Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Lissa HarrisBecause I have loved The Walking Dead for five and a half seasons, I’ll start with the good.Daryl and his bazooka are awesome. His character continues to be the greasiest bad ass on the planet and the moment he took out Negan’s bikers with a missile was a rallying point for all who watched. In fact, the scene leading up to Bazooka Daryl was intense and emotional.It was the deeply thoughtful and action-packed scenes we’ve gotten used to seeing the last five seasons. The first episode of the mid-season finale was off to a good start. But it was all downhill from there.Episode 9, “No Way Out,” picked up right where they left off back in late November. Rick and other residents had covered themselves with walker guts and were attempting to escape among the thousands of walking dead unnoticed. We saw this before in season one, in the Episode 2, “Guts,” when the characters must find a way to escape an overrun Atlanta. In this season’s mid-finale, “Start to Finish,” Rick recalls this successful strategy and suggests it to the remaining residents of Alexandria.Of course, they are disgusted but agree to go along. We leave them as they are exiting the house to walk among the dead. Then the camera focuses on Jesse’s very fragile son, Sam. He looks terrified and calls out, “Mom?” End of scene.We were left to wonder, for almost three months, what was about to happen to them now that they’ve been discovered. But Sam’s slip-up apparently had no effect because it’s never mentioned in the mid-season premier. Wait, what? That, my friends, is what’s known as “lazy writing.”“Start to Finish” also gave us a climax of sorts on the characters’ opposing philosophies, which I wrote about in November. This discussion was communicated most beautifully in Episode 4, “Here’s Not Here.” The episode highlighted Morgan’s transformation from insanity to peacefulness via the help of a man who believed that people could live in this savage world and still hold onto their humanity.It was this debate that seemed to drive the entire first half of season six. In “No Way Out” we got the answer: If we all work together, we can achieve a new civilization and a society worth fighting for.But isn’t that what all the nearby gangs think? I’m sure the Wolves believe that by working together they are achieving an ideal society, same as Negan’s gang, judging from the first scene of the episode. These gangs don’t believe in everyman for himself, they work together for their own version of the “common good.”Our heroes are only realizing this now, and express it with the cheesiest of dialogue. In Gabriel’s epiphany, he states: “God will save Alexandria because God has given us the courage to save it ourselves.”Cut to a scene that slices through the edits as quickly as our heroes slice through walkers. A cute trick but not enough.Rick’s big moment comes in his monologue at the end. A touching moment until he declares to an unconscious Carl that he wants to show him “this brand new world” that Deanna showed him. I would have been more engaged if I knew exactly what that vision entailed. It’s still relatively unclear what Deanna had planned other than to build more walls and a school.I would have been more impressed if Rick had decided he was going to travel the world lighting lakes on fire in an effort to eliminate the entire walker species once and for all. And then create an International Public Health Policy on how to dispose of the newly dead.I’ve never been a viewer impressed with blood, violence or shock alone. Pair that blood, violence and shock with serious plot and character development, and a commentary on the human condition that makes me rethink my very existence and you have me hooked for life. The Walking Dead used to give that to me.Yes, one could argue that we have become desensitized to violence, but a good writer would anticipate that and continue to up the game in smart ways. That’s what Vince Gilligan did with Breaking Bad.I could forgive Greg Nicotero for being distracted by his work on Fear the Walking Dead, the series prequel. But that show is lackluster as well. Maybe they should let Scott Gimple, who wrote “Here’s Not Here,” re-write the remainder of the season’s episodes.I don’t know. But I don’t like where this season is headed. Bad dialogue and cheesy emotion are not what I’ve come to expect from one of my favorite shows. My only hope is that Carl’s physical deformity will prevent him from wearing that stupid hat in future episodes.There were some quality moments: Denise’s terror as she realizes she has no choice but to partner with the Wolf gang member and Abraham and Sasha’s tension right before they are saved by Daryl. But overall, there was nothing stellar in this week’s mid-season premier.
At 3, Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich travel to Southampton, Manchester City welcome Sheffield Wednesday to the Etihad, and Aston Villa face Championship strugglers, Blackpool. 23 years on from their famous defeat of Arsenal, Wrexham aim to topple another top tier side in Stoke. At 3.30, Louis van Gaal’s first taste of FA Cup football comes as Manchester United travel to League One’s bottom side, Yeovil. And Chelsea take on Watford at 4 o’clock. There’s a repeat of last year’s final as the FA Cup third round continues this afternoon – with holders Arsenal entertaining Hull in the 5.30 kick-off. Three games kicked off at one, with Alan Pardew’s first game in charge of Crystal Palace away to Conference Premier side Dover, who are yet to concede in this season’s tournament. In other FA Cup action, QPR are playing host to Nigel Clough’s Sheffield United, and Sunderland are taking on Leeds.
