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Snake Bytes, 1/8: Link Dump

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A quick and dirty information blast, in no particular order.

(Boston, MA) - Tony Sousa a mechanic at The Mass DOT Central Maintenance Facility Satellite in South Boston dumps salt with a front end loader in preparation for the storm on Wednesday, January 3, 2018. Staff Photo by Patrick Whittemore Photo by Patrick Whittemore/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

[Prospects1500] Arizona Diamondbacks 2021 Top 50 Prospects - The Diamondbacks system is vastly underrated. The group includes top-end talent, flame-throwers, high-floor guys, and everything else in between. What’s even better is that there are plenty of very fantasy-friendly prospects here as well. From Corbin Carroll’s 20/30 potential to Kristian Robinson’s 40 home run ceiling to Alek Thomas’s all-around game, there are fantasy gems all over the place. Recently the D-Backs have placed an emphasis on hard-throwing draft picks, and those guys are sprinkled throughout the system too.

[CBSSports.com] Mets acquire Francisco Lindo and Carlos Carrasco in six-player blockbuster trade with Cleveland - The New York Mets have acquired superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor in a six-player trade from Cleveland, the teams announced Thursday. Lindor, a 27-year-old four-time All-Star, has been a long time subject of trade rumors and is set to reach free agency after the 2021 season. The trade also sends veteran right-hander Carlos Carrasco to the Mets. Cleveland will get major leaguers Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario as well as a pair of prospects in the deal.

[Los Angeles Times] Ex-Angels staffer says Gerrit Cole, others used illegal product - Harkins, 55, filed a defamation complaint against the Angels and Major League Baseball in Orange County Superior Court on Aug. 28. The Angels and MLB filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on Nov. 2. In an opposition to the motion, filed Thursday, Harkins claimed many Angels used his concoction of rosin and pine tar over the years, “including Troy Percival, Brendan Donnelly, Tyler Chatwood, Kevin Jepsen and, most recently, Cam Bedrosian, Keynan Middleton, Yusmeiro Petit, Luke Bard, Matt Andriese, Dylan Peters, Jose Suarez and Dylan Bundy.”

[USA Today] MLB free agency: Agents bemoan slow free market this winter - There have been frigid free-agent winters, particularly the past few years, but nothing has resembled this deep freeze. Seventy days have passed since the start of free agency, and only 32 free agents who entered the marketplace have signed major-league contracts, totalling $226 million. Yep, less than what the Los Angeles Angels paid Albert Pujols (10 years, $250 million) nine years ago. There are still more than 150 unemployed players, including J.T. Realmuto, Trevor Bauer, George Springer and D.J. LeMahieu.

Former Nationals Outfielder Gerardo Parra Finally Gets World Series Trophy - Gerardo Parra had to wait over 13 months to get the World Series trophy the Washington Nationals won back in November 2019. But as the Instagram post video in the link shows, once he carefully opened the special box in which it came, the moment was glorious. He signed with Japan’s Yomiuri Giants a month after winning the first title of his MLB career. Finally getting the chance to show off his new hardware in the comfort of his own home, Parra’s trophy setup was masterful as he placed the Commissioner’s Trophy in between the two Golden Glove awards he won back while a Diamondback.

Greenland (2020)

Rating: B-

Dir: Ric Roman Waugh
Star: Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd, Scott Glenn

The title alone gives you an idea of how understated this is, at least in relative terms. Previous entries in the “celestial object coming at Earth” sub-genre of disaster movies have been called things like Armageddon – I’m sorry, I meant ARMAGEDDON – or Deep Impact, loudly proclaiming on the box what viewers can expect to see. This one opts for a considerably quieter title, and it’s one which describes the hoped-for destination, rather than the apocalypse we meet along the way. Oh, you still get your mayhem, to the point I was quite surprised to discover the budget on this was a mere $35 million. Contrast the two previously mentioned, which cost $140m and $80m respectively, and that was back in 1998. You clearly get a lot more incoming bang for your buck these days.

The hero in this is John Garrity (Butler), a structural engineer who is going through (Disaster Movie Cliche #27) marital difficulties with his wife, Alison (Baccarin), which have caused a trial separation from her and their son, Nathan (Floyd). A comet is approaching the Earth, and as it becomes clear this is a bit of a problem, John gets notified that he and his family will be evacuated to a bunker in… yes, Greenland. But before they can board the plane, he is separated from them, after the diabetic Nathan loses his insulin. This unfortunate circumstance sets off a frenetic search on both sides of the marriage, as civilization falls apart, due to human nature and giant fireballs from space. [Werner Herzog nods approvingly]

I got a strong sense of Miracle Mile about this one, which was also about a couple’s panicky quest to be re-united, as the apocalypse approached. Even setting aside the “humans are the real threat,” which is a fairly generic disaster film trope, there are certainly times when the soundtrack here sounds suspiciously like Tangerine Dream. Then there’s the bit near the end where, just when you think they’ve escaped, the vehicle flying them away gets blasted out of the sky. Hmmm… This isn’t as good, of course. The John-Alison relationship simply isn’t drawn as effectively, and nor is there the same, relentlessly increasing sense of terror and desperation. It’s clear from relatively early on, that most of humanity will be proper fucked, and there’s nothing much anyone can do about it.

This is most effective in the early stages, with sequences like the Garrity family trying to slide away to their evacuation point, knowing they’re leaving behind their neighbours – with whom they were partying hours before – to face almost certain death. However, the more this goes on, the closer the tone comes to generic disaster porn like 2012. It never quite sinks that far though, and Butler is a considerably better hero than… whoever starred in 2012. I could Google it, I suppose, but that would imply giving a damn about 2012. This certainly does a considerably better job of striking the balance between spectacle and emotional drama.