Category Archives: Power Rankings
Let’s talk about walk up music in the Major Leagues. We’ve all had the discussion, possibly at the local watering hole, possibly while waxing poetic about how great your terrible bar-league softball team is going to be: “If you were in the big leagues, what would your walk-up music be?” My answer, for the record, is “Blockbuster Night Part 1” by Run The Jewels. Your walk-up song should not only serve to work up the hometown crowd, it’s also a reflection of yourself. Do you have the Heart of a Lion? Is there perhaps some Bad Blood between you and the opposing team? You’ve got about 13 seconds to let the crowd know. What follows is a scientific evaluation of the player on each team that currently uses the medium best.
For this study I obtained most of my information from MLB.com’s Ballpark Music site (http://mlb.mlb.com/fan_forum/ballpark_music.jsp?c_id=mlb), to identify each player’s walk up music. So if you have anecdotal evidence that one of these songs is no longer in use by a particular player, or if you feel there’s one I’ve unfairly excluded that isn’t listed on MLB.com’s site, you’ll have take it up with them. I did what fact checking I could, but short of visiting each team’s ballpark every night, there’s only so much I can do.
Each song was scored according to three highly scientific measures on a scale of 1-100: “Is It Good Song”; “Do A Lot Of Folks Know The Song”; and “The Dope Beats and Catchiness Index (DBCI)”, a proprietary statistic of my own devising that seeks to define the level to which a particular song can raise the spirits of 35,000 baseball fans. Those scores were then averaged, with a bonus score of -5 to 5 applied to some songs whenever I felt like it, to find each songs final score.
But First! The Bottom Five:
5) Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays: In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins 29.3
I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong about this, because Josh was not alone here; he was only the most well-known player to use this as his theme. Phil Collins is fine if you’re trying to set the mood with your guy or gal, folks. But to set the mood with 35,000 strangers? I’m just not too sure about that, Josh.
4) Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees: International Love by Pitbull and Chris Brown
What a great troll move from A-Rod, the most universally despised baseball player, to use a song from the two most universally despised rap artists as his walk-up music. A-Rod’s hilarious victory lap wouldn’t be the same without being soundtracked by this awful song. He really missed an opportunity to cement his legacy by failing to retire after hitting his 666th home run.
3) Jake McGee, Tampa Bay Rays: My Way by Limp Bizkit 19.0
I’ve got to be honest with you guys, I used to jam to this song too, folks. I think my friends and I probably requested it at our 8th grade dance.
2) A.J. Pierzinski, Atlanta Braves: Bullets by Creed 10.7
A.J. has to be the least surprising entry on this list, right?
1) Shaun Marcum, Cleveland Indians: Burn It To The Ground by Nickleback 9.0
Why, Shaun. Why? I will never forgive Marcum for losing the 2011 NLCS to the C***inals, so it greatly pleases me to rank him as having the single worst walk-up song in the Major Leagues.
A few teams had so many great songs that these just have to be mentioned, although I wasn’t able to include them in the final rankings since the rule is one song per team. Know that most of these would be in the top ten if teams were allowed multiple entries.
Zack Grienke, Los Angeles Dodgers: Careless Whisper by George Michael
Zack Grienke was created in a lab in New Mexico by scientists charged with developing the most entertaining professional sports player of all time. George Michael? Never change, Zack.
Todd Frazier, Cincinatti Reds: Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra
This is a dope choice, not only because it’s a great song in and of itself, but because of the subtle baseball reference from the newly-crowned Home Run Derby champion who hits moonshots on the regular.
Jesse Hahn, Oakland Athletics: Hit ‘Em High (Monstar’s Theme) by B-Real feat. Method Mad, Coolio, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes
“Travis, would it be a good idea to use a dope track from the undisputed greatest live-action/animated sports movie of all time as my walk-up song?” Yes, Jesse, “I Believe I Can Fly” by R-Kelly would be an excellent choi–ooooh. Well that works too I guess.
Bryce Harper, Washinton Nationasl: The Best is Yet to Come by Frank Sinatra
If that’s true it is utterly terrifying. Got help us all.
And now, finally, on to the rankings. Please note that these are definitive and above reproach.
P Jonathan Schoop
Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) by Silento
Look, whatever. If it’s good enough for Queen Riley Curry, it’s good enough for all of us. Other players that use this song: Ryan Howard, Philladephia Phillies
OF Torii Hunter
Heart of a Lion by Kid CuDi
Listen, there’s nothing wrong with this song. It’s a dope track, kind of a deep cut from Cudi’s first studio album that was never released as a single. It’s fine, but someone’s got to be down here in the bottom five, and Heart of a Lion really took a hit in the song popularity section.
3B Garin Cecchini
Good Vibrations by Marky Mark
and the Funky Bunch
The Red Sox didn’t give me a lot to work with, so the ultimate vanilla party song came back as their top song. Everyone in the world knows this song, and all of those people think it’s okay. It’s the kind of song that you forgot you heard 12 seconds after it ends. Meh. Other players that use this song: Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals; Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
P Chad Billingsley
TNT by AC/DC
Whatever, this is fine. It’s just lazy, you know? This is the kind of walk up song choice that just says you didn’t invest any time in the decision at all. But the rest of the Phillies were horrid (Carlos Ruiz is one of the players that shares Phil Collins with Josh Donaldson), so they’re stuck with this.
