Archive for Ben Simpson

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

The End of a Season, the Beginning of an Era

By Ben Simpson

I’ve been staring at this screen for thirty minutes, writing and re-writing, typing and then erasing. I keep searching for an angle, some way to look at this loss differently. I check Facebook and all I see are angry and sad fans, even more on Twitter, summing up the season in 140 characters. What do I say? Do I try to be funny, be sad, be angry? Do I blame Drew Storen, do I blame Ian Desmond, do I blame Gio? Do I blame my parents for moving me here to live in the land of “Shoulda, woulda, coulda”? Do I blame myself for choosing to support the Nats no matter what when they arrived in DC? What do I do…I suck it up, take it on the chin, and I remember that this is the burden we carry, welcome to DC Sports everybody.

This one hurts a little more than the others, cuts a little deeper. I guess I realize what Boston fans felt like, what Cubs fans still feel. What Texas felt last year. One pitch and everything changes. One strike away…one foul pop-up, one swing and a miss, one tapper to 3rd, one blazing fastball on the inside corner…any one of those could have sent the Nats fans back into the night with a smile on their face. I don’t like to compare a loss in sports to a death in the family, one is just a silly game and the other a great tragedy but today I feel like my heart was ripped out of my body. Sure, its dramatic. Yes, its only a game. But that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t hurt like hell.

I look at what I wrote last night and they resemble the ramblings of a mad man. Today my head is a little clearer, my thoughts a little more coherent. There is still so much to celebrate about this team, the fact that they made it this far is cause enough for cheer. They accomplished the unthinkable this season, they stood up to the critics and the doubters and non-believers. Harper is too young and arrogant, Werth isn’t worth that kind of dough, LaRoche isn’t a prime time player, Strasburg is just going to get hurt…These are real things said at the beginning of the season. And they were wrong.

The future is bright in Washington. RGIII, the ever-growing potential of John Wall and his surrounding cast, the Caps (if hockey ever returns), and the team that gave DC a taste of playoff baseball. The rest of the fans in the world who have felt this heartache, maybe not only for years but for decades, welcome us in with open arms. Welcome to the club. Baseball is a funny game. The entire mood of a park can hinge on a single pitch. But that’s why we love it, why we respect it. It takes a lot out of you to watch your team play 162 games in the regular season. You watch the heroes emerge, the rookies rise. You see the ups and the downs. The team becomes your team. You know the players all by name, each little distinguishing characteristic or mannerism becomes common knowledge. This was a great group of guys.

I will wait patiently for Spring Training to roll around again, to see what Rizzo and the front office decide to do in the off-season. I hope it is not much, for this group knows how to win. This group is hungry to make it back to the postseason, this time with their ace on the hill. This group deserves another chance. The Nats are built for the future, and I am hopeful they will get their shot at a ring. I pine for the future, but today let’s remember these guys for what they accomplished and how they made us feel in Game 4 when Jayson Werth sent a baseball over the left field wall. Hold on to that memory, and wait.

Friday, October 12th, 2012

The New Sports Fan Rule Book: Live Sporting Events Edition

This is not a new concept, but I feel that I can give some tweaks to the sports fan rule book. There are just certain unspoken things you can or cannot do when you choose to get involved in enjoying sports. This list will help those who don’t quite “get it” or are just dipping your toe into the pool of misery and distress that comes when watching sports. I am splitting these rules up into sections, because i’m organized like that. Good luck to you all and enjoy this week’s set of rules:

Live Sporting Events

Do not wear a jersey/t-shirt/hat for a team that is not even participating in the game. I understand fringe sports fans think that if they are going to a “baseball” game they can wear anything “baseball related”, but this is not true. It is better to just wear the same color as one of the teams, or just be that guy who looks out of place. You are however allowed to wear the gear for a team from the same city. (Ex. Wearing a Caps shirt to a Nats game)

Cowboys fans at Redskins vs. Falcons game this year

Don’t get up 20 times a game. I understand that when the time comes the bathroom is needed, and sometimes you just want to get a hot dog, but make sure you conserve your trips and only go when necessary or in the right situations. People are paying a lot of money to watch their teams, they don’t need you making them get up and have your butt smashing into their face every inning. Take advantage of the concessions people walking among the stands.

