The Vulture Report: August 8th, 2016

Trade Deadline is past! Of course, there’s still the waiver wire deadline, but that’s always been more about stopping the division leading teams from getting stronger by the chasing teams putting in a claim on a guy in order for the offering team to withdraw the player from the waiver wire.

That said, you do see some minor transactions and they can have an impact (whether a LOOGY or a useful bench bat). So let’s get this show started because we have lots of… oh wait, I have just one vulture this week.

Dang it! I need filler… err… umm…uhh.. Oh! Oh! I saw “The Grey” yesterday with the wife. Liam Neeson starring in a survivor thriller. This movie was quite depressing overall, though it had its moments in between the bouts of wolf attacks, and gory scenes. If there was a theme here it wasn’t about prevailing against all odds but acceptance of death when it becomes inevitable. There were a few other philosophical debates as well regarding family, life, hookers, religion and the meaning of it all. Not that there’s room for a ton of conversation when an entire pack of wolves are hunting you down relentlessly.

I was curious about the wolves and CGI aside I was wondering just how much of it was BS and how much of it tangentially factual. There seems to be some divided opinion on the subject, with some professors who study wolves from Yellowstone claiming that wolves are wimps while others pointing out that wolves in Alaska and Siberia have been known to attack, particularly when provoked. However, the degree of calculation and aggression displayed by the wolves in the movie is of course overblown and vastly overstated. Safe to say if you ever encounter one in the wilds just respect their territory, don’t bother them and more likely than not you will be fine (unless they have rabies). And I say that as a completely ignorant layperson.

In fact for a different, interesting take I recommend “Never Cry Wolf” a 1983 film adapted from Farley Mowat’s 1963 autobiography on studying and living close to wolves in the Candian Arctic region. Not that this presentation is without problems, Mowat was also heavily criticized (and by extension the Disney film) as being unrealistic. As an example Lucyan David “Dave” Mech (a senior research scientist for the U.S. government who has studied wolves and written many books on the subject for decades) compared Mowat’s 1963 bestseller to Little Red Riding Hood, stating, “I hope that readers of Never Cry Wolf will realize that both stories have about the same factual content”. Needless to say, he has his own share of critics.

Basically, unless you are watching an actual nature documentary (and quite often even if you are), take any film about nature and its artistic license with a grain of salt. The primary objective of films is to entertain you! Not educate you!

Have we digressed enough? Let’s turn to our favorite animal of the week. The VULTURE.

August 5th, Tony Watson of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ok, the real reason we went off on a wild wolf chase is that this particular vulture was… boring. Tony Watson came in the top of the 9th, taking over from Neftali Feliz, charged with preserving a 2-1 lead over the Reds. He allowed a lead off walk, then the Reds bunted the runner over. Said runner stole third base and then the run came in on a sacrifice fly.

Tony Watson wasn’t even the Pirates closer till Mark Melancon was traded to Washington at the deadline. He’s a very good relief arm who’s been pitching great for the last few years and is now splitting closing duties with Feliz depending on how many burritos Clint Hurdle had for dinner before the game (I assume). Once again, when dealing with the thinnest of margins (one run lead), any mistake can cost you. In this case leading off with a walk.

In the bottom of the 9th Pittsburgh walked off on a Sean Rodriguez homerun who crushed the 3rd pitch he saw. Ross Ohlendorf (who has graced this column previously) didn’t even get to throw a strike. I found that nugget mildly entertaining.

While not a dismal performance by any means it’s undeniable Tony screwed the pooch here with the lead off walk that set things in motion. He certainly didn’t deserve the W over his other colleagues.

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