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Snake Bytes, 10/18: Baseball’s coming home...

Team GB are on their way...

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Death Of Queen Elizabeth II Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

Team News

[SI] Diamondbacks 2022 Season Player Reviews: Carson Kelly - Kelly is entering his third year of arbitration this off season and will likely receive a salary somewhere in the $4,000,000 range. He was a “Super 2”, meaning he will have a fourth year of arbitration, and will not be a free agent until after the 2024 season. He just turned 28 in July and only has 1,338 career PA. It’s definitely not too late for Kelly to put it all together and have an All-Star caliber season. In order to do so he will need to stay healthy and at least get back to crushing left handed pitching as he’s done in the past.

[] Lawlar, De Los Santos speeding toward the desert - First base: Leandro Cedeno. The 24-year-old, who landed with the D-backs on a Minor League deal after seven seasons in the Cardinals organization, made headlines in July when he bashed a 527-foot homer. “It is legit raw power. I know he was playing in an offensive environment in Amarillo, but the power was real,” said D-backs director of player development Josh Barfield. “He showed that he was not just an all-or-nothing type guy. He handled pitching well. He got better as the year went on. And he was able to have a really good season.”

[SI] Diamondbacks in the Second Week of the Arizona Fall League - In two weeks in the Fall League, Lawlar backed up his No. 2 rank in the organization and No. 12 prospect overall according to MLB Pipeline. He’s currently hitting .333/.500/.667 with four extra base hits, two home runs, and three stolen bases in eight games. His line drive approach at the plate has been successful, as he’s spraying line drives into the outfield for hits. Only one of the six hits he got this week, was not crisply hit. I still have questions about his skill level on defense. While he doesn’t have a howitzer for an arm at short like O’Neill Cruz or a lightning-quick transfer like Nick Ahmed, he has enough tools to stick at shortstop.

And, elsewhere...

[ESPN] Guardians-Yankees ALDS Game 5 moved to Tuesday afternoon - “We expected to play,” Cashman said. “It was supposed to be, not a window, it was supposed to clear. And then a new system popped up. We were actually wrestling with a first pitch time and then a new system popped up, with moderate rain, that’s going to hit us in another 25 minutes and now we couldn’t start it again. And now we had a new whole new weather system that was not in the forecast whatsoever. And that’s obviously what eventually took us down."

[USA Today] It’s not 1956 anymore. It’s time fans adapted to MLB’s imperfect playoff format - Modern North American sports is awash in ring culture – win it all or go home. LeBron vs. Michael. Binary outcomes. Line items on a “competitive banter” TV show. Well, baseball doesn’t work that way, and if Ernie Banks and Carl Yastrzemski and Ken Griffey Jr. were before your time, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani and many others are here to remind you: Great players have little control over winning it all.

[] World Baseball Classic tournament pools finalized - “With the bat of Mariners No. 1 prospect Harry Ford leading the way, Team Great Britain won the Regensburg Qualifier and will now advance to its very first tournament. It’ll be playing in Pool C in Phoenix, facing the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Canada.” Tough draw, Team GB. To be honest. it’ll be a major success if the team simply avoids getting mercy-ruled every game, but it’s still going to be a great experience, and will hopefully lift awareness of the sport in the UK. Needless to say, I plan to be attending a game or two, and who knows? I remember in 2006, being in attendance as South Africa took an 8-7 lead into the ninth against Canada...

And here seems an appropriate place to drop in a review of the best British horror film ever...

The Wicker Man (1973)

Rating: A

Dir: Robin Hardy

Star: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento

Police Sergeant Neil Howie (Woodward), goes to a remote island in search of a missing girl, only to find a number of things that are deeply unsettling to his own beliefs. The islanders practice alternative religion, which is fertility-based, and Howie is highly unimpressed by the sexual freedom he sees – even when it consists of the landlord’s daughter (Ekland), trying to lure him to pay her a visit. In Howie’s opinion, the educational system leaves a bit to be desired too, and worst of all is his growing suspicion that the missing girl is to be sacrificed at the behest of Lord Summerisle (Lee), a gift to the gods after the harvest failed.

“The Producer would like to thank The Lord Summerisle and the people of his island off the west coast of Scotland for this privileged insight into their religious practices and for their generous co-operation in the making of this film.” That caption is how the theatrical version of the movie opens – basically setting the tone for the whole thing as a black comedy, because of course, neither Lord Summerisle, his people, nor the island exist. It may trail only Life of Brian as the most sarcastically anti-religious film ever, with Summerisle’s cult having been invented – or, at least, fostered, by his ancestor out of expediency to keep the islanders in line. Sergeant Howie’s strait-laced Presbyterian puritanism is little if any more appealing.

I have to mention the lack of actual Scots in the lead roles. Despite a convincing accent, Woodward is English, as are Lee and remarkably camp pub landlord Lindsay Kemp (who had already had an affair with David Bowie, and would go on to become Kate Bush’s first dance teacher). Ekland comes from Sweden, Cilento is Australian, and island librarian Ingrid Pitt is Polish. Still, who cares? Woodward pulls the best “I am appalled” faces in the history of cinema, the more he discovers the debauched (or sexually liberated, if you prefer) nature of life on Summerisle, and Lee’s snark is almost as memorable as his sideburns. Even knowing what’s coming at the end doesn’t matter. Indeed, it makes the inevitability of Sgt. Howie being reeled in all the more tragic.

There’s not a superfluous scene, and it’s a sure-fire entry on the shortlist of greatest British horror films of all-time. It's probably also a candidate for "Biggest Gap in Quality between Original Movie and Remake". Let us not speak of the Nicolas Cage version further...