Ready Player Four


Blanco surrounded by teammates in the Phillies dugout
Photo of No. 4 Andrés Blanco getting high-fived by No. 3 David Lough © 2016 MLB/Phillies.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a nice profile of Andrés Blanco on Thursday. I can definitely appreciate a hot power hitter, dominant pitcher, or shortstop who owns his zone, but there's something that resonates with me about a reliable utility player shining when subbed in and given an occasional start. Blanco — signed out of Venezuela by the Kansas City Royals’ organization at 16 years old, yet only now playing in the majors full-time at twice that age — is such a guy on an underdog team that sure needs him. Seeing that he grinds out the practice, respects his success, and gives back to his community makes it all the better. The Phillies hope that rebuilding for the future doesn't mean entirely failing to contend today; me, I hope that whenever things do turn around again Blanco is here for it.

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Get Carter Back


ABC finally canceled Marvel’s Agent Carter last week. The short-run winter series, which spelled the fall and spring halves of Agents of SHIELD these past two years, had been a ratings disappointment. Once star Hayley Atwell was cast by the network in a potential regular-season legal drama, now picked up to series, writing met wall.



You can’t entirely blame ABC, who clearly wants to be in business with Atwell.
SHIELD itself has hardly been a ratings bonanza — due in part to ongoing identity crises, tensions between Marvel’s film and television enterprises that leave the big-screen blockbusters bereft of nearly any reference to (and, thus, what should be no-brainer promotion of) the show, and the general demands that “peak TV” has put on viewers’ time. I’ve enjoyed both SHIELD and Carter, however, even as what they do well makes my frustration over what they could be doing better all the greater.