Monday, March 31, 2014

A Yelp Review for BRC Day Spa and Sauna Resort

This has nothing to do with anything on this site. This is purely a way for me to use a personal medium to say some words about a horrid establishment that used to be one of my favorite places to go. I figure even if there is one more avenue for a negative, but truthful, review to get on to the Internets, then the better.

Thank you for indulging me for this moment, oh and NEVER GO TO BRC DAY SPA AND SAUNA RESORT LOCATED AT 24-20 BROADWAY IN FAIR LAWN, NJ.

Instead, please direct your business to BEAR AND BIRCH LOCATED AT 6 PARAGON WAY FREEHOLD, NJ. THEY CAN BE CONTACTED AT 732-780-3354 OR VIA EMAIL AT BEARANDBIRCH@YAHOO.COM.

THIS IS NOT A REVIEW WRITTEN OUT OF HATE. I am not vindictive or biased or one for sensationalism. In fact my three friends and I have been visiting BRC regularly since 2007. Making the 2 hour drive each way from Philadelphia to BRC 5-6 times a year. BRC used to be a haven for us. BRC was the closest we 30-year-olds could do compare something to Christmas morning. But after what happened on our most recent trip, it is with great sadness that I say it is doubtful we will ever go to BRC again.

ON OUR MOST RECENT TRIP THE DAY WAS unfolding like any other trip in the past. We were there at 11am, we purchased rounds of beer, ate food, went to the different rooms, paid for some of their high end services, laughed, joked, and had a blast. But as our day came to a close, our Russian friend who originally brought us there those 7 years ago, went to get one of our final rounds of beer. He was subsequently denied. Then for reasons that are still unclear, he was asked to leave. When one of us went up to inquire what happened, the manager said that they were no longer comfortable serving him, and to control the alcohol we would need to walk up and purchase individual beers. We agreed to that as it is within any establishments right and legal standing to not over serve. But when we went up to buy our individual beers, we too were cut off and denied. Needless to say, this was unwarranted.

I WILL CAPITULATE THAT ONE OF US MIGHT HAVE BEEN TOO DRUNK IN THE EYES OF BRC STAFF, but all of us? No, sir. The blatant disrespect that was shown to all of us as customers is inexcusable. Even the most common dive bars in Philadelphia at least give you the courtesy of an explanation. If one member of your group is too out of control, then you are given the opportunity to "take care of him." You aren't just randomly asked to leave. But to treat long-time customers that they knew this way? Unbelievable.

THEY TREATED US WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE AND INJUSTICE. We were not granted the most basic terms of the business and customer relationship, let alone the fact that pretty much the ENTIRE STAFF KNEW WE WERE LOYAL CUSTOMERS and had been there dozens of times. The kicker was as we were leaving some of the employees on a smoke break gave us a passing "sorry that worked out that way." With as much effort and energy as it probably took to exhale the nicotine from their lungs. Oh, gee, thanks for that. Zero explanation for their decision, but a half-hearted bon voyage for our 2 hour drive home in the pouring rain.

OH AND AS FOR THOSE CONCERNS OF OVER SERVING? I DROVE US ALL HOME. My Russian friend lives locally and was dropped off, then I drove my remaining friends back to South Jersey. Combined we account for 3 WIVES, 1 SOON TO BE WIFE, 5 KIDS, 4 SIBLINGS, plus countless other friends and family members. So I would imagine the responsibility for the well-being is much more intuitive to each of us than the "concerns" of BRC. So for any response they may post, their duties or concerns for all of us are untrue and unfounded.

AS WE LEFT BRC FOR THE LAST TIME we were hurt, confused, and extremely pissed. Were we profiled? Did we do something so egregious that this type of disrespect was warranted? How could a group of people we have done nothing but treat as friends just turn on us like that? It is tough to say goodbye, but I WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND BRC THE OPPORTUNITY TO OFFER A WRITTEN APOLOGY FOR THEIR RASH DECISION AND TREATMENT OF LOYAL CUSTOMERS. I will be open to any dialogue they wish to have, and while the terms of our relationship may be irreconcilable, a little human decency in this case would go a long way.

THE SILVER LINING IN ALL OF THIS IS THAT during that "convenient" fire BRC had a couple of months ago (thankfully no one was hurt or injured) my friends and I discovered another banya that at the time we thought was equal to, if not better, than BRC. So without that written apology, we will certainly be taking our business elsewhere. I will encourage everyone that reads this to look into alternatives in their area as well, using - why - Yelp of course.

