A Big Thank You to the 2017 Boston Red Sox

A roller coaster ride.

That is the only way I could possibly describe the 2017 season. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

A clubhouse flu to start the season. The team’s injury woes. A horrendous July. A great August. A postseason atmosphere in an April series against the Chicago Cubs. The rise of Christian Vazquez, Drew Pomeranz and Rafael Devers. Dustin Pedroia’s continued dedication and love for the Boston Red Sox. Chris Sale’s dominance. A better-than-expected bullpen. The David Price October redemption against the Houston Astros.

Suffice to say, a lot happened from April to October.

My personal favorite moments from the 2017 season (in no particular order):

– Christian Vazquez’s home run to win the tumultuous August 1 game against the Cleveland Indians.
– Jackie Bradley Jr.’s primetime catch against the New York Yankees.
– Rafael Devers’s home run against Aroldis Chapman at Yankee Stadium.
– Red Sox 5-2 comeback against the Tampa Bay Rays in September.
– Red Sox winning the division in game 161.
– Rafael Devers’s in-the-park home run in Game 4 against the Houston Astros.

There are many more spectacular moments that likely escape me at the moment.

My wife only recently got into baseball, and she started as a Kansas City Royals fan in 2013. This year, she has become the biggest Red Sox junkie. She could not get over Monday’s loss. The Red Sox have provided a great distraction for us as we fully concentrate on having children.

So, this is now a Red Sox house.

I am only a fan, and I certainly do not have the overwhelming data and analytics expertise, but I think the BoSox should do a couple of things next year:

– Manage Chris Sale’s starts a little bit better; don’t allow him to throw eight innings and 110 pitches every start.
– Give Deven Merrero and Blake Swihart some more playing time.
– If Eduardo Nunez is healthy again, keep him for the 2018 season.
– Stick to the plan: this was an issue that was on display on Monday against the Astros by not allowing Addison Reed to come in for the eighth inning.
– Encourage Xander Bogaerts to become the clubhouse leader; you see how great of a teammate he is on the field.

(This may be just NESN, but if possible keep the three-man team of Jerry Remy, Dave O’Brien and Dennis Eckersley.)

Despite a few questionable calls and hiccups over the years – making Steven Wright a pinchrunner, for instance – John Farrell did an admirable job in the regular season and postseason. He should not be the recipient of such vitriol as I have seen on a couple of Boston Red Sox websites . A World Series championship and two division titles are pretty good to have on your resume in five seasons.

The Red Sox suffered a string of injuries, players regressed and the schedule was grueling. With these factors in play, the team still won the division and performed well in the latter half of the American League Division Series.

I remain confident that the Red Sox will be at it again next year.

Here are a few predictions for the Red Sox 2018 season:

– If healthy, David Price will return to his old self.
– The bullpen will be even better than in 2017.
– Rafael Devers will be one of the top players in all of MLB.
– There will still be angels in the outfield.
– Rick Porcello will be mediocre, but better than this year.
– The one-two punch (Vazquez and Sandy Leon) behind the plate will be a tremendous force.
– A wild card game, but the Red Sox will have a great postseason run.

(A shout out to /r/RedSox for the hilarious nicknames: Benny Biceps, Benny Bones, Pretty Ricky, Christianity Vazquez, Jackie Bradly Jesus, etc.)

Thank you Boston Red Sox for a fun 2017 season. See you next year for my 20th season as a fan.

My 300th Post at Earn Forex

I recently posted my 300th article at EarnForex.com. It was a piece about oil futures titled “Oil Futures Rise as Investors Comb Through Data, Weigh Geopolitical Risks.”

Here is an excerpt:

Amid new industry data and growing geopolitical risks, oil prices traded in and out of positive territory midweek. With North Korea acting belligerently towards the West and concerns that global crude supplies are not shrinking, oil futures are shifting from green to red – and vice versa –throughout the trading session.

September West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose $0.15, or 0.31%, to $49.32 per barrel at 16:41 GMT on Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. US crude has been trading around the $49 mark for the past week, though oil prices have been surging for the past three weeks.

Brent, the international benchmark for oil prices, is rallying in the middle of the trading week. October Brent crude futures climbed $0.30, or 0.58%, to $52.44 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US crude stockpiles declined by 6.5 million barrels to 1.15 billion barrels in the week ending August 4. US oil production jumped by 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) to around 9.3 million bpd. Gasoline stocks increased 3.4 million barrels to 231 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles tumbled by 1.7 million barrels.

When you sit in front of a computer, writing Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (sometimes evenings, too) life goes by pretty fast. It’s oftentimes scary.

Sexy, Smart, Seductive – The Death of French Actress Jeanne Moreau

Celebrated French actress Jeanne Moreau died earlier this week. She was certainly one of my favourite thespians of all time. Sexy, smart, seductive. Moreau had a commanding presence, even if she had a minor role in “Touchez Pas Au Grisbi.”

