THE NERD REPORT

Nerds around town: Comicpalooza, streaming wars, esports and more

Nerds around town: Comicpalooza, streaming wars, esports and more
ART BY JESUS RODRIGUEZ

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

Hey Nerds!

Awww yeah, it's Monday!!! Get pumped and get excited for the beginning of the week, this is the most important part of the week because a great Monday means your whole week is great.

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

This is a new one it dots all my "I"s and crosses all my "t"s, it's called "Crits for Cancer." Crits as in critical rolls, as in Dungeons and Dragons. These guys find people in need who are suffering from cancer and they go out of their way to try and help to raise money for the kids through the thing that everyone loves, Dungeons and Dragons! You have to check these guys out, it's for a great cause and you're going to feel really good about yourself and really nerdy, it's a win-win. #NerdsUnite

COMICPALOOZA WEEK!

Well it's here, it's Comicpalooza week. This is like my Superbowl if it was a week long and even more awesome. Today I'm going to focus on the guests that are coming, Emilia Clarke, Nathalie Emmanuel, Grant Gustin, Wilmer Valderrama and so many more. I'm excited because the Mother of Dragons is a big freakin' deal. That's a big relevant celebrity here for the event. Also the main cast of The Tick are here as well, and I have a little inside information on this just to explain to people how big of a deal this whole thing is. Very early this year, with my day job at Nerd Thug Radio, we talked to some people potentially about booking a very large show in a certain convention center not in Houston. So I reached out to the booking agents to some of these people and I came upon the idea of having the cast of The Tick come in for the event, that would be a great get I felt like. I was told by their booking agent that while the other actors live in the states and would be reasonable to get, Peter Serafinowicz lives in England and wouldn't come over to the states to do a smaller event like the one I was planning. So Comicpalooza is big enough to be on his booking agent's radar as a big enough show to justify the cost of bringing in The Tick himself. Which is pretty sweet.

THE LATEST IN THE STREAMING WARS

The latest news out of the streaming wars is interesting. It looks like Disney+ is planning to go ahead and order a second season of The Mandalorian and bring back series creator, showrunner and executive producer Jon Favreau. It must be testing well or the dailies must be looking great because no one has even seen an actual trailer for the show let alone do we know that it will be available day one with the network, so it's a lot of confidence to put into a show with a large production costs, but perhaps this is on purpose, to help save some of the costs, although at least initially it seems unlikely that costs will be a large factor of concern for Disney+. The first goal is get subscribers, then start analyzing budgets after you've built up a base and know what your service can afford. That is essentially how Netflix operated the past few years and it has helped its growth tremendously. The other bit of streaming news is that Netflix just dropped the highest grossing movie this year in China, "The Wandering Earth" without any prep work or even putting it on upcoming lists. I suspect this is to test the viability of these projects which are essentially new content here in the states without marketing support. In other words, Netflix is curious how much press it needs to generate for these projects, to see if it's worth the money, the less they have to advertise, the happier they'll be.

THE DISAPPOINTMENT CONTINUES

The Houston Outlaws have lost again. This is a franchise that is struggling to find it's footing for the last three stages of the first season and now through two stages of Season two. The team isn't working well together, the coaching staff seems to fail in its scouting and preparation for its opponents and there doesn't seem to be enthusiasm from the players as they are sitting there playing the games. Ultimately this seems to all come from one root issue, The Houston Outlaws are currently up for sale already. I'm not sure how this happened, who wasn't financially prepared for year two in a start up league, but none the less, here we are. The culture seems to be happily settled in mediocrity, actually technically worse than mediocrity because with twenty teams they are near the bottom of the league. The hope is that new ownership will invest in the team, get the coaches we need, make some strong team chemistry decisions and we'll go from there. That would be a great restart to a franchise that started so well but has so quickly fallen to the bottom of the league.

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

Once again, officiating is in the headlines again. With the winner of the Kentucky Derby being the horse who finished second due to an officiating decision that disqualified the horse that crossed the line first and crossed with a good lead mind you. Also the two minute report came out for the Rocket's game three win over the Warriors and it pointed out two Houston fouls this time. The reason it's silly is because the story can't seem to shift back to the basketball of the series because the referees keep making it about them. I think the poor officiating is become a real problem and I'm also very concerned about this Rockets team winning if they are going to keep having stretches where they go ice cold from the three point line.

I'm going to jump out and wish you guys a great Monday and remind everyone to be kind to each other and try a little harder to have a great day! I'm coming back Tuesday and we'll be bringing more good times your way. Feel free to check out my digital short story The Wilson House or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where $.50 from every shirt is donated to a good cause or listen to Nerd Thug Radio or support our Patreon Page. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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The Astros need to turn things around in a hurry. Composite Getty Image.