SS Jed Lowrie
Tom Sawyer by Rush
I don’t know if the middle of a baseball game is the right time for it, but this is an objectively great song. TNT got here just by being a classic Jock Jam, Tom Sawyer lands here on the strength of being awesome.
P Tom Koehler
X Gon Give It To Ya by DMX
P R.A. Dickey
Game of Thrones (Theme) by Ramin Djawadi
I had to look up video of this to see if it was real/how cool it was. It is really cool. Other players that use this song: Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets
P Wade Davis
Ackrite by Dr. Dre feat. Hittman
Dr. Dre is all over this list, because he’s a noted creator of sick beats and because his songs generally lend themselves to being stadium anthems. This is the lowest on my list, simply because it was never released as a single and isn’t as well known.
OF Mark Canha
7/11 by Beyonce
This one’s for the ladies. Canha was the only instance I could find of a player using Queen Bey for his walk-up music. I am not overly familiar with this song, but my girlfriend assures me that it is a very good song and that I like it a lot.
OF Jaun Lagares
Hot in Herre by Nelly
OF Mike Trout
Started From the Bottom by Drake
Toronto’s favorite son, fresh off his annihilation of Meek Mill, makes his only appearance on our countdown with what I can only assume is an over-our-heads subversive joke from the American League MVP, who has been the best baseball player in the league since his debut in 2011.
P Mike Foltynewicz
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark by Fall Out Boy
Man, this name must have SUCKED in high school. Half of my teachers couldn’t pronounce my last name right, and mine sounds exactly like it’s spelled. One time, someone just threw an M in there for no reason. What is wrong with you lady? Anyway my point is, I’m sorry, Mike Fontywantynickles. This song is fine, great safe choice.
P Cody Allen
God’s Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash
Pretty good song, and feels like an especially good choice for a closer, which is a made-up position based on the baseball community’s fascination with a meaningless stat that was created in 1969. It’s so good for closers, in fact, that the Yankees’ Andrew Miller uses it as well. Other players that use this song, Miller, Nate Eovaldi, New York Yankees
OF Ryan Braun
All Day by Kanye West
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just save your steroids jokes, they’re old enough to attend kindergarten now. Let them live their lives, you’re smothering them. Braun is basically the Kanye of MLB. Braun is probably MLB’s douchiest player, and Kanye is pop culture’s douchiest human. Have either they done anything really awful? Nah – one kinda cheated at a children’s game, and the other was mean to Taylor Swift once. But they’re annoying, and it’s only magnified by having to constantly acknowledge that they are indeed quite good.
2B Tim Beckham
So Fresh, So Clean by Outkast
The early aughts were sort of a weird time for hip-hop. For instance, Chingy existed, Mike Jones made an entire album where he just recited his phone number (281-330-8004, hit Mike Jones up on the low, ‘cuz Mike Jones about to blow) and Lil’ Jon and the Ying Yang Twins made like 12 chart-toppers that were basically them just screaming the same 9 words all y’all were like, “….that’s dope as hell, bruh.” Offsetting this nonsense was the brilliance of Andre 3000 and Big Boi, and this track is one of their best.
SS Ian Desmond
Alright by Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp A Butterfly is such a good album, and for me right now, this is the best track on the album (this is subject to change at any time). “Alright” is a banger.
OF Adam Eaton
This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan
So at this point, you’re starting to see how quickly the songs on this list get great. Listen, being in the bottom half of this list still puts you among the greats. It’s like being one of the worst players in the Hall of Fame. Literally, I would say, the honor of making this list is pretty much on par with being elected into Cooperstown.
C Kyle Schwarber
No Diggity by Blackstreet feat. Dr. Dre
Fun fact: 39% of all song released from 1995-2001 ended with “feat. Dr. Dre”, the most notable of which was of course the timeless 1999 classic, “MmmBop (G-funk Remix)” by Hanson feat. Dr. Dre.
OF Peter Bourjos
Still D.R.E. by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg
The only reason this song isn’t in the top ten is my own pure, unadulterated hatred for the Cardinals. I mean no disrespect to the good doctor and the D-O-double-G. Let me be very clear about this: this song is great, and the Cardinals are the worst.
OF Andrew McCutchen
Bad Blood by Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar
This is the most entertaining combination of dope song-great player in my opinion, but this list ranks only how good the song is, not how well it lines up with the player. It’s difficult for me to admit that you can add Kendrick Lamar to something and make it slightly worse, but just like Star Wars and the National League, the original is better.
P Josh Collmenter
Blank Space by Taylor Swift
I’m not sorry about this at all. Everyone that says they don’t like Taylor Swift is a liar. If you’re one of those people, let me tell you something, guy: It’s not that you don’t like Taylor, it’s that you don’t like the part of yourself that loves her. You’ve got to look inside of yourself and just come to terms with exactly who you are.
1B Mark Teixera
It’s Tricky by Run DMC
Once upon a time, the Yankees signed Tex as a free agent, formerly of the Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem, a couple of weeks after signing C.C. Sabathia, most recently of the Milwaukee Brewers. Based on a completely-not-transparent ranking system, Elias ranked Teixera as a slightly better player than Sabathia, who almost won the dang NL Cy Young even though he didn’t join the league until mid-July (they were the top two ranked free agents that year). Based on those rankings, the Angels received the higher compensatory round pick from the Yankees in the 2012 MLB Draft. The Brewers, rumored to be interested in Mike Trout, watched the reigning MVP go to the Angels at No. 25. Scrambling to find a plan B, the Brewers ended up taking Indiana senior Eric Arnett, who was released in 2013 and finished his career with a 5.18 ERA while failing to ever progress past A ball. What does this have to do with Run D.M.C.? Not a damn thing. But it has haunted me for years, and I needed to get it off my chest.
