Saturday, August 20, 2016

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #742 – Jani Lane tribute with Billy Morris


By Rick Morris                                          

As we referenced previously, our pals at Sportsology are hooking us up for live segments that we’re doing with guests and remote FDH Lounge Dignitaries these days.  We’re happy to report that we’ve been able to produce many segments on our own, but we’re thrilled for the help on some of these with guests and the thanks all go to our great friend Russ Cohen.

Mini-Episode #742 features a tribute to the late, great Warrant frontman Jani Lane on the fifth anniversary of his passing with former Warrant guitarist Billy Morris.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: 2016 early AFC South preview


By Rick Morris


FDH Lounge Dignitary and Vegas handicapping veteran Kyle Ross joins the show on Mini-Episode #741 for our 2016 AFC South preview.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #740 – 2016 political conventions review


By Rick Morris                                          

As we referenced previously, our pals at Sportsology are hooking us up for live segments that we’re doing with guests and remote FDH Lounge Dignitaries these days.  We’re happy to report that we’ve been able to produce many segments on our own, but we’re thrilled for the help on some of these with guests and the thanks all go to our great friend Russ Cohen.

Mini-Episode #740 features a review of the 2016 political conventions with epolitics.com proprietor Colin Delany.
 


       


       


       


       


Lounge on YouTube: 2016 early AFC North preview


By Rick Morris


FDH Lounge Dignitary and Vegas handicapping veteran Kyle Ross joins the show on Mini-Episode #739 for our 2016 AFC North preview.


       


       


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: 2016 early AFC East preview


By Rick Morris


FDH Lounge Dignitary and Vegas handicapping veteran Kyle Ross joins the show on Mini-Episode #738 for our 2016 AFC East preview.


       


       


       


       

MLB power rankings for mid-August


By Rick Morris


NOTE: Rankings in parentheses are from the start of the season.


TOP TIER

1 Chicago Cubs (1-1-4-6)
2 Texas (10-12-3-7)

3 Cleveland (15-16-1-1)

4 Washington (5-3-5-2)

5 Boston (4-2-10-5)

6 Toronto (11-14-12-8)

7 San Francisco (8-11-2-3)

8 Baltimore (22-6-6-4)

9 Los Angeles Dodgers (3-10-7-9)

10 St. Louis (7-9-11-13)

11 Seattle (12-5-14-18)

12 New York Yankees (17-21-19-15)

13 Pittsburgh (9-18-17-14)

14 Kansas City (16-17-13-17)

15 Detroit (14-23-8-10)

16 Miami (23-15-15-11)

17 Houston (2-22-16-16)

18 New York Mets (13-7-9-12)

19 Colorado (26-13-21-22)

20 Chicago White Sox (19-4-18-19)

21 Philadelphia (30-8-20-24)

SECOND TIER

22 Cincinnati (27-24-28-28)

23 Oakland (25-26-25-21)

24 San Diego (24-25-24-23)

25 Tampa Bay (20-20-26-30)

26 Arizona (18-19-23-26)

27 Minnesota (21-30-30-27)

28 Los Angeles Angels (6-27-27-20)

29 Milwaukee (29-28-22-25)

30 Atlanta (28-29-29-29)


BIGGEST GAINERS: Seattle (7 spots), Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay and Texas (5 spots), Colorado, Kansas City, New York Yankees and St. Louis (3 spots)


BIGGEST FALLERS: Los Angeles Angels (8 spots), Cincinnati and New York Mets (6 spots), Detroit and Miami (5 spots), Baltimore, Milwaukee and San Francisco (4 spots), Philadelphia (3 spots)


1 AL EAST 56

2 NL CENTRAL 75

3 AL CENTRAL 79

4 AL WEST 81

5 NL WEST 85

6 NL EAST 89


AL 216

NL 249

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

MLB power rankings for mid-July


By Rick Morris


NOTE: Rankings in parentheses are from the start of the season.


TOP TIER

1 Cleveland (15-16-1)
2 Washington (5-3-5)

3 San Francisco (8-11-2)

4 Baltimore (22-6-6)

5 Boston (4-2-10)

6 Chicago Cubs (1-1-4)

7 Texas (10-12-3)

8 Toronto (11-14-12)
9 Los Angeles Dodgers (3-10-7)

10 Detroit (14-23-8)

11 Miami (23-15-15)

12 New York Mets (13-7-9)

13 St. Louis (7-9-11)

14 Pittsburgh (9-18-17)

15 New York Yankees (17-21-19)

16 Houston (2-22-16)

17 Kansas City (16-17-13)

18 Seattle (12-5-14)

19 Chicago White Sox (19-4-18)

SECOND TIER

20 Los Angeles Angels (6-27-27)

21 Oakland (25-26-25)

22 Colorado (26-13-21)

23 San Diego (24-25-24)

24 Philadelphia (30-8-20)

25 Milwaukee (29-28-22)

26 Arizona (18-19-23)

THIRD TIER

27 Minnesota (21-30-30)

28 Cincinnati (27-24-28)

29 Atlanta (28-29-29)

30 Tampa Bay (20-20-26)


BIGGEST GAINERS: Los Angeles Angels (7 spots), Boston (5 spots), Miami, Oakland, New York Yankees and Toronto (4 spots), Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Washington (3 spots)