Over at Liberty Nation, I was tasked to write about Moreau’s death, her career and her talent in an article entitled “Legacy of Greatness: French Actress Jeanne Moreau.”

Here is an excerpt:

Moreau delved into French, Italian, and American cinema and her eclectic career saw her team up with such remarkable directors as Louis Malle, Michelangelo Antonioni, Joseph Losey, Francois Truffaut and Orson Welles, who referred to her as “the greatest actress in the world.” On screen, Moreau partnered with some of the biggest names the movie business ever created: Maurice Ronet, Lino Ventura, Jean Gabin, Burt Lancaster, Marcello Mastroianni and Stanley Baker.

Moreau was never frightened to play a role, no matter how degrading, iniquitous or morose the character. A despondent housewife in “La Notte,” a vengeful bride-turned-murderer in “The Bride Wore Black” ( the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”), a sexually sadistic schoolmarm in “Mademoiselle” or a gold digging tramp in “Eve” – all were game for Moreau. She never held back.

She maximized her time whenever on screen, a trait that only a few women of her era could achieve a la Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Agnes Moorehead and Barbara Stanwyck. Moreau held audiences in the palm of her hand – man or woman. Moreau’s coquettish nature could make men worship her, Moreau’s fiendish behavior could make women loathe her, Moreau’s desolate state could make everyone sympathize with her.

I’m not really a fan of today’s motion pictures or the stars on the silver screen, except for Tom Hardy and Christian Bale. Actors like Moreau are my favorites.

My five favorite films of her which she gets the top billing:

  • “Elevators to the Gallows”
  • “Diary of a Chambermaid”
  • “The Bride Wore Black”
  • “La Notte”
  • “Bay of Angels”

Neocon Revenge: I talk neocons, left merger on RT’s ‘CrossTalk’

Earlier this week, I published an article on LibertyNation.com titled “Neocons and Left Both Want War.” I talk about how the neoconservatives and the left have converged over the last six months…but the neocons’ influence has been immense in both parties for years.

Here is my appearance on Russia Today’s “CrossTalk”:

Here is also an excerpt from my piece:

War seems to be an addiction for some and a simple political tool for others. Both philosophies were put on full display last week as neocons and liberals alike converged for their own purposes. It has been an interesting time in U.S. politics in the months following the 2016 presidential election. Over the last half-year, Trump Derangement Syndrome has been ubiquitous in the media landscape and in political discourse. The hysteria over both President Trump and Russia has been comical, but also troubling, as American lives may be at jeopardy over these ridiculous accusations.

In today’s hostile political environment, if you aren’t bashing President Trump and demanding impeachment all day on Twitter, then you’re not only a Trump apologist but a puppet of the Kremlin as well. Whether you’re watching the Counterfeit News Network or reading The Washington Com-Post, you’re inundated with the opinions of ideologues and pundits who continually purport that Russian President Vladimir Putin is LITERALLY HITLER. If you disagree with them, then you’re just like the Nazi apologists of the 1930s, dontcha know.

Last week, the American people witnessed the convergence of neocons and liberals, both of which have an interest in launching a war against Russia.

An Economic Look at New Startup Brandless

A new startup has launched called Brandless, a company that aims to tackle the $2 trillion consumed goods market by marketing itself as brandless. It is a great concept, and anytime a consumer can save money on pasta tongs, toilet bowl cleaners or cookies then it should be celebrated.

What has been bugging people like myself is the way it is being reported on. Just because you’re calling yourself brandless, it doesn’t mean that you’re a brand. You are still a brand.

Plus, there’s nothing to be ashamed of to be called a brand.

I wrote about this on LibertyNation.com in an article titled “‘Brandless’ Club Seeks to Fight Name Brands By Being One.” Here is an excerpt:

Brandless customers may think they’re escaping the iniquitous free market system, but they aren’t. One of the reasons why the idea of branding is powerful is because it holds the companies accountable.

If you head over to the grocery store today, you will notice several different brands of ketchup. If Heinz provides an inferior product, then you can buy French’s – and vice versa. Ditto for Brandless. If Brandless is selling delicious ketchup then customers will continue to purchase ketchup from that brand. On the other hand, if the Brandless ketchup tastes awful, then those customers will go elsewhere.

Moreover, brands act as quality assurance agents because customers do not have the complete information about product quality at the point of purchase. The name reminds someone if something is worth buying or not.

What many fail to realize is that brands serve a necessary market function. Cynical shoppers say they are paying a higher price for brand-name goods than other products that do not have a well-known identity. This idea is what prompted the Soviet Union, following the Communist revolution in 1917, to scrap brand names as well as factory production markers altogether. What transpired afterward was a marketplace supplied with low-quality items and many dissatisfied consumers.

I also talk about the article in an interview with Scott Cosenza. You can watch it below: