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Snake Bytes, 12/7: No luck of the draw for Arizona

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NHL Holds News Conference And Draft Pick Lottery Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for NHLI

Team news

[Arizona Sports] D-backs fall 1 spot in inaugural MLB Draft Lottery, get No. 12 overall pick in 2023 - The D-backs, who had the 11th-worst record in the league last season at 74-88, dropped one spot and received the No. 12 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft. Arizona had a 1.4% shot at moving up to No. 1 and a 12.5% chance at sneaking into a top-six pick, while retaining the No. 11 pick was a 54.9% probability. Unfortunately, luck didn’t seem to be on the Diamondbacks’ side in San Diego.

[AZ Central] Sources: Arizona Diamondbacks interested in Oakland Athletics catcher Sean Murphy - Asked about his team’s activity in the catching market, Hazen did not mention Murphy by name but he also did not deny his team’s interest in adding at that position. “Look, we have our catcher,” Hazen said, referring to Kelly. “I said this before at other positions, we’re exploring ways to make ourselves better. I don’t know how that’s going to come together. … I feel like it’s our responsibility to explore every way we can to make the team better. And having two catchers could be better than having one good catcher.”

[SI] What might it take to land the slugging, Gold Glove catcher? - Jack tries to put together a trade package for Murphy. Here's his suggestion: "Might the A’s consider one of Slade Cecconi or Ryne Nelson to be a good enough prospect to pair with [Alek] Thomas in such a deal? That seems possible. So the test will be whether the D-backs are willing to part with any of the three aforementioned higher ranked pitching prospects, or if the A’s will settle for one of Cecconi or Nelson."

And, elsewhere...

[MLB] Previewing the 2022 Rule 5 Draft - For the first time in three years, since the last time the Winter Meetings took place in San Diego, the Rule 5 Draft will be held in person. That’s after it was forced into being a remote event because of the pandemic in 2020 and canceled in 2021 because of the lockout. In years past, the Rule 5 would be the final act of the Winter Meetings on Thursday morning, with all of baseball gathering before heading to the airport. This year might have the same vibe, though the event has been moved up to Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m. ET/2 PT (Live audio stream on in these slightly truncated Meetings.


[MLB Trade Rumors] Cubs To Sign Cody Bellinger - The Cubs are in agreement on a deal with outfielder Cody Bellinger. It will be a one-year deal with a $12.5MM salary and a $5MM buyout on a mutual option, bringing the guarantee to $17.5MM.


[12News] A swing and a hiss: Rattlesnake found in ball dispenser at Arizona Topgolf - Marissa, a member of the Snake Relocation Team, says she is on the way to Topgolf in Scottsdale for a rattlesnake removal. Once she arrives, a couple of employees point her to the ball dispenser where the snake is hiding. As she approaches, a loud rattle could be heard coming from the machine. Marissa quickly grabs the snake with her long tongs and places it in a bucket. She will then take the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake to be safely released back into the wild.

Troll (2022)

Rating: C-

Dir: Roar Uthaug

Star: Ine Marie Wilmann, Kim Falck, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen, Gard B. Eidsvold

This is basically a Norwegian kaiju movie, with everything that implies, though you can certainly chuck on a handful of seasoning from King Kong too. Indeed, you could spent the entire running time of the film calling out the previous movies from which this “takes inspiration”. Outside of the obvious Scandinavian folklore inspiration, there’s precious little here which is original, even if it’s assembled with the efficient and cold-hearted precision of a Volvo estate. Oh, wait: they’re Swedish. Never mind. As in the Japanese (or even Hollywood) takes, the humans are the weakest and least interesting links. Yet they get the great bulk of the scenes.

It effectively begins with construction work for a railway releasing a creature from under a mountain where it has been entombed. Perplexed, the government bring in paleontologist Nora Tidemann (Wilmann) as an adviser, unaware that - and what are the odds? - her estranged father Tobias (Eidsvold) happens to be the country’s foremost expert on trolls. Which is exactly what the monster happens to be. Together with sympathetic civil servant Andreas (Falck) plus sympathetic/hunky soldier Captain Holm, she has to counter those of other opinions within the government. They naturally want to destroy the troll, before it can destroy Tokyo Oslo. Never mind the well-documented ineffectiveness of conventional weapons against the target. Shame the Norwegian nuclear weapons program never amounted to much. OR DID IT????

The film makes a strenuous effort to portray the troll sympathetically, and that’s where the Kong influence is most apparent. He (and I apologize if I am assuming the troll’s gender; its preferred pronouns are unclear) is depicted as being a victim of medieval Christianity anti-troll bigotry, and also the last of his kind. Except, the sequel leaning final shot completely skewers the latter element. I also have to say: those primitive medieval folk clearly had far less problems killing entire packs of trolls than the 21st-century Norwegian military had, dealing with a single one. The effects are mostly solid, as you’d expect from the director of The Wave, and occasionally better. There’s not enough of them though, and it doesn’t help the movie seems to lean heavily towards a nocturnal version of the monster.

It’s no Trollhunter, that’s for sure. While clearly made on a far greater budget, this lacks the originality and also the heart. It’s these two elements which tend to make the best kaiju films stick in the mind, and this scores poorly in both categories. After a promising start, it’s one of those movies whose rating ticked steadily down over the course of proceedings, the more it became clear there wasn’t a lot here, beyond an impressive level of technical execution. It’s disappointing, as the trailer looked considerably better than the generic Netflix Original which showed up. When that sequel leaning final shot showed up, it provoked no excitement at all. Let me know if it’s going to be Troll vs. Mothra though.