Acceptable times to leave your seat: 

-In between innings/periods/quarters

-Pitching changes/long substitutions



-Don’t be annoying. Cheer loud and proud, but understand that there is a fine line between cheering and drunken rants. Also, if you are not rooting for the home team that’s fine, just try to blend in a little bit. No need to piss of everybody in your row because you are standing and cheering after their best player strikes out. We get it…you’re from New York…you like the Yankees….no one cares…

-BE ON TIME. Listen, there will always be factors that keep you from getting places on time. Metro delays, traffic, etc. But do your best to not be those people who show up halfway through the game dressed to the nines. Miami Heat fans are notorious for this, apparently its not “cool” to be on time for them. Its a sports game, not a club.

-Don’t leave the stadium early. Again, there are definite exceptions to this rule: flights to catch, sickness, blah blah blah. Unless you have a good reason, don’t pack up and get out early. Doesn’t matter if the score is 10-9 or 30-5 crazy things can happen at the end of games, and you won’t want to ever say the phrase, “Damn, if only I had stayed…”

-Don’t take your shirt off…please. See picture below…

Don’t text the entire time. We get it, you hate basketball but your family dragged you along to an NBA game. Instead of watching you text your friends: “LOL Basketball is so dumb I hate this…” Please keep in mind your parents paid for your ticket, watch the f’ing game. Your opinion of the sports may change if you witness a Blake Griffin dunk or a game-winning three.


Boo loud and proud. There is nothing better then joining the rest of the home crowd as they boo a member of the opposition. That mob mentality. Also, don’t be afraid to sprinkle in some colorful language or insults.


If you have any other ideas feel free to let me know. Enjoy yourself at these games, live sports are awesome. Just remember its not all about you. More Rule Book entries are coming at ya next week: Team Fan Edition



Friday, October 12th, 2012

What We Learned Last Night…it Was Completely Werth it.

I’ll admit, when I first learned of Jayson Werth’s $126 Million dollar, 7-year contract with the Nationals back in 2010 I wasn’t happy. To pay that kind of money for the 3rd best hitter in Philly, to expect a role player to suddenly be the leader of this franchise, it flummoxed me. I thought we could have spent that type of money and gotten at least two quality arms to put on the hill. He seemed sullen, spaced out, and I hadn’t actually heard him speak a word ever. Plus his hair….good lord that hair. Jayson Werth? No thank you…

My transformation of feelings did not begin last night, but when I watched him fall to the grass in agony holding his wrist in a game against the Phillies back in May. I realized that we needed this guy, needed his bat, needed his glove, needed his sullen calmness that never wavered. Just because he looks like the Geico Cave Man doesn’t mean he’s not valuable. And coincidentally, that injury gave us all Bryce Harper sooner than we thought. I’m not thanking Werth for getting hurt so we could see the kid play, just an awesome coincidence.

When Werth came back from his injury we witnessed a Jayson Werth Nats fans had never seen before. Suddenly instead of the number five in the lineup power hitter we all wanted him to be he was our leadoff guy: the spot the Nationals had tooled with more than an old Chevy. He could see a lot of pitches (2nd most in the MLB), he had plenty of speed, and could ramp up the power when needed. The perfect table-setter for Harper, Zimm, LaRoche, and Morse. And boy did he catch fire, making up for lost time. The Nats lineup suddenly resembled a formidable foe, it looked the way I had dreamed it would when the Nats first drafted Bryce Harper.

Last night’s at-bat epitomized not only Jayson Werth but the entire Washington Nationals this season: Just.Keep.Fighting. 13 pitches, 1 mistake, Nats win. Even if Washington is unable to close out the series tonight in Game 5, Werth gave the fans something not seen around here in decades: a memorable playoff moment. So from caveman to hero, Werth proved that yes…he is the $126 million dollar man.


