Thursday, January 20, 2005

Manga? Fantasty Baseball

As can be gleaned from reading my blog, I am a fan of storytelling in various formats and media – novels, comic books/graphic novels and film. One form I’ve had great intentions of trying out for some time is Manga. I’ve been a little resistant to trying it for a couple of reasons, one of which is they are mostly in black and white, but I’m getting over that, I think having recently picked up a couple of Marvel’s ESSENTIAL volumes of Spidey.

With this thought floating in the recesses of my geeky mind, I came across Tony Salvaggio’s MANGA ISLAND column on Comic Book Resources. Specifically, his early January article mentions BESERK published by Dark Horse, probably one of, if not the, first American comics publisher to import Manga to American comic shops and bookstores. This series looks to have a Conan-esque, Moorcock-esque Sword & Sorcery feel. Planetes looks interesting too, as does Ragnarok. So, my millions....and millions of readers, any Fantay or Science Fiction flavored Manga suggestions?

Ed Zwick is set to produce/direct a film adaptation of Guy Gavriel Kay’s Lions of Al-Rassan. I’ve read about half of GGK’s work and enjoyed most of it. I’ll probably get thrown in the barrel for this, but I really enjoyed Zwick’s Legends of the Fall starring Brad Pitt. It also starred Sir Anthony Hopkins. The film takes place in Montana and has a lot of mythic overtones to it, deals with World War I, and to a lesser degree, the mistreatment of Native American Indians. Overall this is a Very Good Epic story, from the sweeping landscapes of Montana, to the grittiness and horrors of War to the multigenerational story of the Ludlow family. All that said, I think Zwick has the film-making skills to translate Kay’s story from page to screen. Of course this was just announced, so it could be years (if ever), before the film sees the light of day.

I’ve got a tough decision to make in the next couple of weeks. Who on my Fantasy Baseball team from last year should I keep for this year’s team? This is the first time in the 7 or so years I’ve been in the league we decided to have keepers. We are trying it out with 3 total keepers, 2 from the first half of the draft and one from the last half.

In practice, this is pretty fair. However, I drew the #10 (out of 10) pick for last year’s draft so I didn’t get a shot at Pujols, A-Rod or a genuine top pick. I wound up picking Roy Halladay, which based on his previous two years stats. 2003 Cy Young winning season - 22-7, 204K, 3.24ERA, 1.07 WHIP; 2002 - 19-7, 168K, 2.93 ERA & 1.19 WHIP. Based on those numbers, I thought I was making a smart first pick. I figured I’d build a solid pitching staff with a Cy Young winner. But of course, that didn’t happen. His ERA was over four, his record was 8-8 and he was hurt for a good portion of the year, so he didn't rack up the innings or Strikeouts.

He was the 2nd Cy Young winner to give me the big Rajole, as I picked Barry Zito early the previous draft. Both pitchers fell flat on their face in their follow-up season. It doesn’t get much better – Brett Boone was my 2nd pick overall, who killed me early in the season. I can only keep one starting pitcher, so I’ll have to decide between Mark Mulder and Carlos (Cubs) Zambrano. Suffice it to say, I’ve got some tough fantasy baseball decisions to make down the road.

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