BIGGEST FALLERS: Kansas City, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Texas (4 spots), Arizona, Milwaukee and New York Mets (3 spots)


1 AL EAST 62

2 AL CENTRAL 74

3 NL EAST 78

4 AL WEST 82

5 NL WEST 83

6 NL CENTRAL 86


AL 218

NL 247

Sunday, July 17, 2016

2016 FDH Lounge WWE Mock Draft


By Rick Morris


Fellow FDH Lounge Dignitary Jake Digman had the great idea for a mock draft to coincide with the WWE’s upcoming “brand extension.”  Here is the actual show itself:



       


       


       


       



Here’s a record of what transpired.  Both of us wanted to take Smackdown in honor of our friend Ryan Ward, the new head writer of the show, but I deferred to Jake since the idea for this segment was his.  We flipped a coin to see who would start and I won.  We were each going to take our General Manager first, knowing that we were locked in with Stephanie McMahon as Raw Commissioner and Shane McMahon as Smackdown Commissioner.  Seeking that Dario Cueto kind of vibe from Lucha Underground, I wanted someone that I thought could be sufficiently smarmy to pull off the role and, looking at the sidelined talent, I selected Tyson Kidd for Raw GM.  Jake countered with HHH, envisioning him actually as a babyface GM, and, in so doing, ended up with an extra useable wrestler to boot.


We drafted 20 regular rounds, where we explained our picks a bit and then progressed to a “speed round” for the last part.  I made 40 picks for Raw and Jake made 35 for Smackdown since Raw has (unfortunately) the extra hour of programming to fill.  In fairness, I made my last five picks at the end.  Unlike the 2002 draft, we used a common-sense standard of who could be drafted together.  Tag teams, manager-wrestler combos and factions need not be split up, but they could be – and a few were.


I am happy with both of the rosters selected as I feel that we both applied a lot of creativity to the process and each came up with a very intriguing landscape.  We are soliciting the opinion of fellow FDH Lounge Dignitary Kyle Ross to determine a winner, based on all of the usual money-drawing potentialities (gate, PPV, merch, ratings) as well as his sense of who got better value from their picks.


Here’s how it progressed, with a brief explanation as to each show’s creative structure following the draft:


1 Raw: The Club

1 Smackdown: Seth Rollins

2 Raw: Finn Balor

2 Smackdown: Samoa Joe

3 Raw: John Cena

3 Smackdown: Roman Reigns

4 Raw: Dean Ambrose

4 Smackdown: Kevin Owens

5 Raw: New Day

5 Smackdown: Sasha Banks

6 Raw: Cesaro

6 Smackdown: Shinsuke Nakamura

7 Raw: Lana & Rusev

7 Smackdown: American Alpha

8 Raw: The Revival

8 Smackdown: Charlotte & Dana Brooke

9 Raw: Enzo & Big Cass

9 Smackdown: Sami Zayn

10 Raw: Bayley

10 Smackdown: Paul Heyman & Brock Lesnar

11 Raw: Luke Harper (separate from the Wyatt Family)

11 Smackdown: Usos

12 Raw: Chris Jericho

12 Smackdown: the rest of the Wyatt Family

13 Raw: Alberto Del Rio

13 Smackdown: Maryse & The Miz

14 Raw: Bubba Ray Dudley (separate from D-Von Dudley)

14 Smackdown: Bobby Roode

15 Raw: Hideo Itami

15 Smackdown: Apollo Crews

16 Raw: Neville

16 Smackdown: The Undertaker

17 Raw: Kalisto (separate from Sin Cara)

17 Smackdown: Asuka

18 Raw: Dolph Ziggler

18 Smackdown: Austin Aries

19 Raw: Sheamus

19 Smackdown: Becky Lynch

20 Raw: Nia Jax

20 Smackdown: Zack Sabre, Jr.

 