SAN DIEGO >> On the same day they acquired veteran leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins, the Dodgers dealt their leadoff hitter in 2014, Dee Gordon, to the Miami Marlins.According to multiple reports Wednesday, Gordon and pitcher Dan Haren were going from the Dodgers to the Miami Marlins for four players: left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney, utility player Austin Barnes, right-handed pitcher Chris Hatcher and utility player Enrique Hernandez.The trade, like the Rollins trade, has not been formally announced by either team. There is good reason to believe that a third or fourth team could become involved in one or both trades, which general manager Farhan Zaidi hinted in his media briefing Tuesday.Zaidi also said Tuesday that Gordon “is our second baseman” and the Dodgers were not offering him in trades. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error That must have changed at some point overnight. Heaney was reportedly coveted by multiple teams. The 23-year-old was the ninth overall pick in the 2012 draft. He pitched in Double-A, Triple-A and eventually reached the majors this past season, throwing 29 1/3 innings and allowing 19 runs for the Marlins.Hatcher, 29, made 52 appearances out of the Miami bullpen and posted a 3.38 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 56 innings.Hernandez, 22, played six positions in his rookie year, and was part of a five-player trade between the Astros and Marlins in July. He posted a combined .248/.321/.421 slash line.Barnes, 24, is a native of Riverside who has played four minor-league seasons in the Marlins’ organization. Last year at Double-A he slashed .296/.406/.507.All four players are under team control for 2014, an attractive option for a Dodgers club looking to create a more flexible roster. Since the Dodgers’ 40-man roster was full when the day began, they would certainly not be able to take on five players while trading only two. At least one further move is necessary to complete the picture. What will the roster look like once it’s complete?“I don’t think any of us know what it’s going to look like,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said on a conference call Wednesday afternoon. “I think there’s a lot going on right now.”Dodgers executives cancelled their daily media briefing Wednesday evening as details of the trades leaked.If true, the trade with the Marlins leaves the Dodgers’ roster without a clear-cut second baseman and only three pitchers who started more than two games for them last season.Gordon, 26, led the National League in stolen bases with 64. He was eligible for arbitration and was tendered a contract by the Dodgers for 2015 but had not signed.Gordon made his first All-Star team in July with a strong first half, but a second-half slump left him with a .326 on-base percentage for the season, well below the norm for an All-Star caliber leadoff hitter.“Part of his struggles is just part of being a young player,” Mattingly said. “They’re going to grow and go through stretches where they get tired. It’s cat and mouse, back and forth. You have success, (opposing pitchers) start chasing him in a different way. … He has to make the adjustments back. That’s what was part of his second half last year.”Coincidentally, Gordon made two community appearances in a Dodgers uniform on Wednesday in Los Angeles.Haren, 34, rejoined the Dodgers by exercising a $10 million player option in his contract for 2015. He went 13-11 with a 4.02 ERA in 2014.“I thought he saved us the way he pitched early,” Mattingly said of Haren. “He had a bunch of wins early in the season. I think he hit an extended four or five-game stretch that he struggled, got off track a bit mechaniccaly. But you still were comfortable with Danny because you know he’s not going to panic, not going to worry. I loved what he brought to this club, his makeup. I thought he had a tremendous year last year.”The two trades would allow the Dodgers to save more than $12 million in salary according to some reports, but those do not take into account which players the Dodgers would send to Philadelphia to complete the Rollins trade.McCarthy close to signingThe Dodgers and free agent right-hander Brandon McCarthy have agreed to terms on a four-year contract, according to multiple reports Wednesday.The 31-year-old is 52-65 in nine major-league seasons with the White Sox, Rangers, A’s, Diamondbacks, and Yankees.
So let me guess this is cool cause they had to do what was best for the franchise right??? Traded this man while he was literally playing in the game and had ZERO idea. I’m not knocking who traded him because it’s a business and you have to do what you feel what’s best but I just want this narrative to start to get REAL/CHANGE and not when a player wants to be traded or leaves a Franchise that he’s a selfish/ungrateful player but when they trade you, release , waive, cut etc etc it’s best for them! I’m ok with both honestly, truly am. Just call a ♠️ a ♠️!!A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Feb 6, 2019 at 8:43pm PSTPelicans forward Anthony Davis appeared to “like” James’ post. The star will not sign an extension with New Orleans and wants to be traded, agent Rich Paul told ESPN in late January. The Lakers have reportedly been trying to acquire him before Thursday’s deadline. Think someone just told Harrison Barnes he got traded pic.twitter.com/QlZstU2QA6— gifdsports (@gifdsports) February 7, 2019James, the Lakers star, discussed the mid-game trade on Instagram later Wednesday.“So let me guess this is cool cause they had to do what was best for the franchise right?” James captioned a video of Barnes. “Traded this man while he was literally playing in the game and had ZERO idea. I’m not knocking who traded him because it’s a business and you have to do what you feel what’s best. Related News View this post on Instagram NBA trade rumors: Mavericks finalizing deal to send Harrison Barnes to Kings “But I just want this narrative to start to get REAL/CHANGE and not when a player wants to be traded or leaves a Franchise (then) he’s a selfish/ungrateful player but when they trade you, release, waive, cut etc etc it’s best for them! I’m ok with both honestly, truly am.” LeBron James wants the “narrative” around player movement to change.The Mavericks agreed to send forward Harrison Barnes to the Kings in the middle of their matchup against the Hornets on Wednesday. The 26-year-old forward was subbed out and remained on Dallas’ bench for a short time before heading back to the locker room after he was informed of the move. NBA trade deadline update: Anthony Davis intends to test free agency in 2020, report says LeBron James took to IG tonight to point out the hypocrisy of teams trading players vs. players requesting trades, and take a look at who liked his post: Anthony Davis. pic.twitter.com/MACLJANyaA— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 7, 2019The Kings received forwards Justin Jackson and Zach Randolph from Dallas in exchange for Barnes, who is averaging 17.8 points this season.James signed a four-year, $153.3 million contract with the Lakers this summer. He’s tallying 26.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in his first season in Los Angeles.