BOOK | Jeff Passan's new exposé THE ARM: INSIDE THE BILLION-DOLLAR MYSTERY OF THE MOST VALUABLE COMMODITY IN SPORTS, is as inside baseball as it gets. While the NFL has recently gotten a bad rap thanks to concussions, Passan, a Yahoo! Sports baseball columnist, argues that America's favorite pastime is undergoing its own epidemic, specifically with pitchers' elbow/arm injuries and the dreaded Tommy John surgery. Here, Passan refers to the pitching arm as the most valuable commodity in sports, with MLB spending $1.5 billion on pitcher salaries this season, yet the safety of the players is being ignored. His writing is expansive yet personable. There are no easy answers here, but through this book, the issue has come to light.
TV | THE RANCH is most assuredly a show that would never have made network TV or even most cable outlets; it's too strangely executed. The Netflix original series features a standard sitcom laugh track, serious family issues, F-words, some brief Ashton Kutcher butt nudity, Republican politics and even a calf birth — but even with all of the genre flip-flopping, it succeeds because of the casting. Kutcher plays Colt Bennett, a washed-up semi-pro football player who comes home to help work his grumpy old father's (Sam Elliott) Colorado ranch. Bringing in That '70s Show's Danny Masterson as his brother and Debra Winger as his bar-owning mother, the show's acting dynamics are dynamite.
ALBUM | In case you missed the Seattle indie pop-punk act's Spokane and Pullman shows over the past few months, Tacocat's third effort LOST TIME is here to keep you in the loop. This is a band with strong opinions (the four-piece recently played a Bernie Sanders rally at Safeco Field). There's the new song "I Hate the Weekend" but also the track "I Love Seattle." The sarcastic and biting "Men Explain Things to Me" shows off their straightforward easy melodies while giving you a deeper sense of the things that women go through. Under its shiny pop exterior, the punk snark especially roars through on this album. You'll want to rock out to this in your car all summer long. ♦