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Snake Bytes, 4/13: Fake it ‘til you make it

Simulation baseball is taking the place of the real thing for now, with Jon Duplantier carrying our banner.

Arizona Diamondbacks Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In the MLB players’ simulation using MLB The Show ‘20, Arizona’s representative Jon Duplantier has got off to a strong start, winning three of his first four games. He beat the Angels, Athletics and Phillies, and would have been 4-0, but for blowing an early 4-1 lead against the Tigers and getting walked off. You can check out all the standings and results here. In another sim season, the D-backs are a solid 11-6 and just half a game back of the Dodgers in Baseball Reference’s version of the season. Ketel Marte is batting .353 with 13 RBI, while Madison Bumgarner is 2-0 with a 1.19 ERA in his three starts. In the Strat-o-Matic sim, they’re a bit further back, but still sit above .500, at a record of 9-8.

[Arizona Sports] Mark Reynolds wonders 'what if' with late-2000s Diamondbacks - “I could care less about individual stuff. I wanted to compete for a World Series and that’s all I wanted to do ever since we got so close in 2007,” he said. “It was unfortunate that we kind of took a nosedive there towards the end of my time in Phoenix. I think I had three managers in four years, Bob Melvin, Kirk Gibson and A.J. Hinch. And it was just a tumultuous time after ’07, to where I was in 2010 when I got traded. I wish we could’ve kept Bob in there and had all of our core that we had there for a couple years together and could’ve made something of it. But I look back with nothing but good times and the fans were awesome.”

[MLB Trade Rumors] Revisiting Dave Stewart's D-backs Trades - - Dave Stewart’s transition from agent to Diamondbacks general manager was both brief and frenetic. Not afraid to make moves that bucked industry trends, Stewart’s regime aggressively moved young talent for veterans, seemingly placed a lower value on draft picks than other clubs and made what proved to be a pair of high-profile missteps on the international market as they set out on a clear win-now path... Here’s a look back at the two years of hectic wheeling and dealing under the watch of Stewart, Tony La Russa and De Jon Watson…

[Sports Illustrated] Bursting the Bubble: Why Sports Aren't Coming Back Soon - The proposals multiply almost as fast as the coronavirus: The NHL can play in North Dakota! The NBA can play on a cruise ship! MLB can play in a biodome! The NFL can play in its stadiums, with 70,000 fans packed in! These are fun thought experiments, at least as good a way to spend time in isolation as watching Tiger King. And everyone wants to believe we will be buying peanuts and Cracker Jack this summer. But fans deserve a reality check: According to the experts—medical experts, not the money-making experts in league offices—we will not have sports any time soon. And when we do, we will not attend the games.


Rating: C

Dir: Ruben Fleischer
Star: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Zoey Deutch

Even though it has been a decade since the original movie – doesn’t time fly? – this still has something of the feel of a shameless cash-grab, in its lack of invention. If you’d told me this had been released nine months after Zombieland, I’d have believed you. For the majority of its ideas seem recycled, either from its predecessor, or from other zombie films. It’s probably telling that the element which gave us most joy, was about the only one which felt fresh and original. New to the team is Madison (Deutch), a bubble-headed bimbo encountered by Columbus (Eisenberg) at a mall, and who seems thoroughly unsuited for life in the zombie apocalypse. Peak blondness is achieved in the amusement she gets from a pair of binoculars.

For the rest, it’s probably safe to say, if you enjoyed Zombieland, you will be at least adequately entertained by this, though perhaps not much more. It’s another trip for Columbus, Tallahassee (Harrelson) and Wichita (Stone) across the post-devastation American landscape; they’re seeking Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who ran off with a hippie pacifist to live in a commune. Insert the usual riffing on pop culture, with Elvis Presley the main target, in place of Bill Murray [He does show up in a mid-credits sequence which shows us how the outbreak began, during a press junket for Garfield 3: Flabby Tabby] Expect more rules, more zombie kills of the week and more bickering between all concerned parties.

The most egregious bit of theft is likely the way Team Columbus meet up with another set of survivors, who are just like them, e.g. Flagstaff is the equivalent of Columbus, only he lives based on “commandments” rather than rules. Anyone who has seen Shaun of the Dead will be familiar with the concept, which that film handled in about one-tenth of the time, for about the same amount of amusement. Similarly, the climax, with a high-rise tower refuge unleashing fiery death from above, is more than reminiscent of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. These aren’t exactly obscure or unknown entities from which Z:DT is lifting, and it’s a bit disappointing, given how fresh the first movie seemed.

Of course, part of the issue may be the entertainment landscape. Difficult though it may be to believe, Zombieland came out a year before The Walking Dead hit TV screens, arced like a fireball across the firmament of popular consciousness, and has now faded back to “Is that show still on?” status. Zombies, as an entity, have followed a similar path. They were still on the upswing at the time the first movie appeared, but now, typically provoke little more than a roll of the eyes, because there are hardly any new ideas left. For every One Cut of the Dead, there are several The Dead Don’t Die. While the characters here remain engaging, there’s a near-total lack of development to them. It’s never a good sign, when your film zombies have evolved more than the characters with a pulse.