21 Raw: Paige

21 Smackdown: Tamina

22 Raw: Alexa Bliss

22 Smackdown: Tessa Blanchard

23 Raw: Carmella

23 Smackdown: Zack Ryder

24 Raw: Coach Backlund & Darren Young

24 Smackdown: No Way Jose

25 Raw: Rhyno

25 Smackdown: Kane

26 Raw: Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa

26 Smackdown: Kota Ibushi

27 Raw: Titus O’Neil

27 Smackdown: Baron Corbin

28 Raw: Social Outcasts

28 Smackdown: Golden Truth

29 Raw: Rich Swann

29 Smackdown: Andrade Almas

30 Raw: Jack Swagger

30 Smackdown: Eric Young

31 Raw: The Vaudevillains

31 Smackdown: Breezango

32 Raw: Nikki Bella

32 Smackdown: Cedric Alexander

33 Raw: Eva Marie

33 Smackdown: Mojo Rawley

34 Raw: Big Show

34 Smackdown: Emma

35 Raw: Alicia Fox

35 Smackdown: Tye Dillinger

36 Raw: Natalya

37 Raw: Summer Rae

38 Raw: Jack Gallagher

39 Raw: The Brian Kendrick

40 Raw: David Otunga


Interestingly, both of us would have gone Club-Balor with our first two picks, albeit Jake would have put them in a big feud and I would put them together as the Bulletproof Balor Club (albeit with Balor breaking off eventually and utilizing the Demon character as he did in NXT as a major face), the anchor heel stable of Raw – hopefully letting them run completely wild like their NWO ancestors 20 years ago.  To keep the “too sweet” guys from being “too cool” as heels, I selected Sheamus to be their “heater,” since he shares Irish heritage with Balor. 


I picked Harper and Bubba as fresh big-time heels on the singles side of Raw and used my last pick of Otunga to fill a role I’ve always liked, the Heyman-like agent character who doesn’t so much represent a stable as he does clients who have a common interest through him.  It’s a way to create a second heel group possibly consisting of the likes of Del Rio, Jericho, Harper, Bubba, Show or others.  With Cena edging towards elder statesman status on the face side, Ambrose and Cesaro start as the 1 and 1A full-time faces and contenders for the world title match at WrestleMania 33.  Ziggler and O’Neil are next in line (with Neville as the brand’s white-meat babyface), along with possibly a turned heel from that deep side of the roster.


On Smackdown, Jake went from envisioning Joe as his franchise face to picturing him as enforcer for his own franchise heel group, possibly known as The Bloodline, along with Reigns and the Usos.  As such, his initial thought that Rollins would start as a heel went out the window as well, with his formidable talents helping to anchor the face side.  Owens, Wyatt, Miz and a host of longtime TNA greats help to carry the heel side.  As with Raw, the full-time face side is a bit thinner, allowing for a big push right off the bat for Rollins, Nakamura and Zayn.  The freedom to use HHH, Undertaker and Lesnar with this roster is advantageous, although of course the company only has full freedom to use the former whenever they want.


Raw probably has an edge right off the bat with merch sellers, while Smackdown probably has a better and deeper women’s division.  Smackdown’s tag team scene has less depth, but that could actually be an advantage in terms of having more freedom to assemble teams as needed. 


NXT was picked over heavily, which will not happen to this extent in the “real draft,” since there is a vested interest in keeping them in good shape in the near term.  Notable undrafted wrestlers, who would be candidates to go back to NXT, be released or accept another form of employment other than active wrestling, include Naomi, Rosa Mendes, Mark Henry, D-Von Dudley, Sin Cara, Primo & Epico & The Ascension.  Naomi in particular would seem like a gimme to become the next NXT Women’s Champion as the division rebuilds itself on the fly after we raided it.


This segment was a tremendous amount of fun, as Jake is as sharp of a booking competitor as you could want in a scenario like this.  Regardless of who Kyle judges the winner, these are two rosters with a metric ton of possibilities, demonstrating that the company made a wide decision allowing for their deep crop of excellent young workers to achieve their full potential through two mostly-separate promotions.

Lounge on YouTube: Seth Everett 2016 MLB midseason analysis


By Rick Morris                                          

As we referenced previously, our pals at Sportsology are hooking us up for live segments that we’re doing with guests and remote FDH Lounge Dignitaries these days.  We’re happy to report that we’ve been able to produce many segments on our own, but we’re thrilled for the help on some of these with guests and the thanks all go to our great friend Russ Cohen.

Mini-Episode #736 features a breakdown of the 2016 MLB landscape at midseason with Seth Everett of NBC Sports Radio.


       


       


       


       

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Lounge on YouTube: Royal Rumble History – Part 6C – 2010 Part 1


By Rick Morris

Here is Mini-Episode #735 of THE FDH LOUNGE, Part 1 of the 2010 chapter in our Royal Rumble Anthology with FDH Lounge Dignitary Kyle Ross.


       


       


       

       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #734 – 14 Flags over Atlanta book analysis


By Rick Morris                                          

As we referenced previously, our pals at Sportsology are hooking us up for live segments that we’re doing with guests and remote FDH Lounge Dignitaries these days.  We’re happy to report that we’ve been able to produce many segments on our own, but we’re thrilled for the help on some of these with guests and the thanks all go to our great friend Russ Cohen.

Mini-Episode #734 features a review of the book WHEN THE BRAVES RULED THE DIAMOND: 14 FLAGS OVER ATLANTA with author Dan Schlossberg.


       


        


       


       

Lounge on YouTube: Mini-Episode #733 – House of Cards Season 4 analysis with spoilers


By Rick Morris

Mini-Episode #733 of The FDH Lounge features a fully-spoilered review of House of Cards Season 4 with FDH Lounge Dignitary Jake Digman.