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Snake Bytes, 7/13: LiveAid turns 35

I was playing cricket on Nairn links that day,

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Live Aid audience and stage Wembley Stadium Photo by Solomon N’Jie/Getty Images

Team news

Yay! Baseball is back at Chase Field! Seems like forever... Tune in tonight for our first GDT in what seems like forever...

[] Notes: Extra-inning strategy, Ginkel, Calhoun - Lovullo could use Locastro as a pinch-runner in those situations. “Everybody knows he can fly,” Lovullo said. “It is a good feeling to have. [But] we’re going to have to figure out how to drive that run in.” On the flip side, the D-backs are looking at improving their ability to hold a runner at second base so when they are on defense in those situations they can limit the other team’s chances of scoring. With that in mind, the D-backs have had their relievers -- since they will likely be on the mound in extra innings -- work on their moves to second and Sunday they spent time working on pickoffs at second. “I’m trying to see what some of the defensive positioning looks like,” Lovullo said.

[The Athletic] Diamondbacks, other teams at times use labs other than MLB’s for COVID-19 tests - Sometimes, the team said, the team or a player would like a confirmation of what SMRTL’s testing suggests. That can be for a player’s peace of mind, but it can also help a player return to the field. According to the team, having more than two negative results can help a player’s case with the joint committee that determines when players or staff can return to work. The Diamondbacks said they have used a third-party lab roughly 20 times, a number that represents less than one percent of all COVID-19 tests performed on their players and staff. The team also emphasized that every lab they have used — the team has sent players and staff to three different testing sites in the Phoenix area — has assured the Diamondbacks that they are in no way taking tests away from the public.

[AZ Central] Kole Calhoun absent again from Diamondbacks camp - Right fielder Kole Calhoun was not at the Diamondbacks’ workout on Sunday and has not participated in an intrasquad game in the three days since he was cleared to return following a positive test for COVID-19. Manager Torey Lovullo said he was not able to provide details on Calhoun’s absence. Calhoun told reporters on Friday that he had alternated between positive and negative tests for about a week before testing negative twice late last week, thus clearing the way for him to return, per league protocols. However, he also acknowledged to being curious to see the results of a test he took on Friday morning, the implication being that it, too, might come back positive.

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks pitching tuning up as first exhibition game nears - Manager Torey Lovullo told reporters on a Zoom call Sunday that the team will start to hone in on who will likely be starting for the D-backs this year in the coming days. “We’re gonna probably start to have these conversations during the course of this upcoming week about what that shape looks like,” Lovullo said. “We haven’t made any decisions. Obviously there’s a couple of no brainers, but we have some very difficult decisions.” Heading into the 2020 season, it was likely Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver and Mike Leake were set for the starting rotation; however, with Leake opting out of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s forcing Lovullo to make decisions.

And, elsewhere...

[MLB Trade Rumors] Tigers Release Zack Godley - The Tigers announced this morning that they’ve released right-hander Zack Godley. He’d been in Spring Training and Summer Camp as a non-roster player, though he seemed to have a reasonable chance of making the club. Godley’s initial deal was worth up to $3MM after incentives and allowed him to elect free agency at season’s end even though he’d normally have been arbitration-eligible. That was surely a notable incentive for the 30-year-old, but it seems the Tigers’ thought process has changed.’s Jason Beck tweets that Godley had an opt-out prior to Opening Day anyhow, and the team wanted to give him some extra time to find a new club.

[Buffalo News] Jays checking in on Buffalo with desperation growing to find a home - Multiple sources confirm to The Buffalo News that the Bisons' parent club has finally reached out to Rich Baseball Operations in the last couple of days to examine the possibility of Toronto's home schedule being played in Buffalo this summer. But there are complications, the biggest of which is that the Jays are understandably still focused on playing their games at home in Rogers Centre. That has been the crux of every public statement they've made on the issue.

[] Braves executives make team's position clear on name change questions - “We are so proud of our team’s name, and our expectation is that we will always be the Atlanta Braves,” said McGuirk, the Braves’ chairman. “I would say unequivocally the Atlanta Braves’ name will stay the Atlanta Braves,” McGuirk added a few minutes later. “We come to that position as a result of … a lot of listening to our fans, to the Native American community. We have spent the last six months trying to make sure we are grounded in everything we say going forward, so I would again answer the question: Yes, we will be the Atlanta Braves.”

The Old Guard


Dir: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Star: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari

While a serviceable entry in the beloved genre of “Charlize Theron kicks ass”, this does have to be classed as disappointing in comparison to the epic awesomeness which were Atomic Blonde or Mad Max: Fury Road. This is considerably more obviously a comic-book adaptation than Blonde, and considerably more restrained than Fury Road, resulting in a film which plays more like X-Men: The Highlander Years. Andromache of Scythia (Theron), for obvious reasons known to her mates as Andy, is a neo-immortal bad-ass who has been roaming the Earth since pre-Christian times. But she’s beginning to wonder what the point of it all is, endlessly doing jobs somewhere between mercenary and humanitarian.

Two things disrupt the playing field. The first is the “birth” of a new neo-immortal, Nile Freeman (Layne), a US marine who survives having her throat slit, and is brought on board the team, despite her severe initial doubts. The other is less pleasant: the Merrick pharmaceutical company is out to find what makes them tick, and will happily trample Andy and her friends’ rights, in the name of “the greater good.” This involves them kidnapping two members of the group for scientific experimentation, and they are intent on completing the set. Needless to say, Andy isn’t having any of that, along with some help from Nile, as well as a Merrick employee and former CIA agent who is now having second thoughts (an underused Chiwetel Ejiofor). However, it turns out Andy is approaching the “neo-” phase of her neo-immortality...

That is a bit of a cheat: they’re basically immortal, except when necessary for the plot or dramatic reasons. It’s a double-standard which also seems to permeate the film more generally, The film wants to deliver the mayhem audiences want to see, while having characters who loudly express being tired of exactly that, borne down by world-weary ennui. It’s a mindless action movie which doesn’t like being a mindless action movie, and I suspect would rather be something else. That may be the only way to explain the contrived shoehorning in of characters’ sexuality, in a scene of no relevance that couldn’t be more clunkily woke if it tried.

It is considerably better when letting go of the angst, and instead embracing its inner John Wick. Theron proves why she is still the top action heroine working in Hollywood, getting valuable support from Layne. There’s a lovely hand-to-hand battle between the two of them on a transport plane, for example, and Andy busting out of the church which is under attack by Merrick thugs is also a pleasure to watch. As seems almost required, there’s a scene at the end, setting up The Old Guard 2 with the apparent promise of an insane neo-immortal for the big bad there. It’s perhaps telling that it’s a prospect which may be more exciting than the humdrum stock genre plot rolled out here. Not even the best Netflix original action movie of the year (that’d be Extraction), yet entertaining enough, if your copy of Fury Road isn’t to hand.