RIP Bob Einstein, Mean Gene, The Captain. Mariners get Yusei Kikuchi plus NFL Curling

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EL BARRIO, EL FALLS: I can’t tell you guys how hard I had to work to come up with these topics today. The first one was easy but the final two had me really searching. I always wanted to do an Angry Ward and talk about movies or something else but I decided to persevere and find something. So trying to turn scraps into a feast, here is the menu for today: New Year’s RIPs, Mariners Get Yusei Kikuchi & All-Pro Curling?

New Year’s RIPs:
The NewYear is a time to look forward not back but this year we had no choice… well I had no choice. You know you are getting old when key people, musicians, entertainers or actors from your childhood die. That was the feeling I got when I heard “Mean” Gene Okerlund had passed. I am sure some remember him for his wrestling but most people my age remember him as the voice of our saturday mornings watching wrestling. Mean Gene and Cowboy Jim Ross are the Vin Scully and Howard Cossell of wrestling. I mean all these new guys try but they can not capture the genuine way Oakland would look fully engaged at Randy “Macho Man” Savage as he rambled on about getting even and a bunch of other nonsensical things. The way he legitimately sounded shocked when a chair entered the ring or that they bad guys were cheating. He was a professional’s professional. I didn’t even know he was a wrestler for years and assumed he had always been a professional broadcaster.

Super Dave Osborne – aka Bob Einstein -also passed away on New Year’s Day. I didn’t even recognize him on Curb Your Enthusiasm. I needed the daredevil suit and helmet for me to recognize him. When I was young and he would come on during my weekend afternoons and his insane stunt attempts. I actually did feel sorry for him as he kept failing and I couldn’t figure out why until my big brother explained to me that was all part of the act. What can I say I was naive as I kid, I believed wrestling was real too.

Daryl Dragon dba The Captain also left us a couple of days ago. First, why would you not go by Daryl Dragon? That sounds way more badass than The Captain. Anyway Mr. Dragon and wife Toni Tennille formed a duo called The Captain & Tennille. They were a hit in the 70s and one song “Do It To Me One More Time” is a classic. However, in my mind, I will never for get them from a Sprint ad in the 2000s when they were on a football field. The head coach asked why The Captain and Tennille was on the field and the assistant said, “I thought that is what you asked for over the phone.” Coach said, “No! I said a back-up for O’Neal!” That commercial still makes me laugh.

Mariners Sign Yusei Kikuchi: The next big thing from Japan tag is a tough one to have. It is usually a poisoned chalice, as players struggled with the title. However, Shoheni Ohtani is doing well with Angels, Tommy John Surgery aside, and Ichiro was great with Seattle. Maybe it is moving to the Western US with a significant Japanese population already that helps ease the culture shock.

Following that logic, Yusei Kikuch just signed with the Mariners. Kikuchi’s deal is unusual in its structure, but falls in line with Seattle’s approach to its new lefty. The deal is worth $56 million guaranteed over four years, but could be worth up to $109 million over seven seasons, if options are exercised. He receives a $6 million signing bonus and salaries of $8 million this year, $14 million in 2020 and $15 million in 2021. The agreement includes a $13 million player option for 2022 and Seattle has options worth $16.5 million annually for 2022-25. The key for Kikuchi and his super agent Scott Boras is that the Mariners are rebuilding, so they don’t see a need to rush Kikuchi. He will possibly be part of a 6-man rotation and somedays go through the warm-ups, pitch a partially simulated game, then throw two innings. The Mariners want to ease Kikuchi into MLB life and the grind of playing a higher level of competition. He won’t have the pressure to be Mark Messier The Messiah until next year – most likely. But this year he will get to play and learn and have fun since the Ms won’t be winning much anyway.

All-Pro Curling: We have all heard of retired athletes trying new sports, however this one is gonna be a doozie. Former NFL Pro Bowlers Jared Allen, Marc Bulger, Keith Bullock and Michael Roos have formed a curling team to try and qualify for the Olympics. Apparently this idea was spearheaded by Allen, who loved the Olympics and always wanted to compete in them. Now living in Nashville, he made some calls and found the other 3 guys all living in Nashville. So they have combined forces and are set to compete and try and make it to the 2022 Olympics. That seems far away but it may give them just enough time to get good at curling enough to qualify. Curling is not the most athletic sport and you have a Pro Bowl DE, LB, OT and QB who have ability and athleticism, so they should be at an advantage. For them to learn the basics of sweeping, blocking, busting and all those other curling terms in the next few years? I wouldn’t bet against them.

Share your thoughts below and come back tomorrow for another gem by Cheesy Bruin. You can also find us on Twitter – @JunoirBlaber, @MeetTheMatts & @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram – @MeetTheMatts – and Facebook Meet The Matts

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Junoir Blaber is from Ghana but was transplanted to the Bronx as a young lion chaser. Blaber is the Rain Man of Meet The Matts and is a featured contributor on MTM global partner, Rugby Wrap Up. The name "Junoir" is not a cool African name. Instead, Blaber mis-typed "Junoir" on his Facebook page. But proving that two wrongs indeed do make a right, he embraced his new persona - [June-noire]... Manute Bol is his uncle and his teams are the Mets, Jets, Knicks & NY Rangers... And Manchester United. He knows soccer. [Vomit]. P.s... He has webbed toes and came be followed on Twitter here: @JunoirBlaber

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