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Snake Bytes, 4/20: Socially distant

The SnakePit does not, in any way, condone the use of illegal drugs.

Baseball cap sporting marijuana leaf emb Photo by James Keyser/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

[] 'We'll move heaven and earth': Local officials want Tucson to be part of MLB's reported 'Arizona plan' - Officials from Pima County and Visit Tucson have contacted Major League Baseball representatives in recent weeks, wanting to be part of any plan to start the season in Arizona in the wake of the pandemic. Whether Tucson stars in the proposed plan or simply makes a relief appearance remains undetermined. “If they need more places to practice, if there’s a run-up to it, we’re here,” said Dan Gibson, a spokesman for Visit Tucson. “We have fields. We’re ready to go. We’ll move heaven and earth to make it happen.”

[The Verde Independent] Baseball in Taiwan offers sneak peek of what MLB in Arizona might look like - “A player described the empty stadium game as ‘a TV with a broken sound system.’” The teams do their best to fill the cavernous space with noise besides that coming from the game being played, allowing team cheerleaders and mannequins to fill space in the stands. “The club managed to place about 500 cardboard fans and robot drummers with LED displays showing cheering messages during the game,” Wang said. “Fans can pay the club for their photos to be placed on the cardboard. It costs NTD 5,500 ($185) for a cardboard cutout of four people ‘sitting together’ in the stands.”

[Cronkite News] 14 years ago, Diamondbacks' Gonzalez joined exclusive club - Gonzalez may not be playing baseball anymore but he brings the same approach to his current position in the Diamondbacks organization. “I look at him, as a player he always got the most out of his teammates because he got them on the same page and made them understand what the universal and collective goal should be,” Hall said. “As an individual, it’s very much similar. He’s very competitive in spirit, as he was as an athlete, and so everything he does in life is a competition that he wants to win. “So with that, he puts in the extra effort and he encourages everyone else around him to be even greater.”

[New York Daily News] CPBL brawl foreshadows another MLB hurdle - Sure, tempers in Taiwan flared for no more than a few minutes. Some people brush their teeth longer than the actual brawl between the Guardians and Monkeys. But it was still enough time for social-distancing regulations to be pushed aside. And it was enough time for the virus, which could have been living in a player that was asymptomatic, to potentially cling to a new host. Sunday night’s CPBL brawl was a bit of a foreshadowing for MLB and one of it’s contingency plans that involves all 30 teams being sequestered in Arizona for weeks at a time. If a brawl was to break out during an MLB game, it could lead to another dangerous outbreak that could inflict further challenges on the league and the city hosting the season.

[] Here are 11 of the wildest forgotten MLB mascots - There are racing pierogis and rally squirrels, moose and mischievous aliens, elephants and dinosaurs and ... whatever the Phillie Phanatic is (a bird, somehow?). But the road to this mascot golden age wasn't always the smoothest. Not every idea can be a winner. Sometimes, in the name of innovation, things are bound to get weird -- like, really, really weird. And so, in appreciation of our furry forefathers, let's remember some of the most utterly bizarre mascots the big leagues have seen.

And, speaking of “utterly bizarre”...

Post Apocalyptic Shark Commando (2018)

Rating: C+

Dir: Sam Qualiana
Star: Simeon Qualiana, Mick O’Keefe, Andrew Elias, Sam Qualiana

While not living up to the standard of silliness set by The VelociPastor, I think it’s probably fair to say that this was better than the travesty for which I was bracing myself going in. It had all the hallmarks of a comedy whose every funny moment was in the trailer, a one-joke entity where that singular element was spread like cheap margarine over its feature length. I’m pleased to report that isn’t the case. It is still, of course, severely hamstrung by its lack of resources – as shown above, the supposed super-soldiers look more like someone left a plastic shark’s head too close to an open fire. And a film that’s deliberately crap is never going to be as iconic as a film which stumbles into crapness. But this was quite bearable. Albeit with the aid of six miniatures of alcohol.

It’s as much a parody of movies like Red Dawn as anything, with square-jawed and two-fisted American heroes going up against those evil Russkies and their plot to take over America. What it isn’t, it very post-apocalyptic. Or, if it is, the world has bounced back very nicely and looks… exactly like it does now. [There’s certainly no shortage of forest, which is where this largely takes place.] After a nuclear exchange of stock footage, the Russians have invaded the United States, and are trying to mop up the remaining brave Americans, fighting a guerilla war against the Soviets.

To suppress the insurgents, Russia, with the aid of a renegade German scientist, has concocted a dastardly mix of human and shark DNA, into the titular warriors. They are capable of killing you both with their bite, or with their automatic weapons, and could turn the tide of the war. Not least because American efforts to make something similar, have so far only managed to create a talking dog, which is more interested in finding its ball than fighting for liberty.

I think it’s probably politest to describe most of the performances here as “enthusiastic.” Few would merit a callback from the local am-dram group. On that basis, the brief presence of Debbie Rochon may be a mistake, as her genuine performance more or less highlights the woeful inadequacies of almost everyone else. Yet, I can’t say these were inappropriate, and at least they erred on the over side of acting, which is certainly the way you want to go in something like this.

The most charming aspect is probably towards the end, where the Russian unleash their doomsday dev… er, doomsday creature, the city-killing GargantuaShark shown below. It’s depicted in primitive stop-motion and rear projection which is rather endearing, and comes over as charming rather than feeble. I’d like to have seem them have do more with this monster, but can see why the work involved would have been more than the makers wanted to take on. As an entity, this has its share of misses, yet it’s far from the worst shark flick I’ve seen.