Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Friday, August 16, 2019

WWE’s Sheamus on performing in Manila, Liverpool & staying healthy

WWE’s Sheamus on performing in Manila, Liverpool & staying healthy
by rick olivares

Professional wrestler Sheamus (whose real name is Stephen Farrelly) flew into Manila on a whirlwind tour to promote the upcoming World Wrestling Entertainment show this coming September 20 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 41-year old wrestler hasn’t been inside the ring since suffering a concussion in in a match against tag team, The New Day, last April. 

“I myself am itching to get back into the ring,” admitted the man known as the Celtic Warrior. “But it is all about getting healthy for myself and making sure that show in the Philippines are a success. It isn’t like we are often in this part of the world. And we have tremendous support in Asia. This is giving to the fans.”

Thus far, the WWE wrestlers who will take part in the Manila show include Asuka, Finn Balor, Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Kofi Kingston, Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, and Xavier Woods to name a few.

This will be the fifth time the WWE will perform in Manila and the big guns are coming out.

“It would be nice to wrestle in front of Filipino fans who are known for their passion,” added Sheamus, “but I am sure the guys in our locker room will do a great job and it will be a memorable night for all.”

Speaking of staying healthy and fit, when one is in an active WWE roster, that means “about 280 days of travel in one calendar year,” he added. “So you have to not only take care of your body, but also your mind.”

The 240-pound wrestler has put his “Brave Change” philosophy out for the fans to see on social media/ “It really is all about stepping out of your comfort zone. Trying different things to improve your training and routine. And eating healthy too.” 

Sheamus has also taken this downtime to follow his beloved Liverpool FC. Along with basketball star LeBron James, actor Daniel Craig, actress Millie Bobby Brown, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, former Spice Girl Melanie C among many others, Sheamus is acknowledged to be a big time supporter of the Merseyside club.

Flying into Manila, Sheamus missed the UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool and Chelsea that was played in Istanbul. “Oh, man! I missed it,” said the disappointed Irishman who is known to be a die-hard supporter of the club. “I just checked the highlights, Liverpool won, 54, after a penalty shootout) but I will make it a point to watch their next match (at Southampton this coming Saturday).”

While recuperating, Sheamus also took advantage of watching the recent UEFA Champions League Finals between Liverpool and Tottenham at Madrid last June 1. “Me and (fellow WWE wrestler) Cesaro flew to Madrid to support Liverpool. We paid for flight, our hotel, our match tickets ticket, to watch the Reds clinch their sixth European trophy. What a night it was for me, the club, and the fans all over the world.”

Why root for Liverpool?

“As a lad growing up in Dublin, Ireland, I knew of the Irish heritage of the club. Anfield Road and Anfield Stadium are named for the old town in Ireland, Annefield in County Wexford. And there were a lot of Irish players on the team growing up – Ronnie Wheelan, Steve Heighway, Mark Lawrenson, Steve Finnan, and John Aldridge to name a few (a total of 18 players from the Republic of Ireland have suited up for the Reds) so it was an easy thing for me to cheer for the club. But the tough thing is after a loss is finding some cheer in the next day. It’s just difficult because the club means a lot to me and so many other people.”

“We’ve figured in several finals and cup battles since Jurgen Klopp took over and now we’ve won two pieces of silverware. Hopefully, the next one is the Premier League title.”

Monday, August 5, 2019

Cool sports documentaries on Netflix

Cool sports docus on Netflix
by rick olivares

Sports documentaries can be riveting. And guess what? Netflix has a bunch of them that will pique your interest whether you root for this team or not.

Here are six documentaries that I wholly recommend for binge watching And in no particular order. Burst out that six-pack and munchies.

Sunderland ‘Til I Die
This short series has eight episodes that recount the 2017-18 season of English club, Sunderland FC following their relegation from the Premier League tothe Championship League (second division). You don’t have to be a fan of any other team to appreciate this story. It shows the passion and the connection of the club to the city.

The Carter Effect
A 2017 documentary on the effect that Vince Carter had on Toronto and Canada in general. This goes nicely with the documentary by Filipina-Canadian filmmaker Kathleen Jayme, Finding Big country, which is about former Vancouver Grizzlies center, Bryant Reeves.

Basketball or Nothing
The latest entry to Netflix that is barely three days’ old. This is about the Chinle, Arizona basketball team’s quest to restore pride to their American Indian community and to find a way out of their predicament. Last year, Vice TV released a lateral documentary titled, Metal from the Dirt which is an inside look at the Navajo nation’s black metal music scene. Fascinating. And you feel for them.

The Battered Bastards of Baseball
A one-hour and 20-minute documentary about a group of furry, hairy bunch of guys who wanted to play baseball. This is a true story of the Class-A team, the Portland Mavericks that once featured actor Kurt Russell (the team was managed by his father) and ex-pro pitcher Jim Bouton who was blacklisted from baseball after his tell-all book, Ball Four detailed a lot of inside stories from his time in Major League Baseball. 

You want an underdog story then this is it.

A 2017 film that unfolds like a plot out of Designated Survivor (you have to watch both the American and Korean versions of Designated Survivor). A geo-political thrill that is actually a sports expose. Filmmaker Bryan Fogel’s gutsy tell-all about Russia’s doping program (that started with a cycling race) beginning with Grigory Rodchenkov’s revelations about a state-sponsored doping program.

How dangerous is this? Rodchenkov is in protective custody while two of his associates were murdered.
Remember that famous question about why one climbs a mountain? And its equally famous answer, “Because it is there?”

If your heart was broken by Into the Wild (also on Netflix now), watch Mountain. Directed by Jennifer Peedom and narrated by actor, Willem Dafoe, Mountain shows the beautiful cinematography of mountain ranges and the attempts to scale them. 

As Dafoe says in the intro, “To those who are enthralled by mountains, their wonder is beyond all dispute. To those who are not, their allure is a kind of madness.”

If you aren’t intrigued by that, then go watch some cheesy drama.