The Astros have already been swept in four series this season. They were swept in four series all of last season. As Mexico City says bienvenidos to the Astros this weekend, there are certainly more than a few folks fretting that the Astros are already close to saying adios to playoff hopes. The Astros are not at the point of no return, though one can see it out there on the horizon. It wouldn’t take another month of their garbage level 7-19 performance for the season to be essentially down the drain.

If the Astros were in the American League East, they’d already be ten games out of second place. But they’re not! If in the AL Central they’d be eleven and a half games back of Cleveland. But they’re not! Dozens of teams have rebounded to win divisions from larger deficits much later in the season than the Astros face presently. The Seattle Mariners lead the thus far weak AL West at 13-12. The Astros being six and a half games in arrears of the M’s and six back of the Texas Rangers in late April is far from optimal but nowhere near devastating.

Multiple media outlets have noted how few teams historically have started a season in as stumblebum a fashion as the 2024 Astros and wound up making the playoffs. What every outlet I have seen noting that failed to include: this is just the third season since Major League Baseball added a third Wild Card to each league’s postseason field. So, while 7-19 out of the gate is indisputably awful, it is not the death knell to the extent it has been over generations of MLB.

The issue isn’t where the Astros sit in the standings, it’s that they have played atrocious baseball and aren’t providing reason for optimism that a stark turnaround is imminent. The starting rotation is the best hope. Justin Verlander has made two starts. Framber Valdez rejoins the rotation Sunday. Cristian Javier should be a week or so away. Obviously, Ronel Blanco isn’t going to continue pitching as well as he has through his first four starts. But if he is a good number four starter, that’s fine if the top three coming into the season pitch to reasonably hoped for form.

Hunter Brown simply is not a good big league pitcher. Maybe he someday fulfills his potential, but the data at this point are clear. What can Brown do for you? Not much. Spencer Arrighetti needs better command to be a good big league starter. J.P. France was a revelation over his first 17 starts last season, but since has looked like the guy who posted underwhelming numbers when in the minor leagues. If the Astros wind up with 50-plus starts from Brown/Arrighetti/France their goose will probably be cooked.

The only MLB teams with worse staff earned run averages than the Astros’ horrific 5.07 are the Chicago White Sox (Wait! They have Martin Maldonado!) and Colorado Rockies. At 3-22 the White Sox are on an early pace to post the worst record in the history of Major League Baseball. The Rockies never have a chance to post good pitching stats because of the mile high offensive freak show environment in Denver.

Way to go, Joe

Props to Joe Espada for his conviction in making what he believed to be the right call in pulling Verlander after four and a third innings Thursday at Wrigley Field. Verlander allowed no runs but had reached 95 pitches in just the second outing of the injury-delayed start to his season. Not easy for a rookie manager skippering what has been a Titanic journey thus far to pull a surefire Hall of Famer who was two outs away from qualifying for a win. Many were no doubt poised to destroy Espada had Rafael Montero given up the lead in the fifth. Verlander was angry at being pulled from any chance at his 259th career win. Understood, but the manager’s job is to make the decisions he thinks are in the ballclub’s overall best interest. That Montero and Bryan Abreu combined to blow the lead in the sixth is immaterial.

Then there's the offense…

Six runs total the last four games. Scored more than four runs in just one of the last nine games. Timely hitting largely non-existent.

At last check Alex Bregman still hawks that “Breggy Bomb” salsa. At the plate, he’s been mostly stuck in “Breggy Bum” mode, including zero bombs (home runs). 23 games played without a homer is Bregman’s longest drought since 2017 when he had separate 35 and 27 game stretches between dingers. Bregman has a history of slow first months of the season, but never anything as inept as he’s posted thus far. A litany of lazy fly balls, infield pops, and routine grounders add up to a .216 batting average and feeble .566 OPS. Reference point: Martin Maldonado’s worst OPS season with the Astros was .573. If Bregman was a young guy handed a starting job coming out of spring training, if a viable alternative were available, there’s a chance he’d be a Sugar Land Space Cowboy right now. Bregman’s track record makes it a decent bet that he winds up with decent numbers, but nothing special. Certainly nothing remotely worth the 10 years 300 million dollars or whatever Bregman and agent Scott Boras intend(ed) to seek on the free agent market this coming offseason. Two hits Thursday did get Bregman to the 1000 hit plateau for his career.

Despite arriving south of the border with his batting average at .346, even Jose Altuve has his warts. With runners in scoring position, Altuve has one hit this season. One. In 16 at bats. Small sample size, but it counts. That’s .063. Yordan Alvarez has been no great shakes either, five for 24 (.208) with RISP.

One wonders what would happen if the Astros got a hold of and “lost” Jose Abreu’s passport/visa this weekend in Mexico City and Abreu couldn’t get back into the U.S. after the two-game set with the Rockies.

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via YouTube: stone cold stros - YouTube with the complete audio available via Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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