FOR THOSE CUSTOMERS THAT DON'T BELIEVE ME OR THINK I'M BENDING THE TRUTH A BIT, I do not blame you. The $2,000.00+ that my friends an I would spend at BRC per year won't make them close up their doors or probably bat an eyelash, but THIS EXPERIENCE MUST BE DOCUMENTED AND HEARD. I used to come on this site and sneer at anyone that had something bad to say about BRC. I would tell everyone that I could how great this place was and did so with enthusiasm and happiness. We even befriended those "surly" front desk people everyone is complaining about. So looking back on my many, many times at BRC, I will remember the better times, but no banya will be able to burn away the utter disappointment of my last time. It's not too often that I find myself being the naive one, but that's exactly what I was when I put my faith into BRC.

IN CLOSING, to quote the Oscar snubbed 80's classic Cocktail, "Jesus, everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end." Boy, ain't that the truth.

Let's see you deal with that, BRC.





Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fantasy Funkhouser: 2014 Fantasy Baseball Player Ranks - Rounds 6 through 8

Why is Everth Cabrera getting different treatment compared to other PED users? (utsandiego.com)
Fantasy Funkhouser will review all things Fantasy Baseball. After all, life is a small sample size.

Not to double up on the content, but rounds 6 through 8 have a lot of my Mancrush picks I wrote about last week. Of course, the list isn't off to a great start after Jurickson Profar profar'd everyone that drafted him, but anyway what you'll find are a lot of players I'm more bullish on; ready to pick ahead of most people's ADP. I dislike to use the word reaching because that indicates you're selecting someone above where you think they should be selected. I'm simply using my personal rankings and picking thusly.

This is a big reason I started doing my own ranks; to play off the ADP and know when I wanted and didn't want to take a player. Personal rankings have your own touch to them, so if you have confidence in yourself, you should take the time to do it. The rankings beyond the first 5 rounds really start getting muddy when you compare them amongst ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, etc. There are sites that pool all of this information together for you, but I always like to know how I feel about certain players - not just an average of these sites. I've been refining my ranking system, and this is the year I've probably leaned the most heavily on it in live drafts. By that I mean, if I take Jose Altuve, I largely have no idea if the people I'm drafting with think I'm taking him too early or too late. And, for the first time, I don't care.

It's always important to preface this by saying, I have someone like Pedro Alvarez ranked #63 overall. Now, in a snake draft, that doesn't mean I would take him with the 63rd pick. If he's ranked 80+ on the site I'm using, well I'm going to assume that most people are operating within the confines of that sites rankings. Very rarely will I see another owner take someone out of the blue and think that they made a wise choice. Usually it's someone taking Curtis Granderson in the 3rd Round or something. So, I will bide my time. If Alvarez it ticketed to go 87th overall, I won't use my 6th Round pick, but maybe I'll jump early in the 7th or depending on how the picks fall, happily take him in the 8th or 9th Round. There's no sound strategy to knowing when a player will be taken, but by following your own ranks and playing them off the site's ranks there is plenty of room for added value. Now a couple of notes on players that weren't MANCRUSHED...

I've been a Ryan Zimmerman defender for a long time, but he once again needed a huge final couple of months in 2013 to get to the numbers his owners were hoping for. He says his shoulder feels better than ever, but realistically last year should have been a return to form. I'm not saying that Zimmerman can't get back to 25 HR and 80+RBI, but I will note all it will take is him not being able to find his magic bat in August and September to have a very disappointing season.

The more I see of Jose Abreu the more I like him. The Cuban slugger is battling some ankle issues from apparently wearing quality baseball cleats, but he should be able to adjust and move past that rather smoothly. I mentioned earlier that Spring Training stats are largely useless, but it's been helpful to see what Abreu can do. What I do see is a guy with legit power and a guy that isn't striking out a lot. For all the talk of his home run potential, I'd be surprised if he batted under .270 for the year. His floor is much higher than many think.

Everth Cabrera is at the middle of one of my myths of the offseason so far. The first was the love for Clayton Kershaw (justified) by experts drafting him as high as 3rd overall in drafts (not justified). If you want to go ahead and do that, then you have to accept that Kershaw - in all his greatness - isn't that much better than Darvish or Wainwright or Scherzer of 2013 and those players should be bumped up your draft board as well.

The E-Cab myth is that while players like Ryan Braun and Nelson Cruz and the other PED suspendees are being dragged through the mud, Cabrera is somehow being projected to have a career year. PEDs can certainly help power, but the skill set around them remains unchanged. No one thinks Braun is going to hit 12 HR or that Jhonny Peralta will hit .220 AVG, but they're being cast in a negative light. Well, if you're anti those guys, how can you not be more anti-Cabrera? This was a guy that last year was having a career year batting at a higher average than ever before, with 4 HR (he has 9 total in his career), and stole 37 bases in 94 games. Sure seems like something might have been helping him out! PEDs won't make Cabrera a 30 HR hitter, but will it keep him healthy or give him more velocity on balls he makes contact with? Presumably. But for whatever reason - I guess because he's fast and not a power hitter - he's getting to capitalize on his 2013 numbers. Something no suspended PED user has been blessed with. If Cabrera truly can capitalize on those strides from last year, then he has the ability to be the 2nd or 3rd ranked shortstop overall. I'm leaning more towards Cabrera, yes, making strides, but more in line with his career averages. He has made changes to his approach at the plate to get on base more, which will translate to steal opportunities. Also, I'm not mad at the Padres' offense this year. I can see a solid year from Cabrera if he can stay healthy, but let's not forget a straight extrapolation of his 2013 numbers would be rather ridiculous.

Really like what I've been seeing from Jordan Zimmermann. He appears to have worked on correcting his biggest problem from 2013, a low K rate. This is the first apperance he's made on my ranks in 2014, but as I've been updating them week to week, he's taken large leaps up the board.

I'm comfortable with Billy Hamilton at #86 overall. The Reds didn't give him a roster spot to send him down in May. He'll get a shot, and even if he can't handle lead-off duties, he is still in a position batting in the bottom of the order where he can steal a lot of bases. Like a lot, a lot. Hamilton even showed that as strictly a bench player he can make a huge impact as most of his opportunities in 2013 were from the pine to the field as a pinch runner. He has value, and in a roto league can free your roster up in a lot of ways come draft day. Let's hope he can do his namesake proud.

RANK PLAYER NAME POS POS RANK TEAM
61 Jason Heyward OF 20 ATL
62 Matt Carpenter 2B 5 STL
63 Pedro Alvarez 3B 6 PIT
64 Ryan Zimmerman 3B 7 WAS
65 Elvis Andrus SS 6 TEX
66 Kenley Jansen RP 3 LAD
67 Jose Altuve 2B 6 HOU
68 Wil Myers OF 21 TB
69 Joe Mauer C 2 MIN
70 Jayson Werth OF 22 WAS
71 Alex Gordon OF 23 KC
72 Shane Victorino OF 24 BOS
73 Jose Abreu 1B 11 CHW
74 Anibal Sanchez SP 15 DET
75 Everth Cabrera SS 7 SD
76 Alex Cobb SP 16 TB
77 Greg Holland RP 4 KC
78 Josh Donaldson 3B 8 OAK
79 Anthony Rizzo 1B 12 CHC
80 Mark Trumbo 1B 13 ARZ
81 Yadier Molina C 3 STL
82 Kyle Seager 3B 9 SEA
83 James Shields SP 17 KC
84 Josh Hamilton OF 25 LAA
85 Pablo Sandoval 3B 10 SF
86 Billy Hamilton OF 26 CIN
87 Ben Zobrist SS 8 TB
88 Carlos Santana C 4 CLE
89 Manny Machado 3B 11 BAL
90 Wilin Rosario C 5 COL
91 Carlos Beltran  OF 27 NYY
92 Jordan Zimmermann SP 18 WAS
93 Starlin Castro SS 9 CHC
94 Masahiro Tanaka SP 19 NYY
95 Brett Lawrie 2B 7 TOR
96 Matt Kemp OF 28 LAD
On Deck: Danny Salazar, Sonny Gray, Brandon Belt


OVERALL THUS FAR

We are finally starting to see some shifting around of the rankings. This is obviously the result of the start of the regular season nearing and some injuries/issues taking their toll. Very little of this has to do with Spring Training performances because aside from health - the statistics mean next to nothing. 

Yu Darvish came down with another nagging injury from sleeping, and he will now start the season on the DL. I literally mentioned this a couple weeks ago as a concern for Darvish, and while he has been cleared from any serious injury, this is something I can no longer ignore. The competition at SP is steep, so this is enough for me to drop him down my rankings. Stephen Strasburg and Chris Sale move up to #2 and #3 starting pitchers respectively, with Felix Hernandez and then Yu Darvish following suit.

In the outfield there has been some rumbling with Yasiel Puig tumbling down to my rankings. He's already gotten into some on-field issues due to his horrid base running and 'tude. Combine that with his apparent incessant "injuries" to his back and shoulders. Something isn't right with this guy. 

Avenge me, Justin Upton! AVENGE ME!

Final note, Justin Verlander is coming, boys and girls. 

RANK PLAYER NAME POS POS RANK TEAM CHANGE
1 Miguel Cabrera 3B 1 DET
2 Mike Trout OF 1 LAA
3 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 1 ARZ
4 Andrew McCutchen OF 2 PIT
5 Ryan Braun OF 3 MIL
6 Carlos Gonzalez OF 4 COL
7 Clayton Kershaw SP 1 LAD
8 Hanley Ramirez SS 1 LAD
9 Edwin Encarnacion 3B 2 BAL
10 Chris Davis 1B 3 TOR
11 Jacoby Ellsbury OF 5 NYY
12 Robinson Cano 2B 1 SEA
13 Bryce Harper OF 6 WAS
14 Adrian Beltre 3B 3 TEX
15 Joey Votto 1B 3 CIN
16 Adam Jones OF 7 BAL
17 Carlos Gomez OF 8 MIL
18 Troy Tulowitzki SS 2 COL
19 Jason Kipnis 2B 2 CLE 20
20 Prince Fielder 1B 4 TEX 19
21 Evan Longoria 3B 4 TB
22 Stephen Strasburg SP 2 WAS 28
23 David Wright 3B 5 NYM
24 Dustin Pedroia 2B 3 BOS
25 Chris Sale SP 3 CHI 26
26 Felix Hernanez SP 4 SEA 25
27 Ian Desmond SS 3 WAS
28 Yu Darvish SP 5 TEX 22
29 Alex Rios OF 9 TEX
30 Freddie Freeman 1B 5 ATL
31 Adam Wainwright SP 6 STL
32 Cliff Lee SP 7 PHI
33 Hunter Pence OF 10 TOR
34 Jose Bautista OF 11 TOR
35 Giancarlo Stanton OF 12 MIA 37
36 Justin Verlander SP 8 DET 41
37 Justin Upton OF 13 ATL 35
38 Jose Reyes SS 4 TOR
39 Shin-Soo Choo OF 14 TEX
40 Craig Kimbrel RP 1 ATL
41 David Price SP 9 TB 36
42 Matt Holliday OF 15 STL 50
43 Buster Posey C 1 SF
44 Jose Fernandez SP 10 MIA
45 David Ortiz 1B 6 BOS
46 Madison Bumgarner SP 11 SF
47 Max Scherzer SP 12 DET
48 Jay Bruce OF 16 CIN
49 Ian Kinsler 2B 4 DET
50 Yasiel Puig OF 17 LAD 42
51 Eric Hosmer 1B 7 KC
52 Zack Greinke SP 13 LAD
53 Starling Marte OF 18 PIT
54 Albert Pujols 1B 8 LAA
55 Jean Segura SS 5 MIL
56 Adrian Gonzalez 1B 9 LAD
57 Yoenis Cespedes OF 19 OAK
58 Homer Bailey SP 14 CIN
59 Aroldis Chapman RP 2 CIN
60 Allen Craig 1B 10 STL
61 Jason Heyward OF 20 ATL
62 Matt Carpenter 2B 5 STL
63 Pedro Alvarez 3B 6 PIT
64 Ryan Zimmerman 3B 7 WAS
65 Elvis Andrus SS 6 TEX
66 Kenley Jansen RP 3 LAD
67 Jose Altuve 2B 6 HOU
68 Wil Myers OF 21 TB
69 Joe Mauer C 2 MIN
70 Jayson Werth OF 22 WAS
71 Alex Gordon OF 23 KC
72 Shane Victorino OF 24 BOS
73 Jose Abreu 1B 11 CHW
74 Anibal Sanchez SP 15 DET
75 Everth Cabrera SS 7 SD
76 Alex Cobb SP 16 TB
77 Greg Holland RP 4 KC
78 Josh Donaldson 3B 8 OAK
79 Anthony Rizzo 1B 12 CHC
80 Mark Trumbo 1B 13 ARZ
81 Yadier Molina C 3 STL
82 Kyle Seager 3B 9 SEA
83 James Shields SP 17 KC
84 Josh Hamilton OF 25 LAA
85 Pablo Sandoval 3B 10 SF
86 Billy Hamilton OF 26 CIN
87 Ben Zobrist SS 8 TB
88 Carlos Santana C 4 CLE
89 Manny Machado 3B 11 BAL
90 Wilin Rosario C 5 COL
91 Carlos Beltran  OF 27 NYY
92 Jordan Zimmermann SP 18 WAS
93 Starlin Castro SS 9 CHC
94 Masahiro Tanaka SP 19 NYY
95 Brett Lawrie 2B 7 TOR
96 Matt Kemp OF 28 LAD