SS Brad Miller
Big Poppa by The Notorious B.I.G.
Obviously, I have a thing for dorky looking white dudes using gangsta rap as their walk-up songs. This is one of Biggie’s best and most famous bangers. Dope choice.
P Ian Kennedy
I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift
In 2011, Kennedy, then with the Diamondbacks, led the league with 21 wins, tallied a 2.88 ERA with 198 strikeouts, and finished 4th in Cy Young voting. It was the only year that he posted a sub-3.60 ERA, and he’s basically been pretty pedestrian otherwise. He’s struggled with surrendering home runs his entire career, allowing an average of 25 per 162 games (source: Baseball Reference). So, he’s certainly trouble when he walks in, but more so for the hometown fans than opposing batters. Yes, it was a long walk to that one. Thanks for sticking around. Reading this column was a voluntary act.
OF Hunter Pence
Circle of Life by Sir Elton John
This is the most Hunter Pence walk up song of all time. If you don’t love Hunter Pence then I don’t love you. It is my belief that all Hunter Pence Signs are made out of love and respect. Sort of like when you’re pallin’ around with your mates, just funnin’ with them. More players should be using Disney songs as their walk up jams.
OF Charlie Blackmon
Your Love by The Outfield
VH1 really donked this one up when they ranked what was easily a top three one-hit wonder of the 80s FIFTY NINTH on their highly suspect rankings. “Mickey” at #9? MICKEY!? That song is wet garbage. “Your Love”, on the other hand, is a masterpiece, and has the benefit of a tangential baseball reference. Other players that use this song: Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox; Grant Green, Los Angeles Angels
3B Nick Castellanos
Ignition (Remix) by R. Kelly
Oh man, oh man, oh man. This song is FOURTH?! The top of this list is basically just a collection of the world’s greatest bangers then. The only reason you would hear this song come on at the club and not immediately start dancing would be if you literally had died.
OF Jay Bruce
Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
Not only is this one of Tay’s greatest and catchiest songs, it is universally recognized, and everyone who isn’t a liar loves it. I wonder if Jay chose this song so his manager would stop saying “Shake it off” to him after his at-bats, since he’s never had a season in which he didn’t have more strikeouts than hits. The only issue here is Jay breaking my number one rule: never trust a man with two first names. Other players that use this song: A.J. Ellis, Los Angeles Dodgers
P Kenley Jansen
California Love by TuPac
While doing research for this piece, I noted early on, because of how the alphabet works, that Baltimore Orioles outfield Adam Jones was using this banger, one of hip hop’s greatest collaborations. Answering my silent prayers, Jansen allowed me to give this song to a player from the correct state, which added five bonus points to the score and nearly lifted the Dodgers’ closer to the top spot. Other players that use this song: Jones
3B Joey Gallo
Pony by Ginuwine
Look, I know he was optioned down to Triple-A Round Rock a couple of weeks ago and I do not care. He represents the Rangers and tops this list anyway because A) This is a top-five all time song and B) the rest of the Rangers have truly awful taste in music (basically have the league is vibing dang Fetty Wap right now, including Rangers rookie Delino DeShields Jr.). I couldn’t leave Ginuwine off the list and I apologize for nothing. Hurry back, Joey.
If you’ve followed me here from my old site on blogger.com, you may remember my Game of Thrones Power Rankings posts of which I did maybe two or three. Folks seemed to like them okay. They featured mostly randomly assigned ranks to characters appearing in that week’s episode. I implied that a full ranking of all Game of Thrones characters existed and was definitely real. But guess what, it wasn’t. It didn’t exist.
Wasn’t. Didn’t. PAST TENSE.
To get you ready for the new season starting Sunday, I present, not humbly, the definitive ranking of every Game of Thrones character. As always, we start with the In Memoriam, as with a notable exception, the dead hold no power. Obviously, if you haven’t gotten yourself completely caught up with the first four seasons, then spoiler alert. I shouldn’t have to say that, because 100% obviously, but someone will get mad if I don’t. Use your judgment, folks.
147. Old Nan
146. Septa Mordane
143. Lommy Greenhands
141. Alton Lannister
Affiliation: House Lannister
Manner of death: Beaten to death by his own cousin, Jaime, to aid in the latter’s escape from Riverrun’s dungeons. The dang idiot though he and Jaime were gonna be besties.
140. Viserys Targaryen
138. Karl Tanner
Affiliation: The Betrayers
Manner of death: Jon Snow gives him a nice long iron tongue while he’s distracted by one of Craster’s daughter-wives.
136. The Spice King
134. Black Loren
132. Kraznys mo Nakloz
Afilliation: The Good Masters of Astapor
Manner of death: Roasted by one of the dragons he had just received as payment for his Unsullied slave warriors. It was pretty funny.
131. Ser Amory Lorch
130. Ser Wendel Manderly
129. Ser Rickard Karstark
Affiliation: Night’s Watch
Manner of death: Beheaded by Eddard Stark for desertion after fleeing The Wall when his fellow rangers were murdered by a White Walker. Ned didn’t believe him, literally the only time throughout the entire show that Ned didn’t take someone’s word at face value, and of course it was the only time anyone said something to him that was 100% honest.
125. Maester Luwin
124. Maester Cressin
123. Ser Dontos Hollard
Affiliation: House Bolton
Manner of death: Neck snapped nearly clean off by Bran Stark, warging through Hodor’s body, during the second battle at Craster’s Keep. Any time someone affiliated with the Boltons dies horribly, you have to love that.
121. Mirri Maz Duur
120. Ser Jory Cassel
119. Ser Rodrik Cassel
118. Hoster Tully
Affiliation: House Lannister
Manner of death: Strangled to death with her own necklace by Tyrion after he found her in his father’s bed.
116. Talisa Stark
115. Matthos Seaworth
114. Lysa Arryn
113. Pyat Pree
Affiliation: The Thirteen
Manner of death: Like so many others in Essos that have crossed her, set aflame by Daenerys’ dragons.
112. Joffrey ‘Baratheon’
Afilliation: Night’s Watch
Manner of Death: A shaft through the throat from Ygritte’s bow and bludgeoned to death by Mag the Mighty, respectively, during the Battle of Castle Black.
109. Magnar of Thenn
108. Mag the Mighty
107. Qhorin Halfhand
105. Jojen Reed
Affiliation: House Stark
Manner of Death: Stabbed by a White Walker, mercy killed by his sister, Meera, with a cut across the throat, and then blasted by a fireball from Leaf, the child of the forest, just to be damn sure.
103. Joer Mormont
102. Renly Baratheon
101. Khal Drogo
100. Catelyn Stark
99. Robb Stark
Affiliation: House Stark
Manner of death: I don’t wanna talk about it.
98. Robert Baratheon
97. Oberyn Martell
96. Eddard Stark
95. Tywin Lannister
Affiliation: House Lannister
Manner of death: Crowbow’d by his son while enjoying a nice post-coital two-sie because he wouldn’t stop calling folks whores.
The Ambiguously Extant
93. Xaro Xhoan Daxos
Affiliation: The Thirteen of Qarth
When last we left them: Locked inside Xaro’s vault by Daenerys and presumably left there to rot after the former betrayed the Mother of Dragons to the latter. Both begged uselessly for their pitiful lives. Both should have been summarily ignited by dragon fire, but instead we don’t have a body and can therefore not be sure of their demise.
92. Benjen Stark
Afillition: Night’s Watch
When last we left him: Benjen has been missing since the outset of the series, having gone on a ranging beyond the wall and never returned. He almost certainly dead except then why the heck do they keep talking about him then?
When last we left him: His human body has been dispatched with, but he warged into an eagle and lives (well, kinda) to fight on.
90. Syrio Forrel
89. The Mountain That Rides
Affiliation: House Lannister
When last we left him: Mortally wounded by the Red Viper during Tyrion’s trial by combat, Cersei tasked the dubiously moral former Maester Qyburn with maintaining the body of Ser Gregor, no matter the cost.
88. The Hound
The Not Dead Just Yet
87. Janos Slynt
Affiliation: Night’s Watch
While Sam Tarly, some ladies and a couple of pre-teens were out fighting for their lives against the Wildlings, Janos spent the Battle of Caslte Black locked in the pantry with Gilly. He’s only ranked this high because those are the rules so I have to.
86. Roslin Tully-Frey
85. Edmure Tully
84. Hot Pie
Affiliation: No one cares
Makes a mean wolf-shaped loaf of bread, though.
82. Fat Walda Bolton
81. Rickon Stark
80. Lancel Lannister
79. The High Septon
78. Selyse Baratheon
77. Shireeen Baratheon
76. Ser Jorah Mormont
Affiliation: House Targaryen (disowned)
Well, how the heck do you like that? He was promised a pardon for his crimes if he spied on Daenerys a little bit, but then decided he liked her more and became her staunchest friend and ally (and was friendzoned hard and repeatedly). Then when she finds out about all this, instead of rewarding him for changing sides and risking everything for her, she banishes him. Women, I tell you. Who needs ’em, amirite?
75. Illyrio Mopatis
74. Ser Illyn Payne
73. Myrcella ‘Baratheon’
Affiliation: House Lannister
We should expect to see a lot more of Cersei and Jaime’s only daughter this season as we finally see Dorne, where the young princess was sent by Tyrion to save her from her mother.
71. Lame Lothar
70. Black Walder Rivers
69. Lord o’ Bones
67. Hizdahr zo Loraq
66. Ser Meryn Trant
65. Tormund Giantsbane
His side lost at the Conflict at The Wall, but did anyone deal out more raw damage during the Battle of Castle Black? Picked up an entire bucket of EXP, probably leveled up twice.
62. Anguy the Archer
61. Grand Maester Pycelle
59. Sweet Robin Arryn
Affiliation: House Arryn
A slightly less intelligent and slightly more pliable Joffrey clone, he may have a chance to be a productive member of Westerosi society with his mother out of the picture.
58. Ellaria Sand
57. Salladhor Sahn
56. Mance Rayder
Affiliation: Night’s Watch
This would be the amateur archer that killed Ygritte. He sucks and we hate him for it.
54. Othell Yarwick
53. Vance Corbray
52. Anya Waynwood
51. Yohn Royce
Affiliation: House Arryn
The three members of the tribunal who ruled on the matter of Lysa’s murder fell for Sansa’s nonsense hook, line and sinker.
50. Walder Frey
Hodor. Hodor hodor hodor, hodor. Hodor! HODOR! Hodor hodor hodor hodor.
46. Kevan Lannister
45. Ser Loras Tyrell
44. Maester Aemon
42. Meera Reed
41. Thoros of Myr
40. Beric Doncarrion
Affiliation: Brotherhood Without Banners
Though neither the Old Gods nor the New seem to wield any real influence over the events of the world, the Lord of Light works real magic through his followers. Quaithe, the Asshai’i shadowbinder, Melisandre and Thoros of Myr are all able to do fantastic works in his name, the latter having brought Beric, the Lightning Lord, back from the dead several times.
38. Greatjon Umber
37. Leaf, Child of the Forest
36. The Three-Eyed Raven
Affiliation: The Old Gods
Bran has finally reached his destination, although the triumph is lessened by the death of Jojen. We don’t really know what sort of power these two possess, but one of them can shoot fireballs out of her dang hands.
35. Dolorous Edd
34. Podrick Payne
33. Davos Seaworth
32. The Blackfish
Affiliation: House Tully
Having left the reception to relieve himself at an extremely opportune time, it would seen that Ser Brynden Tully escaped the massacre at the Red Wedding. His whereabouts are unknown to us, but he likely holds Riverrun against the Bolton’s in the name of the slain King in the North.
31. Barristan Selmy
30. Samwell Tarly
29. Grey Worm
28. Alliser Thorne
27. ‘Jaqen H’ghar’
Affiliation: Faceless Men of Braavos
Since he’s a face-changer, we could have been seeing him all along and would have no idea, and of course Jaqen isn’t his name, but it’s the only real way to identify him at this point. A popular fan theory that Jaqen and Syrio Forrel are the same man means we may have listed him twice, though I doubt the likelihood of that. Braavos is where Arya is headed now.
26. Asha Greyjoy
25. Balon Greyjoy
24. Daario Naharis
Affiliation: House Targaryen
Daenerys’ handmaiden managed to sexually arouse Grey Worm, who does not have any sexual organs. It’s a crime that she’s not number one on this list.
22. Mace Tyrell
21. Sansa Stark
Affiliation: House Baelish
Just what in the blue hell is running through this misguided girl’s head? Did she just give me the “do me” eyes to Littlefinger? What in the WORLD are you doing, child? You need R’ihlor, girl. Get your dang head on straight.
20. Brienne of Tarth
19. Bran Stark
17. Arya Stark
16. Jon Snow
15. Ramsay Bolton
14. Cersei Lannister
13. Jaime Lannister
Affiliation: House Lannister
Really hard to say where Jaime will go from here when he finds out that the brother he just set free, as his first act, murdered his father. Cersei would be in the top ten, but she thinks she is number one, and her hubris drops her here.
12. Tommen ‘Baratheon’
11. Roose Bolton
10. Margaery Tyrell
9. Stannis Baratheon
8. Olenna Redwyne
7. Tycho Nestoris
Affiliation: The Iron Bank
Most would agree that prior to his untimely death, Tywin Lannister occupied the number one spot on these rankings; mostly because I am the only person who has any say over such things. There was only one entity that Tywin feared: Tycho and the Iron Bank. He refused to lend money to Stannis when he came asking; had he done so, season four would have ended with Stannis using the stuffed corpse of Cersei Lannister as the Iron Throne’s footrest.
6. Petyr Baelish
5. The White Walkers
Affiliation: The Great Other
They can only really be killed by obsidian, or “dragon glass,” and as far as anyone knows the only piece of it is a dagger that belongs to Sam Tarly. That, or you can learn to shoot fireballs out of your hands like Leaf, but that’s it. So that’s not great.
2. Tyrion Lannister
Affiliation: His own dang self
Yeah, he’s a fugitive who is basically on the run from everyone in the entire world. But he just killed the most powerful man in the world. For one week, he deserves this spot at the top.
1. Daenerys Targaryen
Affiliation: House Targaryen
She has lost track of one of her dragons after he set a child on fire for no dang reason, and was forced to chain up the other two as a result. This leaves her in control of two incapacitated dragons, which remains infinitely more dragons than everyone else combined. She’s undefeated, but she’ll regret dismissing her biggest and oldest supporter in Ser Jorah — he’d abandoned a chance to return to his old life with a full pardon without about three weeks of meeting her.
The clear gold standard in the eating utensil world is the fork, a true all star that is an absolute necessity at any civilized place setting. Not only is it’s skewering ability top-notch with it’s 3-4 prongs, it can also function as a rough replacement for a knife or spoon in most occasions, making it’s versatility second to none. If you need proof, go buy a combo-pack of plastic utensils for your next picnic, business lunch or other community event at which food will be served. I guarantee you’ll be left with 48 spoons, 38 knives and 2 forks some weirdo probably used and then replaced.
2) Steak Knife
While the side of your fork can handle a lot, sometimes your need something sharp and serrated. The classic knife-and-fork combo comes in with the two top spots on our list, which should come as a surprise to no one. Of course, most of the time, the steak knife is completely dependent on the fork to even work properly, giving it a slight bump down and showing just how wide the gap is between the fork and the rest of the field.
The fork of the Asian world can’t be ignored in the world of eating utensils, even if it’s use in the United States is limited to Chinese takeout and really, really cool hipsters. It’s entirely possible it deserves a spot closer to the legendary fork, but I have never been able to figure out how to use them properly and, while chopsticks are certainly an effective and elegant method for delivering food from your bowl or plate to your mouth, I’m of the opinion that accessibility and ease of use factor in to these rankings. It should be noted also that the laws governing the etiquette of chopstick use are long, convoluted and at times contradictory, so if you find yourself at a traditional Asian dinner, there’s a pretty decent chance you’ll at some point end up accidentally offending someone.
The skewer is basically just one chopstick that’s had it’s point whittled to a more deadly point to make stabbing and stacking your food easier. It is of note that while chopsticks could theoretically be used as a skewer in a pinch, the practice is generally frowned upon as at best rude and at worst symbolic of death. Skewers are a staple of any legitimate barbeque, and if you happen to find one loaded with nothing but vegetables, do your friends and family a favor and throw some steak on that bad boy.
Veterans of Yum! restaurants KFC and Taco Bell are very familiar with the spork, popular among weird high school dorks who play Magic: The Gathering and wearing black t-shirts from Hot Topic (read: me 12 years ago). Odd teenage obsessions aside, the spork is actually a fairly useful utensil, though it’s ability to skewer with its stubby little prongs is limited at best.
While usually not used to actually transport food from your plate to your mouth, tongs are nonetheless an absolutely indispensable eating utensil, especially when grilling outdoors. You could use a fork to move meat onto and off of the grill, and turn sausages for maximum flavor, but you run the risk of losing valuable juices, and dripping onto your coals, which can hamper your ability to cook going forward. If you’re not using tongs to grill, you’re wrong.
This ranking may be lower than you’d expect for one of the three staples of western cutlery, but let’s be honest about it. The spoon is pretty useless. Unless you’re getting down with some soup or delicious, delicious chili, everyone the spoon can do a fork can do just as well. Like the crab cracker below, the spoon is essential at times, but it’s lack of versatility hurts its ranking.
8) Crab Cracker
This ranking reflects the lack of versatility the crab cracker brings to the table, as it really serves only to…well, crack crabs. In that endeavor, however, it is uniquely suited to thrive, and any attempt to get inside a crab or lobster’s shell to get at the delicious meat inside is sure to be made significantly more difficult should you find yourself lacking this unique utensil.
9) Butter Knife
There’s really very little reason for the butter knife to exist, as all of its uses are performed very capably by other utensils with more versatility. There is nothing a butter knife does that a steak knife doesn’t do better, including cutting through butter, which makes this utensil both useless and poorly named.
Used primarily by the thru-hiker community and probably other nerds, the sporf supposedly combined the features of a fork, spoon and knife into one utensil. An ambitious attempt on someone’s part to really streamline the Western cutlery game, in practice it probably doesn’t do anything particularly well, and looks like a potential injury hazard as well. I would recommend avoiding it unless you plan on taking on the Appalachian Trail.
Trongs, pictured to the right, are the solution to a non-problem, protecting your fingers from the dangers of barbeque and buffalo sauce while eating ribs and chicken wings. The diabolical creators of this preposterous device live only to cut into the the profits of our country’s many fine wet-nap producers, and I for one won’t stand for it. Anyone caught using trongs without a valid medical excuse should be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Are you kidding me? Get real with this stuff.
Following the US Men’s National Team’s thrilling victory over Ghana on Monday, I’m in the mood to rank the five best and worst sports moments I’ve experienced in my life. These are all going to be single moments, rather than entire games or seasons that were amazing, which is why you won’t find the either of the Packers’ Super Bowl wins, the Badgers’ Final Four runs/Rose Bowl championships, etc. here. Also, this suffers from an inevitable recency effect, as the memory of huge moments fades over time. Deal with it. We’ll start with the bad, to send you out on a high note.
Top Five Sports Heart-breakers
Shameful mention: Shaun Marcum announced as Game 6 starter in 2011 NLCS, Kirk Cousin’s hail mary beats No. 6 Wisconsin, Ray Allen misses the tip-in to win in Philly in the game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals
5) 4th and 26
Date: January 11, 2004
Location: My parent’s living room
This play was so painful it has its own Wikipedia page. After their thrilling overtime victory over Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks a week earlier, the Packers were one play away from a berth in the NFC Championship. Two incompletions, a penalty and a sack left the Eagles facing, well, you know what, with 1:18 left and no timeouts remaining on their own 25 yard line, trailing 17-14. The probability of a loss for the Packers was just slightly higher than the likelihood of Lance Armstrong winning another Sportsman of the Year award. Instead, Nick Barnett blew his coverage, Darren Sharper blew his coverage, Bhawoh Jue blew his coverage, and the Eagles were able to tie. Moments later, a Brett Favre overtime interception (stay tuned for more!) set up David Akers for the game winner.
4) The Catch II
Date: January 3, 1999
Location: Hannah Spear’s birthday party
This would have been heartbreaking in it’s own right: On 3rd and 3 from the Packers’ 25 with eight seconds left and the Packers leading 27-23, Steve Young fired a strike to Terrell Owens to give the 49ers a miracle win after Favre had lead the team on what seemed to be the game-winning drive moments earlier as the Packers sought their third straight Super Bowl appearance (*huff huff huff* how about THAT sentence?). What made it even more painful was that replays clearly showed that Jerry Rice had fumbled four plays earlier in a play that the referees missed (replay review would come to the NFL the following season). Adding to the heartache, this would be Reggie White’s final game as a Packer, as he retired following the season (and then came back to play for the Panthers). I cried in my parents’ room for an hour after this game.
3) Aaron Harrison’s trey ends the Badgers’ title hopes
Date: April 5, 2014
Location: Replay Sports Bar
I’m still not over this. The building was absolutely rocking with about 300 of my closest friends living and dying on every shot. The collective “oof” when Harrison’s shot went in with 5.7 seconds to give Kentucky an improbable victory was palpable and awful. Even with all that time left on the clock, it just felt like the Badgers’ luck had finally run out, and indeed it had as Traevon Jackson’s prayer clanged off the rim as time expired. This game felt like a battle for the NCAA’s soul, with Bo Ryan and his scrappy team of four-year, team-oriented grinders fighting on the side of good against Calipari’s definitely-not-paid-yet, five-star McDonald’s All-American one-and-dones. As with Butler facing Duke in the championship game just a couple years earlier, it seemed like everyone in the country outside of Lexington was a Badger fan that day. And once again, the evil empire won the day.
2) Favre’s final pass as a Packer intercepted in the NFC Championship
Date: January 20, 2008
Location: E. Harmony Apartment in Whitewater
Playing in their first NFC championship game since 1998, the Packers seemed to be charmed and destined for a Super Bowl appearance in what was widely speculated to be Brett Favre’s last year (lol), After a wild, see-saw game, the teams headed to overtime after Lawrence Tynes missed the potential game winner from 36 yards out with four seconds to play, his second miss of the game. At this point, I’m already an absolute train wreck. When Favre threw the second pass of the overtime period right into Corey Webster’s chest near the home team’s sideline, I had to leave the living room and could only listen, lying face down on my extra-long twin size bed furnished by DLK Enterprises (UW-Whitewater s/o), as the game once again hung on the wildly inaccurate leg of Tynes. Shortly after he connected from 47 yards to put the Giants in the Super Bowl, my roommate and best friend Derek watched me pour the first alcoholic beverage I ever imbibed, the first of three I took before 21st birthday. It was a shot of UV Pink, and it tasted like heartbreak.
Date: September 24, 2012
Location: Mad Dog’s Sports Bar and Grill
Bugger that and bugger you, Seattle.
Top Five Best Sports Moments:
5) Ryan Braun’s extra innings grand slam beats the Pirates
Date: September 25, 2008
Location: Miller Park Terrace Level
Locked in a tie with the Mets for the Wild Card lead with three games to play, the Brewers were tied at one with the Pirates, a team they’d beaten 12 out of 13 times in 2008, heading into extra frames. Tensions in the stands were high with the left field scoreboard already flashing the NYM 7, CHC 6 final. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the tenth, Ryan Braun drilled the 2-2 pitch into the Brewers bullpen, keeping the Brewers abreast of New York and sending 43,000 fans into delirium. This of course came two days after Prince Fielder’s own walk-off two-run shot against Pittsburgh, and three days before, well, stay tuned.
4 Graham Zusi and John Brooks shock Ghana
Date: June 16, 2014
Location: Jack’s American Pub
You’ve just seen it, so I won’t bore you with a recap. If you’re not aware, you don’t care anyway. The beautiful corner from one substitute to the second-touch header of the other to finally exorcise the Ghana demons just minutes after Ghana had equalized was one of the greatest moments in recent USMNT history. The bar was jam packed wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, and the the jubilation that occurred after the goal was amazing to be a part of. How much it will mean in the grand scheme of the tournament remains to be seen, but Brooks’ reaction says it all: “OH MY GOD!!!!! Oh my God….oh…my god…I need to lie down.”
3) Rodgers to Cobb puts the Packers in the playoffs
Date: December 29, 2013
Location: Shorewood Apartment
After suffering though two months of bad quarterbacks for the first time in my life, Aaron Rodgers made his triumphant return against the team that knocked him out in a winner-take-all NFC North championship game against the Bears. The lead changed hands four times, and with the Packers trailing by one with 6:24 remaining, the quarterback led the Packers on a game-winning drive that included two fourth down conversions, none bigger than the 48-yard strike to Randall Cobb, who himself had missed the previous 11 games, on 4th and 8 with 38 seconds to play. I watched this at home with some of my best friends, which is really how I should watch all important sporting events, because I don’t do losing in public all that well.
2) Wes Helms and Ryan Braun put the Brewers in the playoffs for the first time in 26 years
Date: September 28, 2008
Location: My cousin Jessica’s birthday party in Racine
The Brewers’ first potential playoff appearance since losing the 1982 World Series to the hateful Cardinals hung in the balance on the season’s final day, with the Brewers, hosting the Cubs, tied for the wild card lead with the Mets, hosting the Marlins. Both games started at approximately the same due to an hour long rain delay at Shea (lol rain delays), and both entered the eighth inning tied. Completely isolated in the corner watching this game on the tiny TV I was allowed to use while the rest of the family watched the Packers lose to Tampa Bay (probably Aaron Rodgers worst game of his career, incidentally), I was an absolute nervous wreck. In the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Braun drilled the first pitch he saw into the left field bleachers, giving the Brewers a 3-1 lead they would not relinquish. Moments later, FSN North cut away to Shea as former Brewer and confirmed terrible third baseman Wes Helms became a Milwaukee hero when he ripped a pinch hit home run, the first of a back-to-back pair with Dan Uggla, to give the Marlins a 4-2 lead in the eighth that also became the final. The Brewers ended their regular season with a nifty double play, the Mets completed their second consecutive September collapse, and playoff baseball returned to Milwaukee for the first time since the Reagan administration.
Location: Miller Park Terrace Level
After both teams held serve at home, the Brewers and Diamondbacks returned to The Keg for a decisive game five. The D-Backs struck first, scoring in the third, but the Brewers tallied in the 4th and 6th to carry a 1-run lead into the ninth, when John Axford served up three straight hits, including a Willie Bloomquist bunt single that tied the game. With the jam-packed stadium holding it’s breath on every pitch, Carlos Gomez laced a one out single to left, stole second on the 1-1 pitch to Nyjer Morgan, who then just tickled it into the outfield, scoring Gomez and sending 44,000 screaming fans into a sustained fit of delirium that lasted for well over a half-hour before we started to clear the seating bowl. In season full of Plushdamental moments, this one topped them all.
Here’s the Power Ranking highlights following last night’s wall-centric penultimate episode for season four. As always, SPOILER ALERT, and the full rankings in their entirety can be found here.
3) Jon Snow – For someone who just recently returned to the Night’s Watch after spending a good deal of time raiding with a particularly savage pack of wildlings, Jon seems to have an enormous amount of respect and trust from the black brothers who aren’t named Thorne. In the wake of Ser Alliser’s wounding and “Ser” Janos’ self-gelding, Lord Snow took over as the de facto leader of the Lord Commander-less Castle Black, and led his brothers to what is ultimately a pointless, delaying-of-the-inevitable “victory” over 1/1000th of Mance Rayder’s army. Congratulations on that. Given the show’s penchant for killing our favorite characters only when we least expect it, hopefully Jon, who is off for a spot of tea with the King Beyond the Wall and Tyrion, who has a hot date with Ser Illyn Payne, will survive through to season five.
30) Samwell Tarly – Where the hell did all that come from? Sam the Slayer, who’s greatest talents to date seemed to include stammering, wetting himself and crying in the face of literally the slightest hint of danger, suddenly turned into fat Sparticus, shouting down Pyp to force him to let Gilly in, inspiring him during the battle and not losing his shit after Pyp sprouted an arrow from his neck (courtesy Ygrette), and just in general surviving a battle many did not without needing to hide in the thrice-damned pantry (I see you, Janos). Sam rockets up the power rankings this week.
37) Alliser Thorne – Let’s be real here: screw Thorne. I hate him, and for good reason. He’s a dick, he plotted to have Jon killed on more than one occasion, he’s thick-headed and won’t listen to reason and he probably kicks puppies. That being said, he showed last night that the black brothers could certainly do worse for a Lord Commander. He admitted to Jon he’d been wrong about the tunnel, albeit far too late and with no hint of apology, and delivered a riveting speech to the men facing almost certain death at the hands of Tormund’s raiders, giving his tired and beaten brothers a second wind, and led the charge himself. So, naturally, he had to take a stomach wound that will likely end up killing him. Easy come, easy go.
52) Tormund – He was ultimately defeated, though he remained standing at the battle’s end with several arrows sticking out of him. But Tormund got the job done, forcing the Night’s Watch to fight a two-front battle, splitting the defenses so Mance could test the wall. The wildlings now know they have the overwhelming numbers, and will soon overwhelm Castle Black, then the North, and then the whole of Westeros. Game over, good run guys.
70) That punk kid that shot Ygrette – You’ve robbed up of this for the rest of the show’s duration:
Thanks a lot. I hope you put your eye out with that toy bow you used to kill our favorite wildling. You know nothing.
79)Ygrette – Oh, George. You heartless, evil bastard. Ygrette, who was all kinds of fired up to put an arrow through the bastard of Winterfell’s eye socket while sitting around the wildling campfire, found herself unable to loose when brought face to face with a defenseless Jon Snow, who was fresh off your classic hammer-embedded-in-skull kill. Just as it seemed like they might be able to reunite just as Gilly and Sam had earlier in the episode, elevator kid sent a shaft through her belly. Sigh.
82(tie) Pyp and Grenn – Pyp had to be reminded several times to keep firing his crossbow, with which he had an accuracy rating somewhere around Stormtrooper range, by Samwell freaking Tarly before taking an arrow to the throat. Grenn led a group of five bad-ass new gods down to the gate on a suicide mission to take on a god damned giant. So, in truth, Grenn had a much stronger day. But Jon Snow’s two besties deserve to ride into that good night together. And now their watch is ended.
100) Janos Slynt – I’m breaking my rule that dead man can’t be more powerful than the living with this one. The erstwhile commander of the gold cloaks turned in what was easily the most cowardly performance in the show’s four year run, denying the existence of the giants he was literally staring at before being given an out by Grenn, who told him he was needed below. Back at sea level, he scampered forth, unsheathed his mighty weapon (read: key) from its scabbard (read: pocket), and thrust it deep into the belly of his foe (read: door). There he was confronted by the terrifying Gilly and her suckling babe, from whom he cowered in fear in the pantry corner until he was rescued by Sam the Slayer.