NERDS AROUND TOWN

Nerds Around Town: The Mandalorian, trouble in Mexico City and X-Men updates

Nerds Around Town: The Mandalorian, trouble in Mexico City and X-Men updates
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 and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

For the next two weeks I'm going to be pointing to the charity called "Let's Bring 'Em Home." They buy plane tickets for active duty enlisted guys and fly them home for the holidays. On December 13th, Nerd Thug Radio and The Adventure Begins will be teaming up and holding the Nerd Thug Takeover to benefit this wonderful organization. Starting at 6pm, proceeds from sales will be going to this 501c registered charity and will be helping to try and bring some enlisted people home for the holidays so they can see their families.

KRAKOA TROUBLES

There may already be trouble in X-Paradise, part of the massive X-Men relaunch has been the new titles with new line ups and new directions. They're already putting one book on hiatus after only two issues and they're bringing more down the way. It's obvious that they haven't found the right line up yet and they're still struggling to find the right mix. Fallen Angels is going to go on a break and Wolverine comes out now at a larger page count, they are also previewing a new book with the most "dysfunctional lineup" ever. I'm not filled with confidence.

TROUBLE IN MEXICO

There's a massive tour going around and the other day they were in Mexico City and the show was cancelled after barricades were damaged and the bands Slipknot and Evanescence hadn't played their sets yet. Some members of the 50,000 strong crowd decided to storm the stage and destroy everything they could get their hands on, which included Evanescence's band gear. They literally watched their gear burn up, that is not how Mexico City should party. Evanescence has been cool about it but bands may want to start renting gear when they play Knotfest.

THE MANDALORIAN

Suddenly there's unhappy nerds with the fourth episode of The Mandalorian. After three episodes of happy nerds in the world of Star Wars, suddenly there's an episode they don't like. It happens to be the episode with a ton of action and an AT-ST walker tank. Who the heck is complaining about this episode and why? Well it turns out, because women help and are bad ass in this episode. Yeah Gina Carano of MMA fame is featured in this episode as shock trooper on the run from her past, and people are mad that she's tough. This is such a joke. Just the casting alone should have been a hint that a character is capable of some serious damage, but then she and the Mandalorian both are on the same page throughout the episode so she's basically set up as a high level mercenary or experienced mercenary of some serious degree so if we've accepted The Mandalorian as an awesome mercenary without any backstory then why are we asking for her backstory before we decide she's awesome too?

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

So in the buildup to Christmas I'm enjoying the access to the entire Marvel catalog and rewatching all of the movies (minus the Hulk and the two Spider-Mans) in chronological order so I started with Captain America. I think of all the intro movies this has held up maybe the best or second best (behind Iron Man). To see young Steve Rogers again, knowing how this all ends and to see the dynamic of the love lost knowing they find each other at the end of Endgame, it makes this movie and the whole story arc for Cap and Agent Carter sweet.

Feel free to check out my brand-new comic book Another Day at the Office or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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It's not time to panic, yet. Composite Getty Image.

This is not a column for fanboys or sugarcoating. To this point in the season the Astros stink like rotten eggs. They stink like Angel Hernandez’s umpiring. They stink like Bill O'Brien's general manager skills. The Astros are a bad team right now. That’s notably different from being a bad team. Their 4-10 record is well-earned and it is definitely possible that the Astros’ run of high quality and annual playoff appearances crashes and burns this season. But it’s laughable to declare so after just 14 games of the 162 scheduled have been played.

Last June the Astros had a lousy window in which they went 3-10. In August they had a 4-8 funk. In September it was a 3-9 stretch of collapse. The 2022 World Series Champions had a 3-8 hiccup in April, and a 2-6 blotch overlapping July and August that included getting swept in a three-game series by the then and now awful Oakland A’s.

Now the Astros are back home (Oh No!) for six games, three vs. the Rangers then three with the Braves. The Rangers lead the American League West but are just 7-6, so despite their cellar-dwelling status, the Astros are just three and a half games out of first. A winning homestand is obviously the goal. No, really. 3-3 would be ok, even though that would just about clinch a losing record heading into May.

Mandatory aside: spectacular weather is the Friday night forecast. Stop being stubborn and lame, Astros. Open the roof! I don’t mean just for the postgame fireworks.

On the mend?

The Astros’ track record of downplaying pitching injuries that turned out to be major certainly causes angst as we await Framber Valdez’s return from a sore elbow. If Valdez ultimately winds up out for months, the Astros’ starting rotation is in deep trouble. Even more so if upon the approaching delayed start to his season, 41-year-old Justin Verlander pitches to his age in terms of results and/or durability. However, if Valdez is ok within a month and JV is solid, those two, and Cristian Javier can stabilize the rotation quite nicely.

The Astros started three guys in the last four games who belong in the minor leagues. It was a sad sign of the times that the Astros were reduced to calling up Blair Henley to make the start Monday in Arlington. Except for Rangers fans and Astros haters, it grew uncomfortable watching Henley give up four hits, walk three, record just one out, and wind up charged with seven earned runs. But it’s not Henley’s fault that he was thrust into a role for which he was utterly unqualified.

Last season at Double-A Corpus Christi, Henley’s earned run average was 5.06. Because of the crummy state of the Astros’ farm system, Henley failed up to Triple-A Sugar Land to start this season. After one not good start for the Space Cowboys, “Hey, go get out big leaguers Blair!” Henley turns 27 next month, he is not a prospect of any note. If he never again pitches in the majors Henley forever carries a 135.00 ERA.

But you know what? It was still a great day for the guy. Even if undeserved, Henley made “The Show.” For one day on the Astros’ 26-man roster, Henley made over four thousand dollars. To make him eligible for call up, the Astros first had to put Henley on their 40-man roster and sign him to a split contract. That means that until/unless the Astros release him, Henley’s AAA salary jumps from approximately $36,000 for the season to over 60K.

Lastly, while Henley’s ERA could remain 135.00 in perpetuity, at least he’s no Fred Bruckbauer. In 1961 Bruckbauer made his big league debut and bade his big league farewell in the same game. He faced four batters, giving up three earned runs on three hits and one walk. Career ERA: Infinity! Bruckbauer is the most recent of the more than a dozen pitchers to retire with the infinity ERA.

Spencer Arrighetti’s debut start went much better. For two innings, before it unraveled in a seven run Royals third. Arrighetti has good stuff, but not great stuff. Control has been an issue for him in the minor leagues. Without better command Arrighetti cannot be a plus starter in the majors.

Then there’s Hunter Brown. We could go decades without seeing another pitcher give up nine runs and 11 hits in two-thirds of an inning as Brown did Thursday. It had never happened in MLB history! To this point, Brown is an overhyped hope. ERA last July: 5.92, August: 6.23, September 1 on: 8.74. Three starts into 2024: 16.43.

Jose Abreu watch

It's still early enough in the season that even just a couple of big games can markedly improve a stat line but Jose Abreu continues to look washed up at the plate. Three hits in 37 at bats (.081 batting average), with the most recent hit a questionable official scoring decision. Manager Joe Espada has already dropped Abreu from fifth in the lineup to sixth, then seventh, then eighth. Two more slots down to go, Joe! Continuing to act like Jon Singleton could be a competent bat in the lineup is just silly though.

Catch the weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week now generally goes up after Sunday’s game (second part released Tuesday, sometimes a third part Wednesday) via YouTube: stone cold stros - YouTubewith the complete audio available via Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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