everyone is still in the dancing stage. Manny Pacquiao is in Vegas right now giving testimony in a defamation of character lawsuit he filed against Floyd Mayweather. He took time to talk with Yahoo Sports boxing guru Kevin Iole and Manny said, "[Mayweather] talks, he says all this, but you know what: He doesn't want the fight," Pacquiao firmly told Yahoo! Sports in an exclusive interview. "I want the fight. I'm the one who has wanted this fight all along." Manny says he'll split the purse 50-50 because he wants the fight so bad. Here's what we want: We want those two yahoos to shut their traps and fight. Period. It can be at Camp Jordan or Camp David, just get in the ring and go. (And by doing so, possibly save boxing.) It's your move Floyd.
- The Natural: Albert Pujols showed up at camp with the Angels. That is all, and somewhere Roy Hobbs nods.
- The Great Santini: Kobe Bryant called out Lakers management to support teammate Pau Gasol. It was the move of a leader - something that Kobe has not always been confused with - and here's saying this will jumpstart an impressive Lakers run. (Side note: The Great Santini was an awesome movie and an even awesomer book... and yes, we just made up awesomer. Deal with it. In fact, we think that word is awesomest. Ha.)
- True Grit: Buster Posey appears to be on track to return from the horrific injuries he suffered in a home-plate collision last year. And that's good news. Posey has been instructed by the Giants to stop blocking the plate, and considering what he brings offensively, that's good strategy. (But the hand-wringing about forcing players to slide and blah, blah, blah was gross.)
- MASH: Duvall was the original outsider known as Frank Burns, and while returning from injury left Carmelo Anthony as an outsider in the New York Knicks drama known as Linsanity, Anthony was hardly the problem in the Knicks' loss to the New Jersey Nets last night. Sure, Anthony had six turnovers, but Jeremy Lin's counterpart - Deron Williams - poured in 38 points in the 100-92 decision.
Feel free to toss out who you think has the best Deserted Island catalog, but we'll stay with the theme.
And today's question, in honor of our favorite role of Duvall's career - Augustus McCrae - in our favorite western ever - "Lonesome Dove."
If you have not seen "Lonesome Dove" tell the spouse that you need six-plus hours this weekend and give it a whirl. You'll thank us for the suggestion.
And while Gus McCrae and Captain Woodrow Call - two famous Texas Rangers - are the main dudes in that story, there are a slew of great characters throughout. In some ways, it's like professional golf - there are two central characters right now - Tiger and Phil Mickelson - and a host of other interesting names and storylines heading into the greatest golf tournament in the world.
We asked this in the comments yesterday, but now it's official. There's no doubt Lefty will be on a lot of Masters pick sheets. We love the draft (you may have heard this), and if we all agree that Lefty is the Andrew Luck of the Masters' pool right now, who is the No. 2 pick? (It's probably Tiger, right?)