Friday, July 15, 2011

Douchebag of the Week: Netflix

Its been a while since yours truly has written one of these articles, but I feel today is a good time to bring it back. It is actually pretty hard to write these, unless a person or organization pulls a universally recognized "douche" move. I believe Netflix did that this week.

If you live under a rock, Netflix decided to raise their prices on their plans, some by as much as 60%. The unlimited stream/1 DVD option price is increasing $6 to $16 a month. Executives for Netflix are hoping to get more customers to utilize the streaming feature, to access movies and television. The company claims that is costs 75 cents to ship DVDs and only pennies to stream content. Personally, the hike is complete bullshit.

I understand that as a retailer, which Netflix essentially is, you need to raise prices to maintain profitability, but a 60% increase is insane! The Netflix model as a whole is extremely flawed as is.

When new releases hit the DVD shelves, Netflix must wait 28 days to rent a new release. So if you are dying to see "Arthur" you best get your ass to Best Buy and purchase it, or hit up the Redbox. Waiting a month to see new movies is pretty annoying, especially when the price has been driven up 60%.

Netflix boasts a subscription base of over 25 million, and in 2008 had revenue in excess of $150 million. Pretty impressive when you add piracy to the equation. The company is raising prices astronomically, without offering customers anything more.

Currently, I do not subscribe to the Netflix service, although I did at one time. The streaming lineup is full of crappy movies that are obscure, or at least six months old. The company needs to really expand their streaming lineup for this move to be justified.

Overall, this price hike strikes me as greed. The company has all but murdered Blockbuster; that company is dying a very slow death. Mom and Pop video stores? I haven't seen one in years. Bottom line: Netflix is a huge staple in American pop culture. The company does not need to raise prices to be profitable, it needs to better the services they already offer.

A big screw you to Netflix, get me my "Arthur" now, before I hurt someone. Add "Douchebag of the Week" to your many meaningless awards!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brewers Acquire K-Rod from the Mets

The Brewers made the first big trade going towards the trade deadline, acquiring Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez for cash, and two prospects to be named later.

Rodriguez, the single season saves leader in MLB history fortifies a bullpen that features John Axford, Kameron Loe, and Takashi Saito. It has not been determined what role Rodriguez will facilitate for the Brew-Crew.

Rodriguez has a 3.14 ERA, with 23 saves. His strikeout rate is 9.7, which is tied for a career-low. He also has an unsightly WHIP of 1.40.

Kevin Says: I really do not like the deal for the Brewers. I really thought that Milwaukee needed an upgrade out of the bullpen, but I do not feel like K-Rod is the answer. He is a man who has had some serious character issues recently, and has not been entirely dominant this year.

The bigger issue is Frankie's deal. Presumably, he was brought in to setup for John Axford, although if he does step into the closer role, and finishes 55 games, his contract for 2012 vests at a bloated sum of $17.5 million. I can't imagine the Brewers gave up top-tier prospects, and they did receive cash in the deal. Overall, I am not a fan of the deal for the Brewers.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A New Low Point for San Diego Sports?

If you have any preexisting sports knowledge, you knew that 2011 was not going to be a season for the ages for the San Diego Padres. I picked them to win 83 games, because I figured their lineup can't possibly be as bad as it has been. The starting pitching hasn't really lived up to expectations either, with the exception of Tim Stauffer, and Dustin Moseley, albeit a much lower extent.

The Padres have been DOA most of the season, although they were starting to show some life in the last two weeks. Winning series' over Boston, Colorado and Kansas City had them shooting towards .500. Then it all died in Los Angeles.

You see, the Padres have never thrown a no-hitter in their pitiful 42 history. Not one. I was at a game back in 1998, when pitcher Sterling Hitchcock had a no-no going through seven innings. The energy at the Q was off the charts. First pitch of the eighth inning was swated over the left field wall by Angels catcher, and future Padres All-Star Phil Nevin. It looked like it may never happen.

Take the game on Saturday, a matchup between the Padres and Dodgers; two teams going nowhere. Padres pitcher Aaron Harang, fresh off of the DL throws 6 hitless innings. Bud Black decides to pull him since he hasn't pitched much over the last month. Seems like a pretty reasonable situation, giving Harang needed 95 pitches to get through those innings.

Insert the Padres stalwarts in the bullpen: Josh Spence, Chad Qualls, Mike Adams, and Luke Gregerson. The Padres kept that no-hitter intact for 8 2/3 innings. The Padres were just one out away from history! Only, one problem...The Padres had ONE hit at that point. That's right folks, almost 9 innings in the books and the Padres had one stinking hit. The Dodgers broke up that no-hitter with two outs in the ninth. Then won the game.

It would have been fitting for the Padres to get their first no-no when using 6 different pitchers. Then no pitcher could truly own it, it would be pretty humorous. However, losing a game when you don't give up a hit until the 9th inning is just pathetic. Another pitiful performance that might be one of the worst in San Diego sports. And that is saying a lot.