Thursday, October 11th, 2012

NBA Preview Spotlight: The Brooklyn Nets

Okay, so I lied…these preview posts won’t be released every single day. But we will try our hardest to get them to you on a regular basis. Let’s stick with the Atlantic Division and talk about the Brooklyn Jay-Z’s! Whoops I mean the Brooklyn Nets…

Where They Stand

The days of J-Kidd, Kenyon Martin, and Vince Carter are long gone. The new era of the Nets began when they traded for Deron Williams from the Jazz a few years ago. Williams gave them a relentless scorer, a player who (when playing to his potential) morphs into one of the best guards in the league. Honestly, an on-fire D-Will is right up there with the Roses, Pauls, and Nashs of the world. The only problem was the lack of talent surrounding him. The potential was there: Brooke Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks just to name a few, but they weren’t able to put anything together last year.

The scene has changed quite a bit now, literally. The transition to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the input and redesign by part-owner Jay-Z, and the acquisition of plenty of fresh faces has turned Brooklyn into a team to watch this season. Let’s be honest, with all the player-movement around the league the Lakers will be followed ferociously by everyone, but it is in Brooklyn where a sleeping giant lies.

 Roster Thoughts

Let’s first recap the player movement with the Nets this summer. Players added: Joe Johnson, Reggie Evans, Mirza Teletovic, CJ Watson, Andray Blatche, and Josh Childress. Players gone: Gerald Green, Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Farmar, and Anthony Morrow. The Johnson deal with Atlanta obviously made the most noise, giving Brooklyn a solid option at shooting guard. A proven talent, this gives Williams a great option to kick out to. The two trees down low include a healthy Brook Lopez and a rebounding machine in Kris Humphries (maybe now we can finally stop talking about him and Kim Kardashian’s split-up??….please??). Lopez had a rough time last year, missing half the season with a broken ankle, but the guy can flat out score. He averaged 20 ppg in his ’10-’11 campaign, with his other years full of similar averages. And lastly: Gerald Wallace. I’m still not entirely sure how the veteran forward fits in with this team. Wallace doesn’t shoot all that well, but is a pure scorer. This might actually work well to balance out the outside shooting of Johnson, and gives Williams a slashing option to pass to.

Time to talk about the bench, another group of players that have been upgraded. If the starting five looks like I just discussed, the backup group should include CJ Watson at point, MarShon Brooks at shooting guard, Josh Childress at small forward, Teletovic at forward, and Blatche at backup center. This is all still speculation, mostly from blogs on Bleacher Report and Yahoo, but this seems about right. This is not a bad backup group by any means, with Brooks happily able to come off the bench and do what he does best: shoot. Watson is a strong ball handler, and completely used to backing up a star like he did in Chicago. Teletovic averaged over 20 ppg playing over in Europe, and will be a 27 year old NBA Rookie this year. That down-low tandem of him and Andray Blatche is my only concern, but maybe Brooklyn will be able to figure out how to get the best out of that enigma. Besides them, Tyshawn Taylor, Keith Bogans, Jerry Stackhouse (you dirty ring-hunter you), and Reggie Evans rounds out the rest of the squad.


Time to unwrap the crystal ball and make some probably way off predictions about the Nets this year:

Deron Williams gets back to his Utah days, averages a double-doubleIt is strange to realize that since D-Will arrived on the Nets, his passing stats have decreased, mostly due to his “If i’m not going to score than no one is” attitude he had to bring last year. The weapons weren’t there, he had to press a little bit and put up a high volume of shots (he took more threes last season than he had ever before). Now with Johnson and Wallace on the perimeter, Williams gets back to his passing game.

-Joe Johnson will hit a game-winner. Along the same lines as the first prediction, Johnson gives another great option on a final play. With all the attention probably focused towards Williams at the end, Johnson is coming off a season in which he hit 4 of 9 last-second shots to win the game for the Hawks. The number of last second shots will clearly decrease, but he will hit them when it counts.

Drama will continue to follow Andray Blatche. I’m not just saying this as a scorned Wizards fan, the guy is messed up in the head. This is from years of watching The Andray Blatche Show in Washington, he might be the dumbest player in the league. Blatche believes he is a point guard trapped in a forward’s body. He has no muscle definition, not great handles, and a below average mid-range jumper (which he takes constantly). Something will come up about his work ethic, his complaints about lack of PT, or he may just retire in disgrace. If Brooklyn turns Andray in a prime-time player I will eat my Wizards jersey.

-Kris Humphries becomes the next Kevin Love. Don’t shoot me, please. I love Love (that’s fun to say), and I am not the biggest Humphries fan but the guy can flat-out rebound. Now, let’s say he worked on his outside game over the summer. Let’s say he starts growing an awesome beard, let’s say he starts doing commercials…..Kevin Love 2.0????

-Brooklyn challenges New York and Boston for best team in the Atlantic, wins. I can’t just discount the Knicks and the Celtics and their playmakers, but again Brooklyn is so darn intriguing. This is just a prediction, don’t freak out on me. But wouldn’t it be sick to see Brooklyn take on a team like Miami or Indiana in the playoffs?


Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

NBA Preview Spotlight: The Boston Celtics


With the NBA regular season rapidly approaching, no lockout this time to spoil our November, I figure it is time to unload our first NBA Preview post. Each day we will be picking a team to talk about, providing insight on where they stand heading into the season, random bits of news from Training Camp, and our prediction of where they will finish. Today we begin with the Eastern Conference, Atlantic Division, and the Boston Celtics.

Where they Stand

The Celtics come into this season in a strange place. They’ve lost their longtime clutch shooting guard in Ray Allen to the evil empire down in Miami, with the “Courtney Lee/Jason Terry/Keyon Dooling Era” underway. That trifecta will clearly not replace the hole left by Ray-Ray, but still should be productive. They took a big risk in drafting Jared Sullinger, one that could pay off immensely, or lead to him turning into the next Greg Oden. Sullinger, Fab Melo, and newly acquired Jason Collins will all have their shots to prove they can be the next man up when Garnett calls it quits. The age issue will continue to be discussed at great length this season, with this being probably the last shot for the Celtics to try and grab one more title. The original “Big Three” still exists just in a different way: (Rondo, Pierce, and Garnett). Can Boston stay healthy enough to sneak into the playoffs, an environment in which they thrive?

Roster Thoughts

Rajon Rondo will make or break this season for the Boston Celtics. If he does not get his “double’double” in points and assists they are doomed. Already count on Pierce and Garnett missing some time with injuries this year, that’s pretty much a given. But Rondo will need to keep himself healthy and a mainstay at the point. His backup Avery Bradley will be important as well. Bradley checking in to 64 of the 66 games last year averaging about 21 minutes. Bradley brings an intensity off the bench, one that is important when replacing a high motor guy like Rondo. I actually like the trifecta at shooting guard. Lee gives you a spot shooter who can pass, Terry is your lightning rod off the bench (a role he played in Dallas for years), and Dooling is your defensive master.

At small forward we will get to witness the comeback tour of Jeff Green. A big piece in the Perkins trade, Green missed the entire last season with aortic surgery. Boston spent money and got rid of a big piece in their title runs to acquire Green, who has looked great through training camp. Green and Pierce are a strong combo at the small forward position. At power forward Brandon Bass will start, bringing a mid-range jumper and a defensive presence. It is in his backup Sullinger where the Celtics find themselves excited. This year’s draft found many teams backing off certain players. Perry Jones for his motor, Royce White for his anxiety issues, and Sullinger for his injuries. The Celtics may have found a gold mine in their 6’9 rookie from Ohio State. All signs through training camp show Sully as the real deal. Also don’t forget about Darko, Milicic brings a 7 foot frame and rebounding ability that the Celtics desperately need. At center we could see Garnett bounce around with Milicic and Melo. Melo definitely gives them a better option than Chris Wilcox.



Time to unwrap the crystal ball and make some probably way off predictions about the Celtics for this year:

Sullinger will start over Bass by mid-season. Not a completely ridiculous idea, one that has bounced around various blogs and team sites.

Lee will not click with the other big three.  It is hard to replace the chemistry Allen had with those guys, Lee will struggle to replace him. I find Terry a better fit.

-Rondo averages 15 ppg, 12 assists, and 5 rebounds. With Allen gone, Rondo will need to increase his offensive production. We all know he is pass-first, but he will have to get some more looks.

-Green wins Most Improved Player of the Year. Jeff Green has worked his butt off to get back on the floor, don’t think for one second he won’t give his all.

-Celtics make playoffs….but lose to Heat. Sadly I don’t see the Celtics finding the success they are craving this season…wouldn’t it be so “Boston” to have Ray Allen hit the game winner to eliminate the Celtics?

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

King For A Day

It’s official now. It’s done. It’s over. Felix Hernandez may be nicknamed the “King” but Miguel Cabrera now wears the crown. To finish off a season for Detroit that was more topsy-turvy than a white-water raft, to help propel his team into the playoffs and a second consecutive AL Central Division Title, all just a few years removed from the alcoholic incidents that almost cost him a career; Cabrera has plenty of reason to showcase those pearly whites.     The Tigers are not without faults, plenty of questions still remain about the cast that surrounds Miguel and Prince Fielder, but with a Triple Crown winner in your lineup, can you really be in trouble?

Many arguments surround this AL MVP race. Trout vs. Cabrera, New School vs. Old School, Power Numbers vs. W.A.R, all arguments should be invalid after what transpired on Wednesday night. To  be the first player in 45 years to lead the Major League in Home Runs, Batting Average, and RBI is something special. Something beyond Wins Above Replacement. Something that deserves recognition. Mike Trout has the capability of becoming a Miguel Cabrera, maybe someone even better. He has the AL Rookie of the Year award on lock, no questions asked. The kid will surely win an MVP race in his career, pending some threatening injury.

The question of “value” of a player is hard to judge, that’s why W.A.R. was invented in the first place. The point of Wins Above Replacement is to, “show how many more wins a player would give a team as opposed to a ‘replacement level’, or minor league/bench player at that position.” Trout is around three points higher in that category, it is understandable to see that side of the argument. But put aside your wacky new-school ideas and get down to the basics: without Cabrera the Tigers don’t make the playoffs. Without Cabrera the Tigers finish in the middle of the division, squandering a pitching staff of studs. Without Cabrera, Prince Fielder would not be in Detroit. Without Cabrera, Jim Leyland might be out of a job. Cabrera is the heart and soul of the Detroit Tigers, he is the Most Valuable Player.

By Ben Simpson


Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

FPB Week 3 Power Rankings

Week 3 is in the books…time to rank each team!

1. Atlanta Falcons (3-0) Good win over the Chargers. Could be 4-0 if they can handle Cam and the Panthers next week. (Last Week’s Ranking: 2)

2. Houston Texans (3-0) Taking down Peyton at Mile High? Impressive. Good balance in the offense. (Last Week’s Ranking: 3)

3. Arizona Cardinals (3-0) Being undefeated deserves its accolades, Cards take number three spot for now. Big wins over Philly and New England. (Last Week’s Ranking: 12)

4. San Francisco 49ers (2-1) Upset loss to the Vikings drops San Fran from 1 to 4 in our power rankings. Look for them to bounce back against the Jets in week four. (Last Week’s Ranking: 1)

5. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) Baltimore could easily be 3-0 or 1-2, very tight games being played for the Ravens early. I still believe this team can contend, trust in Rice. (Last Week’s Ranking: 6)

6. Green Bay Packers (1-2) It is appalling that the NFL didn’t overturn that terrible call last night, but the Pack will have to use it as motivation. Poor start, gotta believe things will turn around. (Last Week’s Ranking: 5)

7. New York Giants (2-1) Big test against Philly coming up, can the Giants prove they can defend the title? (Last Week’s Ranking:8)

8. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) Gotta limit the turnovers, starting to get ridiculous. (Last Week’s Ranking: 7)

9. Seattle Seahawks (2-1) Should be 1-2, but that’s besides the point. Pete Carroll has a solid team, and a dangerous one as well. Could continue to play spoiler as the season progresses. (Last Week’s Ranking: 15)

10. New England Patriots (1-2) A Bill Belichick squad with a losing record? Unheard of in Pats country. (Last Week’s Ranking: 4)

11. Chicago Bears (2-1) The NFC North continues to be intriguing. Bears throw their hat into the ring as a contender. (Last Week’s Ranking: 13)

12. Dallas Cowboys (2-1) America’s Team is off to an okay start. Still plenty left to be proven for the ‘Boys. (Last Week’s Ranking: 17)

13. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) Almost let the Skins come back and win, couple brownie points for the trick plays. (Last Week’s Ranking: 18)

14. San Diego Chargers (2-1) Norv’s squad had two easy opponents out of the gate, now getting into the more difficult part of the schedule. (Last week’s Ranking: 10)

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2): Not quite the defense we are so used to seeing out of Pittsburgh. Gotta change things up. (Last Week’s Ranking: 11)

16. Denver Broncos (1-2): Can’t fall in a hole early, Denver off to some dreadful starts. (Last Week’s Ranking: 9)

17. New York Jets (2-1): Nailbiter against the Dolphins….did I just say that? (Last Week’s Ranking: 20)

18. Buffalo Bills (2-1): 3 real tough opponents up next in the Pats, 49ers, and Cardinals (Last Week’s Ranking: 22)

19. Washington Redskins (1-2): Before you call me a homer understand that the Skins are the 2nd ranked team in rushing and RGIII still looks solid. (Last Week’s Ranking: 16)

20. Detroit Lions (1-2): Matt Stafford is still so shaky this season, Detroit can’t lose to the Titans and be happy. (Last Week’s Ranking: 14)

21. Minnesota Vikings (2-1): Ponder is looking terrific after last week’s win, combined with a healthy AP watch out NFC! (Last Week’s Ranking: 28)

22. Carolina Panthers (1-2): Cam stunk up the joint, can’t dance around like that when your team is losing. Grow up and be the quarterback we know you can be. (Last Week’s Ranking: 19)

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2): Had a chance to beat Dallas…should have taken it. (Last Week’s Ranking: 21)

24. St. Louis Rams (1-2): Something tells me the Rams shouldn’t be ranked this high….going against my better judgement here. (Last Week’s Ranking: 24)

25. Tennessee Titans (1-2): The return of Chris Johnson, kind of. Plenty of trickery and luck against the Lions, we’ll see how long it lasts. (Last Week’s Ranking: 26)

26. Oakland Raiders (1-2): Possible upset pick against Denver next week?  (Last Week’s Ranking: 30)

27. Indianapolis Colts (1-2): 313 passing yards last game for Luck (Last Week’s Ranking: 25)

28. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2): Jamaal Charles had a bomb of a game, fantasy owners were ecstatic. (Last Week’s Ranking: 29)

29. Miami Dolphins (1-2): Dolphins last week were pretty darn exciting…don’t think it will last (Last Week’s Ranking: 27)

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2): I shouldn’t have laughed at these guys last week, no longer the worst team in the NFL. (Last Week’s Ranking: 32)

31. New Orleans Saints (0-3): I am actually shocked at this start…(Last Week’s Ranking: 23)

32. Cleveland Browns (0-3): Poor..poor…T-Rich…(Last Week’s Ranking: 31)

Friday, September 21st, 2012

The Wait is Over

As human beings, much of our lives is based on the successes and failures we experience. From that great grade in high school to losing a loved one, each event forms and molds us as people. Sports can be used as another outlet for finding that success we crave so deeply. I spent much of my childhood and young adult life playing sports, watching sports, and immersing myself into the culture that my dad passed along to me. My teams may have had sporadic success, but they were my teams now. My moods, my attitude, all relied on if they had won the night before. It may have been foolish, but is it any crazier than being a die hard fan of a band or loving math or science?

When the Nationals first came to Washington I was in a strange place as a sports fan. My beloved Detroit Tigers were in the process of a rebuild, a few years removed from the most losses in American League history. I had never really jumped onto the Orioles bandwagon, living in Northern Virginia it was always quite a hike to Camden Yards. Each trip to an O’s game was a big event, and we usually got out to one game a season. But now I had a professional baseball team relatively near me. Sure, it was the Montreal Expos castoffs but it was a team. It was now my team.

From the start I witnessed some of the most fun baseball moments I had ever seen. I was there at RFK on Father’s Day of 06 when Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk off homer to beat the hated Yankees. I was there also that year when Ramon Ortiz pitched a perfect game into the late innings against the Cardinals, only to have Albert “The Machine” Pujols spoil the party. I “Hailed to the Chief” Chad Cordero, I cheered for names like John Patterson, Christian Guzman, and Livan Hernandez who are all long gone now. I was living in two worlds, one where the Tigers made a World Series in 06, the other where the Nationals were losing 100 games. But I didn’t care, I would wait.

Today I am reminded of old faces, like Livo

I wish I could tell the 2008 Ben, “Don’t worry, they get better.” I’ll admit, it was hard to stick with a team that loses. But again, they were my team, I had to. It did get better. I got to see the drafting of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. The acquisitions of Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Gio Gonzalez, and Kurt Suzuki. The growing of Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Tyler Clippard, and Stephen Lombardozzi. I guess sometimes you have to deal with watching guys like Nyjer Morgan to get to guys like Bryce Harper. I watched it all, and waited, just waited.

This 2012 season turned out better than I could have ever imagined. I knew this team was good, I believed in this team, but I had no idea they were this good. Playoffs? We’re talking playoffs? No matter how this postseason ends up, even if the Nats get knocked out in the first round, this season has shown me if you wait good things will happen (now try telling that to Cubs fans). Its time, its our time, let’s win this thing….

By Ben Simpson



Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Netflix Instant Pick of the Week

TV Show: Luther

Target Audience: Detective show fans/gritty drama fans

Time to start our weekly segment of Netflix Instant Watch pick of the week! Each week a show or movie will be picked, one that may be flying “under the radar.” For this week the Netflix show “Luther” gets my recommendation. Luther stars a fantastic television actor in Idris Elba (Stringer Bell from The Wire, also in the new flick Prometheus) as a troubled black detective, DCI John Luther, in London. The cop drama has been redone and remastered over and over again the past few decades, from “snarky 0ne-liner detective”  (Sean Spencer from Psych) to the “defective-detective” (Adrian Monk from Monk) to even more modern and recent the BBC’s Sherlock (another fantastic show, Season 1 is also available on Netflix) Basically what I am trying to say is clearly a troubled detective is nothing new. Also I am a sucker for these types of shows.

What separates this show from any other, the basic reason to watch, is not only the intense cases and killers covered but the relationship between the always-angry Luther and Alice Morgan (played by Ruth Wilson, Princess Betsy in the new Anna Karenina movie coming out this year). Morgan *Spoiler Alert* is believed to have killed her family in the first episode of the series, which Luther is able to deduce relatively quickly. The two continue the rest of the series to have one of the most complicated and compelling relationships I have seen in television. Many times I found myself yelling at my computer screen, “Why are you talking to her dude?! She’s a murderer!” But the two form a pretty deep bond which I can’t really go into without spoiling more of the show. Also Alice is slightly attractive, in a weird sexy serial killer type of way.

Season 1 spans six episodes, with each running about an hour and a half. Season 2 is finally up there as well, which lasts a short but action-packed four episodes. Those with short attention spans may want to stay away, especially with the British accents sometimes making it difficult to understand what is going on. I find that after a few episodes of going, “What the hell did he say?” the accents will become less hard to understand and soon will not faze you one bit. Other characters include Luther’s ex-wife Zoe (played by Indira Varma, who played a big role in the failed Fox thriller Human Target, as well as many Indian flicks) who is getting involved with a new lover Mark North (Paul McGann of Doctor Who fame). Also Luther’s trusty partner DS Justin Ripley (Warren Brown, who actually played one of the mercenaries in The Dark Knight Rises) is a fun character to root for. Loyal to a fault, Luther’s respect for Ripley grows as the show goes on.

In summary, if you enjoy dramas such as Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, or Boardwalk Empire you should enjoy this show. The formula may not be different, but the execution is quite successful.

Ben’s Rating: Four and a Half Stars out of Five

By Ben Simpson



Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

FPB Power Rankings

Week 2 is in the books…time to rank each team!

1. San Francisco 49ers (2-0) San Fran looked unstoppable against Detroit this week, the run game has been impressive now 3rd ranked in the league. Should be 3-0 after playing Minnesota next week.

2. Atlanta Falcons (2-0) Peyton who? Atlanta kept Manning and company uneasy all game long. When you make one of the greats flinch, you deserve the number two spot.

3. Houston Texans (2-0) Two underwhelming opponents in Miami and Jacksonville…but their schedule is pretty easy all around. Number 1 team in passing yards so far this year.

4. New England Patriots (1-1) Let’s be honest, the Pats were a field goal away from being 2-0 to start the season. Give credit to the Cardinals for the win, but Brady and New England still look strong.

5. Green Bay Packers (1-1) Poor, poor Chicago. Cutler and the O-line felt the wrath of Green Bay this week. The Packers were most people’s preseason favorites, they need to earn their worth to get any higher than 5 in our Power Rankings

6. Baltimore Ravens (1-1) The AFC North will be the Raven’s to lose. The loss to Philly hurts, but trust in Ray Rice and Baltimore should be fine.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) Why are they ranked lower than the Ravens, the team they just beat? Week 1’s almost loss to the Browns. Don’t worry Eagles fans, another win could propel them up the leaderboard.

8. New York Giants (1-1) Eli’s gutsy comeback was really quite amazing, but New York could also easily be 0-2 to start the season. 

9. Denver Broncos (1-1) I still believe in Peyton Manning’s impact on Denver, give them time.

10. San Diego Chargers (2-0) I have a feeling after next week’s game against Atlanta the Chargers will be undefeated no more…but for now give them props

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) Ranked 30th in rushing yards, and only 19th in passing yards, let me know when the real Steelers show up

12. Arizona Cardinals (2-0) The Miracle in Foxboro was impressive, pulling for the Cards to go 3-0

13. Chicago Bears (1-1) Please help Jay Cutler….please….

14. Detroit Lions (1-1) It hurts me to rank my beloved Lions so low, but I can spot a Bad Lions team as well as anybody. Matt Stafford must improve or the Lions will fail.

15. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)’s Bill Simmons has Seattle as his “Super Bowl Sleeper” pick…only if he puts the team on his back doe..

16. Washington Redskins (1-1) Losing to the Rams is never good for cred, but RGIII looked impressive once again. Could the Skins sneak into a playoff spot?

17. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) Great first win of the season, bad first loss. 

18. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) Ranked 30th defense? 

19. Carolina Panthers (1-1) Cam Newton is the man! Putting up 35 on New Orleans with ease.

20. New York Jets (1-1) Put in Tebow…please

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) Close loss to the Giants, Big game against Dallas next week.

22. Buffalo Bills (1-1) Remember last year Bills fans?…yea hold on to those memories…

23. New Orleans Saints (0-2) Saints will turn it around starting with this week’s game against Carolina

24. St. Louis Rams (1-1) Shut down RGIII, cause a big penalty at the end of the game, come away with a win, solid week for the Rams

25. Indianapolis Colts (1-1) RGIII>Luck, but Andrew still looks solid

26. Tennessee Titans (0-2) Will the real Chris Johnson please stand up?

27. Miami Dolphins (1-1) Solid start for a mediocre team

28. Minnesota Vikings (1-1) AP is back ladies and gentlemen!

29. Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) I hope the Chiefs can work out the kinks, too much talent to let go to waste

30. Oakland Raiders (0-2) Tough schedule coming up for Oakland

31. Cleveland Browns (0-2) Give the ball to T-Rich!!

32 Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) Lol…

By Ben Simpson